In honor of the Spurs playing some amazing throwback basketball and handing the Heat a good old fashioned beat down………………(non sequitur alert)
I give you 1980’s American Bread White Cagers with ‘Staches!
Watching the Spurs in action over the past month reminds me of the great teams of the ‘80’s who were composed of hard working men who knew their roles and went about playing the game in a unselfish, blue collar fashion. Lunch pail players. Men with receding hairlines, a touch of grey in the goatee, crooked gates and twisted torsos from too many years of banging and grinding on the hardwood. No athletically gifted young phenoms out on the floor playing for points and bags of cash. Just a crew of guys all about the team, pride and getting the W.
So to you young whippersnappers reading this with 12 college credits and one season of D1 ball under your belt, when you get drafted next week, let the Spurs be your role model. You may be able to run and jump, but that is just your ticket to get in the door. How are you going to handle getting double teamed 20 feet from the hoop by the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Manu while Parker, Timmy and Danny Green have all of your passing lanes closed off?? I wish you luck and won’t expect to see you playing basketball in June until 2020.
Anyways, as I’ve been reliving the amazing 80’s hoop scene in my head as I’m prone to do on a regular basis (think Showtime, Celts, 76ers, Bad Boys, ‘Nique, Young MJ, Twin Towers, Ice Man, Ewing, Alex English, Bernard King, Drexler, Chambers Dunk, Tree Rollins biting Danny Ainge, etc, etc) I’ve been having a chuckle over the thought of the white dudes who were littered around the league. More specifically, with this being the 80’s and all, the white players who went up and down the court sporting a ‘stache.
Before Sarunas, Sabo and Drazen opened up the NBA scout’s eyes to the world, outside of Boston, there were just a few white players for ‘Nique and MJ to dunk on. These guys were usually one of two things: Really Tall or Really Pesky. In other words, a Catholic high school coaches dream: Pick setters, charge takers, loose ball floor burn specialists, box out guys, free throw marksmen, triple threat operators, jump stop and pivot wizards, pump fake virtuoso’s, man-ball visionaries, communicators and helpers on defense. Some of these guys couldn’t even dunk or palm a basketball yet still managed to play at the highest level for many years because they could rely on their fundamentals.
I’m having a great vision for a new Dave Chappelle bit: Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest are transported back in time to being Nuggets in the 80’s and their teammate Bill Hanzlik arrives to the player parking lot singing Bryan Adams “Run To You” in his Ford Taurus and gets out wearing cotton sweats with a beater gym bag over the shoulder and a brown bag lunch in hand. Those two knuckleheads would go bonkers over that sight and the ensuing banter would be priceless.
So, before you accuse me of attempting to run a 4 corner stall with this piece, I present to you the proof.
Jeff Ruland – A lunch pail player if there ever was one. The ’82 All-Star put up big numbers until his brittle feet derailed his career.
Chuck Nevitt – A man of great length who bounced around and picked up a ring backing Kareem in LA. If you believe Wiki, Chuck is now a 7’5″ IT professional living in Raleigh, NC.
Paul Mokeski – I was always amazed that this man was paid money to play the same sport as James Worthy and Michael Jordan.
Brad Davis – 15 years in the NBA and believe it or not, is the first Dallas Maverick to have his jersey number retired.
John Paxton – One of the men who helped MJ get to the top. Is that ‘stache real or is that a color job?
Bill Hanzlik – In my opinion, Mr. Hanzlik always looked like a high school science teacher, but boy was he a fighter out on the court.
Greg Kite – A big body, 6 fouls to give and a quality ‘stache. Who wouldn’t get tired of being boxed out by Kite every possession?
Kurt Rambis – You have to include Kurt in any discussion of mustachioed white men in NBA history. This look will never be seen again.
Kelly Tripucka – A flat out big time scorer with a big time look!
Larry Bird – The Godfather of the 1980’s American Bread White Cagers with ‘Staches!
As a bonus for reading this far, I give you COACHES WITH PERMS
Mike Fratello – The Czar has always been a man who takes pride in his appearance.
Dick Versace – Incredible perm for the old Pacer coach.
Hubbie Brown – The benchmark for coaching with a perm.