Since the 2001 NBA draft, the league has been overwhelmed with admiration for one of the greatest performers of our time. He has struck when no one expected him to, inspired and uplifted three separate cities and even won an NBA championship.
That man is Brian Scalabrine.
The one we know as "The White Mamba" has been a fan favorite in Boston, Chicago and New Jersey. As his career progressed, Scalabrine garnered recognition on a national level for his rare on-court appearances and lovable off-court character.
His latest exploit simply solidifies his status as one of the greatest personalities to have ever hit the NBA.
Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is the Mamba that is known on an international scale. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest players in NBA history and has developed the moniker of "The Black Mamba" due to the lethal nature of his clutch play.
The question is, how is it that Bryant became The Black Mamba and Scalabrine became his white counterpart? For those who have pondered such a question, the man himself has the answers you've been searching for.
Mr. Scalabrine, everyone.
This comical take on one of the greatest sports nicknames around is why Scalabrine is such a legend in this game. He embodies the characteristics of the everyday worker and takes on adversity with a smile.
For 11 magnificent seasons, Scalabrine has been a hero for the NBA fanbase. Unfortunately, the 2011-12 season proved to be his last in the league.
Scal spent five seasons with the Celtics, including their 2008 NBA championship-winning campaign.
By taking that job, Scalabrine turned down the opportunity to become an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls. Head coach Tom Thibodeau had reportedly offered him the position upon learning of his retirement, but Scal has other plans.
Scalabrine said, "Saying no to (Tom Thibodeau) was the hardest decision I've ever had to make."
He told ESPNChicago.com last month:
I think the only three jobs that I would ever take would be (as) an assistant or a head coach at USC, Oregon or Washington...I really enjoy the Pac(-12). I like the way the system is. I like those three places a lot.
...two games a week, one game week, you can study. You can really prepare. You can prepare your team. It's a much different life than going through a walk-through in a hotel ballroom. And it's a more laid back lifestyle. It's not as high profile.
After years as one of the media's favorite players, it appears as if Scalabrine is prepared to drift back into obscurity. But he shouldn't be surprised when his name is brought up in the conversation of the game's greatest fan favorites.
Brian Scalabrine, you are a hero to many and a legend to all.