Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 3:49 pm  |  72 responses

Links: NBA Superstars

Who cares about the Draft? We’ve got The Warrior…

by Lang Whitaker

The other night as I was putting together The Slammys, I hopped on YouTube to find the video of that Nuggets/Knicks brawl. And as often happens on YouTube, I ended up watching about 200 videos, of nearly everything but that brawl. I have a friend who doesn’t have TV, so they sit around watching YouTube all night. This post should make their evening.

When I was a kid, my friend Mike had a copy of the NBA Superstars videotape (on VHS, no less). I think his dad bought it somewhere. We spent hours watching that tape over and over and over. We knew every song, every dunk, every edit.

But I forgot most of it. Until the other night. I watched every NBA Superstars video I could find, and they were just as great now as they ever were then. I hope the person at ESPN responsible for their highlights sees this post, because at some point highlights need to go back to just best simply edited, without Photoshop filters and artificial jump cuts and all the crap they use now. The Superstars videos are simply edited, with maybe an occasional flourish in time to a song or something. I wish the NBA would do a retro series of videos now. Or maybe I’m getting old.

Anyway, let’s check ‘em out…

Charles Barkley, set to Scandal ft. Patty Smyth’s “The Warrior”
Bang! Bang! In my mind, the greatest NBA highlight film every made. The spirit of the song perfectly matches the way Barkley played, at leaast before he went to Phoenix and started cracking jokes all the time.
FAVORITE PLAY: The tomahawk over Ewing is pretty sweet. Just remember while watching Barkley bull people around that he was just 6-4.

Michael Jordan, set to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”
This is an obvious play on the Top Gun hysteria that was sweeping the nation at the time (the song was actually in Top Gun). Interesting that they chose a slow jam for MJ, but it works and it works well.
FAVORITE PLAY: The play where MJ goes past Mike McGee and then splits Tree Rollins and Kevin Willis for the reverse is ridiculous, as is pretty much every highlight on here. But one of my faovrite plays of all-time is on here: Jordan holds on the left wing, ballfakes toward the baseline which makes Cliff Levingston FALL DOWN, then Jordan goes past him and dunks on Tree Rollins. Lots of Hawks getting used on this highlight. Not fun for me as a kid.

Dominique Wilkins, set to Yanni’s “Looking Glass”
This remains the only Yanni song I’ve ever willingly listened to. It works OK on here, but it takes well over a minute to get to the actual highlights. Not my favorite Nique video of all time, because they try to edit this to make seem like a more complete player than he ever was — blocking shots, making crazy passes. Still, some great highlights.
FAVORITE PLAY: Probably the double-pump in traffic against the Clips. There’s also a nice tomahawk over Larry Bird.

Akeem Olajuwon, set to Kool Moe Dee’s “How Ya Like Me Now?”
Akeem before he added the H. Pretty hilarious to see the NBA try to embrace hip-hop back then — they mostly just flash words on the screen (The Dream!).
FAVORITE PLAY: If you’ve never seen a proper turnaround jumper, watch this video. Personally, I love the play where Akeem strips Bill Walton and takes it coast to coast for the dunk. You’ve got to control the ball, Bill! Send it in, Big Fella!

Isiah Thomas, set to Vanessa Williams’ “The Right Stuff”
He’s Mr. Right, alright. It’s funny to watch this video now, when all we think of is Isiah as a bumbling businessman. Don’t forget that he one of the greatest, fastest point guards to ever play.
FAVORITE PLAY: The one where he’s triple-teamed by the Blazers but dribbles out of it and pulls up for the 15-footer. How many point guards in the NBA today can make that play? And yes, I know he hits two buzzer-beaters against the Hawks on here. I’m thinking about Yi Jianlian.

Larry Bird, set to John Mellancamp’s “Small Town”
I understand the music choice here, playing up Bird’s working-man roots. And the video is remarkable, with a lot of gritty, crafty plays. But I always remember Bird more as a guy who nailed clutch shots and made the big baskets, and that gets underplayed here. One of the few flaws on this tape.
FAVORITE PLAY: Where Bird misses the jumper, runs down the rebound and switches hands in midair to hit the runner.

Magic Johnson, set to Janet Jackson’s “Control”
When I was 17, I did what people told me. Great video. Similar to Isiah, in that Magic’s still so active now you kind of forget how ridiculously good Magic was.
FAVORITE PLAY: Nearly every pass on here is a no-look. I can’t pick a winner. Watching this video the other night is kind of what inspired this entire post.

Julius Erving, set to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love Of All”
This was near the end of Dr. J’s career, so the NBA goes straight for the sentimental tip. If this video was SLAM, this would be the Old School feature.
FAVORITE PLAY: The layup against the Lakers. You know which one. Also, the cuffed dunk right on Michael Cooper’s head. Shoot, just check out the picture below on the frozen video.

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  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I can’t stress enough how great that Barkley video is. I could watch it all day long.

  • Elvis

    Hi Lang.

  • white hot eboy

    Really great post Lang. I had this videotape as a kid too and damn, this really brings you back to truly great ball players. A couple of years after this tape, was the Rising Stars video that featured Shaq, Zo, Steve Smith, Kenny Anderson & Derrick Coleman, Tim Hardaway, Larry Johnson and perhaps the best highlight set ever, Shawn Kemp set to Pearl Jam’s Go. That sh*t was nasty!tape was WAY better production wise and actually embraced hip-hop with a DJ that ran the narration. The only horrible one was Dan Majerles’ highlight set to Celine Dion (or was it Amy Grant?.

  • chiqo

    stupid work restrictions on youtube…

  • Shotcaller

    Lang! Greatest Post of All-Time. I remember watching these tapes at basketball camp when I was 13, and I’ve never forgotten this video. In fact, just between us Linkstigators…I have Control and the Warrior in my ipod right now, for nostalgic hoop purposes.

  • Blizzard Man

    I love these old highlight films these things are sick

  • Ryan L

    I still have this tape along with a lot of other old school vhs tapes. They are all great. I’m at work or I would list them for you.

  • Nadav

    @ MJ’s dunk on Tree and the Hawks…You can see Charles Oakley point and shout at one of the Hawks players.
    Chris Webber pointed this out on a Jordan video, when asked what his favorite MJ move was.

  • Myung

    white hot eboy, it was Celine Dion. I actually liked 1 and 2 and didn’t like #3 at all. I liked the shaq, larry johnson, and kemp (like you said, the best one) highlights on #3, but i think that “DJ” just ruined it for me. I have a young kid at my church who doesn’t appreciate the “older” NBA Players so I bought him the Superstars DVD (featuring 1-3) last year, just to educate him. Definitely one of the finest sports DVD’s ever. Great entry!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Ervin Magic Motherf*cking Johnson

  • Allenp

    That Zeke video is ridiculous. His handle was outrageous. Anybody who puts Nash above Zeke is silly. And while I love the Dream, that barkely post is the best one because of his intensity and power. Amazing athlete.

  • Allenp

    Yo, where is Holiday, cause Magic is better than Stockton no matter how you count. I need to make sure that gets said. Hell, I’d take Zeke over Stocton. He’s number three on my list though.

  • http://www.forillalive.com Skillet Forilla

    That Magic video is out of control, despite the music its set to. Jeezy Creezy, even though i grew up on a heavy diet of Magic and Kareem, I can’t imagine anyone of his size and kill set being in the L right now. He makes Jason Kidd look like he’s telegraphing his passes in comparisson. My goodness….. thanks for the post, Lang

  • kurtis

    i grew up on this superstar video set watching it brings back so many memories i had to send some of those youtubes to some youngster just to let them know basketball ain’t new

  • Joe

    Watching this reminded me that Barkley had a little bit of a handle.

  • MC TyG

    Not just another Classic post

  • http://www.nba.com Greased Up Deaf Guy aka Clay Davis

    nique dunkin on bird tryin to block his shot. wow.

  • Big L

    Classic material. Great post Lang.

  • Kadavour

    aw man, the memories!! Kids these days really have no idea just how GOOD those guys were. I mean, the Jordan legend has gotten appropriate air time, but i don’t think many of them knew exactly why Larry, Barkley, Magic and the Dream were so exalted. Way to put em on Lang, good post

  • Zee

    I remember begging my parents to buy this tape for me as a kid!!! When I first saw you put the warrior I thought “nah, could he mean?” YES!!! Favorite part: Chuck at the line with the shiner. Classic material. Oh and magic was a beast, plain and simple. The passes? ugh, used to piss my friends off trying to do those in the middle of games, and the ball would slam off thier hands and faces. Sweet memories. Thanks Lang!

  • Holiday

    AllenP your an Idiot, how come you can’t get into your thick mis-shapen head? I never said Stockton was a better basketball player, but obviously your to dumb to understand and Im not gonna dumb it down for you anymore! Oh and which one of these video’s is Duncans? Oh that’s right his success is completely based on having a great team around him and not doing it himself! CHUCH HO!

  • Holiday

    Damn were is the Video of Jordan getting dunked on by little ol J. Starks? Or bad ol Zeke getting his wig pushed back by Malone! How about Jordan’s ankles on display against Iverson’s “Shabby old move’s” hahaha!

  • Holiday

    I almost forgot, I didn’t catch that whole Barkley checking dude in the Olympics in that video, that’s right let that euro trash know what’s up!

  • hoopshypeisbetterthanslam

    I bought this video recently. I think they made a mistake releasing all this stuff on DVD, because it just shows people how much the league has changed for the worst.

  • Holiday

    hoopshypeisbetterthanslam, never have truer word’s been writen!

  • Holiday

    That video of Hakeem is off the hook, and it didn’t even have that move, you know were he fakes with his hand, goes under the hoop, fakes, back under and scores! some of you know what I mean!

  • cliza

    the akeem steal and backwards outlet was sick.

  • http://espn.com Reggie Evans

    I love this stuff. You know what I absolutely love about SLAM that gives it credibility over all those other magazines and blogs? It’s not the “street” scene, not that it embraces the hip-hop, not the access to players, not the awesome rookie diary. It’s that it seems like you guys at SLAM not only love the game, but you guys can actually play (except for Omar, who’s gone now). Or at least, you still play basketball when you can. I’m almost 31 years old, and I still play pickup basketball 2-3 times a week. I will play wherever there’s a game. I just can’t stand to hear from some dude opine about players when I know he can’t score even in a pickup game. You know, the guy who says he’s “a good passer”, which in rec ball is code for, “I can’t really play, but I feel good when I give up the ball and someone else scores. That means I got an assist.” I guess I’m just getting sick of people who don’t have the proper respect for the skills of an NBA player. Ok, rant done …

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Apparently that Bird shot-miss-shot took place in the ’81 FINALS, which makes it that much more epic. NOTE: That tape is one of the reasons I still own a VCR. And Charles Barkley, yeah. I like the dribble-through-entire-Laker-defense-then-dunk-on-Cap clip. Sorry, Ryan.

  • Kadavour

    Holiday, that Hakeem move where he “he fakes with his hand, goes under the hoop, fakes, back under and scores…” that ur referring to has been aptly dubbed The Dream Shake many years ago.

  • sk

    @holiday …the move where he SCHOOLED D.ROB with over and over in that playoff series when DROB was MVP(reg. season) Hakeem made him look like he wanted 2 hand it(MVP TROPHY) to Hakeem after that series…..

  • sk

    the Jordan dunks on ATL r just disgusting(in a good way but not for HAWKS FANS)

  • Noyd

    Wow, who in the league today could make the passes Magic was making back then? That 3 quarter court bounce pass is ridiculous. Don’t think even Nash could make that. I forgot how great Magic was. Excellent, excellent post.

  • tmandman

    hi lang! i would just like to say this video is probably one the best sports videos ever! i watched it a zillion times and it’s nice to know that other people share my views! imagine growing up in the phils and not having live nba games shown and just having this one tape. wow, fovever grateful for whoever made this tape. every time they show clips of bird, i still hear it, “was born in a small town…” classic!!!

  • Boing Dynasty

    Nash has made that pass. Magic just makes it look so effortless.

  • stevesmith#8fan

    That ladies and gentlemen is the correct way to throw a look away pass! Like mentioned earlier Magic’s no look passes makes Kidd’s passes look like something from grade school. Great post Lang!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I still have a copy of this tape. Tremendous. True heads should also have the “one-shots” the NBA did on Jordan, Bird and Magic which I also still have. I loved Jordan from day one as a kid. Bird and Magic I hated on at first cause I was young and dumb and I got annoyed that theirs were the ONLY teams CBS showed in the mid-80′s, but once I saw these videos and saw their greatness condensed, my then young-teen brain started to respect how amazing they are. I don’t have anywhere near the time required—nor the YouTube savvy—but it would be dope for someone to build a modern NBA Superstars video with current songs and the current players. BTW, Reggie, I’m glad you recognize the massive respect for NBA players, and I try to play ball as much as I can, but I’m sad to say the best part of my game is that: “I’m a good passer.”

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    No apology necessary, Russ. For some reason, many great players’ signature highlights came against great Laker teams: Jordan’s right-to-left layup, Doc’s under the backboard dunk…

  • http://slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    And the best part of my game happened 13 years ago, but thanks for believing in us, Reggie.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    There’s also the fact that Kareem played until he was 87 years old.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And ditto for my game (what Ryan said). Although for me it’s more like 15 years ago. Or, um, more.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i’ve never get to watch akeem play, and even if i did, i didn’t know enough about basketball to truly recognize greatness. Dream moveslike a guard! that’s ridiculous!
    watching these highlights now is still as awe-inspiring as ever, most of the superstars nowadays can’t put a highlight clips like the ones up here. they are all-time greats for a reason. and no one even comes close to MJ as the perfect basketball player.

  • thesubwayconnection

    I LOVE Barkley throwing it down (and knocking over someone in the process) and then throwing the ball at their chest while they were on their ass. Vintage Barkley.

  • Drolfe

    That was a wonderful experience, brings back so many memories. The NBA needs to release these types of videos with current players to create more NBA fans. These videos are basically the reason i’m on this website every day.
    The Dream’s switch hands lay up at 1:14 is very impressive.

  • Drolfe

    Strangest choice for Magic Johnson highlight video: 1:39 – Drawing a blocking foul.

  • RV

    the dream shake is suppose to be the fadeaway jumper on the baseline where he practically shoot behind the backboard…but people started calling any shot he spun on a “dream shake”…the one Holiday is refering to is not the original dream shake

  • Holiday

    How about we call it “The Lesson” cause anybody that was a recipient know’s they got schooled and there looking for a notepad! Duncan eat your heart out!

  • Chukaz

    no f*ckin’ way Barkley was 6-4.

  • Joel O’s

    That Air Reverse that MJ pulled off on the Hawks, the first time I saw it on one of those highlight VCD’s as a kid, brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know, I don’t think anyone has ever pulled off a move like that, flying past 3 defenders and the rim on one jump.

  • Jimmy G

    My brother still has this tape in his NBA box somewhere. The Hakeem and the Julius one were the best in my opinion.

    I dont understand why the NBA doesn’t do this anymore. I could see Lebron highlights playing while Kanye’s “Touch the Sky” plays in the background, Kobe showing out over Lil Wayne’s “Fireman”, or Amare highlights while Gwen Stefani’s “Wind it Up” plays.

    Not the greatest selections, but it helps sell the the stars of the NBA to the fans.

  • RV

    Holiday, might as well call it the “popcorn popper” because Calvin Murphy use to say he was putting’em in the popcorn machine everytime Dream did it..

  • jk_light

    Great post!
    On another Superstar video, there is another Barkley-Mix to the song “born to be wild” which i even like more than that. Absolutely crazy what he did with his size.
    about the olympics and Barkley. I didn’t know that Angola is in Europe

  • Dean

    best video ever “NBA JAM SESSION”

    Yeah the born to be wild mix was better i thought as well.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Laaaaaaang! Fantastic clips, good golly. Akeem (yes, i still use my Nigerian brother’s given name) pump faking fools out of their kicks was awesome. Thank you so much for these clips. First one of you slammers (Mutoni??) posted the MJ Game highlights now these, now that’s how you keep a website running during a slow offseason. Nice job guys, give em a raise Dennis Page!! By the way, i know he played in a LOT of games, but watching those highlights, i don’t think i’ve ever appreciated how “en fuego” MJ used to be. Holy crap, greatest ever indeed.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Just watched my favorite OG Dreamteam (Barcelona ’92) highlights on my creaking vhs tape again. Barkley’s no look, over the head alley oop to Scottie, who punched it in with one handed????? Scientifically impossible.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Ahhh, MJ palming the ball, holding it over his head, while a defender is scrambling to get a steal or something… a thing of beauty, such arrogance, such confidence, such Michael Jordan.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Lang, thank you for keeping the Site interesting while everyone else is on some KG/KB24 – gate. Dennis Paige, give these men (and women?) a significant raise ASAP. Forgot how much of a monster Charles was, think no one got from the floor to dunk height faster than Chuck. Well ok, maybe the reignman. Round mound of rebound indeed.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Akeem Olajuwon. Let that marinate for a second. The reason i didn’t chose soccer as my passion. The reason i, a nigerian myself, got hooked on the drug called “hoops”. The reason i twisted fingers, ankles, ruptured tendons, overextended elbows, and fingers and still couldn’t put the orange ball down. That man was all that and more for me. When i met him up close, 1994 in london, i stammered rubbish at the legend. Michael Jordan made me a B-Ball freak, but seeing Akeem gallop across the court, and use perfect body control to do ANYTHING he wanted on offense, never mind you could hardly score on him, well that made me love the game. Still do. Just miss the joy of the late 80′s, and 90′s those players obviously had playing in the Nba.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Umm, sorry for posting so often, but after seeing the Magic Clip, i must concur with Sir Ryan Jones of Slam: Earvin Magich MOFO Johnson. Indeed

  • north fulton

    lang – you are truly old school. brought back memories.

  • Tom

    You know I never had any of those superstar videos when I was a kid up here in Canada cause they were like $20 a piece back then and hard to find….I had to settle for Inside stuff Jam session and Rewind. And the Dr. J dunk on cooper is just sooooo nasty. There weren’t too many players that smooth and powerful at the same time, i mean dude started to cradle the ball at the 3pt line!!!

  • Tom

    too see exactly what Dream did to the admiral, please click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW4uXlRGAF0, it comes complete with thoughts from Pete Chilcutt, and others.

  • Tom

    Oh Lord, this post got me on a Youtube highlight hunt, Slam’s gonna get me fired. It’s worth it though, cause I found this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQwWhIjtOUU, a Kareem mix set to the Roots “What they do” complete with Game of Death Highlights and for some reason, Kurt Rambis getting clotheslined by the Celts, which is always fun.

  • http://espn.com Reggie Evans

    At least it seems most of you played basketball at some point in your lives. Even some of the bloggers seem like that (I said MOST, Chukaz). You don’t have to be a superstar, but it would just throw all credibility out the window for me if I knew the person writing about basketball was the same guy on the court with no coordination, NO handles, and shoots a two-handed screwball/knuckleball. Is that you, Ryan Jones? I’m just playin. Must be the money!

  • Allenp

    Holiday and the name calling is just funny. Anyway, you said Magic wasn’t a better pure point than Stockton, you’re argument was that he was too tall and too good a scorer to be a true point. Your argument made no sense. No matter what, Magic was better than STockton as a player and a pure point. Good day sir.

  • Tom

    no way was stockton a better point than magic, sure he might have more assists, but magic ran that whole showtime offense to perfection. there were at least 4 guys on those teams who were 20+ scorers, and magic made sure they all got theirs, no disrespect to stockton though

  • Pablo

    terrific post Lang. that´s the reason we love ´ya

  • Julian

    that was terrific. i realized that i’ve never really experienced charles barkley outside the TNT studio before. until a couple of weeks ago i didnt even know that he was a mere 6’4. that’s insane; i mean to do what he was doing as a power forward with an inherent handicap in height…spectacular. so explosive too. i’d love to see some of his vintage performances on Classic if they showed any. it occurred to me that he was sort of the antithesis of Magic in that he excelled at a position for which he was undersized.
    great stuff on Akeem. he’s another guy to which i regrettably haven’t been exposed. and that MJ montage was nasty. definitely one of the best collections of jordan highlights i’ve ever seen. i’d never even seen those atlanta hawk assaults!! i mean…those were straight up genocidal!

  • Holiday

    Okay AllenP, your putting words in my mouth now! Just because somebody use’s simple advantages another player had, dosen’t automatically make that there whole argument, it’s mearly a supporting factor!

  • Holiday

    And the name calling, well that’s just my way of expressing how I feel about your argument! Now why don’t you go and write about all the player’s the expert’s talk about cause obviously that’s all you know about basketball, something somebody else tell’s you! some of us are real fan’s!

  • Holiday

    @jk_light, my bad I really didn’t care were the h*ll there team was from, they sure weren’t USA! I really wrote the comment to be about Barkley checking some punk, but thank’s for wasting your time to find that out, cause it was so so so important and all!

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