Classic card of the week

Bryant Reeves, 1997 Upper Deck

Webster’s defines clutch as: to grasp or hold with or as if with the hand or claws usually strongly, tightly, or suddenly. In that respect, it is plain to see that Bryant Reeves was indeed clutch, because he played for the Grizzlies – grizzlies, remember, have claws – and when he looked up at the clock and saw – in digital lettering – “crunch time,” he would grasp the basketball strongly AND tightly with his claws, and suddenly, the Vancouver Grizzlies would be victorious. Other players in NBA lore – like Jerry West or Michael Jordan – have been labeled as “clutch,” but neither of them ever beat the Houston Rockets on December 17, 1996 with a last second shot: Such was the case with Bryant “Big Country” Reeves in a matchup against Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. With only 5.8 seconds left in the game, Reeves connected on a shot and gave Vancouver a 93-92 win. Reeves would go to explain his penchant for clutchness in a 1998 interview with Ebony Magazine: “I don’t know what happens, but when the game clock goes under six seconds, something just takes over my whole body. From my flattop, through my defined torso, all the way down to my tube socks – I feel an urge to BE clutch. I need the ball in my hands, and when I get it, the whole court turns to black and white. Like, that game against Houston…I mean, was Hakeem Olajuwon even defending me? I couldn’t notice. That might as well have been Spud Webb clogging up the paint for all I cared. That shot was going in no matter what. I’m Bryant Reeves.” What made Bryant “Big Country” Reeves’ ability to come through in the clutch even more spectacular was the fact that, for the first 47 minutes and 54.2 seconds of the game, he usually sucked pretty bad. In fact, it was often the case that, in the waning seconds of a close game, teammates would be looking for Reeves - so that they could pass him the ball, he could grasp it tightly, and everyone could go home – but Reeves would be sitting on the bench because he fouled out in the first quarter with one point and half a rebound. Without Reeves on the floor during crunch time, chaos ensued. Once in 1996, teammate Anthony Peeler brought the ball up the court near the end of a one-point game against the Magic. When Peeler noticed that Bryant Reeves wasn’t on the floor (Reeves had suffered a left nipple injury in the second quarter) he didn’t know what to do, so he grasped the ball, got down onto the floor into the fetal position and cried until the buzzer sounded. “Not the clutchest performance,” Peeler would later admit, “but it’s still better than A-Rod.”

Bryant “Big Country” Reeves’ fun facts

Favorite Food: Venison sandwich

Favorite Subject: Advanced Spanish

Favorite Group: The Rednex

Favorite Movie: Jaws IV

Favorite TV Show: Pants Off, Dance Off

Pet Peeve: Bears

Did you know?
The good news? While Peeler was on the floor, he found Reeves’ nipple.