The video to the left shows Leckner at his Lecknerest. In the first clip, he's wide open as he gets the ball in the paint, but he still looks as if he were fighting off the Prussian Army before dunking it home. In the second, he happened to be in the right place at the right time—a trait that was just so very Eric Leckner—allowing him to execute maybe the lowest-flying tip dunk in NBA history. (Also, whoever uploaded that video to YouTube saw fit to caption it with this: "Who the hell is Eric Leckner? That's what I was thinking after watching him throw down a few dunks during one game—never heard from him again.")


After Utah, Leckner became a sort of wandering hobo. His career was an exercise in finding new places to be unwanted. He was traded to Sacramento as a spare part in a three-team deal that sent Pervis Ellison to Washington and Jeff Malone to Utah. Seven months after that, Leckner was shipped to Charlotte for a pair of second-round picks. None of this stopped Leckner from overestimating his value, though. After his first half-season with the Hornets, he was offered a guaranteed contract of $1.6 million for two years. He turned it down. The Orlando Sentinel said his agent convinced him he'd get a better offer in free agency. You can probably gather where this is going. Leckner wound up staying with the Hornets by signing a one-year deal for just $510,000. His contract was not renewed the following summer, at which point no one in the NBA wanted him. He played the 1992-93 season in Italy before the Sixers signed him toward the end of August.

In Philly, he put up his best season as the least-bad center option on a very bad, Barkley-less Sixers team. The alternatives? One was 38-year-old Moses Malone, who was making a regrettable return to the franchise he had led to a title 10 years earlier. The other was 7-foot-6 rookie Shawn Bradley, the No. 2 overall pick, who spent that year (and many more) getting dunked through the hoop. So Leckner it was, and he set career highs in games started (36), minutes played (1,163), field goals (294), assists per game (1.2), blocks per game (0.5), and points per game (5.1).


After Philly, Leckner had two Leckner-esque seasons with the Pistons before playing out the string. He was injured when he signed with the Knicks during camp in 1996, and he was released three months later without having played a minute. The Hornets brought him in on a 10-day contract, only to terminate it after one game because 37-year-old Tom Chambers, of all people, decided to come out of retirement. Leckner finished the season with the Grizzlies and was cut by the Wizards during training camp the following season.

Basketball had moved on. The Big White Stiff was lumbering into obsolescence. Leckner had nowhere to turn but Europe, which was exporting tall, multitalented frontcourt players to America to replace Leckner and his kind. He was a big body with no skills. There was just no space for someone like that in the NBA anymore.