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Hey! Whatever Happened To Xavier McDaniel?

By Brian Taylor

Lately, the Pacific Northwest hasn’t been too kind to NBA basketball. The Portland Trailblazers are trying to buy their own house back, the Sonics may move to the OKC, and fans in Vancouver didn’t know whether to cheer or throw hats onto the floor after someone made three shots.

But back in the day, you couldn’t find a hotter place, with guys like Bill Walton (when he was in his Grateful Dead days), Clyde the Glide and Terry Porter in Portland and the Sonics going to the Finals once every other decade. Going back to those Sonics teams I saw growing up (the ones that would lose to Magic in the first round every year), even before Shawn Kemp made it reign, there was a guy who brought the pain every night for opponents, and that was ”the X-Man”, Xavier McDaniel.

Coming out of Wichita State (Shocker!) in the 1985 Ewing lottery draft, Xavier made a huge impact on the Sonics, forming, along with Tom Chambers and Jack Sikma, a west coast version of Bird/Parish/McHale. The X-Man anchored those early 80’s Sonics teams, with vicious dunks, steals and a will to smack anything going towards the hoop into next week. McDaniel’s power-based game was rewarded when he made his first (and only) All-Star appearance in 1988, starring alongside Magic and Kareem. It was in 89’ that the “X” man’s stay in Seattle would come to an end, as he was traded to Phoenix for Eddie Johnson. Shawn Kemp was coming into his own as a star, and was deemed the future of the PF position in the Emerald City.

After spending half a season in the desert, Xavier had a brief stint with the Knicks (the Mark Jackson and Trent Tucker version). At season’s end, he was on the move again, this time to Beantown, where he was expected to give the Celts a lift after Bird’s retirement.

When his time in Boston was over, McDaniel made the “Retirement World Tour”, literally as he played overseas before returning to New Jersey for his NBA swansong.

These days, the X-Man is all about the real estate, as he renovates and resells homes in the area. He also does work with his “A Better Way” foundation, and was a participant in the Sonics Legends Tour as seen here.

Xavier (who averaged 20ppg in his time as a Sonic) is definitely one of Seattle’s most revered old school players, so when you want to see where the Reignman got his thunder from, hit some links!

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  • D-Wil

    X was a baaaaad man in the day!

  • Ryan

    thanks for teaching me something new today :)

    I thought Wichita State wasn’t big until last march so it was cool to read that they have produced some legit NBA talent… also liked the Walton rip!

  • BothTeamsPlayedHard

    The highlights of X’s career for me were his roles in two movies: 1) Singles, and 2) Larry Bird: A Basketball Legend.

    And according to IMDB, looks like X-Man is back in the movie-making business again. Someone call the Academy.


  • Snapshot9

    Does X have sons? and if so, how old? Do they play BB?
    – A Shocker fan

  • jermayne g

    xavier is doing good.i saw him in columbia traffic court yesterday.I am proud to say xman walked away from a racist situation with a not guilty verdict.Im also proud to say i walked away from a racial incident with a not guilty verdict.Justice was finally served in columbia s.c.

  • Anch, AK hoops fan

    I met X today at a local eatery – he was having breakfast at the table next to ours with his daughter (who graduated from East Anch. HS earlier this week), his daughter’s mother Detra Scott (who I’ve known since the early 80’s – she dated one of my HS teammates), and Detra’s two younger sons from her marriage. X was very nice as we chatted off and on throughout our meals. Fans tend to expect too much of celebrities so just need to give them their space. I commented on having seen him on “Pros and Joes” recently – he shared a laugh or two about that and never used any foul language. All in all I consider him to be a nice guy (and obviously a pretty good dad – something former Sonics are NOT known to be! ;-) and a hell of a player in his day!

  • MY MAN

    Everyone has flaws. X is a good man and a very good father. You’re not around him on a daily basis so you don’t see good that he does. If you don’t like the way he talks to the girls please pull him to the side and tell him instead of writing about it on the computer. Lady L, I’m sure he wasn’t impressed by you.

  • NapTown Mike

    Recently saw X assistant coaching his daughters AAU team in the National tournament in Clarksville TN. His team was very good, they placed 2nd in the nation and was considerably bigger than any other team there (the team also has Ray Allen’s daughter – though no sign of Ray in the game I saw). They beat my daughter’s team in OT.

    During the game, I told my 7 year old son, who has a facination with sports team’s mascots and such, that the coach over there used to play in the NBA. Then he says “which team did he play for?” I replied that he played for more than one but I only remembered him playing on the Sonics for sure. I told him why don’t you ask him.

    So my son waits and waits for X to emerge in the hallway and X starts heading down the hallway the other direction. My son chases him down and asks his question. I didn’t hear the conversation but X bent all the way down to my son to hear him and my son said he said the Seattle Supersonics, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and some other team I can’t remember. (I think that would be the New Jersey Nets after looking it up online).

    So to make a long story short, X was very nice and coached a very good 14 and under girls team in 2008.

  • hamahakkimies

    Has anyone heard the rumor about McDaniel moving to Finland and playing with the KasPaHukat team?

    It would really nice if someone could confirm or dispute the rumor that has Finnish basketball forums buzzing.

  • X-myman

    No X is not playing anymore. We have moved back home and we love it.