Believe it or not, but there have been no players in Clippers history to wear the No. 28 to date, so let’s circle back and check out the offerings for No. 00.
Ah yes, the double zero, the number that is technically a number, but not used in other sports. Add to that the flair of going for not one, but two zeroes. You’ve got to be pretty bold to go for this one.
Two players in Clippers history have worn No. 00: Kevin Duckworth, who wrapped up his career with the Clips, and whose career around the NBA I very much enjoyed, and Benoit Benjamin, who is the subject of this story.
Drafted No. 3 overall by the Clippers in the 1985 NBA Draft, Benjamin played collegiately at Creighton, and was named a third-team All-American his final season in NCAA ball.
The 7-foot center had a scoring touch, and was remarkably consistent in his five and a half seasons in LA, averaging 13.3 points per game over 406 games in his Clippers tenure. In addition, his block totals were elite, in his worst season with the team he averaged 2.1 blocks per game. All told, he averaged 2.8 blocks per game in his Clippers run, and was the franchise leader in blocks, with 1,117, until Cheap DeAndre Jordan Jersey surpassed him in 2016-17. He also belongs to the “10 block club”, with two career games, both with the Clippers, in which he posted 10 blocks in a single game.
For a man who didn’t produce much, Harvey Catchings carved out a nice stay in the NBA, lasting 11 seasons. While plenty of power forwards – and point guards for that matter – equaled his 3.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers, only two others can match his feat of playing for both teams in the same game.
Harvey Catchings was a longshot who made it in the NBA
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What’s true today about the NBA draft was also true in 1974: If you’re not good enough to be selected in the first 30 picks, then the odds of sticking around the league for more than a cup of coffee are long. That’s why Harvey Catchings is deserving of all credit that comes his way.
There were 18 NBA teams in 1974 when Catchings came out of Hardin-Simmons, and the draft went 10 rounds deep. Catchings had averaged 16.7 points and 11.1 points a game on a Hardin-Simmons team that included Stedman Graham, the longtime partner of Oprah Winfrey.
UCLA great Cheap Bill Walton Jersey, Providence’s Marvin “Bad News” Barnes, and North Carolina State’s Tom Burleson were the top three picks in that year’s draft. Other notables included Jamaal Wilkes and Maurice Lucas in the first round, and John Drew in the second. The Phoenix Suns selected George Gervin 40th overall in the third round, but he opted to start his career in the rival ABA.
Two picks later, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted the 6-foot-9 Catchings, who would go on to appear in 725 NBA contests in 11 seasons. The only player taken behind him to have lasted longer was fourth-rounder Mickey Johnson, who played in 904 games.
The most interesting game of Harvey Catchings’ career
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On Nov. 8, 1978, the Philadelphia 76ers were leading the New Jersey Nets, 84-81, when referee Roger McCann called a charging foul on Bernard King of the Nets for plowing into Steve Mix midway through the third quarter. King had collected a technical foul earlier in the game, so when he got T’d up again for going after McCann over the call, it meant an automatic ejection.
That didn’t sit well with Nets coach Kevin Loughery, who had also been hit with an earlier technical foul. When Loughery crossed the line for a second time, referee Richie Powers T’d him up, triggering another automatic ejection.
When neither King nor Loughery left the court in a timely fashion, Powers – who had a famously short temper – assessed a third technical foul on each. Once things settled down, Phil Jackson took over the Nets’ bench, Philadelphia shot a bunch of free throws, and the 76ers eventually walked away with a 137-133 victory in two overtimes despite Eric Money’s 37 points.
On this day: Cheap Benoit Benjamin Jersey impressive stat line
The Louisiana native bounced around the NBA after being traded to Seattle for Olden Polynice in 1991, yet another dud of a trade that left the Clippers in worse shape. After the Sonics, Benjamin played for the Lakers, Nets, Grizzlies, Bucks, Raptors and 76ers in his NBA career, which wrapped up in 1999.
Benjamin has largely stayed out of the limelight since his playing days ended, evidently settling back in Louisiana, but he was among the players present for a charity game when Jayson Williams allegedly shot a limo driver in his own house in 2002 and was called as a witness at the fellow ex-NBA player’s trial.
Benjamin was never an All-Star level player, but he was remarkably consistent in his Clippers tenure in particular, and with perhaps some better franchise management could have been a core piece of a perennial playoff team. Alas, we didn’t get to see that unfold, but Benoit Benjamin brought a multifaceted game to the Clippers and is the best yet to wear No. 00.