Top 20 Cleveland Cavaliers: #12 Earl Boykins

You should never judge a book by it's cover.  The 12th greatest Cavalier of all-time is Earl Boykins, the 2nd shortest player in NBA history.  Standing at a towering 5 ft. 5″, Boykins is shorter than every other player in the Association, other than Mugsy Bouges.  Earl is a Cleveland native, born and raised.

Earl Boykins went to Cleveland's Central Catholic High School, and made the varsity team his sophmore year.  Shoutouts to his high school coach, James Serluco who was one of my favorite teachers in High School.  Umm..Ya know, Boykins led the state of Ohio in scoring his senior season.

Earl went on to play for Eastern Michigan University (what up Mt. Pleasant), and became an even better player.  His freshman season, his coach listed him at 5 ft. 7″, because he was “ashamed” to have such a small guard on his team.  Earl told his coach, “I will be the best player you ever coach.”  Boykins wasn't kidding; He dominated the MAC conference with relative ease.

At EMU, Boykins was a solid scorer.  His best season was his senior year, where he averaged 25.7 points per game, 5.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds.  He was an honorable mention All-American, was the 2nd leading scorer in the country, and was selected to the 1st team All-Mid American Conference.  He started all 122 games in college, and expected to be drafted in the 1st round of the 1998 NBA Draft.  Surprisingly, no one took a chance on this incredible, vertically-challenged star.  He went undrafted.

During the 1998-1999 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Boykins to two 10-day contracts.  He was then signed for the remainder of the season.  He brought a level of excitement to the court, and was instantly a fan-favorite because of his ability to score the basketball.  Unfortunately, the Cavaliers waived him at the end of the 2000 season, for reasons we will never know.

After bouncing around with several other teams in a limited role during his first 5 years, inlcuding the Orlando Magic, LA Clippers, and Orlando, and Golden State Warriors, Boykins finally got a guaranteed contract from the Denver Nuggets.  His role was typically to come off the bench and inject energy in to the team's offense, something he took great pride in and did very well.  His best years definitely came in Denver, where he saw a lot more playing time than he was used to.  He was one of the quickest guards in the league, and his fast shooting motion allowed him to get shots off against much taller defenders.

Earl Boykins’ career was improved in recent years when the NBA decided to allow some forms of zone defense.  He was always a legitimate threat to change the game, and often times defenses were perplexed with how he could manipulate their defensive strategy with his quick movement.  In 2004, he was the NBA's leading scorer off the bench.  At one point in the season, he was averaging 10.5 points per game.  In 2007, he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, and then signed with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2008.

I, like most Cavaliers fans, would have loved to see them go after Boykins and bring him back to Cleveland.  He deserved a chance to help the team that first gave him a shot in the league.  Even though he only played a small part and really didn't even play a full season for the Cavaliers, he still makes the list.

Over his career, Earl has consistently proven the doubters wrong and made a name for himself in the Association.  He has shown that through hard work and dedication, you can overcome the obstacles and achieve your dream.  Having Serluco as a high school coach undoubtedly helped.  It's a shame he and LeBron never got to share the court together, they would have been a dynamic duo.  Boykins always had an uncanny ability to get his shot off when it looked impossible.  According to various sources, even though Boykins only weighs around 133 lbs, he can bench press close to 315.  He was also known to throw in a nasty rejection on occasion, on someone he had no business blocking.  I'm not trying to trick ya, Earl Boykins is Underrated

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