Monday , Sep , 22 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The NBA’s biggest heart: Raja Bell, Jay Williams, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, or Kevin Garnett?

In any industry, heart separates good from great. In the NBA, heart means training year round. Heart means showing up in November and May. And heart means competing after signing an eight or nine figure contract. Back in the day, New York’s John Starks was the measuring stick. The Beastie Boys immortalized the shooting guard with the epic line: “I got heart like John Starks” …

The NBA's biggest heart: Raja Bell, Jay Williams, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, or Kevin Garnett?Every week, HoopsVibe The Blog will drop a basketball related list for fans to debate. We call it ‘Listed’ …

In any industry, heart separates good from great. In the NBA, heart means training year round. Heart means battling in November as well as May. And heart means competing after signing an eight or nine figure contract.

Back in the day, New York’s John Starks was the measuring stick. The Beastie Boys immortalized the shooting guard with the epic line: “I got heart like John Starks”. Starks’ time has come and gone. A new generation of players display passion by overcoming personal and professional setbacks.

Who has the biggest heart? That’s tough to answer. Heart is subjective and every player has battled to get to and stay in the NBA. In the latest edition of ‘Listed’, HoopsVibe the Blog names five players with giant hearts.

#5) Raja Bell, Phoenix Suns.

Why: Bell spent years in various minor leagues before landing in Philly as a defender. He  developed a three-point shot and is now a serviceable two-way player for the Suns. Success couldn’t stop Bell from risking his career by playing on a torn calf muscle in a key playoff game. 

#4) Jay Williams, N/A.

Why: Sure, ‘J-Will’ violated his contract by riding a motorcycle and then killed his career by mangling his leg in a gruesome motorcycle crash. But the former Bull didn’t just accept a cheque and disappear. He publicly owned his mistake, relearned basics like walking, and nearly rehabbed his way back to the NBA.

Right now, Williams’ status is unclear. Officially, he’s retired. Unofficially, reports have him scheming on a comeback. Don’t count him out, though. Ever.

#3) Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat.

Why: Overcoming his height disadvantage was amazing. Overcoming his kidney disease and returning to the NBA was also amazing. Now, at 38 years old, he hopes to overcome a knee injury and join the Heat midseason. Whatever happens, Mourning’s legacy as a warrior is secure.

#2) Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets.

Why: For years, the old school attacked him. They dogged his braids, tattoos, rants about practice, and shot selection. Then Larry Brown, the oldest of old school, coached him and fell in love with his heart.

The Answer is just 5-10 and 160 pounds. And he often plays injured. But Iverson always attacks the basket and challenges league giants.

1) Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics.

Why: An all-time great, Garnett was reduced to tears playing for an incompetent organization. Yet, ‘The Big Ticket’ never spoke out publicly or complained. He even stayed loyal after his former boss, Minnesota owner Glen Taylor, publicly slammed him last season.

Justice was served when Garnett won an NBA Title with Boston. And the four-man wrote another chapter in his Hall of Fame career.

Who has the biggest heart in the NBA? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of interbasket.