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VIDEO/STORY: Mayor Mattingly presents Key to the City to Glen Rice. #BentonProud @glenrice41 http://t.co/FWWRVvBdJe pic.twitter.com/L7GtJplASd — Benton, AR (@CityofBentonAR) October 7, 2015 Having grown...

Having grown up in Little Rock, AR as a hardcore basketball fan, I have always enjoyed finding out about about the different connections NBA/ABA players have with my state. That process of discovery is a gradual one. I remember standing inside the Dunbar Community Center in downtown Little Rock (by the junior high Joe Johnson attended) and marveling that the place had been a stomping grounds for an NBA No. 4 overall pick most Arkansas basketball fans have never heard of.

I’ve long praised the greatest dunkers* in Arkansas history, but only yesterday learned about a high flying  UAPB alum whose nickname was “Helicopter.” That would be the 6’5″ Charles Hentz, who fittingly enough played for the ABA’s Pittsburgh Condors. In November 1970 game, he did something no ABA/NBA baller had or ever will do again.

I’ll let eyewitness Ken Marsh explain:

“Charlie Hentz quickly drove to the basket, soared, and threw down a vicious one-hand dunk, shattering the backboard. It happened so quickly it Peeplestook everyone’s breath away. The sound was akin to a shotgun blast when the rim gave way and the glass exploded. A Cougars forward named George
Peeples was trying to get the shards of glass out of his Afro.”

An hour later, with the demolished glass backboard now replaced by a wooden one,  the game resumed. But near the end of the game, after the teams had switched side, Hentz found another open path and released his fury.

“The crowd was absolutely stunned that Hentz had destroyed a second glass backboard on top of the first one,” Marsh told RememberTheABA.com. “The refs, the Carolina coach, and the Pittsburgh coach Pittsburgh then conferred about what they should do. Pittsburgh was down by about 14 points at the time of Hentz’s second “demolition,” so their coach graciously decided to call the game.”

That’s rich, right?

Here’s some more gold-encrusted factoid:  Shawn Marion, as in the Matrix Shawn Marion who was a four-time All Star, is listed as growing up in Clarksville, Tennessee. But it turns out he spent a significant time with relatives in the Dermott, Arkansas area and apparently played some junior high basketball there.

And then there’s the absolute motherlode of NBA Arkansan esoterica, which was unearthed in Saline County about a month ago. It turns out Glen Rice is actually from Arkansas. Yep, just another three-time NBA All-Star and NCAA Tournament MVP who everybody assumed was from Michigan (because all official records state him as being from Flint, Michigan) but actually grew up in Benton until the age of nine or so.

Rice is already known as one of the many stars to come out of Flint, my friend Nate Olson wrote for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. “Now, he wants to be grouped with Arkansas NBA standouts Sidney Moncrief, Scottie Pippen and Derek Fisher, his Lakers teammate.”

Well, well. I’m glad I know Rice’s true origin because his inclusion has a significantly effect on my latest  edition of all-time, NBA Arkansans. By “Arkansan,” I mean someone who was either born in the state or played here in college. That’s why you will see Rice mixed with Lee Mayberry (a Tulsa native, but Razorback star) below:

NBA Arkansans Career Points Leaders

Player Points Points Per Game Years in NBA Birthplace
1 Scottie Pippen 18940 16.1 17 Hamburg
2 Glen Rice 18336 18.3 15 Jacksonville
3 Joe Johnson 18326 17.3 14 Little Rock
4 Joe Barry Carroll 12455 17.7 10 Pine Bluff
5 Sidney Moncrief 11931 15.6 11 Little Rock
6 Archie Clark 11819 16.3 10 Conway
7 Paul Silas 11782 9.4 16 Prescott
8 Alvin Robertson 10882 14 10 Barberton, OH
9 Derek Fisher 10713 8.3 18 Little Rock
10 Fat Lever 10433 13.9 11 Pine Bluff
11 Caldwell Jones 10241 7.9 17 McGehee
12 Corliss Williamson 9147 11.1 12 Russellville
13 Wil Jones 8482 11.7 9 McGehee
14 Michael Cage 8278 7.3 15 West Memphis
15 Eddie Miles 8120 13.4 9 North Little Rock
16 Mike Conley 7778 13.4 8 Fayetteville
17 Darrell Walker 6389 8.9 10 Chicago
18 Ron Brewer 5971 11.9 8 Fort Smith
19 Todd Day 5917 12.3 8 Decatur, Ill
20 Nathaniel Clifton* 5444 10 8 Little Rock
21 Bryant Reeves 4945 12.5 6 Fort Smith
22 Joe Kleine 4666 4.8 15 Colorado Springs, CO
23 Andrew Lang 4431 6 12 Pine Bluff
24 Jim McElroy 4120 9.9 7 Cotton Plant
25 Jim Barnes 3997 8.8 7 Tuckerman
26 Ronnie Brewer 3940 7.8 8 Portland, OR
27 Oliver Miller 3625 7.4 9 Fort Worth
28 Fred Jones 3206 7.5 7 Malvern
29 Jannero Pargo 3175 6.4 11 Chicago
30 Lee Mayberry 2546 5.1 7 Tulsa
31 Tony Brown 2163 6 7 Chicago
32 Charles Jones 1826 2.5 15 McGehee
33 Pete Myers 1804 4.8 9 Mobile, AL
34 Scott Hastings 1647 2.8 11 Independence, KS
35 Major Jones 1643 4.4 6 McGhee
36 Patrick Beverley 1369 8.9 3 Chicago
37 James Anderson 1243 6.3 4 El Dorado
38 Keith Lee 1114 6.1 3 West Memphis
39 Sonny Weems 1082 7.7 3 West Memphis
40 Jeff Martin 956 6.7 2 Cherry Valley
41 Jeremy Evans 806 3.7 5 Crossett
42 Quincy Lewis 567 3.6 4 Little Rock
43 Bob Burrow 459 5.7 2 Malvern
44 Archie Goodwin 425 4.6 2 Little Rock
45 Dean Tolson 402 5 3 Kansas City, MO
46 Jasper Wilson 366 5.2 2 Camden
47 Jimmy Oliver 331 4.2 5 Menifee
48 Jeff Taylor 179 3.2 2 Blytheville
49 Mel McGaha 176 3.5 1 Bastrop, LA
50 Cory Carr 171 4.1 1 Fordyce

NB: This is “only” the top 50 of the 70 NBA Arkansans I have in my database. In the coming weeks, I’ll be release more of these for different categories, so stay tuned. Sign up for my newsletter and you can make sure to get them.

* Speaking of great dunkers from the state, Bentonville High senior Malik Monk makes a strong case as the best of the best. Here’s a pic of him and LeBron James, courtesy of the Arkansas Wings’ Ron Crawford.

malik monk and lebron james

A current superstar by a future one?

 

 

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