Clarence Weatherpsoon came into the league with about as much buzz as a ninth overall pick can. He came into the league with the nickname “Baby Barkley”. Like Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, Weatherspoon was a short and stout power forward. Like Barkley he came from the south. Clarence and Charles were also both selected in the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Weatherspoon was a 20/10 guy in college at the University of Southern Mississippi. He joined players like Alonzo Mourning and Derrick Coleman as players with at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in DI basketball. After his four-year run at Southern Miss, Baby Barkley was a a lottery pick of the 76ers and immediately stepped into the starting lineup for the Sixers.
During his rookie year in Philly, Weatherspoon averaged 15 points and 7 boards a game, starting every single game for the 26-56 Sixers. Yuck. This good production was only good enough to net Weatherspoon a spot on the All-Rookie 2nd team. It would be his only award during his NBA tenure. Just for kicks, here is who made the 1st team that season:
- LaPhonso Ellis
A pretty decent All-Rookie team, so it’s hard for hardcore ‘Spoon fans to be too pissed off.
While he posted some very good numbers in his first season, Clarence never really improved all that much. He averaged 18 a game for some pretty bad Sixers teams in the mid-1990s before his journey around the NBA really took off. His best production came in Philly, but he moved around and played minor roles on some really bad teams and a couple of playoff teams. Here’s the rest of his journey:
- 31 games in Golden State after a trade from Philly. He gets 10 point a game.
- 2 seasons in Miami where he played primarily off the bench.
- 1 year in Cleveland. He averaged 11 points a game as a starter.
- 2 years in New York with the Knicks.
- 2 years with the Rockets.
That’s quite a bit of movement. I remember this era of the NBA pretty well, and it seems like Weatherspoon was involved in about 80% of the trades in the NBA over this seven-year period. Here’s a list of some of the guys included in trades with Weatherspoon. It’s quite a list:
- Jimmy Jackson: Lottery bust. Decent role player.
- Joe Smith: Lottery bust. Decent role player.
- Chris Gatling: The only man traded more than Weatherspoon.
- Shawn Kemp: Former star, father of at least 12 children.
- Brian Grant: He of the dreadlocks. One of my favorites. Currently suffering with Parkinson’s Disease.
- John Amaechi: I think he was the first openly gay basketball player. He was not very good at basketball.
Weatherspoon retired after the 2004-05 season, having made about $40 million. Not bad for a guy with career totals of 11 points per game and 7 rebounds per game.
I have no idea what Clarence is up to these days, so instead, watch this video of him from the 1993 Slam Dunk contest. He finished second.