Jordan Brand released a beautiful looking short filmed this morning called “Welcome To The Class of XXXI.” It pans through a trophy case full of 8×10 framed photos and memorabilia of Jordan brand athletes when they were in high school, stops on an empty frame with a Class of XXXI name plate, then reveals a kid looking at the empty frame. That kid represents the “next”…or maybe he’s just killing time and in shock at some of the hairstyles these players had during their prep days.
The All-Stars featured in the case are Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, Blake Griffin and Kawhi Leonard; Jabari Parker is also in the display by mistake – just kidding! Parker is having a breakout season and I assume the Chicago native will be an All-Star one day.
I thought just for fun, it would be amusing to look back at some of the forgotten Jordan Brand athletes that didn’t turn out to be as “successful” or popular as some of these guys and will probably look at Parker’s photo and say, “I did more than him (again, I’m just kidding Parker fans)!”
Vin just might actually take my Parker joke seriously because the former Milwaukee Buck is a 4 x All-Star and 2 x All-NBA player. Unfortunately his stints with the last four teams in the league were pretty forgettable and the last time he made headlines, he was working at Starbucks (seriously!) because he lost $100 million.
Kobe’s mentor and owner of the most insane finger roll in NBA history, Eddie Jones, was a lot to fun to watch and did make 3 x All-Star appearances. He also appeared in one of the best Jordan Brand commercials ever, featuring Class of VII Ray Allen.
Bibby has to be one of the best players of the 2000’s to never make an All-Star team. He did get a huge contract for his playoff performances and a Jordan brand deal so I can’t feel too bad for him. Nowadays you can catch Bibby playing pickup with White Chocolate, lifting weights and looking to beat up the refs that rigged some of his playoff games.
THE KNUCKLEHEADS DARIUS MILES AND QUENTIN RICHARDSON
Prep to Pro Darius Miles is another athlete who unfortunately blew his NBA contract and Jordan Brand endorsement money. But around 2000-2001, he and his Clipper teammates – like Q Rich and Odom – were basketball favorites who frequently made appearances during commercial breaks. Miles even made a few movie appearances.
Captain Jack aka Dhalism is probably most known for the Malice in the Palace but the former NBA champ was a solid player for many years in the league and is still getting buckets at summer Pro-Am games and still wants to make a return to the NBA. He’s also a decent rapper under the alias Stak5.
RICHARD “RIP” HAMILTON
Before Rip was a NBA champion and 3 x All-Star in Detroit, he was teammates with Michael Jordan in Washington. He didn’t win many games playing alongside Jordan but he did get a nice sneaker deal with Jordan.
It doesn’t matter how many All-Star teams Joe Johnson makes (7 already on his resume), the former All-NBA 3rd Teamer will always be known for his $123.7 million deal in 2010, which made him the NBA’s highest paid player at that time. If that deal didn’t upset some basketball fans enough, he was also building one of the most impressive sneaker collections (for free) since he had a deal with Jordan Brand.
Finley unofficially earned his deal with Jordan back in high school, when the Chicago native once played a competitive game of HORSE with the GOAT. Once Finley was legally allowed to sign a deal, he became one of the first NBA players on the Jordan Brand team. He would later make 2 All-Star appearances and like Stephen Jackson, win a championship with the Spurs.
And I almost forgot this guy….