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Old 04-22-2014, 02:45 PM   #1
kentatm
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Default Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

Is this guy the ultimate case of when keeping it real goes wrong? He might possibly one of the biggest what ifs in basketball history.







Quote:
“The Destroyer” a nickname he garnered for crushing opposing defenses. Hammond dropped out of school in the ninth grade, so there are no prep recordings of his accomplishments. Instead, he made his name playing in Harlem summer leagues, most notably the Rucker Tournament. In these games Hammond would battle college all Americans and pro players home for the summer.

And at the end of the day, Joe Hammond was recognized as the best basketball player in NYC by scoring 40 or 50 points a game.

But what Hammond will be known for more than ever is his performance in the 1970 Rucker League championship game. After missing the entire first half, Hammond showed up, outscored Julius Erving 50-39, and was named the MVP of the tournament.



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Quote:

Nicknamed the Destroyer, for his ability to crush an opposing defense, Hammond never played high school or college basketball, yet, at the age of 19, he had already achieved professional status, and was touted by National Basketball Association scouts as a future star in their league.

"You're talking about a guy who showed up at these tournament games whenever he felt like it and scored 40 or 50 points per game against top professional players," said Adams. "In his day, he was on a par with guys like Dean Meminger and Tiny Archibald, and for his size, he was better than they were."

A 6-foot-3 1/2-inch guard, Hammond was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the N.B.A.'s hardship draft of 1971 (a class that included Phil Chenier and Cyril Baptiste), but a contract dispute prevented him from signing with the team. Also, Hammond by then had another source of income: a lucrative drug trade on the Harlem streets.



Quote:
"I was stupid for not signing, but I loved the streets too much, and I figured I could play ball in my spare time," said Hammond. "The streets are where I spent most of my time, and that's where I made all of my money."

Hammond said he was offered $50,000 to sign as a rookie by Jack Kent Cooke, then the owner of the Lakers.

"They thought they were offering the world to this poor kid from the ghetto, but I didn't need the money," Hammond said. "I was dealing drugs and shooting dice on the street from the age of 10, and by the time I was 15, I had my father hiding $50,000 for me in his bank account.

"By the time the Lakers made their offer, I had over $200,000 stashed in my apartment. I was making thousands of dollars a year selling marijuana and heroin. What was I going to do with $50,000?"




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Even the ABA wanted in on Joe only to be rejected.

Quote:
Lou Carnesecca, the former coach of the New York Nets in the early ‘70s said: “I can remember sitting at the table, after a nice plate of pasta, and I said ‘Look, I would like to offer [Hammond] a contract, three years, no cut, starting $35,000, $40,000 and $45,000…guaranteed. And the thing that astounded me was that he said ‘I can do better the way I’m doing now.’” He chose that lifestyle and ended up in jail on drug charges in 1971. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

link



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"I'm sorry to hear that; it's absolutely terrible ," said Lou Carnesecca, the St. John's coach, who also tried to sign Hammond in the 1970-71 season when he coached the New York Nets in the now defunct American Basketball Association. "Joe had tremendous skills, all of which he learned on the streets, and a great, great future. He was a precursor to Magic Johnson and guys like that.

"I offered him a three-year, no-cut contract, and he wouldn't sign," said Carnesecca. "The A.B.A. was a vagabond league at the time, so I guess he felt he could do better, and that maybe the situation wasn't right for him."


Quote:
Hammond played one year of professional ball, with the Allentown Jets of the Eastern Basketball Association in 1970, and earned a spot in the league's all-star game. "The 6-4, 180-pounder is one of the most exciting players in the game," reads the last sentence of Hammond's biography in the Jets' 1971 media guide.

"The Jets only payed me $375 a game," said Hammond. "But they only played two games a week, so it was convenient.'

In Harlem, they still talk about a Rucker League championship game in 1970, when Hammond's Milbank squad played against a team called the Westsiders. The Westsiders squad included Julius Erving, Charlie Scott Billy Paultz and Meminger, all of whom were beginning professional careers.

On that day, Hammond strolled into the game in the second half. His reputation preceded him, however, and when he was inserted into the lineup the Westsiders had Scott guard him defensively, and then Erving. Hammond scored 50 points to Erving's 39, and won the most valuable player award.

"They didn't know who to put on me," said Hammond. "After the game, Doctor J came over to me and shook my hand and said 'Joe, everything I heard about you is true.'

"I was making those guys look silly, and some of them were making big money, $200,000 or $250,000 a year. I told the Lakers that I deserved what those guys were making because I was better than most of them, but they refused to pay me. Then I asked them for a no-cut, guaranteed contract, and they refused me again. They couldn't understand how this poor boy from the slums could be playing hardball with them. And of course, I couldn't tell them why."

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does anyone have any actual footage of Joe playing ball?

the most I can over find is an older ruined by time and drugs version shooting jumpers alone on a playground court.

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Last edited by kentatm : 04-22-2014 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

Would love to know more about him. I have heard the name mentioned a couple times. Some footage would be nice, I looked but havent found any yet.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

i agree he was probably nasty.. but imo the best streetballer to never make it (that we have footage of) was Alimoe aka Black Widow..

6'7 with handles like a 5'10 dude.. crazy wingspan, vision, crossover, hesitation, midrange... reminded me of a skinner Boris Diaw with way more handles.. one of those dudes who could just produce.

Last edited by Dizzle-2k7 : 04-24-2014 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

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Old 02-22-2015, 02:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

The talent Harlem had on their basketball courts in the 60s/70s in my opinion is unparalleled to anything. Yeah Kareem was a legend on the courts of NYC but amongst many other legends that never made it like Earl Manigault, Kareem was a great player but probably wasn't conscientiously thought as the best player in the NYC streetball scene. Heck, driving around uptown today, you can still see some really nice pickup games.
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzle-2k7
i agree he was probably nasty.. but imo the best streetballer to never make it (that we have footage of) was Alimoe aka Black Widow..

6'7 with handles like a 5'10 dude.. crazy wingspan, vision, crossover, hesitation, midrange... reminded me of a skinner Boris Diaw with way more handles.. one of those dudes who could just produce.
Alimoe. He wasn't even the best of the And 1 guys. Main Event!!

Also, along with Joe, you had guys like Jackie Jackson, The Goat and Pee Wee Kirkland. Those guys were probably the best from NYC who didn't make the league.
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Old 02-22-2015, 05:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

If you like hearing about the old streetball scene, check out this book.



Author spent a year hanging out a park in Brooklyn. It's one the best sports books ever, kind of social history story as well. Bernard King came out of this playground and was already a college star. During the year the book was written, his brother Albert was the local star.

Last edited by KevinNYC : 02-22-2015 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinNYC
If you like hearing about the old streetball scene, check out this book.



Author spent a year hanging out a park in Brooklyn. It's one the best sports books ever, kind of social history story as well. Bernard King came out of this playground and was already a college star. During the year the book was written, his brother Albert was the local star.


The City Game might be a little better. This is where all the accounts of Earl Manigualt come from.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

Quote:
But what Hammond will be known for more than ever is his performance in the 1970 Rucker League championship game. After missing the entire first half, Hammond showed up, outscored Julius Erving 50-39, and was named the MVP of the tournament.

Did Erving score 39 in the whole game or in the second half himself?
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

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Originally Posted by Psileas
Did Erving score 39 in the whole game or in the second half himself?
39 the whole game. Though Docs team included Charlie Scott.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond: The greatest streetballer to be a never was ever?

$200,000 in 1971 is equivalent is close to 1.2 mil in todays money
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