Rod Benson is arguably the biggest star in the D-League. He’s not the best player in the league or the most productive, but in terms of organically created stardom from within the minor league system, no player can compare to the man known as Boom Tho.
He’s been in the D for four years, and over that time has become the league’s all-time leading rebounder. He’s been to summer league and training camps, to Europe and back, and yet despite his NBA size, rebounding skill, and ability to finish around the basket, he hasn’t logged a single minute of NBA action. Not one.
That’s largely attributed to Benson’s massive online presence, which is perceived as a possible threat to PR-conscious general managers. As far as 12th men go, Benson would seem to come at a bigger risk than most. That’s why you see Boom as one of the last guys picked on the proverbial whiffleball field, despite his noticeable talent and the flurry of call-ups this season. Some of those call-ups were, frankly, given to inferior players.
At some point, Benson was going to say that enough was enough. Well, he kind of already did that once, but now he’s back and doing it again. From our own Matt Moore, writing at FanHouse:
It’s tragic that in a season of so many successes for the NBA D-League — with attendance up, a record shattering number of call-ups, and an
all-time high level of positive attention for the league — there is
such a big failure to be noted: the inability of the league to
accurately showcase Rod Benson, the all-time leading rebounder in NBA
Benson informed FanHouse that he is “done” with the D-League and will
not be returning next season after his team, the Reno Bighorns, fell to
the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Tuesday, completing a three-game series
in which he averaged 24 points and 16.3 rebounds per game.
Moore goes on to describe the Benson fiasco as a failure, and he’s right; Rod is an NBA-caliber big, even if he isn’t going to rule the world with refined post moves or supernatural talent. He’s well-worth a roster spot right now, and the fact that he’s been in the D-League for so long without an NBA call-up is at least perplexing, if not embarrassing. Regardless, the D-League is about to lose one of its biggest names to the bigger paychecks of European leagues, and that’s a shame.