Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

NBA and NASCAR Give Sports Fans Another “Super Sunday”

Posted on February 17, 2018 by Dean Hybl
LeBron James and Stephon Curry are the captains as the NBA All-Star Game tries a new format.

LeBron James and Stephon Curry are the captains as the NBA All-Star Game tries a new format.

The NBA All-Star Weekend has become a great mid-season opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the great athletes of the NBA.

NASCAR does things a little different than other sports as they start each year with their biggest and most prestigious race, the Daytona 500.

NBA All-Star Game is a Star Studded Event

Professional sports All-Star games are kind of like new pennies. They are too bright and alluring not to pick up, but you quickly realize that they aren’t really worth much.

Of the “big 3” sports, the NBA All-Star Game is probably the best, if only because the rosters are small enough that you have some of the best stars on the court from opening tip to final horn.

In recent years, the NBA has turned the concept of the All-Star Game into a star-studded three-day extravaganza where the actual game can almost be anti-climatic to all the events that precede it.

The idea of special events in advance of the All-Star Game actually dates back to the ABA when Julius Erving dazzled fans with his famous foul line dunk. The NBA created its own dunk contest in 1984 and added a three-point shootout two years later. The weekend now includes a celebrity and rising stars games that were played last night as well as the dunk contest, three-point contest and skills challenge that will happen tonight.

By the time the actual All-Stars take to the court on Sunday night, seemingly half the players in the NBA will have participated in one event or another.

The NBA is looking to further spice up the game this year by diverting from the traditional East vs. West format. Instead, this year the teams were chosen by the two biggest stars of the league LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

Unfortunately, a recent rash of injuries will keep some of the best players out of the game. The team chosen by LeBron James has been especially decimated as since the teams were picked DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love, John Wall and Kristaps Porzingis have all been lost to injury.

Because the game rules seem to prohibit anyone from actually playing defense, the average score of the NBA All-Star Game is generally much higher than what you will see in the regular season. Last year the West scored an unbelievable total of 192 points to win by 10 points. Anthony Davis of the Pelicans took 39 shots and scored 52 points while Russell Westbrook of the Thunder added 41 points.

The question this year may be whether one of the two teams can crack the 200 point mark. With the game being played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, you can bet the star-studded teams will be looking to resurrect the Showtime style of the Lakers of years gone by.


Daytona 500 Is Full of Surprises

Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers took their road rage to a new height at the 1979 Daytona 500.

Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers took their road rage to a new height at the 1979 Daytona 500.

Sunday’s 60th running of the Daytona 500 is sure to be full of thrills and excitement, but it will have a hard time topping the “battle” that occurred 39 years ago.

The hot-tempered drivers of today have nothing on old-time drivers Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough as 39 years ago the trio came to blows on the infield after Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed on the final lap of the 500 mile race.

With Allison clinging to the lead, the two cars tangled in the final turns and both men soon found their cars off the track and stopped in the infield. They were helpless as Richard Petty held off Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt to claim the sixth of his record seven Daytona 500 titles.

As Petty celebrated, the CBS cameras quickly turned back to Donnie Allison and Yarborough, who had both gotten out of their cars and were jawing in the infield. Donnie’s brother Bobby soon joined the duo and his arrival helped escalate the war of words into an actual physical battle.

Of course the tradition of temper displays by NASCAR drivers has not completely gone away as some of the current racers have been known to get into a battle or two, including Joey Lagano and Kyle Busch last year in Las Vegas.

No doubt the racing on the track will be exciting on Sunday, but let’s see if tempers off the track come close to reaching those experienced 39 years ago.


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