Basketball History: 5 Greatest players of all time outside the NBA
Year in and year out, the unvarying yet exciting NBA calendar keeps the fans hooked to the game they love. But often in the course of regular league action, we seem to forget that there's way more to basketball than what meets the eye. The NBA champions are frequently referred to as the best squad in the world while the megastars of the game regarded as the best basketball players the world has to offer.
It's true that most of the game's elite from across the globe flock to the States to showcase their skills at the biggest stage. However, there remain a huge bunch of accomplished ballers who never show up due to a variety of reasons. Some opt out due to monetary inclinations, others hoop dreams turn to nightmares due to untimely deaths, while the rest decide to stack paper playing for their home country.
Let's skim through the list of arguably some of the most gifted ballers never to have made it to the league.
#1 Hank Gathers
College basketball in the late '80s was dominated by the 6-foot-7 Gathers. During the 1988-89 season, he averaged as high as 33 points along with 13.7 rebounds per game for Marymount.
Skimming through his numerous achievements in college, one would find the 1989 WCC Player of the Year, 2x WCC Tournament MVP (1988, 1989), 1990 Consensus All-American Second Team, 3x All-WCC First Team (1988, 1989, 1990) and 2x All-WCC Tournament (1988, 1989).
Coupled with Bo Kimble, the LMU led Division I in scoring in 1988 (110.3 points per game), 1989 (112.5), and 1990 (122.4). Gathers was destined to be catapulted into NBA stardom when he first discovered that he had an abnormal heartbeat in 1989. He was reluctant to take the required medication as he thought it slowed down his movement on the court.
During the 1990 WCC tournament quarterfinals, Gathers collapsed on the court due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and passed out playing the game he loved. He died only months before what would have been a No.1 draft pick for him in the NBA draft that year.