Monday, September 25th, 2006 at 12:10 pm  |  60 responses

38. Sam Cassell

With summer dragging on and on and on before the NBA tips off, we’ve decided to initiate a multipart series that will be the definitive look at the best players in the NBA today. Over the next month or so we’ll run down the 50 guys that we think are the 50 best players, right here, right now.

Today, the legendary Luther Campbell takes a look at Sam Cassell…

With summer dragging on and on and on before the NBA tips off, we’ve decided to initiate a multipart series that will be the definitive look at the best players in the NBA today.

Over lunch at the Outback Steakhouse (word to Steve Irwin), your crack SLAMonline.com staff sat down and ranked the 50 best players in the NBA today. We realize that’s kind of ambiguous, but that’s how basketball is and that’s how we like it. Basically, though, we tried to list the 50 guys we think have the most value to their teams, right now, at this moment. This doesn’t mean they’ll never be traded, and it doesn’t mean they’re due tremendous contract extensions, but it does mean — since value is king in the NBA — that over the next month or so we’ll run down the 50 guys that we think are the 50 best players, right here, right now.

Before long it’ll be time for our annual NBA team previews. Right now it’s time for some law and order…

38. Sam Cassell

By Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, as told to Sam Rubenstein

Sam Cassell is probably the most underrated player in the history of the NBA. The guy only went to one all star game. That’s incredible. People don’t give the point guard enough respect in the NBA. You look at Sam, he takes the worst teams in the world and goes there and changes the s–t around. Not only with their play, but with their personality.

I talked to Sam, and he said to me “I like getting traded. I get a f–kin bonus everytime I get traded. The first thing I did when I went to L.A., I told the big man you gonna cuss me out, and I’m gonna cuss you out. If I do something wrong, you straighten me. If you do something wrong, I’m gonna straighten you. And everybody else gonna fall in line here.” That’s a point guard. You gotta have the repsect of your team. You gotta see if a guy got some heart, if they will follow him. Any team Sam was on, they would follow him. In the biggest brawl ever in Compton, LA, they’d be ready to kill everybody, That’s what kind of guy he is.

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  • http://slamonline.com Marcel Mutoni

    ah, the testicle dance! Best part of my day so far…Good times all around

  • http://slamonline.com Marcel Mutoni

    wait a sec, isn’t Uncle Luke the dude who makes those pornos? Um, not that i would know anything about that

  • jsmoove

    sam i am is like that old guy at the park that can barely move yet wins 7 games in a row… he brings the ball up the court, talks the whole time, and seems to score every time its game point… u then try to call next and wonder how the hell did you lose to him… every park has one and everytime you are wondering what happened
    ps the marbles dance it up there as one of the best

  • Brad Warne

    The most clutch-shooting alien fetus of all time…

  • Chris O’Leary

    Cassell needs to give props to Major League 2 for inspiring the marbles dance. He also deserves props for having the marbles to do it on national TV.

    Who was it at Slam that wrote a feature on Cassell a long time ago, where he ended the story by talking about how Sam I Am farted at the end of the interview? The story ended like the writer asking him how he wanted to be remembered and Cassell farted loudly and said, “a champion” and left the room.


  • Bryant Reeves

    Great spot for a great player.
    Reminds me of the Slam article (year?) titled Being Sam Cassel. I remeber the author suggesting that the elbow of each basketball floor be painted with an image of Sam’s face to recognize his amazing mid-range game, once Cassel retired. Great article and great pictures to go along with it – I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.

    This is a little off topic, but why not run a poll/series of essays by Slam readers on which articles they remember the best and which ones had the most impact.
    Obviously I list that Sam Cassel article high on the list of best ones. I also remember the amazing piece on the Iverson blowout hair cover shoot that was in Slam 100. Truly one of the finest peices ever in Slam…

  • Dblizzy

    You gotta love the testicles dance!!! Yeah being a TWolves fan I got a lot of respect for sam. He saved KG’s ass alot that season. That jumpshot, coming off that little dribble to the left, it’s water everytime!

  • noah doucette

    sam’s the man. i cant wait for him to be a coach. he’s done so much to improve shaun livingston, leads by exaple

  • http://mygirlfriendiscrazy.com Carlos

    lyrics from chicago based rap group All Natural-Ugly on point like sam cassel

    cassel deserves respect he is the leader of clippers, a potential title contender and now he is back with timmy rainin 3s thomas

    Plus, i will never forget sam cassel getting a T from the refs for yelling as his own teamate, Livingston. Once it was cleared up the Technical was reversed.

  • http://asdf Patrick

    I just like how he never misses from 15, the pg with the best mid-range game.. at half-speed

  • Dj


  • http://thebasketballjones.net J.E. Skeets


  • http://basketdribble.blogspot.com/ rem

    hmmm no one even questions this pick…

    seems just about right

    i wonder if we’ll see Liv above him

  • Alex

    How’d you guys get Uncle Luke to write this?

  • Rob Stewart

    People seem to forget how big of a role he played for Houston’s championships. I think he scored 30 or more in the finals his rookie year, maybe his second year. My prediction for #37 is Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich at #36.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    I interviewed Luke for a dimedrop in SLAM. I would say three words, then he would talk for 10 straight minutes. This was a small piece of one of his many rants.
    I meant to ask him what he thought of Fergie saying “I’m fergie ferg and I love u long time.” That’s disrespectful to 2 Live Crew if you ask me. I forgot to ask the question though.

  • Brad Warne

    seriously, no one else has any ugly jokes about Cassell…no one…

  • http://mygirlfriendiscrazy.com Carlos

    i dont understand the list is it top 50 right now or potentially top 50…cause it seems like were getting mixed bags with the inclusion of unproven players (darko he did show promise at the end of the season with the magic), and players that have played the same amount of basketball in an nba game as me (0 min!)…morrison, bargagni or any other rooks shouldnt be included
    and this list makes lil sense if cassel is behind the likes of livingston ( who will be great someday)

  • http://mygirlfriendiscrazy.com Carlos

    as a wiz fan im interested in seeing where caron butler is put he is mos def in the top 50

  • Shiz

    Sam I Am is SUPER clutch. He’s been clutch for a while now. I been a huge fan of the high dribble and pull up since he was a buck wit Ray the Big Dog and The Big Underachiever from Patterson.

    Im also a big fan of the Maw-bles dance. Seems Reggie Evans is huge fan too…maybe too huge a fan…maw-bles anyone?

  • allenp

    Sam Cassell is a beast. Point blank. He has killed for every team he has been on. I remember watching with dread when he used to post AI during the Sixers finals run cause all he would do was look for his spot, pull up and start his jog back down the court. His jump shot is amazing, really amazing. I love watching him work on the court.

  • SchW

    I am just surprised u guys didi not ranked him higher cuz he truly deserves it. And after all I think he is the first pick nobody argues with….. Doesn´t this tell u something. Respect to E.T.

  • chronically_ill

    YEEEEEEEE-UHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! sam I am deserves to be mayor of L.A. for bringing Clipper Nation into the promised land!

  • Gord

    Sam is crazy clutch…pretty sure he beats out even Reggie Miller on the all-alien team

  • http://www.sizzerb.com serbia23

    hes good and hes clutch timberwolves are really missing him, and he looks like an alien

  • Aaron

    Sam is a great mid-range shooter and he is very clutch. Outside of that though, he doesn’t really do anything else. He doesn’t create for others and doesn’t play D. Hopefully Livingston starts to live up to the hype because I think that kid plays the game like it should be played.

  • Paolo

    Sam Cassell is arguably the best pull-up shooter in the game. He might not be the best orchestrators in the hardwood but he is effective at keeping things in tow. He will never be able to pass like Jason Kidd, he will never break people’s ankles like Jason Williams, he can never play rugged D like Chauncey Billups and he will never barrel his way through in traffic like Baron Davis, but what he does give the team on the floor a sense of calmness. And for teams like the Sam Cassell Nets and his CLippers today, that is more than valuable. He just takes the team by the horns. No doubt he’ll be a coach someday.

  • scott

    I agree with Carlos. If your gonna put these rookies on this list then you got to put Shaun Livingston on this list too. Livingston has a huge upside to the Clips. Livingston is the new school version of Penny Hardaway. Livingston is ready to become a star.

  • scott

    Considering the age differnce between Cassell 37 and Livingston 21 you have to believe that Livingston is more valuable to the Clips then Cassell. Clip fans who would you rahter have?

  • scott

    Where the hell is myung?

  • Bryant Reeves

    I’m sure Livingston will be top 25. That kid can ball…

  • scott

    Serbia23…Shaun Livingston is better then Peja and Darko.


    Livingston is prob. in the top 10. Has to be.

  • OG Loc

    When I first started following the league, I didn’t like Sam, took too many shots for a point guard I thought, but over the years, as he turned around team after team after team, I started respecting his game. How can a guy with a 2 1/2 inch vertical so consistently hit jumpers without being blocked? And why does he keep getting traded every to years? Does he hit on GM’s wives? Does he make prank phone calls to his coach? It boggles the mind.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I’m guessing that Sam would have been ranked even higher if he wasn’t a) an alien, and b) 93 years old.

  • scott

    I’m confused about the criteria to make this list. Is it the top 50 players in the NBA or is it the potential top 50. If you are going to have Bargani and Morrison on this list then you have to put Livingston (next Penny in his prime) on it.

  • B Ball I.Q.

    great point by the last poster, livingston will be an all-star for years to come, can’t say the same about Bargani. AND if Bibby were a Clipper last season they make the Finals, true story. Sam is good but not better than Bibby. For all that don’t know this is Slam’s list of favorite guys in the NBA, not best players in the league, thats the only sense I can make out of this.

  • http://www.sizzerb.com serbia23

    scott shut up i never said livingstong was better than darko or stojakovic cuz he aint, and this ones bout cassell

  • scott

    Serbia23 why do you get so mad when anyone says something bad about Milicic? I sense a man crush. Darko is not as good as Livingston. Do you understand. Orlando would trade Milicic in a second for Livingston but the Clippers would never trade Livingston for the guy from Rocky IV. Thanks for clearing me up that this is the Cassell feature.

  • DVLb0y613

    Ice Cold!!!!thats what he is..Istill remember him taking penny to school during the finals on that uber underdog rockets team…cold brah brrrrrr….

  • paul wall

    Anaconda in the top 50? hellz yeah!

  • http://slamonline.com Justin H

    Sam Cassell Is more of a on-court leader than a top 50 ball player.

  • http://www.sizzerb.com serbia23

    i dont get mad when ppl diss milicic if they actually know wut der talkin bout, but half the players comments on him havent seen him play 1game so they have no opinion and why do u keep puttin my name on ur comments u faggot,NO HOMOS

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