The NBA's Weirdest Forgotten Players
Each professional sports league has its list of strange personalities. While a few odd comments and weird habits are enough to endear fans to new players, the level of interest tends to double when the player is one of the best in the game.|
Take Luis Suarez of Uruguay; no one would argue that he's been one of the most influential strikers of the past decade in association football, but many raise their brows at his penchant for biting. The same goes for golfer John Daly, who's one of the greatest enigmas to take the greens.
However, the NBA seems to have an inordinate amount of weirdos on the court, which has led to more than a few strange moments, much to the delight of fans. There's the Malice at the Palace in 2004, or the time Charles Barkley tried to spit on a heckler but hit a bystander in 1991, or the time Latrell Sprewell choked out his coach during a live game in 1997.
Then, of course, there are the string of Dennis Rodman moments from the 1980s and 90s, which range from meeting with North Korea's leader to kicking a cameraman during a regular-season game. In fact, on lists of all-time odd athletes, names like Dennis Rodman take the limelight.
But when looking back at the NBA's extensive history, there are more than a few stars who would have challenged Rodman's shenanigans. In fact, some might make the case Rodman was just building on the life and oddness of players like Daryl Dawkins… but even Dawkins' stint in the 80s was outshined by a few stone-cold weirdos who took the court decades before.
Let's take a closer look.
Boston Celtics, 1949-1951
There was only one thing small forward Lavelli loved more than basketball: his accordion. Prior to signing a short-term contract with the Celtics, Lavelli demanded a clause that would give him the exclusive rights to perform at half-time with his accordion. His career with the Celtics didn't last, but he transitioned his skills performing at half-time into a successful career performing in nightclubs.
Minneapolis & LA Lakers, 1958-1971
For basketball diehards, many remember Baylor as the small forward who began to emphasize shooting accuracy. However, the truly weird part about Baylor's career is that he continued to compete for the Lakers while in the Army Reserve. Wha'’s crazier than surviving deployment? Scoring 1,800 points during 48 matches while flying back home for weekend games.
Brisker's performance as a guard and forward was one of the first from a "heavyweight". Standing at 6'5, Brisker helped welcome an era of height-conscious recruiting in the NBA. However, much of Brisker's later fame came from his strange disappearance in 1978.
Earlier that year, Brisker set out for Uganda in order to set up a trading business. The last known record of him came from a phone call to his girlfriend. He was legally declared dead seven years later when no one had heard from him. To this day, his death remains shrouded in mystery.
Trail Blazers, Clippers, & Celtics, 1974-1988
Much like Lavelli, there was one thing that Walton may have loved more than his career on the court: the Grateful Dead. Today, Walton works as a color commentator, but back in the day, he split his time competing in the NBA and attending (650) live Grateful Dead concerts. His biggest moment came in 1978 when he attended a concert in front of the pyramids in Egypt.
NBA, G League, & LBA, 1975-1995
Known as Chocolate Thunder on the court, center Dawkins was a true force to be reckoned with. Off the court, he was also a lot to handle. In addition to stating that he was an alien life force who came to earth from the planet Lovetron to work out his "interplanetary funkmanship" Dawkins also had a way with words.
He named one of his famous, backboard-breaking dunks "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam".