Retired Brian Scalabrine dominates one-on-one challenge in Boston


brian_scalabrineIf an NBA player has retired, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t got game anymore.

Over 11 NBA seasons, journeyman forward Brian Scalabrine cultivated an image of a regular guy who just happened to play basketball.

Scalabrine spent his time in the NBA with New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

He played in 520 NBA games (61 started), averaging 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg in 13 minutes of action.

Eventually, many fans came to believe that Scalabrine was an Average Joe, not an elite athlete (as all NBA players are), and figured that he probably wasn’t that great at the profession that earned him tens of millions of dollars.

This summer, Scalabrine said that he resented this suggestion (even if he also heartily embraced the regular guy image), and in December he challenged any Boston-area amateur basketball players to games of one-on-one.

Scalabrine defeated every one of those four hand-picked competitors.

Scalabrine — who spent the last few seasons of his career seen as the “human victory cigar” — easily defeated all four of his opponents, throwing down monstrous jams and sinking smooth jumpers as he beat them all by a combined score of 44-6.

This full-scale domination isn’t terribly surprising, because it really is amazingly difficult to play in the NBA for 11 seasons.

Scalabrine managed to do so in part because he found a role as a good teammate, which made him more valuable than his talent may have suggested, but even then he was in competition with an exceedingly small group of potential employees.

The idea that any random weekend warrior could challenge him is ridiculous.

While no fan should ever feel like he’s on the same athletic plane as a professional athlete, the fact of the matter is that some pros embrace that image because it provides them new opportunities.

Without it, Scalabrine probably never would have gotten his current job as an analyst for CSN New England. He deserves more respect than he’s been given, but there are also identifiable reasons for why he doesn’t always get it.

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