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If you’ve watched PBA games live at the different arenas, you may have seen him a few times. It’s hard to miss someone so imposing, a towering presence to whom only Greg Slaughter comes close. He is usually seen wearing the TNT blue nowadays as an assistant coach to Bong Ravena and Mark Dickel, but pre-game, he is often in sports attire working with the frontcourt players of the team, helping them get warmed up for the game at hand.

If you did not know him at first, you’d surely ask, “Who is that guy?”, and if anyone around you knows, he would tell you, “That’s Alton Lister. He used to play in the NBA.”

Curious, you’ll probably research on the man and find out that he did indeed play in the NBA and that he was just not a passing fancy – he is a 17-year NBA veteran who played for five different teams, and his teams made the playoffs in eleven seasons. His statistics overall were not outstanding, although he did average about six points, six rebounds, and one and a half blocks for his career as a defensive presence who protected the paint, shooting over 50% from the field and about 60% from the line.

With the high interest of Filipino basketball fans in the NBA, it seems crazy that not much ado is made about Coach Alton’s presence here, especially considering that he was able to play on some of the top contenders in NBA history, successful franchises (Bucks, Sonics, Warriors, Celtics, and Blazers), with some of the best players in league history, under some top-caliber coaches. On experience and stories alone, his collection should be worth a gazillion.

In anticipation of the resumption of the NBA season in the Florida bubble very soon, we spoke with Coach Alton about his time in what most still consider the top basketball league in the world.


PBA imports who have won an NBA championship
Favorite coach

Without a doubt, he chose his first NBA coach, Hall of Famer Don Nelson. “Don Nelson was my favorite coach and definitely made an impact on me as a person and in my NBA career. He drafted me initially with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round (21st overall out of Arizona State in 1981).” Five years later, Nelson traded Lister to the Seattle Supersonics in exchange for Cheap Jack Sikma Jersey, but when he became head coach of the Golden State Warriors, they were reunited in 1989 as Nelson traded a first-round pick to Seattle for Lister. “He (Nelson) was instrumental in both my personal and professional transition from college to the NBA. Don coached me 10 years out of my 17 in my NBA career.”

Talented teammates

In a lengthy career on some tough teams that played deep into the playoffs, Lister had many talented teammates. We asked him who is best (most talented) teammate was and who his favorite (he loved playing with them) teammates were. “My best teammate with the most talent,” he said, “was Cheap Bob Lanier Jersey,” his fellow center on the Bucks. Lanier, also a Hall of Famer like Nelson, was Lister’s mentor and “groomed me for the position of center as he would soon be retiring and I would become his heir apparent. He instilled in me the [idea] that few positions on the basketball court are as pivotal as the center position.” Lanier, a bulky center from St. Bonaventure, went to work every night despite bad knees from a long career that started with the Detroit Pistons, with whom he played for ten years before moving to Milwaukee and mentoring Lister.

Coach Alton then named an impressive bunch of players that helped enhance his career as his teammates. “My favorite teammates that I enjoyed playing with, but who were also very talented players, were Cheap Marques Johnson Jersey, Cheap Sidney Moncrief Jersey, and Cheap Paul Pressey Jersey (Bucks); Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, and Mitch Richmond (Warriors); Rick Fox (Boston); and Jermaine O’Neal, Arvydas Sabonis, and Rasheed Wallace (Portland), just to name a few.” Four players on this list – Moncrief, Mullin, Richmond, and Sabonis – are Hall of Famers.

Lister recalled that during his era, especially in the earlier part of his career, some of the best teams were in the East. “Although we didn’t have a clear-cut rivalry, our nemeses were always the Celtics and the 76ers. Even though we had future Hall of Famers Bob Lanier and Sidney Moncrief, and great matchups with some of the greatest players in the history of the game, we were on the losing end.” Lister played in an era when the Bucks were so good, but the Celtics or Sixers just seemed to be a notch better. “During my tenure with the Bucks, our team won the Central Division all five years and went on to the Eastern Conference Finals three out of five years, but lost to Boston or the 76ers!” he recalled. Lister was part of a trio of seven-footers on the Bucks’ frontline, with Cheap Randy Breuer Jersey and Cheap Paul Mokeski Jersey.

That Shawn Kemp dunk

While he was with the Warriors, in Game 4 of a 1992 playoff series against the Supersonics, Lister was on the receiving end of a thunderous dunk completed by Seattle forward Shawn Kemp. Recalling what happened, Lister said, “Kemp had the reputation as one of the best in-game dunkers in the history of the game and I just happened to be one of the recipients. My job as a rim-protector would always have players challenging me every night and, unfortunately, one of his monstrous dunks came at [my expense].” Coach Alton, though, recalls that he and Kemp had been going at it throughout the series such that Kemp’s dunk, in his opinion, was a form of “revenge.” “In Game 2 of the series, I did a good job of defending him and throwing him off his game. Kemp eventually lost his temper and punches were thrown. Kemp and I each received a technical foul and a $10K fine.”

Lister continued, “During my era I did not back down as a rim protector. I was challenged by a lot of players and sometimes I was successful and other times, not. But Game 4 was a whole different story. Kemp made sure he was going to have a good game, and that’s what he did. It was personal for him. That’s why he pointed at me after the dunk.” The sequence still gets airtime on highlight reels until today – a fact that Coach Alton is well aware of. “Over the years, it has gained more momentum and has become one of the top in-game dunks in the history of the game. If that dunk happened when social media was around, who knows the interaction it would have gotten from people!”

His secret to a long career

We asked Coach Alton what the secret was to his NBA longevity. He stated the obvious, which is physical fitness, but he went a step further. “Physical fitness is not my sole basis of being healthy; being healthy for me means being mentally and emotionally fit. Being healthy is a part of my overall lifestyle. I believe my maintaining a healthy lifestyle allowed me to last 17 seasons in the NBA. Physical discipline with my body, eating healthy, a positive attitude to be in the best shape of my life continues today.” In addition, Lister feels he was “a constant professional. I was a great team-first player that fit in. [I] maximized my roll and was all about winning – good in the locker room and every night I played hard.”

He has carried the same mentality in his post-NBA life. “I have worked with upcoming, gifted young athletes, emphasizing a healthy lifestyle on and off the court.” However, he sees that the game has changed so much since his playing days. “The game was different – big men had a major impact in the game [before]. In today’s game it is not as important to have a guy that only plays with his back to the basket as a scorer. [Centers now have] more versatility, with multiple skills sets [like] three-point shooting, ball-handling, and being able to rebound, push it, and make plays. The direction the game is moving toward now is ‘position less’, with emphasis on the three-point shot. I hope that the game of basketball will go back to the traditional center. A solution may be to extend the three-point line farther out so that all five players are now involved in the offensive aspect of the game.”

Coaching in the Philippines

So how did Coach Alton end up coaching in the Philippines anyway? He had dabbled in some coaching at a community college in Arizona and served as an Assistant Coach with the Atlanta Hawks for two years, when, after his contract expired in 2009, his friend Paul Howard, an Assistant Coach from his alma mater, Arizona State, contacted him. Howard had some connections with the PBA, and he recommended Lister to the San Miguel Beermen, as, naturally, a big man coach. He spent four years with the team.

When his contract expired, he returned to Southern California, where he was able to work for different entities in varying capacities, including San Diego University of Integrated Studies as Director of Pro Players transitioning to continuing their education, with former Boston and Clippers coach Don Casey on various basketball initiatives and non-profit organizations, training camps with former NBA players like Chris Dudley, one-on-one training of young boys and girls in the San Diego area (one of which was former NBA player Michael Cage’s son), and for the City of Chulavista during the transition of the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center from the U.S. Olympic Committee to the City.

Lister had been residing for a couple of years in San Diego, when in 2016, he received another call from Howard, who informed that there was a coaching position open with Talk ‘N Text of the PBA, now called TNT, particularly to help manage and work with import Ivan Johnson as a skills coach. Even after Johnson’s stint, Lister stayed on to continue working with the frontcourt players of the team. Last season, when TNT hired Dickel as a consultant to Coach Ravena, management appointed Lister as an assistant coach. While Coach Alton has been in that position, the team has gone to the Finals once (2019 Commissioner’s Cup), and he feels that the team “is going in the right direction now.”

Unfortunately, the current pandemic has put everything on hold and TNT has yet to test its line-up in the PBA’s 45th season. Hopefully, PBA games will return soon, with all possible safeguards and protocols in place. Meantime, the NBA looks to resume its season in a few days. Surely, Coach Cheap Alton Lister Jersey will be observing the goings-on over there as well, in the league where, for 17 years, he shared the hardcourt with superstars and icons and held his own.

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One of the NBA’s all-time great scorers finished his career with just a 13-game tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks, which came about through bizarre circumstances.
At the end of an illustrious career that saw him star for the Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons, Adrian Dantley joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 1991 with hopes of a suitably auspicious finale to a Hall of Fame career.

With the playoffs rapidly approaching, the Bucks were looking to put the finishing touches on what would conclude as a 48-24 regular season when disaster struck.

Dale Ellis, a go-to scorer who was acquired in exchange for Cheap Ricky Pierce Jersey, suffered a herniated disk in a March matchup with the Chicago Bulls, leaving Del Harris’ team in need of an added offensive punch down the stretch and moving into the postseason.

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Dantley presented as a possible solution, but not one without more than his fair share of complications.

Years removed from his prime as a six-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion, Dantley had spent his previous two seasons playing with the Dallas Mavericks, and suffering major injuries in the process.

Alex English started one of the all-time great scoring careers with the Milwaukee Bucks, yet he never truly got going until he played elsewhere.
The Milwaukee Bucks were consistently among the very best of what a stacked Eastern Conference had to offer throughout the 1980s, yet as time has gone on, they’ve become something of a forgotten story from that decade.

As sad as that might be, it’s not all that difficult to understand why it’s the case. For all of their 50-win seasons, the Bucks failed to advance to The Finals during that span, being eliminated by one of the Celtics or 76ers in every season from 1980-81 to 1986-87.

Those Boston and Philadelphia teams are fondly remembered as all-time greats, so what was the real difference that allowed them to get the best of a talented Bucks team season after season?

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In short, the answer was scoring.

Of course, there were other factors — such as the Bucks’ struggles to find a capable center — but more than anything else, Milwaukee didn’t have their own equivalent of a Larry Bird, Julius Erving or Cheap Moses Malone Jersey.

In Cheap Sidney Moncrief Jersey and Marques Johnson, the Bucks had two great players who allowed them to bridge that gap at times, but for as good as that duo were, neither necessarily provided the cold-blooded scoring streak that the Celtics and 76ers received from their stars. That’s not a knock on Moncrief or Johnson either, as it simply wasn’t in their respective nature. Between Moncrief’s defense and Johnson’s playmaking, both were incredibly polished and versatile.

In truth, Moncrief and Johnson’s skills would have made them a perfect fit alongside a more single-minded scorer. The Bucks’ roster was so well-rounded and deep on the whole that the addition of a top-tier offensive player could certainly have pushed them over the edge.

An elite scorer could have made all the difference, and just imagine what the Bucks could have done with the most prolific scorer of that decade on their side?

During the 12-year spell between 1979-80 and 1990-91, the Milwaukee Bucks made the playoffs every year, compiling the longest such streak in franchise history. A look at the league’s leading scorers for that total span reads as a who’s who of all-time great scorers, with the top-5 including Bird, Malone, Dominique Wilkins and Adrian Dantley. Still, one man stood above them all by a margin of almost 2,000 points, and he just so happened to have left Milwaukee the summer before that run began.

Alex English was selected by the Bucks with the 23rd overall pick of the 1976 Draft. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s safe to say his draft position wasn’t remotely reflective of his talent, but it was certainly representative of how he was perceived coming into the league after his time with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

English joined a rebuilding Bucks team still recovering from the shock of trading Cheap Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jersey, yet he still never managed to make his way toward the front of Don Nelson‘s pecking order.

As a rookie fighting for wing minutes, English was forced to go up against franchise legend Bob Dandridge, Cheap Junior Bridgeman Jersey, who was the eighth overall pick from the previous year’s draft, and Brian Winters, who was fresh off of an All-Star season in 1975.

The departure of Dandridge the following summer may have offered English some respite, if not for the fact the Bucks had pinned their hopes on another small forward, Cheap Marques Johnson Jersey, with the third overall pick in the 1977 Draft.

In total, English scored 1,100 points in 142 games for the Bucks, and then after two seasons he opted to move on. As explained by NBA.com’s Legends profile of English:

“Frustrated with his reserve role in his first two seasons, English became a free agent after the 1977-78 campaign. He signed with the Indiana Pacers, who gave the Bucks a first-round draft pick as compensation.”

English’s stay with the Pacers would prove to be even more brief, as after 54 games in his second season with the team while he continued to thrive in an expanded role, Indiana opted to sell high (or at least that’s what they thought) in trading for three-time veteran All-Star George McGinnis. That deal sent English to Denver, and from there, he never looked back.

English carved out an outstanding career with the Nuggets, where he was an eight-time All-Star, made an All-NBA Team on three occasions, and finished as the league’s scoring leader in 1983.

In total, English scored over 22,000 points during the 1980s — for reference, Moncrief’s career spanned close to that same timeframe and he only managed 11,594 points over the same period. English’s career tally of 25,613 is good enough for him to rank 18th among the NBA’s all-time leading scorers through to this very day too.

With that considered, it’s easy to blame the Bucks for letting such a prodigious talent slip through their grasp, and in some ways that’s fair. As English himself is first to admit, though, during his time in Milwaukee he was nowhere near the player he went on to be. Speaking following a 38-point outburst which led the Nuggets to victory over the Bucks in 1984, English noted:

“I have to say I’m about 70 percent better than when I played in Milwaukee. I think I’ve improved in every phase of my game.”

That English improved with increased opportunity isn’t all that surprising, and if anything, the Bucks’ mistake in letting him go should still act as a notable cautionary tale when it comes to failing to provide young players with sufficient minutes and development opportunities.

For as much as English worked on fine-tuning and improving his game, he was also a very interesting figure away from the court.

Fittingly for a man of his name, English graduated with a degree in English, and his love for poetry was highly publicized throughout his playing days. As a result, he was more than a little different to many of his peers.

English has had several books of poetry published over the years, with the first of those, “Sometimey Feelins Sometimes”, published in 1979 shortly after he left Milwaukee. From a Bucks’ perspective, the most notable poem of that collection wan undoubtedly “It’s Time to Go“:

“Autumn’s orange yellow and Rust

paints my mind with outdoor Lust

for freedom of movement about nature’s room.

But autumn’s coming means I’ll be leaving soon

to continue my stroll with destination

And add to memories This summer’s vacation.”

As English explained to the New York Times during his time as a Pacer, the poem was written as a a reflection on his time with the Bucks coming to an end.

“The poem was sort of a reflection of the Milwaukee Bucks giving up on me and not wanting to deal with me after I became a free agent.”

In discussing his own style of play in a 1985 Sports Illustrated profile written by Jack McCallum, English even suggested that some of the same elements that run through his poetry could be found in his game.

“I guess what my game has is kind of an off-balance flow.”

Away from poetry, English’s other interests are also extensive. English has long been an activist, and having campaigned for nuclear disarmament, he took a role alongside Gregory Peck and Jamie Lee Curtis in the 1987 film Amazing Grace and Chuck to allow him to bring that message to a larger audience.

English was also frequently involved in charity work during his time as a player, while along with continuing that in the years since, upon retirement he was hired to be the NBA Player’s Association’s director of player programs and services, which left him “overseeing alcohol, drug-abuse, HIV/AIDS, player-orientation and career-planning programs“.

English has also worked alongside the state department, while according to McCallum’s Sports Illustrated feature, he also considered volunteering for the space station program during the 80s. Summing up what contributed to his various interests and dreams, as well as something that was likely a driver in what made him successful as an athlete, English explained.

“There’s something inside that makes me special. It’s not basketball. It’s the way I perceive things.”

The Bucks could certainly have used that something that made English special beyond the two years he spent in Milwaukee. He could even have been that something that made the Bucks special.

Ironically, much like the legacy of the team he left so early in his career, English has often been overlooked and under-appreciated in the time since his playing days. Most notably, that led to him being left off the NBA’s 50 Greatest List. Speaking to Slam about that exclusion among other things in 2010, English offered the following for why he may have ended up overlooked:

“We didn’t get much media attention in Denver, even though we won. The Nuggets were in the playoffs eight years in a row, and in the Western Conference Finals in ’85.”

That line of thinking would certainly resonate with Milwaukee’s greats from the 80s. In fact that sentiment rings true for much of the Bucks’ existence.

NEXT: Milwaukee Bucks: Examining the Joe Barry Carroll saga
In many ways, the Bucks and Alex English were likely meant for each other, yet fate conspired against it, and the rest was widely overlooked and underdiscussed history.

Most recently, Dantley’s 1990 season had come to an end after 45 games due to a broken leg. From there, Dantley’s career took a turn that many would have anticipated for a player returning from such a significant injury at 34 years old, yet from the player’s perspective there were larger, potentially more sinister forces at work.

Having opted to enter free agency in the hopes of earning one last lucrative deal, Dantley ended up without a deal when the new season began, and was forced to sit on the sidelines all the way through to signing with the Bucks in April.

By that time an incredibly outspoken individual in the NBA, an article in the Chicago Tribune after he came to terms with the Bucks even suggested Dantley had been blackballed. Speaking on the subject himself, the former Notre Dame man said:

“I knew I was better than a lot of players, but sometimes it works that way. That’s the point we got to. I told my lawyer to say I’d take a step down. Where did I rank between sixth and ninth on teams? It wasn’t even close, but there were a lot of reasons.”

Continuing on that same theme, Dantley relived just how close he came to a deal on multiple occasions before it would all fall apart.

“We’d be almost there and bam, something else would happen. Maybe a trade or the money. I can’t pinpoint one particular thing. It didn’t make sense to me and it still doesn’t, but I have no control over the teams. It did get frustrating, but I never got down.”

All of that ultimately led to the Bucks extending an NBA lifeline to Cheap Giannis Antetokounmpo Jersey Dantley, yet more than any kind of sympathy for his situation, they needed him to perform.

Speaking to the L.A. Times, coach Del Harris noted:

“We feel extremely fortunate that on such short notice we are in a position to acquire such a fierce competitor as Adrian Dantley. I’ve talked with several of our key players and they all have a great deal of respect for his ability and determination.”

For his part, Dantley insisted he never stopped working hard and, although there would be a period of adjustment with a new team, that he’d be able to prove himself once again with the Bucks.

Unfortunately, once the veteran took to the court in competitive action again, that quickly proved not to be the case.

Dantley would appear in 13 games between the regular season and playoffs, remarkably failing to score on three occasions, which was also how many times he managed to score a double digit tally for Milwaukee.

With a total of just 62 points, Dantley’s Bucks average of 5.7 points per game was jarring from a player who’d never previously averaged under 14 points per game for a single season, and did nothing to prevent the Bucks from getting swept in three games in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Upon signing for Milwaukee, Dantley told the Chicago Tribune:

“I feel I’ve got my foot in the door again. I know I’m going to be in the NBA next year, and whoever gets me is going to be very happy they got me.”

NEXT: Milwaukee Bucks: The lasting yet forgotten impact of Cheap Glenn Robinson Jersey
As it turned out, Dantley would never play in the NBA again beyond the 1990-91 season. Upon retiring, Dantley’s NBA legacy was more than secure, with a strange, brief and uninspiring spell with the Bucks as nothing other than the most minor of footnotes.

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After the schedulers were kind enough to give us an off day to work through the post-holiday hangover, a new gift awaits tonight as the Milwaukee Bucks hit the road and take on the New York Knicks. Tonight’s contest is the only game of the first five of the regular season for Milwaukee that are not national broadcasts, making it the first opportunity for us to hear old friends Jim Paschke and
Cheap Marques Johnson Jersey calling the game. It also kicks off a three-game road trip, culminating in a back-to-back against our nemesis du jour, the Miami Heat; not that we should overlook the team in front of us on the schedule, but clearly this game is a simple business matter whereas the next two carry more import.

Where We’re At
Bucks fans were flying high after smacking down the Warriors, and down in the dumps after a failed comeback against the Celtics. The truth for this team, as with most things, is probably somewhere in-between. Superstar forward Cheap Giannis Antetokounmpo Jersey has been playing below his lofty standards and is struggling with his shot, but teammates Cheap Khris Middleton Jersey and Cheap Jrue Holiday Jersey have proved to be more than capable of sharing the burden of living up to this team’s expectations. Milwaukee seems to be at full strength, with both DJ Augustin and Cheap Torrey Craig Jersey seeing game action against Golden State after dealing with minor injuries at the outset of the season. Everything is primed for the team to get their act together…and speaking of “getting it together,” the New York Knicks, ladies and gentlemen!

only the Knicks.
c’mon man. pic.twitter.com/bGPvZN6coc

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 27, 2020
New York is coming into tonight on a back-to-back, having lost badly yesterday to the Philadelphia 76ers. There’s a decent amount of long-term optimism in New York these days, with Tom Thibodeau recently installed as the team’s new head coach and a handful of young prospects worth developing, like RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Mitchell Robinson. In the short-term, though? It’s tough goings; the most optimistic season prediction from SB Nation sister site Posting and Toasting was 33 wins. Toppin will miss this contest with a calf issue, while Immanuel Quickley, Austin Rivers, and Omari Spellman all missed their Saturday game with minor injuries and are considered day-to-day.

Player To Watch: Bobby Portis
Portis is a journeyman at this stage of his NBA career, but at only 25 years old he still has a chance to establish his future in the league over the next few years. His opportunity in Milwaukee is to do exactly that, which follows a one-year stint in New York that cast him back into free agency rather than retain him on his team option this season. Might today be an opportunity to show the Knicks the error of their ways? Probably not, but the chance of witnessing a Cheap Bobby Portis Jersey Revenge Game is too good to miss out on.