NBA's 65 in 65: Spencer Haywood
Haywood will always be a permanent fixture in the NBA after becoming the first player to force his way into the league by way of legal action. He decided to turn pro after his sophomore year, but NBA rules, required a player to wait until his class
graduated, stopping him from entering the league.
Drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1971, Haywood still holds the team's single-season record for points per game with 29.2 and rebounds with 13.4. He had his No. 24 jersey retired by Seattle on February 26, 2007.
Send your questions now and join Haywood in chat on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Watch the NBA Playoffs on ESPN & ABC and the Finals on ABC.
Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)
How disheartening was it to see Seattle lose it's NBA franchise to Oklahoma City?
Spencer Haywood (11:04 AM)
Terrible, terrible, terrible! That was the place that I changed so much basketball, on the court and in the courts. I hope it will be replaced with another team sometime soon.
What was the biggest difference between the ABA and the NBA?
Spencer Haywood (11:07 AM)
The ball, the color of the ball. When the merger took place, the only thing that the ABA was left with was the ball. Everything that the NBA has now is from the ABA.
Besides Dwight, who is the best rebounder in the NBA right now? Do you have a top 5?
Spencer Haywood (11:10 AM)
I would say Dwight is first, but I'll go with Shaq, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Lamar Odom, and Tim Duncan.
Who was the toughest player to get a rebound against?
Spencer Haywood (11:12 AM)
I was a forward and he was a center but I would have to say Moses Malone and Wilt Chamberlain.
Mr. Haywood, you were sort of a pioneer in the "leave early for the NBA" movement. Do you encourage the practice of leaving early or does it depend on the individual circumstances?
Spencer Haywood (11:15 AM)
I wasn't sort of a pioneer, I WAS the pioneer! People leave college early everyday to pursue their goals. Just look at Bill Gates and John McEnroe to name a few. Why should the NBA be any different? Why shouldn't players be allowed to enter the NBA early if their skill level is good enough?
zach grand rapips mi
Does it seem like players are afraid to get close to Kobe because they will foul out? Also, all the other series are rough and tough but any team the Lakers play why so?
Spencer Haywood (11:17 AM)
I don't think players are afraid to get to close to Kobe. They play him tight and tough.
Spencer Haywood (11:19 AM)
If they play in Houston in the next round, it will be a tough battle for Kobe. I also think the Nuggets have all the defensive components to bang with Kobe.
Do you think that the Nuggets have a chance to win it all?
Spencer Haywood (11:22 AM)
Yes ...I think they have the best chance to give the Lakers a run for their money. The Nuggets have skill at every position and with the addition of Chauncey Billups, they have a chance to take the West.
dima ( spartanburg,sc)
Hello Haywood, its an honor to talk to you !!!! Do you think if Blazers win game six they have a better chance to win the series?
Spencer Haywood (11:25 AM)
Oh yeah ...if they win this next game in Houston, they have a great chance of taking this series. They have a great coach in Nate and he will have them ready to play.
How do you think the centers of today compare with those you played against?
Spencer Haywood (11:31 AM)
I wasn't a center, I was a forward but I don't think that the centers of today compair to the great centers of my day. There are only about tow or three true centers in the league (Garnett, Shaq, and Howard). These new guys wouldn't know what to do with the greats such as Bob Lanier, Nate Thurman, Wilt Chamberlain, Wes Unseld, and I can go on and on.
Spencer Haywood (11:33 AM)
I think that the Cavs and the Lakers will meet in the Finals. I think that King James and the crew will sweep the Lakers 4-0 ...just kidding! This season has been one of the best seasons that I have seen in a long time and its not over yet! Thanks for the great chat and we'll talk along the way on ESPN.com.
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