In the NBA, where some players names and egos exceed their skill level (see Young, Nick), nicknames can come to define whole careers. On one end of the spectrum there’s Gary “The Glove” Payton, whose nickname fits him like a -sorry- a glove. Other fitting nicknames that instantly evoke a player’s demeanor and play include David “The Admiral Robinson”, Tim “The Big Fundamental” Duncan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, etc.. The other end is filled with players with head-scratching names like the immortal Daniel “Booby” Gibson, Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic -how exactly is a guy who averages 5.4 points per game a machine- and Kevin “KD” Durant -someone should just start a petition to stop nicknames that are simply the first letter of a person’s first and last name.
One of the most perplexing, yet accurate names, belongs to Corey “Bad Porn” Maggette.
Most NBA fans remember him for being insanely jacked (see the picture above) and playing for the incredibly deep 1998-99 Duke team. Other than that, he is well-known simply because of his ridiculous nickname.
Legends say that “Bad Porn” moniker came from irate Golden State Warriors fans who justified it by saying, “Sure, there’s penetration and scoring, but are you really happy with what you’re seeing?” If there were only two things other than being ripped that Corey Maggette was good at, it was penetrating and scoring.
Sadly, the NBA started collecting data on the number of drives per game a player attempts after Maggette had retired. But, his penetration can be reasonably estimated by his proficiency at getting to the Free Throw line. During his peak (which spans between the 2003-04 season to the 2009-10 season), he was second in Freethrow Attempt Rate (FTr), which is the number of Free Throw Attempts per Field Goal Attempt. This statistic is especially impressive due to his peers in the category. Almost every other player in the top ten in FTr is either a Power Forward or Center, positions that are normally stationed near the basket. He somehow beat Shaquille O’Neal in FTr, despite players constantly fouling Shaq to force him to shoot freethrows (which he shot at a measly 49.3%).
This phenomenon did not occur simply because of a small sample size. He was fifth in Free Throws Attempted and third in Free Throws Made during that same span while also playing the fewest minutes per game out of anyone else in the top ten for each.
Maggette was also a low-volume Three Point Shooter during his career. He only attempted two shots from beyond the arc each game during that span, while making only 31.6% of those attempts. He generated most of his offense in the midrange or painted area, with frequent forays to the Free Throw line thrown in as well.
A large part of his scoring came from his converting those Free Throws at a high rate. An overlooked facet of his game was his ability to also poured in points by utilizing his elite athleticism, size, and speed. During the same span, he averaged 19.9 points per game which would be good for twentieth overall. His scoring totals were hurt in part because of the relatively fewer minutes he played than his peers. When extrapolated over 36 minutes per game, Maggette scored 21.6 points, which is thirteenth place during the span. Simply said, this man could get buckets.
Are you really happy with what you’re seeing?
At this point, it seems like Corey Maggette would be the total package. He was an athletic player who could get to the line and score consistently. What team or fanbase wouldn’t want that? But behind the flashy numbers lies the basis for the aforementioned Warriors fans’ gripes.
One the main complaints levied against Maggette concerned his terrible defense. He typified the classic volume-scorer who only cared about one side of the game. During his offensive and athletic prime, he somehow managed to be ranked the seventh worst defensive player due to his 110 Defensive Rating, which estimates the number of points an opposing team scores while a player is on the court.
It didn’t help that for a person with his athleticism and size, his ability to protect the paint was suspect. He only blocked 0.3% of opponent’s shots, a stat comparable to negligible shotblockers like Andre Miller and Kevin Martin. His inability to protect the rim is even worse when you consider he played the Small and Power Forward positions
He also underperformed in key areas on the offensive end. For a guy that personally finishes so many possessions (26.6 Usage Rate, 20th overall in the same time span), he only managed to achieve an Assist Percentage comparable to a notorious offensive black hole, Carlos Boozer.
His ultimate failing that followed his NBA career like a black cloud was his inability to help his team win games. Maybe call it luck, but during his long career he only managed to make it to the playoffs once. He only managed to win 38.6% of all the games he personally played in (319 wins, 508 losses) in the NBA. This trend was a far cry from his college record at Duke, where he was an integral part of a team that won 37 games and made the Final Four.
One event that was symptomatic of his overall failings was his showing in the 2001 Dunk Contest.
He dunks in the contest in only a way “Bad Porn” can. In the first couple seconds of the video he says, just within hearing distance of the camera, “Let’s get hyped motherfucker, c’mon!” Soon after, he unleashes an incredibly athletic front flip and he somehow gathers himself and has enough energy to punctuate his routine with a powerful two-handed slam. From there, it went downhill.
The second dunk was routine, at least for world-class NBA athletes. Maggette starts from way out at the half-court line, which presumes he needs momentum for his dunk. Instead, he jogs heavy-footed past the arc and completes a half-hearted and abbreviated windmill. The dunk only elicited a quizzical “Oh?” from Marv Albert and was called “conservative” by another commentator. After the dunk, the camera cuts to a bored-looking women holding up a scorecard that read “6”, reflecting the dissatisfaction of the crowd and judges.
Of course, the camera pans right after to a man standing right next to her and holding a “9”.
The final nail in the coffin was his underwhelming final dunk. He once again starts at the half-court line so he can build up speed. One key tool many contestants use during the contest is evoking previous contest dunks from NBA legends. The most widely-copied exampled is Dr. J’s free-throw line dunk. This dunk, which resulted in a simple one-handed tomahawk, paled in comparison to the famous leaning windmill dunk Michael Jordan threw down from the same spot. That’s Corey “Bad Porn” Maggette proving once again that nothing beats the real thing.
By Andrew Haruki Hill