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Brooklyn well represented among NBA stars
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On September 28, 2012 @ 1:59 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY
Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, Brooklynite through and through, knows where basketball dreams begin in the borough.
His aunt, 91-year-old Sister Mary Terence, taught Lenny Wilkens, who made it to the NBA and became a Hall of Famer as a player and a coach. Mike Dunleavy grew up in a nearby neighborhood. He made it to the NBA, too, as a player and a coach.
“As a young kid, you always had someone to look up to and emulate, so that dream was a little closer when someone from your neighborhood did it,” Mullin said. “You’re not chasing something no one has ever done. It’s a dream, but some dreams come true.”
Sam Perkins, another Brooklyn native, knows about dreams. He played for North Carolina and spent 17 seasons in the NBA. He understands that dreams die, too.
“There’s a lot of stories told and untold â?? successful players who went on to college and the pros and a lot of unsuccessful players who had so much talent but didn’t make the cut because of elements in the street at that time,” Perkins said. “You have so many stories in Brooklyn that are yet to be told.”
The history of Brooklyn basketball is rich, from Wilkens to Mullin to Perkins to others such as Johnny Bach, Red Holzman, Billy Cunningham, Connie Hawkins, World B. Free, Bernard and Albert King, Vinnie Johnson, Pearl Washington, John Salley, Mark Jackson, Lloyd Daniels, Stephon Marbury, Jamaal Tinsley, Sebastian Telfair and Taj Gibson.
Even Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn is the mecca,” Perkins said. “Indiana, the state, may disagree. Brooklyn is where it happens. I know everyone is going to be biased. But you almost have to be from Brooklyn to understand this.”
Said Mullin: “Brooklyn stands on its own. Always has and always will.”
Long before the Nets thought about moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn, basketball had deep roots in the borough. Sportswriter Rick Telander captured the essence of Brooklyn basketball in his acclaimed 1976 book Heaven is a Playground.
“High school basketball and playground basketball was huge,” Wilkens said. “Even though Brooklyn didn’t have a professional basketball team, there … [For more on Brooklyn well represented among NBA stars, click here.]
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