Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper and????
When you think of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, the stars are easy to remember but like most championship teams, it takes a plethora of role players that are often forgotten after the years pass in order to reach the pinnacle of basketball. Even after the stars are mentioned, my mind drifts to players like Bill Wennington, John Salley, Steve Kerr, Randy Brown and Toni Kukoc. But there was one player that deserves more credit than the rest of the role players.
Luc Longley was the starting center for that record-setting, 72-10 Chicago Bulls team. And like most of the team, he benefitted from being teammates with Michael Jordan both in terms of Championship Rings and in terms of footwear. Longley could be seen rockin’ Nike Air Uptempos on the regular, Nike Air Maestros, and at times, Air Jordans. In the same sense that his performance on the court was relatively thankless (keeping Dennis Rodman from ruining himself by running his mouth is about as thankless as it gets), his sneaker game also deserves a lot more credit.
But with that said, there is something a lot of people don’t consider when it comes to Luc Longley. Longley was the first Australian to play in the NBA. He began his NBA career 25 years ago this year. Longley, who turns 49 today, paved the way for modern day NBA stars like Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, and Dante Exum. Just as he did back in the day supporting his teammates, Longley coaches for the Australian Boomers nowadays, providing opportunities for others to follow his steps into the NBA.