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Sports Then and Now

Win Or Bust: Will The Miami Heat Seal Their Legacy With A Three-peat? 3

Posted on January 17, 2014 by Kimberly Baker
Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

Will Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade be able to lead the Miami Heat to a third straight title?

The Miami Heat are in a position to prove the world that they are one of the all-time greatest teams in NBA history. By pulling off a three-peat, they will join the ranks of the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics of 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2000’s.

While many NBA betting odds makers believe that the Heat are poised to win this year because of their accomplishments in the last two seasons, it should be remembered that winning three straight championships is not easy. Just ask Hakeem Olajuwon, Isaiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson, among others. They won back to back championships only to fail in their quest to win the third one. Read the rest of this entry →

LeBron: Blame Canada Instead 1

Posted on July 25, 2010 by Ryan Durling

You can’t blame LeBron James.


LeBron was born in December of 1984. Not two years later, Run-DMC covered Aerosmith’s 1977 hit, “Walk This Way.”

Those two facts are very much related.

See, everyone went up in arms when LeBron broke up the LeBronettes and decided to play backup guitar in Dwayne Wade’s band. But he really only did what successful athletes/artists/actors have been doing his entire life.

Prior to the mid-80s, it was rare to see anybody go to bat for one of their rival’s teams – figuratively or literally speaking. When DMC covered Aerosmith, suddenly collaboration became the thing to do. It was a surefire way of saying, “yeah, I know I’m good, but imagine how good I could be with somebody else whose talents equal mine in a complimentary manner.”

Bird never would have played with Johnson. Russell never would have played with Wilt or Kareem. But why would they? They were the best at what they did and who needed anybody else?

The Prince still has some work to do before NBA fans will anoint him King.

Elvis didn’t mix with anybody else, and neither did the Beatles or Beach Boys a decade after him. Steve Miller? Don Henley? Freddie Mercury? He shared everything else with the world, but not his musical talents. None of them collaborated.

What about Pacino or Stallone or Harrison? Or DeNiro? Not in the 70s, anyway. Ford and Stallone, now well aware that they’re past their respective primes, have done a great job in supporting roles in the last 15 years or so – the atrocious Rocky Balboa notwithstanding.

Not even in the 80s did movie stars go out of their way to collaborate. Bruce Willis, Nic Cage and Tom Cruise – all rising stars in their own right – carried their own films, some more admirably than others.

But around the mid-80s, right when Run and Aerosmith were changing the game for good, a young Michael J. Fox teamed with Christopher Lloyd for the trans-generational hit Back to the Future. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman tag teamed on Rain Man. The rest of the 80s would see some classic teams produce epic hits: Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams (1988),  Costner and Tim Robbins in Bull Durham (1988), and Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally 1989).

It took longer for collaboration to catch on in music, primarily because there was such a divide in the 80s between the long-established Rock scene and the up-and-coming hip-hop genre. Ice Cube, Ice T, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre worked together late in the 80s in their N.W.A. project, but produced but one hit together, “F*ck the Police,” which earned a letter of warning from the FBI and will likely go down in history as the song that started the rap movement.

Dre and Snoop Dogg began the 90s by collaborating on a glut of hits that – mercifully – pushed MC Hammer and Right Said Fred quickly off the front pages of the Billboard charts. En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa, two groups influenced by Dre, were no strangers to collaboration either. It was Tupac who made collaboration big in hip-hop, however, working with artists from different labels and pushing their careers forward. Read the rest of this entry →

LeBron James Joins The Heat: The Day The Music Died 8

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Ryan Durling

Bosh, Wade and James made their first official appearance as members of the Heat on Friday night.

Three times last night, I tried to start writing my recap of ESPN’s newest 30 for 30 Special: The Day Basketball Died. I couldn’t really decide which angle to take. Like when you just get out of a bad break-up and you think you’re still in love, only you soon realize how quickly love turns to hate and then you summarily stop caring at all. I’ve reached phase three. I don’t care about LeBron. His decision doesn’t affect me in any way. He is a basketball player, and basketball is what he does.  Nobody complains when the CEO of Wal-Mart decides to go work for Target because there is more money and more opportunity for growth of the brand there. It’s a pretty similar situation with LeBron.

I’ll say this regarding LBJ’s competitive spirit: he doesn’t have any. It’s all been said before, so I’ll just summarize: LeBron, if he’s the best in the game, should want to beat his competition, not cozy up alongside it. He hasn’t thrived with an average supporting cast, and now he’s signed on to not have any. The Heat will roll a team that runs 4-deep and then drops off. If Pat Riley had watched the Red Sox lineup over the past couple weeks (3-6 legit, 1-2, 7-9), he might have chosen a different option. LeBron, Bosh and Wade will be expected to play between 40 and 44 minutes a night over a 6-month season. While they may find success initially, by the time their contracts are up they’ll likely be in worse shape than today Celtics. Read the rest of this entry →

Miami’s Big Three won’t mesh like 80s Lakers, Celtics 2

Posted on July 10, 2010 by Matt Petersen
U.S. player LeBron James (R) congratulates Dwyane Wade during their game against Puerto Rico in the first round of the world basketball championships in Sapporo in this August 19, 2006 file photo. James said Thursday he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the Miami Heat next season in the hope of winning an elusive NBA championship.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson   (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Will Dwyane Wade and LeBron James be able to co-exist in Miami?

LeBron. Wade. Bosh. Three superstars, one basketball.

Can they make it work? That’s one question (out of dozens) facing the newly minted super-troika in Miami. Supporters scoff at the question itself, pointing to the Lakers and Celtics of the 80s and their respective Hall of Fame trios.

Too bad there’s no similarity other than the idea of a star-studded threesome leading a team to the promised land. You can’t compare store-bought with home-grown. You can only point out how painfully different they are.

The Showtime Lakers featured Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the mid-eighties. Their counterpart Celtics boasted Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. While the names and games are impressive in and of themselves, their origins are important to remember. Abdul-Jabbar was the only player of the six to not be drafted by his respective team of the 80s. The others were selected at different points, integrated into the system gradually one piece at a time.

If you’re not old enough to remember, you need to know something else – as teammates, those players complemented each other perfectly. Kareem posted in the half-court, Worthy flew in the fast break, and Magic directed the whole operation. McHale, Bird and Parish were all capable of and willing to move without the ball in their hands. Whether it was McHale in the post or Bird from the perimeter, the ball would always find the open man.

Put all that up against what Miami’s done. Sure, the talent is there, but it hasn’t been gradually honed or developed for optimum chemistry and cohesion. The whole operation has been slapped together with a combination of mercenary mentality and budget-straining spending. There’s little wriggle room for role-playing types like Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper and Byron Scott  that rounded out those 80s teams so well. It will stay that way while all three are earning near-max money. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA Free Agency: The Clock Strikes Midnight 1

Posted on July 01, 2010 by Jonathan Stallsmith

LeBron James is the prize of a high-stakes free agent class.

“Bong!  Bong!  Bong!”  It sounds like the start of AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” and, last night, when the clock struck midnight, all hell broke loose.

Aside from the traditional Celtic playoff run, I don’t follow the NBA too closely.  (Although I did follow it closely enough to win two [of two] Fantasy Basketball leagues this year).  However, this offseason could be one of the most tumultuous we’ve ever experienced, so it’s time for me (and you) to clue in!

On July 1st (at midnight tonight), the bell will toll on the NBA’s free agency, and, this season, the bell tolls for several marquee free agents.

While the NBA tends to offer mega-contracts for mega-stars, there is talk that this year could be a re-shaping of values for some of the league’s highest profile players.

For about a year and a half, the NBA’s biggest rumors have circled around the league’s best player: LeBron James.  LeBron has spent his entire career with his local-in-Ohio Cleveland Cavaliers, and, at the age of 25, is entering his first go at the free agent market.  ESPN breaks down the pending free agency period, and, to put it simply, LeBron could command the maximum player contract. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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