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Vintage Video: 1970 NBA Championship – Game 7 0

Posted on May 20, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Despite being injured in game five of the NBA Finals, Willis Reed made a dramatic appearance in the decisive 7th game to help lead the Knicks to victory.

Despite being injured in game five of the NBA Finals, Willis Reed made a dramatic appearance in the decisive 7th game to help lead the Knicks to victory.

As the current NBA season heads towards what promises to be an exciting conclusion, we are starting a new Sports Then and Now series looking at vintage sports videos by remembering one of the most dramatic moments in NBA Playoff history.

Heading into the decisive seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals, the big question was whether New York Knicks center Willis Reed would be able to play against Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers.

After averaging 32 points per game in the first four games of the series, Reed suffered a leg injury early in game 5. Fortunately for Knicks fans, Walt Frazier scored 21 points and Cazzie Russell 20 as New York rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to win the pivotal game 107-100.

With Reed out of the lineup in game six, Chamberlain scored 45 points to lead the Lakers to a dominating 135-113 win to force a decisive seventh game.

Entering the final game, there was great question as to whether Reed would be able available to play.

In a famous scene, announcers Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman are talking about the availability of the 6-foot-11 center when he suddenly emerges through tunnel to roaring applause from the Madison Square Garden squad.

Reed then set the tone for the game by drilling two early baskets to give the Knicks a quick lead. Though he did not score again, Reed’s early presence lit the fire in the Knicks and Frazier took control of the game with 36 points, 19 assists and five steals.

New York went on to win 113-99 to claim their first NBA Championship.

Below is the YouTube video of the game broadcast. Enjoy!

Major League Baseball Honors Jackie Robinson Today 1

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Mike Raffone

MIKE Comic 125 Jackie RobinsonOn April 15, 1997 Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig mandated an unprecedented edict. It was never before witnessed in any American professional sport.

Selig ordered all Major League Baseball teams to officially retire the #42 jersey in honor of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson.

Selig’s historic move recognized Jackie Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his 1947 debut. On that day Robinson became the first black baseball player in the modern era to cross the color barrier that existed in the sport.

It’s hard for us to image today, but Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson’s bold, courageous decision to break the color line in 1947 opened the gates for other worthy, yet unfairly discriminated against, black baseball players.

Thanks to Robinson, other talented black baseball players quickly followed and begun playing on other previously all white teams in Major League Baseball.

As a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, #42’s fortitude also kindled dialogue beyond the baseball diamond when it came to our country’s ugly segregation policies. Many attribute that Robinson’s brazen baseball move of crossing the color barrier helped propel the long overdue and ultimately successful Civil Rights Movement.

The Movie 42 Tells Robinson’s Story

Robinson’s heroic and individually spectacular personal life story was told in the motion picture 42 (release date: April 2013). It chronicled Robinson’s struggles and success as one of America’s most respected athletes ever.

When he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 as a 28 year-old rookie, #42 overcame significant public scrutiny as well as regular cruel and unnecessary racial abuse. He was the target of ugly taunts, knock-down pitches and hateful insensitivity directed at him because of his skin color.

However, the Dodgers’ tough talking manager Leo Durocher took a firm stand in defense of Robinson. Also, legendary Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reece’s comment in support of Jackie Robinson will never be forgotten. While standing with his arm draped around Robinson’s shoulders, Reece said, “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”

The son of a Georgia sharecropper and a Southern California domestic laborer, Jackie Robinson immediately proved his mettle and demonstrated his athletic excellence. Despite the racial abuse he suffered, Robinson rose above the fray.

Instead of fighting back on the low ground, he immediately made an impact on Major League Baseball and quickly became a rising star.

Robinson was voted Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year in 1947. Soon after, he won both the National League batting title and the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949.

Jackie played his entire ten year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A first-time ballot Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson’s career accomplishments included six all-star games, a World Series Championship in 1955 and impressive lifetime stats of a .311 batting average, 1,518 hits, 137 home-runs, 734 runs batted in and 197 steals.

In addition to being selected to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team, Jackie Robinson was named #44 on The Sporting News’ list of top 100 baseball players ever.

As a result of what he accomplished after formally hanging up his baseball cleats in 1956, this remarkable athlete became a cultural icon.

Robinson is widely admired and credited for overcoming other barriers beyond the baseball diamond. He broke additional color lines that existed in mainstream America at the time.

Jackie Robinson Broke Through Other Racial Barriers

ABC Sports hired Jackie Robinson as the first ever black sportscaster ever to cover Major League Baseball. In the late 50s, Robinson crossed a business barrier and became the first ever black Vice President of a major United States corporation when appointed by Chock full ‘o Nuts Coffee.

Before his death in 1972, Robinson accumulated a never-to-be duplicated resume as a distinguished retired athlete.

Besides his Major League Baseball Hall of Fame induction, Robinson chaired the NAACP.

Plus, he received our country’s two single greatest non-sports related individual honors; i.e. the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

TIME Magazine named Jackie Robinson among the top 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.

TIME Magazine’s ranking not only honored a most worthy athlete, but also a courageous American who helped transition our country away from its ugly discriminatory past.

MIKE on sports!

Sports Collectables: Create a Smart Plan of Action Before You Start 2

Posted on March 21, 2016 by Katherine Taylor

sports collectiblesMany people are avid sports fans.  Some take the interest to the next level and invest in memorabilia.  Sports collectibles can take the form of sports cards, posters, autographs, game balls, helmets, etc.  For some it’s a hobby, but for others it’s a business and method of investment.  Regardless of your reason and end goal, here’s how to get started collecting.

Authenticating

If you’re serious about accruing a respectable collection, you’ll want to be sure that the items you buy are authentic.  When buying from other collectors and sources, be sure to get a COA or certificate of authenticity.  It’s an official document that verifies that the item is genuine.

Securing

There are no hard rules when it comes to collecting sports memorabilia, yet it’s beneficial to have structure.  For example, if you’re collecting for fun, decide on a niche such as collecting items associated with one athlete, team, or city.  Moreover, don’t buy based on emotion; if you’re collecting to resell, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good price and the item will rise in price over time. Read the rest of this entry →

Can the Golden State Warriors Reach 73 Victories? 0

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are shouting out their claim for the best record in NBA histry.

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors are shouting out their claim for the best record in NBA history.

With just 19 games left in the 2015-2016 season, the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are on pace to break a record many thought was unbreakable, the 72 regular season victories of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

If the Warriors are to hit jackpot city and break the record, they will need to win 16 of their final 19 games. Considering that they have gone 17-2 in their most recent 19 games, it is certainly within reach.

After winning their first 24 games to start the season, the Warriors have endured an occasional lapse, but for the most part have been the most dominant team in the league. Though they were surprisingly stuffed last Sunday by the Los Angeles Lakers 112-95, they have rebounded with consecutive wins to get back on track.

Having raised his game to MVP level a year ago, Steph Curry has been even better this year raising his scoring average from 23.8 points per game to a league best 30.4 per contest. Considering that he has sat out the fourth quarter of many blowout wins, his average might have been even higher.

Providing a great second offensive punch is fifth-year forward Klay Thompson. Like Curry (son of Dell Curry), Thompson is the son of a former NBA star as his father, Mychal Thompson won two rings with the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s.

During the recent NBA All-Star Weekend, Thompson showed he could hold his own as he defeated Curry in the three-point shooting contest. He is averaging 21.8 points per game and would probably be considered the top three-point shooter in the league were it not for Curry.

Much was made of a recent outburst by power forward Draymond Green. However, it is Green’s feisty competitiveness that gives the Warriors a dynamic edge. Green is averaging 13.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while anchoring the Golden State defense. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 80th Birthday Jim Brown 1

Posted on February 17, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Happy 80th Birthday Jim Brown!

Happy 80th Birthday Jim Brown!

Though it has been 50 years since he last carried a football in the NFL and most of his records have long been broken, Jim Brown still stands among the greatest ever to play professional football and is arguably still at the top of that list. We wish this legend and American treasurer a happy 80th birthday!

When he retired following the 1965 season at the age of 29, Brown held the NFL record with 12,312 career rushing yards. Though his mark was first passed by Walter Payton in 1984 and has since been eclipsed by seven other players, Brown remains the only player in NFL history to average more than 100 yards rushing per game (104).

Brown was the epitome of a player retiring at the peak of his greatness. In his final NFL season, Brown rushed for 1,544 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Cleveland Browns reached the NFL Championship Game.

In the 1963 NFL season, Brown rushed for 1,863 yards, which was the NFL single season record at the time. The following season, he gained 1,446 yards rushing and then had 114 yards to lead the Browns to what remains the last NFL Championship for Cleveland.

During his nine NFL seasons, Brown led the NFL in rushing an amazing eight times. At the time of his retirement, Brown’s career rushing total was nearly 2,600 more than second place Joe Perry. He also scored a then record 106 career touchdowns.

In the ensuing 50 years since he last wore an NFL uniform, Brown has spent time as an actor, but most importantly he has been a vocal leader in civil rights and supporting inner city youth. It is amazing to think that not only was Brown a great football player, but he was also one of the best college lacrosse players of his era. He was recently prominently involved when Hampton University, a predominantly African American school in Virginia, recently started a varsity lacrosse program.

It is interesting that arguably the greatest player in NFL history shares a birthday with the greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan. In fact, when ESPN ranked the top athletes of the 20th Century, Jordan was first and Brown fourth. Read the rest of this entry →

Cartoon Sportscaster Tank McNamara and the “Norts Spews” 2

Posted on February 09, 2016 by Mike Raffone

Tank McNamara

With a name that perfectly captures his comic strip persona, Tank McNamara barrels into Sports Then and Now with the “norts spews!”

Boasting a 40 year run as a syndicated comic strip character, big mouthed, broad shouldered broadcaster Tank McNamara easily bogarts his way into today’s blog with his “norts spews” or sports news.

Sure, I may have personally given Tank a mulligan – or two – or thirty when considering this bumbling, brash and bumptious local television reporter of comic strip fame.

But, his inclusion in today’s blog as well as in my sports comic book Favorite Sportscasters stems from the brilliance of two men who brought this imperfect talking head on sports to life.

Creators Jeff Millar and Bill Hinds

Until his 2012 passing, writer Jeff Millar and artist and now writer Bill Hinds gifted the American sports loving public with this magnificent creation.

Since 1974 Millar and Hinds have employed the overly confident Tank McNamara to lampoon the absurdity of sports.

However, the square jawed reporter, famous for his fumble mouth pronunciations like “norts spews” instead of sports news, quickly and frequently gets cut down to size.

Millar and Hinds expertly crafted the seemingly self-assured sportscaster into a buffoon of a former football player, beloved by readers of as many as 300 American newspapers.

In spite of his warts and easily deflated bravado, Tank McNamara remains a fan favorite. Loyal readers can easily recite the brute’s football bio from his fictional alma mater – Enormous State University – to the same #55 jersey number he wore as a college Sandcrab player and later as an NFL defensive lineman.

Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate, the Tank McNamara character seamlessly weaves commentary and illustrative artwork into American culture while furnishing a biting satire of today’s sports world.

Tank McNamara Pricks Societal Ills

From gambling to steroids, domestic disputes to felonious arrests and from breaking news on DUIs to sexual misconduct stories, Tank McNamara poignantly pricks all societal ills.

Tank McNamara’s snarky humor reaches its annual peak when creators ask readers to nominate their choice for Sports Jerk of the Year.

In the less-than-perfect world of sports entertainment, there is usually no shortage of candidates.

And, with a flawed former football player named Tank McNamara reporting on the winner of Sports Jerk of the Year, it’s easy to understand why this likeable lunk finds his way into my sports comic book Favorite Sportscasters.

Click above to download the book from Amazon to read about Tank and other “norts spews.”.

MIKE on sports!

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