Before high school basketball became a presence on the Internet, superstars were created through news clippings, subjective rankings, and word-of-mouth. Kenny Anderson was one of those players from back in the day whose prep exploits generated tall tales of mythic proportions.
“Chibbs,” as he was known at Archbishop Molloy H.S. (Queens, N.Y.) in the late-1980s, was that dude. From the first day he laced up his sneaks as a freshman, stardom was written all over him. The 6-1 lefty point guard destroyed any and everyone on the always-tough NYC high school scene, becoming a three-time Parade All-American (the first to do it since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and winning national Player of the Year as a senior. After a two-year stint at Georgia Tech, Anderson took his game to the NBA, getting picked No. 2 in the 1991 Draft.
Anderson played 14 years in the League, making an All-Star Game, and after retirement he settled in Pembroke Pines, Fla., with his wife and children while dabbling in coaching and finishing his college degree. You can sometimes catch him in New York City, like we did this past Saturday at the House of Hoops grand opening in Long Island. Anderson was the guest of honor at the event, which also included music, giveaways, special focus on Nike’s World Basketball Festival Hyperfuse and Hyperdunks, and a ceremony to honor two local high school players and a coach.
Here are some highlights of our conversation with Kenny:
– After receiving his degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Anderson is working on starting the Kenny Anderson Basketball Academy. “It’s still a work in progress,” he said.
– He thinks the NBA game is much faster and more athletic now than it was even five years ago, when he last played. Anderson said the NBA is “out of this world” in terms of marketing thanks to the Internet, specifically YouTube. He told a story about his 9-year-old son questioning how good Anderson was until he looked him up on YouTube. “After watching the clips, he knew what I could do,” Anderson laughed.
– He said he sees some of himself in Chris Paul and Tony Parker. And that when he played, point guards were generally all the same size. In the League today, PG’s come in all sizes, like Deron Williams.
– Anderson still wants to be a coach, talking mostly about “kids” and college players. He says he’s still waiting for the right opportunity.
– He was “somewhat” of a sneakerhead growing up, but said they didn’t have anything as cool back then as the kicks today.