LaPhonso Ellis had an impressive, even though short-lived career with the Denver Nuggets, known for his freakish athletic ability on the court and his pure class off of it.
The #5 pick from the impressive 92 draft doesn’t get mentioned in many of those “if it wasn’t for injuries” articles that are usually headlined by Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill but Ellis was an All-Star in the making before a series of career ending injuries hit him.
His first major injury came during his 3rd season when he injured his knee. He lost half of his 4th season to a knee injury and then ruptured his Achilles tendon during his 5th season. But somehow he found ways to bounce back and even returned as a 3 point threat (he made 95 3-pointers in 1996 and only had 13 in his previous 4 seasons) one season after injuries took away his bounce. But in the end a hernia then plagued the rest of his career until he retired in 2003.
Unfortunately for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Brian Davis, Ellis was still healthy at the time and would show off his athletic abilities in one of the greatest defensive plays in NBA history. As Davis went for the one hand dunk, Ellis went up to block him and just snathced the ball from the air, as he recored a block and a steal at the same time. He also finished it off with a stylish fall to the ground and look to the crowd just to add to the art of the play.
Anybody who has ever met or known the so called Phonz’ will tell you how big of a class act he his. Anybody that remembers him dunking on Patrick Ewing or blocking Brian Davis will tell you how absolutely nasty he was.