Classic card of the week

Dennis Awtrey, 1973-74 something

With the start of the NBA season just around the corner, I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back, and acknowledge how the NBA has changed. Not much, I say! In fact, on almost any day of the week, you can spot current Chicago Bull Ben Gordon, happily dribbling a basketball in the carpeted hallway of United Airlines Arena, or, at his old high school, on career day. Why? Because what the hell else are you going to do when you’re dressed in full uniform, standing in a carpeted hallway, and someone hands you a basketball? Frown at it? Not likely. Sure, maybe Ben Gordon doesn’t wear his underwear as an actual uniform, and maybe he doesn’t rock the curly white-afro mullet combination. And yeah, he probably wouldn’t be caught dead looking like this under any possible circumstances. In fact, maybe Ben Gordon is bad example. But still, not much has changed! Seriously!

As for Dennis Awtrey, if that name rings a bell, then you must be Dennis Awtrey a die-hard NBA fan! If it doesn’t, then you may be asking yourself questions like, “Was Dennis Awtrey aggressive under the boards? And if so, how would they capture that attribute of his game in cartoon form?” Well then, I think the back of the card can answer both questions for you:

Dennis Awtrey was so famous that he was portrayed by Sean Penn in the 1993 film “Carlito’s Way.” For identity’s sake, Awtrey’s name was changed to Dave Kleinfeld, and instead of playing center for the Chicago Bulls, Penn is a corrupt Jewish lawyer mixed up in gang activity. And he wears glasses. But everything else was pretty accurate, including the emotional scene where “Dave Kleinfeld” is dribbling a basketball in a carpeted hallway. Before being shot.

Did you know?

Dennis Awtrey was unable to attend VH1's recent "Hip Hop Honors" awards show, due to a prior engagement.

Thanks for the card, Bill!


The Dave Awtry Era, as it came to be known in Chicago basketball history, only prepared the city for Jordan.

It is said that without Bob Dylan paving the way there could never have been a Tom Petty (let alone any of the Heartbreakers). This is the case of Awtry and Jordan.

Long story short: No Awtry, no NBA championships, big shoe deals or Scotty Pippen. It never would have happened.