Bo Kimble was a 2nd Team AP All-American who led the nation in scoring with a 35.3 point per game average during the 1989-90 college basketball season. Regardless, most of us remember him for the special way he paid homage to Hank Gathers, a former teammate who tragically died after collapsing on the court during a conference playoff game in March 1990. Up to that point, the teammates were inseparable. They played together on the same high school team in Philadelphia, and then enrolled at the University of Southern California before transferring to Loyola Marymount. During LMU’s magical run to the Elite Eight after Gathers’ death, Kimble shot his first free throw in each game left-handed, just like his long-time friend. This post provides the backstory behind one of the most touching moments in NCAA Tournament history.
Life couldn’t have been easy for James Earl Ray (the basketball player) growing up with that name in the South in the 1960s. After all, that name is associated most often with the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. While I won’t exploit that coincidence, I won’t ignore it either. After being named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, Ray was taken by the Denver Nuggets with the 5th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, he failed to live up to expectations and tallied only 334 points and 228 rebounds in 103 career games (i.e. 3.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg). As an underperforming high draft pick, James Ray begins the countdown of Top 10 NBA Draft Busts at #10 on the list.
As described in my previous post, NBA Commissioner David Stern implemented a draft lottery in 1985 as a way to remove the implicit incentive teams had to lose games intentionally in order to improve their draft status. Clearly, Stern was a genius because the accusations of teams tanking have been removed from the game. Actually, not only have the accusations increased over the years, but also the league’s handling of the lottery system has led to conspiracy theories that the process is rigged (e.g. the bent envelope resulting in Patrick Ewing going to the Knicks). Whether fair or not, the NBA has a shoddy reputation regarding the integrity of its draft process. Perhaps more accurately, replace the “odd” from shoddy in the previous sentence with the cousin from the Adams Family (i.e. replace “odd” with “itt”). Either way, the NBA Draft seems to create enough controversy year after year for it to be considered a bust in its own right.