We’ll start by confirming the obvious; Sprewell has not played since his Timberwolves days. If he had done, that would be one of the transactions you’d have heard about without needing my input.
Since that time, Sprewell has made the news for four reasons; a foreclosure on his yacht, a foreclosure on his home, an alleged assault on his girlfriend, and a foreclosure on his other home. The yacht’s gone, Spree paid the debt on the first home, and the assault charge was dropped 14 months later. But as for the second home foreclosure, on a $2.3 million home in the wonderfully named town of Purchase, Sprewell lost that in November. This was also the last time he made the news.
It’s quite the depressing story of yet another athlete who burned it all away. Then again, as I sit here on my bed at 8.32am staring down the barrel of a long morning of essay writing, I find it slightly unfounded for me to be criticising a man for spending millions of dollars on twenty years of (presumably) wall-to-wall high living that I can only dream of. He may have lost all his money, but he probably had a load of fun doing it, so that’s something.
Czech Republic big man Ondrej Starosta crept onto the NBA scene in 2004-05, when he averaged as-near-as-was a double-double for Chalons-en-Champagne in the French league. He was 26 years old at the time and had been a member of Real Madrid before that, so he wasn’t unheard of, but he also hadn’t done high-level stuff in his career before then except be 7’1 tall.
After that season, Starosta went to summer league with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 5.5 rebounds per game. The Spurs didn’t offer him a contract, so Starosta returned to France to play a year for Strasbourg, where he averaged all of 6/5. But somewhere in there, the Cavaliers had been suitably impressed to offer the 27-year-old Starosta a spot on their 2006 training camp sta-roster (thank you). And it’s because of that that we’re here discussing him now.
Once the Cavs waived him, Starosta signed in Spain for CAI Zaragoza, at the time a LEB Gold team. He was their starting centre for the next two seasons, and helped them win promotion to the ACB for the 2008-09 season. But he averaged only 4 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 15 games of ACB play before the team released him last February (replaced by Loren Woods), and Starosta returned to LEB Gold play when he signed for Plus Pujol Merida later that month. In the summer he moved to another LEB Gold team, Melilla Baloncesto, for whom he averages 9.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Melilla are second in the LEB Gold, fittingly to Zaragoza.
Stepania last played in 2003-04, when he managed only 42 games with the Portland Trail Blazers due to chronic knee pain. He spent the next two and a half years trying to come back from multiple knee surgeries, but it was not to be.
Gonzaga legend Stepp last played in March 2006 for Valencia. After some injuries, that was it; his professional basketball career last all of two years. Stepp now plays poker full time, and The Hendon Mob’s poker database says he had two cashes at last year’s WSOP. But it also lists only four cashes all time, so presumably he does better in the ring games.
Yogi Stewart signed a one-year minimum salary as an undrafted free agent with the Kings in 1997/98, and averaged 4.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in only 21.7 minutes per game. When the lockout came the following summer, Stewart was able to get a one-year, $1 million contract with the Raptors (which at the time was quite a lot more than the minimum salary); more importantly, that’s all the Raptors were able to give him. Then-GM Glen Grunwald promised Stewart that he would sign him to a big long-term contract as soon as he was able to, and he kept his word when he signed Stewart to a six-year, $24 million deal the following summer. Seemingly, Grunwald didn’t think the 1.5 points and 2.2 rebounds that Stewart had averaged in the strike-shortened 98-99 season was a sufficient reason to break his promise. But he soon wished he had, because Stewart played only 163 games over the life of that six-year deal, totalling 1,148 minutes, 187 points, 272 rebounds and 55 blocks.
That ambitious six-year contract kept Yogi in the league until the 2004-05 season, which he spent with the ramshackle Atlanta Hawks. That season also saw him post his highest averages since his rookie season; 2.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in all of 12 games for the team of expiring contracts that saw Bob Sura go for three straight triple-doubles. But after that season, the deal expired, and the NBA never called again. Stewart’s only other basketball gig came in February 2006, when he played seven games for LEB Gold team Huelva and averaged 7.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 1.9 bpg. But he was released due to injury and never played again. He is now a businessman in south Florida, and a keen proponent of the P90X diet thing.
Frans Steyn was in China this year, and, since I need not write about it again, read about how that went for him here. Upon leaving China, Steyn signed with Vaqueros de Bayamon in Puerto Rico, but totalled only 19 minutes, 2 points, 10 rebounds, 3 fouls, 1-6 shooting and 0-4 FT shooting before being replaced by Robert Traylor.
Stinson spent another year with the Iowa Energy in the D-League, still looking for his NBA call-up. He did sign with the Bulls for training camp this year, but didn’t even last a week, being released before their preseason trip to Europe. So when the Bulls subsequently suffered some guard injuries, John Salmons and Lindsey Hunter had to split time at the point guard position. It was a weird time, a simpler time, a worse time.
This was Stinson’s second full season with the Energy, and he again played all 50 regular season games. He played 44.6 mpg in 2008/09, and 42.4 mpg in 2009/10; hardiness is definitely not one of his flaws. He also maintained his averages even with the slightly reduced minutes, going from 16.1 ppg, 8.4 apg, 7.0 rpg, and 2.2 spg in 08/09 to 15.2 ppg, 10.9 apg, 5.4 rpg and 2.2 spg in 09/10, raising his scoring from 44% to 46%, and his free throw shooting from 74% to 81%. Stinson still can’t shoot from outside, making only nine three-pointers all season on only 18% shooting, and his PER of 15.7 was also pretty sedate. But the rest of the numbers were all there, again.
In the D-League playoffs, Stinson averaged 44.6 minutes, 23.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game, going all LeBron-like when the season was on the line. However, it ended on a sour note. The Energy were tied 1-1 with the Tulsa 66ers in the three-game conference finals series, but were facing elimination when down five with two minutes left. The game had (apparently) been badly officiated, and Stinson blew his top at a call that went against him. Stinson was ejected from the game by the ref, but rather than go, Stinson started after the ref and had to be restrained by Pat Carroll. The crowd (the Energy were at home) then also got into it, and some of them had to be ejected too. The game was postponed for several minutes while order was restored. And when play resumed without Stinson, the Energy lost.
Somewhere in that exchange, Stinson vomited on the court. After three straight seasons of D-League pay checks, it’s entirely possible that he leaves the D-League for better money elsewhere next season. If he does, then that may have been his final D-League game. There’s no better way to say goodbye than with a puke and a fight. A legacy is born.
And yes, there is a video. But not of the vomit.
Storey started the year with the New Zealand Breakers in Australia, and averaged 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 fouls per game in 9 games. He was released by the team in November after underperforming, and while I can’t find any direct mention of something he did, this report directly implies that Storey was…..a little bit scary. This is the man who once fractured Martynas Andriuskevicius’s skull, so he’s been known to have a wee temper in his time.
Last month, Storey signed with Ginebra in the Philippines for the Fiesta Cup. Complete stats aren’t available, but in the team’s last four games, Storey has put up stat lines of 13/22, 20/18, 40/25 and 13/7, for averages of 22 points and 18 rebounds per game. Nevertheless, Ginebra have been rumoured to be about to release him due to underwhelming performances, and was placed on the injured list earlier today. I guess averaging 22/18 isn’t good enough somehow.
Stoudamire last played down the stretch of the 2007-08 season with the San Antonio Spurs, whom he joined after being bought out by the Grizzlies. He looked to have little left with the Spurs, and never played again. Stoudamire briefly worked as the director of player development at Rice University, but rejoined the Grizzlies as an assistant coach in February of last year, where he remains to this day.
Damon’s cousin has not played outside of the NBA in his professional career. He also hasn’t played in an NBA game since April 16th 2008. After the Hawks passed on re-signing him that summer, Stoudamire signed with the Spurs for training camp, and had $200,000 of his minimum salary contract. This would have given him the inside track on a roster spot, had he been healthy. But he wasn’t, and the vegan was waived in favour of Desmon Farmer. Stoudamire stayed on the shelf for most of the rest of the year, but was picked up by the Bucks with about two weeks left in the season, and signed through this year as well. However, the Bucks waived him this summer, and Salim has not signed or played anywhere since.
Former Suns guard Strawberry didn’t sign anywhere this season until late January, when he caught on with the Reno Bighorns of the D-League. Coming off the bench behind Will Blalock, Strawberry averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 assists per game, which are highly impressive numbers for any man without a single start.
Incidentally, Blalock was acquired by Reno for Russell Robinson in a midseason trade from Maine. As mentioned in an earlier post, Blalock is recovering from a stroke and has battled subsequent weight problems. His recovery has been lengthy, and his numbers have been slow to recover. But once he got to Reno, Blalock’s numbers improved, and he ended up averaging 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Bighorns. It’s taken a while, as is an unfortunate necessity, but he’s getting back there. And that’s good to see.