Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now


Biggest Changes in Basketball History

Posted on July 20, 2017 by Scott Huntington

Basketball is an American invention, with a Canadian inventor. What began as a rather straightforward game in 1891 has grown into a global obsession. More than a century ago, James Naismith, a Canadian educator working in Massachusetts, came up with the game in an effort to develop a sport less physically punishing than football.

In the hundred-plus years since the first basketball game was played, the sport has undergone considerable changes. Read on for a look at some of the critical turning points in basketball’s development — from the introduction of the nylon basket to ball technology and the ever-diminishing shot clock.

Ending the Peach Basket Era

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When basketball started, scoring meant putting the ball in a peach basket or an 18-inch square box. The baskets hung from balconies installed on most indoor running facilities of the time. They were suspended at the 10-foot height still in use today.

Peach baskets have closed bottoms, which meant the ball needed to be retrieved each time a team scored. Basketball lovers decided to speed the game up by introducing a woven wire “basket” in 1892, just a year after the game’s invention. The following year, cast iron was used, and by 1912, the first nylon nets were installed.

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What It Truly Means to be a “Team Player”

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Dixie Somers

What It Truly Means to be a ''Team Player''Many coaches and sports enthusiasts talk about being a good “team player” but aren’t always clear about what exactly that means. Having the right skills and attitudes when working with others on a team can mean the difference between just being another member of that team and being a true team player. When your entire team is composed of true team players, then the abilities of your group are transformed and expanded. You have the opportunity to develop these skills and attitudes and help foster them across your entire team.

The Right Attitude

One of the cornerstones of being a team player is having the right attitude. This usually means being positive at all times. Most people can be positive when times are good, but those who are really team players remain positive when things are tough, after failure and when things go wrong. They are able to share this positive attitude with others and keep them motivated through the hard times. Whether your team wins or loses, your stabilizing attitude helps them see the positives or lessons that can come out of the experience.

The attitude of being a true team player is also displayed in how you relate to the accomplishments of others. When you are as excited about another player’s accomplishment as you would be for your own accomplishment, then you are starting to act like a team player. A true team player draws no distinction between themselves and their team. Every player’s accomplishment or skill is shared and celebrated.

Trust and Responsibility

A true team player is someone who has learned to balance the concepts of trust and responsibility with those around them. People come to trust a team player because they knew that person is going to be responsible and carry through. Real team players don’t try to do everything. They don’t try to play every position perfectly or promise, or expect, to carry the whole team. Instead, they balance what they do and understand their own limitations so they don’t take on what they won’t be able to finish or do well. This makes them more reliable and trustworthy. Other team members feel comfortable relying on them and depending on them.

On the flip side, a true team player is also capable of placing their trust in others and having confidence in their decisions and abilities. The true team player may act as a sort of mini-coach, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in others on the team and helping them maximize those strengths while minimizing those weaknesses. This ability is critical to team strategy and cohesion. A team player is always practicing strategic thinking skills. They consider not just about what they themselves should do, but what everyone on the team should be doing.

Once another player’s role is set and their skills established, the true team player builds on that. Instead of trying to be the all-star, the true team player helps the entire team shine. In this way, the true team player exemplifies responsibility on both sides of the table. They are both responsible themselves and foster responsibility in those they play with. Read the rest of this entry →

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3 of the Top Lesbian Sports Stars

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Sudhir Singh
Brittney Griner is one of the biggest stars of the WNBA.

Brittney Griner is one of the biggest stars of the WNBA.

It takes a strong female to rise to the top of a male-dominated sport. In many traditionally male-centric sports, the glass ceiling is being shattered by talented women who are proud of their athleticism and who they are as individuals.

Here are three stars that happen to be lesbians who bring pride to their sport and the LGBQT community.

Megan Rapinoe

The U.S. women’s soccer team star, Megan Rapinoe, has been in the national spotlight for over a decade. She helped her team secure Olympic Gold Medals in 2008 and 2012 and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. One of Rapinoe’s most memorable career highs is when she became the first and only player, male or female, to score a Goal Olimpico at the 2012 Olympic Games. After opening up about her sexuality in 2012, she has continued to advocate for LGBQT rights. Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem like NFL player Colin Kaepernick in protest of racial injustices across the nation.

Brittney Griner

American professional basketball player Brittney Griner has some impressive stats. While playing at Baylor University, she became the only NCAA player to score a whopping 2,000 points and block 500 shots.  The 6’8 ball player who boasts a wing-span of 86 inches has also made the U.S. Olympic team twice and helped bring the gold medal home in 2016.  Griner was named The Associated Press’ 2012 Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. In her 2014 memoir, “In My Skin: My Life On And Off The Basketball Court,” the reserved Griner talks about being bullied during her adolescent years and how it affected her confidence. She also reveals how she was unaware of Baylor University’s policy on homosexuality when she joined their team (Griner came out in high school but during her years at Baylor, was asked by officials to keep her sexual orientation concealed). Griner held true to herself and lives her life with integrity today. Read the rest of this entry →

How to Start a Youth Sports Program

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Scott Huntington

Although organizing a youth sports program requires time and effort, the feeling of putting together an organized, functional sports program for the community is gratifying. Some communities have a void when it comes to a well-working sports league, especially among youth players. It may be up to you to fill that void.

Successfully starting a youth sports program involves considerable foresight, though, and there are several tasks and fees are worth considering before you start the program. Here are some of them:

1. Find a Facility

A youth sports program needs somewhere to play, reliably. Waiting until the last minute to book games can result in failing to find a place to play, which will turn off members in the league fairly quickly. Instead, make a list of options in your area, including public and private schools, parks, sports complexes, churches and community centers, and make sure they can accommodate your program consistently.

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Floyd Mayweather: Seasoned Pro Preparing to Face Conor McGregor

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Roland Fuller
Floyd Mayweather enters the Conor McGregor fight with a 49-0 career record.

Floyd Mayweather enters the Conor McGregor fight with a 49-0 professional career record.

It is either the match of the millennium or one of the biggest money-spinners in history, but the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is confirmed. The formerly-retired, unsurpassed boxer Floyd Mayweather will be taking on the biggest star of the UFC, Conor McGregor, in Las Vegas.

There has been years of speculation about whether or not this would ever take place, and both athletes have been exchanging insults for ages now, but they have also confirmed that it will be happening. A boxer with a record of 49 for 0 will meet a man who has never taken part in any kind of pro boxing match in the ring in August of this year.

A Closer Look at Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather is an American boxer born in Michigan’s Grand Rapids on the 24th of February 1977. He won a bronze medal in the Olympics and 3 national Golden Gloves before turning pro in 1996. Mayweather took his first championship title in 1988 as a super featherweight, and went on to gain titles in 4 different weight classes while keeping an undefeated record.

 A Complicated Family Life

Mayweather’s domestic life was a complex one: the senior Mayweather had a fierce temper, and drifted in and out of serious danger whilst working as a drug dealer. He got shot in the leg in 1978, whilst his son was in his arms, and in 1993 the law finally caught up with him and he got sent to jail for trafficking cocaine. Deborah, Mayweather’s mother, also battled with issues around substance abuse. Read the rest of this entry →

Roger Federer Confirms His Legacy With Another Wimbledon Title

Posted on July 16, 2017 by Dean Hybl
A month shy of his 36th birthday, Roger Federer has claimed his eighth Wimbledon singles title.

A month shy of his 36th birthday, Roger Federer has claimed his eighth Wimbledon singles title.

In case there was any question entering this year, with his performance winning both the Australian Open and now Wimbledon in 2017, Roger Federer has clearly cemented his place as the greatest champion in men’s tennis history.

Memories in sports can be very short. While seven years may seem like just a blip in time for most of us, in sports it can be an eternity.

Even though it has just been seven years since the end of the dominant run that saw Federer win 16 of 25 major titles and reach the finals in six other, the fact that others (most especially Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic) had overtaken him at the top of the tennis rankings made his run sometimes feel like ancient history.

So when injuries knocked Federer out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2002, most were beginning to talk about how long it would be before he retired.

Certainly, few were expecting him to return to the top of the game and build on his record number of major championships with his first grand slam titles since last winning Wimbledon in 2012.

However, when Federer returned for the 2017 Australian Open he looked like someone who had been drinking from the Fountain of Youth. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

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