The NBA, like any other entertainment entity, is a star driven business. Stars put butts in seats, make the big money, and (hopefully) win games.
But the thing is, every team has to carry 12 players, and not every guy, no matter how good he was in High school or College, is gonna be that guy.
But on every team somebody has to be that other guy.
The 12th man.
Resigned to a life of obscurity, this dude draws an NBA paycheck to wave a towel, collect splinters and look intimidating in Airports. Think of them as the best of the worst. Sure, they were NBA players, but just barely.
Today is the day we page homage to those guys.
Here our some of our favorites…
I mean, how much can be said about a dude who’s Basketball card features him get his shit swatted?
Chilcutt, (or simply “the cut”, as my brother and I nicknamed him in our NBA LIVE battles of yesteryear)was the quintessential one-skill player (no, not riding the pine) that you loved to grab in the 13th round when you were drafting teams in Live, and he was my honky-3-point-shooter of choice for many years.
The Cut managed to last 9 seasons and play for 7 different teams in his NBA tenure, and even averaged SIX POINTS PER GAME in his second season, but the undisputed highlight of his career came in his last season, playing for the Clips, for that was the night when Chilcutt managed to get hot in garbage time of a blow-out. So hot in fact that Clips announcer Bill Walton informed the tens of people who were still watching that he had received a fax from the league office saying that Chilcutt would officially be replacing Jerry West as the NBA logo.
I swear this really happened.
Sadly, I’ll never find video of this (I found ZERO video’s related to the Cut’s NBA career), but I’m sure there are AT LEAST 8 people in the world beside me who remember it.
Aw man, what happened to you, dude?
I mean, you were a McDonald’s all-american in high school,
the unquestioned leader (and accomplished crybaby) of the 2000 NCAA Champions, and a Lottery pick of your hometown Detroit Pistons. You had everything.
Well, except a jumpshot.
Next thing you know, you’re sitting on the very end of the bench for the Sacramneto Kings, playing head cheerleader during the Queens’ epic 7 game battle with L.A. in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
To be fair, this was the shining moment of Mateen’s NBA career, as he waved his towel with great fervor, and even had the gall to give inspirational “we’ve come too far!” speeches to the rest of his clearly tuned-out teammates.
Alas, one of my favorite Basketball memories ever is a long camera shot in the waning moments of game 7: Cleaves, face in hands and headband askew, sitting on the bench wondering where it all went wrong.
And now, thru the miracle of Youtube, I present Mateen Cleaves and his FACE OF UTTER DESPAIR (at the 5:04 mark):
SeriousIy though, I love the Mad Dog. Pretty sure everyone does, although that wasn’t the case in his college years when people hated him much the same way they hated Tyler Hansborough. Madsen was the same type of hyper-bordering-on-crazy always active Power Forward at Stanford.
Of course, scoring on 6’7 art history majors is a whole different deal than doing so against the pro’s, and as a result the Mad Dog has spent the majority of his career wearing warm-ups.
No worries though, beacuse (channeling Hubie Brown) when you talk about Mark madsen, you’re talking about a fist pumping, towel-waving, practice player supreme who knows his role and plays it to perfection.
Still not convinced this guy is everything you could ever want in a Benchawarmer? Stand-by…
Trust me, not too many guys with career averages of two points and 3 rebounds last in the NBA unless they are the fun-loving, goofy dancing, give a speech in spanish at your Championsip parade types.
That’s a fact. STEVE SCHEFFLER
Ask anybody who was a Seattle Supersonics fan in the 1990s. You had Kemp, Payton… and THE CHEF (not to be confused with the Chief). This man had his name chanted on an almost nightly basis at the Key Arena. Why? Because the Sonics were winning a ton of games in a big way, and when it really got out of reach, that meant one thing and one thing only: SCHEFFLER was coming in to TEAR IT UP.
And tear it up he did. With a career average of 1.9 points per game and a touch over a 1 rebound on a typical basis, Scheffler exploded into games with a Sasquatch-esque grace. A former Purdue Boilermaker, he might have been better suited in a Seahawks uniform, as he still holds several of the weightlifting records amongst the university’s basketball players. Just 6’10”, 250 lbs. of a low-post, car crash waiting to happen… and everybody loved it.
Wanna get crazy? Consider that Scheffler is the ALL-TIME NCAA BASKETBALL FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE LEADER (68.5% over four years)!! Let’s just say that he wasn’t quite as effective at the next level.
I won’t lie: this one is all about the hair for me.
No, seriously… I loved watching Schintzius do his thing. I’d never seen anything like it. Every time I had the pleasure of seeing him, he’d do something to make me laugh. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, because some stellar individual put together this PHENOMENAL video package:
His NBA career was nothing of note, but he did achieve WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM, starring as Ivan Radovadovitch in the 1996 film, “Eddie” (Ivan take charge!). He also testified in Jayson Williams’ trial, relaying the fact that he saw Williams blow away his dog with a shotgun. Hell, the guy NEARLY DIED during a bout with leukemia, but he is now cancer-free.
Clearly, Schintzius has had quite the life, but I’ll always remember him best for his innate inability on the court. And his hair.