#24: Mike Gminski

Michael Thomas “The Lumberjack”* Gminski played seven and a half seasons with the Nets in the 80s — four as a full-time starter — and came into his own with New Jersey as a reliable 16-8 center with a good jump shot from either corner. Gminski couldn’t lead a team — the Nets were 7-27 before the Nets traded Gminski in 1987, and he was their second-best player at the time — but he was, by all accounts, an excellent role player.

*-not a real nickname outside of my head

He was never a star, as he lacked both the glamour and the production, but Gminski’s smarts & talent were enough to keep him in the league as a solid impact player for over a decade. If you gave Nenad Krstic 20 extra pounds, more of a nose for rebounding, and a perfectly shaped beard, he’d be the Mike Gminski of the 90s.

Of course, you’d also have to give Krstic about 300 extra games and no serious injury issues in a Nets uniform, something Gminski was able to avoid until the 90s. But that’s a separate issue.

Gminski ranks in the top 10 of a number of Nets categories:

  • Games played (550, 2nd)
  • Points (6,415, 10th)
  • blocks (599, 3rd)
  • Free Throws (1657, 5th)
  • Free Throw Attempts (1986, 5th)
  • Free Throw Percentage (.834, 9th)
  • Offensive Rebounds (1,231, 4th)
  • Defensive Rebounds (2,440, 5th)
  • Total Rebounds (obviously) (3,671, 4th)
  • Win Shares (34.4, 9th)

For the most part, he ranks highly in these categories because he ranks highly in the first one – other than Buck Williams, no player suited up for more games in New Jersey. But as Woody Allen says, 90% of success is showing up. At the very least, he deserves credit for that.