Taken with 11th pick of the 1982 NBA Draft, by the Portland Trail Blazers, Fat Lever made a fairly solid start to his NBA career averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 assists a game in his Rookie season. His career would take a massive turn though, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1984.
In Denver, Lever would cement himself as one of the Nuggets greatest all time players. Lever would earn himself the nickname from his teammates as the ‘Triple Double Waiting To Happen’ and he sure lived up to that nickname, in fact he exceeded the nickname by earning himself 43 career triple doubles. He had many great years playing for the Nuggets but his stretch from 1986-1990 was his most impressive. The stats in those years were the following:
1987 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.5 steals.
1988 he averaged 18.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.7 steals.
1989 he averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.7 steals.
1990 he averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals.
That will go down as some of the greatest stats any point guard has put up over a stretch of 4 seasons. Fat Lever was a true icon of the game and in many ways is underrated for what he did in his time in the NBA.
George Gervin was drafted with the 40th pick of the 1974 NBA Draft, by the Phoenix Suns. The career he forged however was with the San Antonio Spurs. Gervin was a scoring machine averaging 25.1 points per game across his career.
Given the nickname ‘The Iceman’ Gervin would appear in 9 straight NBA All-Star games which is a testament to his domination and popularity across his career. To add to his resume, Gervin also featured in 3 x ABA All-Star games before he crossed over to the NBA. Gervin’s best scoring season would come in 1980 when he averaged an amazing 33.1 points per game.
Not only is George Gervin is one of the all time great Spurs, but he is also one of the all time greats to play the game of basketball. His number #44 has been retired by the Spurs and he will forever be etched in their history.
Taken with the 20th pick of the 1975 NBA Draft, by the Golden State Warriors, Gus Williams would become a prolific scorer in the NBA over his short career. Given the nickname ‘The Wizard’ Gus had an offensive arsenal ahead of his time. However his first two seasons in the league didn’t exactly set the world on fire averaging 11.7 and 9.3 points a game for the Warriors.
Subsequently he was let go by the Warriors and given a lifeline by the Seattle Supersonics who signed him in 1977 as a veteran free agent. Here he would shine putting up sensational numbers across 6 seasons with the Sonics. In just his second season at the Sonics he would win an NBA championship in 1978 -79 helping his team by scoring a staggering playoff average of 26.7 points a game. His career best year came in 1982, when he averaged 23.4 points, 6.9 assists and 2.2 steals a game across the whole season.This would see him become an All-Star for the first time. Gus would again be an All-Star the very next season capping off a remarkable few years in Seattle. ‘The Wizard’ had mesmerised the Sonics faithful, but ultimately all good things come to and end and he was traded to the Bullets and then Hawks before his career ended in 1987.
Gus Williams was a true icon of the game!
If you can touch an NBA basketball ring without jumping, then I’d say it’s your destiny to play basketball. A man by the name Manute Bol could do just that. Drafted with the 31st pick of the 1985 NBA Draft, by the Washington Bullets, Bol stood at an incredible 7 ft 7 and weight just 90 kg, which is very light considering someone of that height. His Rookie year saw him with stats of 3.7 points, 6 rebounds and an incredible 5 blocks per game. Bol set what is still tied for an NBA record of 12 blocks in a single game during the 1985 season.
Click on the link below to see Bol’s incredible block sequence:
Bol’s 4 blocks in a row
Bol spent 3 seasons at the Bullets, before being traded to the Golden State Warriors in 1988. He spent 2 years at the Warriors, not really setting the world on fire with his numbers, however he did begin to discover he had a 3-point shot in his arsenal ‘If you could call it that’. He took an astonishing 91, 3-pointers in during the 1989 season, making 20 of them. Bol’s next destination was the Philadelphia 76ers, where Bol would spend a further 2 and a half seasons. His numbers declined even more, which started to spell the end for the giant Manute. He did however have one of the more iconic performances a 7 ft 7 man can have, shooting an amazing 6-12 from 3-point land in a half against the Phoenix Suns.
Click on the link to see Bol’s iconic shooting performance:
Bol’s six 3-pointers
In Bol’s last four seasons in the NBA he went to Miami, Washington, Philadelphia and back to Golden State, totalling just 19 games. The career of Manute Bol had come to an end, but he is simply one of the most iconic and unique players the NBA has ever seen.
At 7 ft 7, Bol sits equal top for the tallest ever NBA player.
Bol wore the numbers: #10, #11, #4 and #1 during his career.
When is comes to NBA villains, I don’t think they come any bigger than Bill Laimbeer. He was passionately disliked by not only NBA fans, but NBA players a like. There was however one place that Laimbeer was loved, and that was the city of Detroit. Laimbeer was drafted with the 65th pick of the 1979 draft, by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His rookie season produced 11.6 points-per game and 10.1 rebounds. His second season would see those numbers increase, and he caught the eye of another NBA team in the league.
The Detroit Pistons were looking for some more grunt and physicality, and that is exactly what they saw in the raw Laimbeer. They managed to acquire him in a trade at the end of the 1982 season. Laimbeer would make an immediate impact becoming an All-Star in his first season at the Pistons. He worked perfectly with the teams new point guard, a man by the name of Isiah Thomas. Laimbeer was a competitive beast, and would lead the league in rebounds in 1986. He appeared in the total of 4 All-Star games and consistently put of double-doubles for the Pistons.
Two things you can’t deny about Bill Laimbeer, was his toughness and durability. An example of this was the fact that he played in 10 straight seasons for the Pistons, where he only missed a total of 3 regular season games. Statistically Laimbeer’s best season came during the 1985-86 season where he averaged 16.6 points per game and 13.1 rebounds. Laimbeer also started to become a 3-point threat as his career progressed, which was impressive for a man who stood at 6-11 and weighed 111 kg. His career 3-point percentage was 32%. His field goal percentage was an impressive 49%.
Click on the link for highlights:
Bill Laimbeer highlights
One thing that Bill Laimbeer developed across his NBA career was the reputation for being a thug. Players and fans alike would consider him a dirty player, who was ruining the game of basketball. Did that bother Laimbeer? No! He embraced the role of the villain, along with his teammates which brought on the inception of the name ‘Bad Boys’. Bill Laimbeer would show no mercy on the basketball court. You would have to earn every point when you lined up against the Detroit Pistons. This style would help see the Pistons win back to back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. They remain in infamy as the ‘Bad Boy’s’ and Laimbeer was a huge part of their legacy. Love him or hate him, Bill Laimbeer was an icon of the game. Loved by his fans and teammates, and loathed by the rest. As a basketball player, Laimbeer’s stats stack up as a very solid NBA player, who was rebounding machine and a constant double-double performer.
Bill Laimbeer was a 4 x All-Star.
Bill Laimbeer currently coaches the New York Liberty in the WNBA.