The full NBA All-Star Game rosters were announced last Thursday and just like every year there was plenty of debate on who was most deserving to be on the teams and who was snubbed. We at NCB even argued the merits of each player in a “friendly” debate on our NCB Live show. Whatever.
What would be an even more intense and entertaining debate would be arguing if Queen Latifah deserved a spot over Flea in the All-Time Rock N’ Jock Basketball Team starting line-up. Bellamy or Cortese as coach? Reggie Miller or Gary Payton? You statheads can keep your PER and +/- numbers and I’ll take on these questions with the fierceness of a Shawn Kemp-over-a-young-Leonardo-DiCaprio monster jam.
Picking an All-Star team from a group of celebrity/athlete filled rosters sounds fun, but I found out almost immediately that there isn’t some database out there with box scores from each game. Heck, there isn’t even video available from all the games and there isn’t a comprehensive site that includes all the rosters.
IMDB had a page for each event, the games were held from 1991-1997, but the information included on each page was minimal. YouTube only had the 1994 game and 1997 game available for viewing. Wikipedia and even MTV.com were no help. Luckily, I was a RNJ B-Ball junkie back in the day and even reading a few lines from whatever articles were out there conjured up memories from the actual games.
In the NBA you get 12 roster spots, which you can give to four guards, six frontcourt players and two wild cards. Doing it this way for the RNJ All-Time line-up didn’t appeal to me since I wasn’t selecting from a huge player pool. In the NBA, you’re choosing from almost 400 players in any given year while for this exercise I’m selecting from a player pool of about 100-150 TOTAL.
Only a few players were actually memorable and limiting the all-time team to a starting five and sixth man would keep the roster from being watered down. I’m looking at you Marcus Schenkenberg. Since the game was all about entertainment I will also select my all-time announcer, music performance and coach. How is a coach entertaining you ask? You must not have watched any of the RNJ games. And do you think they’re actually coaching out there?
Here’s the criteria to be a member of the all-time team:
- Player/Coach/Entertainer had a memorable moment
- Player or Player/Coach scored a bajillion points
- You instantly think of this player/coach/entertainer as soon as someone mentions Rock N’ Jock Basketball
Now that we’re squared away on the process, let’s actually get down to the selections.
Bill Bellamy (Captain) –
Could any all-time list start with anybody but this Rock N’ Jock Hall of Famer?
The man was pretty much the face of the event and not only did he give us hilarious moments like the The Booger in Your Nose Okie-Doke (see below) but the man produced on the court as proof by his multiple MVP awards.
I was thisclose to naming him both a player and the coach of this team but with him only winning two out of the seven titles as either a player/coach or as just a player I just couldn’t give him the nod for my squad. You play to win the game right?
Somehow, someway there is ZERO mention of his participation in any of the Rock N’ Jock events on his Wiki page. However, it does mention that he’s cousins with Shaq. Balling is in his blood.
(PLEASE NOTE: All videos will start at the exact moment referenced even though the start screens look the same on some videos)
Gary Payton (The Ringer) –
The Glove was part of both Violator victories, he was named MVP for BOTH the Violators and Bricklayers in the same game, scored 151 of the 473 combined points in the 1997 event, and hit the 2nd 50-pointer ever. Those facts alone would make anyone an all-timer, but the contract he negotiated in ’97 pushes him to First-Ballot Hall of Famer status.
Here’s are the items included in his Viacom contract from the Bricklayers:
- Paramount Movie deal
- Nickelodeon Development deal for his kids
- Simon & Schuster Publishing Deal
- Melrose Place Guest Role
- Free Blockbuster Rentals (what’s Blockbuster?)
Long live GP.
Queen Latifah (The Leading Lady) –
I know, I know. I’m “crazy” for not putting Sheryl Swoopes or Michelle Timms here. Wait, you don’t remember them even being in these games? Exactly.
The Queen makes it on the team since I needed another defensive-stopper to pair with The Glove. In case you’re questioning my designation of Latifah as a stopper, check out the following sequence. After she drains a pressure-packed one of two free-throws (SEE: David Alan Grier in her ear and Griffey’s “Line Violation”), she keeps the defensive-pressure on, cuts in front of Brian Scala.. I mean Michael Rapaport and then basically invents the “Dirk Dead Leg” in the process.
If that wasn’t enough, later that game she plays the role of Reign Man Stopper. See for yourself.
She may be Living Single, but she’s in good company here.
Flea (The Spark Plug) –
Every team needs role players and Flea serves as my Mario Elie. In the 1992 game, instead of hitting the wide-open Chris Mullin, Flea does his best Bruce Bowen impersonation and knocks down the corner-ten pointer to ice the game in favor of the Bricklayers.
To prove his long-range shooting was legit, Flea went out and won the 1995 three-point competition and nearly took back his crown in 1997.
Chris Webber (The Banger) –
I was pretty close to placing Tim Hardaway in the starting line-up as he hit one of the most clutch shots in RNJ history and the first-ever 50-pointer, but I gave the nod to C-Webb in this one.
For one, I needed some size on this team. Secondly, Webber is one of my favorite players ever. Lastly, I gave his game-winning 25-point shot the nod over Hardaway’s 50-point shot since it gave the Violators their first win in the series and legitimized the Violator-Bricklayer rivalry.
I’ll just need to make sure my coach makes him aware of how many timeouts we have left.
BONUS: C-Webb produced one of the best NBA-Hip Hop crossover songs ever. Enjoy.
Dean Cain (The Enforcer) –
For entertainment value alone I almost put Will Smith or Jaleel White here, but Dean is a stone-cold killer. Figuratively.
Dan Cortese (The Ying to Bellamy’s Yang) –
Although they were rivals, Cortese and Bellamy definitely had a Magic/Bird quality to them. In fact, at the time we hadn’t seen a more entertaining Ebony and Ivory tandem since Nolte and Murphy in 48 Hours.
When you combine his chemistry with the captain of this group and his winning record with the Bricklayers it was a no-brainer for me to name him the leader of my squad.
David Alan Grier (The Jester) –
This might be the most controversial of my picks. I could have went with the consummate pro Van Earl Wright or even Jon Stewart, but this one line made Grier an all-timer:
When discussing the introduction of the 25-point hoop and how it could make the game closer: “If a chicken grew lips he could whistle Dixie.”
Marky Mark (The Funky One) –
Busta Rhymes, Coolio, and Boys II Men. These are all acts that could have been the all-time performance but I went with Mr. Calvin Klein on this one.
COME ON, COME ON. Do I need an explanation on this one?
That’s it folks. That’s the All-Time Rock N’ Jockers for you. It was a time-consuming, tough process but it would be tough to argue with any of my picks.
Like Method Man’s posse in one of the very last scenes of the series, we gotta go. We gotta go.
Since I did a ton of research for this piece and there isn’t an all encompassing resource on the web I thought I’d share some of my findings.
In a perfect world, fans of the series would leave facts I missed, roster additions, etc. in the comments section so I could update this post. Then fans could FINALLY have a resource for the beloved series.
- Clifford Robinson was the first to hit a 25-pt basket.
- Tim Hardaway & Gary Payton were the only two players to hit a 50 pt. basket.
- The series lasted from 1991-97
- Magic Johnson traded Vlade Divac at halftime of the 1991 game for John Salley
- The Bricklayers won the games in 91, 92, 93, 95, and 96
- The Violators 94 and 97
Michael Lamone Bivins
Ken Griffey Jr.
DJ Kay Gee
Boyz II Men (performance)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Jerry O’ Connell