Today is Day 9 of the Omer. Gevurah sheb’gevurah. Pure Power.
Today is gevurah sheb’gevurah, power manifesting with power. I’ve always known that today would be about highlighting a player who dominated in the paint, but since Day 9 falls on Shabbat, we’ve got a double portion: two all-time greats and double-double machines who dominated the early years in their professional leagues.
Bob Petit was one of the original power forwards, a Hall of Famer, 2x MVP and 11x All-NBA player who led the St. Louis Hawks to the 1957-58 NBA Championship. He was a force on the boards who loved to hit the offensive glass. Take the time to watch Petit score 50 points against the Celtics in game 6 of the NBA Finals and learn more about Petit’s career here in the video at the bottom of this page.
While Petit was one of the early stars of the NBA, Lisa Leslie was the face of the WNBA when it launched in 1997. She is a 2x WNBA Champion, 3x WNBA MVP, a 4x Olympic gold medal winner, and one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
Lisa Leslie didn’t thank me in her Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, but I once got to play against her in the Fall of 1999 when the US Olympic team came to campus for some practice and scrimmage. I’d played against elite D1 and WNBA players and at 6’7″ held my own, but Lisa Leslie was on a completely different level. At 6’5″ her combination of size, strength, and speed, enabled her to play with a unique force. She and her teammates destroyed us that day.
At least she didn’t score 101 points on me, like she once did in just one half of a high school game. When Leslie retired from the WNBA in 2009, she was the career leader in points and rebounds. She owned the paint was the ultimate big.
Leslie and Petit were power players whose toughness and discipline lead them to greatness.
Bob Petit – Basketballography