Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

In the NBA, Great Teams Still Top Great Individuals 0

Posted on March 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

It will take more than just the "Big 3" if the Miami Heat hope to win a championship.

The recent struggles of the Miami Heat offer another reminder that it takes more than just having great players to make a great team. Though the Heat have two of the best players in the game in Lebron James and Dwyane Wade and another All Star in Chris Bosh, they have yet to develop the chemistry needed to become championship contenders.

Through NBA history, there have been many teams with two or three superstars. However, what has helped some squads rise above the others to championship level has often been having a supporting cast specifically designed to accent the strengths of the star players.

Here is a look at five teams that had at least two superstars, but became super teams because of the supporting cast that filled specific roles and allowed the stars to be stars.

1980s Los Angeles Lakers – Arguably, the trio of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy makes James, Wade and Bosh look like the Three Stooges. When you add to the mix players like Byron Scott, Norm Nixon, Mychal Thompson, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, A.C. Green, Jamaal Wilkes and Bob McAdoo you have the makings of a team that won five World Championships and reached four other NBA Finals in a 12 year stretch.

1980s Boston Celtics – To compete with the great Lakers teams, the Boston Celtics of the 1980s had to have their own stable of superstars and great supporting players. While the supporting cast evolved over the decade, the trio of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale was constant. At various times during the decade, the supporting cast that helped them to three titles and five finals in the decade included Tiny Archibald, Chris Ford, Cedric Maxwell, Gerald Henderson, Rick Robey , Danny Ainge, Quinn Buckner, Dennis Johnson, Scott Wedman, Bill Walton and M.L. Carr. Read the rest of this entry →

Top 25 Moments in NBA Finals History 9

Posted on June 02, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Michael Jordan's last shot as a Chicago Bull nailed down their sixth NBA title.

The NBA Finals begin this week and provides a perfect opportunity to take a look back at the history of the NBA Finals with the 50 greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

In a previous column we looked at numbers 50-26.

Here are the top 25 NBA Finals moments of all-time:

25. Game 5 2005 Spurs-Pistons
Robert Horry, aka “Big Shot Rob”, came up with another clutch shot as he drills the game-winning three pointer with 5.8 seconds left in overtime as the Spurs defeat the Pistons 96-95 and take a 3-2 series lead.

Horry scores all 21 of his points in the 4th quarter and overtime (with the exception of his basket on the last shot of the third quarter) as the Spurs would defeat the Pistons in seven games for their third championship in seven years and Horry’s sixth NBA title as a player.

24. Game 4 1975 Warriors-Bullets
The Golden State Warriors, a team that finished with a 48-34 record during the regular season, pull over a shocking four-game sweep of the Washington Bullets, 60-22 in the regular season, in what is regarded as the greatest upset in NBA finals history.

23. Game 6 1997 Bulls-Jazz
With time winding down and the game tied 86-86, the Jazz double-team Michael Jordan in hopes of forcing a bad shot.

Instead, Jordan passes it to Steve Kerr who drills a 17-foot jumper as the shot clock expires to give the Bulls a 88-86 lead with five seconds left.

The Bulls preserve the victory and their fifth NBA championship when Scottie Pippen steals the ensuing inbounds pass, and then passes it off to Toni Kukoc who slams it home for a 90-86 win and a six-game series win. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NBA Finals History: 50-26 8

Posted on June 01, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson combined for many great moments in the NBA Finals.

The NBA Finals begin this week and I have decided to take a look back at the history of the NBA Finals with the 50 greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

In this list, there are multiple moments from one series to make up the top 50.

For example, four of the moments are from the 1984 Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics, while there are three moments from the 1997 Finals between the Bulls and the Jazz.

Here now are moments 50-26 in the countdown of the 50 most memorable moments in NBA Finals history.

50. Game 6 2003 Spurs-Nets
Spurs center Tim Duncan has a near quadruple-double (22 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and eight blocked shots) as San Antonio goes on a 19-0 run in the fourth quarter for a 88-77 victory over the New Jersey Nets to clinch the franchise’s second of four championships and send David Robinson out as a champion in his final game.

49. Game 5 1984 Lakers-Celtics
This was the infamous “Heat Game” as both the Lakers and the Celtics had to play the fifth game of this series in oppressive heat as it was 97-degrees in Boston on this day and the Boston Garden had no air conditioning.

The heat did not seem to effect the Celtics as they defeated the Lakers 121-103 thanks to a 34-point, 17-rebound performance from Larry Bird.

48. Game 5 1999 Spurs-Knicks
Point guard Avery Johnson makes the winning basket as he drills a baseline jumper with 47 seconds left to give the San Antonio Spurs a 78-77 win and clinch the first championship in franchise history. Read the rest of this entry →

Michael Jordan: A One Of A Kind Sports Persona 6

Posted on September 11, 2009 by Nick Gelso
Michael Jordan was arguably the best basketball player ever. But he was more than just a basketball star, he became a global and corporate star.

Michael Jordan was arguably the best basketball player ever. But he was more than just a basketball star, he became a global and corporate star.

There are few NBA stars that possess the ability to have there first names be recognizable above any other name in their sport.

Today’s game boasts interesting names such as Kobe and LeBron but before they were even old enough to lace up sneakers one man separated basketball from sports.

Michael was, and remains, the most recognizable name in not just sports but in popular entertainment. His air-ness may share his name with the King of Pop and their achievements may be similar on a global stage but Michael Jordan’s ability to combine his achievements as an athlete and his ability to bolster his public image with his successes in the business world undoubtidly separate him from the other Michael.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Randy White: The Manster
      September 4, 2020 | 5:14 pm

      In recognition of the start of football season, we have selected a two-time All-American from the University of Maryland who went on to earn a spot in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames as our Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Randy White actually came to the University of Maryland as a fullback, but as a sophomore new head coach Jerry Claiborne recognized that he had the skills to be a great defensive lineman and quickly moved him to defense.

      Read more »

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