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Sports Then and Now



Avoid Sports Withdrawals: Vintage Final Four Action on YouTube 1

Posted on April 04, 2020 by Dean Hybl

Given how much things have changed in just the last three weeks, it seems hard to believe that if it were not for the global pandemic we would be preparing this weekend to watch the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Final Four and Championship Games.

Though it has only been a few weeks, the 2019-2020 college basketball season seems like a distant memory. The excitement over which teams were on the bubble and who would be the top seeds seeming to be part of a long ago time.

It may seem hard to imagine right now, but I have great confidence that next year we will be back to enjoying March Madness and all the drama and excitement of college sports.

However, for right now in our time of social distancing and staying at home, we are fortunate that YouTube provides us with access to a plethora of vintage sporting events that can help pass the time before live sports return.

In part three of a multi-part series, Sports Then and Now has selected ten college basketball Final Four and Championship games that include some of the all-time moments and players in college basketball history. In the first two parts we shared great conference tournament games and early round NCAA Tournament action.

In this edition, we have chosen Final Four and Championship Games that include some of the iconic moments, teams and players in NCAA history. For each one we have included the records, rankings, coaches and notable players at the time of the game, but are not spoiling the game with a summary in case you don’t remember the outcome and want to enjoy the moment without spoilers.

Among the players you can check out during their college days are all-time greats Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Walton, David Thompson, Michael Jordan, Walter Davis, James Worthy, Grant Hill, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Christian Laettner, Larry Johnson, Patrick Ewing and many more.

There are certainly other great games to watch on YouTube, but we have chosen these party because the entire game is available on YouTube and the game epitomized the excitement of March Madness.

Enjoy!

1979 NCAA Championship Game – Indiana State vs. Michigan State

Records Entering Game: Indiana State: 33-0; Michigan State: 25-6

National Ranking: Indiana State #1; Michigan State: #3

Coaches: Indiana State: Bill Hodges; Michigan State: Jud Heathcote

Notable Players: Indiana State: Larry Bird, Carl Nicks, Alex Gilbert, Bob Heaton; Michigan State: Magic Johnson, Greg Kelser, Terry Donnelly

Read the rest of this entry →

Some Key NBA Foot Injuries Now And Then 1

Posted on December 07, 2017 by Joe Fleming

Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Sprinting and jumping, two of the most frequent activities in professional basketball, are very hard on the feet. And it’s not just the activities on NBA game days. By the time athletes reach that level, their feet have already undergone years of pounding in practices and games since they were teenagers.

Although foot injuries are much more serious when you sprint and jump for a living, these wounds are not limited to top professional athletes. In fact, they are quite common, especially among active people. While your options are usually limited in terms of correcting the injury, it’s always a good idea to follow a doctor’s orders. There are some choices available in terms of recovery including physical therapy, surgery, and bracing. Instead of just any device, use one of these top shoes for foot injuries. They not only hasten your recovery but also add comfortable and maneuverability while you are laid up.

Bill Walton

A foot injury transformed one of the most dominating forces on the hardwood into one of its most prolific towel-waving cheerleaders. Then again, Mr. Walton was always quite a contrast. In college, he was the best player on those unbeatable John Wooden-led UCLA teams. In the 1973 title game, Mr. Walton almost literally beat Memphis State all by himself, scoring 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting in an 87-66 win.

But the foot injuries soon took their toll. After several campaigns on the Portland Trail Blazers team that included two deep playoff runs, an MVP trophy, and a championship title, Mr. Walton missed the entire 1978-79 season in an injury-related holdout. He played on and off for the next decade, even winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award with the Boston Celtics in 1985. However, Mr. Walton and his foot issues will probably be remembered as the man who still holds the record for the number of career games missed due to injury. Read the rest of this entry →

Counting Down the 20 Greatest NBA Finals of All-Time 3

Posted on May 31, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Willis Reed scored only four points in the seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals, but his mere presence on the court helped lift the Knicks to a championship.

The NBA Finals begin tonight, as the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks battle it out for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

With that in mind, it’s time to take a look back at the 20 greatest NBA Finals of all time.

These are the 20 best series, not best moments, so moments like Magic Johnson’s “junior, junior” sky-hook are not on this list.

To get on this list, the series had to feature multiple close games or more than one classic moment or performance.

So, here are the 20 greatest NBA Finals of all time:

20. 2010 Lakers-Celtics
The latest edition of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry was another seven-game series as the Lakers avenged their loss to Boston in the 2008 Finals, with a win over the Celtics in 2010.

Five of the seven games were decided by single digits and featured Ray Allen’s record-breaking performance in Game 2 with eight three pointers.

Game 7 was low-scoring but memorable as the Lakers overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, to pull out an 83-79 win.

19. 1974 Celtics-Bucks

The home court advantage was worthless in this series as the road team won five of the seven games in these Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The series also featured a pair of overtime games, including the famous Game 6 double overtime win by the Bucks on Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s 17-foot sky hook in the second overtime for a 102-101 win in Boston Garden.

Game 7 went to the road team, which was the Celtics, as they defeated Milwaukee 102-87 win, for the franchise’s 12th NBA championship and first without Bill Russell.

18. 1958 Hawks-Celtics
The St. Louis Hawks got revenge for their loss in the 1957 Finals, as they defeated the Celtics in six games, with all four of the Hawks’ wins by a combined eight points.

The most memorable moment from this series came in the clinching sixth game, as Hawks forward Bob Pettit poured in 50 points, including 18 of the last 21 points in St. Louis 108-107 win.

17. 1951 Royals-Knicks
No team in NBA history has ever won a best-of-seven series after falling behind 0-3, but the 1951 New York Knicks came very close.

After losing the first three games of the series, the Knicks won Games 4 through 6 to force a Game 7 against the Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings).

Game 7 was tied at 75-75 with almost a minute to play until Royals guard Bob Davies sank two free throws to break the tie as Rochester went on to win the game 79-75 and their only NBA title.

16. 1976 Celtics-Suns
The 1976 Finals is remembered most for the Game 5 triple overtime win by the Celtics over the Suns in perhaps the greatest NBA Finals game of all time.

But the series itself was pretty exciting as the heavy underdog Suns came back from a 0-2 deficit to win Games 3 and 4 in Phoenix to force the memorable fifth game.

Much like they did in Game 5, the pesky Suns did not go away as they held a 67-66 lead in the fourth quarter of Game 6, before Boston outscored Phoenix 21-13 over the last 7:25 of the game to pull out an 87-80 victory and clinch their 13th NBA championship. Read the rest of this entry →

Death of a Legend: Goodbye Coach Wooden 1

Posted on June 04, 2010 by Dean Hybl

John Wooden was a great player and coach, but he is best knwon for being a man of impeccable character.

The World is a little emptier tonight following the news that legendary basketball coach John Wooden has passed away at the age of 99.

There will be much discussion in coming days about his incredible coaching records and accomplishments. Without a doubt, winning 10 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National titles in 12 years is an accomplishment that will never be duplicated.

However, while I never met Coach Wooden, what I have read and heard from many others about him is that he was a better man and teacher than he ever was a basketball coach.

When his former players talk about Coach Wooden they do not necessarily talk about the on-the-court accomplishments. Instead, they talk about he helped mold them into the people that they would become.

The fact that he coached his last game in 1975 yet still had significant influence over college basketball for the next 35 years as a teacher and speaker is a testament to his greatness.

What is to me most amazing about Coach Wooden is that he was truly one of the first great superstar players of college basketball. During his tenure at Purdue from 1930-32 he was the first player ever to be named a consensus All-American for three straight years. Though no NCAA Tournament was played at the time, Wooden and the Boilermakers were selected as the NCAA Champions in 1932.

I find it a great illustration of his great talent as a player that Wooden was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1960, well before he started winning championships as a coach. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Early Wynn: 300 Game Winner
      August 1, 2020 | 8:37 pm
      Early Wynn

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month pitched in four decades, was a veteran of World War II and is one of only two pitchers to finish with exactly 300 career victories.

      Hall of Famer Early Wynn began his career as a 19-year old in 1939 by pitching three games for the Washington Senators. After spending the 1940 season in the minors, he went 3-1 with a 1.58 ERA in a brief stint in the majors in 1941.

      Read more »

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