It’d be quite a surprise for even the most knowledgeable of NBA historians to be familiar with the name Wayne Embry. It’s not that he wasn’t a great player. Rather, Embry’s career lasted from 1958-69, the fairly early beginnings of the National Basketball Association at a point in time when the game wasn’t remotely close to today’s level of popularity.
Embry stood 6-foot-8, quite the height at the time, and would go on to terrorize opponents down low on a nightly basis. Being straight-up bigger than everyone, not much skill is needed in order to consistently dominate, which was basically how the Miami University product went about his business.
Remember, there was no three-second violation back in the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, which allowed Embry to camp down low with an abundance of looks from right in front of the bucket.
In eight seasons with the Cincinnati Royals, Embry would find his way onto five consecutive All-Star teams while averaging 14.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
The beauty of those numbers, though, is that they were accomplished in less than 30 minutes a night, 29.2 to be exact. Give him an extra seven minutes of court time, and Embry’s stats jump to 17.4 points and 12.8 rebounds a game per 36 minutes.
Not many of the games inaugural talents stand the test of time, and Wayne Embry is, unfortunately, no exception. But it doesn’t mean his legacy should fade into oblivion.
This guy nearly averaged a career double-double, was at one time a perennial All-Star and currently resides in the Hall of Fame. Whether he’s remembered or not, Embry’s numbers don’t lie.