August 5, 2008

Where Are They Now? Part VI (2006, updated 2008)

Victim #6 -- Gheorghe Muresan

I'll be honest, the jams over Muresan weren't all that memorable for a cat who's 7-foot-7. Sure Jordan got 'em a couple of times, and C-Webb did him once like he still does Tyra today. But he's kinda like Manute, he got dunked "past" and "around" more often than "on" or "over".But the NBA's Most Improved Player in '95-'96 never became a mainstay in the league, catching an injury bug in his knees that wrecked whatever little hopz he had left. He tried a little Hollywood action, but the cries for a sequel to "My Giant" fell on deaf ears somehow. The Romanian (uh, never mind, I can't think of something cool that rhymes with Romanian. Alwaysinthewaynian?) went back to Europe but got dunked on too much even over there (just ask Nate Huffman).

So now he's working the MCI Center in DC, gettin paid to hobnob with the K Street bigwigs in the Wizards' corporate suites. I kid you not; see the WashPost article. I can hear Jack Abaramoff now: "I'mtelling you, Senator, you get that Defense Pork bill passed and Gheorghe Mursean will stop by your suite at halftime... sure, you and your colleagues can get a picture dunking on him, it's not like he isn't used to that!"Plus he's opened a Giant Basketball Academy in Maryland. Again, I sh*t you not! Let's listen in: "Kids, camp counselor Ronnie Fields and I will demonstrate why you do NOT take a charge when you're 7-7 and standingdirectly under the basket!"
Jordan on My Giant, I think MJ made Billy Crystal cry:
YouTube Bonus: Gheorghe Muresan, DANCING MACHINE!

YouTube Bonus II: Anything Jordan can do, Gheorghe can do better. Acting, Dancing, Cologne Modeling. Yes, Cologne Modeling. Ah... the ODEUR!

(2008 Update: So when is Gheorghe relegated to power forward? When he’s part of what was billed by the Maryland Nighthawks (then with the ABA) as the tallest team in “pro” basketball history, pairing up in the paint with 7-foot-9 Sun Ming Ming of China for one night only. The wings were seven foot tall, and the point was run by some 6-foot-8 dude. This Dream Team won… by four points... at the buzzer. Gheorghe’s Giant Basketball Academy campers continue to get counseling assistance from the likes of Nighthawks star and momentary streetball legend Randy “White Chocolate” Gill)


Facializer #6 -- Shawn Kemp

Nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted to be caught milling around in the paint when the Reign Man soared to the bucket. Everybody remembers the Lister Blister and the Rodman Squat, but do a search on Google for a "Shawn Kemp Mix", and you'll see how often he flat terrorized opponents, using his lean athletic body to create some powerful, innovative, and at times degrading dunks. When he and Gary Payton carried the Sonics into the Finals and put up a fight against the MJ, Pip, Rodman and the Bulls, Kemp had made himself into the Sultan of Seatown.

But Chinua Achebe was correct in warning, "Things Fall Apart." He split for Cavalier Country (remember those silly uniforms??) after Seattle couldn't pay anything close to The Glove's salary. It wasn't long after he left for Cleveland, sadly, when he learned that Domino's Delivers. Reign Man became the Michelin Man suddenly.

And it didn't help matters when Sports Illustrated revealed he had more kids then Father Flanigan, something like seven kids by six chicks. By the time he got to Orlando, the new Biggie Smalls (I don't think he likes it when ya call him "Big Poppa") looked like a prop from a Jurassic Park movie. And balled like one, too.

But don't look now. Shawn is running, in Houston, slimming down, and has his sights on a return to The League. Stop snickering! Really, he is! Don’t Call it a Comeback! Like Van Gundy and the Rockets couldn't use a little help these days. At the very least he can be a walking lesson for T-Mac on what NOT to do with your career. Wear yo Jimmy-hat, Tracy! Who's Yo Baby Daddy??
Shawn Kemp Mix on YouTube: Those Were the Days!

More Kemp comeback fodder, from around January 2006. See you thought I was kidding? Hey the brutha's got child support payments to make, so don't hate! ;)
(2008 Update: Shawn’s still globetrotting for dollars, floating from Korea to Italy, but meanwhile he’s gotten so up in age that the onre of many children he begat illegitimately, Shawn Kemp, Jr., is now a blue-chip college prospect. He went into rehab to shake off a coke problem but still appears to love the ganja.)


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