Saturday, September 26, 2015

Herb White: Dunker Extraordinaire

"elevator from decatur" Atlanta Hawks NBA ABA

One of the best sport magazines I ever read was Sports Illustrated's The Most Overrated And Underrated (August 27, 2001).  This very entertaining feature  approaches some sports figures and events from a different perspective and dispels some sports myths in the process, rating the most overrated and underrated quarterbacks, sports rivalries, baseball player, sports flake, heavyweight champion, quote, etc…

One interesting category is for the Most Overrated / Underrated Dunker by Alexander Wolff.  This of course refers to dunking a basketball which has become that sport's “homerun."  The Overrated Dunker award was not a surprise.  It was awarded to “the Chocolate Thunder,” Daryl Dawkins, who was not only an overrated dunker, but an overrated player;  an NBA center who the Philadelphia 76ers realized they had to upgrade to win a championship (which they did in the form of Moses Malone).

More interesting was the Underrated Dunker Award which went to the person Wilt Chamberlain considered to be a better dunker than anyone.  Images of  "the best dunker ever” probably don’t conjure up a slight, 6’2” white guy, but that is exactly who Herb White of the Atlanta Hawks was.   Chamberlain recalled,  "You know, there was a white boy who played for Atlanta around 1970. Never got off the bench, but in warmups he could dunk better than anyone I've ever seen.” 

Known as “the Elevator from Decatur” Herb White so impressed Hawks players during a workout prior to White's senior season at Decatur, that coach Richie Guerin invited him to a tryout.  The Hawks made him the 133rd player taken in the draft that year (1970, 8th round) and he made the team as a backup to a more famous rookie, Pete Maravich.  White and Maravich were roommates on the road and were reportedly drinking buddies.  White would put on a dunk show in pre-game warm ups and once received a standing ovation from the New York Knicks crowd at Madison Square Garden.  He and Claude English (another prolific dunker) of the Portland Trailblazers faced off in 1971 and English conceded after White did a 360 dunk with two balls.  White left the NBA after that single season due to an ankle injury and then continued to play professionally in Mexico and Europe.

RetroCards honors Herb White with a 1970-71 card complete with that groovy Hawks jersey with the curvy blue and lime green striping.  Coming soon.

The Sports Illustrated article can be found here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cowboys Get One Step Closer To A Championship

Margene Adkins, Richmond Flowers, Ike Thomas, Gloster Richardson, Roger Staubach, Claxton Welch, Rayfield Wright, Herb Adderley, Lance Alworth, George Andrie, Mike Ditka, Dave Edwards, Cornell Green, Forrest Gregg, Pettis Norman, Jethro Pugh, Lance Rentzel, Don Talbert

1971 is the year the Cowboys finally made it to the Super Bowl, following a 10-4 season in 1970.  It seems strange now to think that Cowboys were the NFL's most prolific losers, having lost the Championships in 1966 and 1967 to the Green Bay Packers, losing the Conference Playoff game against the Cleveland Browns in 1968 and 1968 and finally, losing Super Bowl V in 1970 to the Baltimore Colts, a game they had no business losing.  The 1971 cards reflect the 1970 season that led to that horrible last game called the Blunder Bowl, played on January 17, 1971.

After that loss, the franchise decided that there was no way in hell they were going to lose the following year so they continued stacking their roster with new talent and future Hall Of Fame veterans.  This RetroCards 18-card set features quite a few familiar names from that 1970 season and some new additions for the 1971 season, the ones that would help put them over the top.

Young players like Margene Adkins, Richmond Flowers, Ike Thomas, Gloster Richardson, Roger Staubach, Claxton Welch, and Rayfield Wright are joined by vets Herb Adderley, Lance Alworth, George Andrie, Mike Ditka, Dave Edwards, Cornell Green, Forrest Gregg, Pettis Norman, Jethro Pugh, Lance Rentzel, and Don Talbert.  This 18-card set is available now... order here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Moses' Move To The NBA Commemorated By RetroCards

Buffalo Braves, Houston Rockets, Spirits of st. Louis
The first player to enter Pro Basketball straight out of high school, Moses Malone was one of the great proto-typical centers in the NBA.  Having signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Maryland in 1974, he was drafted by the ABA's Utah Stars, who he signed a $1 million contract with.  The Stars folded the following year and Malone signed with the exciting Spirits Of St. Louis, where he played for one season as well.  At that point the ABA-NBA merger happened and Malone was placed in the dispersal draft despite his NBA rights being owned by the New Orleans Jazz.  He was selected by the Portland Trailblazers and had an impressive pre-season but he was traded to the Buffalo Braves prior to the first game of the 1976-1977 season.  After two games with Buffalo, he was traded again, this time to the Houston Rockets where he would spend the next five seasons.

His first two MVP awards were with the Rockets in 1978-79 and 1981-1982 but it wasn't until he was traded to the Philadephia 76ers for the 1982-83 season where he was MVP of the League and of the finals where he won his first and only championship.  RetroCards honors the recently deceased Moses Malone with three cards for the 1976-77 season: The Spirits of St. Louis, who he played for the prior season, the Buffalo Braves and the Houston Rockets.  Coming Soon!

1976-77 Card, though he never played a regular season game for Portland.









Wednesday, September 9, 2015

1967 Raiders Go To The Super Bowl

George Blanda, Willie Brown, Eugene Upshaw, Pete Banaszak, Tom Keating, Gus Otto, J.R. Williamson, Dan Birdwell, Bill Miller, Warren Wells, Jim Harvey, Rodger Bird, Bill Laskey, Howie Williams, Richard Sligh, John Rauch, Carlton Oats, Ken Herlock, Warren Powers


After toiling for seven year with no post-season appearances to date, the Raiders finally put together that championship team, by posting a 13-1 record.  1967 would be the year the Raiders would win the AFL Championship, and represent the league in Super Bowl II.

The attractive 1967 AFL Raiders team set is one of the most popular in the hobby, and Retrocards now supplements that set with an 18-card set of its own. Superstars represented in this set include George Blanda and Willie Brown, in their first years as Raiders, and Eugene Upshaw, in his would-be rookie card. Other well-known competitors of Raider lore include Pete Banaszak, Tom Keating, Gus Otto, J.R. Williamson, Dan Birdwell, Bill Miller and Warren Wells.

Furthermore, Raider historians will be pleased with these players finally given their due on a card, namely Jim Harvey, Rodger Bird, Bill Laskey, Howie Williams, and the tallest player in pro football history, the 7'0", 300-pound Richard Sligh.  Whether you are a fanatic of the Silver-and-Black, a fan of AFL history, or anyone who enjoyed the color and style of the 1967 set, this team set is for you. Coming soon!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Black Borders Are Back in 1985

Kurt Petersen, Anthony Dickerson, Dextor Clinkscale, Timmy Newsome, Glen Titensor, Howard Richards, Brian Baldinger, Ron Fellows, Gene Lockhart, John Warren, Doug Donley, Duriel Harris, Jesse Penn, Steve DeOssie, USFL John Williams, CFL star Waddell Smith, Crawford Ker, Tom Landry

The 1985 Dallas Cowboys season marked the last time in the Landry-era the team had a winning record as well as made the playoffs.  Fans hoped that many of the younger players would step up to become perennial Pro Bowlers but unfortunately for Cowboys fans, that never happened.  This RetroCards set features many players from the 1984 team and a couple of new comers.

This set was striking with a solid black border and horizontal style.  The large-scale lettering for the player name is a real change from most other designs where the focus was the team name.  Starters such as Kurt Petersen, Anthony Dickerson, Dextor Clinkscale, Timmy Newsome, Glen Titensor, Howard Richards, Brian Baldinger, Ron Fellows, Gene Lockhart are all here.  Other contributors include punter John Warren, Doug Donley, Duriel Harris, Jesse Penn, Steve DeOssie, USFL standout John Williams, and former CFL star Waddell Smith.  Draft choice Crawford Ker, coach Tom Landry, and a team card are also included.  Coming soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Electric Football Beats Any Video Game For Some Diehards




In a time long ago, before video games, there were artifacts know as "board games."  They came in colorful boxes, had pieces and playing cards, and you played them with other people in the same room.  Above are the football board games I grew up with and I am proud to say I introduced my two boys to my original electric football set (which was given to me by my much older neighbor when he tired of it).  Ebay is loaded with this kind of stuff and there has been a run on these types of games for not only nostalgia's sake but play with something that is not digital!

Thankfully, a book devoted to these wonderful game is now available, Steve Anderson's Retro Football Games: A 90 Year Pictoral History.  Check out the website here to order your copy!