Slamadamonth, SLAM #115: Keith Closs

keith closs

Originally published in SLAM 115

The first item in the “trivia” section of Keith Closs’s Wikipedia entry is as follows: “Closs was caught on film being assaulted by a large group of men after an altercation at a Los Angeles-area nightclub.” The YouTube link follows. And while I’m sure Closs is happy to be immortalized, I’m equally sure he wishes it was for another reason.

Then again, the actual basketball information isn’t much better. How about this? “After logging career highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals during the 1999-2000 NBA season, Closs’ NBA career abruptly ended.” Since then he’s done the minor league shuffle, going through the USBL, CBA, ABA and, most recently, the NBDL, where he currently plays for the Tulsa 66ers. Had he managed to stick with the Clips for two more years, he would have been playing with Elton Brand in L.A. Instead, he’s dunking on Elton Brown in Tulsa.

The 7-3 Closs left Central Connecticut State after his sophomore year and went undrafted. He was a long shot to make the NBA at all. Now, at 31, it’s even more unlikely that he’ll ever make it back. A prolific shotblocker who never did much else, he’s perhaps best remembered for his elaborate back tattoo—two hands with raised middle fingers bracketing a globe, with “F*ck the world” (sans asterisk) emblazoned over the top of it all.

Better than the alternative.

Russ Bengtson