November 26, 2014 by
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famous sky hook was nearly impossible to stop.
If you had to pick out one basketball star that deserves the title of the greatest player of all time – then the name of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is definitely on the shortlist.
Once in a while, there are players in all kinds of different sports who just seem to re-write the way the game is played – along with the record books – and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was most certainly such a player.
One might say the same about the great Pele or perhaps Diego Maradona in the world of soccer, for example – or perhaps Jack Nicklaus or maybe even Tiger Woods in golf. And in tennis both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been re-writing the record books over the last decade between them. These are all players and sportsmen who learn their trade in the same way as everyone else trying to make it in their chosen sport – then somehow do something different again. It’s not just about being better – it’s about doing things differently than anyone else ever has done before, and taking things to a whole new level.
Perhaps the most obvious aspect of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s game that no-one else had really done was that trademark skyhook shot that punished so many opponents so badly during the player’s 20 year basketball career.
But it was more than that; he played with sublimity – with an elegance and style that few other players have ever been able to match, if any.
Another of his trademarks was to play down low. He looked like he was hunting as he crouched with the ball, looking up from underneath his spectacles that he usually played in – and he was completely single-minded in achieving what he was setting out to do; score points and win games. But he did it all with grace and style and a wonderful fluidity of movement that is the hallmark of so many great players in different sports. It’s rather like watching someone doing exactly what they were born to do – moving with grace and speed like a predatory big cat in a way that is far more about instinct than it is about conscious thought.
By the time Abdul-Jabbar decided to quit basketball in 1989 at the grand old age of 42, no NBA basketball player had ever scored as many points or been awarded as many ‘Most Valuable Player’ awards, or blocked more shots. He had even played in more All-Star Games and notched up more seasons than any other player in NBA history. So when we say that he re-wrote the record books, this is no throwaway sycophancy from an appreciative audience of basketball fans – it is, quite simply, a literal truth. Read the rest of this entry →
June 15, 2014 by
The O.J. Simpson White Bronco chase on June 17, 1994 captivated a nation though it didn’t break any speed records.
This past Thursday sports broadcasters spent a great deal of time discussing what a great sports day it was with the start of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament, World Cup Soccer Championships and the fourth game of the NBA Finals. Certainly an exciting day for sports fans and broadcasters alike, but nothing like a day whose twentieth anniversary we celebrate this week.
The primary sports elements on June 17, 1994 were basically the same as twenty years later, but the story lines in some cases were a bit more compelling. Then, of course, what makes that particular day unlike any other sports day was an un-scripted and un-expected event that transcended sports and captured the attention of the entire country.
Even though the United States wasn’t playing until the next day, June 17th was the most important day to that point in U.S. Soccer history with the opening ceremonies of the first World Cup ever held in the United States. President Bill Clinton, Diana Ross, Opera Winfrey and Daryl Hall were among those who participated in the festivities at Soldier Field in Chicago.
While many hoped the World Cup would usher a new era of interest for soccer in America, half a country away in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, the second round of the U.S. Golf Open included the end of an era for an American sports treasure.
Playing in the U.S. Open for the final time, Pennsylvania native Arnold Palmer said goodbye to the national stage on that Friday afternoon by shooting a final round 81 to finish 16 stokes over par. The 1960 U.S. Open Champion had played his first Open at Oakmont in 1953 and on that Friday afternoon 41 years later had an emotional conclusion to his magical career. Read the rest of this entry →
March 06, 2014 by
LeBron James’ recent offensive performance scoring 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats makes him the 64th player to score at least 60 points in NBA history. It seems almost impossible to beat that record, or to top James’ sheer brilliance of mixing skill with durability and consistency throughout a single game. However, five players have surpassed that feat and propelled themselves into one of the most exclusive groups in sports: the 70-point club.
Without a doubt, the king of single-game scoring is Chamberlain. The Lakers legend scored at least 70 points in a single game six times, which is easily the most ever. Chamberlain also holds the overall record for points in a game, with 100 for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks in a 169-147 victory in 1962. The 100-point performance shattered the previous record, which Chamberlain had set less than three months earlier, of 78 points. Perhaps the most impressive part of his 100-point record was the fact that Chamberlain made 28 of 32 free throws as a .511 free-throw percentage shooter. Chamberlain would also score 70, 72, and 73 points in NBA games.
Another Lakers great scored the second most points in a single NBA game ever. Bryant was simply unstoppable in his 81-point performance that lifted the Lakers over the Toronto Raptors in 2006. On his own, Bryant outscored the entire Raptors team 55-41 in the second half. The Raptors would have needed a Columbia utility vehicle in order to stop Bryant in the final 24 minutes of that game. Bryant shot the ball relatively few times considering his 81 points. He made 28 of 46 from the floor and added 18 points via free throws. Read the rest of this entry →
February 16, 2014 by
After colliding with Gilbert Arenas, Marquis Daniels was motionless on the court for several minutes.
People don’t often think of basketball when they think of gruesome injuries. The reality is that basketball is a dangerous sport, and the NBA has seen it’s share of blood and gore over the years. With huge men running at full speed and jumping to grab the ball, there is plenty that can go wrong. Take a look at five of the worst injuries the National Basketball Association (NBA) has ever seen.
Joel Pryzbilla‘s Knee
On December 22nd, 2009, Joel Pryzbilla of the Portland Trailblazers suffered one of the worst knee injuries in the history of the NBA. Pryzbilla was playing center against the Dallas Mavericks. Pryzbilla was attempting to jump up to grab an offensive rebound when he landed awkwardly on his right leg. The result was a ruptured and dislocated patella that caused Pryzbilla to miss substantial time away from the court. Pryzbilla missed the remainder of that season after surgery, and his career was never really the same after that.
Rudy Tomjanovich‘s Face
Rudy Tomjanovich suffered one of the most incredible and gruesome facial injuries in NBA history on December 9th, 1977. Tomjanovich was a forward, and he was playing against Kermit Washington’s Los Angeles Lakers. There was a scuffle on the court. Washington unloaded a vicious punch on Tomjanovich that broke his jaw and actually caused life-threatening head injuries. He was sidelined for five months, but he eventually did make a full recovery.
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February 12, 2014 by
Kevin Durant and LeBron James should be the leading stars in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
Since the first NBA All-Star Game in 1951, the annual gathering of the best players in professional basketball has provided an opportunity to revel in the amazing talents of these stars.
The 2014 game includes six first-time All-Stars, including two former number one overall picks (John Wall and Anthony Davis) that will be able to get off the dubious list of number one overall picks that didn’t make an All-Star Game.
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January 17, 2014 by
Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?
The Miami Heat are in a position to prove the world that they are one of the all-time greatest teams in NBA history. By pulling off a three-peat, they will join the ranks of the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics of 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2000’s.
While many NBA betting odds makers believe that the Heat are poised to win this year because of their accomplishments in the last two seasons, it should be remembered that winning three straight championships is not easy. Just ask Hakeem Olajuwon, Isaiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson, among others. They won back to back championships only to fail in their quest to win the third one. Read the rest of this entry →