This Sunday, the NBA's 65th All-Star Game will take place on foreign soil, in Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
Leading up to the league's midseason extravaganza, which features an astounding collection of talent headlined by Steph Curry, LeBron, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, KD, Melo, D Wade, and of course, Kobe Bryant in his farewell All-Star appearance, we'll be sharing some of our most memorable reflections and recollections of one of American sports' premier showcases.
Tom Chambers had the fluffy, golden-brown hair of a hockey player and an NBA game that can be considered underrated. He isn’t a familiar name to casual fans, but he had a dope career from 1981 to 1998. He averaged between 17 and 27 points per game in his first 10 years in the league and he was good for 6.5 to 8.5 boards.
In a game dominated by soul brothers who were quicker than cats, skyscraper leapers and ran like gazelles, Chambers proved once and for all that “White Men Can Jump.”
He actually proved that throughout his NBA career with a plethora of posterizing dunks and mega-point mashouts. However, Chambers’ career might have been completely forgotten if not for his emphatic display of athleticism, flair, power and ups as he scored 34 points and captured MVP honors in the star-studded 1987 All-Star Game at Seattle's Kingdome.
Chambers, a versatile 6-foot-10-inch forward was a last-minute replacement for the injured Ralph Sampson. He sparked a wild comeback for the West, scoring 14 points in the final period - and 4 in overtime - to lead the West to a 154-149 victory in the 37th National Basketball Association All-Star Game.
His high-flying execution and slick shooting came before a nationally televised audience and a hometown crowd of 34,275 fans, the second-largest in all-star history at the time.
Faced with an open roster slot, West coach Pat Riley decided to select a player from the host city's squad. He could have snagged legendary sharpshooter Dale Ellis or the bald-headed bandit Xavier McDaniel. But instead, Riley opted for Chambers and it turned out to be a genius move.
Playing among NBA titans such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone and Charles Barkley, Chambers emerged as the star of the evening. Even more remarkable was the fact that he was allowed to take a game-high 25 shots.
It was almost as if it was Chambers’ destiny to leave his permanent mark on NBA history. Up until that point, the world had never seen a white guy jump and dunk on cats with such regularity, and playing in the Seattle market relegated Chambers to obscurity. He was, quite simply, one of the NBA’s best kept secrets.
''I never, ever thought this would happen,'' Chambers, then a sixth-year pro from Utah playing in his first All-Star game, told the New York Times. ''This is something dreams are made of. I can't believe it happened to me.”
That day in Seattle, Chambers had his share of unforgettable moments playing alongside the game’s elite ballers. He was an integral part of one of the highest scoring NBA All-Star games ever and thunderously introduced himself to America.
He stole the show. Imagine if Chambers had played in New York or LA.
He would have been large and in charge just like Larry Bird, whose stats were very similar entering that unforgettable, all-star explosion.
Chambers is a true a myth obliterator. Woody Harrelson would be proud.
White guys were assumed to not have the ups that black players had. Chambers was one of those freaks of nature who went against the usual genetic grain. He was the "White Chocolate" and Rex Chapman of his era, but vastly superior as an all-around player.
There hasn’t been a white player to captivate the NBA masses in an All-Star game as convincingly since. In case you forgot, or are too wet behind the ears to have seen it, here are some funkdafied Tom Chambers dunks and blasts from the past:
Chambers gives The Twin Towers (Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson) the business.
This dunk right here off the feed from Kevin Johnson, captures the magnificence and athleticism of Tom Chambers in flight.