Hear How Insanely Close Charles Oakley Came To Beating Michael Cage For The 1988 Rebounding Title

09.23.15 3 years ago
Charles Oakley, Michael Cage

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As far as nicknames are concerned, Michael Cage’s “Windexman” moniker falls a little flat. Why not just call him “Windex?” It still gets across the point that he was an expert rebounder (get it, he cleaned the glass), without adding on the clunky “man” part. Anyways, we’re already off track. Cage, one of the preeminent rebounders of his era, was a founding member of the Los Angeles Clippers following their relocation from San Diego. His relentless effort on the boards endeared him to the fans, and placed him in the record books for the 1987-88 season as the top rebounder.

While it’s one thing to see that record in the books, it’s quite another to know how it came to pass, especially in this instance. A number of years back, Cage told the story to Clippers.com about the final night of the season and his head-to-head battle against Charles Oakley to claim rebounding supremacy that year.

I showed up to for the last game of the year and there was a sign in my locker that read: ‘28 rebounds and you are the rebounding champion. You can do it Cage.’ I still don’t know who wrote it, but it inspired me. I knew I needed to answer the bell or fade to black. The Clippers had a tough year and there was a lot of hype about me possibly winning that title. My teammates and the fans were really into it. They cheered me walking down the tunnel at the old Sports Arena. We were playing Seattle and I geared myself for a long, physical night. I laced the boots up and rolled up my sleeves. I grabbed my lunch pail and put on my hard hat. I grabbed the game’s first eight rebounds as every time that ball came off the rim I was there. It was like that the whole night. Everyone was willing me on and when I did get a rebound, they put up an R on the scoreboard like when they put up a K for a pitcher in baseball. It was just beautiful.

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