Mookie Blaylock was non-stop intensity. For proof of this, see the above picture during a stretching session. And even if the above was Mookie just having gas, if you’ve seen his speed, well, it’s all relative isn’t it? In all seriousness, Blaylock was a lean speedster with quick hands and court presence. Unfortunately, like a lot of Nets, his time with the club didn’t see his best years.
As a rookie, Blaylock was perhaps best known for his name and being the second “Mookie” in the city that never sleeps, with the New York Mets’ Mookie Wilson being the first (and most-loved). He averaged 10.1 points on 37.1% shooting from the field and 77.8% from the free-throw line, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals in 25.3 minutes per game that first year (1989-90) with the Nets. His next season saw improvement as Mookie gained experience and was getting more burn – 14.1 points on 41.6% shooting from the floor and 79.0% from the charity stripe, 6.1 dimes and 2.3 thefts in 35.9 minutes per game. Things were looking good for the “other Mookie.”
Alas, Blaylock would only play one more season with the Nets (a pretty good one too – 13.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.4 steals) before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks for, umm, Rumeal Robinson. Robinson, who didn’t put a smile on anyone’s face after leaving Michigan, only played 97 games over two seasons for New Jersey. What did Mookie do? Set career-highs across the board (17.4 points in 1996-97 and 9.7 assists in 1993-94 as examples), led the NBA in steals twice (2.7 in 1996-97 and 2.6 in 1997-98; finished with a 2.3 career average), made one NBA All-Star game (1994) and was All-Defensive First Team twice (1993-94 and 1994-95) and All-Defensive Team four times (1995-96 season through 1998-99).
3… 2… 1… OUCH!
Oh, and perhaps what Mookie Blaylock is more known for to America, he was the original band name for Pearl Jam. Yes, that Pearl Jam. The one with the lead singer that didn’t want to be famous, but invariably became famous because of his proclamations of not wanting to be. It was the formula to become famous that evolved into today’s becoming famous for doing nothing. In any case, Bethlehem Shoals wrote an excellent article about Pearl Jam and Mookie on Deadspin that is a must-read.
So, far what we are learning with these Nets rankings is this – it’s a painful exercise.