The whole dog pound needs to be barking for this one, as today is the 55th Birthday to one of the most popular Utah Jazz players in franchise history: Antoine Carr. Carr was the original Big Dawg (sorry Glenn Robinson) and busted butts all over the NBA for 16 years. He wasn’t one of your fancy face-up power forwards. He scrapped his way during an era when power forwards banged, took no plays off, and had hair on their chests.
That list, hilariously, is populated with lots and lots of guys who started and played more minutes than Carr did. Antoine was picked in the 1st round in 1983, all the way at #8. He earned that right by busting heads for four years at Wichita State, where he would finish up his career shooting .575 / .600 / .765 (yeah, that’s right, 60% from downtown, of course, 3 of 5 shots total). He would average 22.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg as a Senior (didn’t play as much as other starters on other teams, otherwise he would have gotten well over 20 and 10).
In the NBA he made a name for himself as a rugged rebounder, defender, and interior intimidator. Guys didn’t want anything to do with him. He played for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs before joining the Utah Jazz. And he was a consistent force on both sides of the ball, averaging over 50 FG% at each stop, while showing that he could hang, and bang, against the rest of those guys he played against.
- Hawks: 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.9 bpg in 17.1 mpg
- Kings: 19.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.2 bpg in 31.4 mpg
- Spurs: 10.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 1.1 bpg in 23.0 mpg
When he joined the Jazz (signed as a free agent in 1994 — in OCTOBER, pretty late there, Dawg), he was joining a team that really needed someone who was willing to do the dirty work. And what he was gaining was a chance to play for some actually solid teams that were contenders. (Almost 60% of all of his career games in the NBA Playoffs came in a Jazz jersey.)
Big Dawg helped the team muscle their way into the Western Conference Finals in three of the four years he was on the team. Twice being a huge contributor in critical NBA Finals games.
All in all, he would end up playing over 300 games for the Jazz, and logging almost 7,000 minutes (regular season and playoffs combined). Older, and wiser, he was able to extend his range and be involved as more than just a bruiser on offense, but also a finisher as well. Jerry Sloan’s offense was a hand-in-glove fit for Carr. And we got to see some great basketball with him on the court.
After the Jazz he played for the Houston Rockets and the Vancouver Grizzlies — but I think we can say that he’s a Jazzman. He had some great games for the Hawks, Kings, and Spurs. But he’s our Big Dawg.
After all, are Hawks, Kings, and Spurs fans writing about him today? Yeah, I thought so.