Six years and $13 million dollars. Those were the terms that the Atlanta Hawks agreed to in 1989 when they signed 7’0″ center Jon Koncak to a backup role. The figure may not sound like much by today’s terms, but Koncak contract is largely responsible for that fact as it threw the NBA salary scale completely out of whack. Consider this: Koncak’s signing meant that the Hawks were paying him a salary on par at the time with guys named Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson. For a straight scrub. Imagine how the Kevin Willises of the world lit up with joy when they learned that NBA GMs could be swayed by the precedent that had been set. Pro basketball has never been the same.
The legacy of “Jon Contract” lives on to this day—sports broadcasters still use his surname to refer to terrible “Koncaks” that bonehead franchises unwittingly offer to non-star talent.
With that history lesson out of the way, it’s time to get to some news. I don’t know how I missed this, but Koncak’s (and my) alma mater, Southern Methodist University, announced on Friday that they will be enshrining his number later this month. I can think of very few things that signal how much that the athletics department at SMU is struggling than the fact that we are actually planning to honor this schmo. I just wrote this story and I still can’t believe it. We’re counting more and more on June Jones to rescue this sinking ship.