Run It Back Positional Guide: 1986-87 Centers | NBA Top Shot Blog (2023)

NBA Top Shot is diving into basketball history with our 1986-87 collection of exclusive video collectibles capturing the best of a beloved era. Your chance to own these Moments begins with a series of pack drops on September 21, 22 and 23 — but don’t worry, whether or not you land a pack or the pack you collect has your favorite players inside, you can find every new Moment in the Top Shot Marketplace after the drop.

Here’s a look at the 1986-87 Centers coming to Top Shot. Want to own their limited edition video collectibles?Create your Top Shot account today.

Run It Back Positional Guide: 1986-87 Centers | NBA Top Shot Blog (1)

Robert Parish, Boston Celtics (Rare, In Packs)

Run It Back Positional Guide: 1986-87 Centers | NBA Top Shot Blog (2)

ABOUTROBERTPARISH

As reliable as it gets, Robert Parish consistently patrolled the paint for Boston’s dynastic frontcourt.

Parish – a nine-time All-Star, 4-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer – played 21 full seasons averaging 28.4 minutes per game, and holds the record for the most career games played in NBA history (1,611).

A mountain of a center, Parish solidified the Celtics defense. He was a towering rebounder and shot-blocker in traffic. He remains Boston’s franchise leader in offensive rebounds (3,450), defensive rebounds (7,601) and blocks (1,703).

Offensively, Parish combined a blend of power, endurance, patience and precise footwork to outskill opponents. His mid-range shot was elite for a big man. Standing at 7-foot-1, Parish’s jumper around the basket was high-arching and undeterrable.

A storied Celtic, Parish and his No. 00 jersey will forever be honored by Boston faithful.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

Robert Parish was the quintessential fundamentally-sound center: he could score, rebound, run the floor, set screens and, of course, block shots. Along with teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, Parish was a key cog in one of the first truly dominant NBA frontcourts, making seven consecutive All-Star teams from 1981-87. Injured but committed to the cause in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Parish showcases his fierce defensive prowess, using quick footwork to stay close to a Milwaukee Bucks ball handler before ambushing him with a thunderous rejection out to the sideline. The four-time NBA champion played a pivotal role in Boston’s 119-113 closeout victory on May 17, 1987, delivering 23 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.

Brad Daugherty, Cleveland Cavaliers (Rare, In Packs)

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ABOUTBRADDAUGHERTY

Cleveland chose Brad Daugherty with the No. 1 overall selection in the 1986 NBA Draft, and for the next eight years the Cavaliers were set at the center position.

A look back at Daugherty’s career – which was cut short due to chronic back issues – will show a consistent performer who didn’t back down from a confrontation at the rim. Daugherty was a double-double machine,recording one in exactly half of his games played (274 out of 548 outings).

Pairing nicely with Cleveland guard Mark Price, Daugherty made a living rolling to the basket and finishing hard.

At his peak from 1990-93, Daugherty averaged 21.1 PPG and 10.5 RPG and was selected to three of his five career All-Star appearances.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

Even at seven feet tall, Brad Daugherty had a knack for dodging opposing defenses until it was too late for anyone to recover. Following a Cleveland Cavaliers rebound and outlet pass from a teammate, the top pick in the 1986 NBA Draft appears all alone in the frame, having positioned himself behind the entire Sacramento Kings defense. The rest comes easy, as the rookie throws down a thunderous one-handed jam, wasting no time announcing his imposing presence to the rest of the league. The five-time All-Star produced an unforgettable performance, dominating to the tune of 33 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists while helping Cleveland prevail in the 129-119 win on February 18, 1987.

Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Pistons (Rare, In Packs)

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ABOUTBILLLAIMBEER

Fair or not, Bill Laimbeer was a hooper many loved to hate. A gritty tactician, Laimbeer cemented himself as an intimidating stalwart during Detroit’s deep postseason runs in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Laimbeer wasn’t the most athletically gifted player, but his brute strength and rugged play elevated his game. He took brutal blows in the post, and also dealt a good amount of his own.

His rebounding set him apart. From 1982-1990, no one in the NBA grabbed more defensive boards, and during the 1985-86 season, Laimbeer led the league with 13.1 RPG.He finished his Pistons career with 9,430 rebounds – the most in franchise history.

A four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, Laimbeer did anything possible to gain an edge. He was tough, scowling, agitating and psychologically-maddening, and it would be no surprise if his retired No. 40 jersey in Detroit had a few rips and tears on it.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

While toughness and rebounding were his calling cards, Bill Laimbeer did so much more over the course of his legendary 13-year run with the Detroit Pistons. Showing off a multifaceted skill set on the biggest stage, Laimbeer ferociously denies an entry pass by grabbing a steal against the Boston Celtics, beginning the counterattack. The Pistons push the tempo into the post, allowing the four-time All-Star and two-time champion to assert himself on the low block by muscling his way to a layup over an overmatched Celtics defender. The versatile Laimbeer — who started every Detroit game for six straight seasons in the 1980s — was as dependable as ever for Detroit, posting 16 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and two steals in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals on May 26, 1987.

Joe Barry Carroll, Golden State Warriors (Common, In Packs)

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ABOUTJOEBARRYCARROLL

In an age when the big man reigned, former No. 1 overall pick and 7’0” center Joe Barry Carroll went toe-to-toe with the best under the basket.

Entering an opening NBA season loaded with high expectations, Carroll delivered, averaging 18.9 PPG and 9.3 RPG and landing on the All-Rookie First Team.

A one-time All-Star, Carroll was a sturdy option for the Warriors during the 1980s. His post-up play was fundamentally sound, and for his size, Carroll was extremely mobile. He could hit mid-range shots and run the floor with ease.

His statistics were overshadowed by Golden State’s struggles to reach the postseason, but he was tremendously consistent. During a four-year run with the Warriors between 1982 and 1987, Carroll averaged over 20 PPG and 7 RPG in each season.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

In a marathon game decided by four overtimes, you better be ready to reach deep into the bag of tricks to display your full arsenal of shots. Joe Barry Carroll was happy to oblige, catching a pass in the post with his back to the basket before flicking an impossible-to-defend hook shot over the outstretched fingertips of a New Jersey Nets defender. In the midst of his second stint with the Golden State Warriors, Carroll played 55 minutes that night — and would play in his lone All-Star Game a few days later — scoring 43 points while racking up 24 rebounds, six assists, three steals and four blocks in a grueling 150-147 victory on February 1, 1987.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets (Legendary, In Packs)

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ABOUTHAKEEMOLAJUWON

An exemplary center, Hakeem Olajuwon conquered the paint during his 18-year NBA run.

“The Dream” was a visionary at the 5, executing moves and shakes the league had never seen before. His post-up play is still studied by modern NBA players hoping to better their game down low.

Olajuwon was a world-class talent on the defensive end too. He refused to be broken down by opposing bruisers, and rarely passed up on contesting a nearby shot. He wears the NBA’s shot-blocking crown – his 3,830 swats are tops in league history.

Go down the list of his accolades. Two championships, two Finals MVPs, 12 All-NBA bids, two Defensive Player of the Year awards and countless statistical feats.

His case as the greatest center to ever play the game is a strong one.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT (WATCHTHEMOMENT)

We all called him ‘The Dream’ but that doesn’t mean Hakeem Olajuwon wasn’t a total nightmare for the teams he lined up against. With an unbelievable combination of size, mobility and skill, the 12-time All-Star racked up performances that live in a class of their own even to this day. Granted striking space against the Seattle SuperSonics, Olajuwon puts the ball on the floor just inside the three-point line before parlaying his body length into a silky smooth Dream Shake that culminates in a successful runner in the lane. Olajuwon did so much more than just score in this one — in fact, the legend would go on to record the first 5x5 triple-double in NBA history, posting a monster stat line of 38 points, 17 rebounds, 12 blocks, seven steals and six assists on March 10, 1987. Except for Olajuwon himself in 1990, no other player has hit the same milestone in the 35 years since.

Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks (Rare, In Packs)

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ABOUTPATRICKEWING

Patrick Ewing is New York City’s pride and joy. The Mecca of basketball looked to Ewing to clash and dominate among iconic centers of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and he carried the overbearing weight on his shoulders without complaint.

The 11-time All-Star was a true warrior, who lived up to expectations as the Knicks’ face of the franchise. An immediate destroyer on both ends of the ball, Ewing earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1986 and never looked back.

Ewing could score in multiple ways, and due to his pinpoint accuracy in the midrange, he was considered one of the best shooting big men of his time. For the first 13 years of his career, Ewing averaged 20 PPG or more in every season.

More often than not, Ewing’s name graces the top of the Knicks all-time lists. He’s the franchise’s leader in games played, points, rebounds, steals and blocks, and his 24,815 career points places him 24th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

Long before Patrick Ewing became a Hall of Fame center, opposing defenses were still finding out the hard way that double and triple teams did little to slow down the legendary New York Knicks big man. In just his second season — the second of 13 consecutive campaigns in which he averaged at least 20 points per game — Ewing catches an entry pass in the post with his back to the basket and three Atlanta Hawks defenders draped all over him. The 11-time All-Star patiently waits for the right moment to strike, pivoting around the defensive wall and posterizing one unfortunate Atlanta challenger with an authoritative one-handed slam. Ewing torched the Hawks for 43 points on 16-for-20 shooting and added six rebounds, two assists and three blocks on December 13, 1986.

Artis Gilmore, San Antonio Spurs (Common, Challenge Reward)

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ABOUTARTISGILMORE

Artis Gilmore was the definition of an imposing center. With a muscular 7-foot-2 frame, he was a driving force in the paint and dutifully controlled the glass. Gilmore was a lauded figure in the NBA, where he made six All-Star appearances.

As a rebounder, he was elite. To this day, Gilmore’s career average of 22.7 rebounds per game still leads Division I college basketball. Nicknamed “Gentle Giant” or “A-Train,” Gilmore silently battled in the paint to maximize possessions.

His offensive game was incredibly efficient. Through clean-up dunks and arching turnaround shots, he climbed to a 59.9 career field goal percentage – currently fifth all-time on the NBA’s list.

Gilmore’s presence was constantly felt over a combined 17 professional seasons. At one point, he played 670 consecutive games. When talking about basketball strongmen, Gilmore must be in the conversation.

Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz (Common, In Packs)

Run It Back Positional Guide: 1986-87 Centers | NBA Top Shot Blog (9)

ABOUTMARKEATON

Utah’s defensive transformation began as soon as Mark Eaton became a full-time starter. It was Eaton’s towering presence in the paint that contributed to the Jazz securing 10-straight postseason bids (1984-1993).

Many of Eaton’s pummeling blocks sparked the odd-man rushes that Karl Malone and other members of the Jazz excelled in. Offensively, he cleaned up misses and parked himself under the basket to benefit from Utah’s interior passers.

Eaton was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and an All-Star during the 1988-89 season, despite only averaging 6.2 PPG. He set the single-season blocks record in 1984-85 with 456 swats, a leading mark that still stands today.

As his career progressed, he remained indispensable to the Jazz’s rim protection. In 11 seasons – all with Utah – Eaton earned five All-Defensive Team selections and led the league in blocks four times.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

When the 1986-87 season commenced, Mark Eaton had already led the league in blocks twice, including a 5.6 per game average two years prior — a single-season record that still stands today. The LA Clippers apparently missed the memo, as Eaton effortlessly denies a would-be interior scorer, raising the question of why anyone would even attempt to score when the 7-foot-4 Utah Jazz center was patrolling the paint. Eaton would again lead the NBA in blocks the next two seasons, as the two-time Defensive Player of the Year was a nightmare for the Clippers to deal with, posting 14 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and five blocks in the January 31, 1987 overtime thriller.

Manute Bol, Washington Bullets (Rare, In Packs)

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ABOUTMANUTEBOL

Manute Bol was a spectacle on the court. His slender, 7’7” frame established him as the tallest player in NBA history.

Bol was by no means a scorer, but one memorable night in Phoenix, on March 3, 1993, he shocked the league with his long-range precision. Despite only hitting two 3-pointers with Philadelphia in three seasons, he unlocked his unorthodox shot to hit six triples, tying his career high of 18 points.

Over his career, his ability to turn away shots was the focus of his game. Bol didn’t get high off the ground to swat away attempts, but it didn’t matter. His sheer height and positioning gave him a chance.

Bol earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 1986, and led the league in blocks for two seasons (1986, 1989). His 3.34 blocks per game over his career trails only Mark Eaton (3.5) for the highest all-time block rate.

ABOUTTHEMOMENT(WATCHTHEMOMENT)

At 7-foot-7, Manute Bol never met a hopeful scorer he couldn’t deny at the rim. As one of the tallest players in NBA history, the top-20 career blocker does what he did best in one of the singular most impressive performances of his fascinating career: park himself beneath the basket and dare scorers to challenge his domain. Barely needing to leave the floor to jump, the Washington Bullets big man goes up effortlessly strong to reject an Indiana Pacers shot. In the only triple-double of his 10-year career, Bol posted an electric stat line of 10 points, 19 rebounds and 15 blocks — the latter being tied for the second-most swats in a single game in league history — leading Washington to a 100-94 win on February 26, 1987.

Run It Back Positional Guide: 1986-87 Centers | NBA Top Shot Blog (13)

Happy Run It Back Week! See you at the pack drops.

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