Black Greeks have dominated on the hardwood for decades (Photo Credit: Jeremy Sadoff/Charisma).
Contributing to NBA Culture: All-Time Phi Beta Sigma NBA Team
When Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity bloomed on the campus of Howard University in 1914, the founders desired to start a brotherhood that would become “a part of” the community, not one “apart from” the community.
They succeeded in all facets of life, including professional sports.
Sigmas have become a big part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) community and culture.
There is no NBA story if some of these brothers are not a part of the story.
Therefore, RegalMag.com would like to honor the best Sigmas ever to play the game of basketball in its series on NBA Greeks.
Small Forward: Scottie Pippen—The Chicago Bulls legend popularized the position of “point forward.” Not only did Pippen handle a lot of the ball handling duties for the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls, he also had the job of defending the biggest offensive threat on the opposing team. His lockdown defense of Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals had a lot to do with the Bulls taking their first title. He also won two gold medals in the Olympics. “Pip” had career averages of 16.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game.
Power Forward: Karl Malone—“The Mailman” literally always delivered on the basketball court. The only thing he could not deliver to Salt Lake City was an NBA championship. And that was only because of that “Black Cat” from the Chicago Bulls, the nickname Reggie Miller gave Michael Jordan. Nevertheless, the Utah Jazz legend averaged 25 points per game to go along with 10.1 rebounds per game for his career. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) scored more points than Malone in the NBA. The Louisiana Tech legend scored a total of 36,928 total points, with many coming on the patented pick and roll with John Stockton.
Center: Willis Reed—“The Captain” was one of the first NBA tough guys. And what better team than the New York Knicks existed for a tough guy to play for. However, the Grambling product was not just a tough guy like Knick legends Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley. He was also a great scorer with that silky smooth left-handed jump shot. His career included two NBA titles with the Knicks and career averages of 18.7 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game.
Shooting Guard: Lawrence Moten—The brother nicknamed “Poetry” did not become a star in the NBA. However, he was smooth as silk playing in college for Syracuse. Unfortunately, Moten only played three NBA seasons, two with the Vancouver Grizzlies and one season with the Washington Wizards. He had career averages of 6.3 points per game.
Point Guard: Vern Fleming—The former Indiana Pacers floor general had career averages 11.3 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game 4.8 points per game. The Pacers selected the former Georgia Bulldog with the 18th overall selection in the 1984 draft. That draft also produced Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Stockton and some dude with the surname, Jordan. He averaged 14. 1 points per game as a rookie in 1984-85. His best scoring years were 1988-89 and 1989-90 in which he averaged 14.3 points per game in both seasons. Fleming played his final NBA season with the New Jersey Nets.
Point Guard: Darnell Valentine—Darnell Valentine was a success in the classroom and on the court coming up in high school and at University of Kansas. While playing for the Kansas Jayhawks, he became a three-time Academic All-American. The Portland Trailblazers selected Valentine with the 16th overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers over a 10-year career, averaging 8.7 points per game and 5 assists per game.
Center: Olden Polynice—The center from University of Virginia had career averages of 7.8 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. Polynice played pro basketball from 1987-2004. Although Polynice had a solid career as a role player, the Seattle Supersonics never really lived down trading their 1987 first round draft pick, Scottie Pippen, for a career role player.
Power Forward: Chucky Brown—In Houston, Chucky Brown is a living legend. When the defending champion Houston Rockets traded power forward Otis Thorpe for Clyde Drexler on Valentine’s Day 1995, the Rockets had a glaring lack of depth at the four position. But along with Robert Horry and Pete Chilcutt, Brown helped the Rockets overcome the loss of Thorpe in the 1995 playoffs by holding their own against opposing power forwards like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman and Horace Grant. The Rockets ended the 1995 playoffs by winning their second championship in two consecutive seasons.
Shooting Guard: Greg Graham—In college, Graham played for the legendary coach Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. At Indiana, Graham teamed up with college stars like Alan Henderson, Calbert Cheaney and Damon Bailey. He played five seasons in the NBA, averaging 4.5 points per game.
Center: William Bedford—Although Bedford had enormous talent, his career is a microcosm of the 1986 NBA Draft. Players like Bedford, Chris Washburn and Roy Tarpley saw their careers stagger because of drug addictions. And Len Bias lost his life two days after the draft as a result of a cocaine overdose. Bedford played from 1986-1993, missing the 1988-89 season because of drug rehab. He had career averages of 4.1 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Small Forward: Gerald Glass—Glass had a solid NBA career, averaging 7.7 points per game. However, his college ascension made him a star. Out of high school, he did not garner much attention from recruiters. “World Class Glass” started his college career at Delta State, later transferring to Ole Miss. His epic college battles with LSU’s Chris Jackson made him a college basketball standout.
Willis Reed—After his Hall of Fame playing career with the Knicks, Reed became a coach and a general manager. He had a 49-47 record coaching the Knicks. As the coach of the New Jersey Nets, he accumulated a 33-77 record. He also coached Creighton University.