There are different ways of displaying leadership and dominance on an NBA team. Some players stay relatively quiet and lead by example, while others try to be more vocal and expressive with their thoughts in order to show who the boss is. But none of those compares to the way Xavier McDaniel showed he is "the man" to his Sonics teammates in the 1980s'.
Xavier McDaniel, also known as "X," is far from one of the greatest players in NBA history, but his impact and legacy in the 80s and 90s are undeniable. The 6'7'' forward, mostly known for his days with the Seattle SuperSonics, had a couple of great seasons, averaging 20+ ppg. McDaniel would even notch one All-Star appearance but primarily serve as a valuable starter or bench player for his teams, playing the role of an enforcer.
A tough and strong player that really epitomized that era of NBA basketball, McDaniel was known for his confrontational nature that often put him into altercations with his opponents and even teammates. There have been numerous times "X-Man" got into on-court brawls, but his opponents weren't the only ones in harm's way. McDaniel often tested his teammates and got into psychical altercations in order to establish dominance.
A short stint in New York
Even though McDaniel is primarily known for his days with the Sonics and Celtics, "X" had a one-season episode with the Knicks in 1991/1992. At that time, the Knicks were starting a great decade full of successful seasons and unique characters that were epitomized by the likes of Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, and John Starks. Putting McDaniel into that group was a good fit, but it didn't last long. Still, his impact was felt, getting into a fight with Anthony Mason on the first day of practice.
In his new book "Blood in the Garden," Chris Herring covered that moment and revealed some fascinating stories about the 90s Knicks and their players. One bit at the very start of the book is pretty crazy and unique, as it is described how Xavier McDaniel showed to his teammates that he is the man.
"McDaniel prioritized manhood. Specifically, his own manhood. According to McDaniels's teammates in Seattle, he often walked around the Sonics locker room fully erect after games, hanging towels on his hardened member. Also, he fought people-and he fought them constantly."
Chris Herring, Blood in the Garden
Well, that sounds like a weird sight to see in the locker room, but that is just how Xavier McDaniel was. He didn't particularly care what others thought, and he had no problem establishing his dominance one way or another. If someone even tried to call him out for it, they would have to be ready to throw hands, and that is the last thing you wanted to do with "X-Man." Just one from countless amazing and never-before-heard stories from Herring's "Blood in the Garden." An excellent read for NBA fans.