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. I even offer an apology to some former All-Stars, in hopes of inviting them on as guests of the show in future episodes.
Cleveland Cavaliers hero and NBA veteran, Craig Ehlo.
We discuss Craig’s formative years and days playing college basketball. We talk about the injury that sidelined most of his rookie season in Houston. We chat about the Rockets’ run to the 1986 NBA Finals against Larry Bird and the mighty Boston Celtics. We cover his great tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the battles against Jordan’s Bulls – including The Shot, in the 1989 NBA Playoffs. We also touch on Craig’s ambition to coach at the highest level.
It’s important to distinguish, these are my favorite players – clearly, subjective. A host of past players resonate with me for many reasons; a select moment in time, a well-played, yet under-appreciated career, or merely happenstance.
In no particular order, here are my favorite guards of the Jordan-era [obviously MJ-excluded; must have played at least 4 seasons against MJ's Bulls]:
Notable: 2-time All-Star (1988, 1990) | 6th all-time, steals per game
Opinion: criminally underrated player, deserving of much higher recognition. He had a stunning six season span (1985-1990) averaging 17.0 pts, 7.6 rbs, 7.5 ast and 2.5 stl per game. Oh, and he’s only 6’3″.
Notable: 3-time All-Star (1990-1991, 1994) | 6th all-time, assists per game
Opinion: an outstanding player, mere percentage points from averaging 20 pts / 10 ast for nine consecutive seasons (1989-1997). I loved his exuberant celebrations on court, plus his fearless penetration in the lane. This resulted in assists to open team mates, or an attack on the rim.
Here, KJ gives The Dream, his own night-Mayor (see what I did there?):
Notable: UK (Wildcats) standout, turned pro as a sophomore | Flair for the dramatic
Opinion: an acrobatic and entertaining player, confident in his ability. He has career averages of almost 15 pts / 3 rbs / 3 ast / 1 stl, in under 30 minutes per game. Rex could light up a scoreboard, had a sweet shooting stroke and was a maestro of dunk. I even had his photo on my high school diary (too much information?)
Notable: All-Defensive (2nd) Team (1993) | All-Star (1994) | Sixth Man of the Year (1997)
Opinion: whilst never beating Jordan in the Playoffs, Starks is a first-ballot nominee, for the role of MJ’s nemesis. I admired his tenacity, in-your-face style of play and all out hustle. Plus, John’s road to the NBA is a fascinating tale in itself.
Notable: Rookie of the Year (1989) | 6-time All-Star (1993-1998) | NBA Champion (2002)
Opinion: part of the famed ‘Run TMC’ [part 1 / part 2] at Golden State. He was All-Star MVP in 1995 and Sacramento’s franchise player for seven seasons (1992-1998), averaging 23.3 pts, 3.7 rbs, 4.1 ast and 1.3 stl per game. A consummate professional, lauded as MJ’s toughest defender, by none other than Jordan himself.
Obvious omissions: clearly, the following players are all-time greats at their position. They didn’t make the cut as they’re not my favorites of the era – due to team/s played for or rivalries against MJ’s Bulls – imagined or otherwise…
Ohio State Buckeyes legend and NBA Champion, Dennis Hopson.
Our chat covers his whole career – playing at OSU, being a top 3 NBA draft pick and adjusting to life as a New Jersey Nets player. We talk about his championship season in Chicago, playing as a backup to none other than Michael Jordan. We also discuss his season with the Sacramento Kings, playing professionally in Europe, the importance of completing his college degree and his current role as Assistant Coach at Bowling Green State University. We even squeeze in some talk about the 2013 NBA season.