Thursday, March 08, 2007

The NBA All-YouTube Team

And now, I present an all-time starting line-up of NBA players, past and present, who have benefitted the most from the invention of YouTube and its ever-growing collection of highlights and mixtapes, be it by casting light upon the previously unseen, or by emphasizing greatness that has already been confirmed. Credit is due to TrueHoop (the extraordinary basketball blog recently purchased by ESPN, which first presented to me most of what I'm about to present), as well as boredom, and having a day job which provides me with the lethal combination of internet access and copious amounts of down time. Enjoy. [And I must warn you, since I had nothing to do with the makings of these videos, the quality of the background music in each of them are completely beyond my control -- I fucks with Guns 'N' Roses "November Rain", but Creed? Not so much.]

PG - Pete Maravich

Considering how popular streetball has become in recent years (though I must admit that that popularity has been steadily declining), a player like "Pistol" Pete could've broken every jersey-selling record if he played in this day in age, just like he broke every NCAA scoring record at LSU. Unfortunately, his playing days ended before the '80s, and even more unfortunate, he died at age 40 of a heart attack (caused by a rare heart defect) after collapsing during a pick-up game. [And talk about "ironic", check out Pete's quote here -- what'cha think about that, Alanis Morrissette? Rain on your wedding day doesn't sound so bad now, does it?] Though Pete still holds numerous scoring records from his college days, it's the passes in this mixtape that are the most impressive. Even the equally-legendary, and equally-deceased, Red Auerbach can't contain his excitement while watching Pete demonstrate the "wrist pass" (about 3:10 from the beginning) -- hey, if Red tells you not to try something, don't fucking try it, alright!

SG - Michael Jordan

As if an All-Anything-Related-To-Basketball Team could exist without Jordan on it. The above clip -- footage of Jordan's 63 points against the Celtics in the '86 playoffs (a playoff record) following a regular season in which he played only 6 weeks due to a leg injury -- should leave no questions to be asked about MJ's legacy... other than, perhaps, why the FUCK he allowed Orlando Woolridge to take the last shot of this game (an air-balled 3-pointer, no less). The clip is brought to you by YouTube stud hoopsencyclopedia, whose collection of legendary Jordan games is second to none.

SF - Vince Carter

I think Vince Carter should owe some sort of royalties to YouTube, because the number of dunk clips of his on there are probably the best PR he could hope for. No matter how many reasons you may have for disliking Vince -- the exaggerated injuries, the lack of effort during Toronto's bad seasons, the trade demands, the whole "fooling a nation of children into thinking you deserve to start in every All-Star game based on your dunking ability" thing (fortunately that last one seems to be coming to an end) -- it can't outnumber the amount of highlight-reel dunks in the above video. That's 100, to be exact, ranging from his NBA days in Toronto and New Jersey, to UNC, to high school, and even a few as a member of Team USA (with the infamous Frederic Weis posterization high on the list). Sadly missing from the above mix is, perhaps, Vince's greatest "move" to date.

PF - Shawn Kemp

Hard to believe that in a 1996 Finals that starred Jordan, Pippen, and an in-his-prime Gary Payton, many considered Shawn Kemp to be the most impressive player on the court. Simply put, 6'10" dudes shouldn't be able to dunk the way the Reignman did -- taking it coast-to-coast, swinging on the rim, pumping the ball multiple times, catching alley-oops with one hand from whatever distance. As much as I loved watching Shawn play, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the fact that all of his recent comeback attempts failed... it's probably all for the best.

C - Arvydas Sabonis

The original "30 year old rookie", Arvydas (as opposed to "your-vdyas") was originally drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986, but due to circumstances which no longer affect foreign-born players trying to jump to the NBA, he didn't actually play for them until 1995. Considering how solid of an NBA player he was despite being overweight and having feet of stone (due to knee injuries suffered while playing in Europe), one can only imagine if the addition of an in-his-prime Sabonis to the Blazers' 1990 and 1992 Western Conference Championship teams could've propelled them to being NBA champs as well (they lost both years), not to mention where it would've ranked him amongst the greatest NBA centers of all-time. According to Croatian-born ex-NBAer Dino Radja (whose quote appears at the beginning of this video), he would've been "better than David Robinson" -- however, considering how some Eastern Europeans go back on statements, it's quite possible Dino changed his mind the next day.