2012 NBA Free Agency - Hardwood Classics

This NBA offseason has been nothing if not interesting. We started off with Deron Williams deciding to move with the Nets to Brooklyn, who acquired Joe Johnson to join him. There has been the saga of Dwight Howard with where the talented and mercurial center will end up.

But perhaps more than anything, the old guys have been the story of the offseason. We've seen some legendary NBA veterans choosing new teams to finish their career and chase one last ring. Steve Nash worked out a sign-and-trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, as the point guard teams up with Kobe in an attempt to get the one ring which has eluded him his entire career. Ray Allen left Boston behind as he took his talents to South Beach, teaming up with the NBA Champion Miami Heat. And a year removed from his first NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd is NYC bound as he takes the reins of a Knicks team trying to become a contender in the East.

With these NBA legends landing in new places, let's take a look at where it all started:

Jason Kidd

Let us start with the oldest man of the trio, Jason Kidd. The Cal product was drafted 2nd overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994. A strong rookie season saw Kidd named Co-Rookie of the Year in 1995 with Grant Hill. Kidd's arrival was supposed to signal an era of winning for the Mavericks, as he teamed up with Jamal Mashburn and Jim Jackson to form the "Three J's." However, the trio were never able to achieve a winning season and left the franchise after three years. However, Kidd's play started to put his name on the map, earning the point guard a starting All-Star game spot in his second season.

However, with the era of the "Three J's" failing, the Mavs decided to rebuild. Kidd was traded to the Phoenix Suns with Tony Dumas and Loren Meyer for Michael FinleyA. C. Green, and Sam Cassell during the 1996–97 season. It would be in Phoenix where Kidd became a superstar, becoming a first team All-Pro and an Olympic gold medalist. If you want to get a jersey where it all started though, check out Kidd's rookie Mavs jersey:

Steve Nash

Next up fittingly is Steve Nash, whose career has always been intextricably linked to Jason Kidd's. Nash was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 1996, booed by the Suns fan that did not know of the Santa Clara product. But halfway through his rookie season Kidd arrived via trade, as the new arrival as well as Kevin Johnson kept Nash from getting minutes. However, in his second season Nash began to earn more minutes, and he made the most of them. Nash's distribution and 3-point shooting began to shine through.

Former Mavericks assistant Donnie Nelson had befriended Nash while the point guard was at Santa Clara. When Nelson's father Don took the helm of the Mavericks, the younger Nelson compelled his father to go after Nash. What happened after that is history. Following the 1998 NBA Draft, Nash was traded from the Suns to the Mavericks. Nash became a star in Dallas, given the opportunity for playing time. And six years later, when the Suns realized their mistake in trading Nash, they offered a huge offer to the point guard in the opening hours of free agency, as Nash returned to Phoenix to help build one of the NBA's best teams of the 2000's.

Mitchell & Ness has Nash's rookie Suns jersey, check it out:

 

Ray Allen

Ray Allen was drafted fifth overall in the '96 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who immediately traded him with Andrew Lang to the Milwaukee Bucks for 4th overall pick Stephon Marbury. A star at UConn, Allen was able to come in and make an immediate impact with the Bucks. Allen teamed up with Glenn Robinson for a pairing that would define Bucks' basketball of the era. When Sam Cassell arrived in 1999, the trio formed Allen's original "Big 3."

Allen's strong play also earned him a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, as well as a starring role in 1998 film "He Got Game." But Allen's Bucks could never reach their desired heights, peaking in a 2001 Eastern Conference Finals loss. Allen's time with the Bucks ended in 2003, when he was traded in a multi-player deal that sent him to the Seattle Supersonics with Gary Payton going the other way. Allen's time in Seattle would be one of individual accomplishment but little team achievement. That all changed when he was traded to the Celtics in 2007, as the new "Big 3" he formed with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce won the 2008 NBA Title.

Allen's rookie Bucks alternate jersey is available from Mitchell & Ness. Check out the big style on this one:

July 11, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Category: This Day in History | Tags: , , , ,

1996 NBA Draft - Rewind

As we ramp up to Thursday's 2012 NBA Draft, Mitchell & Ness is going to look back at some past draft days. We will be breaking down the picks, the players, and of course... the fashion. Let's keep going in the series with 1996, one of the greatest drafts of the '90s. The draft was littered with starst come in the NBA, with the likes of Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal and Zyndrunas Ilgauskas. 


Best Player- Kobe Bryant (13th overall, Charlotte Hornets) As much as this Philadelphia company would want to give the award to Allen Iverson, the title clearly goes to a different son of Philly... Kobe Bryant. Bryant's five NBA titles, 2008 MVP, and 14 All-Star game appearances are unmatched. Already the 5th all time in scoring, don't be surprised if Kobe keeps gunning to top Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 39,387 career points.

Biggest Bust- Todd Fuller (11th overall, Golden State Warriors) The Warriors would come to regret taking Fuller ahead of Bryant, Peja Stojakovic, and Steve Nash. The center was a four-year star at NC State, but was unable to equal those heights in the NBA. His five-year NBA career saw him limited to 3.7 ppg, as Fuller turned out to be just another big-man bust.

Style MVP- We first off have to give a honorable mention to both Steve Nash, rocking a crazy tie and an even crazier face:

 

And Erick Dampier, wearing his finest waiter's jacket:

 

But the title has to go to Samaki Walker, with this all-white hat and suit combo that falls somewhere his Easter best and a pimpin' outfit. Stay classy, Samaki.  

June 26, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Category: This Day in History | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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