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Tony Massenburg: Frequent Flier

He Shoots, He Scores, He Packs

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Spurs forward Tony Massenburg
Spurs forward Tony Massenburg
Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Spurs forward Tony Massenburg, 37, has played for a record 12 NBA and three European teams since graduating from college. The 6'9", 250-pound Virginia native reminisces about the places he's been.

1. SUSSEX, VA. (1981-85) Averaged 17.5 points and 12 rebounds as a senior at Sussex Central High. Has fond memories of Mama Massenburg's cooking, which he still goes home for. "Between her fried chicken and my grandmother's sweet potato pie, I try not to come back too thick," he says. Stayed: four years. How it ended: signed with University of Maryland.

2. COLLEGE PARK, MD. (Terrapins, '85-90) Massenburg was team MVP as a junior and senior and got his degree in human ecology. Stayed: five years. How it ended: drafted in second round by Spurs.

3. SAN ANTONIO (Spurs, '90-91) Rookie seldom saw action. Stayed: 35 games. How it ended: waived.

4. CHARLOTTE (Hornets, '91) "I have no fond memories of Charlotte," says Massenburg, who played three games there. "I lived out of the Hyatt by the arena. I wasn't feeling it." How it ended: waived.

5. BOSTON (Celtics, '92) "I enjoyed the clam chowder at The Four Seasons, but that's about it," says Massenburg. Stayed: 20 days. How it ended: released.

6. OAKLAND (Warriors, '92) "My first time out West, and my impression was: I can play here but not live here. Me and Chris Gatling would hop in his convertible and drive to San Francisco." Stayed: 20 days. How it ended: released.

7. REGGIO EMILIA, ITALY (Reggio Emilia '92) Stayed: averaged 22.8 points in four games. How it ended: granted release.

8. MÁLAGA, SPAIN (Unicaja-Mayoral, '92-93) "It's a bit of a resort town, on the coast. I had a ball. We always ate at Mama Luigi's, and the owner fed us until we were blue in the face." Stayed: 30 games. How it ended: granted release.

9. BARCELONA (F.C. Barcelona, '93-94) "The New York of Spain, a lot of places to shop, great restaurants, architecture. And they got me into plantains and rice, which reminded me of home cookin'." Stayed: 25 games. How it ended: granted release.

10. LOS ANGELES (Clippers, '94-95) Made the team and became a starter in the NBA for the first time, averaging 9.3 points. "The hot spot, believe it or not, was TGI Friday's. Magic Johnson used to throw a party every Friday." Stayed: 80 games. How it ended: taken in expansion draft by Toronto.

11. TORONTO (Raptors, '95-96) "Canadians have a good disposition. But they'll eventually lose the team. Canada is hockey country." Stayed: 24 games. How it ended: traded to Philadelphia.

12. PHILADELPHIA (76ers, '96) "The 76ers were the worst team in the league," says Massenburg. "Horrible top-to-bottom. Knowing I wouldn't be there long, I spent a lot of time on South Street and at King of Prussia Mall shopping." Stayed: 30 games. How it ended: became free agent.

13. NEW JERSEY (Nets, '96-97) Got a one-year, $247,000 deal. "I lived in a condo in [Jersey] but spent my downtime in New York City, mostly at the Shark Bar," says Massenburg. "They have great Southern food: catfish, collard greens and fried chicken." Stayed: one year. How it ended: contract expired.

14. BOSTON (Celtics, '97) Got three years, $2.7 million. How it ended: traded in October before season started.

15. VANCOUVER (Grizzlies, '97-99) "Nobody was hot on Canada, mainly because of the taxes," says Massenburg. "And there are things you can't get in Vancouver, like Cap'n Crunch." Stayed: 61 games. How it ended: traded to Rockets.

16. HOUSTON (Rockets, '99-'00) "I love the restaurants," says Massenburg. "The city has a very Southern feel." Stayed: 10 games. How it ended: released.

17. VANCOUVER (Grizzlies, '00-01) After signing, he says, "I didn't want to leave [Houston]."

18. MEMPHIS (Grizzlies, '01-02) Relocated with the team. "Memphis is growing," says Massenburg. "They have great BBQ and great live music." Stayed: two seasons. How it ended: waived.

19. UTAH (Jazz, '02-03) "I got to know Karl [Malone] pretty well," says Massenburg. "We went hunting and snowmobiling a couple of times. He's got a huge ranch compound. It's ridiculous." Stayed: 58 games. How it ended: became free agent.

20. SACRAMENTO (Kings, '03-04) "The spot I frequented was Vlade's [Divac] restaurant, Tunel 21," he says. "The food was not my Southern food but very good." Stayed: one season. How it ended: became free agent.

21. SAN ANTONIO (Spurs, '04-05) Averaging 3.0 points in 10.7 minutes, Massenburg is poised to appear in playoffs for the third time in 13 NBA seasons and says, "This is where I could see myself settling down."

Issue date: March 28, 2005