Monday, June 17, 2019

NBA Encyclopedia #6: Alston to Anderson

Time to get back to the NBA Encyclopedia. It's been 4 months since the last installment. but we begin here with...

#51 Rafer Alston

2004-05 Topps #125
Rafer Alston was known more for his streetball than his NBA career, although he was a starting point guard for much of his 12 NBA seasons. the famous "And1 Mixtape" is of him, while he was in high school in hometown of Queens, NY. He started 452 of his 671 career games, and played for the Bucks, Raptors, Heat, Rockets, Magic and Nets. He had two separate stints with the Raptors and Heat. The largest portion of his career came with the Rockets, where he played 267 of his games, starting all of them. He scored 6799 points in his career, not counting 2 stints in the NBDL, 1 in the CBA, and 1 year in China. He retired in 2012 and I do not know what he has done post-career.

#52 John Amaechi
2000-01 Ultra #119
 John Amaechi is a man of many firsts. Most notably, his is the first openly gay NBA player, although mostly forgotten now since Jason Collins said so before he retired. (John Amaechi revealed it in 2007, having last played in 2003) Less remembered is that he was the first undrafted NBA player to start on opening night, something I didn't know until researching this post. Somewhere in the middle is that he was the first player to score a basket in the year 2000, a game I happened to be watching and distinctly remember seeing. He played only 5 NBA seasons, 1 year with Cleveland in 1995-96, then with Orlando from 1999-01 and Utah from 2001-03. In between, he played in France, Greece, Italy, England, and France again. He is also one of the few English players, although born in Boston, he is actually British. After his playing career, he has devoted much of his life to charity, also finding time to become a licensed psychologist on 2 different continents, as well as owning a team in both the men's and women's professional league in Britain.

#53 Ashraf Amaya
1995-96 Fleer #270
One of the rarer players to see on a card, he has only three NBA cards issued. This is the only standard size card. Originally from Illinois, he traveled the world in a journeyman professional basketball career that lasted from 1993 to 2004. In order, he played in Turkey, the CBA, Greece, NBA, CBA again, Italy, then back to Greece,  back to Turkey, back to the CBA, then finally Spain. His NBA career was fairly short- 85 games during the 1995-96 season with the expansion Grizzlies, and 1996-97 with the Washington Bullets. He actually started 34 of the 54 games he played with the Grizzlies. I do not know what he has done post-playing career.

#54 Al-Farouq Aminu
2017-18 Prestige Rain #140
 A currently active player, Al-Farouq Aminu is the starting power forward for the Portland Trail Blazers. Born in Atlanta, he is descended from Nigerian royalty, and represents Nigeria in the Olympics. He has been in the NBA since 2010-11 and played for the Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Pelicans (he was with the team when the name changed) and Mavericks before joining Portland. The Blazers have been where the majority of his game action has been from, 293 of his 670 career games at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. As he is still active, it is not yet known what his career numbers will be.

#55 Lou Amundson
2015-16 Complete #184
 A rare modern player represented by this single card in my collection, he was a player who Panini chose not to include in most sets. He had a 10-year NBA career but Panini only gave him 1 base card in their entire time covering the sport, which is 2009-10 to present. It is the card above. He is the 12th player in NBA history to play for 10 different teams, and they were, in order: Utah, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Golden State, Indiana, Minnesota, Chicago, New Orleans Hornets and Pelicans (like Aminu, he was part of the team when the name changed) back to Chicago, and finally the Knicks. He largest playing time came with the Knicks, with 35 of his 42 career starts coming in NY. (although he played the most games with the Suns). In total, he played 428 NBA games...but he is actually still active. After being waved by the Knicks, he played a year in the Philippines and currently plays in Japan. His career began in the D-League in 2006-07.

#56 Chris Andersen
2015-16 Hoops #137
 Nicknamed the "Birdman", Andersen is historically important to the NBA as he was the first player to be called up from the D-League. His career began in China, then went to the IBA (International Basketball Association) and the Southwest Basketball League which I had never heard of before researching this post. When the D-League was formed in 2001, he was the first player drafted in the first D-League draft. After only 2 games, he became the first call-up from the D-League, by the Nuggets, where he would stay until 2004. He then joined the Hornets, where he stayed until 2008, although he missed all of 2006-07 and portions of 2005-06 and most of 2007-08 due to drug-related suspension. He then returned to the Nuggets for 4 more years, then he joined the Heat, one of the role players in the Big Three era, culminating in winning a title in the 2012-13 season. He stayed with the Heat for 3 and a half seasons, before being traded to Memphis. He joined the Cavaliers in 2016-17, but tore his ACL during the season- putting an end to his NBA career. He currently takes part in the Big3 League. His final career NBA stats are 695 games, 45 starts, and 3755 points scored.

#57 David Andersen
2009-10 Rookies & Stars Longevity #130
 Although an NBA rookie in 2009-10, David Andersen had been a professional basketball player for more than a decade by then! One of the more widely traveled players, he began his professional career in 1998-99 in his native Australia. He then moved to Kinder Bologna in Italy, where he won the 2000-01 EuroLeague title. While with that team, he was a "draft-and-stash" player in the 2002 NBA draft. After Bologna folded in 2003, he stayed in Italy for the year, before moving to Russia, where he won another EuroLeague title, then to Spain. After that came his two years in the NBA, 2009-10 with the Rockets and 2010-11 with the Raptors and Hornets. He then went back to Italy, then Turkey, France, and finally back to Australia, where he became the oldest player to win his first NBL championship. After three seasons in Australia, he returned to the Strasbourg team in France, where he still plays. He has also represented Australia in the last 4 Olympics.

#58 Alan Anderson
2015-16 Complete Silver #96
 Anderson is one of the more common names in the NBA- you will see 14 of them in this project, and Alan is alphabetically first. He began his career in 2005-06 as a member of the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, and played two years with them. (with a D-League stint as well). He then went overseas, playing in Italy, Russia, Croatia and Israel before returning to the D-League. After a short time he went to Spain and China before returning again to the D-League. At this point, now 2011-12 season, he rejoined the NBA by joining the Raptors. A season and a half with Toronto saw him establish himself as a legitimate NBA player, and he joined the Brooklyn Nets, where the majority of his NBA action occurred (152 of 330 games, 45 of 66 starts, 1109 of 2421 points scored). After two successful seasons with the Nets, he joined the Wizards but missed all but 13 games due to injury. The Wizards chose not to resign him and he finished his NBA career with 30 games for the Clippers, who eventually waved him. He played briefly back in the D-League, and now plays in the Big3 tournament,

#59 Derek Anderson
1999-00 Ultra #41
 Derek Anderson always seemed like a big-time player to me- a superstar waiting to break out, but injuries derailed that...he only had three seasons that could be considered a full season, in an 11 year career. Originally drafted by Cleveland, he was traded to the Clippers for 1999-00. He then joined the Spurs, who traded him to Portland, whom he played the most games for. After being waved by the Blazers for salary reasons, he joined the Rockets, who would trade him to Miami, where he was part of the Heat's first title. He played his final two years with the Charlotte Bobcats, retiring after 2007-08. In total, he played in 615 games, starting 390 of them, and scored 7357 points.

#60 Eric Anderson
1992-93 Stadium Club #286
Eric Anderson had a very short NBA career, appearing in 27 games across 1992-93 and 1993-94, all with the Knicks. He scored exactly 42 points in his career, an interesting coincidence. After his NBA career concluded, he played in Andorra, the CBA, Italy, Turkey, and a second stint in the CBA and Italy. Unfortunately, he passed away in December 2018 at only 48 years old, of unknown causes.


  1. I really like Amaechi. One heck of a nice guy. Chris Andersen on the other hand, well let's just say I am not sorry to see him go.
    I like the way you include some personal info on the players.

    1. Finding that is the hardest part of the posts!

  2. Hadn't thought about him in years... but I remember stocking up on Derek Anderson rookie cards back in the day.

    1. I have most if not all of his, but being from the primary collecting time for me, I can say that for a lot of people, lol.

  3. Impressive write ups to say the least. I’ll have to see if I have any Lou Amundson cards in my Japanese collection.

    1. If he does, they could only be the 18-19 BBM Fast Break set.

  4. John Amaechi sounds like a very interesting guy, while Chris Andersen is interesting in a very different way.

    When I saw Alan Anderson I started to think wait a second, didn't he play for Atlanta in the '90s? took me a few seconds to realize I was thinking of Alan Henderson.

    1. Fun fact: I have more Henderson Hawks cards than any other player.

  5. Cool a couple of Andersen guys who spell their name the same way as I do. I also have a brother named Erik but that other Eric spells both his names different than my brother.