Jamal Magloire, who turns 44 today, was not a great NBA player. If he had done karate, he would have been an orange belt, at most. But, as the saying goes, when you’re 2.11m tall, you manage to run and chew your gum at the same time, you can easily conclude on a misunderstanding and have a career in basketball.
The first misunderstanding dates from the end of his junior season in Kentucky. Magloire went to the draft thinking he was going to be selected… before quickly removing his name from the list and returning to UK for a final year, where he still holds the blocking record. Yet it would be another mistake to believe that he was an exceptional blocker. He simply stayed in college for a very long time and earned this distinction “by wear”. The real stars now leave after a season and don’t give a damn about university records.
A year later, he was nevertheless selected by the Hornets, during the weakest draft in history, in the first round in 19th position. This position is the soft underbelly of the draft. But he becomes a millionaire and quickly understands that by being in the right place at the right time, you can achieve your goals.
The day of (My)glory has arrived
In his third year in the league, he started and played 30 minutes per game, mainly because New Orleans had no one else on the bench (his replacement was a 34-year-old Elden Campbell). His stats in 2002-03 are honest (10 pts at 48%, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 ctr), the team ends with a record of 47-35 under the leadership of Paul Silas and the owners think they have their duo of the future with Baron Davis and him.
The rest of the 5 is made up of players aged 30 and over (David Wesley, Jamal Mashburn, PJ Brown). With no other star in sight, the owners decide to offer Magloire an extension of 25 million over three years. In 2003-04, while still on his rookie contract, he made his bosses look like geniuses. He increased his average to 13 pts (47%), 10 rebounds, 1.2 ctr, returned 75% of his free throws (personal record) and did not miss a match.
Against all odds, he was even selected for the All-Star Game! The vote of the pivots in the East that year: 1-Ben Wallace, 2-Alonzo Mourning, 3-Jamal Magloire, 4-Eddy Curry (yes, yes). Magloire, who does not know if such an opportunity will arise one day, gives his all and plays this match with the intensity of a Game 7 (respect to him!). On a misunderstanding, he knows that anything can happen. After three quarters, while the paralyzed public begins to wonder if he will not finish MVP, this scene would have taken place behind the scenes (or not):
– Adam Silver: “Mr. Stern, Jamaal Magloire is at 19 points and 8 rebounds in 22 minutes. »
– David Stern: “Who? »
– Adam Silver: “Jamaal Magloire! »
– David Stern: “What the hell is he doing here? »
– Adam Silver: “Eastern Conference. »
– David Stern: “Hmmm, okay. At the next time-out, tell Flip Saunders to give fat Shaq carte blanche. Journalists love it when he plays dumb. »
Flip runs and Shaq finishes MVP in extremis (24 pts, 11 rbds, 1 pd, 2 ctrs and 2 steals) but the NBA did not go far from seeing an unknown to the general public elected best player of its star game . In any case, Jamaal gave so much on this one… that he had almost nothing left to finish his career. Moreover, the following season, just when he began to receive his big contract, he was injured and missed 59 matches.
“Uh, Jamaal, aren’t you playing there?” »
– ” No, not here. »
The Hornets get rid of him in fourth gear and he begins to make the rounds of the league. After an almost decent year at the Bucks (his last as a starter), he visits Portland, then packs his bags in New Jersey, crosses Dallas before spending three years in sunny Miami and finally returning home to Toronto.
He has nothing more to do on the courts but he is the only native NBA player of T-Dot. He is still employed by the Raptors to this day as an assistant coach in charge of development and a team ambassador to the community. For serious events, we send Drake. For the rest, Jamaal is assigned to shake hands and take pictures with young Canadians who dream of the NBA. Tenacity, intelligence and resilience. Jamaal has his three qualities and for that he deserves our respect. And anyway, as Jean-Claude Dusse would say, by dint of persevering, we always end up concluding.