A Sad Day to be a Boobie Fan
What if I told you Daniel Gibson
was the reason I’m here?
By “here” I mean writing about NBA basketball in the wee hours of a Sunday instead of doing homework or hanging out with some friends. By “here” I mean spending hours on Synergy sifting through John Jenkins off-ball movement clips. By “here” I mean loving basketball like no normal person should.
The odd part to many would not be the fact that I’m indulging myself in any of those pursuits, but the fact that this is all due to one, Daniel Gibson. It’s normal for sports fans to have a lone event, engraved in their memory from as far back as their childhood that sparked their love of the game. Maybe it was your parent’s favorite team winning the championship with you joining in on the excitement. Or a game-winner that defied what math would say about the chances of it falling. What’s not normal is for this type of induction into the world of yelling at your television and starting meaningless debates with friends over competitions of athleticism to happen over a player who can’t find a job in his prime just a few years later.
My moment was Game 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, where Daniel ‘Boobie’ Gibson caught fire. Six threes, all finding the bottom of the net followed by a deafening roar from the Quicken Loans Arena crowd and comments of bewilderment and awe from Marv Albert and Steve Kerr. Boobie finished with a career-high 31 points, which couldn’t outshine, but certainly stood alongside LeBron James’s historic performance of a game ago, because of his anonymity across common NBA fans like myself. A rookie drafted in the 2nd round who saw 16 minutes a night doesn’t usually clinch Playoff games for title contenders. This performance helped the Cleveland Cavaliers finish off the favored Detroit Pistons and pushed them to the franchise’s one and only NBA Finals appearance.
This outburst of long-range excellence and momentum-shifting amazement was my Linsanity, my Allen Iverson, my Michael Jordan, my Magic and Bird. It didn’t end with one game, either.
Gibson became a consistent role player in his following season, playing 30 minutes a night and starting in nearly half of his contests. He shot a scorching 44% from downtown, and put his shooting on display during All-Star Weekend – winning the Rookie-Sophomore Game MVP award for his 33-point on 11 threes performance and making it to the final round of the Three-Point Shootout. I cheered him on throughout the way.
My basketball path disconnected with Boobie’s however, as his role decreased in coming years due to injury troubles and a more loaded locker room while I found a new love in my hometown New York Knicks. He never completely escaped my attention though, as with any player responsible for the birth of a superfan. It was this past summer though, when Gibson once again garnered a large amount of my attention.
As of this point, Daniel Gibson has yet to be signed to an NBA contract. Currently a free agent, minor rumors have swirled regarding the 27 year-old but otherwise my childhood favorite’s career seems to be all but grounded. Some may not look at this as a surprise, with recent legal troubles involving Gibson being charged with 2nd degree battery and being bonded out. Although troubling, this is the only off-court infraction involving Gibson I could find that might potentially dissuade teams from pursuing him. Based on what he provides on the court, it’s baffling that Boobie has yet to find a roster as the 2013-2014 NBA season approaches.
Boobie’s best role can be defined as a 3-and-D point guard, lacking the “fundamental” skills of the position but being able to stifle opposing players and space the floor exceptionally. Gibson’s career three-point clip of 40.7%, with the ability to not only stroke it spotting up but also off the dribble on pick-and-rolls (albeit in few chances) make him a devastating sharp-shooter. On the other end, his lack of foot speed and unimpressive brawn implies that he isn’t commendable on defense but this is a mirage. Gibson has been an effective defender for the better part of his career, hardly ever gambling and pestering his assignment like a mosquito. Think of Mario Chalmers without as much finishing or passing ability.
Despite the holes in his basketball skills and a hiccup in his off-court life, Boobie being unsigned to this point remains a mystery. With secondary point guards across the league, such as D.J. Augustin and Darren Collison holding employment, whatever reasoning behind Daniel Gibson’s extended free agency can’t possibly be rationalized. But wherever Boobie ends up, whether on an NBA squad or an obscure European team, he’ll always be draining threes on the Pistons somewhere in my mind – no matter how tough of a day it is to be a Daniel Gibson fan.