The 80’s and 90’s were the golden era of basketball where many players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan became GOATs but missed out on some incredible talent.
Mike Gminski was a great player even before he started college at Duke. He was only 16 when he came to Durham, and even then he was a dominant, near-perfect big. He was good at everything – scoring goals, blocking shots and rebounding.
After being named the 1979 ACC Player of the Year the previous year and topping the All-ACC First Teams for the final three years of college, the 6’11 Blue Devil sensation was the 1980 New Jersey’s seventh pick Nets .
Though he never came close to the level of success he should have achieved once he got into the league, the now college basketball TV analyst for CBS Sports had a 14-year NBA career, and in a few games he actually had huge bursts against some of the best in the game.
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Mike Gminski once single-handedly took on Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale and Luke Walton
The Boston Celtics of the ’80s were a team that few players in the league wanted to face. They won a championship the first year Mike came in and went to four more finals over the next six years, winning two more.
1985-86 is one of the greatest teams of all time. Their frontcourt consisted of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale, and the two-time Finals MVP was earlier benched by Bill Walton.
They stormed toward a 67-15 season-ending, which is still their second-best record, and faced the New Jersey Nets, who would be struggling to make the playoffs this season with a 39-43 record. Little did they know what Gminski had in store for them.
Without an all-star appearance, with career averages of less than 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 blocks, that game was the Duke legend’s biggest career highlight that may still have his fans pondering the “What.” could have been”.
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