Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 6 Strangest NBA Records of All Time

     There have been a number of oddball occurrences in the history of professional basketball.  Bill Walton, for example, has attended more than 650 Grateful Dead concerts.  Damon Stoudamire, former Trailblazer and current dumbass, once walked through an airport metal detector with a brick of marijuana stuffed down his pants.  Wrapped in aluminum foil.  Below are the six most (least?) significant records, non-records, and outright bizarre things that've happened in the history of the NBA.

Honorable Mention:  Most Times Vomited Pre-Game, Career - Bill Russell (1,128)

     Before Dwight Howard started pre-game pooping, the great Bill Russell had a less scatalogical but equally gross ritual:  vomiting.  Despite winning 11 championships with the Boston Celtics, he succumbed to nerves and vomited before every game.  On one occasion, before a heated Game 7 in a playoff series against the 76ers, Red Auerbach pulled the entire team off the court before they had finished warming up.  When asked why he'd done this, Auerbach replied, "Because Bill hasn't tossed his cookies yet."  And the Celtics went on to win.

6th Place:  A Baffling Decision - Dikembe Mutombo

     In 1995, Dikembe Mutombo was named Defensive Player of the Year.  Keep that in mind.  Over the course of the season, he averaged 11.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per game; a great season for any player.  Despite being the best defensive player in the league, Mutombo did not make the All-Defensive First Team.  He was instead voted a member of the All-Defensive Second Team.  Take a moment to think about that:  the best defender in the NBA was not a member of a group of the best defenders in the NBA.  Yeah.

5th Place:  The Mirage - Joel Anthony (Miami Heat)

     Joel Anthony actually holds two NBA non-records.  The least ridiculous of these occurred on January 18, 2011 in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.  Anthony somehow played an astounding 43 minutes without a single field goal attempt.  How a player manages to stay in a game and not produce is beyond me.  That he managed to stay nearly the full duration of the game without even trying is insane.
     The other completely stupid non-record he holds happened nine days earlier on January 9, 2011.  Against the Portland Trailblazers, Joel Anthony played 29 minutes without a single point, rebound, assist, steal, block, or field goal attempt.  What the fuck was he doing?  He spent two and a half quarters running back and forth.  That's exactly what his "effort" counted as.  Subtract the running and being paid $18 million over the course of five years, and I contributed exactly as much to that game as he did.  That's unbelievable.

4th Place:  The Most Well-Traveled Player in NBA History - Tony Massenburg
     In 1990, during his final year at Maryland, Massenburg was one of only two players in the ACC to average double figures in points and rebounds for the season (18 points, 10.1 rebounds).  He was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft (43rd overall).  What follows is the most (un)impressive display of team hopping I've heard of.  From 1990 to 2009, he was a part of 12 NBA teams, 4 European teams, and was injured for 2 years.  The following tracks his stellar career (years he won an NBA Championship are in bold):
  1. San Antonio Spurs (35 games, 1990-1991)
  2. Pallacanestro Reggiana (Italy, 1991)
  3. San Antonio Spurs (1 game, 1991-1992)
  4. Charlotte Hornets (3 games, 1991-1992)
  5. Boston Celtics (7 games, 1991-1992)
  6. Golden State Warriors (7 games, 1991-1992)
  7. Unicaja-Mayoral (Spain, 1992-1993)
  8. FC Barcelona (Spain, 1993-1994)
  9. Los Angeles Clippers (80 games, 1994-1995)
  10. Toronto Raptors (24 games, 1995 [Expansion Draftee])
  11. Philadelphia 76ers (24 games, 1995-1996)
  12. New Jersey Nets (79 games, 1996-1997)
  13. Vancouver Grizzlies (1997-1999)
  14. Houston Rockets (10 games, 1999-2000)
  15. Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies (73 games, 1999-2001)
  16. Utah Jazz (2002-2004)
  17. San Antonio Spurs (2004-2005)
  18. Injured (Late-night car crash, 2005-2007)
  19. Washington Wizards (0 games [waived before season], 2007-2008)
  20. Arecibo Captains (Puerto Rico, 2007-2008)
     Readers may be interested to know Tony Massenburg now owns  a sports bar in Gaithersburg, Maryland called the "44 Sports Bar", where they offer 44-cent hot wings during Happy Hour, football Sundays, and throughout Monday Night Football.

3rd Place:  Most Times Traded for Advice, Career - Don Buse (1)

     For 11 years, Jon Spoelstra, father of current Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, was the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Portland Trailblazers.  During his stint in the City of Roses, he earned a reputation as a marketing genius, and throughout his tenure in Portland there very few games that weren't sold out.  The man was damn good.  He was so good that he was able to make the strangest trade in NBA history. 
     On January 7, 1983, Spoelstra saw that the Blazers were in need of a Point Guard.  Enter Don Buse.  Buse would end his career with one NBA All-Star selection (1977) and a solid six selections to All-NBA Defensive Teams.  Spoelstra, in need of Buse's talents, traded to acquire him from the Indiana Pacers.  Without losing a single player.  Or dollar.  Or draft pick.  In exchange for their Point Guard, the Indiana Pacers received...  One week of management and marketing consultation from Jon Spoelstra.  Yeah, that happened.

2nd Place:  Most Games Missed Due to Game Boy Injury, Season - Lionel Simmons (2)

      Before venturing into the strange shit he did in the NBA, take a moment to understand the caliber of player he was in college.  During his time at La Salle University, Lionel Simmons amassed some pretty goddamned impressive stats.  He made it to third place in all-time NCAA career points (3,217, right behind "Pistol" Pete Maravich), was the only player in NCAA history to score 3,000 points and grab 1,100 rebounds, and still holds the NCAA record for most consecutive games scoring in double figures (115).  That's some powerful shit.  He was taken 7th overall in the 1990 NBA Draft (ahead of All-Stars Tyrone Hill, Jayson Williams, Antonio Davis, and Cedric Ceballos, mind you).
     His non-record occurred during his rookie year with the Sacramento Kings.  Midway through the season, Simmons sat out two games with tendonitis in his wrist.  The injury didn't come from his time on the court, but was a result of strain from excessive use of his Nintendo Game Boy.  I know, right?

1st Place:  Most Times Attacked by a Bat, Game - Martyn "Moochie" Norris (1)

     On March 8, 2002, Martyn "Moochie" Norris was attacked by a bat.  Yes, that kind of bat.  For five minutes, said bat flew uncontrolled around the Toyota Center during a Rockets-Warriors game, repeatedly swooping into and clawing Norris.  During this time, "Moochie" sought shelter, but was continually pummeled by the creature in a series of diving passes.  Play halted for the duration the animal instituted its reign of terror, egged on by the crowd, until it was finally captured by one Greg Mueller, a ballboy.  Not wishing to harm the animal, Mueller used a butterfly net to nab it and release it outside to once again stalk the skies of Houston, Texas.
     Norris played in the NBA until 2006.  During his career, he overcame insomnia and had his own bobblehead made, complete with synthetic afro:


  1. Nice list, bro. Love the stuff about Joel Anthony and Moochie Norris. The fro is spot-on. Another great random player worth mentioning is Bison Dele, who was murdered at sea by his brother and changed his name from Brian to Bison.

    My other favorite NBA factoids:
    - 1981 Denver Nuggets (scored 100+ points every game, allowed 100+ points every game).

    - 1967 Philadelphia 76ers (the "NBA at 50" voted them the greatest team of all time . . . in spite of the fact that between 1959 and 1969, the Celtics won the title every year except '67.)

    - 1986 Chicago Bulls (finished 30-52 and still made the playoffs).

    - 1993 Orlando Magic and 2008 Chicago Bulls (won #1 pick in draft with 1.5% and 1.7% chances, respectively.)