Center Chuck Hayes scored 1854 points spread out over six seasons as a Houston Rocket. For comparison's sake, Kobe Bryant has topped that number nine times in a single season during his career, and 1854 was also the year the Powhattan shipwrecked in the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in New Jersey's eventual construction of the Absecon lighthouse later that year.
Kind of an odd non-comparison, right? Well, it sort of dovetails into the fact that Hayes, who now plays for the Sacramento Kings, will receive a video tribute from the Rockets on Friday night when Hayes' Kings take on the Rockets in Houston in what will likely be the most obscure video tribute in NBA history. Why? Because Hayes (who averaged just 4.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in his time with the Rockets before leaving for Sacto as a free agent), is a badass. That's why. From the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen:
"I don't know how I'm going to react," Hayes said. "My son asked, 'Are they going to boo you?' I don't know. It's going to be weird. This city was great to me. This organization was great for me. I thank them. I really do consider Houston home. Will I get teared up? I don't know.
"Personally, it's just overwhelming. It's overwhelming the opportunity that was given to me. I'm thankful to the Sacramento Kings. I think about the journey it took to get to this point, to be a vet on a team, to be financially stable, to be a model in the league of being a glue guy."
Feigen noted in his piece that Hayes, who is 6-foot-6, remains the shortest starting center in NBA history, a remarkable feat considering the evolution of the pro game over the last 65 years, and a strange anecdote considering that the man he replaced (Yao Ming) at the position stood a full foot taller than him. Hayes, to these eyes, may have the best interior defensive footwork I've ever seen.
But don't take it from these eyes. Take it from Kevin Garnett's smoldering glare:
Congrats, Chuck. Couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving man.
UPDATE: Here is the tribute video.
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