Kevin Ollie was an NBA player. You know that. You have probably even heard the absurd fact that he spent time with 12 different NBA teams in 13 years. What you don’t know is that I fell down a Kevin Ollie wormhole this morning. I looked at old pictures of him playing against Sam Cassell and Keith Van Horn and Steve Wojciechowski. I studied his contracts and the lengths of his various stops in the NBA. I looked at which superstars he played with. After all that I can say without a doubt that Ollie had one of the most fascinating careers in NBA history.
He played with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Kevin Love. Ollie was part of the trade that sent Ron Artest from Chicago to Indiana. He was part of the trade that sent Ray Allen from Milwaukee to Seattle. The very fact that he was in the league at all in the 2000’s to be a part of either of those trades is almost unbelievable.
Ollie came out of Los Angeles as one of the top recruits in California and played four seasons at UConn. In 1995, he and Ray Allen went to the Elite 8. After college, in 1995, Ollie signed with the Golden State Warriors, but was waived before the season started. He then spent two seasons with the Connecticut Pride in the CBA before finally breaking into the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks. Ollie played just 16 games with the Mavs before they waived him. He would be waived six different times before 2001.
He spent three weeks with the Magic in 1999 and made just $2,853 while he was there. In his career he made just $20,131,418. He had two stops in Orlando and the only picture that proves that is on his Basketball Reference page. (And if anyone has seen a picture of him from his seven games with the Kings, let me know.)
The first time Ollie spent the majority of an NBA season with a team was during the ’99-’00 season with the Philadelphia 76ers – John Calipari was an assistant coach. Ollie spent parts or most of six seasons with the Sixers and was part of the Philly team that lost to the Lakers in the ’00-’01 NBA Finals.
He went back to UConn as an assistant coach after his playing career was over. When Jim Calhoun retired, Ollie stepped into the job. In his second season as head coach, he won the NCAA Championship. Now he will be rumored for every near-vacant coaching job in the country on both the college and NBA levels. He’s only 41, so he has plenty of time to coach more teams than he played on.
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