Classic card of the week

Don MacLean, 1993 Topps

Like Tony Bennett before him, Don MacLean was an NBA phenomenon who just happened to share a name with one of the more prominent stars of extremely Caucasian music. As you’ll recall, the singer Don McLean had a string of hits, including the song about bringing your Chevy to the levee, only to find out that the levee, unfortunately, is dry. (Stupid levee!) Contrary to what I previously mentioned, Don McLean had no other hits, but the song about the Chevy was 68 minutes long, so that in itself was a “Greatest Hits” album.

Don MacLean the basketball player’s Greatest Hits album would definitely include the time he became the Pac-10’s all-time leading scorer while at UCLA, a record that may stand until the end of time, considering that many of the nation’s top basketball talents have surprisingly chosen the immediate riches of the NBA over the opportunity to outshine Don MacLean. But let’s find out more about Don MacLean’s early NBA career:

MacLean, another piece in the Bullets’ rebuilding puzzle, was already well-traveled before he played an NBA game.

Interesting to me how the 1992-93 Washington Bullets were describing their basketball transactions as “rebuilding,” as if they were coming off consecutive championship seasons. There was never a building. The more accurate word in that snippet is “puzzle.” Nevertheless:

He was drafted by the Pistons, then traded to the Clippers, who swapped him to Washington.

Nobody wanted Don MacLean, a fact that is very apparent in the picture of MacLean you see below: “…so I’ll eat worms, I’ll eat worms!” One could even say that everywhere Don MacLean took his Chevy, the levee was dry. Until that is, he arrived in the dark, cold, rough and tumble streets of Washington, D.C., a place that seemed an obvious fit for the coifed UCLA grad, and Palo Alto native. Don MacLean would go on to win the NBA’s “Most Improved Player” award for the 1993-94 season, jumping from a 6.6 points-per-game average the previous season to 18.2. He name was curiously absent from the recently released Mitchell Report.

Did you know?

The Washington Bullets were forced to change their name to the “Wizards” after Don MacLean was arrested for firing shots into the air at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse after hearing “American Pie” on the Muzak system.