The Letter "G"...GET Excited! (I'm pumped...you should be too!)
GOING GLOBAL: (first player from country listed to play in the NBA, the year they started and what NBA team it was for)
- Australia: Luc Longley (1991-92, Minnesota Timberwolves)...he was part of the greatest NBA team ever...Chicago Bulls (Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kerr, Harper, Grant...just great)...good thing he played DOWN UNDER the basket...yep, that joke happened...
(you post up good ol' Rik Smits of the Indiana Pacers! Smits from the Netherlands...first Netherlands player though was Hank Beenders in 1946-47...he played for Providence Steamrollers...Smits born in 1966.)
- Cameroon: Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (2001-02, Portland Trailblazers)...had no idea anyone from that country played basketball...but really cool soccer uniforms...
(clearly also played for the Magic...oh long names on jersey...you make me smile...blog on that later for sure... UK actually had some good names on their jerseys...stay tuned for that one later)
- China: Wang Zhizhi (2000-01, Dallas Mavericks)
- Congo: Dikembe Mutombo (1991-92, Denver Nuggets) You were thinking Atlanta Hawks...I know...tried to block these old Nuggets jerseys from memory... or relish in their splendor...not sure yet...my old roommate in college would totally love these though!
- Denmark: Lars Hansen (1978-79, Seattle SuperSonics)...you remember Lars right? Probably not...not that Super...
- Greece: Iakovos Tsakalidis (2000-01, Phoenix Suns)...luckily for announcers...he went by "Jake"...
(pretty good player...averages don't show it though...4.8 points per game, 3.9 boards and just under one block)
- Nigeria: Hakeem Olajuwon (1984-85, Houston Rockets)...him with Clyde Drexler in college at Houston (same time Jim Nantz of CBS Sports golfed for the Cougars) is some of the best basketball you can watch...do yourself a favor and YouTube it!
(simply phenomenal player...and with those knee pads...you know he meant business!)
- Serbia: Vlade Divac (1989-90, Los Angeles Lakers)...on the Sacramento Kings...played against Lakers in like every Western Conference Finals...always lost...very sad...loved the Kings (Cousins there now with former Louisville Cardinal Francisco Garcia)
- South Korea: Haa Seung-Jin (2004-05, Portland Trail Blazers)...he's like 7'3" and 300 pounds! Look out Yao Ming!
(seriously...like huge guy...however...earlier Yao Ming statement was totally a joke...only had 70 total points during two seasons in NBA...Then assigned to NBA Development League with the Fort Worth Flyers. During the 2005-06 season while in the D-League he played five games...no impact. Fellow Blazer centers Theo Ratliff and Joel Przybilla were unable to play due to injury, Haa started four games for Blazers again, averaging 11 minutes of playing time.
Traded to Bucks in July of 2006...but waived prior to start of season. Anaheim Arsenal picked him up (back to the D-League!)...Haa is currently playing professional basketball in South Korea and is a member of the team KCC Jeonju...winners of the 2009 and 2011 Korean Basketball League (KBL) championship...and you now know more about Haa then many NBA scouts!)
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Adonal Foyle (1997-98, Golden State Warriors)...I mean the fact that even one person from that tiny place can play in the NBA...stunning! Good for him!
- Sudan: Manute Bol (1985-86, Washington Bullets)...great player...even better man...possibly a blog on him later...
(At 7'7"...Bol stood above many in life...but it was his heart and soul that keeps him in the hearts of all who were privileged to see him play...Bol spent much of the money he made in the NBA back in his home country and often helped in refugee camps...only player to have blocked more shots than points scored...2,086 shots blocked and 1,599 points scored)
- U.S. Virgin Islands: Tim Duncan (1997-98, San Antonio Spurs)...Wake Forest product...had rebound record in modern era before Morehead State's Kenneth Faried broke it last season with the Eagles...Duncan is one of my favorite players for the record...pure talent and great basketball awareness and presence on the floor...
(totally getting ready to shake himself here!)
Later tonight...I shall post an unprecedented second tribute to the letter G! All baseball related...make sure to take a look later!