I’m still not sure, to this day, whose idea it was to dress Larry Johnson up as an old lady, but it seemed to work out pretty well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the campaign, but I WAS a HUGE fan of his shoe. Easily my favorite pair of shoes I ever owned. You know, the black ones with the Hornets teal and that React juice inside. I had some black and purple Kevin Johnson’s too that were essentially the same, but none could top the LJ version. Grant Hill’s Fila shoes a couple years later are probably a distant second on the list. I can’t remember if I ever had any Derrick Coleman BK Dymacels though!
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The life of an elite NFL feature back is getting shorter and shorter. I don’t mean that they’re dying at a young age, just that a guy can be the man on his team for just a handful of years, and that lifeline seems to be getting shorter. It seems like just a few decades ago, it’d be the same handful of guys racking up 1,000 yard season for years on end. Now a guy is likely to have one or two, and then be replaced by the next young, healthy back. It’s evident this season when you watch guys like Ladanian Tomlinson and Marion Barber no longer getting the bulk of their teams’ carries. It seems like just yesterday guys like these were dominant on the field, and now are relegated to sharing duties with younger guys. In other sports, you could look at league leaders from five years ago and the majority of those guys are still putting up numbers. I took the top ten rushers from 2006, and it looks like all ten of those guys would be lucky to total 1,000 yards combined this year…
SHAUN ALEXANDER, SEA. 1,880 yds: 2005 was Alexander’s 5th and final 1000 yard season. He donned the cover of Madden 07, but failed to tally as many yards as he did in 05 over the next three seasons, his last in the NFL. He totaled 1612 yards over his next two years in Seattle, before adding 24 more in 2008 on the Redskins. That was his final season.
TIKI BARBER, NYG. 1860 yds: Barber totaled 6 1000 yd seasons over a span of 7 years, and though you could argue he retired still in his prime, it was clear that Barber’s days were numbered, which probably prompted his retirement somewhat. Barber’s last season was 2006, but he knew Brandon Jacobs was the back of the team’s future.
Typically I like to pick someone a little more random and more forgotten, but today we’re putting the spotlight on Kenny Anderson. He was one of the most celebrated high school players ever in New York, but, since I grew up in California, my first exposure to Anderson was his college career at Georgia Tech. I was a huge Yellow Jackets fan as a kid, and while I can’t pinpoint exactly when or why I became one, I’m getting more convinced as the years go on it was Kenny Anderson’s arrival that got me going. He was the first in a line of point guards I rooted for, followed by Travis Best and Stephon Marbury. Of course, this is after he left GaTech after his sophomore season to enter the NBA Draft. He was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the 2nd overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, after Larry Johnson and before Billy Owens and Dikembe Mutombo. Anderson had a lackluster rookie campaign, averaging just 7 pts and 3 ast per game. He rounded into form the next season, though, averaging more than 16 pts and 8 ast for each of the next four seasons, peaking with an all-star nod in 1994. I’m pretty sure I traded all my Shaquille O’Neal rookie cards to my friend for all of his Kenny Andersons. Pretty sound investment strategy now that I look back at it. Though he spent the next 10 seasons bouncing from New Jersey to Charlotte to Portland to Boston to Seattle to New Orleans to Indiana to Atlanta and even to the Clippers for a four game stint, he still averaged double figures for all but one season, his last, where he finished the season averaging 9.8 ppg.
There’s little doubt Kenny Anderson was a great player on the court, but he might have been an even better one OFF the court. I remember him being married to Tami from the Real World Los Angeles. You remember her… the one who, with the help of the other two resident crazy bitches, got up and coming comedian and harmless guy, David Edwards, kicked off for rape. Now, the way I remember it, he just pulled the blanket off of her while she was laughing about it, but I was young. They must’ve edited out the part where he actually violated her. Or did they? Anyway, while David went on to small roles in Half Baked, House Party 3, and Belly, Tami made a successful career playing Kenny Anderson. She divorced him due to his infidelity, which really shouldn’t be grounds for divorce when you marry a professional athlete. Nonetheless, she challenged the pre-nup, won, and walked away with half his money. She even celebrated her victory with a license plate that reads HISCASH. Perhaps he deserved it though, as it appears he’s got about 7 kids by 5 different mothers, including one with Spinderella of Salt-n-Pepa fame. These days, Kenny is keeping busy by coaching such storied basketball franchises as the Atlanta Krunk of the CBA and The Hombres of Slamball.