Since many basketball players seem to have delusions of grandure, and even fans (I tend to not be an exception), lets make a ranking of the best players never to have either made the NBA successfully or having arrived past their prime. Knicksboy, go nuts. Auber, fire away with the Lenny Cooke brigade. My list of 10 Urban Legends (these are based on legends of how good these players were, and I do not know if I could mix them with players that actually produced in the NBA to be considered one of the best ever, the mix of reality and fantasy is probably too much to handle).
1. Earl Manigault (44-60 inch vertical, the guy is the Tooth Fairy of Urban Basketball Legendry)
2. Arvydas Sabonis (Shaquille O'Neal with a 3 point shot, supposedly)
3. Connie Hawkins (The Hawk was supposed to be incredible)
4. Len Bias (Probably the saddest story, he was supposedly thought to be LeBron James in a Celtic uni apparently)
5. Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond (Used to make more money on the streets than he could in the NBA, though I doubt that)
6. Fly Williams (Fly is Open Lets go Peay!)
7. Herman "The Helicopter" Knowlings (Supposedly blocked 3 Knicks shots without hitting the ground. On a side note, huh?)
8. Lloyd "Swee Pea" Daniels (The guy was supposed to be craziness, drugs got to him)
9. Chris Washburn (Chris Webber was what they thought, Mr. Washburn was who they got)
10. Ed "Booger" Smith (He would have been mentioned by someone)
Well, there are lots of others, but that is start. Feel free to add and say how awful my list is :)
"Pearl" Washington and Rafer Alston are the first 2 that come to mind. Playgorund legends. Also LLoyd "World" B. Free.
I have a few more in the back of my mind, but am drawing a blank......like many of "Pearl's" jump shots.
44-60 inch vertical that is a big gap, but yes i think he would have been one of the greatest ever
Hook Mitchell never played in the NBA and J-Kidd and GP said he was better than them
Supposedly blocked 3 Knicks shots without hitting the ground
he is a human not God
about Sugar Ray Richardson, he was supposedly a better version of Magic(IDK)
Does a 60 inch vertical sound like leaving change for a dollar at the top of the backboard. I would have to see someone who could jump 5 feet in the air. Four feet is in the Dr. J., David Thompson, Darryl Griffith territory.
There was a player in the NBA about 10 years ago who had a VERY troubled past. The team that signed him got a ton of flack for it. I Can't think of his name and it's killing me. Does Lloyd Daniels sound right to anyone?
Does sound right. Yes, Knicksboy, I was not surprised you said David Thompson. He actually had success as an NBA player, but what exactly gets him into Urban Legendary status? Demetrius Mitchell is a good one. Michael Ray Richardson another. World B. Free is definitely one. Rafer on the other hand, is a playground legend, but I think his actually having been a mediocre NBA player for a number of years takes him out of this discussion. Pee Wee Kirkland was supposedly super ill, I forgot him. He supposedly used to kill Nate Archibald, which would be impressive. Hank Gathers was another one, and the ultimate one is Drazen Petrovic, who might have been on his way to being a top NBA player. Their was a great book on Lloyd Daniels called "Swee'Pea and other Basketball Legends" and "Heaven is a Playground" is still the standard. I dream of one day being able to do what Rick Telander did.
Michael Ray Richardson was an all star, he played EIGHT years in the league before he faded. Not an urban Legend, and it just goes to show you dont believ shyt people say cuz ive never heard people say he was a 'better' version of Magic LOL
World B. Free is definitely NOT one. He was in the league for a decade, 20ppg scorer over a 10+ yr career.
Rafer Alston is a 10yr NBA pro, so he's not relevant to this post.
I am from chicago and Ronnie Fields was the truth when I was in school he played with Kevin Garnett in high school and he was getting all the attention in chicago and Garnett went from highschool to the NBA if Ronnie wouldnt have had all those legal troubles and that car accident he would have been unbelieveable in the league.
Averaged 34 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 4 blocks a game in Highschool
Had a reported 50 inch vertical
3-time Parade All American selection (1994-96)
Consensus First Team All American (Parade, USA Today, McDonald's) his senior year.
He was also the first sophomore to ever play in the "Best of the Best" game at the Nike All American camp in 1993, a game that featured NBA MVP'S Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, and Naismith Prep Player of the Year winners Ron Mercer and Jerod Ward.