Horace Grant

Taken with the 10th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft, by the Chicago Bulls; Horace Grant was a workhorse from the moment he entered the NBA. His Rookie year saw him average 7.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.

One thing was very clear about the way Horace Grant played and that was his tenacity. Known for his iconic look of wearing the goggles! Grant would become a pivotal player for the Chicago Bulls and would become the grunt man who would help Jordan, Pippen & Co win 3-straight titles from 91-93. Horace Grant would have some sensational years during the 3-peat, however his best year statistically wise came the year after Jordan retired for the first time. Grant put up numbers of 15.1 points and 11 rebounds which earn him his only All-Star selection in 1994.

The next phase in Horace Grant’s career came in when he signed with the Orlando Magic for the 1995 season. The young Magic team that had Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway made it all the way to the NBA finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. Grant did more of the same with his time in Orlando and by that I mean continuing to be a beast that rebounded just about anything that came his way. Grant spent some time in Seattle before heading to the LA Lakers in 2001. Here he would win his 4th ring to cap off what was a tremendous career. Horace Grant is a true icon of the game.

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Sam Cassell

Taken with the 24th pick on the 1993 NBA Draft, The Houston Rockets had found a hidden gem by the name of Sam Cassell. He would end up having a career that would span over 15 years! Cassell’s Rookie year saw him average 6.7 points and 2.9 assists, but more importantly the Rockets would win the NBA Championship. He would go back to back the very next season, not a bad start at all to what would be a great career in the NBA.

After 3 years at the Rockets, Cassell would find himself at 3 teams over the next few seasons. He was traded to Phoenix, Dallas and New Jersey. None of that would distract Cassell from putting up great numbers. His best amongst that period was when he averaged 19.6 points and 8 assists a game for the Nets in 1998.

Cassell would find his most constant tenure at an NBA team, when he played for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1999-2003. He would become a great fit alongside Glenn Robinson and a young Ray Allen. Twice he would average 19.7 points a game in that era with the Bucks. His next destination was the Minnesota Timberwolves where Cassell would become an All-Star for the first time averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 assists in his first year at the Timberwolves in 2004. Cassell would also spend time at the Clippers and the Celtics before his career would end. Fittingly he would win his 3rd NBA ring playing for the Celtics in 2008. Sam Cassell should be remembered as a fantastic player in the NBA, with career averages of 15.7 points and 6 assists he is a true icon for the game of basketball.

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Fun Facts

Sam Cassell wore the numbers #10, #19, #20 and #28 across his career.

Walt Williams

With the nickname ‘The Wizard’ you have to be able to do some extraordinary things on the basketball court, and Walt Williams could do just that. Taken with the 7th pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, by the Sacramento Kings, Williams was league ready and it showed in his Rookie season where he averaged 17 points in just over 28 minutes a game. Standing at 6 foot 8, Williams could stretch the defence with his 3-point shooting prowess and length. Known for his iconic look of the long white socks up to his knees, Williams began to make a name for himself at the Kings.

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In his 3rd season, he was given a starting role and flourished averaging 16.4 points per game. Williams had some nice years with the Kings, however such is the nature of the NBA, he was traded to Miami during the 95-96 season, before again being traded to Toronto the very next year. There he would again put up similar stats to his earlier years scoring 16.4 points per game, then injuries hit derailing his time in Toronto.

Williams would spend time at Portland, Houston and Dallas before his career finished in 2003. Williams hit a total of 976, 3-pointers during is career at almost 38%. Walt ‘The Wizard’ Williams had a more than serviceable career in the NBA, particularly in his early years when he had some good seasons with the Kings, he also made some headlines during his career, perhaps his biggest was when he punched Shawn Bradley!

Fun Facts

Williams wore the numbers #42 and #43 during his NBA career.

Williams participated in the 1997, 3-Point shootout at the All-Star Weekend.

Isaiah Rider

When it comes to making an immediate impact on the league, Isaiah ‘J.R.’ Rider certainly burst onto the scene in his Rookie season. Drafted with the 5th pick of the 1993 Draft, by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rider straight away put up big numbers averaging 16.6 points per game which would earn him first team All-Rookie honours. To cap off his first year in the NBA, Rider also dazzled at the Slam Dunk contest by winning it with an iconic between the legs baseline dunk.

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The sky was the limit for ‘J.R.’ Rider, and he once again put the NBA on notice averaging 20.4 points a game and 3.3 assists in his second season at the Timberwolves. Was this a superstar in the making? Unfortunately not quite, Rider a man with immense talent started to find him self getting in trouble off the court. After a number of incidents the Timberwolves decided they had no option but to move Rider on from the organisation. As a huge 90s basketball fan, Rider was massive when he burst of the scene wearing that nice ‘blue’ old school Timberwolves jersey. It was a real shame that he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, before he could develop a consistent career in Minnesota.

Click on link below for Isaiah’s iconic Slam Dunk Contest dunk:

Isaiah Rider Between The Legs Dunk

Rider continued to put up respectable numbers whilst at the Trail Blazers, his most notable year being he 1997-98 season where he averaged 19.7 points per game. Rider had a good all round offensive game he could shoot the 3-ball and slash to the basket with great athleticism. His career field goal percentage of 44% demonstrated he was more than capable of getting buckets. Rider spent a season in Atlanta in 2000 where he averaged 19.3 points per game. Once again his off court antics got him in loads of trouble, and the Hawks ran out of patience after just 60 games.

It would be his next destination, the very accomplished Los Angeles Lakers, that Rider would find some success. Coming off the bench he averaged 7.6 points per game and played a nice role for the Lakers during the 2000-01 season. However, he did not see any minutes during the playoffs. The Lakers would win the 2001 NBA Championship, and Rider was still eligible to get a ring, and he did. Rider tried his luck one more time, when he played for the Denver Nuggets during the 2001-2002 season. Unfortunately he only managed 10 games before he was waived by the Nuggets.

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I would have to say that Rider’s career did not reach its full potential, after he burst on the scene as that young, confident dunking machine for the Timberwolves. His career stats still look pretty good with averages of 16.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game, but I can’t help but think if the off-court antics of Rider didn’t get the best of him, he could have been a superstar of the league.

Fun facts:

Rider wore two numbers during his career #34 and #7

Cuttino Mobley

Cuttino Mobley was taken with the 41st pick of the 1998 draft by the Houston Rockets. Before I go on, I’ll cut to the chase. It was an absolute steal by the Rockets gaining the services of Mobley at such a late draft pick. In his rookie year, Mobley showed enough to suggest he had a bright future with the Rockets. He averaged 9.9 points per game and looked comfortable at the elite level of the NBA. The next season Mobley would explode taking his scoring averages to 15.8 points per game and formed a great backcourt duo with the new rookie sensation Steve Francis. The two would create an exciting combination for the next few years.

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The left-handed Mobley had an offensive arsenal that would make defenders very nervous. He could post you up, shoot the 3-ball, slash to the basket and was also a very high percentage free throw shooter. It didn’t take long for the talents of Mobley to shine through with the Rockets, as he took his scoring averages from 19.5 points per game in 2001, to 21.7 points per game in 2002. To the casual basketball fan, Mobley probably slid under the radar as ‘Stevie Franchise’ was gaining world-wide notoriety as he became an NBA All-Star. However to the die-hard NBA fans, you could not deny Mobley’s talents at the highest level.

Mobley’s time in Houston came to an end in 2004, when both himself and Francis were traded to the Orlando Magic in order for the Rockets to land Tracy McGrady. Mobley would be moved on by the Magic mid-season to the Sacramento Kings which must have been nothing short of disruptive. Mobley however, still put up solid numbers as his career started to take some dramatic twists. Mobley was traded again from the Kings to the Los Angeles Clippers where he would spend his remaining four seasons. He still put up solid numbers for the Clippers averaging 14.8, 13.8, 12.8 and 13.7 points per game in the four seasons he had there. Sadly Mobley’s career was suddenly cut short as he was in the process of being traded to the Knicks, it was discovered that he had a heart condition that forced him to retire immediately.

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It was a career cut a little short for a man who played the game using majestic old school fundamentals. I remember watching many games in which Mobley would back his man down in the post with pure technique and a nice shooting touch. He certainly rates as an NBA icon as his career numbers demonstrate: 16.0 points per game, field goal percentage of 43% and he shot 38% from 3-point range.

Fun fact:

Cuttino Mobley still has game at the age of 41, as he has recently been seen playing in the Drew League competitions and holding his own against the likes of James Harden and DeMar DeRozan.

Watch the highlights:

Mobley at the Drew league

Dell Curry

Is it possible to have 3-point shooting in your DNA? Well, if so then Dell Curry and his offspring have it in spades. Dell Curry was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 15th pick of the 1986 draft. His rookie season didn’t see him get a lot of court time and he would only manage 4.9 points per game and shoot a below standard 28% from the 3-point line. Subsequently, Curry was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers after just one season at the Jazz. Playing for the Cavs in the 87-88 season, Curry would lift his NBA stocks by averaging 10 points a game and shooting a much better percentage from 3-point range.

The Charlotte Hornets were keeping a keen eye on Dell Curry as he finished the 87-88 season, and would acquire him in a trade. The Charlotte Hornets were a new franchise and I’m not sure they would have foreseen the role that Curry would play for them over the next 10 years. Curry would become an excellent 3-point marksman, predominantly coming off the bench for the Hornets. He immediately made an impact averaging 11.9 points per game in his first year at the Hornets. Curry worked tirelessly on his 3-point shooting and had one of the prettiest shooting strokes the league has ever seen.

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Dell Curry would become a massive weapon for the Hornets shooting over 40% from 3-point range for 7 straight seasons. He was a part of an iconic Hornets team that would see the likes of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. In the 93-94 NBA season the Hornets would be one of the most exciting teams to watch. They were gaining much hype and were a team on the rise. Curry would play a pivotal role averaging a career high 16.3 points per game and hit 152, 3-pointers at 40%. Unfortunately the Hornets would miss the playoffs that year by 1 game, but the league had been put on notice that the Hornets had arrived as a franchise.

Curry Highlights, click link below:

Curry 1992 highlights

Curry continued to be a consistent performer in his 10 year tenure at Charlotte. In his time at the Hornets he knocked down a total of 929, 3-pointers. Curry would be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks at the end of the 1998 season. The following season he was traded to the Toronto Raptors and would spend 3 seasons there, retiring at the end of the 2002 season. I remember Dell Curry as a Charlotte Hornet, the new franchise, the classic 90s Hornets logo, and the likes of Johnson and Mourning. Curry was the perfect fit for that team and a true icon of the game.

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Fun facts:

Dell Curry is the father of NBA players’ Stephen Curry and Seth Curry.

Dell Curry is a TV commentator for the Charlotte Hornets.

Mookie Blaylock

When it comes to the coolest NBA names, Mookie Blaylock has to be top 5! Just ask the band ‘Pearl Jam’ who originally named their band after the 6ft Point Guard. As for the other names in my top 5, I’ll get to those at a later date.

Mookie Blaylock was drafted by the New Jersey Nets with pick 12 of the 1989 draft. In his rookie season he would average 14.3 points and 6 assists per game, and would consistently get those numbers with his first 3 season for the Nets. In somewhat of a shock he would be traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 1992, and it would be here that Blaylock stamped his mark as one of the more consistent NBA point guards to cut his craft in the 90s.

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At Point Guard, Blaylock would become the general of the Atlanta Hawks team during the early 90s, not only was his name iconic but his basketball IQ would see him become an NBA All-Star in 1994. That season he averaged 13.8 points a game and a career high 9.7 assists and 2.6 steals. Blaylock was well renowned for having lightning hands on defence and would collect over 200 steals for 5 straight seasons for the Hawks.

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Click on the link below to see some highlights of Mookie:

Blaylock 90s highlights

Blaylock would develop his 3-point shooting as his career progressed, and became someone who teams would have to respect from deep. In the 96 and 97 seasons he would hit 231 and 221 threes respectively. After 7 solid years in Atlanta, Blaylock would find himself traded to the Golden State Warriors in 1999. He still had a couple of nice years at the Warriors as a reserve but his numbers started to dwindle as his minutes decreased. Blaylock would finish his time in the NBA after 3 seasons at Golden State.

Cool Facts:

‘Pearl Jam’ were originally called ‘Mookie Blaylock’ until Blaylock himself decided he did not want his name used by the band.

Mookie Blaylock currently ranks 11th on the all time NBA steals list with 2,075.