It's great having connections in life. If you know someone who owns a pizza place and they give you free food when you visit. Or someone who owns a car dealership who can lend you a rental car at the drop of the hat. Well Reggie Hanson had that connection when it came to pro basketball.
He played at Kentucky from 1988 to 1991, meaning he wasn't even on the team when they lost to Duke in that memorable NCAA tournament game. He joined the Celtics in the 1997-98 campaign for the Evil Emperor who was coach. His stay consisted of 8 games, 26 minutes and 3-6 from the field for 6 career points. His most notable accomplishment you wonder? He'll be the last Celtic to wear #34 before it's retired for Paul Pierce.
The rest of his career was spent primarily in the Japanese Basketball League, where he claimed a Defensive Player of the Year Award and won the league's scoring title in 1995 and 1996. Sounds like Reggie Hanson was the Michael Jordan of Japan.
Getting back to his time with the Celts, couldn't you see the Evil Emperor contacting Hanson and being like "Listen how about I give you two 10 day contracts at the end of the season so you can tell everyone someday you played in the NBA?" How else to explain that a guy that's been out of college for 7 seasons and doesn't get any invites to any other pro team's training camp, gets a call-up at the end of that campaign?
[Speaking of the Evil Emperor, it's incredible how many players featured in the WTHHT segment were during his regime. He only coached for 3.5 years, yet his roster was like a merry-go-round. For the record, we have the following players already covered who played under him: Griffin, Stith, Carr, Dontae' Jones, Schintzius, Riley, Conlon, Potapenko, and Tabak. Plenty more to come too.]
You see, some people don't know the Evil Emperor quite like me. Take the following picture for example:
Excluding the 2 officers standing behind, you'll notice the Evil Emperor to the left and Walter McCarty to the right. So who is the mysterious man in the middle you wonder? It's none other than Steve Masiello. The name won't ring a bell for many of you. But I knew Steve in high school. He was a sophomore when I was a freshman. We trained a little bit in the preseason together, running after school. Why is this a big deal? Well when he was a junior on varsity he got no playing time. I mean zero. So he transferred to the Harvey School, further upstate NY. Harvey was a Division D school and played "powerhouses" like NY School for the Deaf. He lead the county in scoring and since he was buddy-buddy with the Evil Emperor, Slick Rick brought him along to Kentucky as a "walk-on." He basically guaranteed him a spot on the roster. I can tell you now without question he wasn't a better player than I was, and I was not close to a Division I caliber player.
But it really is all about who you know. Steve won a national championship with Kentucky and is now an assistant to Pitino at Louisville.
Why is this of interest? Well I'm pretty confident had Steve been just a tad better (and older at the time the Evil Emperor coached the Celtics) that he may have done a similar favor for Masiello that he did for Hanson. This puts into perspective that anyone reading this with some sort of athletic ability, had you known the right person, may have had a shot to play in the NBA. No joke.
Tesha Hanson, plays for the Hillsborough County girls basketball team in Tampa Bay.
Must be cool telling his players he played for the Boston Celtics. Even though the Evil Emperor totally hooked him up.
For a complete list of the "What the Hell Happened To" Series please click here. tb727 6/14/2010 11:56:00 AM Tweet