Nuggets' Corey Brewer keeping it old school
DENVER — His all-time favorite player is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His most memorable dunk contest winner was Spud Webb.
What is this, an episode of "I Love the '80s?"
Nope. It's Denver Nuggets guard Corey Brewer talking about his NBA loves.
Some players barely know what happened five years ago, let alone a quarter century back. But that's not Brewer, a former University of Florida star.
"I like a lot of old-school things," said Brewer, 25.
When Brewer was growing up in Portland, Tenn., his brother Jason, older by five years, introduced him to the NBA of yesteryear. It wasn't long before Brewer was hooked.
"I watched a lot of ESPN Classic," he said. "I watched a lot of tapes. I've seen a lot of basketball from over the years."
So ask Brewer about some of his loves. It sounds as if one's listening to a curator at the Hall of Fame.
"You just watch all the old films and the sky hooks and the things he was doing when he was with the Lakers," Brewer said about why Abdul-Jabber, who played in the NBA with Milwaukee (1969-75) and with the Lakers (1975-89), is his favorite player. "And don't forget about him with the Bucks."
Brewer's favorite dunk contest memory is Webb winning in February 1986. That was the month before Brewer was born.
"You go back and watch from then and nobody thought little Spud Webb was going to win the dunk contest," Brewer said of the 5-foot-7 Webb. "It was cool seeing a little guy like that doing a lot of crazy dunks."
Brewer has plenty of other fond memories. Then again, if he wasn't alive at the time, they're not exactly memories.
"I watch all that stuff going way back," said Brewer, a five-year veteran. "The Oscar Robertson stuff. All of the triple-doubles he did (mostly in the 1960s). The 'Iceman,' George Gervin, how smooth he was (in the 1970s and '80s).
"I've seen Wilt (Chamberlain). That was crazy, the things Wilt did (mostly in the 1960s). He was like a man among boys . . . Dan Issel, he was from Kentucky, and I lived on the Kentucky border and everybody always talked about him. He was like a legend (playing with the ABA's Kentucky Colonels and the Nuggets before retiring in 1985)."
At least Brewer was alive when Detroit won titles in 1989 and 1990. Not that he remembers them, having later become a big fan of those teams by watching videos.
"I like the 'Bad Boys,' " Brewer said of those outfits. 'I like to play down and dirty and do all the little things."
Naturally, Brewer has an old-school guy with whom he believes he shares some similarities, even if he was a "Bad Boys" nemesis. That would be Lakers skinny guy Michael Cooper, who averaged 8.9 points in his career, mostly as a reserve, and played great defense.
Brewer is slender himself. He's coming off the bench for the Nuggets, has an 8.8 career scoring average and prides himself on his defense.
"I'm a Michael Cooper fan," Brewer said. "He's most similar to me. You look back at a guy like Michael Cooper, who ran the floor and played defense."
Cooper, a Nuggets head coach briefly in 2004-05, did plenty of winning as a player. He earned five championship rings with the Lakers in the 1980s.
Brewer has done a pretty good job himself of collecting victories. He's got NCAA rings from Florida in 2006 and 2007 and won an NBA crown with Dallas last season.
If he continues his winning ways, Brewer might find some old-school fan touting his play in 25 years.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson