If Michael “John Shaft” Cage wasn’t one of the toughest players to ever step foot on an NBA court, I’m sure he would have been made fun of a lot during his NBA days for having a jheri curl that rivaled Ice Cube during his NWA days. He didn’t just have a jheri curl, to me, he was the second coolest person in the world to ever use an activator (Samuel L. Jackson gets the title for his role as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction).
There’s been a lot of exciting end of the year scoring races in the past, most notable being David Robinson beating out Shaq by scoring 71 on the final day of the 94 season and the famous photo finish by George Gervin and David Thompson in 1978: Gervin beat out Thompson, who scored 73 on the last day, by .07 points after scoring 63 points in his final game of the season. In 1988, Michael Cage and Charles Oakley were in a stat battle on the final day but since rebound titles aren’t as glamorous as scoring ones, you probably never heard this story.
Cage, playing with the Clippers at this time, and Chicago’s Charles Oakley were neck-to-neck in the final weeks for the rebounding title and then Cage went on a rebounding tear: 20 points and 23 boards followed by a 16 board game and then another 20/20 game, 19 in the next and then back-to-back 20+ rebound games. On the final day of the season, Cage needed a career-high 28 rebounds to win the rebounding title from Oakley and he came through with a career-high 30!
The “Windexman” played 11 more seasons as a tough enforcer, rebounder and leader for a few different teams while sporting a few different but equally cool hairstyles.
Cage also has a son, Michael Cage Jr, who is one of the top big men prospects in Cali Hopefully he will be able to follow in his (now bald) Dad’s footsteps and play in the NBA one day.