New York City Player of the Year, LSU great and eight-year NBA veteran, Jerry Reynolds.
Jerry Reynolds talks about his childhood in Brooklyn and the crucial role that basketball has played in his life. His journey from high school – where he was cut from Alexander Hamilton as a freshman – to the NBA, is one of perseverance, hard work and tremendous talent. Jerry capped off his high-school career by being named New York City Player of the Year (1981) and leading his team to the NYC Public School Championship.
We discuss the circumstances behind Jerry’s decision that ultimately saw him play for three seasons at Louisiana State University. To this day, Reynolds’ name is still littered throughout the record books at LSU. We break down his great impact on the Tigers, matching Michael Jordan (point-for-point) in a performance for the ages at Chapel Hill, his final (collegiate) game against Navy’s David Robinson in the 1985 NCAA Tournament and more.
We round out our in-depth conversation by examining Jerry’s eight seasons at the highest level; including his three years as an original member of the (expansion) Orlando Magic – where he achieved his best-statistical seasons. Learn about the ups-and-downs of pro basketball, plus the unique details behind Jerry’s return to the NBA at age 33, after a three-year, forced retirement due to injury.
Topics / links discussed (include):
Jerry’s (1984) exciting match-up versus the phenomenal Michael Jordan
Kansas State Wildcats standout and 10-year NBA veteran, Eddie Nealy.
[Note: whilst mostly known as ‘Ed’, I refer to him throughout, as Eddie]
High School: Bonner Springs, Kansas
Eddie’s father was his high school basketball coach. He describes what it was like to have his dad calling the shots. The main focus was an emphasis on developing the fundamentals of his game. This would prove vital, as Nealy’s longevity at the highest level was due in no small part, to his tireless work ethic and mastery of hustle.
College: Kansas State University
Years: 1978-79 – 1981-82 | Coach: Jack Hartman
Nealy was a two-time Academic All-American, largely recruited by two schools – Yale and Kansas State. He talks about the reasoning behind his decision to play for the Wildcats. We also chat about a major role that he played in a fantastic game, in his freshman season. He hit crucial free throws to seal victory in the closing seconds.
Eddie’s Wildcats made it to the NCAA Tournament, in three of his four college seasons. In 1981, they advanced to the Elite Eight. I ask Eddie to talk about some key memories from his time at Kansas State, which also included an oversea tour to Japan, prior to senior season. Nealy left college with averages of 10.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. For three of those seasons, he was teammates with the great Rolando Blackman. We cover his recollections of teaming with the future, four-time NBA All-Star.
Date: June 29 | Location: New York | Pick: 166 (Round 8) | Team: Kansas City Kings
We talk about Eddie’s draft-day whereabouts and how he first heard the news that he was an NBA draftee. He also reflects on what it meant to be selected by his home-state team.
NBA / CBA career | Years: 1982-83 – 1992-93
Seasons: 1982-83 – 1984-85 | Team: Kansas City Kings
Coaches: Cotton Fitzsimmons, Jack McKinney & Phil Johnson
Along with (former podcast guest) Eddie Johnson, Nealy played all 82 regular-season games in his rookie season. He recalls some memories from his first year in the league.
The following year – his first trip to the post-season – Eddie’s Kings lost to eventual NBA Finalists, the L.A. Lakers. Nealy talks about his experiences playing the might of the L.A. Lakers.
After missing most of the Kings’ (1984-85) training camp, Eddie was released, signing on with the Continental Basketball Association’s (CBA) Sarasota Stingers – for part of the 1984-85 season – before signing as a free agent and returning to the Kansas City Kings, in late February, 1985. Following the Kings’ off-season relocation to Sacramento, Nealy was released by the team. He returned to the CBA and was a member of the 1986 CBA Champion, Tampa Bay Thrillers, led by Bill Musselman. Eddie fondly recalls his experiences playing in the CBA.
Seasons: 1986-87 – 1987-88 | Team: San Antonio Spurs
In mid-July, 1986, Nealy signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. He played with the team for two seasons. These days (2015), Eddie resides in Texas. We talk about his playing days in San Antonio and what it could have been like to play with David Robinson. Eddie also reflects on some former San Antonio teammates.
Season: 1988-89 | Teams: Chicago Bulls / Phoenix Suns
Prior to the 1989 season, Nealy signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bulls. He played 13 games in his first stint as a Bull, before Chicago traded him to Phoenix (mid-December), in exchange for Craig Hodges. Eddie talks about the move to Chicago and how he responded to hearing news of a trade to the Valley of the Sun. He also recalls a great story from the Bulls’ practice court, involving him and Michael Jordan.
In October, 1989, Phoenix traded Eddie back to Chicago. He was a Bull for the second time. We discuss what he was thinking, when he learnt he was headed back to the Windy City. Nealy played a pivotal role in Chicago’s playoff run. We reminisce about Game 4 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals – Chicago at Philadelphia. Eddie had a terrific performance, scoring 9 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. Jordan torched the Sixers for 45 points. Nealy and Jordan were interviewed by Jim Gray (CBS), post-game.
Season: 1990-91 – 1991-92 | Team: Phoenix Suns
Coach: Cotton Fitzsimmons
Before the 1991 season, Eddie signed with Phoenix as a free agent. He played with the Suns for two seasons – an exciting team, with a very-promising future. We talk about his return to Phoenix.
Season: 1992-93 | Teams: Golden State Warriors / Chicago Bulls
Nealy was waived by Phoenix (early November, 1992), signing with the Warriors, later that same month. He played 30 games in Golden State, before – with the help of Don Nelson – they traded him back to Chicago, for his third stay as a member of the Bulls. After the regular season, the Bulls placed Eddie on the inactive roster. We discuss his memories of the 1993 season, his involvement with the team and how he felt, watching from the sidelines – particularly, when John Paxson launched his famous three-point shot that sealed Chicago’s 1993 NBA Championship.
I ask Eddie to recall “The Game I’ll Never Forget”.
Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:
* 1985 NBA Playoffs – Round 2 (April 27 through May 10)
* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history
In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the 1984-85 NBA season. Whilst the Chicago Bulls were eliminated in the first round, we continue our coverage of the Playoffs. This time, the Conference Semifinals.
The episode also includes a great conversation that Aaron had, with ESPN Chicago’sMarc Silverman (of Waddle & Silvy). Recorded, in-person, in Chicago (February, 2015). Marc discusses his memories of growing up in Chicago, attending Bulls games – pre-Jordan and beyond. Thank you, Silvy, for indulging us.
This episode continues our coverage of the 1984-85 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!
In another special episode, we are joined by Bulls.com columnist, New York Times best-selling author (The Jordan Rules) and former podcast guest, Sam Smith. We deep dive into a great discussion of Michael Jordan’s rookie NBA season (1984-85) and the Chicago Bulls franchise itself. We ask Sam all about his new book, which is part oral history / part narrative. Sam discussed MJ with an incredible cast of luminaries, including Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Phil Jackson, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, President Obama and many more.
Thanks to (the appropriately named) ‘Johnny Kilroy’ for submitting a listener question. You’ll hear Sam’s answer within this episode.
This episode is (mostly) devoted to the 1984-85 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!
Two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, All-Star and basketball great, Ricky Pierce.
We discuss Ricky’s early years and when he first fell in love with the game of basketball. He chats about his great collegiate career and the many future links to players from his 1982 NBA Draft class. We talk about his battles against Michael Jordan’s Bulls and rise to becoming one of the most elite sixth men ever. You’ll also learn that Ricky is a published author and in 2012, completed his degree (BA in Kinesiology) at Rice University.
Adam and Aaron recap the 1990 through 1994 NBA All-Star Games. We discuss rosters, coaches, leading vote getters, memorable moments and Most Valuable Players. Controversy reigns supreme, when true feelings about a Hall of Famer bubble to the surface. The chat is filled with plenty of insight, mixed with a healthy dose of good humor.