Hello droogs. A while ago, I wrote this:
[I]t’s time for a new rule – no more Chris Crawford updates on this website. Not unless there’s ever anything to actually report, like if he commits a murder or becomes King of Poland or something.
(from “Where Are They Now, 2009: part 11”)
My reason for writing this flippant disregard was simple and self-explanatory – there really is no new Chris Crawford news to report. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Not a sausage. Bugger all.
However, a man named Steve took offence to my off-handed dismissal of what he believes to be “the last basketball Jesus”. (Note: this is not an exact quote, despite the quotation marks.) Steve vowed to track down Chris Crawford, and to find out what he is doing now.
Steve hasn’t yet succeeded in this quest, despite sending at least two emails (two! Count ’em!), but he’s suckered me in to help. And now I’m going to sucker you in too. Let us find Chris Crawford.
Since his final season in professional basketball – the 2003/04 NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks, in which Crawford played the best games of his career – Crawford has disappeared off of the map. He wasn’t even really on it much before then, either, as he had only appeared in 12 games combined in the previous two seasons due to injury. Indeed, injuries are what most people think of when reminded about Chris Crawford; the man played only 256 games in seven years due to a constant list of injuries, surely much to the chagrin of Hawks fans, who felt cheated out of a roster spot by Crawford’s long-term contract that he wasn’t able to deliver on.
Yet to think only of Chris Crawford’s injuries does the man a disservice. Chris Crawford could play.
Drafted 51st in 1997, and not given much of a chance to even make the roster, Crawford nevertheless made the team, and proved to be of much value in the following 1998/99 season, performing markedly well while filling in for the injured LaPhonso Ellis down the stretch of the Hawks’ playoff push. These performances earned Chris a six-year, near-$16 million contract, and guaranteed him lifelong financial security, unless he trusted Mike Tyson’s business advisors or something. As has already been mentioned, a persistent left knee injury swamped the remainder of Crawford’s career, but one thing that he never lost was his ability to flat out score. In a low-scoring era of NBA basketball, Crawford averaged roughly 20 points per 48 minutes, an impressive-enough number even before you consider who it was that did it.
Crawford’s basketball career was simple, yet effective – four seasons at Marquette followed by seven seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (eight if you count the 2004-05 season, in which Crawford was under contract but didn’t play a single minute). His best season was his last – in 2003/04, Crawford set career highs in games played (56) and points per game (10.2) while teaming with Bob Sura to lead the Hawks to a stellar 28 wins. (There weren’t many, but some of them were fun.)
However, since that crescendo, Crawford has disappeared, never to be heard from again. Never signing in Europe, or even (as far as I can tell) trying out for another team after the expiration of his Hawks contract, Crawford went AWL (which is like AWOL, except far more justifiable). Crawford doesn’t seem to have attempted any coaching or announcing gigs or anything of that nature, the career choices that about 95% of former players seem to attempt upon retirement. Nor does he seem to like being arrested, as some former players seem to like doing.
The question, then, must be asked – where in the world is Chris Crawford?
We don’t have much to go on. Wikipedia tells us that he plays golf in the summer with his brother Tim in Kalamazoo in Michigan, but that’s about it. Eurobasket.com says that Crawford “[w]ould like to own a sports bar after his playing career has ended” – however, that sentence was clearly written before his career was over, thus making that statement at least five years old. Correspondence with Crawford’s former agent didn’t work either, as he says that he hasn’t spoken to Chris in years and has no contact information for him. A plea to the University of Marquette went unheeded, although admittedly it’s only been about 36 hours since it was sent. Numerous internet searches offer up nothing, except for that golf snippet. Not even Facebook could help us out. Put simply, when undertaken with only minimal effort, Chris Crawford information is hard to find.
Even pictures are hard to find – a Google search for “Chris Crawford” brings up the Wikipedia page of a video game designer called Chris Crawford, but not that of the seminal basketball star. And a Google image search for “Chris Crawford Hawks” results in a picture of a man’s naked and flaccid little buddy. (Just trust me on this, it does.)
So this plea goes out to you. If you know what Chris Crawford is doing now, or if you know where we can get in contact with him, or if you know someone who might, let us know. If you’re a member of the Chris Crawford family, and are willing to help us on our admittedly rather annoying quest, let us know. If you’re a Kalamazoo resident, an employee of Milham Park Golf Course, or the person who put that snippet of information on Wikipedia, let us know. If you’re an interested Hawks fan willing to help the search, let us know. If you’re anyone at all, let us know. Like when Justin Lee Collins reunited the A-Team, we can make this happen, even without the lure of a TV show on our side. But only if we work together.
Together, we can find Chris Crawford.
Why are we doing this? I don’t know, really. I am genuinely interested in the life, times, health and career moves of former Atlanta Hawk forward Chris Crawford, as I’m sure some of you are, too. Random Guy Steve also wants to thank him for the fantasy league championship that Crawford won him single-handedly in the 2004 season, when Crawford put up career numbers on an unsubtlely-tanking Hawks team. But, primarily, here’s the main reason…