Tue 3 Jun 2008
A couple of nights ago, as I sat in my basement polishing off a case of O’Douls and watching the NBA playoffs, I came to a startling realization. I had just seen Clyde Drexler rise past Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer with a pretty finger-roll for two when it hit me: This isn’t the NBA playoffs. That’s right. Unbeknownst to me, I had been transported back in time by ESPN Classic’s re-airing of game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals.
Boy, did that bring back a lot of memories. I had forgotten just how good the Pistons were back then. Joe “One Day I Will Draft A Man Named Darko” Dumars. Isiah “Not Yet a Civil Liability” Thomas. Bill “Sweep the Leg” Laimbeer. Mark “The Moving Pick” Aguirre. Dennis “Mental Condition As of Yet Undiagnosed” Rodman. Vinnie “They Call Me ‘Microwave’ Because I Heated Up a Burrito on My Way In From the Locker Room” Johnson. Now that’s a championship team.
And let’s not forget the Trailblazers. Watching the highlights of this game, I was reminded just how good Clyde Drexler actually was. Not to mention Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey. But wait – what was that I just saw? Did I just see an overstuffed leather sofa dunk a put-back? Quick – what’s the name on the jersey…… there it is: “Duckworth“. It’s all coming back to me now.
If memory serves, Kevin Duckworth was actually a pretty serviceable NBA centre. Two-time all-star, even. Granted, he’ll never make the Hall of Fame, but Kevin Duckworth is a name that should nevertheless be on the tip of the tongue of any serious basketball fan. Why you ask? Stop jumping ahead, Mr. Dean’s List; I’m about to tell you. Kevin Duckworth is important because he has one of the best examples of a rare breed of NBA body part: neckfolds.
You know exactly what I’m talking about: The accordion of fat folds that inevitably graces the back of the neck on the most Rubenesque of cagers. Some call it “the Turtleneck”. Some call it “Loose Sausage Casing”. But we all know it when we see it.
The propensity of NBA players to shave their heads only serves to accentuate the supple curves of the folds gracing the necks of these bon-vivants. Duckworth had at least 5 individual neckfolds, but the number of folds doesn’t really matter; it’s how the player holds his folds that counts. It’s their way of saying: I’m not going to let the pressures of a career in professional sports prevent me from being the fattest son of a bitch I can be.
Let’s look at the top ten set of neckfolds in the history of the NBA:
10. Derrick Coleman
If only his effort level on the court matched his enthusiasm at Ponderosa. That man could box out at the dessert bar like no other.
9. Eddy Curry
Just look at the fire in those eyes. Eddy Curry is a shining beacon for the next generation of players redefining what “tearaway pants” actually means. Special mention ooes to Bonzi Wells and Glen “Obese Baby” Davis.
8. Vin Baker
Actually, he’s slimmed down ever since he switched to drinking straight Aqua Velva.
7. Robert “Tractor” Traylor
Sir? Is that your Lincoln parked in the disabled spot with the “IHOP” license plate?
6. Oliver Miller
As a Raptors fan, I can personally attest to the fact that Miller routinely caught chest passes without using his hands.
5. Greg Ostertag
The Johnny Unitas of basketball. If he gained 300 lbs. And sucked.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Don’t give me that “Shaq has 3 percent bodyfat” crap. What they meant to say is that “Shaq has three percent of America’s bodyfat”.
3. Bryant “Big Country” Reeves
Reminds me of a line from a Spinal Tap song: “The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand”. Despite being a fan favourite in Vancouver, Bryant admittedly strained an already-loose definition of “athlete”.
2. Kevin Duckworth
This otherwise amazing video fails to do justice to Duckworth’s full splendour. While the average person might show one neckfold when craning their neck to look up at a passing airplane, Duckworth shows 5 when bending down to slip on his velcro runners.
1. Charles Barkley
They don’t call him the “Round Mound of Rebound” for nothing. Notwithstanding his retirement from the hardcourt, visions of that glorious flesh accordion remain etched in my mind. It is said that during the 1993 NBA Finals, Barkley needed one towel to dry off each of his sweat-filled folds between quarters.
I urge our readers to add any other examples of famous neckfolds they might have.