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Rebirth of a Nation?

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These are selected passages from a Wikipedia entry. I've edited out telltale proper nouns, dates, and other giveaways to allow you to guess what basketball player is being described. Have at it.

...Standing 7 feet tall and weighing 275 pounds, ------ was an imposing physical presence on the court and was primed to become a dominant center in the NBA...

...He averaged 16.2 points per game in [year] and was subsequently awarded with a six-year, $61.8 million contract extension...

...The next season was his best, when he averaged 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.08 blocked shots per game. During that season, he scored a career-high 41 points against [team]...

...After [year], weight-control problems and injuries began to take a toll on ----, and his numbers fell off dramatically. He was still starting at center for the [team], but his minutes per game dropped, and his field goal percentage dropped significantly. His contract was blamed for tying up valuable salary cap room, making it difficult for the [team] to sign free agents. It also made him practically impossible to trade, as few teams had the salary cap room to fit his contract in. He became the object of scorn by [city] fans and media...

I think it's pretty obvious. The player being described is a man we all know well: Mr....

Bryant-reeves---big-country-poster-c10003101_medium

BRYANT REEVES!

Yep, if you were nerdy bold enough to correctly guess "Big Country", then well done, my friend. I bet most of you were thinking like I was, though. That career arc looks exactly like Eddy Curry's! Well, it's not far off:

- Curry usually measures at around 6'11'', 285 lbs. He was drafted fourth by the Bulls in 2001 with expectations of his being a dominant center in mind.

- In 2004-2005, Curry averaged 16.1 points per game, and was subsequently signed to a six-year deal worth about $57 million and traded to the Knicks.

- In 2006-2007, Curry averaged a personal-best 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds (though he'd never touch 1 block a game), and had a career high 43 points in a game against the Bucks.

- Within the past year, weight and injury problems have been to blame for worse performance and dwindling playing time. Curry's large contract has both made free agent signings difficult and obstructed the Knicks from trading him, making Eddy the target of fan and media criticism.

So, what's the point? There isn't one. I just happened upon Reeves' Wiki page, and was taken aback by the similarities. While the career of "Big Country" was cut short after just six seasons, Eddy's made it to his eighth. With luck, he'll get over this recent bout with injuries and weight problems, and take a nobler and more fruitful path than Reeves did in the later chapters of his career. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.