Former Chicago Bulls player Brian Scalabrine, who retired this summer and recently turned down the Bulls' assistant job offer, is not the sort of player to inspire a highlight reel.
His game consists of hustle, more hustle, keeping the bench warm and rockin' a headband. Most people who haven't seen 'White Men Can't Jump" would assume it was a biography of his basketball career. He nickname is White Mamba, a riff off of Kobe "Black Mamba" Bryant. Unlike Kobe, who picked the name because of his strength, speed and viciousness on the court, though, Scalabrine closer resembled Mamba candy – solid, flavorful, unmoving.
But he was a fan favorite, both in Boston and his last NBA stop in Chicago. Each time he stepped on the court, he was cheered. Whenever he got a rebound, he was cheered. Whenever he would go on scoring streaks of, oh, let's say two points, he was cheered. It was like rooting for your little nephew or niece in an park district basketball game.
Bulls color commentator Stacey King especially was down with the Scalabrine Feel Good Tour, resulting in one of the greatest quotes of all time:
"You can't stop the White Mamba! You can only hope to contain him!"
Ah, I still smile every time I hear that quote. Needless to say, the NBA was well aware of the man, the myth, the legend that Scalabrine had become in the minds of its fans and created a tribute video for him that it posted on its YouTube site on Sept. 11 and that you can watch above.
All I can is I hope you enjoy the awesomeness that was Brian Scalabrine, NBA basketball player.
• Joe Grace is a writer and journalist who lives in Chicago with his wife. Back in the day, he was known as the Brian Scalabrine of the Evansville (Ind.) Middle School Basketball League. Unfortunately, he does not have a highlight reel. But if he did, it would be similarly awesome.
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