In Bruce Jenkin's column today, he quotes Donnie Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks, son of Don Nelson, ex coach of the Warriors that he (Donnie) would take Sarunas Marciulionis, ex Warrior guard, in a fight against anyone in the HISTORY of the NBA. Please recognize that I capped the word history. I am now going to list all the players in the HISTORY of the NBA from my era 1961-71 (I can't speak for other eras)who could beat the _ _ _ _ outta Marciulionis. For the purpose of this blog, in order to speed up the process, I will refer to Marciulionis from now on as M. My list will not be in any chronological order, but as the various baddest dudes come to mind. I welcome any past or present players to input the baddest dudes of their eras.
Al Attles: would be able to hit M five times before M could get off one punch. Outcome: M down for the count.
Richie Guerin: Ex marine Drill Sargent and credited with one of the longest fights in the history of the Garden.
Andy Johnson: Not sure anybody survived a fight with Andy. Kierkegaard wrote the book Fear and Trembling based on Andy.
Wilt Chamberlain: Wilt lifts M off the ground, breaks his spine, and throws M's body into the stands. I saw Wilt knock out Clyde Lovellete (Clyde was 7ft and 285 lbs) with a punch that traveled barely six inches.
Gus Johnson: Remember him? He was the first to dunk and break a backboard. No question he'd break M just as easily. Body type? Think Dwight Howard.
Jim Luscatoff: The Celtic enforcer, crazy Russian street fighter.
Bill Bridges and Zelmo Beatty: Both of the St. Louis Hawks, and both would find M easy pickings.
John Brisker: A truly crazy dude. Wound up being a body guard for Idi Amin before Brisker disappeared in the jungle. Rumor has it he's still there living off the land.
Casey Jones: A lovely man, quiet and self effacing, but no one tangled with him.
Wayne Embry: Imagine a tank crossed with a hippo. Imagine M in an Embry bear-hug.
Reggie Harding: Probably wouldn't be a fair fight. Reggie was said to be carrying at all times.
Jerry Sloan & Norm Van Lear: M was bigger, but no way meaner than these junk-yard dogs.
Marvin "Bad News" Barnes: Another street fighter. Check out the nickname.
Larry Costello: Another nice guy, but Marine Corps background persuaded most folks to stay clear of him.
Dave Cowens: Might be a toss up with M, but I'd bet on Cowens.
Johnny Green: Anther guy who'd land punches 5 to one. M's on the floor again.
Tom Hoover: Not a household NBA name, but you didn't want to mess with him.
Willis Reed: If I was M, I'd think twice.
Wendall Ladner: Rest his soul, died in an airplane crash. Cajun wild man and not to be messed with.
Earl Lloyd: Ask anybody who played against him what the outcome would be if you fought him.
Dave Debusschere: I'll throw his name in even though I never saw him fight, but Dave grew up in his old man's bar. I have a feeling he learned a few things there.
Whew! I'm getting tired. I can probably list at least 10 more obvious bad dudes, but lunch awaits. As for other eras, here are a few names that come to mind: Ron Artest, Daryl Dawkins, Rick Mahorn, Karl Malone, Mose Malone, Maurice Lucas.
Instead of my usual poem, here is an excerpt about toughness from a memoir I'm writing.
Toughness, in my day, was decided for you as a youngster on the playground courts against neighborhood legends that drove you to the metal fence or left you hurting on the asphalt. You got up, dusted yourself off, and continued playing or you left and didn't come back again. Any damn fool could fight, but sometimes you need to be that fool, to gain respect, but mostly you won respect by never giving up, always coming back for more, until one day you became the guy schooling the younger players.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.