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News » Where have all the classic big men gone?

Where have all the classic big men gone?

Where have all the classic big men gone?
Among other shortcomings, the makeup of the latest Team USA reveals the dire absence of old-fashioned, American-born, back-to-the-basket big men. Only Dwight Howard fits this particular profile, and the youngster is purely a power player who possesses only a modicum of refined post-up moves.

This realization prompted me to make a cursory survey of the NBA's current centers, with surprising results.

If you have a question or comment for Charley Rosen, submit it below and Charley may just respond.


  • Too many young big men are reluctant to bang around in the lane and to learn the necessary footwork to do so.

  • Too many big men take their cues from televised highlights and are mostly interested in shooting treys and executing dramatic dunks.

  • In high school, AAU and college competition there is a scarcity of accomplished big-men coaches.

  • In All-Star games at every level of competition, the ball-handlers totally control the action and the big men are afterthoughts.

  • The legalizing of zones and double-teams in the NBA has severely diminished the influence of interior scorers — especially those who can't pass.

    So what, then, can be done to rectify this situation?

  • Somehow find or develop better-qualified coaches/teachers (especially big-men specialists) at youth levels and up. This would be extremely hard to do simply because there aren't enough available teachers to teach the teachers.

  • Put more emphasis on inside play beginning with the youngest levels of competition. This is another difficult chore because pre- and mid-adolescent extra-large kids don't necessarily grow into XXL adults. Also because big kids usually need more time for their coordination to fully develop.

  • Have the media focus more on the trials and rewards of bigs versus bigs. This is certainly doable.

  • Get the ball out of the hands of the guards during scholastic All-Star games. This would be another difficult remedy to activate.

    However, here's a far-out solution devised by a buddy of mine, the late Eddie Mast (Knicks, 1970-72; Hawks, 1972-73) — one that always worked.

    Eddie used to stash a pin in his socks, and before a pickup game he'd surreptitiously let some air out of the ball. Once the game began, the guards would become frustrated by how their normal dribblings were impaired by the slightly dead ball — as a result, they were more than willing to unload the rock into the bigs.

    Author: Fox Sports
    Author's Website:
    Added: August 2, 2008


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