There have only been eight players in NBA history that have been taller than 7-foot-4 Priest Lauderdale. When I used to look through my NBA cards back in the ’90s, this Priest Lauderdale NBA Hoops card always stood out to me for some reason.
It had to be the name and what a name it was. Priest Lauderdale. Top five NBA name right there. Doesn’t quite beat out God Shammgod or Cherokee Parks, but top five name.
I couldn’t tell you a single thing that Priest Lauderdale did in his NBA career. Not one thing. Yet, I still remember Priest Lauderdale wearing those Dikembe Mutombo-Mookie Blaylock ’90s Hawks jerseys on this NBA Hoops card. He looks like he just witnessed Prince Oberyn get his head exploded by the Mountain in Game of Thrones as he looks to. …pass? dribble?
God, I love this card. What a set this was.
Priest Lauderdale’s NBA career looks something like this. The Chicago native was drafted 28th overall by the Hawks in 1996 after playing at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio and overseas in Greece. Coincidentally, Lauderdale was taken only three picks after the NBA’s greatest Estonian and fellow “Awesome ’90s NBA Cards” alum Martin Muursepp who once took a sh*t in mid-air.
Much like Muursepp, Lauderdale did virtually nothing in the NBA. He played in 74 career games with the Hawks and Nuggets and then was out of the NBA, never to be seen again after 1998.
Little did a Divac like me know, Lauderdale had somehow managed to become the greatest Bulgarian citizen to ever play in the NBA despite not having played a single NBA minute since 1998. Lauderdale first played in Bulgaria from 2002-2005 and the Chicagoan got naturalized as a Bulgarian citizen in a similar manner in which Andray Blatche was naturalized as a Filipino citizen.
Lauderdale is basically the Magellan of irrelevant NBA big men from the ’90s. In addition to Bulgaria, he’s literally played in half of the world’s countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Lebanon, and even Cyprus.
Now 42, Lauderdale hasn’t played professionally since 2011 but still has an awesome name and a great NBA Hoops card.