Zion continues to impress the basketball globe scoring at will against any given opponent! Having scored 20+ points in the 12 of his 14 first NBA games, New Orleans Pelicans’ rookie became the first NBA player to achieve such feat since the legendary Terry Cummings!
Thirty-eight years ago, DePaul University phenom did it as a 21-year old rookie power forward for 1982/83 San Diego Clippers. That year T.C. started as many as 69 out of his 70 games, playing alongside second-year pro by the name of Tom Chambers, averaging career-high 36.2 minutes.
He would make the most of his opportunity given by the Clippers’ head coach Paul Silas posting career-best numbers – 23.7 points to go along with 10.6 boards and 1.8 steals per game for the Clippers that finished the season with a 25-57 record.
On March 9th in 1983, Clippers’ rookie would bring his game to the floor of Great Western Forum and test it against the 1982 World Champions – Los Angeles Lakers!
In front of the sellout crowd of 17505, Cummings was just incredible, scoring with ease on every given occasion. He could stick a jumper from the mid-range over helpless defenders or blow past by them for easy baby-hooks or lay-ups in the lane. Lakers’ fans could just watch Clippers’ rookie perform in awe!
And not just the fans – Lakers rookie forward, straight out of the University of North Carolina, James Worthy could only stand and watch when his fellow rookie put on one move after another against him. T.C. blow right past 6’9″ Worthy, went across the lane and soared for a spectacular slam dunk with his left hand!
That night, T.C. lit up the Lakers with the game-high 39 points, while hitting 14-24 shots from the floor and collecting game-high 18 boards as well!
But, in the end, it was the Lakers who prevailed in the up-tempo game, winning it by 119:114. Magic Johnson scored only 7 points, but he unselfishly dished out 20 dimes to his teammates, many of those to legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who hit 13-15 shots for a total of 31 points.
Although he suffered from heartbeat irregularities, a condition that limited him to reaching NBA superstar level, 1983 Rookie of the year would later provide steady inside presence. Cummings was a regular starter for Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs (where he provided mentorship guidance for David Robinson and Sean Elliott) while recording ten consecutive 17+ points NBA seasons.
Ending his incredible career run in 2000, as a member of the Golden State Warriors, ‘The Preacherman’ appeared in 1183 career games (having started 815 of those) while averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game.
The definite highlights of Cummings’ distinguished NBA career came in 1985 and 1989 when as a member of Milwaukee Bucks when he was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star teams.