We all know the man, the myth, the legend that goes by the name of Brian Scalabrine. Even though he is far from some of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA, all the memes, the red hair, and funny demeanor made Scalabrine of the biggest fan favorites in the league’s history, making him a household name, at least to the fans. But have you ever asked yourself how good or bad was actually Brian Scalabrine behind all those ironic memes?
Born and raised in Enumclaw, Washington, Scalabrine actually came up as pretty good basketball talent, dominating his competition from the jump. After high school, Brian would attend Highland College and average 16.3ppg, 9.6rpg, and 2.1 bpg, being a double-double machine. His team would go 31-1 and win a state championship, with “Scal” leading the way. It was clear, Scalabrine was a level above, as he transferred to USC the following season on a full-ride scholarship. He would prove his worth and be the best player at USC also, leading them in points, rebounds, and blocks.
Unfortunately for Scalabrine, his college success wouldn’t translate to the NBA. Instead, he would get selected as the 34th pick by the New Jersey Nets and wait patiently for his chance. Scalabrine wasn’t getting too many minutes in his first three seasons, but in his 4th season and the final one with the Nets, Scalabrine finally got the chance to play over 20 minutes per game and average the best numbers of his career, with 6.3ppg, 4.5 rpg and 1.6apg. Those were not numbers that jump out of a roof, but Scalabrine showed he has a place in this league when given a chance, at least in the role of a bench player.
After that year, “Scal” would sign with the Celtics, where he spent some of the most memorable years of his career. Scalabrine never got too much of a chance but was a small part of a great Celtics team, winning the championship in 2008. He may be didn’t play a single second, but that didn’t stop him from feeling good about himself.
After five memorable years with the Celtics, Scalabrine would go on to play for another legendary franchise in the Bulls. In those two years, “Scal” became the infamous meme. The Bulls were one of the top teams at the time, with a young MVP-level Derrick Rose leading the way. “Scal” was primarily seen in the background, cheering from the bench and getting garbage minutes. But those few minutes were sometimes the best part of the game, as even the home and away crowd regularly cheered him on and chanted M-V-P in his honor. It became a running meme and stuck even after he retired from the NBA.
Scalabrine wasn’t a great NBA player, as the stats would tell you that alone. But stats don’t tell the whole story. Scalabrine was a baller and great basketball player, as every player on that level is elite. But most of all, he was a great teammate and person, seen in the way all the players he played with speak highly of him. Sometimes that is even more important than the sheer stats. And if you think you are a better player than Brian Scalabrine, just check out these two examples of a retired “Scal” schooling some random people.