Believe me, if you’re gonna tackle the White Shadow it wouldn’t hurt to have a little help knowing who is who, since there were 8 characters featured on the first team, all with different stories to tell. So yeah, I took a minute to break it down, since I’ve seen these episodes more than enough times to know the deal. Thank me later, I guess.
MARIO “SALAMI” PETTRINO #3 Guard
Salami was the tough New York italian kid, good with his fists and the chicks and shit. He also had a car he christened “the Hotel California”, which made him more valuable to the team than his actual game did. Salami’s career highlights included a sexual interlude with one of his teachers and a vicious knockout of an opposing player that echoed the Rudy Tomjanovich/Kermit Washington incident.
For real though, the dudes name is Salami. What else do you need to know?
MORRIS THORPE #11-Guard
Thorpe was the starting point guard, the teams shit talker and the guy who thought he had it all figured. Dude plays all the angles, and tends to get himself in trouble from time to time as a result. Also, I’m pretty sure he was about 5’4, but nobody seemed to mind.
JAMES “HOLLYWOOD” HAYWARD #21-Guard
My favorite of all the Carver dudes, and probably the most important. Hayward is the conscience of the team, and the most intelligent of the bunch, even if he’s got a chip on his shoulder. The guyhad to raise his little brother and take care of his mom, and he wasn’t going for any dumb shit. Took awhile to get on the same page with the Coach, but they ended up pretty tight as time went on. Hayward’s words of wisdom to Coolidge in the episode where Warren goes Hollywood is probably my favorite stuff in the first season.
CURTIS ‘CJ” JACKSON #34-Forward
CJ is the most stylish dude on the team, and as mentioned, the most troubled. On top of that, he had the worst luck imaginable, always finding himself jammed up one way or another. Still, probably the smoothest of the Carver guys and maybe the most convincing as a Ballplayer. Dug that hat, too.
MILTON REESE #21-Forward
Reese was the easy going cat, despite having to deal with fake pregnancies and shady night club owners. He was also a talented singer, and was the lead vocalist in the teams’ many homo-erotic, awkward shower singing scenes.
WARREN COOLIDGE #45-Center
His teammates called him Cool. His coach called him Waaaaaren “much like Vin Scully would). He was The 6 foot 8 star of the team, and probably the character with the most storylines focused on him, including flirting with the NBA draft out of high school, getting a job on a TV show (and going all big-time on his old friends) and getting an STD from his girl. Cool had a big kid charisma about him, kind of like Shaq, minus all the insecurity and backstabbing. Talk to most people who remember the White Shadow, and Coolidge is likely the name they’ll bring up first.
RICARDO “Go-Go” GOMEZ #15-Guard
GO-GO was yet another bench guard (there is some speculation that David kahn put this team together) on a team that had plenty, and the teams only latin player despite the fact that the dude playing him always looked Native American to me. Gomez had as tough a time of the court as anyone on this team, including dealing with his drunk-ass violent dad and the neighborhood street gang that tried to recruit him. I’ll have to look up the advanced stats to be totally sure, but I think he might have been the worst player on the team.
ABNER GOLDSTEIN #31 Center
Covering the last of the ethnic bases (for 1978, anyway), Goldstein was the lone jewish player on the squad, and basically the team goober. Picked on, messed with, bullied, Abner generally said or did the wrong thing at the wrong time, and rarely had what could be reasonable considered a shining moment. Highlight of his career was actually going on a date with a girl. A year after graduating from Carver.
That covers the Original squad, the 8 man rotation that led Carver to unprecedented glory. I’ll update members of the future teams in the upcoming weeks, so we don’t get ahead of ourselves.