Classic card of the week

Tony Bennett, 1992-93 Fleer

Tony Bennett did not receive as much flak for his name as one might think, as approximately 96% of the NBA at the time had no idea who Tony Bennett the singer actually was. (A modern day scenario would involve a rookie small forward named Michael Buble.) In fact, midway through his first season in Charlotte, teammate Kenny Gattison, upon discovering Bennett’s name, began making fun of him, singing mock lounge songs in the locker room. Larry Johnson, now distracted from his customary routine of pre-game cross-dressing, demanded to know what was going on. When Gattison informed Johnson that Tony Bennett was a famous “crooner,” Johnson began busting on Gattison -- calling him “Carlton” and mocking his use of the word “crooner” -- for even knowing who Tony Bennett was. Kenny Gattison eventually lost the respect of all of his teammates (ironically, including Tony Bennett) and was traded to Utah the following week.

But what about Tony Bennett the baller? Let’s find out:

Bennett was the GTE Academic All-America Player of the Year and Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year as a senior at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay…

Wow. That is a lot of words. And dashes. This guy must have been good. And hey, while we’re on the subject, please allow me to express my disdain for the term “All-America.” For crying out freakin’ loud, it’s All-American!!! Why does basketball do this? This irks me to no end. The phrase All-America is awkward, pretentious, and goes against everything America stands for. It makes college basketball players sound like freakin’ superheroes, as if they needed any additional confidence boosters. So, like, everyone please stop using this term right now. Thank you.

Anyway, back to Tony Bennett. He weighed 175 lbs at the time this card came out, and “he was also the starting point guard for the U.S. team at the 1991 Pan Am Games.” I am of course referring to Tony Bennett the basketball player, as there is also a famous singer that goes by the same name.

Did you know?

When Tony Bennett later informed Larry Johnson that Carlton actually liked Tom Jones, not Tony Bennett, Larry Johnson punched him in the back of the head.