LONDON ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Theo Ratliff of the Los Angeles Lakers in action during the NBA Europe Live match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the O2 arena on October 4 2010 in London England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The only said part about the Los Angeles Lakers being swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks meant that center Theo Ratliff was denied a championship ring once again. The former Wyoming Cowboy has spent 15 seasons in the NBA and this most recent one was his least productive. One November 17th he underwent surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus.
After coming back there were not many minutes available due to an all star roster that featured Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The limited minutes available were also being used by Joe Smith and Derrick Caracter. This resulted in Ratliff appearing in just 10 games and totaling just two points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. For his career the 6-10 Ratliff has averaged 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. The last category being his defensive specialty that made him a star at Wyoming and has kept him in the NBA for so long.
I have to admit that Theo Ratliff is also my favorite NBA player of all time. And not only because he went to the University of Wyoming. While some people love to keep up with who is leading the leagues in points and assists I've always been a "blocks" man myself. Give me a outreached swat that lands a basketball in the crowd any day over a 360 degree dunk.
A solid veteran big man like Theo seems to always find work in the NBA so he could land somewhere else next year if there isn't a lockout. In 2010 he was quite productive after being to the Charlotte Bobcats from the Spurs. He started 26 games out of 28 and put up old solid averages of 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. If his knee is really 100% then he may land another job next season.
Would to see him get a ring after playing for so many teams and dealing with a number of injuries over his career. For a long time most fans just knee him because he had a big expiring contract and was traveled several times a result. For Wyoming fans he will always be much more and we will be proud whenever he does decide to hang them up.