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View Full Version : Streetball legends that could have been Hall-of-Famers



JerseyPalahniuk
12-10-2012, 06:45 AM
http://www.hoopsusa.com/frm_story.cfm?a=407


Earl "The Goat" Manigault - Known as the greatest player who never played in the NBA. Had great leaping ability and school the likes of Wilt, Connie, and Kareem on the Rucker playgrounds. The Goat held court against countless NBA pros and Hall-of-Famers. This sleek 6-2 court-acrobat ran like a gazelle and seemed to defy gravity when he took flight. The only thing that could bring The Goat down to earth were his own personal vices on the street. Earl will always be remembered as a playground legend of his day. He is perhaps the best basketball player ever to have played the game. A shade over 6 feet tall, he could dunk effortlessly with both hands. With a vertical leap of 52 inches, he had the ability to jump up and grab quarters off of the top of a basketball backboard. He played during the renaissance of New York City basketball in the 1960s, against other playground legends like Connie Hawkins, Lew Alcindor, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Herman "The Helicopter" Knowings and Jackie Jackson. Earl played in the famous Rucker League where the best playground players played with the pros every summer. The league showcased some of the best basketball players of all time. It was wide open, uncontrolled, showtime basketball where the beauty of a dunk or the speed of a pass was rewarded by the gasps of the packed sidelines. Manigault was a man-child on the blacktop, virtually unstoppable from the time he entered high school. At seventeen he had mastered the game and had been credited with creating several new dunks, the most famous of which was the double dunk. He was courted by hundreds of colleges. Instead, he started using heroin and his life quickly spun out of control. He wound up in prison for robbery, served his time, and in the most remarkable part of his story, he stayed clean, never returned to drugs or prison, and dedicated himself to helping kids stay in school and stay clean through his "walk away from drugs" tournaments. A park and tournament is named after him on the lower Eastside in Manhattan. Kareem Abdul Jabbar was asked on the day of his retirement as a Laker at the Forum in LA, who was the greatest player he had ever played against in his career. Kareem answered after a long silence, "It would have to be Goat, Earl 'the Goat' Manigault."


Curtis Jones - Curtis Jones (CJ) was a 5'10" guard out of Detroit. During the 1960's, CJ dominated courts in the Detroit area. He attended Detroit Northwestern High School, where he led his team in points and assists his senior year. In 1967, he hit a game winner over 6'9", future NBA great, Spencer Haywood to win the state championhsip. With an IQ of 73, CJ didn't stand a chance of making it to a major college, and stayed on the streets of Detroit, getting into crack. However, he promised his mother that he would come clean. When he died at the age of 50 in 1999, there wasn't a trace of drugs in his system. He had kept his promise. NBA Hall-of-Famer George Gervin, said this of CJ in an interview: “The best player I’ve ever seen was Curtis Jones."

Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond- Coming out of New York City and standing 6'1", The Destroyer could score with anyone. During the late 1960's to the 1970's, Hammond embarassed opponents everywhere. He scored 50 points in one half against Julius Erving at the Rucker. In 1977 he returned to the Rucker Tournament after a four year absence to set a league single-game record with 73 points. The Destroyer had his chances at the NBA. The Lakers offered him a contract, but he turned it down because there wasn't a no-cut-clause. Another time, a pro scout came to see him, but Hammond told him to wait because he was busy shooting craps. "Pound-for-pound, Joe Hammond was the greatest player ever to come out of Harlem." says Don Adams, Taft High School coach. However, Hammond turned to drugs, and ended up serving time in a prison in New York City.
Lewis "Black Magic" Lloyd - In the 1970's, Black Magic could be seen dominating the courts of Philadelphia. According to Sonny Hill League scorekeepers, Lloyd's points usually equaled his rebounds. Since both of those were usually in the twenties, his blocks could usually be found by dividing that number by 3. In a high-school all-star game in Ohio, Black Magic got the ball in the foul circle. He flashed his characteristic smile (his fans insist it's not cocky, just a sign that he knows what he's going to do) then proceeded to dunk so fiercely on 6'10" DeWayne Scales, that he nearly broke his hand. Lloyd played briefly for the Houston Rockets before being banned for two years from the NBA for drug violations.

James "Fly" Williams - In the late 1970's, Fly tore up New York City playgrounds with his dazzling moves and scoring abilities. In a Dapper Dan Classic, he dropped 63 points on NBA legend Moses Malone. As a freshman at Austin Peay University, Fly led the nation in scoring with a 29.4 average. "He had all of the Jordan moves before Jordan. It was like he had to score to keep breathing, to stay alive. I once asked Vinnie Johnson, who was from the same neighborhood as Fly, was it just me or was he that good? Vinnie said easily he was just that good," states Rick Telander, author of Heaven is a Playground. Fly's career was cut short by an ill-fated robbery attempt. A shotgun blast left him with half his lungs, and a massive scar on the left side of his back.

Herman "Helicopter" Knowings - "When I was in 9th grade, I saw the Helicopter, with my own two eyes, pick a quarter off the top of the backboard to win a bet, and I was in complete shock," stated NBA great Bernard King. King wasn't the only person shocked by the 6'4" Helicopter during the 1960's and mid-1970's. In a Rucker League game, he went for a ball fake in the lane, and as the man waited for him to come down, witnesses swear he treaded air until the referee called three-seconds. In another Rucker game, this one against a team of professionals including Willis Reed, Bob McCollough remembers that, "...there was one play where the pros brought the ball down, and Copter blocked a shot. Whap! The guy passed the ball to a teammate who tried to shoot. Whap! Blocked again. The next guy passed the ball to a third pro. Whap! Blocked again. Get the picture? Copter blocked three shots in a row by professionals." Copter died at the young age of 37, when in April of 1980, the cab he was in was hit by another car.

Richard "Pee Wee" Kirkland - Had fierce rivalries with Tiny Archibald. He rejected a contract that the Chicago Bulls offer him and said "Hey I could make more money in a couple of days on the street".
Lloyd "Sweet Pea" Daniels - He is a legendary basketball player, one of the most celebrated ever to come off the storied playgrounds of New York City. Better than Kareem, they say. Better than Connie Hawkins, they say. Former NBA reserve player Sam Worthen says, "When Lloyd was 16, he had the knowledge of the game to play in the NBA." Expand the comparisons. Just like Magic Johnson, they say, only with a better jump shot. Yeah, Larry Bird's. Daniels rarely went to school, and never graduated from high school. He was a one-man gang on his team. He could do it all score, rebound, and had a lot of versatility. His arrest for drug possession prevented him from playing at UNLV. After recovering from gunshot wounds, he had a few brief stints in the NBA with San Antonio, LA Lakers, and Philadelphia.

Which of these in their primes could have been All-Stars in the NBA? Hall-of-Famers? Curious if any of you know stories about them or have done research on them.

SugeKnight
12-10-2012, 07:05 AM
52 inch vertical?! BS

The Bard
12-10-2012, 08:02 AM
Most of these guys are short and their main game is dunking no shot at HOF IMO.

GiantsSwaGG
12-10-2012, 10:39 AM
Escalade would of been a beast PF

blystr2002
12-10-2012, 11:02 AM
Could some of them of played in the NBA if they kept themselves focused? Sure. Would they have made the HOF? No. That is another level. These guys are entertaining and have specific playground skills (See Rafer Alston), but the HOF is complete execution of the all-around game.

ACanadian
12-10-2012, 11:21 AM
Do these street-ball players played any decent defense? Because you got to contribute on both sides of the court if you want to play in the NBA let alone be in the HoF

The goods
12-10-2012, 11:26 AM
What about my main man Hot Sauce?

ZHawk1123
12-10-2012, 11:33 AM
DA PROFESSA! MY GODSON! OH BABY!

I miss And1

whitemamba33
12-10-2012, 11:39 AM
Sad, but all those mini-biographies are just about the same. "He was amazing, best I've ever seen! Better than this guy, and even that guy! But umm, ya, then he got into drugs and guns and stuff, and nobody ever heard of him again".

A lot of these guys are just short guys who could just jump really high. That would be great to see on the streets, but wouldn't work out so well in the NBA. I'll add Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell to the list.

ZHawk1123
12-10-2012, 11:41 AM
AO was pretty good and had tryouts with the Sonics and stuff

torocan
12-10-2012, 11:41 AM
52 inch vertical?! BS

It's not necessarily BS. There have been recorded human beings with 50"+ verticals.

Kadour Zadani (dunk specialist) supposedly has a vertical of 56" with some reports placing him at a peak of 60".
Randy Moss (NFL) was recorded officially with a 51" vertical
Leonel Marshall (Cuban Volleyball) was recorded at 50"

Michael Jordan was recorded with a 48" vertical. Could he have extracted a couple more inches by losing some weight/bulk? Possibly.

Is a 50" vertical exceedingly rare? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

It's impossible to know if those estimates are anywhere near correct, but I wouldn't rule it out as completely impossible.

superwill
12-10-2012, 11:42 AM
Do these street-ball players played any decent defense? Because you got to contribute on both sides of the court if you want to play in the NBA let alone be in the HoF

most of the guys listed played back in the 60s,70s,and 80s it was not like and 1 alot of those guys went head up the nba biggest stars at that time

Max Power
12-10-2012, 11:42 AM
If they were good enough, they'd be there.

superwill
12-10-2012, 11:45 AM
52 inch vertical?! BS

saw a story once that he could go between his legs twice with the ball in mid air

nickdymez
12-10-2012, 11:56 AM
I just want to see these guys advanced stats to really know if they were good... :rolleyes:

BklynKnicks3
12-10-2012, 12:05 PM
hook mitchell not on list?

Mr_Jones
12-10-2012, 12:11 PM
Escalade would of been a beast PF

He was like 6'4..

Mr_Jones
12-10-2012, 12:12 PM
If they were good enough, they'd be there.

Agreed.

whitemamba33
12-10-2012, 12:41 PM
I just want to see these guys advanced stats to really know if they were good... :rolleyes:

lol

superwill
12-10-2012, 12:45 PM
If they were good enough, they'd be there.

stop thinking the best players have played in the nba its just not true alot of great players dont make it to the nba for many reasons

superwill
12-10-2012, 12:49 PM
hook mitchell not on list?

billy the kid harris is not on the list and he said in a slam magazine interview he would have ****ed the all up michael,magic,bird and many more.

dnewguy
12-10-2012, 01:13 PM
I heard Hot Sause once made a shot through a needle hole, it was counted as 6 points. No human have tried it since. I also heard skip to my lou once broke a man's ankle on the ball court, six months later, Chuck Norris made it out the hospital... still in pain.
The Professor once crossed paths with Hitler...after 2 weeks of pain and agony, Hitler died.

whitemamba33
12-10-2012, 01:17 PM
billy the kid harris is not on the list and he said in a slam magazine interview he would have ****ed the all up michael,magic,bird and many more.

lol

ZHawk1123
12-10-2012, 01:26 PM
I heard Hot Sause once made a shot through a needle hole, it was counted as 6 points. No human have tried it since. I also heard skip to my lou once broke a man's ankle on the ball court, six months later, Chuck Norris made it out the hospital... still in pain.
The Professor once crossed paths with Hitler...after 2 weeks of pain and agony, Hitler died.

:yawn:

salmonleg
12-10-2012, 02:22 PM
Faulty premise. The landscape is littered with talented basketball players who had great moments and who were capable of great things that for whatever reason couldn't do s**t in the pro's. It's too big a leap to say that any of them could have been HOF'ers. Pro's yes.

asandhu23
12-10-2012, 02:43 PM
Meadowlark Lemon could have been great.

AEWyatt7
12-10-2012, 02:46 PM
Does anyone take into consideration that they CARRY the ball EVERYTIME AHHA? I know its in the NBA but NOT THAT BAD

superwill
12-10-2012, 03:10 PM
lol

go find the slam interview he said that and many other things like he never missed more the ten shots in a game he was also drafted by the chicago bulls in the 7th rd of the 1973 draft

whitemamba33
12-10-2012, 04:20 PM
go find the slam interview he said that and many other things like he never missed more the ten shots in a game he was also drafted by the chicago bulls in the 7th rd of the 1973 draft

I believe you, and I know all about the guy. I just think it's funny that HE is the one saying all these things, and he has always been his biggest fan. When it came down to it, he has less of a reason for not making it than most of the other guys. Drugs didn't destroy him...but he just didn't make the team. He has a million excuses as to why he didn't make it, but he didn't. Then he went on to the ABA and scored 8 ppg on 39% shooting in 76 total games - including 21% from 3 point line - despite him crediting himself as an amazing shooter.

He claims he never had a bad game...but I don't know how he did that with those numbers.

He sounds to me like a guy who had a field day destroying bums on the streets and in high school, but couldn't get the job done when a real hand was in his face.

TrueFan420
12-10-2012, 04:41 PM
He was like 6'4..

And fat... Wait are we talking bout Barkley or escalade

Hawkeye15
12-10-2012, 04:49 PM
52 inch vertical?! BS

there was a kid at Memphis, 6'7", who had a 51" vertical around 8-9 years ago. Can't remember his name. Earl was obviously gifted with leaping ability, but also used to do all sorts of jumping drills because he was shorter.

Its tough to say honestly. The street game is so different.

Hawkeye15
12-10-2012, 04:50 PM
hell, that russian dancer, Baryshnikov, had easily a 45+" vertical.

Jarvo
12-10-2012, 05:05 PM
Hot Sizzle "oh baby"

lakers4sho
12-10-2012, 05:10 PM
There's more to being a great basketball player (in the professional stage) than simply being good in basketball. Whatever the reason is, these guys never made it to the NBA, and so whatever talk of "couldve wouldve shouldve" is moot. Obviously you can't run if you haven't learned how to walk.

superwill
12-10-2012, 06:13 PM
there was a kid at Memphis, 6'7", who had a 51" vertical around 8-9 years ago. Can't remember his name. Earl was obviously gifted with leaping ability, but also used to do all sorts of jumping drills because he was shorter.

Its tough to say honestly. The street game is so different.

Jumpin Jackie Jackson go check out his story, if its true hell he had wings