African-Americans comprise nearly 75 percent of all NBA players, according to a July 2016 article published by Sports Business News. However, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the association didn’t employ an African-American until small forward Early Lloyd played for the Washington Capitols on October 31, 1950. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Lloyd competed for the Capitols, Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons before retiring in 1960. Roughly a decade after Lloyd shelved his high-tops, the Pistons hired the hardwood pioneer as an assistant coach.
"Here I am, a young black kid — from kindergarten right through graduating from college, I never had a white classmate,” Lloyd, who passed away in February 2015 at the age of 86, told NPR.
“And you're born and raised in the den of segregation, you've been treated third-class all your life. So you tend to believe that you're inferior. And when you walk into a pro training camp ... the first thing you ask yourself, very quietly, [is] 'Do I belong here?' And at training camp, where it's on, and you start scrimmaging these guys and playing against them, you know — then the bulb lights up, and tells you that you belong."
In stark contrast to when Lloyd bravely debuted as a Capitol, caucasians are now the NBA’s minority. Truthfully, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward and New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis are the only young, noteworthy white players in the association.
With a shortage of individuals to select from, let’s rank the 15 worst caucasians to get drafted over the last 30 years.
15 JOEL PRZYBILLA
University of Minnesota center Joel Przybilla was a formidable presence in the paint. Following a successful collegiate career, the Houston Rockets took the 7-foot-1, 245-pound Przybilla with the ninth selection in 2000. Shortly thereafter, the skyscraping Golden Gopher was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Przybilla struggled in Brew Town and he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in February 2004. Something of a journeyman, Przybilla also played for the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats before retiring as a Buck at the age of 34 in August 2014.
Przybilla averaged 3.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over 592 games in the association. Despite managing to remain in the NBA for 13 years, Przybilla’s statistics are heinous for a draft lottery pick.
14 TYLER HANSBROUGH
Former University of North Carolina power forward Tyler Hansbrough is debatably the most accomplished player in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) history. The Indiana Pacers drafted the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Hansbrough with the 13th choice in 2009. Hansbrough, a three-time consensus first-team All-American and four-time first-team All-ACC selection, played sparingly over four seasons as a Pacer in Indianapolis. The 2008 National Player of the Year signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors as an unrestricted free agent in July 2015. Regrettably for the beloved Tar Heel, Hansbrough’s fortunes didn’t change north of the border and he wasn’t re-signed following the 2015-16 campaign. Hansbrough averaged 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 428 games as a Pacer, Raptor and Charlotte Hornet. The gritty, 31-year-old Hansbrough has performed admirably since getting acquired by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in March.
13 TODD LICHTI
Stanford University shooting guard Todd Lichti was a brilliant college basketball player. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Lichti, a four-time All-Pac 10 selection and a consensus second-team All-American in 1989, averaged 18.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 124 contests as a Cardinal. The Denver Nuggets took Lichti with the 15th pick in 1989. After five seasons in the Mile High City, Lichti worked for the Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and the Perth Wildcats of the Australian National Basketball League. Lichti averaged 7.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 237 NBA games. Stanford’s longtime career scoring leader, Lichti’s record was surpassed by Cardinal guard Chasson Randle in April 2015.
“It was always going to be broken at some point,” said Lichti, 50. “In jest, I just sometimes say I babysat it for a while.”
12 ADAM KEEFE
Power forward Adam Keefe was a second-team All-American in 1992 for the Stanford Cardinal basketball program. Intrigued by his versatility, the Atlanta Hawks took the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Keefe with the 10th selection in 1992. Keefe’s shot went cold in Hotlanta and he was deemed expendable by the Hawks’ brain trust. Keefe subsequently performed for the Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and Club Bàsquet Sant Josep before retiring in 2003 as a member of Madrid-based Movistar Estudiantes. Keefe, who averaged 5.0 points and 4.1 boards in 617 NBA games, is now focused on finances.
“My playing days ended in 2003 and I went right into the investment world and joined a firm,” says Keefe, 47. “I’ve lived in Los Angeles ever since.”
11 TODD FULLER
The Golden State Warriors thought that North Carolina State University center Todd Fuller was a better prospect than Kobe Bryant. Accordingly, the Warriors drafted the 6-foot-11, 255-pound Fuller with the 11th pick in 1996. Fuller, a first-team All-ACC selection in 1996, only lasted four seasons in The Town.
"Hindsight is always 20/20, but when I came out to the Warriors, it was a team in flux and I actually played a lot early and got off to a good start," Fuller, 42, told Yahoo Sports.
"I put too much pressure on myself. I wasn't that athletically talented, but I had enough tools to get the job done if I'd just worked a bit harder and had a little bit more stable mindset toward myself."
Fuller averaged 3.7 points, 3.0 boards and 0.2 dishes over 225 contests as a member of the Warriors, Jazz, Hornets and Heat.
10 JIMMER FREDETTE
Shooting guard Jimmer Fredette was a quasi-celebrity throughout his senior season for the BYU Cougars. Following a flurry of moves on draft night, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Fredette eventually became a Sacramento King with the 10th pick in 2011. Fredette rarely participated as a King and he was waived by the organization less than three years later in February 2014. A sensational scorer, Fredette also failed to impress as a Chicago Bull, New Orleans Pelican and New York Knick. Nonetheless, the 2011 National Player of the Year found his niche in China and is a bona fide superstar for the Shanghai Sharks.
“Obviously, I’m from the USA and the NBA is the greatest league in the world, and if I have the opportunity to play in the NBA that’s where I would love to play,” said Fredette, 28. “But China is a great opportunity. The fans have been great to me, more than I can imagine.”
9 DAVE JAMERSON
The Miami Heat drafted Ohio University small forward Dave Jamerson with the 15th pick in 1990. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Jamerson was promptly traded to the Rockets and he played in Houston for three seasons. Following a brief stint with the Utah Jazz, the 1990 MAC Player of the Year gained employment with the Omaha Racers of the Continental Basketball Association. Jamerson, who called it quits after competing for the Racers, New Jersey Nets and Rochester Renegade all in the year 1994, averaged 3.4 points and 0.9 boards in the NBA. Jamerson now works as an outreach pastor at Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
"I like to joke with people," Jamerson, 49, told the Athens NEWS. "I tell them, 'Having to guard Magic Johnson for three games made me turn to God.'"
8 ALEC KESSLER
Alec Kessler may have become a better orthopedic surgeon than he was an NBA player. The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Kessler was the 1990 SEC Player of the Year for the Georgia Bulldogs. The Houston Rockets selected Kessler with the 12th overall choice in 1990. However, immediately thereafter, Kessler was sent to the Miami Heat for a couple of prospects. Kessler lasted five years in the Sunshine State with the Heat. Kessler, who also played professionally in Italy, never again stepped on an NBA hardwood after Miami waived him in November 1994.
In 210 contests with the Heat, Kessler averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 boards. Kessler shrewdly saved his basketball earnings and used the money to attend medical school at Emory in Atlanta and residency at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Tragically, a 40-year-old Kessler suffered a fatal heart attack during a game of pickup basketball in October 2007.
7 WILL PERDUE
Center Will Perdue piggybacked off a quartet of icons to win three titles as a Chicago Bull and one crown with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. Rather than mooching, as the 11th overall pick out of Vanderbilt University in 1988, the 7-foot-1, 240-pound Perdue should have been a major contributor. The 1988 SEC Athlete of the Year was a potent force in the paint in Nashville. Upon turning professional, Perdue was an underwhelming pushover who played for the Bulls, Spurs, and Portland Trail Blazers. Perdue averaged 4.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists over 792 games in the association.
Perdue retired at the age of 35 following the 2000-01 campaign. Perdue’s only memorable moment as an NBA employee occurred when Michael Jordan punched him in the face during a Bulls’ practice.
6 ERIC MONTROSS
The Boston Celtics picked University of North Carolina center Eric Montross ninth overall in 1994. The 7-foot, 270-pound Montross, a two-time consensus second-team All-American who led the Tar Heels to the 1993 national championship, initially impressed in Beantown and was named to the 1995 NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Regrettably for the native Hoosier, Montross’s luck with the Celtics quickly vanished and the fabled franchise shipped him to the Dallas Mavericks. Montross couldn’t secure a permanent residence and he collected paychecks from the Celtics, Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.
Altogether, in 465 games as an NBA employee, Montross averaged 4.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.4 assists. Montross shelved his sneaks in August 2003 at the age of 31.
5 CHEROKEE PARKS
Like Danny Ferry, erstwhile Duke Blue Devils center Cherokee Parks was outmatched in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks chose the 6-foot-11, 235-pound Parks with the 12th selection in 1995. Parks fizzled in the Lone Star State and he subsequently pocketed money from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Vancouver Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors. Parks mercifully retired from the NBA in 2003 at the age of 30. Somewhat oddly, a 38-year-old Parks returned to the hardwood in 2011 to play for the U.S. Aubenas Basket team in France. Parks averaged a paltry 4.4 points, 3.6 boards and 0.6 dishes over 10 seasons and 472 contests in the association.
4 DANNY FERRY
Power forward Danny Ferry is arguably the Duke Blue Devils’ most notorious bust. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Ferry was a two-time ACC Athlete of the Year and the 1989 Naismith College Player of the Year as a Blue Devil in Durham. The Los Angeles Clippers sensed greatness and took Ferry with the second pick in 1989. Ferry refused to work as a Clipper and he traveled overseas to play for the Italian league's Il Messaggero. Los Angeles’ suits finally relented and traded Ferry’s rights to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ron Harper in November 1989. Ferry was a middling Cavalier who played 10 seasons in Cleveland. The unthreatening Blue Devil averaged 7.0 points, 2.8 boards and 1.3 dishes in 917 contests as a Cavalier and San Antonio Spur. The 50-year-old Ferry serves as a special advisor for the New Orleans Pelicans.
3 ADAM MORRISON
The Charlotte Bobcats chose Gonzaga University small forward Adam Morrison third overall in 2006. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound Morrison was a 2006 consensus first-team All-American who won that year’s Oscar Robertson Trophy as a junior Bulldog in Spokane. Morrison excited onlookers in his inaugural season as a pro and earned a spot on the 2007 NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Disappointingly, a severe knee injury and pathetic defense ruined Morrison’s stay in The Hornets Nest. Michael Jordan sent Morrison and Shannon Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vladimir Radmanović in February 2009.
A dim presence in Tinseltown, Morrison was waived by the Lakers following the 2009–10 campaign. Morrison averaged 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 161 games as a member of the Bobcats and Lakers. The 32-year-old Morrison, and his spectacular porn moustache, was out of the sport altogether by April 2012.
2 DARKO MILICIC
Rather than Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade, the Detroit Pistons selected Serbian center Darko Miličić second overall in 2003. The 7-foot, 275-pound Miličić was in a glorified federal witness protection program as a Piston in Motown. Hence, Miličić blamed his unproductiveness on a lack of playing time.
''I've said it 10,000 times, the best way for me to improve is to play,” said Miličić.
“All the work in practice and individual workouts can only help me so much. I can't say how good I am or how bad I am because I haven't played to show myself, or anybody."
The Pistons hierarchy sent Miličić to the Orlando Magic in February 2006. The towering European became a journeyman and averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 468 games as a member of the Pistons, Magic, Grizzlies, Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics. Miličić quit basketball in 2012 at the age of 26.
1 FREDERIC WEIS
Infamously billed by a New York tabloid as “French Toast,” the Knicks took center Frederic Weis with the 15th pick in 1999. The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Weis, who was selected before Queens native Ron Artest, was an utter disaster from the outset. Approximately a year after getting drafted, Weis was finally expected to practice with the Knicks’ summer-league team in July 2000. But rather than venturing to Gotham, Weis disregarded his flight and stayed in France.
“I’m not thinking about (Weis),” Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy told the New York Post. “I’ve only been thinking about the guys that are here. If he shows up we’ll see where he’s at.”
Weis, an alcoholic who attempted suicide in 2008, never played in an NBA game. Thankfully, the 39-year-old Weis received help and he’s reportedly enjoying a peaceful existence in west-central France.
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