I have been an NBA fan almost my entire life. I can't tell you how many times I have seen people like Clyde Drexler and Karl Malone in person, on TV, or in photographs.
I know what those guys look like.
But I'll tell you a true story. The first NBA-related trips I ever took was to the 2000 All-Star Game in the Bay Area. I was a newish freelancer at Inside Stuff, which was then the NBA's official magazine for teens. Somehow that meant we got special access to a closed hallway of some hotel where players came when they first arrived in town.
Often with their agents, family members, or friends various players, administrators, coaches, and others ambled in and got their schedules for the weekend, their hotel assignments, and all that.
Jeramie McPeek (who is a bigwig with the Suns now, and worked for the Suns even then) and I got to walk around in the hallway talking to whomever we chose. Pretty good access.
But I'll tell you what, for all I thought I knew about the NBA, this was a little unsettling. It's one thing to be pretty sure that guy who see walking in is Tyrone Corbin. It's another thing entirely to walk up to him and say "Tyrone ..."
Out of uniform, and out of any team context. ... I found myself bugging Jeramie just about every time someone walked in: "That's Elton Brand, right?" "Did I just see Rick Barry?"
Since then I have even been in arenas, talking to other full-time NBA people -- reporters, agents, NBA staffers -- and had somebody walk by, only to set off a round of guessing as to who that was.
Now, you can laugh all you want. You can tell me that you wouldn't have that problem.
And I could tell you you're wrong. But instead, I thought I'd quiz you, and give you a chance to prove it.
Recently the NBA Legends, the Retired Players Association, had its annual meeting in Puerto Rico. It's a great example of what I'm talking about. A bunch of guys in plain t-shirts that you think you recognize -- but well enough to walk up to them and start talking like you know who whey are?
Talia Bargil of the Legends was nice enough to send over several photos from the meeting. Then I had the idea that we should challenge TrueHoop readers to name those players.
Bargil thinks we're going easy on you with these photos, many of which are of big stars. She promises she could send over much tougher ones.
There are ten. I'll post each of the photos this afternoon, one at a time, starting in a few minutes. Tell me in the comments who you think is in each photo, and then I'll post the answers by 11am ET tomorrow.