Originally published in SLAM 73
The 6th Man: It’s been quite a summer. Gary Payton, Karl Malone and Horace Grant are Lakers; Robert Horry and Mark Madsen aren’t. That’s the easy part. Now try and stay with me: Brad Miller is a King, Hedo Turkoglu is a Spur, Speedy Claxton is a Nugget, Antawn Jamison is a Mav, Nick Van Exel is a Warrior, Keon Clark is a Jazzman, Scot Pollard is a Pacer, Elden Campbell is a Piston, Darrell Armstrong is a Hornet, Juwan Howard is (a) Magic, Kendall Gill is a Bull, Keith Van Horn is a Knick, Jumaine Jones is a Celtic, Glenn Robinson is a Sixer, Gilbert Arenas is a Wizard, Alonzo Mourning is a Net, Latrell Sprewell is a Timberwolf, and Terrell Brandon’s contract is a Hawk. Oh yeah, and Lamar Odom is…a Heat? Hot? Well, something. And we won’t even mention the Draft. You got all that? Good. There has been a ridiculous amount of NBA action this summer, and that’s not even including Kobe. Face it, every jersey you own is now a throwback.
Not everyone moved, of course—TD, JKidd, JO and Reggie re-upped. And, rather shockingly, Donald Sterling broke open his piggybank to re-sign Elton Brand and Corey Maggette. The entire All-NBA First Team are still on their respective teams, although TMac will be wearing a new jersey. But you still might want to refer to a roster when watching the first few games next month—not to mention while looking for an All-Star center to vote for in the East. (Two words: Zydrunas Ilgauskas.)
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Karl Malone and Gary Payton holding Lakers surfboards won’t be the weirdest image you see all year. Not by a long shot. Scottie Pippen back in a Bulls uniform—now that will be something.
I can’t wait.