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LeBron James: The Incredible Journey to the NBA 0

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Tiffany Watts

King James, The Chosen One, Greatest of All Time – these are just a few of the names that LeBron James has been known for his entire career. Indeed, the last one may seem contentious and is the source of constant dispute, but there’s no denying that he belongs in that conversation.

After winning the 2020 NBA Championship, LeBron has once again proven that he is one of the best basketball players in the world, if not the absolute and undisputed greatest player today.

At the age of 35, LeBron continues to dominate the competition which is unprecedented for someone who’s already spent 17 straight years playing in the NBA at the highest possible level. People remain wondering when Father Time will catch up to him, but that’s beside the point.

In his already historic career, LeBron has served as an inspiration not just for the young players in the league today, but also for regular people around the world. But it would be wrong to say that he was merely destined for this greatness. Much like other people, LeBron has had his fair share of struggles. A look back at his life and journey to the NBA into becoming one of the greatest athletes of all time is something that will truly motivate and inspire anyone, basketball fan or not.

LeBron’s Childhood

LeBron Raymone James Sr. was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. His mother, Gloria Marie James, was 16 at the time. LeBron’s father did not have a presence in his life, and it was only him and his mother since day one.

The early years of LeBron’s life were filled with constant movement from home to home. His mother struggled to find steady employment. He struggled to make friends in school, and he found it difficult to focus on his studies due to his situation. He fortunately found an outlet for himself by playing sports. He mainly played basketball and football.

He began playing organized basketball when he was in the fifth grade, and later on joined the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars in the Amateur Athletic Union. This was where the seeds of greatness were planted.

A Star Athlete

LeBron went to high school in St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he played for the school’s football and basketball teams.

He immediately made an impact in the school’s basketball program. During his freshman year, he led the Fighting Irish to a perfect 27-0 record. He remained stellar throughout his high school playing days, being named Ohio Mr. Basketball and getting selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team consistently.

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NBA Prepares for Season in a Bubble 3

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Dean Hybl

After joining the rest of the country in taking a pause back in March, the NBA is looking to get back to work with a return to game action this week. If all goes well, the NBA hopes to crown a 2019-2020 champion by mid-October.

Unlike Major League Baseball, which is attempting to play games in home cities, the NBA made the decision to create a bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with all games being played at one location. Like MLB and other leagues, they will be playing in an empty arena.

Given the challenges that MLB has already seen after just one weekend of teams staying in hotels and traveling on airplanes, it looks like pretty good strategy by the NBA to take the travel element out of the equation and instead have everyone in one location without regular outside contact.

Of course, given the nuances that the COVID-19 virus has shown, there is no guarantee that even creating a bubble can keep 200+ athletes safe for an extended period of time. However, if odds were being given, I would have to say I feel the NBA is more likely to be playing to the conclusion of their season than MLB or even the NFL, which also plans to play in home stadiums beginning in September.

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Intersection of Sports and Public Health Derails the Sports World 1

Posted on March 12, 2020 by Dean Hybl

Less than 24 hours after the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus to be a pandemic the sports world is coming to a screeching halt as sports leagues and college conferences struggle to deal with this intersection between public health and the sports world.

It started Wednesday afternoon with the NCAA announcing that all of their upcoming championships would be played without fans.

With most of the premier Division I conferences having started their men’s basketball tournaments earlier this week, it didn’t take long until they all announced that they would not admit fans starting on Thursday.

However, after a Wednesday evening address by the President as well as continued uncertainty on how best to address the growing crisis, by soon before game time on Thursday most conferences, including the ACC, Big Ten and SEC had all canceled the remainder of their tournaments. The Big East tipped off their first game on Thursday (Creighton against St. Johns), but the game and tournament were later canceled.

 So, what is typically one of the most exciting weekends for college basketball now looks to be an opportunity to catch up on shows from Netflix or Amazon Prime.

College basketball is not the only major sports group impacted by the growing crisis.

After two members of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus the game Wednesday night between the Oklahoma Thunder and Utah Jazz was postponed and the NBA later announced an immediate suspension of their season.

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Elvin Hayes: The Big E 0

Posted on February 29, 2020 by Dean Hybl
Elvin Hayes

The Vintage Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month came to national prominence in college basketball’s “Game of the Century” and then won an NBA title while becoming one of the top players in league history.

A three-time college basketball All-American at the University of Houston, Elvin Hayes helped lead the Cougars to three straight NCAA Tournaments and a pair of Final Fours.

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Happy Birthday Jim Brown & Michael Jordan! 0

Posted on February 17, 2020 by Dean Hybl

It isn’t everyday that you can say that two athletes who arguably were the best ever to compete in their sport are celebrating birthdays. But you can say that about February 17th as that happens to be the birthday of Hall of Fame football star Jim Brown (born in 1936) and Hall of Fame basketball star Michael Jordan (born in 1963).

Happy 84th Birthday Jim Brown!

Though it has been 54 years since he last played in the NFL, just about anyone who was alive to watch him play still will insist that Brown is the best player ever to put on shoulder pads. His combination of power and speed were unlike anything that had previously been seen in the NFL and his domination of the league during his nine year career with the Cleveland Browns has never truly been matched. He won eight rushing titles in nine years and averaged 104 yards rushing per game for his entire career.  His 12, 312 career rushing yards was a record that stood for 19 years and still ranks 11th in NFL history.

As the NFL celebrated 100 years throughout the 2019 season, Brown was regularly touted as being one of the greatest players in NFL history. In fact, he was ranked by Sports Then and Now as the number one player in NFL history in our look at the NFL’s all-time top 100 players.

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Vintage Video: NBA All-Star Game – Let the Fun Begin 0

Posted on February 12, 2020 by Dean Hybl

While baseball and football have struggled with maintaining interest and excitement around their All-Star games, the NBA seems to have the right ingredients to make the All-Star Game and All-Star Weekend something anticipated each year by both players and fans.

The NBA All-Star Game has always included great matchups like Magic vs. Michael.

From Slam Dunk contests to high scoring games, there have been many exciting moments in All-Star Game history.

In this installment of Vintage Video, we remember some of the great games and highlights from All-Star Game history.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

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