Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Willis’

No. 13 – Champs aplenty in this class

The84Draft
The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Otis Thorpe and Hakeem Olajuwon

Otis Thorpe (left) and Hakeem Olajuwon won a title together in 1994.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, Tony Campbell, Jerome Kersey, Rick Carlisle

Colleges: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Providence (Thorpe), Michigan State (Willis), Ohio State (Campbell), Longwood (Kersey), Virginia (Carlisle)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 9th overall by Kansas City Kings (Thorpe), 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks (Willis), 20th overall by Detroit Pistons (Campbell), 46th overall by Portland Trail Blazers (Kersey), 70th overall by Boston Celtics (Carlisle)

Draft fact: Players from the 1984 Draft combined to win 13 NBA championships. Here’s the breakdown: Michael Jordan (six championships), Hakeem Olajuwon (two), Otis Thorpe (one), Kevin Willis (one), Tony Campbell (one), Jerome Kersey (one) and Rick Carlisle (one).


VIDEO: Hakeem Olajuwon guides the Houston Rockets to the 1995 championship

We’re just 13 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 44 – Wills outlasts his Draft mates

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis was the last member of the 1984 Draft class to retire.

Name: Kevin Willis

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, the 11th player chosen in the 1984 Draft, was 44 years old when he finally retired after the 2006-07 season. Among ’84 draftees, Willis played in 1,424 games (second only to John Stockton’s 1,504) and he was the last player to retire from his Draft class.

We’re just 44 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 53 – All-Stars aplenty in class of ’84

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Michael Jordan and John Stockton

The 1984 Draft boasted All-Stars aplenty.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, John Stockton

Colleges/Countries: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Auburn (Barkley), Arkansas (Robertson), Providence (Thorpe), Michigan State (Willis), Gonzaga (Stockton)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 5th overall by Philadelphia 76ers (Barkley), 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs (Robertson), 9th overall by Kansas City Kings (Thorpe), 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks (Willis), 16th overall by Utah Jazz (Stockton)

Draft fact: The 1984 Draft boasted 53 All-Star selections, which were earned by seven players. Here’s the breakdown: Jordan (14 All-Star Games), Olajuwon (12), Barkley (11), Stockton (10), Robertson (4), Thorpe (1), Willis (1)


VIDEO: Relive Charles Barkley’s top 5 plays from the All-Star Game

We’re just 53 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 59 – Willis fills up the basket

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis made 7,000-plus FGs in his career.

Name: Kevin Willis

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, who was chosen 11th in the 1984 Draft, connected on 7,095 fields goals. That number is the 59th most made field goals in NBA history.

We’re just 59 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 80 — Willis a top-100 NBA scorer

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of The84Drafton NBA TV.

Name: Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis was a top-notch scorer in Atlanta.

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, the 11th player taken in the 1984 Draft, scored 17,523 points … which ranks him 80th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.


VIDEO: Take a look back at Kevin Willis’ career with the Atlanta Hawks

We’re just 80 hours away from The84Draft on NBA TV! Watch NBA TV for the complete story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

Ex-Hawks Star Willis Still Flying High In World Of Fashion

NBA Style
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by Tracy Weissenberg

When you enter the Willis & Walker Atlanta showroom, you immediately notice the details. The room is made to welcome the customer, make him feel as if he is in his own domain, ready to purchase clothing especially tailored for him.

WillisNBA veteran and former Hawks star Kevin Willis, who studied fashion and textiles at Michigan State, founded the company in 1988 with his college friend Ralph Walker. “Being seven foot, and not being able to go anywhere and buy anything. We weren’t even talking about fashion back then, as far as that sense of style, we just wanted something that we could put on and look halfway decent,” says Willis.

The first product was leather jackets, made after an impromptu trip to New York to buy the leather, which was then sewn by another friend. After seeing people’s reaction to the jackets, Willis and Walker took note of the immediate demand and recognized their potential niche. The company gradually expanded to suits, and in 2003, launched the denim line. Willis now solely runs the company with partners in New York, and talks about the brand’s evolution, saying, “Now it’s more of a lifestyle collection. It’s everything that a man can wear. From outerwear, to knits, wovens, suits, jeans, twill pants, leather, headwear, t-shirts, all of that.”

While one might wonder the steps a professional basketball player took to fully absorb and ingratiate himself within the world of fashion, he did what most other passionate and enthusiastic people out of college do: Internships.

Asked to describe his style, Willis uses the phrase “dynamic elegance” and “simple, classic, modern.” It is the same philosophy he has extended to his brand. And from the showroom, to the collection, Willis’ work is in the details. As he points out, even the company’s logo hints at the shape of a basketball going through a net. While unintentional, it could not be more fitting to reflect the merging passions of the former NBA All-Star. (more…)

Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Well, hello there. My name is Lang Whitaker, and up until this point, I’ve been something of an interloper around these parts the last few years, popping in irregularly to speak on the NBA on podcasts or in video clips. But now I’m here to stay. So we better get used to each other.

A little about me? I was born in Atlanta. I went to elementary, middle and high school in Atlanta. I went to college at UGA. I worked in Atlanta for a while after that. I moved to New York City in the fall of 2000, and I’ve lived here in NYC ever since. I root hard for the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Bulldogs, Manchester United and the Atlanta Falcons.

For the last 13 years, I worked for SLAM magazine. From about 2001-09, I wrote five days a week on SLAMonline.com for a column called “The Links.” I also wrote about a hundred features on various NBA players. In 2011, I left my full-time gig at SLAM and started doing other stuff alongside limited SLAM duties. I wrote a book. I wrote for newspapers and magazines and web sites. I took a few deep breaths.

And now I’m here. I’ll be writing here on the All Ball Blog every day. Once a week I’ll be podcasting with Sekou Smith and Rick Fox. I chat with folks on TNT Overtime during some of the TNT games. And from time to time you might even see my mug pop up on NBA TV.

For now, I’ve got to get settled in here. So while I figure out how to check my email on my phone, here are some other things you might want to know about me: I like to cook. I like to eat. I like to put soy sauce and sriracha on just about everything. My favorite restaurants include, but are not limited to: Red Rooster Harlem, Ma Peche, and Waffle House (any location). I have been married for nine years. I have a dog named Starbury. I have a son who is four months old, whose main objective in life right now is to make sure I don’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. I love sneakers and sportswear. I like to play golf. I like to watch TV and movies. If I had to pick a character on “Duck Dynasty” that I would most like to hang out with, it would be Uncle Si.

My favorite director is Wes Anderson. I think a billion dollar idea might be disposable tissues that clean your eyeglasses without leaving any streaks. I believe in the sovereignty of the SEC. I enjoy playing video games so much that I have to try and avoid playing them. I’m going to start working out again pretty soon, I swear. My favorite writers include, but are not limited to, Truman Capote, John Irving, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nick Hornby, David Sedaris and Mike Sager. I read the New Yorker cover-to-cover every week. I feel like anyone who serves unsweetened iced tea has some nerve. I believe that OutKast is the greatest hip-hop group of all-time, and I also believe that Big Boi is perpetually underrated. Branford is my favorite Marsalis. Tyrion is my favorite Lannister. Khloe is my favorite Kardashian. Finally, I believe that above all else, basketball is a game, and it should be fun to follow.

The last point is the most relevant to who I am, and to this blog. I love this game, and this blog will hopefully reflect that and celebrate that, every day. I’m sure I’ll reveal more about myself (and learn more about myself) as we go along here, and I’d like to learn more about you guys, too. If you have thoughts, ideas, links, whatever, leave a comment down below, or email me using the link up top in the header, or tweet via the link up above.

And just so I don’t leave you with nothing to chew on, here’s my favorite NBA-related YouTube video of all-time. This video explains my NBA fandom in many ways, from celebration of the game itself to the blind, ultimately misguided optimism. I’m old enough that I remember when this song was released, and I remain hopeful that one of these days the Atlanta Hawks will recycle this both as a marketing slogan and a theme song.

Kevin Willis enjoyed himself some rookie hazing back in the day

by Micah Hart

No eye contact, rook.

Thunder forward and friend of the Hang Time Podcast Nick Collison is blogging for GQ this season, and in his latest column he tackles one of my favorite subjects here on All Ball — the art of rookie hazing.

Most of the time it’s pretty tame stuff, like competing in dance contests or wearing goofy outfits, and Collison says it often depends on what kinds of stuff veterans went through during their own rookie seasons. Not everyone gets it easy though, as Collison relates in this story about teammate Royal Ivey‘s rookie season with the Hawks:

On road trips, Kevin Willis would call Royal’s room at 2 A.M. and say “Rook, I need you to go get me a carton of cigarettes.” Now, Kevin Willis didn’t smoke, but Royal still would have to get out of bed and find a convenience store to get him his cigarettes, then knock on his door and deliver them. All that Royal would get for his troubles was a “Thanks Rook,” as he watched the grinning veteran throw the cigarettes in the trash.

Man that is cold — and also hilarious. Take it from someone who was in a fraternity, the kinds of physical punishment (branding and paddling and whatnot) you think of when hazing comes to mind are dangerous and meanspirited, whereas mind games like this have way better payoffs and get you in much less trouble.

The Exquisite Art of Rookie Hazing [GQ]

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