“Billy, listen to me. White men can’t jump.” That’s Wesley Snipes’ Sidney Deane dropping some truth on Woody Harrelson’s character in White Men Can’t Jump. Billy Hoyle is unable to prove Sidney wrong. He misses on all three dunk attempts – even after Sidney pumps his sneakers up for him. The 1992 film coincided with a golden era in the NBA. Despite the fact that many remember it as a decade of Jordan domination, the league ran deep with stars and rivalries that electrified audiences.
The game relished in a more reckless, physical style than the way teams operate today. Bigs were employed differently. They owned the paint, and you didn’t see many seven-footers like Dirk Nowitzki or Kristaps Poringis attempting threes with regularity. The mid-range jumper was king. Now, it’s a lost art.
Coming back to White Men Can’t Jump, it’s clear the stereotype stuck with popular culture. There were a number of white playmakers in the 1990’s NBA. Much like their counterparts playing wide receiver in the NFL, these athletes were – and still are – routinely branded with a “scrappy” label. This backhanded compliment runs in the same vein as Sidney Deane’s proclamation (by the way, try telling that to the Dunking Dutchman or Tom Chambers). Regardless of perception, several have etched their way into NBA lore. It has been nearly two decades since the 1990s came to an end. It’s time to look at a collection of those former players and see what they’ve done since retiring.
16 Greg Ostertag (1995-2006)
Greg Ostertag is the quintessential awkward big man of the 1990s. Everything from his haircut to his on-court presence screamed “dad jeans.” Although the center never blossomed into a star, Ostertag became a vital piece for the Utah Jazz during their two-year mission to topple Jordan’s Bulls in the NBA Finals. His size provided a much needed presence down low. Beyond the up and downs with Coach Jerry Sloan, Ostertag also gained attention for the Fred Flinstone tattoo on his leg. He once even claimed he had been abducted by aliens. Ostertag played ten of eleven years with Utah and never experienced a losing season. He retired with career averages of 4.6 PPG, 5.5 RPB, and 1.7 BPG. Ostertag, all 7’2” of him, has picked up the game of hockey and joined a rec league since leaving the game. In a “Where Are They Now” segment on the Utah Jazz’s website, he mentioned moving to a nine-acre ranch in Texas. He recently attended a 20-year reunion for Utah’s 1997 Western Conference Championship team.
15 Scott Skiles (1986-1996)
You’d be hard pressed to call Scott Skiles a star in a golden age of point guards, but he does have something over the likes of Magic Johnson, John Stockton, and Isiah Thomas. Skiles holds the NBA record for assists in a single game (30). Skiles more than doubled the opposing team’s assist total (30-14). The assist record occurred during Skiles’ five-year tenure as an Orlando Magic point guard. He spent half of his career with the organization, posting a career high 17.2 PPG in 1990 and 9.4 APG in 1992. The journeyman transitioned to coaching after his NBA retirement. Following stints with the Suns, Bulls, and Bucks, Skiles returned to the Orlando Magic in 2015. He stepped down only one year later after claiming he was “not the right head coach for this team.” Other sources suggested Skiles’ disenchantment with the modern NBA players and his relationship with management contributed to the early departure.
14 Brent Barry (1995-2009)
Brent Barry’s career stretched throughout the first decade of the 2000s, but his original claim to fame came in 1996. Barry channeled Julius Erving and Michael Jordan when he utilized a free throw line liftoff to win the Slam Dunk Contest. Billy Hoyle would’ve been proud, but Barry wasn’t just about dunks. He also set a (then) rookie record for three-pointers with 123 and shot 40% from downtown in his career. Moving past the 90s, Barry won two NBA Championships as a contributor on the Spurs. Soon after he retired, Brent Barry’s divorce became public news when his wife was linked to Tony Parker’s split from Eva Longoria. The Parker-Longoria dissolution reportedly stemmed from a long string of inappropriate text messages exchanged between Parker and Erin Barry. In lighter, more recent news, Barry currently serves as a studio analyst on NBA TV’s GameTime.
13 Jeff Hornacek (1986-2000)
The 46th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft turned out to be quite a steal. Jeff Hornacek spent the first six years of his career in Phoenix and made his only All Star appearance during the 1991-92 season. A traded that included Charles Barkley sent Hornacek to Philadelphia for a year and a half before another swap landed him in Utah. He spent the rest of his career with the Jazz. Karl Malone and the Stockton-Hornacek backcourt combination became Utah’s big three. They fell short of an NBA title in both 1997 and 1998. Hornacek retired with 15,659 points and a .877 free throw percentage, good for 16th in NBA history. He returned to Utah as an assistant coach from 2011-2013. He also served as Phoenix’s head coach for two and a half years. The Suns fired him after a 14-35 start in his third season. Currently, Hornacek is in dire need of rescue from the ruinous hellscape that comes with being a New York Knicks head coach.
12 Detlef Schrempf (1985-2001)
Blessed with one of the greatest names in NBA history, Detlef Schrempf played at the University of Washington before joining Dallas as the 8th overall pick in 1985. Schrempf made little impact with the Mavericks (unlike another German in the NBA today), but he broke out with Indiana at the start of the 1990s. He received the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in both 1991 and 1992. Schrempf made three All Star games, one as a Pacer and two with the Seattle SuperSonics. Schrempf retired in 2001. He created the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, a children’s charitable organization, during his playing days. Today, it has raised over $15 million. His tireless efforts earned him the Paul Allen Award for Citizenship in 2012. He also sits on the board of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. If you watched NBC’s Parks and Recreation, it was hard to miss the 6’9” star’s guest appearance in a few episodes. He agreed to go on the show in order to promote his organization.
11 Bryant Reeves (1995-2001)
Bryant “Big Country” Reeves had all the makings of a goofy, 90s-era stud, but he ended up disappointing. Weight-control issues and debilitating back injuries cut his career short. After leading Okalahoma State to a Final Four bith in 1995, he became the Vancouver Grizzlies’ first ever draft pick (6th overall). The 7’0” center averaged 13.3 points and 7.4 rebonds per game on his way to making the All-Rookie Second Team. His stats continued to climb as high as 16.3 points and 8.1 rebounds over the next two years. Reeves was clearly the future. He signed a six-year, $61.8 million contract. Suddenly, the future wasn’t so bright. His numbers declined sharply. The big man with a cult following retired halfway through the 2001-2002 season due to chronic back pain. He now lives on a 300-acre cattle farm in Gans, Oklahoma. His son, Trey Reeves, is now a walk-on freshman at Big Country’s alma mater.
10 Christian Laettner (1992-2005)
Christian Laettner made his biggest impact before joining the NBA. He reached the Final Four with Duke in all four of his collegiate seasons. Laettner won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. Known for both his regional final buzzer beater against Kentucky and stepping on an opponent’s chest that same game, Laettner entered the NBA a simultaneous symbol of hatred and success. The much-reviled Power Forward/Center played on the 1992 Dream Team, although he stuck out like a sore thumb next to the rest of the immaculate roster. Laettner enjoyed moderate success in the NBA. He made the 1993 All-Rookie First Team and the 1997 All Star Game, but he also bounced around to six different teams. He never stayed with an organization for more than four seasons. Nowadays, Laettner runs the Christian Laettner Basketball Academy and holds ownership in D.C. United. He’s struggled with financial woes and bad investments. In 2016, Laettner faced involuntary bankruptcy due to a failed real estate investment with former Duke teammate, Brian Davis. He narrowly avoided proceedings by reaching a settlement with creditors.
9 Toni Kukoč (1993-2006)
Toni Kukoč had tremendous success playing basketball in Europe before beginning his NBA journey with the Bulls. He won three EuroLeague Championships, three Croatian Sportsman of the Year Awards, and one Italian Cup. He led the Croatian Men’s National Team to a silver medal against the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics. It only made sense that the “Croatian Sensation” continued his winning ways in America. He won the 1996 Sixth Man of the Year Award during the Bulls’ fourth title run of the decade. Kukoč continued to play a pivotal role in Chicago’s next two NBA Champonships. The team traded him in 2000. He spent quieter years with the 76ers, Hawks and Bucks until his retirement. Since then, Kukoč has become an avid golfer. He won a Croatian amateur championship in 2011. Kukoč joined Scottie Pippen as a Special Advisor to the President and COO of the Chicago Bulls in summer 2015.
8 Mark Price (1986-1998)
Mark Price was Cleveland’s bright light of hope before King James entered the picture. A 6’0” point guard out of Georgia Tech, Price surprised critics who figured him too small and slow for the NBA. He reached four All Star Games, one in 1989 and three consecutive from 1992 to 1994. Price is one of seven players in the 50-40-90 Club. During the 1988-1989 season, he shot at least 40% from three, at least 50% from the field, and at least 90% from the charity stripe. The Cavaliers traded Price to the Wizards in 1995. He spent a year each with the Wizards, Warriors and Magic before leaving the game. Price’s .9039 Free Throw% sits second all time. He has the second most assists (4,206), three-pointers (802), and steals (734) in Cleveland franchise history. Price has served as a consultant, assistant and shooting coach for several teams in the past two decades. Most recently, he became head coach of the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team in 2015. The mid-major went 13-17 this season and finished 10th in Conference USA.
6 Tom Chambers (1981-1995, 1997)
Another major rebuttal to Wesley Snipes, power forward Tom Chambers (Pictured Second Left) took flight in a 1989 matchup against the New York Knicks. Do yourself a favor and google “Tom Chambers dunk.” The Internet already knows. You don’t have to get any more specific than that. If you’re too lazy to look it up, Chambers essentially floats above a helpless Mark Jackson for an eternity before embarrassing him with a two-handed jam. While Chambers undoubtedly played his best basketball with Seattle and Phoenix at the tail end of the 1980s, he made the 1990s first two All Star Games and remained in the league for much of the decade. He retired with 20,049 points and 6,703 rebounds. Chambers was inducted into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 1999. He has spent time with the Phoenix front office as a community relations representative and is currently a member of the Suns’ broadcast team. Chambers also owns Shooting Star Ranch, which is located in North Ogden, Utah.
5 Rik Smits (1988-2000)
The Dunking Dutchman won over the hearts and minds of Pacers fans with his goofball looks and mullet. Drafted second overall in 1988, Smits played Robin to Reggie Miller’s Batman during Indiana’s playoff runs. He spent his entire career with the Pacers organization and reached his only All Star game in 1998. Smits battled foot problems throughout his 12 years in the NBA. When the Dutchman retired following the 2000 Finals defeat, he did so with 12,871 points, 5,277 rebounds, and 1,111 blocks. Smits began amassing motorcross motorcycles almost immediately after retirement. He calls it a “collecting disease,” and it led to a stockpile of over 160 bikes. He has raced across the country on the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association circuit. This list’s most bizarre visual is currently a dead heat between Ostertag playing hockey and 7’4” Rik Smits racing a motorcross bike. Rik’s son, Derrik Smits, plays basketball at Valparaiso.
4 Steve Kerr (1988-2003)
Steve Kerr’s playing career might be considered insignificant at a glance. Kerr was the 50th pick of the 1988 NBA Draft. He played for six different teams in fifteen years and only started 30 total games. Take a closer look, and his career takes on a new shape. Kerr made his biggest impact during a five-year stretch with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged just a shade under 20 postseason minutes per game during the Bulls’ second three-peat. His most important moment came in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Michael Jordan drew a double team and passed it to Kerr in the game’s waning moments. Kerr hit a go-ahead, game winning shot with five seconds left. When the Bulls dynasty ended, Kerr joined San Antonio and won a fourth consecutive title. When all was said and done, Kerr had five rings as a player and held the NBA’s best career three-point percentage (.4540). Kerr later became the Suns GM between stints as a television analyst. Basketball fans don’t necessarily require a “Where Are They Now” for this one. Kerr presently serves as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. The team is the number one seed in the Western Confernce and has set its sights on a second championship in three years.
3 Dan Majerle (1988-2002)
Dan Majerle, the 1988 14 overall pick, began his career as a shooting guard and small forward for the Phoenix Suns. He forged a reputation for monster dunks – his nickname was Thunder Dan – stout defense, and three point sharpshooting. Majerle made three All Star games between 1992 and 1995. He also earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1991 and 1993. Phoenix made it to the 1993 NBA Finals behind the play of Barkley and Majerle, but fell as so many others did to the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the Cavaliers before the 1995-1996 season. Majerle served as a reserve for several years in Cleveland and Miami before returning to Phoenix for his final season. The Suns inducted him into their Ring of Honor in 2003. He joined the franchise as an assistant coach from 2008-13. When he was let go with Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry, Majerle accepted a head coaching position at Grand Canyon University. The team spent two seasons hovering around .500 before exploding to 27-7 in 2015-16 and 22-9 in 2016-2017. Don’t be surprised if Majerle rises the ranks to fill a bigger coaching vacancy in the near future.
2 Chris Mullin (1985-2001)
Before the Splash Brothers, the Warriors employed an exciting trio by the name of “Run TMC.” Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin made the Warriors a perennial threat during the late '80s and early '90s. Mullin lacked speed as a small forward/shooting guard, but he more than made up for the hole in his game with pure shooting ability and grit. He made five straight All Star games from 1989-93. While playing for the 1992 Dream Team, Mullin averaged 12.9 PPG, shot 61.9% from the field, and hit 53.8% from beyond the arc. Mullin’s only NBA Finals appearance unfortunately came well past his prime with the 2000 Indiana Pacers. He returned to Golden State for his final season. The NBA Hall of Fame inducted Mullin in 2011. Chris Mullin served as the Warriors’ Executive VP of Basketball Operations from 2004 to 2009. He worked as an analyst for ESPN and as a special advisor to the Sacramento Kings before accepting a head coaching job at his alma mater, St. John’s, in 2015. Warriors teammate Mitch Richmond joined him as an assistant coach. Georgetown’s recent decision to hire Patrick Ewing could create an engaging rivalry between the two Big East foes.
1 John Stockton (1984-2003)
When John Stockton entered the NBA out of Gonzaga, the school was not the basketball power it is today. An article from the 1984 Draft called Stockton’s 16th overall selection shocking. Utah fans neither cheered nor booed. They simply didn’t know much about him. The 6’1” point guard with extraordinary passing skills quickly filled them in. He made 10 All Star teams, averaged a career double-double (13.1 ppg and 10.5 apg), and formed a lethal pick and roll combination with the great Karl Malone. Stockton, the third member of this list on the Dream Team, spent his entire career with the Utah Jazz. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Stockton still holds the NBA’s all-time record for career steals (3,265) and assists (15,806). Neither marks are anywhere close to being challenged. For example, LeBron James (number 12 all-time in assists) is still over 400 away from half Stockton’s total. The Hall of Famer released an autobiography, Assisted, in 2013. He joined Montana State University’s women’s basketball program as assistant coach in 2015. He was recently seen supporting Gonzaga in the NCAA National Championship Game alongside his daughter, Laura Stockton, who plays for Gonzaga’s women’s team.
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