Whoa, 90s flashback! On Friday, Serie A club Martos Napoli announced the signing of 37-year-old Travis Best, perhaps best known for his play with Larry Bird’s Indiana Pacers, the NBA championship-contending team of 1999-2000.
Best was a first-round draft choice of the Pacers in 1995. The point guard stuck with Indiana until 2002, when he was involved in the big seven-player trade that landed Ron Artest and Brad Miller with the Pacers while Best and Jalen Rose went to the Chicago Bulls.
Best’s success (and, in a lot of cases, playing time) decreased significantly in three more seasons in America with three further teams – the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets – creating the impetus for him to jump the Atlantic. Since 2005, Best has logged time with Unics Kazan, Virtus Bologna, Prokom Trefl Sport and Air Avellino.
In Russia in the 2005-06 season, Best went for 11.2 points and 2.7 assists in 29 minutes per game; 2006-07 with Virtus Bologna saw him figure for 8.4 ppg and 3.3 apg; and with Air Avellino last season, the veteran managed a line of 8.9 and 2.8 per game while shooting 49.3 percent on two-point shooting.
Announcing the transaction, Martos Napoli general manager Federico Pasquini stated that “Travis Best has experience, leadership, the ability to create a shot for himself and his teammates, and excellent skills in playing the pick-and-roll. I hope he can become a leader to guide the team in [the open-court game].”
Best was expected to join the club this weekend and was not listed on the roster for last night’s 96-64 loss at the hands of Benetton Treviso. The team’s next game is scheduled for Sunday, December 6, when Napoli travels to take on AJ Milano. Best will join fellow Americans/former NBA players Damon Jones and the immortal Robert “Tractor” Traylor on the team.
Napoli currently sits at the bottom of the Serie A table with a listed record of 0-8 and minus-2 points in the standings due to a league penalty.