YinkaThe NBA is shockingly full of bad passing and ball-hoggery; we hold this truth to be self-evident. But can you imagine somebody playing 1,002 minutes in 110 games over a four-year career and dishing out only four assists? Well, believe it or not -- and if you read this site you probably do -- it happened. The culprit was the "Nigerian giant" Yinka Dare, possibly the worst passer in league history.

After the New Jersey Nets selected him 14th overall in the 1994 NBA draft, Dare had some strong words for anybody and everybody who would listen:

"When I see myself play, I think of Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal. For instance, Shaq is explosive around the basket, and I am, too. If I play my best, I'll be better than some of the best big men who ever played. I'm going to be an All-Star. The teams that didn't draft me made a mistake."

As it turned out, those teams knew exactly what they were doing. Dare wasn't even good enough to get dunked on in one of Shaq's posters. His career averages of 2.1 PPG (on 39 percent shooting) and 2.6 RPG are proof of that. He even had a negative PER during his rookie season, a fact that probably caused John Hollinger to throw up in his Wheaties. But those dubious achievements are nothing compared to Yinka's greatest legacy: 77 games and 770 minutes played without a single assist -- an all-time NBA record for passing futility.

Dare didn't dish his first assist until midway through his third season. Although, to be fair, he got injured three minutes into his very first game and missed the rest of the year. But he played 58 games (and 626 minutes) in his sophomore season without registering an assist. He did, however, commit 72 turnovers and earn the nickname "Stinka Dare" from teammate Kenny Anderson. A sports writer also commented that "Dare" was Nigerian for "comes to NBA without game."

The 1996-97 campaign was Dare's greatest passing season: three assists in 41 games and only 21 turnovers. Unfortunately, the good times were over; Dare would play only 10 games -- dishing one assist -- in his next and final season. Dare finished his NBA career with 4 assists and 96 turnovers, for a miraculous 16:1 turnover-to-assist ratio. According to his bio on NBA.com, Dare's career assist average is 0.0.

Sadly, Dare died of a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 32. Ironically, his last act on this earth was to "pass away."

Update: Thanks to josh for providing me with a link to this Yinka Dare Tribute Site. There learn fun Yinka Facts, like how he invented water and won the 1996 Mr. Universe contest.

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Anonymous padraig said...
"When I see myself play, I think of Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal."

That is an all-time great as far as hilarious draft night hyperbole. This is an opportunity, though, for us to discuss this raging debate-is the 2nd best Nigerian big man of all time Yinka or the Kandi Man (Okafor having been born in the US)? You'd have to say Kandi if you were going by actual basketball acumen but I think YD's historically ghastly numbers bring a certain kind of awesome charm to the table-what's clear is that Hakeem must be embarrassed to be even tangentially associated with both of them.

Seriously, though, I wish Manute Bol was still around jacking up 3s and rejecting everything in sight.

Blogger djnumbers said...
Please stop using the one-word-per-sentence technique for titles. It's played out man. Let Simmons run it into the ground. Funny post though.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
djnumbers -- No. Can. Do. I get paid by the period.

padraig -- Yeah, Olowokandi was a better basketball player than Dare, meaning he was (at best) mediocre. But there have been dozens, probably hundreds, of mediocre centers over the years. The Kandi Man never stood out in any way; sure, he was overpaid, but he was overpaid in an era during which everybody's overpaid. Big deal. What Dare did was significanct. We can point to his "achievements" and put them into some kind of historical perspective...and, in all liklihood, his records (both for passing futility and hyperbole) will never be broken. Yinka gets the two spot.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Thanks Djnumbers.
Best. Comment. Ever.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Seriously though, what a depressing story:

1.) Childhood in Nigeria (which may be fine when you're a basketball star, but still sounds desolate).
2.) Undertalented and Delusional
3.) Selfish
4.) Early death

There's a Grimm fairy tale in here somewhere.

Anonymous Josh said...
How could you forget to plug the most genius satire site of all time?


Blogger Basketbawful said...
I wasn't even aware that site existed, josh...how I missed it I'll never know. Consider the post edited.

Blogger Pete said...
I have no idea how you come up with ideas to write about but keep it coming. Great stuff, man.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kandi got tasered, that's got to count for something.

Another fun Yinka fact, he was endorsing Puma, I cant remember another player to do that. I had a friend who had those - crazy colors.

Anonymous padraig said...
I would like to second my thanks to Josh. That site is like Chuck Norris minus the overwhelming stench of ha-ha wink wink hipster irony, PLUS its' educational-I had no idea, for example, that Yinka won 11 Nobel Peace Prizes. In your face, Archbishop Desmond Tutu! Also, I'm going to go back and re-read "War and Peace"-although, you know, if I had to bet on Yinka doubling as a famous Russian novelist I would've guessed Dostoevsky, but that's just me.

In related news, I just found out that DJ Mbenga actually composed all of Shakespeare's works.