LamarMatic's NBA Blog

The Handle Podcast – Greg Kelser: 10/16/15

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By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)

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NCAA champion and Michigan State great Greg Kelser joined me to remember his career with the Spartans leading up to the legendary 1979 Magic vs. Bird championship game and to talk about the various greats, likeĀ Magic Johnson, David Thompson, Bill Walton, Derek Smith and Oscar Schmidt, he played with or against in the NBA and during his college years. Topics discussed in the podcast:

Greg stated the influence his parents and their military background had on his education and upbringing;
He remembered how he was recruited by accident, that Michigan State scouts at a particular game were looking at Alan Hardy;
Memories of Magic Johnson as a freshman, already dominating as a player and a personality;
Stories of a trip to South America in 1978 where Michigan State represented USA in a tournament of national basketball teams, which featured the Oscar Schmidt-lead Brazil squad, a team they defeated in a double overtime final game;
The Michigan State vs. Indiana State, Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird final, Greg going at Bird, almost recording a triple double and the hype surrounding the game;
Him being drafted by Detroit and joining a talented, yet inexperienced team lead by disgruntled veteran Bob Lanier;
Greg re-called his successful start to the 1980-81 season and the knee injury that was already rearing its ugly head;
The trade for Vinnie Johnson which landed him in Seattle and discontent over not being able to play with Isiah Thomas in Detroit;
Respect for coach Lenny Wilkens and enjoying winning in Seattle, despite not being pleased with little playing time;
Memories of the greats of that era – Phil Smith being a great guy, Jack Sikma deserving to be in the Hall of Fame, Gus Williams as one heck of a guard, Lonnie Shelton being a fantastic locker room guy, Derek Smith as the most under-appreciated of his teammates and David Thompson being one of his favorite favorite teammates;
The lack of chemistry that caused a San Diego Clippers team featuring Bill Walton, Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce and James Donaldson to underachieve;
Bill Walton’s low morale at that point of his career;
Greg’s passion for broadcasting and being proud of his motivational speaking and basketball camp;
Jerry West and George Karl showing interest in him during the latter days of his career and NBA rules possibly preventing him from joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

The media related to the podcast:

Highlights of the best players in the 1979 NCAA Championship game:

Some interesting snippets of the interview:

Subscribe on iTunes, on Stitcher, on the podcast’s RSS feed, on YouTube or follow me on Twitter to keep up with the podcast.

Thanks to Greg Kelser for going the distance and talking a full hour with me about his basketball career memories!

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2015 by in The Handle Podcast, Vintage NBA and tagged .
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