Phantom NBA/ABA careers

For all non-specific NBA-related discussion

Phantom NBA/ABA careers

Postby rlee » Mon May 14, 2007 4:21 pm

Here is the latest one (first the story w/ the claim that Jack Little is "a former basketball player with the Boston Celtics", then the story w/ the truth: "he tried out for the Boston Celtics"):

Power Force show combines stunts, Christian testimony
Staff Writer
COSHOCTON - Jack Little and Marc Wilkes demonstrated just how strong their faith was at Coshocton High School last night.
The two body-builders, members of an evangelistic body building team called the John Jacobs' Next Generation Power Force, bent hammers, ripped apart phone books, snapped a pair of baseball bats, and bent steel bars with their teeth - all in hopes of spreading the word of Jesus Christ.

"This is not a body-building show, this is not a power lifting competition. This is a faith building show," said Little, standing at 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 280 pounds. "You may see my partner and I and think, 'They are big and bad.' There is only one that is big and bad and he is Jesus Christ. Every one of us has a personal relationship with the Lord."

Loud music and the cheers of enthusiastic fans helps push the two to complete their feats of strength, which they said they can only pull off about half the time.

Little, a former basketball player with the Boston Celtics, was once a drug and alcohol addict, until he said he discovered Jesus Christ. Part of his demonstration included a frying pan with which he used his 21-inch biceps to curl into the shape of a burrito.

"Greater than his physical traits and being able to slam dunk behind his head is his greatest feat of all ... he loves Jesus with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength," said Tim Johnson, director of Christian education at the Presbyterian Church in Coshocton, in an introduction of Little.

Little's partner at the event, Marc Wilkes, was born without hearing. At the age of 3, he somehow regained his hearing, in what he said was a miracle of God.

Wilkes said he grew up going to church, but befriended people that he shouldn't have and ended up in jail at age 18. Sitting in the jail cell, Wilkes said he gave his life to Jesus Christ and was born again.

"If you hang out with a skunk, you are going to smell like a skunk," Wilkes said. "I became a child of God on that day at the age of 18 in a jail cell. I realized that I did everything my way, and my friends' way ... I said Lord, I want to do things your way."

Johnson stood and cheered, Sunday, as Little attempted to rip apart two phone books at once.

"It's exciting," Johnson said. "I like how their abilities, that they know God gave them, are used as an opportunity to get kids attention and share the message of hope."

Justin Conn, a member of a local church's youth group, cheered for the body builders and was invited onstage to make sure everything was real.

"It's pretty cool because it teaches people that there are different ways to show your religion," Conn said. "There is singing and dancing and this stuff too."

Body-building evangelists with the John Jacobs' Next Generation Power Force have visited over 20,000 public schools in 40 different countries, and have participated in over 1000 crusades.

Now, the story w/ the truth: ... sample.pdf

Jack’s JourneyKevin Gore - Some may remember Jack Little from his basketball days at SFA — as a charismatic 6-4 guard who broke the school’s 3-point record and could throw down a dunk with the best of them. Others may remember Little from his time after basketball, as a sometimes homeless man who fought alcohol and drug addictions — a man who spent three sobering months in the Nacogdoches County jail, where his divorce was finalized one day and where he literally dropped to his knees and asked a God he really didn’t know for direction. These days Little spends his time with a Bible. He’s discarded the basketballs, bottles and syringes. He is a member of John Jacobs’ Next Generation Power Team, which describes itself as a dynamic, cost-effective method for the local church to penetrate the public schools and launch evangelism that draws thecommunity to the church. “We break, smash and tear stuff up to get the students’ attention,” Little said. “Then, we speak to their hearts. We spread a message of hope.” There was a time that the only hope Little had was basketball. He walked onto Auburn’s team, where Ned Fowler was an assistant coach. Fowler said Little, who played for a private high school in Jackson, Miss., had some talent but was overmatched by bigger, stronger and more athletically gifted players at Auburn.When Fowler moved to Tyler, he helped Little get on the team at Tyler Junior College. Soon thereafter, Fowler was hired as the SFA Lumberjack head coach. One of his first signees was Little, a dead-eye 3-point shooter who had enough athletic ability and confidence to start for SFA. “Jack had a lot of flair and charisma, and the fans really liked him,” said Fowler, who is retired and living in Nacogdoches. “He loved to dunk.”After finishing his college career and earning a degree, Little still focused on basketball. He tried out for the Boston Celtics and eventually landed overseas, playing with a semi-pro team in South America for about six months and then with the Yalsima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association for three or four months. He soon learned that basketball wasn’t going to take him anywhere. “I always identified myself with a basketball,” he said. “When you take the basketball out of the equation, I didn’t have a purpose.” Little returned to his hometown, where he began finding more trouble than opportunity. “I was just bouncing around; I was frustrated,” he said. He got a job as a personal trainer and said he “started hanging around the wrong people, the kind who partied all night and lived precariously in the world.” Little eventually returned to Nacogdoches, where trouble had a way of finding him.
Page 2
2Little’s return to the Piney Woods was a stark contrast to his college days.There was no spotlight on him on the basketball court, no classwork or tutors — no more free rides. He struggled with alcohol and drugs while working at a variety of jobs, some that paid decent money and others that were entry-level at fast-food restaurants. He married in 1998, and the couple had two children. They separated in 2001 and divorced in 2003. Little’s life was a mess — a mix of addictions to alcohol and drugs and dead-end jobs. “It was a constant battle,” he said. “I kept making promises to myself that I couldn’t keep, with my addictions.” He found himself homeless, oftentimes crashing with friends for a while, partying and fighting depression that was associated with his spiraling fall. Contemplating suicide, he landed in the Nacogdoches County jail, with one of the charges being burglary of habitation, when he was caught stealing DVDs. “I was homeless and in the county jail,” Little said. “How much lower can you get?" His family and friends weary of his constant troubles, Little said he “had nobody to call, nobody who cared, and my back against the wall.” He said he dropped to the jail floor and prayed. “I started reading the Bible in jail, asking God for help,” he said. He served three months in jail, leading a Bible study group during his time there. Upon his release, he went to Mike Silva, director of GODTEL Ministries in Nacogdoches. Little was no stranger to Silva, who said he spent many nights trying to keep Little out of harm’s way. “When I first met Jack, he was far gone,” Silva said. “He was on drugs, and there wasn’t a lot of hope for Jack at that point. “I pulled Jack out of crack houses, bars and motels, wherever he had holed up. I had a burden for him. God would not let the burden go away.” After Little was released from jail, Silva said he saw a new Jack, one who, for the first time, wanted his help.Silva enrolled Little in Teen Life Challenge, an intervention and rehabilitation facility in Dallas, started by Dave Wilkerson. Little called it a “faith fix.” “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life,” he said. “It taught me how to fight my addictions — how to fight problems.” In just two months, Little was an intern, a leader, at the facility.
Page 3
3“I started being called on by God,” he said. “I knew that I had a purpose — to spread the Good News.” Little accompanied a group to Paris, Texas, to see John Jacobs’ Next Generation Power Team in action. Wide-eyed, Little said he was taken aback when Jacobs looked up to him and said “Who are you?” in one breath, and “I need another guy,” in the next. Little has a salary, a roof over his head and a car, all because of his affiliation with Jacobs’ team. But more than any worldly possessions, Little said his life now has purpose. He travels with the Power Team all over the world, where he performs and preaches during crusades and school assemblies.Now weighing a muscular 260 pounds, Little and the rest of the team use feats of strength such as bending bars, smashing bricks, blowing up hot water bottles, ripping license plates with their teeth and tearing up phone books to spark the curiosity of those in attendance. “We go into churches and draw in people who would not normally be there,” he said. “We do the feats of strength and then deliver our message.” While traveling from one part of the country to the other, he seeks opportunities to witness. He has ripped up phone books at bus terminals and airports, anywhere to get a crowd and, hopefully, to touch a lost soul. During his trips to Nacogdoches, Little preaches at GODTEL, where Silva said Little delivers a powerful message because of what his life once was and what it has now become. Silva and his family call Little “Uncle Jack,” which is also the title of an article that Silva wrote which chronicles Little’s plight. It is posted on GODTEL’s Web site. “One thing about Jack that I see that I don’t see very often is his hunger for scripture,” Silva said. “He devours passages. “That’s a different Jack from the one I knew.”Little said he will one day minister on Christian television. “God believes in me,” he said. “I didn’t quit. I persevered, although a lot of people gave up on me. I fought through it. “God has blessed me and has a plan for me, ever since I started walking with Him two years ago.”
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Postby mtamada » Mon May 14, 2007 9:27 pm

Thanks Ray. I propose that the posts that we formerly called "truth squad" posts shall, henceforth, be put into this "Phantom NBA/ABA Careers" thread.

It could turn into APBR's longest, and most truth-revealing, thread of all.
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I'll aggregate & list the past-discovered ones

Postby rlee » Mon May 14, 2007 9:31 pm

under this thread. There are approx 25 I think. Often they stem from newspaper writers relying on press relases w/o fact-checking as this one apparently did.
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Phantom NBA career: Kris Bruton

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:18 pm

Hoop legend brings talent, taste to Greer with Harlem

GREER - These days Harlem Globetrotter Kris Bruton practices spinning basketballs on his fingertips and up his arms in a cornbread-scented restaurant.

He gives kids crayons while he spins a basketball and then he'll place the spinning ball on the crayon's tip. He'll get a good spin going before having an adult stick their finger up for the ball, too.

"This is where I work and this is where I play," said Bruton of the restaurant.

Watch video of Bruton showing off his basketball skills and his restaurant

Bruton and his wife, Emily, opened Harlem in June. The restaurant serves the kind of soul food Bruton grew up eating in Greer. His aunt Judy Bruton does all of the cooking and Emily Bruton serves as a hostess and cashier. Bruton has other relatives helping in the kitchen, but he doesn't cook. He's around to make trips to the grocery store and entertain customers.

The restaurant has red, white and blue walls, which are the Globetrotter's colors. He also has a few pieces of Globetrotter memorabilia, including his jersey, sneakers, pennants and books about the world famous basketball team. Each napkin holder also has a photograph of him dunking.

Bruton's family will run the restaurant while he's on tour with the Globetrotters from December through April. The Brutons have two kids, Kris Jr., 12, and Kristen, 6.

Emily is originally from Michigan and she remembers how she immediately liked Judy Bruton's macaroni and cheese. She, however, wasn't familiar with okra or turnip and collard greens.

"A lot of this stuff I didn't know about until I moved here," she said.

Bruton said he was thinking about starting a business and felt Greer could use a soul food restaurant.

"I don't get a chance to get a lot of soul food on the road and you get homesick," Bruton said. "If anyone is traveling this way, they'll definitely be able to get home cooking."

Harlem's ribs, vegetables, macaroni and cheese and fried apple and sweet potato pies are popular with customers.

"This is my dream come true," said Judy Bruton, of having an opportunity to run the restaurant's kitchen.

Judy Bruton learned to cook from her mother and she enjoys hosting family gatherings.

Bruton's offseason meals include fried flounder, fried okra, candied yams and pinto beans.

"That's basically what I eat every day," Bruton said. "I just love the way it tastes. I'm sure after a while I'll get tired and switch to something else."

It's not uncommon for him to practice tricks for customers or just his family working in the kitchen before eating his favorite meal.

"There's a lot of practicing," said Bruton of learning the tricks. "Once you're around it every day and everybody is doing it, you'll pick it up."

Bruton's basketball skills coupled with the restaurant's food has one customer thinking about an interesting catering event. Brandy Dull eats at the restaurant at least once a week and she'd like the restaurant to cater a dinner at the credit union she works at.

"I keep trying to get him down to the credit union to keep everybody entertained," Dull said.

Last week, a woman ordered carry out and chatted with Emily while waiting for her food. She talked about watching the Globetrotters over the years and asked how did Bruton learn to perform all of those tricks. Emily described how he'd practice all the time, even in hotel rooms where he'd knock over lamps.

Bruton, 36, has been with the Globetrotters six years. He spent a couple of seasons with the NBA's Chicago Bulls after graduating from Benedict College. A torn quadriceps muscle side-lined him and he ended up continuing his professional career overseas in Europe and Asia before coming back to the states to give the NBA another try.

He played with Greenville's NBDL team when Milton Barnes, the team's coach, suggested that Bruton look into joining the Globetrotters. Barnes was a former Globetrotters coach.

The team has 24 players on the roster and Bruton said they're often divided up to do East coast and West coast tours. Half the team might tour in Europe while the other members are touring in Asia. The traveling was Bruton's favorite aspect of being a Globetrotter. Now, he likes introducing basketball to other people and inspiring others.

Players talk to kids about staying out of trouble and doing well in school. They also encourage kids to be active and healthy. Some players share some of the obstacles they've faced.

"You don't just play basketball and leave," Bruton said. "We leave something behind. Hopefully, it's something they'll cherish for a long time."

Bruton is popular for his dunks.

"I've been extremely blessed to have really strong legs," said Bruton, who is 6'7" and 218 pounds. "They're not big legs, but they're strong."

Bruton grew up watching the Globetrotter's cartoon during the 1970s and remembers watching Meadowlark Lemmon and Curly Neal. He said he realized he was part of a special fraternity during his first exhibition.

"You see all the spectators and think about what you used to watch and how fun it was for you," Bruton said.

He also gets to chat with the old-timers sometimes.

"They have a lot to say and tell us we're doing good, but of course they think they're better," Bruton said.
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Postby B Purist » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:15 am

I am in partial agreement with mtamada. I would lobby for a Phantom NBA Careers category. The ABA had a shorter and less significant existence. Other areas of false claim include All American status, First Team All League in college, points per game, etc. Where do you draw the line on phantom basketball accomplishments? If there is a very strong base of support for the ABA, then I would propose Phantom Professional Careers.

Ray correctly sites publications and authors not checking facts. That is probably the biggest reason that inaccuracies grow legs.
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Rick Raivio

Postby rlee » Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:06 pm

as promised, I'll post some of the phantom careers previously noted on the old Yahoo group board:

Longview (WA) Daily News story of 3/22/06 refers to Gonzaga's Derek Raivio's dad Rick as a "former NBA player".

This reference is to a phantom career because:

He was the Lakers' 5th round pick in 1980 but played professionally in Belgium, not the NBA (see below):

Raivio's father Rick was much the same way and parlayed his passion for the game into an outstanding college career at the University of Portland, where he still ranks as the Pilots' career rebounding leader and third all-time scorer.

"You either love the game or you don't," explained the elder Raivio, who was a 6-5 beast of a player at UP. "And Derek loves the game. He's always had the passion, and I remember, in high school, growing up with that same passion."
Following his four years at Portland, Rick Raivio played professionally in Belgium, where Derek and one of his two younger brothers, Nick, were born. Rick remembers he and his wife Chris taking their young sons to practices and games, where they were first introduced to the sport.
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a two-fer: (Caps & Trotters phantom careers)

Postby rlee » Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:45 pm

Here is a two-fer: (Caps & Trotters phantom careers)

SOMERS — A former professional basketball player, New York City police officer and Briarcliff Manor tavern owner, John "Mickey" O'Hagan was remembered yesterday as a large man with an enormous spirit for Westchester County, local politics and sports.
He died Wednesday at age 79 after suffering circulatory ailments, his family said. He had lived in Briarcliff for 34 years before moving to Somers.
"John was a very tall man and very kind," said Bill Gargeros, who bought The Briar's, a much-celebrated restaurant and hangout on North State Road, from O'Hagan more than two decades ago. "He had a handshake or hug for everyone.
"He was very well known around here. This place was famous for him," added Gargeros, who said that the news of O'Hagan's death was was filtering through the community.
After serving in the Navy from 1944-45, O'Hagan graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle. As captain of the basketball team, he was the first player to score 1,000 points at the school and one of the first inductees into its Hall of Fame inaugurated in 1982. He played professionally for the Washington Capitals and the early Harlem Globetrotters.
Brian Beyrer, the college's sports information director, called O'Hagan "an Iona College athletic legend."
As a New York City police detective in the 1950s, O'Hagan was a member of the department's elite security force and escorted Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev and Queen Elizabeth II of England during their visits to Manhattan, his family said.
"Dad was a man for all people. He touched regular folks and traveled with dignitaries and queens," said his son, Brian O'Hagan of Greenwich, Conn. "He had many achievements in sports and politics and was loved by all he touched."
He was active in the Yonkers and Westchester chapters of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
In 1965, he served as sergeant-at-arms for the state Legislature and was a chairman of the Ossining Democratic Committee. He ran unsuccessfully for Westchester County sheriff and the state assembly and, for more than 20 years, was postmaster of Briarcliff Manor. He retired as a deputy inspector general for the state in 1997.
He was born Nov. 18, 1926, in Long Island City to George and Anna Haughey O'Hagan.
In 1948, he married Grace Outwater in Yonkers. The couple raised 10 children in Briarcliff — six boys, all of whom were all-county athletes who went on to play college sports on full athletic scholarships, and four daughters who played field hockey and ran track. Another daughter, Hope, died at age 2.
He is survived by his wife; sons John, Michael, Gary, Donald, Brian and Christopher; daughters Jane Tambone, Beth Cassidy, Patricia Schoen and Theresa O'Hagan-Rutolo; 24 grandchildren and three great grandchildren

APBR note: He never played for the Caps or Trotters. He did play for the Washington Generals (Trotters exhibition tour opponents) - likely the source of the "confusion".
Last edited by rlee on Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Andy Kennedy never played for the Hornets

Postby rlee » Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:21 am

3/24/2006 7:12:29 AM
Daily Journal

By Parrish Alford

OXFORD - Perhaps the only thing faster than the way Andy Kennedy went from interim coach to head coach Thursday, will be the style of play for his Ole Miss Rebels next season.

Kennedy's hiring as the replacement of former coach Rod Barnes was made official late Thursday.

Kennedy was a college star at Alabama-Birmingham, and former Blazers coach Gene Bartow expects to see an Ole Miss team that forces tempo and pressures opponents into mistakes.

"I think they will push the ball, take the fast break and look to run at every opportunity," Bartow said. "It won't be a wild running situation. They will be very deliberate. They will play a lot of man-to-man and will be a solid defensive team."

And they could win in a hurry, said the former UAB, UCLA and Memphis State coach.

"I think Rod had some good players in there, and Andy will get some good players in there also. I think they will be competitive quickly," Bartow said.

A native Mississippian from Louisville, Kennedy becomes the 20th men's basketball coach at Ole Miss.

He will be introduced at a noon press conference today at Tad Smith Coliseum.

Ole Miss athletics director Pete Boone confirmed the interim Cincinnati coach around 8:30 p.m., ending a near three-week search that began March 3 when Boone announced that Barnes would not return for a ninth season.

Boone released his list of four finalists for the job Monday. They included Kennedy, Murray State coach Mick Cronin, South Alabama coach John Pelphrey and current Rebels assistant Tracy Dildy.

The finalists survived the cut from a list that included "10-12" candidates at its broadest point, Boone said.

"That's 10-12 that we were really interested in. Of course, then we had to find who was interested in us," Boone said.

The choice of Kennedy began to become clear as the dominoes fell Thursday afternoon.

Pelphrey withdrew from consideration and accepted a raise and contract extension at South Alabama.

In the early evening Dildy confirmed that he would not be hired.

Around 8:30, Cincinnati named Cronin as its coach, and Ole Miss named Kennedy in announcements released within minutes of one another.

Cronin, 69-24 in three seasons at Murray, is a Cincinnati native and a former UC assistant who had great recruiting success there.

Kennedy had previously interviewed with the private firm hired by UC athletics director Mike Thomas to assist in his search to replace Bob Huggins, who stepped down in August.

Kennedy was promoted to interim coach then, but never seemed a frontrunner to keep the job, even though he had the support of many fans after leading the Bearcats to a 21-13 mark. Their season just concluded Thursday with a 65-62 loss to South Carolina in the NIT quarterfinals. UC was 8-8 in Big East Conference play this year.

Kennedy, 38, will sign a four-year contract worth $600,000 and heavy with incentives.

Boone long stressed the importance of head-coaching experience. With the exception of Dildy, Kennedy has less than the remaining finalists.

But the situations he faced in one season as an interim easily trumped any concerns of inexperience.

"He had three or four years of experience in his one year," Boone said. "If you go and look at the things he had to do ... he had to dismiss players, had to dismiss a coach. So many of the things he had to do, a lot of coaches go two or three years without having to do. I think he has done an admirable job in growing at such a fast rate."

Married with two children, Kennedy was a Parade All-American at Louisville. He signed with the late Jim Valvano at North Carolina State, then transferred to UAB where he finished his career.

The 1991 UAB graduate had a career scoring average of 18.8 points. He still owns or shares 20 UAB records, including 3-point field goals attempted and made.

He played professionally for four seasons, one with the Charlotte Hornets, then three more overseas.
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Postby rlee » Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:51 pm

This one is probably my favorite - a 3 season invented NBA career:

Rebel Hoops Legend Denver Brackeen Passes Away

Brackeen earned second team All-America and SEC Player of the Year honors in 1955

May 31, 2006
OXFORD, Miss. - Funeral services were held Wednesday for Ole Miss basketball great Denver Brackeen, who passed away Monday morning at his home in Union, Miss., at the age of 75.
A center from Hickory, Brackeen was the 1953 National Junior College Most Valuable Player and an All-America selection at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., where he scored 32.0 points per game his final year.
Brackeen transferred to Ole Miss prior to the 1953-54 campaign, and in just two seasons in the Red and Blue, compiled 1,040 career points, which ranks 26th in school history. His 24.8 career scoring average stands third-best on the Rebel chart, and his 12.1 rebounding clip is first all-time in Ole Miss history.
In 1955, Brackeen topped the SEC in scoring (27.2 ppg) in earning second team All-America and unanimous All-SEC honors. The Team Captain also received the UPI SEC Player of the Year and AP SEC Most Valuable Player awards, and his shot was chosen best in the conference by SEC players.
Brackeen was selected in the second round of the 1955 NBA Draft by the New York Knickerbockers, where he played until 1958. He later returned to East Central Community College to begin a 28-year career serving in various capacities including coach, guidance counselor, admissions director, dean of students and academic dean.
From 1955 to 1963, Brackeen directed the Warrior basketball program, accumulating a 137-52 record. His most successful season was his last at the helm, guiding the 1962-63 squad to a 22-3 mark and the state tournament semifinals.
Brackeen, who served 21 years in dean of students' administrative work, is recognized as the first dean of students in Mississippi public community colleges. He served on the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges until his death.
Brackeen was named East Central's Alumnus of the Year in 1982 and the College's physical education building was named for him and former coach Lucille Wood in 1988. He was also a member of the NJCAA Men's Basketball Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame. He was recognized as one of the SEC's Living Legends at the league's 2001 tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

In addition, Brackeen had a distinguished career in the Mississippi National Guard. He served as Mississippi's Adjutant General during Desert Storm and retired from military service with the rank of major general.
Members of the Decatur United Methodist Church, Brackeen and his wife Charlotte have two sons, Morgan, who resides in Union, and Charlie, who is deceased. Denver had four grandchildren, Jonathan, Sable, Dillon and Ashlee.
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Re: I'll aggregate & list the past-discovered ones

Postby Jon Scott » Thu Aug 09, 2007 4:35 pm

rlee wrote:under this thread. There are approx 25 I think. Often they stem from newspaper writers relying on press relases w/o fact-checking as this one apparently did.

That's true. There's also a number of cases where someone dies and his family writes the obituary, based on information told to them but not checked out.

Another way this happens is someone might tryout for a team, perhaps is a practice player, competes in the preseason etc. but doesn't actually make it into an official game. In their mind, they were employed by the team in some way, so it's technically correct.


PS & FWIW, I run into these types of things all the time with my Kentucky stats project. I decided long ago that the definition of a former UK player is someone who played in a regulation varsity game. Doesn't matter whether they scored or whether they were on scholarship, as long as they saw game action in an official game they were in. Someone who was a JV player, practice player etc. unfortunately doesn't make the cut.
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Good points, Jon

Postby rlee » Thu Aug 09, 2007 4:42 pm

all good points. I would elucidate a little on the "technically correct" - that really depends entirely on how the connection to the NBA is characterized.
Many if not most of the 25+ references to NBA careers don't come close to being "technically correct" even by a tortured expansive defintion. Some do, of course.
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a newly hyped Phantom career - ABA this time

Postby rlee » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:18 am


By Simon Marnie

Odyssey House's CEO James Pitts invites Simon Marnie into his home this week for the Sunday Brunch.

A leading force in drug rehabilitation with his work at Odyssey house James came to Australia via the US.

James was a professional basketball player for the Minnesota Pipers in the United States but, after leaving the game, he turned to drugs, not just using but dealing. After being arrested for dealing he received treatment at Odyssey House in Michigan.

Determined to turn, not only his own life around, but others he became a counsellor with the very organisation that helped him.

From there, as they say, the rest is History. He moved to Australia and now heads up Odyssey House here in Sydney.

Today, he opens his home to Simon in time for this weeks Sunday Brunch.
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so briefly that there is no record of it

Postby rlee » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:11 am

Making moves off the court
By: David Biderman, Sports Editor
Posted: 8/13/07
Professional basketball was a dream Mitch McMullen didn't want to wake up from. Whether he was in the NBA or the lesser-known Continental Basketball Association; in the U.S. or overseas. It didn't matter.

Then he had a change of heart. Literally.

McMullen, a center for the San Diego State men's basketball team from 1987-89, was playing in Lyon, France, in a European League in 1992 when he learned he had cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes an inflammation of the heart muscle and weakens the heart's ability to pump blood.

That was the end of his basketball career. No more shots at the NBA. No more touring Europe searching for the pinnacle of his playing days. McMullen had averaged 13.8 points and seven rebounds per game as an Aztec. He was drafted by the now defunct CBA in the fifth round and even landed in the NBA briefly with the Atlanta Hawks.

Thanks to cardiomyopathy, however, his hard work suddenly went down the drain.

McMullen, disappointed and disillusioned, went home to Santa Clarita and wondered what to do.

"I went home not really knowing what had happened," McMullen said. "The change was forced upon me and it was a reality check that I really didn't want.

"It took me a long, long time to figure out what to do next."

But eventually his future grew less fuzzy.

Of all the things McMullen remembered about his time in France, the cafes stood out above all. So before Starbucks exploded and coffee shops appeared on every city block, McMullen built his own coffeehouse.

Mitch's Java 'N Jazz opened in Santa Clarita and the rest was history.

His company, Newhall Coffee, isn't Starbucks or The Coffee Bean, but it's expanding quickly and it features over 85 variations carried in Albertson's, Ralph's and Sam's Clubs across Southern California.

"Our brand is right there next to billion dollar companies now," McMullen said. "I love getting the chance to compete with bigger businesses."

That love for competition, according to McMullen, stems directly from his time spent in athletics. He no longer plays basketball competitively, but his sporting background translated seamlessly into the business world.

Every practice McMullen attended and each rebound he fought for increased his will to succeed against adversity. Though he wasn't planning for the future during his youth, McMullen's past as an Aztec is coming up big nowadays.

"I wish I could say I was one of those smart athletes that planned ahead, but I wasn't," McMullen said.

"Still though, I think my sports experience with thriving to be the best, and the overall team concept, helped me succeed in business."

Starting out, McMullen never saw the connection between coffee and basketball. Today, however, the correlation is clear.

"We apply sports concepts to everything," McMullen said. "Teammates, hard work, hardship - it's all the same.

"Competition is competition, no matter the forum."
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SirValiant the phantom

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:04 am


Davenport, IA -- The Quad City Riverhawks signed former Philadelphia 76er SirValiant Brown. Brown is a 6-1 guard out of George Washington University and most recently was playing in Puerto Rico. He was second in the nation in scoring as a freshman during the 1999-2000 season.

The Riverhawks also signed a 6-7 forward named Jason Faulkner. Faulkner is a 2004 graduate of Bradley University and just recently completed touring with Athletes in Action. To make room for the two newcomers, Haze Massey has been moved to inactive roster and DaMarcus Ellis has been waived.
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The latest NBA phantom: Eathan O'Bryant

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:50 pm

08/14/07 - American Basketball Association (ABA) Reno Rockers

Indianapolis, IN. The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced that Reno, Nevada has been added to its lineup of teams scheduled to begin play in November. According to Joe Newman, ABA CEO, "Reno has been a target for several years; it is a great sports and entertainment city and we have a tremendous ownership and management group there. It should be a great success."
The team president is Greg Newman (Joe's nephew). A native of Reno, Greg will be the majority owner of the team. "We are very happy to be a part of the ABA. My Dad and I have watched the league grow and have been very impressed with what we've seen. It has been 20 years since the Reno Bighorns played in the Centennial Coliseum. Our team, the Reno Sharpshooters, is ready to begin and to become one of the best teams in the league," stated Greg.

Home games will be played in the athletic facility "The Stadium" in South Reno. The Stadium is a sport's fan's dream that also features batting cages, racquetball courts, a full sized boxing ring and much more. The team will be coached by former University of Nevada standout, former Harlem Globetrotter and NBA player Eathan O'Bryant. Eathan is currently the Celebrity of the Year named by the local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In addition to being a local celebrity, Eathan runs the Nevada Basketball Academy at The Stadium.
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Boutin is a former NBA draftee, not NBA player

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:03 pm

Discipline key for retired college basketball coach Boutin
He recently coached at a basketball clinic in China

Statesman Journal

August 14, 2007

Jim Boutin likes to think of himself as a tough basketball coach; someone who doesn't let players get away with anything.

His record would seem to bear that out. A former NBA player, Boutin retired from Lane Community College in 2003 with a collegiate record of 638-357, including time at Willamette and Western Oregon.

So when the best player on a Chinese professional team tried to take a shot during his clinic, Boutin had no problem dressing the man down in front of 80 Chinese coaches. Even though he was the only American in a arena on foreign soil.

"I was talking about a drill and he took a shot," Boutin explained. "And I just blew the whistle and said you can't do that. You can't have any distractions for someone who is trying to coach and teach, and that's part of discipline.

"I didn't read him the riot act but I got on him a little bit," he said.

Boutin was in China in July for a two-day coaching clinic sponsored by the United States Basketball Academy, based in Eugene. The organization has taken the lead in developing the game in Asia in recent years.

Boutin got a call from USBA founder Bruce O'Neil on the way to a Northern California vacation. Less than a week later Boutin was on a plane headed for China, set to lead a camp designed to show collegiate and professional coaches in China some American techniques.

"Last year at this clinic Jim Harrick was the featured speaker, so for me it was a great honor to go through this coaching situation," Boutin said. "It was probably the most challenging, the most difficult but the most rewarding coaching experience I've had."

The camp took place in Taiyuan, a city about an hour's flight from Beijing. Each day started with a three-hour lecture to the Chinese coaches, going over Boutin's drills, rules for practice and coaching philosophy. Next came a three-hour on-court demonstration with the Taiyuan Chinese Basketball Association team.

"They spoke very little English and I spoke very little Chinese so we needed an interpreter, which made it just a little bit difficult to relay real intricate information," he said. "We did it, but you just had to be patient and repeat it and make sure they understood it."

Boutin said he was impressed by how eager the coaches and players were to pick up anything he might be able to show them.

"They're very interested in learning about American basketball and college basketball and it was really neat to have an opportunity to relay information to them," he said. "Some of their franchises aren't as strong as they would like them to be, so one of the ways to do things is to get American coaches over to do clinics and get videos, films and CDs and everything related to basketball and study those."

Though a professional club, Boutin said Taiyuan would be the equivalent of a good NAIA team. Part of the problem is that Chinese kids haven't grown up with the game the way children of other countries have.

"The problem is they have tall players, good athletes, but where they're short is their kids don't have the background and they don't have the basketball sense that I think American college players have," he said. "They don't do it instinctively. They just need to be shown and they need to have experience."

Despite the disadvantages, Boutin believes that the country has a desire to raise its level of play and has the potential to be a major player in international competition.

"I think it's going to be a few years," Boutin said. "But because of the efforts of the people over there and the number of people they have in may not be very many years before they're able to compete with the Argentines, Australians and Americans."

While coaching opportunities exist in China, Boutin said he wouldn't be interested in living overseas fulltime. But he felt the clinic was well received and wouldn't mind being invited back.

"We felt like the response was really good and they expressed some interest in having me back, so I think I would," he said.
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Daryl Smith

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:20 pm

from Miami Herald 8/3/07:


• Jordan Brand is bringing the Breakfast Club, a training program created by Michael Jordan and trainer Tim Grover, to Miami's youth at 8 a.m. Saturday at the South Miami Community Center, 5800 SW 66th St.

The program teaches the importance of offseason training and introduces youth to a curriculum of exercises that helped Jordan reach reach stardom in the NBA.

The Breakfast Club also is supported by D-Trained, Inc., which was founded by former NBA player Daryl Smith.

Here is the truth from the Courier-News:

While playing at Rutgers from 1988-92, Smith was nicknamed D-train by assistant coaches Eddie Jordan and Jeff Van Gundy. After graduating, D-train didn't start training others but went overseas to work on his own game -- playing professionally in Italy and Croatia.

Playing in Europe didn't bring Smith closer to his dream of playing in the NBA, so he packed his bags and came home.
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Here is one w/ a "wrinkle"

Postby rlee » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:39 am

this one is a little bit of a closer call:

Last season, the Sacramento Bee stated that new Kings assistant Mark Hughes "played in the NBA". Well, he did make the Pistons' roster but never got any game time. So the statement is incorrect. Therefore he qualifies to be added to the list of players whom news accounts erroneously credit with having played in the Association.

check this out from the online list of NBA players who attended Michiigan high schools:

"I’m also entertaining the addition of a “Mark Hughes” list. Hughes is a graduate of Muskegon Reeths-Puffer who currently coaches the Grand Rapids Hoops. Co-captain of the 1989 University of Michigan championship squad, Hughes joined the Detroit Pistons for a season (and is now an assistant coach in Orlando). The list would honor those players who made the roster of an NBA team, yet did not chalk up any playing time during their stay."
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Eldridge Webb's phantom NBA career

Postby rlee » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:25 pm

Tulsa Recruited Great Players in the 1960s, Early 70s
GTR newspapers

Tulsa fell to 10-15 in 1963-64 but Swank and assistant coach Jim Killingsworth (later head coach at Oklahoma State and TCU) pulled off what may have well been, considering TU’s handicaps, the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball. Tulsa brought in its three talented black players from the juco ranks – Sherman Dillard, Herm Callands, and Julian Hammond – and a freshman team that was and is the stuff of legend. The headliners on the freshman team were ultratalented guard Eldridge Webb, deluxe power forward Charlie Paulk, and 6-10 Doug Robinson. This infusion of talent let TU defeat such powers of that era as Cincinnati, Louisville, Kansas State, Wichita State, Utah State, Michigan, Bradley, and Drake in the 1964-65 and ’65-66 seasons.

NCCA rules (from 1953 through the early 1970s) did not allow freshmen to play for the varsity so schools had full schedules for freshman teams. I am included in the group (and I don’t think it’s a small one) of those who saw TU’s 1964-65 freshman team and feel that it might have been the greatest team, not just the greatest freshman team, in school history.

Hammond, Webb, and Paulk would eventually play in the NBA. Paulk was a first-round draft choice. Webb was a tragic figure; he was perhaps the most talented player ever at Tulsa but his career (and life) was shortened by personal problems. However, those who saw him play, like myself, remain in awe more than 40 years later.

APBR Note: Webb & Hammond never played in the NBA. Hammond had a 5-year ABA career so we'll just assume the writer got a little confused on that one.
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A McPhantom career from the McNewspaper

Postby rlee » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:32 pm

Tennessee pitcher prepared for opposing batters, draft
By Dana Heiss Grodin, USA Today Sports Weekly

Fear has driven University of Tennessee ace Luke Hochevar to greatness.
"Even as a little kid, I was worried that someone in California was working harder than I was," says the Colorado-born-and-raised Hochevar (HO-chay-vur). "It's been a fear and a driving motivation for a long time."

Hochevar's obsession with preparation began more than a decade ago, when his father, a former NBA player, asked him if he was serious about becoming a professional ballplayer. When his son said yes, Brian Hochevar, having played a season in 1979 with the Denver Nuggets, told his son that it would take years of grit and discipline to become a pro athlete.

1979 Nuggets roster: David Thompson, Geo McGinnins, Dan Issel, Charlie Scott, Bob Wilkerson, Tom Boswell, Anthony Roberts, Robert Smith, Bo Ellis, Kim Hughes, Phil Hicks, John Kuester, Jeff Crompton. Not a Hochevar among them.
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Postby josegr » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:28 am

The last article was published in 4/20/2005. A few weeks later (5/18/2005), USA today improved this story writing this:

'Hochevar's work ethic stems from his father, Brian, who coaches baseball and basketball in Wray, Colo. His dad played basketball at Missouri and the University of Southern Colorado and was in six exhibition games with the Denver Nuggets in 1979 before getting cut'
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USA Today's Hochevar correction

Postby rlee » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:01 am

I'd like to think the correction was made because of the note we sent regarding the error.

And now, his Dad's phantom career is back in the news (8/24/07 release from Our Sports Central): "His father, Brian, played pro basketball with the Denver Nuggets in 1979. " ... id=3531176
Last edited by rlee on Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jermaine Dye's Dad's phantom NBA career

Postby rlee » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:50 pm

From the archives:

Barry Gross posted this last year:

"White Sox radio announcers, Ed Farmer & Chris Singleton, recently said that Jermaine Dye's dad, Bill Dye, played for the Detroit Pistons. I found an on-line article which states that a knee injury ended Bill Dye's chance to play with the Pistons in 1971."

Here is an excerpt from the online article (from the SF Chronicle) Barry referenced which tells the true story (i.e. Bill didn't play for the Pistons):

"There were signs that Dye might have the right makeup for pro sports even before he began knocking balls out of Sacramento-area JCs. He also starred in football and basketball at Wood, and he comes from an extremely gifted family of athletes. Dye's father, Bill, participated in football, basketball, track and baseball at Galileo High School, and his all-
star play while in the Air Force led to a shot with the Pistons before a knee injury ended his career."
Last edited by rlee on Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Another great two-fer: Trotters & Nets phantoms

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:21 am

Talley speaks to schools
Debbie Blank
Batesville (IN) Hearld-Triubune

— The students are buzzing in the Batesville Middle School gym bleachers before the convocation even starts Jan. 11.
“He's a basketball player,” reports one student.
“I know!” another shoots back.
“Harlem Globetrotters!”
Then Archie Talley is in front of them all, grinning as wide as can be. He speaks in boldface, using exclamation points freely.
Talley chuckles as he talks about a girl seeing her boyfriend talking to another girl. “GIRLS GO OFF!”
“Relationships are very important,” he tells them, “but not right now.” He wants the students to get the bigger picture of how they can shape their lives.
“I believe in you,” reports Talley at the start of his pep talk. “I'm just here to remind each and every one of you how important you are and how valuable you are.”
The inner city Washington, D.C., native was named Associated Press College Division Basketball Player of the Year in 1976, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in human relations from Salem College in West Virginia.
Then Talley played with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters for a year and the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in 1977. He followed that with 10 professional seasons in Europe, where he scored 116 points in a single game in Germany in 1978. Talley is now a West Virginia-based motivational speaker and operates a basketball camp.
Batesville High School Choices Program organizers brought him to speak at BHS and BMS with funding from the City of Batesville and John A. Hillenbrand Foundation.
Talley gives simple, yet useful advice. He urges the sixth- through eighth-graders, "Never say the word can't."
To keep his listeners engaged, he plays his trademark goofy tunes over the loudspeaker. “Every time I put that Harlem Globetrotters music on, it makes people happy.”
The personable man confides, “Basketball revolves around four concepts: quickness, balance, execution and concentration.” Then he makes the almost impossible look not only possible, but easy.
“Check this out! Unbelievable!” Talley exclaims while spinning a basketball on his finger, then balancing it on a toothbrush, pretending to brush his teeth with the other end. If that’s not enough, the athlete balances the ball on a glass while he drinks from it.
The kids are going nuts, applauding and cheering.
After getting all creamed up, he’s shaving while balancing the ball.
Now that the crowd’s warmed up, Talley gets to the heart of his speech. “You can achieve and you will achieve. You will be successful. Guaranteed.” His theory: “You can do anything if you have confidence, determination, work hard and sacrifice. Confidence is believing in yourself. Determination is staying focused on your goals.” He maintains achievers need to sacrifice people or things that prevent them from gaining success. “You leave it alone, you avoid.”
Talley sounds like a parent when he talks about first impressions. According to him, people can predict a youth’s future "just by how you look. That's why I get on students, especially boys, who wear their pants down, especially their underwear.”
One student at a different school told Talley, “I want respect,” but his shoes were untied, his hat was on backwards and his underwear was showing. “It's not what you wear, it's how you wear it!” The speaker points out, “Just because it's the style does not mean you look good in that particular style.”
When Talley spots pants hanging down, he reports, “It makes you look ignorant, it closes a lot of doors ... Present yourself well,” he suggests.
At 52, the visitor looks years younger, but it doesn’t come easy. That morning he had finished his customary 250 pushups, more situps and wind sprints, then downed oatmeal and vitamins. “My body's strong, healthy” – but it takes work to keep it that way.
“Don't drink and don't smoke,” he cautions, telling the students that more powerful than quitting drugs or smoking is never starting at all.
“Knowledge is priceless, knowledge is powerful,” he preaches. “Something you learn can never be taken away.” He gives an example. “If you see a hungry person on the street” and give him food, you have to repeat the process. “Give a hungry person the opportunity to have an education and that person will never be hungry again.”
According to Talley, “There are some things money can't buy. That's what makes you rich.”
He lists these four most valued assets – “your health, education, family and higher power.”
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TCU posted this phantom NBA career

Postby rlee » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:35 am

Former Kentucky star will be united with freshman son

FORT WORTH, Texas - TCU Head Basketball Coach Neil Dougherty has announced the hiring of Sean Woods as the Horned Frogs' director of basketball operations. Woods, a former college basketball standout at Kentucky, comes to Fort Worth after serving one season as an assistant coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
"I'm looking forward to working with the TCU staff and student-athletes," Woods said. "Coach Dougherty comes from a great coaching pedigree and we come from similar backgrounds with winning traditions. I'm eager to get started and to fit into the atmosphere that has been established here."
Before coaching at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Woods began his college coaching career as an assistant at High Point, where he assisted in game and practice preparation, player development and scouting, and also helped coordinate on- and off-campus recruiting efforts. During that season, he helped the Panthers corral the top-ranked recruiting class in the Big South.
Prior to his time at High Point, he served as an assistant coach at North Broward Prep in Coconut Creek, Fla., where he helped direct the team to a district championship and a second-place regional tournament finish during the 2002-03 season.
Woods is known to college basketball fans as one of the "Unforgettables" (along with fellow seniors Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus, and John Pelphrey) on Kentucky's 1992 East Regional final team that lost to Duke in what many experts consider the greatest college basketball game ever played. Woods, who scored 21 points in the contest, banked in an improbable running 10-footer with 2.9 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 103-102 advantage before Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater propelled the Blue Devils to the Final Four and the 1992 national title. Woods earned a spot on the 1992 NCAA All-East Regional team for his efforts.
Woods led the Wildcats in assists in each of his three seasons, ranks fifth on UK's all-time assist list with 482, and his No. 11 jersey was retired by the school and hangs in the Rupp Arena rafters. Over his three-year career, he averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. During his time, he was coached by Rick Pitino, Tubby Smith, Herb Sendek and Billy Donovan. Pitino, Smith and Donovan all have won national championships as head coaches.

"We are very excited to have Sean on our staff," Dougherty said. "He has a tremendous background having played at Kentucky, where he had exposure to some of the best coaches in the game. Sean is great with young people and the team is very excited to have him on board."
After graduating from Kentucky in 1992, Woods played for the NBA's Indiana Pacers and ran a popular basketball camp for collegiate and professional players for several seasons. Attendees included college and NBA standouts Derek Anderson, Tony Delk and Antoine Walker.
In 2005, Woods was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame as a charter member. Woods is married to the former Dashaynia Morones and has two children, Martiese and DeSean. Martiese will be a freshman guard for the Horned Frogs in 2006-07.
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