24 February 2010
His number was the first retired by the then Charlotte Hornets.
Another player gone far too soon.
Bobby Phills was in the midst of his ninth season in the league and playing with the Hornets when the 30 year old shooting guard was killed in a car accident on January 12,2000.
Many of us remember the story.
We remember how Phills and teammate David Wesley were reportedly racing one another – although Wesley maintains is untrue - when Phills’ Porsche spun out of control and veered into oncoming traffic. Phills died at the scene of the accident, while Wesley lives daily with the regret of his friend’s death.
Sadly enough, Phills’ life on the court was one of survival.
A second round hopeful taken by the Milwaukee Bucks 45th overall, he was cut by the team later that December without even seeing the floor. He made a name for himself in the CBA with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and eventually found a home with the Cleveland Cavaliers where he spent six seasons.
His best season in the league came during the 1995-96 season when Phills’ averaged 14.6 points per game, and shot 44% from beyond the arc. In 1997, Bobby arrived in Charlotte.
“Michael Jordan once said the 6-foot-5 Phills was one of the best defenders he ever faced,” wrote Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer in a touching piece last month – “Still Missing Bobby Phills”.
In 2002, the Hornets relocated to New Orleans to begin anew. But they took a part of Phills with them.
His #13 hangs in the Hornets’ rafters today.
The History Black Series - Honoring Black History Month:
February 1: Muhammed Ali
February 2: Gary Payton
February 3: Bo Jackson
February 4: Dr. J
February 5: The Junkyard Dog
February 6: John Starks
February 7: Barry Sanders
February 8: Spud Webb
February 9: Craig Hodges
February 10: The Fab Five
February 11: Ice Man
February 12: Buster Douglas
February 13: Harold Miner
February 14: Reggie Lewis
February 15: Hoop Dreams
February 16: Travis Outlaw
February 17: Rasheed Wallace
February 18: Oil Can Boyd
February 19: Dennis Johnson
February 20: Tracy McGrady
February 21: Hank Gathers And Bo Kimble
February 22: Allen Iverson
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