100 GATORADE Call-Ups: A History From 2001-2008

by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com

January 8, 2008 - When the Clippers and Warriors signed Guillermo Diaz and C.J. Watson, respectively, history was made with the 99th and 100th GATORADE Call-Ups in D-League history. Since the D-League's the first call-up from the NBA to the D-League occured on November 21, 2001, a total of 68 different players have gotten the call to join an NBA team. The number of call-ups has grown from that first D-League season which saw eight different players called up eight times, to the 2006-07 season which featured a record 22 call-ups of 16 different players.

Mikki Moore was called-up from the D-League a record five times, including twice by the Utah Jazz.
Bart Young/Getty Images/NBAE

Here are some key facts and figures to learn about the history of D-League call-ups, including who was the first, which players has gotten the most call-ups, and which NBA teams have been the most active when it comes to looking towards the D-League to add some new talent to their roster.

Who was the first Call-Up from the D-League?

The Denver Nuggets made Chris Andersen the first call-up from the D-League on November 21, 2001, less than a week into the D-League's first season. The 6-9 Andersen, who was also the first overall draft pick in D-League history, played in only two games for the Fayetteville Patriots before he joined the Nuggets. Andersen went on to play in 253 games over five NBA seasons with the Nuggets and the New Orleans Hornets.

A month later on December 19, the San Antonio Spurs made Jason Hart the second call-up in D-League history. A 6-3 guard from Syracuse, Hart is currently in his seventh NBA season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

Which player has been called up the most?

Sacramento's Mikki Moore holds the record, having been called up from the D-League five different times during the two seasons he spent with the Roanoke Dazzle. Moore received call-ups from the Celtics and the Hawks during the 2002-03 season, then was called up twice by the Jazz and once by the Nets during the 2004-05 campaign.

Moore, Will Conroy, and James Thomas all hold the record for most call-ups in a single season, with three apiece, while a number of players have been called up three different times during their careers, including Jeremy Richardson, Luke Jackson, Tierre Brown, and Omar Cook.

Which team has used the most call-ups?

The Atlanta Hawks have called-up twelve different players from the D-League, starting with their signing of Brandon Williams from the Huntsville Flight on February 21, 2003, and their last call-up being Jeremy Richardson late last season. Some other notable players to join the Hawks from the D-League include Mikki Moore, Mike Wilks, the late Jason Collier, and current member of the Utah Flash, James Lang.

Anthony Johnson leads all call-ups with 637 NBA games played.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/NBAE

A few other teams that have been especially active when it comes to call-ups include the Los Angeles Clippers (seven players), San Antonio Spurs (seven players), New Jersey Nets (five players) and Toronto Raptors (six players). The Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, and Indiana Pacers are the three remaining NBA teams that have never called up a player from the D-League.

Which call-up has played in the most NBA games?

Veteran Anthony Johnson dominates this category, as the twelve-year pro started at point guard for the Hawks in his 637th NBA game on Saturday night. Johnson played for Mobile in the D-League's first season, averaging 11.9 points in 15 games before the New Jersey Nets made him the third GATORADE Call-Up in D-League history on January 7, 2002. Rafer Alston is next on the list with 499 NBA games, with Mikki Moore in third with 414 games.

When it comes to games started, Johnson also leads all former D-League callups by starting 208 games in his NBA career. Smush Parker is close behind Johnson with 181 starts, but has yet to crack the starting lineup with the Heat this season. Chuck Hayes, who has been a fixture in the Rockets lineup since they signed him from the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in January 2006, already has started 77 games three years into his NBA career.

Which call-up has the highest career scoring average in the NBA?

Bobby Simmons of the Bucks leads all 68 players with 10.3 points over six seasons. The Washington Wizards signed Simmons from the Mobile Revelers during the 2002-03 season after Simmons averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14 games. The DePaul product went on to earn the NBA's Most Improved Player award for the 2004-05 season as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Rafer Alston (9.7 points) and Smush Parker (9.2 points) are next on the list of career scoring average among players who have been called up from the D-League.

Golden State's Kelenna Azubuike, who was the first call-up of the 2006-07 season, leads all former call-ups currently in the NBA with a career-high of 33 points. Azubuike scored 33 points with eight rebounds in a 120-114 loss to the Clippers on November 2, the Warriors' second game of the season. Bobby Simmons has equaled a career-high of 30 points twice in his career.

Which season has had the most call-ups?

Last season was the biggest one yet in terms of call-ups, with a total of 16 players heading to the NBA a total of 22 times. This season is on pace for a new record, with 8 different players being called up by the end of December. A GATORADE Call-Up didn't even occur last season until January 2, when Kelenna Azubuike signed with the Warriors.