Oblige and observe, jersey-lovers. This weeks AGR JOW is a game-worn Rickey Green jersey from the 1990-91 NBA season. Every time (read: daily) that I don this ink-injected masterpiece, I can’t help but sweat with arousal…luckily I’m wearing a jersey when this happens and no one knows the difference!
This jersey transcends the jersey-world…it speaks to all people: people who merely like basketball, those who enjoy aesthetically pleasing garments, and patriots who could give a shit about clothing but swear by American red, white, and blue. This thread’s got the versatility of Lamar Odom, the pizzazz of Derrick Rose, and the star power (okay, pun intended…) of LeBron James.
To be perfectly clear about the effort put into the making of this jersey, the star-pattern (and its blue backdrop) starts at the team name and gracefully fades out at the bottom of the jersey, where, mind you, there is a final star straddling the bottom-most seam! That means the manufacturers and designers thought that the stars were so freaking badass that they had to exist above and below every player’s waist-band, irregardless of its visibility. Keep in mind that NBA players are required to tuck in their jerseys, especially in Rickey’s Green’s day when the style was more John Stockton and less Allen Iverson.
All this talk of point guards on the Jazz and Sixers brings us to Rickey Green, the jersey’s previous owner, who happened to play for both teams (and with one of the two pictured players) during his career. Rickey was a rags-to-riches Chi-town project and played his college ball at Michigan before becoming the 16th pick in the 1977 NBA draft. (Daaayyuuumn, that’s a long time ago.) Given that this is a jersey from two decades later (1990-91 season), it follows that Rickey was an NBA lifer, albeit a journey-man of sorts. He played for 8 teams over his 14 seasons, started the majority of his games, and had his best seasons (including an All-Star appearance) on the Utah Jazz. In three seasons from 1981-1984, he posted PERs of 17.4, 17.2, and 18, with season highs of 14.3 ppg, 9.2 apg, and 2.8 spg. In fact, in each of the last two of those three seasons, Rickey led the league in total steals. How’s that for an unheralded journey-man?
Rickey’s most interesting season, however, was his lone year on the Sixers. Rickey enjoyed a revival that only a flamboyant and spirited star-design could have provoked. As a member of the Jazz in the 1986-87 season, Rickey started 80 games. The next season (1987-88), however, Stockton claimed starting duties at the point and Rickey’s minutes dropped from 25.8 m-g to 13.8 mpg. Rickey got traded in the off-season, and ended up playing for three different teams in the next two seasons, failing to crack 17 minutes per game with any team over the stretch.
But in 1990-91 season, when he was 36 years young, Rickey tasted youth once again. Despite his age and having previously relied on quickness, he played 29.5 mpg as a Philadelphia 76er, far and away the most minutes he had played in previous six seasons since he was 30 years old in the 84-85 season. The ink-injected stars of the Philadelphia jerseys must have injected a lil’ somethin’ else into Rickey, because he started 75 out of the 79 games he played, averaging 10 ppg and 5.2 apg with a 46.3 FG%.
Although his name and story seem obscure, it was all the rage in 1984, when he made his one and only All-Star team. Enjoy the evidence:
Rickey was an under-the-radar baller and was fortunate enough to wear this under-the-radar jersey before the Sixers nixed it. Luckily, we got it all for you right here on AGR JOW.
Have any great Rickey Green stories? Of course not, no one knows him. But make one up and comment on the article (of clothing or text!). Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.