Friday, August 22, 2008

Flashback Friday: Blue Edwards

Theodore "Blue" Edwards . . . man . . . he probably had the most statistically 'average' career of the most average NBA players. He really had done a whole lot, he was drafted by a perennial playoff team, was in a dunk contest, traded to a cellar dweller, dunked a lot, then moved onto an expansion franchise, got in some legal custody battle, and faded into oblivion . . . the sad part is that I was there every step of the way following his career.

was a 6'4/6'5 tweener guard/forward. He didn't really have three point range on his shot (but still shot a very respectable 33.5% from there for his career), and he was mostly a hustle player. The Utah Jazz drafted him 21st in the 1988-1989 NBA Draft. His best season as a pro had to be his first year out of Utah, playing in Milwaukee (part of that Jay Humphries, Larry Krystkowiak trade back in 1992-1993).
Blue was an athletic, fundamentals poor 90s style guard

He played 33.3 mpg, and played in 82 games. Sure, he was out of the protective passing range of John Stockton -- so his shooting percentage dipped a bit. He still managed 16.9 ppg (off of 51.2 fg%, 79.0 FT%, 34.9 3pt%). 4.7 rpg, 2.6 apg and 1.6 spg -- all career highs. He left Milwaukee after the '94 season ended and somehow split time the next season with the Boston Celtics, and then the Utah Jazz again.

Blue starts the break Blue knew how to drive, and apparently dish Blue looking grizzled
Blue as a Rookie with the Jazz Blue became our Starter at the Two for a while A veteran Blue Edwards was a key part of the Grizzlies gameplan

The second stage of his life began when he was taken in the expansion draft and headed north to play for the Vancouver Grizzlies.

He was a solid veteran player by this stage in his career, and was instrumental in guiding them to their handful of wins. I really rooted for him at this stage of his career, he was getting solid minutes and had a solid role for once. There he met and impregnated a nice Canadian girl (Kimberly Van de Perre) and had a custody battle with. (The custody battle went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada) Tsk Tsk. Who do you think you are, Shawn Kemp?

But let's not remember him for all of that, that's not the point of Flashback Friday. (there was a point?)
Poor Canadian girl . . . your innocence lost . . . forever . . .

Two distinct Blue Edwards moments come quickly to me, and my rose-colored glasses tinted memories of previous incarnations of the Utah Jazz. One game, I think in the playoffs on NBC, had Blue get an offensive rebound, then he fake dribbling it back out to re-set a play (Stockton even bought it and was waiting for the pass) and then he quickly turned back and drove to the basket and dunked the ball. Some NBC talking head (Bob Costas?) exclaimed that "Blue Edwards is playing like a TIGER!" and, well, that's a strange thing to say. (It's very Ron Burgundy)

The second moment was long after his "interesting" Dunk contest entry back when he was a nobody. This was back when Adam Keefe was a rookie playing for the Hawks and back when no one used to show up to the Omni to watch the Hawks play. This was back when Blue was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, and for some reason Canadian TV was broadcasting this game between the Bucks on the road against the Hawks (sans 'Nique et al.). It was a broken play in the first quarter and the Omni was so quiet you could hear everything on the court, from the sneaker squeaks to the chatter of the players. It gave the game a more intimate feel in some ways. Well anyway, Blue got the ball in a broken play -- and if for no other reason than for the people sadly watching at home -- he took off from the circle and threw down a one handed traffic jam over a few Hawks. Sadly the play of the game happened in the 1st quarter of play. But I was so NBA starved growing up in Canada that I would watch anything . . . even Blue Edward's led Milwaukee Bucks teams. For good reason that highlight does not exist on YouTube, but I did find this interesting video that DOES feature Blue Edwards. It's a vid of the Top 10 plays of the week, from some random week during the 1990-1991 NBA Season. And thus, it's a classic all by itself and I could probably do a Flashback Friday on just the plays and players that appear in this YouTube offering.

Okay, I just watched this video again, and it truly is a masterpiece, a great collection of moments in time that were part of my childhood.

#10 -- David Benoit bricking a shot for the Jazz against the Spurs (another tough Texas team), Mike Brown being on the Jazz, and Blue skying in out of no where to do something ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the length ratio of his shorts and his compression shorts.

#9 -- John Battle beating Kurt Rambis off the dribble and getting the And-1 on Tom Chambers. Special note is that Danny Ferry is open but no one passes the ball to him, very classic.

#8 -- Dennis Hopson nails a three from behind half court against the Jazz

#7 -- I was watching this game on TV years ago, and I remember this play. Danny Ainge (who had won titles with the Celtics) does a pretty impressive no look pass on the break that results in a Buck Williams basket.

#6 -- Jordan and Pippen being Jordan and Pippen. Pip is seriously under-rated. Dee Brown (I) and Reggie Lewis are helpless as the Bulls run wild on them.

#5 -- Plastic-man against the Lakers. Kevin Willis and Adam Keefe round out the front court for the Atlanta Hawks in this highlight. The Lakers have Byron Scott, A.C. Green, Sam Perkins and Elden Campbell on the floor.

#4 -- Clyde the Glide basically drives and shoots without looking at the basket. He scores on (teammate) Kevin Duckworth, Doug West (before the alcoholism) and Felton Spencer. Terry Porter (another current NBA head coach / GM type) gets an assist on this, I think.

#3 -- Isiah Thomas with the rebound, assist and stupid face all while sitting on the floor, and not even looking at the ball ... against the Kings.

#2 -- Spudd Webb (how many Sacramento Kings highlights this week?) breaks down Kenny Smith (of TNT fame), and splits Otis Thorpe and "Akeem" Olajuwon for a pretty difficult lay-up.

#1 -- That now famous Larry Bird shot from that same Boston/Portland game that I was watching live on TV as a kid back in my parents basement. He gets the ball, is defended well by Cliff Robinson Clyde Drexler, manages to trip over himself, and throw up a three pointer that ties the game 122-122 with 2.0 seconds left in Boston Garden. Amazing.