The Step Back

Welcome to the home of #thestepback series, written by Sean Guest.

The Step Back: Bye Bye Bynum

On this day in 2005, Andrew Bynum became the youngest player ever to appear in a regular season game, making his debut for a rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers team that would go on to become an NBA powerhouse.

Dr J - NBAE / Getty / Double Clutch illustration by Steve Leard
The Step Back: The Dr is in (Philadelphia)

On this day in 1976, the Philadelphia 76ers bought Julius ‘Dr J’ Erving for $3 million, transforming the franchise into a contender overnight.

Kevin Garnett
The Step Back: Nothing but Garnett (and Pierce and Allen)

On this day in 2007, the Boston Celtics renewed their relevance as a force in the NBA by trading for Kevin Garnett in what turned out to be a franchise-changing moment.

Penny Hardaway - Rocky Widner / Getty
The Step Back: The Penny drops

On this day in 1993, the Orlando Magic acquired the draft rights to Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway, ushering in a franchise-defining era that ultimately ended in heartache.

Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty
The Step Back: Air apparent

He had the hops and the hype, but Vince Carter, who was named Rookie of the Year on this day in 1999, fell some way short of the dizzy, Jordanesque heights his early promise suggested he might reach.

The Step Back: Ewing some, you lose some

On this day in 1985, the New York Knicks won their first ever NBA Draft Lottery, allowing them to pick franchise-altering big-man Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall.

The Step Back: The long goodbye of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

This day in 1989 marked the culmination of The Captain’s season-long farewell, which gave teams around the NBA an opportunity to celebrate the career of a true great.

The Step Back: All-Star State

On this day in 2010, the annual NBA All-Star game played out in front of a whopping 108,713 fans – the largest ever crowd to watch a basketball game – in Arlington, Texas.

The Step Back: Magic’s Moment

On this day in 1996, Magic Johnson came out of retirement to play his final stretch of games for the Los Angeles Lakers, five years after testing positive for the HIV virus