Just a seven numbers after hitting one of the worst numbers to have been worn in New Orleans Pelicans history, Solomon Jones and the number 18, we hit one of the numbers that could possibly rival Jones for the honor in number 28. Like 18, 28 has been worn just a single time in franchise history, for just a 41 game stint in 2010-2011 and well it wasn’t pretty.
The First to Wear Number 28: Didier (DJ) Ilunga-Mbenga, 2010-2011
The Most Recent to Wear Number 28: DJ Mbenga, 2010-2011
The Others to Wear Number 28: None
Didier Ilunga-Mbenga was never a good NBA basketball player. Thanks to being seven-feet tall and reasonably athletic though Mbenga, better known as DJ Mbenga, continued to get chances to stick in the NBA for years after it was realized that he wasn’t any good.
That final chance came in the 2010-2011 season when Mbenga played 330 minutes in New Orleans and did nothing to stand out at all. Mbenga averaged just 1.4 points and 2.1 rebounds over those 330 minutes. The high point in that time was an 18:18 stint in early February against the Lakers when Mbenga poured in eight points on 3-5 shooting from the field while pulling in two rebounds and dishing out an assist as the Hornets lost 101-95.
While that proved to be the last high point in Mbenga’s Hornets and on-court career it did fall well short of his greatest contribution to the NBA which happened much earlier in his career when he was still with the Dallas Mavericks.
The number 28 has an awful history in New Orleans at the moment but it isn’t one that will be hard to erase when some legitimate NBA player comes along. Mbenga was exactly what he was supposed to be when the Hornets signed him, a big body who wasn’t going to be a star which is much better than a player who was supposed to be great and flamed out like the franchise has seen so often.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans