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English has none of Erving's or Dominique Wilkins's graceful acrobatics, none of Dantley's forceful inside pumps, none of King's ferocious athleticism when going to the hoop. "Bobby Dandridge is about the only comparison I can come up with," says Nugget assistant coach Allan Bristow. " George Yardley," says Boryla, reaching back a couple of decades. "Both [ Yardley and English] thin, stringy guys who run the court, both intelligent, both get their shot off in any position."
Yardley (a star during the '50s with the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons) drew a blank with English, but he agrees with the comparison to Dandridge, behind whom he played in 1976-77 at Milwaukee as a rookie after being drafted in the second round out of South Carolina. "But, basically, my game is my own," says English.
So is his style off the court. Last year English convinced his fellow NBA All-Stars to donate their pay for the game to the Ethiopian relief effort, a $48,000 windfall that was more than matched by the league. When he does such things, "nobody laughs at him," says Nugget reserve center Danny Schayes. "He's much too sincere."
English has self-published two volumes of his poetry, Sometimey Feelins Sometime and Let's Share. A sample from the latter:
If love was
English is also a science-fiction devotee and has contemplated volunteering for the space station program. "There's something inside that makes me special. It's not basketball. It's the way I perceive things," he says.
His opponents don't have to look inside him every night—they have to guard him. Even based solely on that, they'd have to agree that, yes, there's something special about Alex English.