Lakers I Miss: Sedale Threatt

Kurt —  September 28, 2005

I always had a soft spot for Sedale Threatt. I think it stems from the time he gave a chop to the face of Danny Ainge and sent him staggering back like a drunk trying to get off a bar stool.

(Just a quick aside — there was no ’80s Celtic I hated more than Danny Ainge. Bird, Parish, McHale, DJ, Walton, I rooted against all of them as hard as I could, but I respected them immensely even then. Ainge I hated. There’s no one specific reason, he’s just one of those players that got under my skin, like a bad rash. I’ve matured enough to respect him, mostly, but there’s still something about him that makes me cringe every time he shows up on television.)

Years after that incident, Threatt ended up being the best player on some bad Laker teams after the Showtime dynasty came crashing down. But even at the tail end his career (he played just 21 games with Houston after leaving the Lakers and that was it) he put up very solid numbers.

After time in Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle, Threatt came to the Lakers for the 91-92 season at age 30 and was thrown into the unenviable task of taking over Magic Johnson’s spot in the lineup. That season he started 82 games with the remnants of Showtime (Worth, Divac, Byron Scott and A.C. Green were still around) and scored more points than any Laker that season (1,240). His PER was 16.5, his points per shot attempt was 1.08 and he was second on the team in win shares with 23 (Green led with 27). All solid numbers that sometimes got overlooked because they were not Magic-like.

Throughout his five-year stay with the Lakers he put up similar numbers, although as Nick Van Exel developed Threatt started coming off the bench. His PER the first four years were 16.5, 16.5, 15.3 and 15.8, and he also always averaged at least at least 16.1 points and 6 assists per 40 minutes during that time. However, his last season in Laker colors (95-96) his age started to catch up with him, and it showed.

But to me Threatt is less about the statistics and more about the memories. There was the 1993 game one of the playoff series against the Kevin Johnson-less Suns, where he dropped 35 points on the way to the Lakers stunning 107-103 upset. I remember being up 2-0 in a series where we were supposed be crushed and instead me being crushed when we lost.

Then there were the stories of Threatt on the town and at the Forum Club. To give an example from his Seattle days, Threatt allegedly used to sleep off his night outs in Gary Payton’s cars so he could be closer to practice. Back in the days Threatt was one of the Lakers’ big dogs I was working for another sport often at the Forum and employees there still had stories of how Threatt loved a good night out.

Threatt is not ever going to have his jersey number hanging from the rafters at Staples Center. But this is one Laker fan will always think back on him and smile, remembering a good player in bad times.

Kurt

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20 responses to Lakers I Miss: Sedale Threatt

  1. I think I was seven years-old when my Bulls traded Sedale for Sam Vincent, and I’m still a mite peeved by the deal. It was the first sports transaction that I can remember disliking, followed quickly by the “horrible” (my words) Oakley-for-Bill Cartwright deal.

    This is why I’m useless as a basketball wonk.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane …

  2. I think Sedale was a favorite of a lot of Lakers fans at that time. He was good, fun to watch and always played hard. Plus he had a bit of the “alien head” syndrome Sam Cassell has made famous.

    Your posting prompted me to Google Sedale and I came up with the below link to a current college football player with the same name. It looks like they’re about the same size – anyone have any idea if this is Son-of-Sedale?

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/players/11944/index.html

  3. Zoltan, apparently he is, according to a Lehigh Football Blog I found. I also found in a Google search that Threatt has spent some time in court for failing to pay child support to several women of the six children he apparently fathered.

    Apparently Threatt’s party days had consequences. And let me just say, as a father, I have no patience for those who don’t both pay their support (fortunately I’m not in that situation) and play a role in their child’s life.

  4. I always liked him too growing him. His name just always sounded cool to me. That was enough reason when I was 8. Plus he went to some obscure college like West Virgina Tech or State, I can’t remember which. I always liked guys from small schools when I was little. I used to memorize the back of guys playing cards.

  5. hmm. who was your favorite unsung hero from last year’s crappy team?

    i dig jurmaine jones a lot. he kickass.

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more john. I think that jones will grow into his own. Not ever being a all-star calliber player but a very solid roll player. Unfortuneatly I think that he will be used as some kind of trade bait eventuallly. Oh and I used to love watching threatt play he was a consistant player who always gave it his all. At least on the court.

  7. Even though I knew there were better draft picks out there, I fought for a picture and reference to Sedale in a bit I put together last spring:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/2005/06/27/nba/content.1.html

  8. Kelly, that’s a great point in your piece, I think of him as the bright spot on bad Laker teams but he played along side some of the game’s greats.

  9. Well done. You took us back and really enjoyed your thoughts about that transition period.

  10. Someone should get together a list of all the non-greats who were lucky enough to play with two or more Top 50 guys on different teams.

    Guys like Fred Roberts, Jack Haley, James Edwards, Salley, Sedale …

  11. I’ll always remember Threatt from some mid-90s Playoff game. Forgive me here, but some of this is hazy. I’m pretty sure it was when Magic came back and he ended up playing terrible in the game the Lakers got eliminated in. It may have been the Rockets they were playing. I remember vividly Threatt single-handedly carrying the Lakers in the 4th quarter of said elimination game, pulling all kinds of impossible moves. Whoever was doing commentary for the game just summed it up perfectly when he announced “Sedale Threatt has it stuck on automatic!” It gives me goosebumps just writing it, and I’m not even a Lakers fan.

  12. I dunno about the real timeline, but it appears Threatt was traded to the Lakers on Oct. 3 and Magic announced his HIV on Nov. 8. So he prepares for the season thinking he’s a starter, and then all of a sudden he’s asked to replace Magic? Yikes.

    I always liked Threatt in Seattle, but unfortunately there just wasn’t room for him in a backcourt that included GP, Mr. Sonic, Ricky Pierce and Dana Barros.

    That ’93 playoff series was tremendously disappointing for me, seeing as the Sonics would have had home-court through the Western playoffs if the Lakers could have knocked off the Suns. I remember watching overtime of Game 5 on a portable TV at a restaurant . How tragic.

  13. Of course, when I say “starter,” I mean “backup.”

  14. tks for bringing threatt name up.one of my favorite lakers.mcadoo and connie hawkins r a few others

  15. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Chick Hearn’s nickname for him– “The Thief”! It didn’t quite catch on nationally, but to Laker fans he was known as that. He wasn’t necessarily one of the league leaders in steals but he was so good at stripping the ball as the players were about to shoot. He also loved the push-right-go-left move. My memory’s a little hazy but I think he pasted 40 on the Knicks one night at Madison Square.

    By the way Sedale and Horace Grant have the same mannerisms when they talked.

  16. I like this.

    How ’bout making it a recurring
    topic as the mood strikes one?

    With an org like the Lakers,
    there are a lot of those kind of players
    that made an impression and a contribution
    but will never get to HOF level.

    It’s nice to give them a little tip of the hat.

  17. We still miss Sedale here in Seattle too!

  18. Hey all you Sedale Threatt fans. I live in Melbourne Australia and Sedale is living here working for basketball label AND1. Anything you want to know just ask me, I see him out all the time and even though he’s a real approachable guy, the guys is still crazy. He’s like 44 and partying like a 20year old man!! I hear he’s up to child number 7 to some girl here in Melbourne!!!! He’s still treated like a superstar over here in down under Oz. He runs elite camps & stuff here and there’s a whole group of them that hang out at the clubs drinking BIG TIME!!!!!!!!! Girls just hang off him!!!!!!!

  19. Listen all you Sedale Threatt fans, fair enough he was good is his hayday but he does not belong here in Australia. One of my friends has been going out with him for 2 years here in Melbourne and they have just had a baby together, and we have all just found out that he has had 2 affairs with other women since their child has been born, one of the women being 20 years younger than him. He lied to my friend saying that he had only 5 children in the states – turns out he has 13 children around the world to different women. He owes a hell of a lot of money in the U.S still which is why he is living here and is continuing to ruin not only my friends life but many other women as well. Stay away from this guy…he is not to be admired in the slightest – and if you ever do see him out clubbing or at bars (whilst his new born child is home with her now single mother) instead of shaking his hand – tell him to go back to where he came from.

  20. The Lakers could use a Sedale Threatt-like player now on their current team. They are aching for some kind of point guard who also has a decent outside shot and plays effective defense.