Danny Fortson: Enforcer, bruiser, tough guy. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Fortson's time with the Sonics.
One another phrase comes to mind: One of the greatest Sonics of all time.
Okay, not really (unless you ask Kevin), but when I think back to the days of the Sonics, one of the players I miss the most is, oddly, Fortson. There was something endearing about watching him play. Maybe it was the fact that he often times played the center position, and night after night went up against the biggest players in the league, despite being incredibly undersized at 6'7".
Fortson was what many would constitute a "dirty" player. He would often times throw his elbows into the throats of opposing players while trying to get better rebounding position and kick out his legs while securing a rebound. He also had an affinity for trash talk and antics, which wore on his teammates, and also had a knack for accumulating technical fouls. He finished second in the league with 23 techs during the 2005 season. He struggled with his attitude so much, that the much-despised Howard Schultz even tried to give him tips about how to change his attitude.
He was also known to throw a chair from time to time.
Fortson's style of play turned off a lot of NBA fans, many of whom were shocked by the infamous malice in the palace. I think it is fair to say that most fans were tired of players like Fortson, who seemed to resemble an older era of NBA basketball, when enforcers who were meant to rough up opposing players, protect their star teammates, and get into fights if necessary, ruled the day.
Looking at Fortson's basketball reference page is also quite the experience, especially if you look at some of his more advanced statistics. Fortson averaged 14.3 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. Another astounding stat about Fortson, while it is not very flattering, is that he shot nearly 84% on shot attempts that were 0-3 feet away from the rim, and an astounding 16% on shots that were between 3-10 away from the rim. He quite literally could not make a shot from farther than 3 feet out.
Still, the most astounding stat about Fortson is that he averaged 9.8 fouls per 36 minutes during his time in Seattle. Think about that. Through 36 minutes, Fortson would have fouled out nearly one and two-thirds times. That means in a full 48 minutes, Fortson would foul out 2.2 times.
Just another reason why Fortson was the man.
Well, to me anyway.