Stephen Jackson – If I told you that Big Shot Jax likes to smoke a Newport and take a shot of Cognac as a pre-game ritual wouldn’t you believe me? Exactly. And that’s not even bringing up the shoot out in Indiana or the fight in Detroit. He’s one of my favorite players in the NBA and I was ecstatic when the Bobcats traded to get him. I have no doubt that Jackson shows up to NBA games about 10 minutes before the shoot around starts in socks and flip flops with a black and mild under his headband.
Chris Mullin – First of all I can’t understand a damned thing that ever came out of Chris’ mouth. Can you? His GM tenure can only be compared to Jordan. He was rocking the high top fade back when Kid N Play were still kicking it. Much like Rex Chapman (who almost made this list too) he only dates sisters.
Anthony Mason – Just one look at the designs shaved into his head and you know this man is setting the standard for what it is to be black in the NBA. When I was a waiter at IHOP I waited on Mason once. The restaurant was full of families with small children. I went to take his order and he loudly inquired, “Ya’ll got some motherfucking OJ?!” He and his friends proceeded to curse up a storm for the next 45 minutes while brushing off anyone bold enough to attempt to get an autograph. He also tried to spit game to at least 3 IHOP waitresses before leaving.
Side note: After I wrote this Ki from the Atypical Sports Show actually brought up Mike’s image and how it was cleaned up by Nike early on. I agree completely.
Craig Hodges – Oh you thought all of these would be negative stereotypes right? Nope! Craig was black-balled from the NBA because he found awareness of self and started wearing Dashikis and stuff. Even after being black listed from the NBA Craig came back and defended his three point champion crown during all star weekend. I think he even held a fist up in the air during the introductions.
Chris Jackson AKA Mahmoud Abdul Rauf – I remember when dude was just a point guard with turrets’ that would score at will on your team. Then all of a sudden he stopped coming out for the Pledge of Allegiance and all hell broke loose! White people did NOT like that one bit. He was calm and reserved but his actions got him blackballed from the league.
Allen Iverson – Cornrows, tats, Ebonics and a determination to be himself made Iverson extra black. This dude seemed to be on every 3rd cover of Slam Magazine for at least 4 years. The cultural impact he had on short dudes at the basketball courts in the park was unrivaled. Not even Isaiah had this many 5’2” dudes gunning and shooting 10% while looking off open big men in the paint. Every little dude thought he was some cornrows and an under armour sleeve from being Iverson. This dude had commercials with the Lox rapping in them. Think about that. Even in his later years his unwillingness to conform as his ability deteriorated was the blackest thing going on in the NBA from 2008 to 2010.
Bill Russell – He was one of the blackest players of his era in a city that was known for not being to “negro friendly” at the time. He was a stoic leader who managed to lead his team to 11 rings in 12 years. He was the NBA’s first black coach even coaching while playing for a few years. He was the perfect black man for his time. He was thoughtful, self aware, reserved and regal all at the same time. He’s been a great ambassador for the game in his older age. This fierce competitor looks like a Cosby grandfather now. He’s like the George Washington Carver of black NBA players.
Patrick Ewing – He sweats profusely and always provided a menacing nemesis for Jordan’s Bulls teams. His eyes were often red and angry. His nostrils would flare with incredulous disbelief after every amazing Jordan shot. Years later when he was called to testify in the “Gold Club” scandal in Atlanta I wasn’t really surprised that he was the kind of dude that liked to get head from strippers while other dudes held a conversation with him.
Gary Payton – He was straight out of the home of Too $hort. Payton had that lock down defense and an undeniable swagger. He lead the league in trash talking and threw madd alley-oops to Shawn Kemp back when the alley-oop wasn’t really a weapon in the NBA. He dressed sharply with an stylish assortment of hats.
Shawn Kemp – Okay, yes… He’s got madd kids. Fell out of the league because of alcoholism and gaining a lot of weight. He never learned to hit that jump shot but he could jump out of the gym. The blackest thing he ever did on the court was dunking on Chris Gatling and then standing there until Chris gave him some “dap”. Oh wait, I take it back. His dunk on Alton Lister where he pointed at him before running back down the court was hall of fame worthy. Plus he used to grab his nuts while dunking on dudes so black… so strong.
Dikembe Mutumbo – when I think of Deke I think of a man that cares about his homeland in Africa. His charity efforts are world renowned. He was notorious for constantly asking players to invest in his hospital that he built back in Africa. Even though he was on more posters than any other center of his time he still led the league in blocks. Throw in the hilariousness of his speaking voice and you have one of the blackest players to ever get in the NBA.