Ex-Mav Bubba Wells Spins Back Into Our Collective Consciousness

Former Dallas Maverick Bubba Wells is known for one thing: fouling out of an NBA game faster than anyone in league history. Three minutes was all it took on Dec. 29, 1997, fouling Dennis Rodman six times in an effort to send the poor-shooting Worm to the line. Wells only played 39 games in the NBA, all in the 1997-98 season.

But now he’s back, in a New York Times story about another poor-shooting rebound cyborg, Dwight Howard:

[Mavs coach Don] Nelson felt his only chance to win against the eventual N.B.A. champions was to foul Rodman, who at the time was shooting less than 40 percent from the line.

“He came up to me and asked me if I wanted to do it,” Wells recalled in a phone interview. “I said if it helps the team win, I’ll do it. I had no clue about setting a record or anything like that.”

On this particular night, Nelson’s strategy backfired. Rodman, often times laughing at Nelson while at the free-throw line, connected on 9 of 12 foul shots, and the Bulls won, 111-105.

“It didn’t really work out the way we expected it would,” Wells said.

The Times also reached out to Nelson:

“[Howard] definitely has issues with his free throws – that’s obvious,” Nelson said in a phone interview from his home in Maui, Hawaii. “And when you’re not making them, it affects the player’s game, his confidence and the team’s confidence. Why is that team not winning? I know Steve Nash is out. But they should still be winning games. They’re under .500. That’s incredible.”