Underappreciated Players of this Millennium – Jamal Mashburn


Underappreciated Players of this Millennium – Jamal Mashburn


Once again, a very talented scorer who couldn’t play long enough to Gongfu Tea Cup a legacy due to injuries.
He was really, really good though.


As a Maverick

He declared for the 1993 NBA Draft, with Mashburn being selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the fourth pick.
The Mavericks were a lottery team led by veteran point guard Derek Harper and second year guard Jim Jackson, and Mashburn quickly shared the reins of the offense, averaging 19.2 points a game in 73 starts and earning a selection to the first NBA All-Rookie Team. Despite this the Mavericks could only manage 13 wins for the 1993-1994 season. In the offseason, the team drafted star point guard Jason Kidd, teaming up with Jackson and Mashburn to become known collectively as “Triple J.” The Mavericks would improve to 36 wins in the 1994-1995 season, as Mashburn averaged 24.1 points a game (6th in the league), while placing 5th in the league in free throw makes (447), 7th in made field goals (683), and 5th in total points (1,926). The season also featured a 50-point performance for Mashburn on November 12 against the defending champion Chicago Bulls in Chicago. This made him the fourth-youngest player to score 50 points in an NBA game. He also broke many franchise records and blossomed into one of the best scoring forwards in the league. Despite the team’s improvement they were unable to make the playoffs, and injuries would force Mashburn to only play 18 games in the 1995-1996 season. Mashburn started in just 21 games of the Mavericks’ first 37 games of the 1996-1997 season, and on February 14, 1997 he was traded to the Miami Heat for three players


Welcome to Miami

In Miami, he won 4 straight Division Titles, but injuries didn’t allow him to reach his full potential in Miami as well playing only in about half of the teams games. He was an important part of the Miami offense, but after losing against the Knicks in the playoffs once again, he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets


Best years in Charlotte

In his first season in Charlotte, Mashburn averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 76 games. Led by his play and the play of Baron Davis, the Hornets won 46 games and faced Miami in the first round of the playoffs. While his former team was favored to win the series, Mashburn scored 28 points in game 1, 22 in game 2 and 21 in game 3 as the younger Hornets shocked the Heat and swept them in 3 games. Mashburn averaged a career high 24.9 points in the 2001 playoffs.

Mashburn’s best overall NBA season took place in the 2002-2003 campaign, and he played in all 82 games averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. He played in his first and only All-Star game, scoring 10 points in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award in March and made the All-NBA Third Team. The season also featured some high scoring games for Mashburn, including a 50-point performance against Memphis on February 21 and a 40-point game against Orlando on March 26.
Mashburn continued his stellar play in the 2003-04 season, but injuries plagued him for most of the year and he managed to play in only 19 games. Bothered by problems with his right knee (patella femoral irritation), he decided to sit out the 2004-05 season in hopes that his knee would recover. He had microfracture surgery performed on his knee, a risky surgery that not all players have been able to recover from.




Despite his decision to sit out the year due to his knee, the Hornets still traded Mashburn, along with Rodney Rogers, to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward Glenn Robinson on February 24, 2005. Mashburn was never able to recover from his chronic knee problems and never saw court time for Philadelphia. He was on the injured list for all of the 2004-05 season and the inactive list for 2005-06. On March 24, 2006, the 76ers waived Mashburn, who subsequently announced his retirement from the NBA.


Succesful business man

Mashburn, who averaged 20.8 points per game in 2003-04, is one of only six players since 1970 to have averaged at least 20 points per game in his final NBA season. The other five are Jerry West (20.3 in ’73-74), Larry Bird (20.2 in ’91-92), Dražen Petrović (22.3 in ’92-93), Reggie Lewis (20.8 in ’92-93), and Michael Jordan (20.0 in ’02-03).

He retired with career averages of 19.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

But retirement worked out for Mash pretty well. Mashburn has worked for ESPN as an analyst and launched a number of successful business ventures. He owns 34 Outback Steakhouse franchises, 37 Papa John’s franchises, and a number of car dealerships across the state of Kentucky. Mashburn is a partner in Ol Memorial Stable, which owns Kentucky Derby prospect Buffalo Man, along with former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino and Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris T. Sullivan.


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