Number 12 Looks Just Like You: Tales From The End Of The Bench

One of the more enjoyable aspects of following NBA players on Twitter is that they are often discussing their favorite movies. For example, Kevin Durant recently had some cinephiles questioning his taste when he mentioned that the Pierce Brosnan volcano epic Dante's Peak was one of his favorite films. Blue Chips is also a popular one among players, as most probably saw it in their formative years and are nostalgic for the days when Penny Hardaway was a better NBA player than actor. Andy Rautins recently tweeted that he was watching the 1993 college hoops drama, calling it a "classic".

I thought this was particularly interesting because Andy reminds me of a little known player who had a cameo in the film, Eric Anderson. Eric played for his alma mater, Indiana, in Blue Chips, but Knicks fans will remember him as the 12th man during their Eastern Conference championship run in 1994. Like Andy, Eric's playing time was sparse, but he was a fan favorite, and had a memorable quote after a game against the LA Clippers, commenting on a shoving match between him and reserve Harold Ellis:

"He was going crazy...I've never been involved in anything like that. I just got in the game. I'm a good guy. I have no idea why it happened.

Yes Eric, you were truly the Del Griffith of the NBA

Few things liven up a blow out more than scrub on scrub violence. With that in mind, here are some other notable garbage time players throughout NBA history.

Jo Jo English

The Bulls journeyman made his name when he was used as an enforcer against Derek Harper in the 1994 Eastern Semifinals. Jordan-less for the first time in 10 years, the Dirty Bulls pulled out all the stops and English ended up in a bench clearing brawl with Knicks starting point guard Derek Harper, right in front of the Commish. Since the NBA is Stalinist about its history of violence, no Youtube currently exists of this memorable brawl, so I'll let Derek himself sum up the moment:

People know who to fuck with and who not to fuck with. People aren’t crazy. You remember what happened before that brawl that took place in Detroit. Now Ron Artest is my boy and I love him as a player, but what did he do when he saw Ben Wallace coming at him? He stepped back and stretched out on the scorers table. People play crazy, but really aren’t crazy. And out of all people, Jo-Jo English? Please……

Dwayne Schintzius

The 7 foot Floridian fit right at home with a bad boy Nets team that also featured Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson, Rick Mahorn, and Jayson Williams. Dwayne was perhaps most notable for his college career, where he was a legendary malcontent. While at the University of Florida, he allegedly assaulted a person and a car with a tennis racket outside of a Gainesville nightclub. In his first game back from suspension, Florida was down by 2 with 2 seconds left and had just turned the ball over. With hope for the Gators being just about lost, a Vanderbilt fan threw a tennis ball onto the court, resulting in a technical foul, and Schintzius hit both free throws, sending the game into overtime and an eventual Florida win. Schintzius would eventually clean up his act and cooperate with authorities when he testified in court against Jayson Williams that he once witnessed Williams killing his own dog with a shotgun.

Keith Closs

The 7'3" Clippers back up was a beast in college, averaging 5.9 blocks a game at Central Connecticut State. Unfortunately, his NBA career lasted only 3 years, never fully realizing his Mark Eaton-esque potential. Things got sadder for Closs, as a history of alcoholism lead to 3 DUIs, a video of him getting beaten down outside a club was posted on, and undoubtedly his low point: he was spotted at a nightclub in Nanjing, China wearing a customized Keith Closs Dallas Mavericks jersey, a team he never played for! A truly bizarre coda to an already strange NBA life.

Ruben Boumtje Boumtje

The Georgetown product never played enough to get into any fights, but I'm sure he would have loved to take a shot at former teammate Rasheed Wallace. After a Blazers practice one morning, Sheed and fellow headcase Bonzi Wells spotted Ruben shooting jump shots with his back turned to them. Sheed, smelling blood, slapped Bonzi on the back and said "Watch this." He picked up a ball and threw a high hard one right at Boumtje Boumtje's head, leaving him writhing on the floor. Sheed's reaction? Guilt? Empathy? No, apparently he and Wells started cracking up. There will truly never be anything quite like the Jail Blazers era.

Mardy Collins

Hand picked by Isiah Thomas, the Knicks were hoping Mardy Collins' size and strength would help sure up their point guard position. Unfortunately, he had a sub-Rondo jump shot and ended up riding the pine for the Knicks before ending his career in Clippers obscurity. He did have an instigating part in one of the bigger brawls of the last 10 years. Collins committed a hard foul on JR Smith during garbage time of a Knicks-Nuggets game, leading to a heated confrontation and a famous sucker punch by Carmelo Anthony. Jared Jeffries tried to hit Anthony back to no avail, as Carmelo fled the scene. It looks like JJ will finally get his chance when he makes his return to the Knicks this month.

Dun dun dun!

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Chris said...

i love that keith closs slam story.

Kelly said...

Classic Schintzius throwback hair.

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

i found video of the jo jo english/derek harper brawl. watch before the nba takes it down:

David Hill said...

i would have thought you made that keith closs shit up if you hadn't linked to the slam story. that's nuts!

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

it's like he wanted everyone in china to know he was in the nba but too embarrassed to admit he was on the clippers

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