In the NBA, fans, players, and coaches measure time in era, not years. For a sport with fast break roots, the league denotes time broadly. To many, nothing captured NBA excellence better than the 1990s. Those years served as a bridge from the Magic/Bird decade to the Jordan dominance. With the attention span of many fans dwindling, other plays may never receive the respect and accolades they should. For instance, Kenny Anderson earned reverence the old-fashioned way, on the court. Long before multimedia campaign sent clips into a viral celebrity, Anderson gained his reputation on the court. From 1991 to 2005, Anderson logged time with nine teams. He garnered an All-Star nod in 1993 as a member of the New Jersey Nets.
In your hometown of New York, many proclaim you as one of the best to emerge from the city. How did you background shape you?
In all honesty, it provided that edge. The competition level forces you to improve. If you want to play basketball there, you have to constantly improve.
During your time with Nets, you played alongside Drazen Petrovic. How should fans view him today?
Drazen was a pioneer, the first major European player in the NBA. As a result, he opened the floodgates for people to follow his path. On the court, he was phenomenal. Off the dribble, screen or spotting up, he would shoot. When we lost him (Petrovic died in a 1993 accident), which crushed us. To this day, we still think “what if?”
During your first couple of seasons, the Nets looked as though they formed a rivalry with the Knicks. In your opinion, why did it fizzle?
First, our franchise did not enjoy much stability. We suffered through multiple owners. Plus, we practiced in a trucking facility. Meanwhile, the Knicks took care of their players.
Although Anderson keeps a close watch on the modern game, he does not appear particularly moved.
If you were playing now, what would your stats look like?
Easily averaging 20 points and 10 assists. Now, the game is softer than it was. There is a fan-friendly element to it, which is entertaining for fans. Defense seemed to disappear with the new rule changes.
What are your thoughts on LeBron James being a lightning rod for controversy?
Since he is the best player on the planet, he needs to deal with it. Just play. Also, enough of the wondering where he will play. Stay in one spot and players should want to find you, not the other way around. In all honesty, the constant chatter becomes tiresome.
In regards to point guard play, how did that position evolve?
Point guards in today’s game shoot first. There is an expectation of scoring with them more than ever. Chris Paul is the only point guard that appears traditional. While he can score, he will also lead an offense and get teammates involved.
Since you mentioned the Rockets, can they stop the Warriors?
If the Rockets grab home court, they can defeat the Warriors. Harden and Paul will force the Warriors to defend every possession. In a way, they will treat Golden State the way the Warriors do their opponents.
With that said, can anyone in the East dethrone the champions?
Currently, no. The Cavs will not beat them. If you want to look ahead, the Celtics can get to that point. When Hayward returns next year and Irving, Brown, and Tatum get more games together, Boston will claim the East.
Before embarking on a successful career in the NBA, Anderson starred at Georgia Tech. In 1990, he led the Yellow Jackets to a Final Four berth.
At Tech, you enjoyed a great season with Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott, how did three diverse talents work?
First, Dennis could shoot from anywhere. Next, you saw Brian’s slashing ability and toughness. Lastly, I ran point and directed the offense. We were the first ACC team with three players that averaged at least twenty points per game.
Although Anderson’s post-NBA life did not transition smoothly, he takes it day by day. Currently, Anderson operates My Guy Cigar Club, a high-end cigar company. Yet, fancy cigars do not paint the entire picture. Anderson and MGCC raise money for charities. MGCC donated a portion of event proceeds to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Although Anderson’s playing career ended over a decade ago, he still provides crucial assists.