Destroyed by Jordan: 20 NBA Semi-Stars of the 1990s
Ah, yes, the 1990s, the most magnificent era in NBA history.
The 1990s encapsulated everything great about the sport of basketball from the Dream Team to the Bulls Dynasty to amazing stars galore, from Jordan to Bird to Magic and Karl Malone and Moses Malone and Dominique and Shaq and Alonzo and LJ and KB and GP and AI and T-Mac and McHale and Mashburn and Jim Jackson.
Also, you surely remember Parish and Rice and Stockton and Kemp and Nance and Price and Nash and Dirk and Kidd and Finley and the Big Dog Glenn Robinson. Oh yeah, then there was the amazing skills of Reggie, English, Bernard King and Dantley and Dumars and Rodman and Isiah and Marbury and Tim and Anferne Hardaway and Stackhouse and Blackman and Ron and Dertek Harper.
Then there was Richmond and Webber and Mullin and Olajuwon and Drexler. Let's not forget Scott and Worthy and Ray Allen and Pierce and Garnett and Ewing and Sprewell. What about Barkley and Chambers and Duncan and Robinson and Vince and Pippen?
Wow - truly no era can compete with that. But here we highlight some semi-stars of the 1990s who may have been big-time if they played today, or in the 1960s.
Mookie!!!! Nuff Said. Just Kidding. Mookie was truly a special player to watch as he performed at high octane levels against all opponents. Mookie therefore became one of the best little defenders of all-time and he was always a scoring threat. Due to the hellacious era he played in Mookie was overshadowed by the big stars. But even against the biggest stars, it was hard to take your eyes off Mookie. He ran the show with authority and enthusiasm and was an outstanding passer. We miss Mookie!!!
Awww...yeah...boyeeee...Dee Brown. This little guy had some mad hops and he had two sickening moments that are forever etched in 90s lore, and they happened at the same event. The dunk contest was creative to say the least, and then this guy took it to a new level by pumping his Reebok Pump shoes and then flying in for a leaning dunk with his arm over his face. The dude had game too, but he is a true semi-star of the 1990s for his creativity.
Brandon was like the CP3 of the 1990s but probably better. If that just made you mad then you never saw him play. Brandon was actually featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and named best point guard in the league. If you truly followed his career, he was amazing. Brandon could, and did, shoot from any, and everywhere. The little guy had mad handle and was a premier passer who stole the ball often and created unusual (like the one in the pic vs Stockton). The Cavs of the late 1900's counted on the little engine that could. He was only 5'10!!!! Damn, I'm 5'9", why couldn't I do this?
This little 5'9" midget averaged 26.5 ppg in 1991!! He also added 10.5 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game. If the little man had played like that in 2011 we would have the shortest NBA MVP of All-Time on our hands. So awesome was the 1990s that most people have never heard of him even though played from 1985 to 1996.
Adams was a special player to watch as he was faster than anyone on the court and his combination of skills in such a little guy was stunning. Adams played defense, ran the team and scored like a machine. Webb and Bogues were good but this guy was at a whole otrher level.
Adams, I'm sorry you were caught in the whirlwind of awesomeness known as 1990s NBA basketball.
Christie was a 6'6" defensive specialist who could also score in bunches. Truly, when Christie caught fire in the 1990s he was almost impossible to stop. He had size, skill, athletic ability, smarts and a smoothness that was natural.
Christie did all a good SG could do as he passed, played hardcore defense and never took a shot he didn't like. Christie today might be a Lebron stopper, well...that might be pushing it.
This 6'6" shooting guard is overlooked as a great all around player who could do anything on the court. The skills Ceballos exhibited were exceptional but overshadowed by the outlandishly great play that happened in the 1990s. He was a tough defender and agile and well rounded scorer who shot 57% in the 1993 playoffs, which helped his team the Phoenix Suns get to the NBA Finals. Sure, he had a tough assignment against MJ but Majerle, Ainge, Dumas, Barkley and everyone else helped. The Suns lost 4 games to 2. If they had won Ceballos would be much more famous.
Atr6'7" this tall Sg/Sf was just a pure and amazing scorer and shooter. Ellis truly could never be stopped if he was on a roll. In 1990 alone he averaged 23.5 points per game and he did it by shooting 50% from the field, 38% from three point range and 82% from the line, for the Sonics. If you wanted a pure shooter from the 1990s Ellis was your man. Somehow he was eclipsed by the star power of the 1990s.
I miss the days when almost every player could shoot with precision. If he played today many would describe him as the best shooter in the league. The way he shot it just had to be seen to be truly appreciated. Thanks for the memories Ellis.
The 1990s were defensively outstanding years and this guy was the cream of the crop. Robertson still holds the all-time record for most steals in a season with 301 (3.7 per game) Thats right: 301 STEALS!!! He also added 51% FG shooting, 80% FT shooting and 6.3 rebounds per game, 5.5 assists per game and 17.0 points per game in that season alone. Because he played in the 1990s most people will never remember how great he was.
Walt 'The Wizard' Williams was a 6'8" small forward with a unique and interesting combination of skills which included passing, shooting and of course, defending (see picture). Williams was somewhat gangly and unorthodox, but he was an original who created his own type of game to succeed in the NBA. He will forever be lost in the 1990s shuffle but not to those who had to face him.
Schrempf was one of my favorite players of the 90s. This German was 6'9" and a small forward who was tough, rugged and yet an amazingly smooth and agile scorer. Schrmpf could score from anywhere and defend anyone, in an era where tough defense was NEEDED. Ultimately rather forgotten in NBA lore, Schrempf helped the Sonics to the Finals in 1996, where he had to face the team with the greatest record (72-10) and player (duh) of all time.
Schremp should make a comeback and show the youngsters how to play hard nosed basketball.
Chris Morris was 6'8", athletic, agile, fleet footed and a good all-around team player. He helped the Jazz to two straight finals and also was a productive member of the Nets. He could be counted on to score over smaller guards and fowards and hit a nice percentage from anywhere on the floor. Morris is a forgotten star of the 1990s, but, you do remember him, right?
Weatherspoon was powerful like Barkley. He was a tough defender who had a wide body and his skills were star quality. He was like Zach Randolph but better. This guy was a big time player in Philly and he helped them through many tough times with little fanfare. I remember you bro.
Primarily a scorer, at 6'11" Bailey was a force to be reckoned with at both sides of the court. A plyer from the old school, when things were tough. When things got tough Bailey was there to help his teammates. He was a shot blocker, a rebounder and was early on, the third scoring option behind Malone and Stockton. Good company? He was good.
Dele is probably one of the best almost unknown players of all time. He could score easily on almost anyone. The big man had a knack for the game despite being heavy. He won a title with the Bulls and before that was a PF for Orlando when Shaq was just a rookie. Also, he became the second, and sometimes first option for Detroit offensively. He died an early death. RIP.
Armen Gilliam always seemed to be in the action in the 1990s but many fans would be hard pressed to truly remember him. He has a low key personality but he did all the dirty work. He was like Horace Grant without the fanfare. Yet, he was better than Horace. The Bulls could have exchanged him for Horace and had a better scorer who still played gritty defense and NEVER cried. I love the way he played, so would you have, if you had known him.
The epitome of what a power forward should be. A low post scoring threat with a true defensive mentality, Long was not afraid to mix it up down low and he could be counted on to clog and enforce in the lane. Also, he never wanted attention or props, but he got them anyway, because he was good. Miami fans remember him for his dedication to the team. Damn, I miss the 1990s.
Gatling was a scoring machine. Gatling also put his body on the line for the team in every game. At 6'10" he was slightly short for a center but no one could stop him from scoring. Seriously. In 1997 he put in 19 points per game, grabbed 8 rebounds per game and did it on 53% shooting. Why he is still unknown is odd to me, but I assume this is simply because he played in the star filled 1990s. He was a pleasure to watch, because this was basketball at its best.
The Dunkin Dutchman was a huge 7'4" player who had a finesse probably never seen before from a guy his size. He developed a jump shot that was so smooth it was pretty amazing. He wasn't exactly aggressive down low but at 7'4" he didn't necesarilly have to be. Basically he was Reggie Miller's sidekick. Imagine having a 7'4" sidekick? He dwarfs Olajuwon in the picture above.
"Big Country" Bryant Reeves was Vancouver's best big man of the 1990s and probably in their history. The 7 footer weighed nearly 290 and he used his size in every way imaginable to frustrate defenses and offenses. Reeves was a big star in Canada but in the US he is still forgotten,
A huge 7 foot player with size, intimidation factor and rebounding, defense and scoring skills to boot. Yeah, he played for the Clippers and is unknown by many, many fans today, but back in the 1990s EVERY PLAYER knew him and basically didn't want part of it.
The 1990s had some big stars, stars that were so big and good that people like Banjamin were outshined. I would love to recreate these guys and throw them in today's league. I'd say the All-Star Game would have at least 10 new players.
Then again, let us just remember a FEW of the semi-stars of the 1990s.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!