Thanks to the 1998-1999 NBA Lockout, basketball fans were deprived of professional hoops until Feb. 5 of ’99. After a 204-day work stoppage, the Association resumed its act on that date, and several notable rookies made their debuts on, including the likes of Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic.
After sifting through the YouTube archives for about half-an-hour, I was unable to find videos corresponding to the debuts of Pierce, Nowitzki, Miller or Stojakovic, but the good folks that run the channel “VC15Encyclopedia,” had a video of Carter’s first pro outing, which ironically came against Pierce and the Celtics.
Everything about this video screams “late 90’s-early 2000’s,” and I LOVE it. The grainy footage, a slender Pierce, the Garden being deemed the Fleet Center and of course Charles Oakley starting for Toronto. Nostalgia.
Toronto would go on to win the game 103-92, with Carter dropping 16 points in 31 minutes of action. Both Pierce and Carter would go on to have illustrious careers, with both men likely headed towards the Hall of Fame.
It’s always cool to look back on videos such as these, to see where players made alterations to their style of play and to hear the way they and their games were initially perceived by those around the league.