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Here's the Lineup in the Next Sport to Receive the Legends Treatment
August 20, 2004
Copyright 2015 TMP International, Inc.

McFarlane Toys is taking their Legends series to court -- the basketball court. Hoops fans worldwide will rejoice as McFarlane's Sports Picks honors six members of the Basketball Hall of Fame in our debut NBA Legends series. In Spring 2005, whistles will blow, nets will swish and rims will rock as these six NBA Legends arrive in stores everywhere.

LARRY BIRD: Aside from being the 1980 NBA Rookie of the Year, earning three consecutive MVP awards, winning three NBA championships and an Olympic gold medal during 12 All-Star seasons, Larry Bird didn't accomplish very much. The very definition of "Celtic Pride," Larry Legend was one of the most dominant superstars of any sport in the 1980s, winning games and leading teams to titles with deadly shooting, passionate leadership, the nerve to tell you about the shot he was going to hit and the cold-blooded talent to nail it every time. From French Lick to Boston to Barcelona and back, Larry Bird has left a legacy of winning everywhere he's touched a basketball.

WILT CHAMBERLAIN: The New York Knickerbockers made history on March 2, 1962. New York's finest took the court in Hershey, PA, and gave up 100 points -- not to another team, but to another PLAYER. Wilt Chamberlain owns stacks of NBA records, but none as significant as the one he set that night in Hershey, dropping 100 points on the deliriously overmatched Knicks. Wilt won four MVP awards and led the Sixers and Lakers to NBA titles. Chamberlain was a defensive standout as well, but he'll always be remembered for scoring points -- he led the league in scoring average for seven straight years and scored 50 or more points 118 times in his career. The man who once said "No one cheers for Goliath," is remembered as one of the greatest players of all time.

JULIUS ERVING: Only six players in NCAA history have averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds per game, but Julius Erving is used to being in exclusive company. He was the shining star of the ABA, turning heads and raising roofs as a Virginia Squire and a New York Net before arriving in the NBA as a Philadelphia 76er with something to prove to a whole new league. "Dr. J" was named the league's MVP in 1981, led the Sixers to the 1983 championship and played on 11 consecutive All-Star teams. Erving helped change the game, bringing basketball above the rim for generations to come.

PETE MARAVICH: Who's the best player in the history of college basketball? "Pistol" Pete Maravich owns three of the five best yearly scoring averages in NCAA history and likely would have more if he had been allowed to play with Louisiana State's varsity his freshman year. Maravich played 10 years in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, the New Orleans/Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics. He led the league in scoring in 1977 and played on five straight NBA All-Star teams but his legend is strongest in the Southeast Conference, where "Pistol Pete" left crowds cheering, defenses failing and records falling.

WILLIS REED: When League MVP and team captain Willis Reed tore a thigh muscle in Game Five of the 1970 NBA Finals, it opened the door for a Lakers comeback. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain led Los Angeles to a series-evening Game Six victory over the now captain-less Knicks. Game Seven in Madison Square Garden saw a hopeful New York crowd watch the hometown heroes go through warm-ups without their beloved leader. But a funny thing happened as the trophy prepared for a trip to L.A. From the dark tunnel emerged Reed, limping badly on his injured leg. The Knicks' captain hobbled to the court and settled into the starting lineup. Reed scored the first four points of the game and helped hold Chamberlain to 21 points with 27 minutes of the most courageous basketball ever seen as the Knicks ran away with the game and the championship. Reed would miss the next two years with injuries, but return to help the Knicks to another title in 1973. He retired in 1974, his professional career cut short by injury, but his legendary courage and dedication earned him a place of honor in basketball's Hall of Fame.

BILL WALTON: UCLA won 88 straight games including back-to-back 30-0 championship seasons with Hall-of-Fame center Bill Walton providing the foundation. His star never shined brighter than on a March evening in 1973, when he hit 21 of 22 shots, scoring 44 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while leading UCLA to the national championship over Memphis State. Walton endured chronic knee and foot injuries in his NBA career, but led the Portland Trailblazers to their only championship in 1977 and was named league MVP the following year. A new generation of fans knows Walton best for his (sometimes caustic) commentary, but you should probably expect high standards from a man who played on two undefeated championship teams.

Our collectors have asked repeatedly over the years for McFarlane Toys to offer Sports Picks of their favorite sports legends. With the announcement of the NBA Legends series, we now offer "legends lines" for three of the top four North American sports, with eager eyes and interested fans waiting to see what our next step might be...

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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