NBA Draft

The NBA’s one-minute club – Sports Illustrated

Ade Murkey remembers everything about his NBA debut. He recalls what music he was blasting en route to the Kings’ Golden 1 Center: Lil Durk and Lil Baby. What his pregame meal consisted of: salmon and rice. The nerves he felt after learning the team had chosen him—a rookie guard who signed a 10-day contract earlier that day because several Sacramento players were in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols—to wish the home crowd happy holidays before the game.

But most of all, Murkey remembers anxiously looking up at the scoreboard on Dec. 22, 2021, as the Kings trailed the Clippers by double digits late in the fourth quarter, wondering whether the game’s time and score would allow for interim coach Doug Christie to put him in. The 24-year-old had worked his entire life for this chance, his chance. With 1:28 to go and Sacramento down by 15, Murkey heard his name called. He raced off the bench, took the court and, as he puts it, got “a few up-and-downs in.” He never touched the ball, but he enjoyed every second of it.

“That was a memory of a lifetime, for sure,” Murkey says.

A few days later, Murkey was back to life in the G League, playing for the Stockton Kings with the hope of returning to the Association one day. But if he never steps foot on an NBA court again, he will always be part of a select group of players: the NBA’s One-Minute Club.

According to Basketball Reference, coming into this season only 10 players had logged one minute or less throughout their entire NBA careers (though it should be noted, like in the case of Murkey, the site rounds on-court stints between 60 and 90 seconds down to a single minute). As of mid-January, the group had grown to 14 during a season that has seen a record number of contributors due to the pandemic. Those in the club have been left to wrestle with their careers being the shortest in the league’s 75-year history. Some stuck with basketball while others moved on to other professions. But all of them can forever note the same thing: They appeared in an NBA game. Just like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who logged a record 57,446 minutes throughout his 20-year career. Just like Wilt Chamberlain, who once averaged 48.5 minutes per game in a single season.

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