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Sports Then and Now



Biggest Changes in Basketball History 0

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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How to Increase Your Vertical Jump for Basketball 0

Posted on September 02, 2016 by Scott Huntington

There are many physical attributes that can take your game to the next level. Point guards need to be quick and post players need to be strong, but there’s one trait that benefits players at all positions: jumping ability.

Having a high vertical jump will increase your ability to block shots, grab rebounds, disrupt players inbounding the ball and, most importantly, up your chances of dunking.

If you think your vertical jump is something you’re born into and stuck with, you’re about to hear some good news. There are many workouts you can do to add some inches to that vertical leap.

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Develop a Workout Schedule

You can’t reach a goal that you don’t set, and the best way to track your progression is to set a workout schedule for yourself. You can either develop one yourself, or you can do some research and find a vertical jump program. Read the rest of this entry →

Should Athletes Really Be Role Models? 2

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Ashley Andrews
Charles Barkley has made it clear that he is not a role model.

Charles Barkley has made it clear that he is not a role model.

While many still ponder the question–the likes of Charles Barkley come to mind–the question has already been definitively answered. Between cut scenes of him dunking a basketball on a practice court, he earnestly tells the camera:

I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.

This was a Nike ad during the heyday of the “Just do it” campaign. When the words, “Just do it” appeared at the end of the commercial, it is not obvious if they are referring to playing basketball, or raising your own kids in a responsible manner. What they most definitely exclude is the idea of using Barkley, or any other athlete as a role model for how you, or anyone else, should live their lives.

There are all kinds of reasons why Barkley’s words should be heeded. Here are a few:

Athletes Make Poor Life Choices

According to Axis Recovery:

Because of these factors (among a number of others), the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids states that sportspeople are “more prone than the general population to substance abuse.”

The three factors referenced in the above quote are:

  • An addiction to performance-enhancing substances
  • An addiction to stimulants to alleviate depression
  • An addiction to prescription painkillers

There are understandable reasons why professional athletes make self-destructive life choices. In no way is this intended to be a judgmental observation. But it seems like the last type of person you want to set up as role models for kids is the kind with ample reason to turn to drugs and alcohol as a necessary evil for getting through the day.

Beyond substance abuse, there are other habits one might not be comfortable encouraging such as gambling and sexually irresponsible behavior. Many of the behaviors of professional athletes can be attributed to the fact that they are all young. Professional athletes tend to retire in their early to mid-thirties, much younger depending on the sport. They often went from rags to riches overnight, without any prior sense of responsibility. Even under the best of circumstances, they are going to make a lot of bad decisions that others simply cannot afford to make. This is the recipe for an unlikely role model. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA’s 70-Point Club 9

Posted on March 06, 2014 by Scott Huntington

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.

Wilt Chamberlain

wilt

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.

Kobe Bryant

kobe

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 →

Basketball Court Design: Surfaces and Hoops 2

Posted on August 23, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse
Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the most famous basketball venues in the world.

Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the most famous basketball venues in the world.

The design of the modern basketball court goes back to the earliest days of basketball in the 1890s. In these formative years, the game was played in YMCA and school gymnasiums across the country – wooden floorboards and peach baskets nailed to the wall made up these first basketball courts. Though the baskets would be eventually replaced with a hoop and net, and outdoor basketball would be played on a variety of asphalt or tarmac services, the wooden surface inherited from those first gymnasiums persists to this day.

Surfaces
Maple boards are most commonly used in basketball court surfaces, prized for their consistency when dribbling and providing good grip characteristics for players. However, as a hardwood, it can be adversely affected by moisture and consequently maple boards must be laid to take into account the expansion of the wood over several years. Poorly laid floors can suffer from “dead zones” where the ball won’t bounce as well – frustrating for players.

Even the best quality basketball courts will need regular maintenance to protect them from the wear and tear caused by regular play. At the most basic, this includes daily mopping of dust and regular cleaning. Read the rest of this entry →

Ex-Celtics Coach Doc Rivers Made His Mark On Boston Sports History 0

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Dan Flaherty
The Doc Rivers ends and the coach can take his place in the Boston sports pantheon.

The Doc Rivers ends and the coach can take his place in the Boston sports pantheon.

The city of Boston seems to developing a pattern of these coach-for-player trades. Prior to baseball season, it was the Red Sox dealing Mike Aviles to Toronto in exchange for the rights to current manager John Farrell. Now it’s the Celtics on the other end of such a transaction, acquiring a 2015 first-round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for head coach Doc Rivers.

The long-rumored trade marks the end of another era of the Celtics and the end of a great ride for Doc in Boston. Now that Rivers’ Celtic tenure is in the books, we can start asking questions about where his place is in the pantheon of Boston sports.

Doc Rivers had coached the Orlando Magic for three full seasons prior to arriving in Boston, and his first year in the Hub more or less mirrored what he’d done in Orlando. Boston had a nice year, going 45-37, but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Doc was in a rut where he’d consistently win 40-plus games, but couldn’t get four more in the postseason and move into the second round.

Over the next two seasons, everyone would have gladly taken Rivers’ previous track record. Though it wasn’t his fault, as the Celtic roster was basically reduced to Paul Pierce and four guys from the local gym league and plummeted first to 33-49 and then bottomed out at 24-58.

Actually the gym league crack isn’t fair, because the organization did have Al Jefferson, who would become the key piece to acquire Kevin Garnett, whom the Minnesota Timberwolves were ready to unload. And though players like Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins weren’t yet ready to be contributors, they were at least under development. But as far as legitimate help for Pierce, there was none until the team added Garnett, and then Ray Allen in the summer of 2007.

Now there were big expectations for Celtics basketball, and Rivers began to come into his own as an NBA coach. The Detroit Pistons were still the most respected team in the Eastern Conference, with a championship in 2004, a Finals trip in 2005 and then successive conference finals’ visits. Cleveland had LeBron James and was on the move. And could these new Celtics’ stars all mesh together?

No one succeeds in the NBA without star players taking the lead, but Rivers excelled at creating the atmosphere where Garnett, Allen and Pierce could first come together themselves and then get everyone else to fall in line. While dramatic improvement could have been achieved by a lot of coaches, not every coach could have racked up 66 wins and immediately made the team look championship-worthy.

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.

      Read more »

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