If Spencer Haywood had never scored single point, grabbed a rebound, or done anything of significance on the basketball court, he’d still have a righteous spot in the Hall of Fame. His fight, his legal battle was the one that opened up the NBA to college underclassmen and gave a way for impoverished players to instantly make good on their skills instead of being stuck as indentured athletes in the NCAA.
Of course, someone was bound to challenge the prevailing order in 1970, but that someone would have needed the same capacity for struggle and the same basketball talent as Haywood. Unfortunate as it may be to admit it, but the Seattle SuperSonics were trying to sign Spencer Haywood because his family was impoverished. They wanted the man who could be the best power forward in all of basketball.
Before his NBA legal battle began, Haywood left college early to…
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