Greg Ostertag definitely isn’t one of the more popular players to ever play in the league. In fact, if you’re not a Jazz fan or heavily into basketball, the name may mean absolutely nothing to you. So why am I talking about him? We have 39 days left until the NBA season tips off and it just so happens that Ostertag is one of only three players in league history to dawn thenumber 39 and he is by fay the most recognizable, even if he did only wear it for a short time. Let’s face it, Ostertag was never really a hot commodity so the fact we’re using him to represent the number 39 says a lot about who wore that number. But hey, it’s not all bad, Ostertag was really a big part of Utah’s defensive scheme in 1997 and 1998 when the Jazz went to the NBA Finals. He was second in the league in block percentage in ’98 and fifth in offensive and total rebounding percentage. He also ranks third in franchise history in offensive rebounds, fourth in total rebounds and third in both blocks and blocks per game. He’s also in the top 50 in league history for blocks and blocks per game, ranking at number 45 for blocks and number 30 for blocks per game.
In a post about a ’90’s Jazz player, you knew there had to be some Michael Jordan thrown into the mix. You’re welcome.
Believe it or not, someone even had the time to make a Greg Ostertag mix! Granted, the first 25 seconds are him hanging out and wiping his face with a towel, it’s STILL an Ostertag mix. In all of it’s glory, here it is.
I bet during the course of this post you found yourself asking, “What ever happened to that dude?” Well, I’ll save you the time of Googling it and let you know that while he retired in 2006, he tried making a short-lived comeback in 2011 with the Texas Legends D-League team. After less than a year with the team, he decided it was time to hang ’em up for good and call it a career. In an interview he did with ESPN, Ostertag said:
“[My knees have] been bugging me since I came back (in late December), but I could barely move (after Reno),” Ostertag said. “I felt good there and I played good. I get out there and sometimes I do get loose, but usually the ‘don’ts’ are longer than the ‘dos.’ It sucks, but I knew going into this what could happen.”
When it came to his comeback, Ostertag wanted people to know that his decision to push for a comeback came from regret of retiring in the first place, saying:
“I regret quitting when I did,” Ostertag said. “At that time, it wasn’t so much playing. I was tired of everything that goes along with it, like the travel, not being able to fall asleep before 4 or 5 in the morning. I was tired of all that, but I should have kept going for a couple more years… I hope people understand that this was not a publicity stunt. I genuinely wanted to play basketball. The first couple weeks, I thought I was playing decent, but I just wasn’t in shape. I was starting to get in shape — as far as conditioning I felt as good as I’ve felt (Wednesday night against Tulsa) — but I just can’t move the way I need to. These guys are young and fast. Some of them were just getting out of diapers when I came into the league.”
With only 39 days left until the NBA is back in full swing, what’re you looking forward to the most?
Stats courtesy of: Basketball Reference