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The Legend of Stevie Franchise


Steve Francis was one of the NBA's most exciting point guards, giving fans a great show while giving opponents nightmares.

During his prime, the former Rockets All-Star guard Steve Francis was one of the best ball handlers in the league and had a vicious crossover that would leave defenders stupefied. Interestingly enough, Francis’ crossover was influenced by another Rockets superstar – Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon.

From The Players’ Tribune:

Houston was the perfect spot for me. People probably won’t believe this, but Hakeem was one of the biggest influences on my game when I was a kid. I used to watch his footwork, and I’d imitate him. My crossover? That’s not MJ. That’s not Iverson. That’s Hakeem. Look at my footwork and you’ll see Dream.

Most guards are usually influenced by other guards but for Stevie Franchise that apparently wasn’t the case as it was The Dream that had the most influence on his game.

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Steve Francis was selected with the second overall pick of the 1999 NBA draft and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season. He was a three-time NBA All-Star while playing for the Houston Rockets. Francis also played for the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks, finishing his career with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He was known for his crossover dribble, driving ability, and flashy dunks.

Believe it or not, Francis was actually selected second in the 1999 NBA draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He publicly announced that he did not want to play for the Grizzlies, citing the distance from his Maryland home, taxes, endorsements, and last but not least God's will. Heavily criticized for his behavior, especially in Vancouver, he relented and briefly considered joining the Grizzlies before controversial negotiations and an incident at Vancouver International Airport convinced Francis that he needed to go elsewhere.

Francis got his wish, being traded before the 1999–2000 season began to the Houston Rockets in a three-team, 11-player deal that brought Michael Dickerson, Othella Harrington, Antoine Carr, and Brent Price, plus first- and second-round picks to the Grizzlies. It was the largest trade in NBA history at that time. He then had 5 solid seasons with the Rockets where he established himself as one of the best guards of the new millennium.

He was then traded to the Orlando Magic in 2004 along with his best friend on the team, Cuttino Mobley, as well as Kelvin Cato, for Tracy McGrady, Juwan Howard, Tyronn Lue, and Reece Gaines. Stevie averaged a very solid 21 points per game during his first season with the Magic. After the 04/05 season, his stats slowly began worsening and then he had a short stint with the Knicks and the Rockets.

Francis also played in China, but that never worked out for him as he returned home the same year.

As time passes the memories of Stevie Franchise fade, but stories will be told and videos will be watched thanks to the time we live in. The Legend of Stevie Franchise will be made immortal.

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