STARS ADDED TO 2006 SPORTS PICKS LINEUPS
NHL Legends 4 Series Finalized, NBA 11 Lineup Revealed
Friday, February 17, 2006
Everyone here at McFarlane Toys has been working hard to finalize our toy lineup for the remainder of 2006. There are still a few things we're working on, but most of the decisions have been made. That's good news for our Sports Picks collectors, since you'll be finding out which of your favorite athletes will be getting action figures this year.
We announced most of the NHL Legends 4 lineup a few weeks back -- Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gilbert Perreault, Bobby Clarke and Bobby Hull will be arriving in stores early in December, but they'll have company as well. We've recently finalized a contract with another Hall of Fame player and we're pleased to announce that longtime Toronto Maple Leafs center Darryl Sittler will be joining the NHL Legends Series 4 lineup as the sixth and final player.
DARRYL SITTLER was Toronto's first-round pick in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft -- and just four seasons later he'd be named team captain (the second-youngest captain in Maple Leafs history). Sittler is best known for two remarkable games. On Feb. 7th 1976, he set a league record by accumulating 10 points in one game, with a pair of assists in the first period, three goals and two assists in the second and another hat trick in the third against Boston. The total of six goals and four assists set a league record for points in one game that had previously been held by Maurice "Rocket" Richard with eight. Later that year, Sittler beat Czech goaltender Vladimir Dzurilla for the game-winning score in Team Canada's double overtime Canada Cup victory. He spent 12 years in Toronto, amassing more goals (389) and points (916) than any Toronto player prior or since. Sittler was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. Although his career included a few good years with the Flyers and a final stop as a Red Wing, Darryl Sittler is remembered in Toronto as perhaps the finest player to ever wear the Maple Leafs uniform.
In addition to our NHL Legends 4 line, our Sports Picks collectors can get ready for our next edition of current-day hoopsters with NBA Series 11, due in stores late November 2006. NBA 11 features two of the game's most popular players, the floor general for one of the league's best teams, and three stars expanding their horizons with fresh starts for new teams. Look for photography of these figures later in the year, but for now, let's meet NBA 11:
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: The third overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Chauncey B-B-B-B-Billups wasn't an overnight success. He endured three trades in his first three seasons, moving from Boston to Toronto to Denver before signing with Minnesota as a free agent in 2000. The cerebral point guard's career got on track as a Timberwolf -- his second season saw him post career highs in assists and rebounding, while raising his scoring average to a respectable 12.5 per game. Following that season, Billups signed on with the Detroit Pistons and became the floor leader for a burgeoning Eastern power that would win the NBA title in 2004 and return to the NBA Finals in 2005. Detroit looks to be the "Beast of the East" again this season, with Chauncey Billups leading the Motor City's finest back into the playoffs with another title on their mind.
KOBE BRYANT 4: An up-and-down season for the L.A. Lakers was given an undeniable highlight on January 22nd, when Kobe Bryant put together the most dominant single-game performance since Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant absolutely shredded Toronto, scoring 81 points while leading the Lakers to a 122-104 victory over the Raptors. Kobe shot 28-for-46 from the field, and single-handedly outscored Toronto 55-41 in the game's second half. The 81-point explosion is the second-highest single game point total in NBA history.
WALLY SZCZERBIAK: After seven seasons in Minnesota, Szczerbiak found himself headed East as part of a big trade with Boston. The 6'7" forward brings a scorer's touch to Beantown, while helping extend opposing defenses with his tremendous three-point range. While his scoring pace has settled a bit while learning the Boston offense, Szczerbiak could very well set a career high in scoring this season, and gives Boston an exciting new player to build around in the coming years.
JOE JOHNSON: The emerging star of the Phoenix Suns showcased his tenacity during last year's playoffs when he returned from injury to help his squad. Johnson broke the orbital bone around his left eye against the Mavericks, but returned two weeks later to help the Suns take on the Spurs. Following the playoffs, he was targeted and traded for by Atlanta. Fully healed and on a tear -- Johnson is enjoying his role as the undisputed catalyst for the young Hawks.
CARMELO ANTHONY 3: Denver's "young gun" continues to improve and impress while setting a pace to achieve career highs in scoring, shooting percentage and steals per game. No team is running away with the Northwest Division, but Denver's two-point lead over Utah has been built by the excellent play of Carmelo Anthony. Better shot selection and an improved free-throw percentage have turned Anthony into one of the league's top scoring threats.
RON ARTEST: After reaching an impasse with the Indiana Pacers, the fiery Artest was traded to Sacramento to begin a new chapter of his career with the Kings. The 6'7" forward and former Defensive Player of the Year brings an East-Coast mentality to the NBA's West Coast. The Western Conference Playoffs are a real challenge, and the Kings' acquisition of Artest gives them a proven playoff talent to tackle the other talented teams in the post-season.
Stay tuned to Spawn.com for more Sports Picks lineups and prototype photography in the coming weeks. As always, lineups are subject to change pending licensor approval.