One of the main storylines in this year’s NBA Finals is the chase for a first ring by both LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki.
While every NBA player is one who could put up crazy numbers in your average rec league, there are those who are NBA Champions just for riding the bench and waving a towel in support of their teammates. What we, as a Crew, decided to do was highlight 12 of those guys who just found themselves at the right place at the right time. Hopefully Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson and Reggie Miller never come across this list.
1. Randy Brown, 1995-98 Chicago Bulls — Want to see the most awkward celebration in sports history? Look no further than the 1996 Bulls championship win. Jordan had come back and won a title on Father’s Day. It was his moment. And this clown hopped off the bench and tried to grab the game ball. M.J. damn near gave Randy a tearful, heartfelt ass whoppin’ for the ages. If you average four points a game, get your damn hands off of the ball.
2. Adam Morrison, 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers — When Morrison was lighting up college basketball, people knew he’d be a champion. They just didn’t know it’d be like this. After a trade to the Lakers, The ‘Stache stole two championships averaging a little more than two points. Morrison is like Dirk Nowitzki after the Monstars zap his powers to go beat Bugs Bunny’s team.
3. Antoine Walker, 2005-06 Miami Heat — By the time Antoine Walker joined the Miami Heat, his All-Star caliber days were long over. Dude was horribly out of shape, unmotivated and vastly overpaid. Hell, even his shimmy was lazy, no longer the excited, ridiculous full-body wiggle it once was, but a half-hearted imitation of its former glory. He coasted to a ring, but then things did not go well for ‘Toine. He got robbed, went broke, got cut by the Puerto Rican team he was playing for and attempted a comeback in the D-League. Sounds like buddy angered the basketball gods by lazing his way to a title.
4. John Salley, 1995-96 Bulls and 1999-00 Lakers — Here’s what should piss off people without rings: Salley was just walking around the league picking up extra championships like they weren’t anything. He already earned one, but came out of retirement to snatch extras while playing fewer than 10 minutes and earning two points. That’s just greedy. It’s like walking by Ruth’s Chris after you’ve already had a full meal and them handing you a filet mignon right in front of a homeless guy. And that homeless guy’s name is Charles Barkley.
5. Darko Milicic, 2003-04 Detroit Pistons — Honestly, I think Darko Milicic gets a bad rap. Dude was just a bust, selected in the midst of some incredible players. But when you compare his actual production to the hype he received, then yeah, Darko deserves to be front-and-center on this list. Somehow, the number two pick in the draft played just 3.4 minutes a game for the Pistons in their championship season. Hard to be a major contributor when your primary concerns are avoiding splinters and listening to Darvin Ham’s stories about his glory days.
6. Dickey Simpkins, 1995-97 Chicago Bulls — Want to know why Wikipedia is unreliable? Simpkins’ bio says that he “did earn two NBA championship rings in 1996 and 1997.” Earn? EARN?! Dude wasn’t even on the playoff roster! Though he averaged a measly two points and two rebounds during his tenure with the Bulls, that’s not the most baffling stat of his career. His real name is LuBara Dixon Simpkins. So he chose to have people call him “Dickey.”
Jordan: So, your name’s LuBara?
Simpkins: Yeah, but you can go ahead and call me Dickey
Jordan: *blank stare*
7. Isiah “J.R.” Rider, 2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers — This guy had potential something crazy during the mid-90’s. You probably think his biggest accomplishments are winning the 1994 Slam Dunk Contest and becoming the inspiration for Dipset’s J.R. Writer though. While those are both worthy feats (well, at least one of ’em), you are still sadly mistaken. Rider once stood at the top of basketball’s Mount Olympus. How and why? All the planets were in alignment during the 2000-2001 season when he played alongside, get this, Shaq and Kobe! If you don’t believe us, here’s visual proof that it actually happened. He’s the one in the suit. Yeah, he never made the Finals roster, but that’s more than any of us can say, right?
8. Robert Parish, 1996-97 Chicago Bulls — Let’s not get it confused, Parish’s rings with Beantown during the ’80s are legit. We’re not doubting that one bit. But many may or may not (betting on the latter) that The Chief was still sending out smoke signals as a member of the Bulls during the 1996 and 1997 seasons? He even started three games in 1997!
Somewhere in Orlando Patrick Ewing is wondering two things: How in the name of Times Square did he miss that layup? And why did the basketball gods grant Parish TWO rings in the 1990’s when he couldn’t even sniff one? Maybe Pat really is the Jan Brady of NBA big men.
9. Luke Walton, 2009 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers — It may not be too far of a comparison to say the Walton family is the NBA version of the Partridge’s. Except they probably still smoke pounds and pounds of weed and reel off weird anecdotes detailing the similarities between basketball and The Beatles The White Album. Bill Walton was one of the most celebrated players ever coming out of UCLA and with the Trailblazers before injuries hindered his career. But he did give us Luke. A hybrid type player who actually averaged 11 points per game one year, but now only sees action when the game is out of hand or there are less than 45 seconds to go in the first half. His positive outlook on life and providing spiritual advice to Kobe has allowed him to stay with the Lakers and coast to two rings in the process.
Kiss the ring, b*tch!
10. Brian Scalabrine, 2007-2008 Boston Celtics — Or as he has been affectionately named by the sports world, “Jackie Moon.” Scal was Adam Morrison before Adam Morrison became what we know now as Adam Morrison; the first guy off the bench ready to slap hands and yell some positive reinforcement for his guys. And most of the time he’d do it all with his shirt tucked in his jeans. During the 2007-08 season, The Great White Hope averaged what Bill Russell probably did every 15 seconds by putting up two points and two rebounds over 48 games and still walked off with some jewelry come June. Don’t crack on this guy in Beantown though, he is sports royalty.
11. The Whole 1993-1995 Houston Rockets Squad — Yes, the Rockets had future legends Hakeem, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry and even perennial bad ass Vernon Maxwell. Unfortunately, they won their two titles during the non-Jordan years. It’s like saying “Hey, I banged Jessica Simpson.” The only difference is Mike banged the sexy Daisy Dukes version with the tig ol’ bitties while the Rockets banged the 2009 version that kind of looked like Roseanne in Stein Mart mom jeans. M.J. has something to brag about. The Rockets? Not so much.
He’s #35. The one standing beside Dennis Rodman.
12. Ralph Lews, 1989-1990 Detroit Pistons — Chances are you wouldn’t know Ralph Lewis if he came and smacked you in the face and said, “B*tch, I’m Ralph Lewis!” Your obvious response would be, “Who?” He’s not Ralph Lauren. Hell, he’s not even Ralphie from A Christmas Story. What he is, however, is a member of the 1989-1990 Detroit Pistons Bad Boys team that beat the Portland Trailblazers 4-1.
Lew had quite possibly the easiest road of all time to a NBA title. He averaged 0.0 points. Yep, if you and I get ourselves into good enough shape, impress one scout, sign with the right team at the right time, we, too, could be a world champion someday. P90X doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, now does it?