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Sports Then and Now



NBA and NASCAR Give Sports Fans Another “Super Sunday” 0

Posted on February 17, 2018 by Dean Hybl
LeBron James and Stephon Curry are the captains as the NBA All-Star Game tries a new format.

LeBron James and Stephon Curry are the captains as the NBA All-Star Game tries a new format.

The NBA All-Star Weekend has become a great mid-season opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the great athletes of the NBA.

NASCAR does things a little different than other sports as they start each year with their biggest and most prestigious race, the Daytona 500.

NBA All-Star Game is a Star Studded Event

Professional sports All-Star games are kind of like new pennies. They are too bright and alluring not to pick up, but you quickly realize that they aren’t really worth much.

Of the “big 3” sports, the NBA All-Star Game is probably the best, if only because the rosters are small enough that you have some of the best stars on the court from opening tip to final horn.

In recent years, the NBA has turned the concept of the All-Star Game into a star-studded three-day extravaganza where the actual game can almost be anti-climatic to all the events that precede it.

The idea of special events in advance of the All-Star Game actually dates back to the ABA when Julius Erving dazzled fans with his famous foul line dunk. The NBA created its own dunk contest in 1984 and added a three-point shootout two years later. The weekend now includes a celebrity and rising stars games that were played last night as well as the dunk contest, three-point contest and skills challenge that will happen tonight.

By the time the actual All-Stars take to the court on Sunday night, seemingly half the players in the NBA will have participated in one event or another. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 74th Birthday King Richard Petty 2

Posted on July 02, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Richard Petty was the undisputed King of NASCAR.

Few sports legends are remembered as fondly within the annals of their sport as the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty, who was born 74 years ago today.

As the first crossover superstar of the sport, Petty became a household name to people who had never seen an auto race through a variety of television commercials that began in the 1970s and continue today.

On the track, Petty had no equal as he won a record 200 races and is one of only two drivers (Dale Earnhardt being the other) to win seven NASCAR season championships.

He was the NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1959 and won his first race the following year. He would win at least one race for 18 consecutive years and claimed his final trip to victory lane in the Firecracker 500 on July 4th 1984.

Petty won a record 27 races (races of 250 miles or less counted on the NASCAR schedule until 1972) in 1967, including 10 victories in a row. He won the Daytona 500 seven times and finished in the top 10 in races 712 times during his career.

After retiring following the 1992 season, Petty served as a team owner and has been involved in many other endeavors, including running for North Carolina Secretary of State in 1996.

He was introduced to an entirely new generation of fans thanks to the 2006 move Cars, where the number 43 car was known as “The King” and Petty served as the voice.

He was among the initial inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010. His father, Lee Petty, was inducted the following year.

10 Years Later: NASCAR Still Remembers “The Intimidator” 0

Posted on February 16, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Ten years after his death, Dale Earnhardt is still casting a shadow over NASCAR.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the darkest day in NASCAR history, the death of Dale Earnhardt in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500.

“The Intimidator” is considered by many as the greatest NASCAR driver of all time as won 76 races and seven season championships, a record he shares with “The King” (Richard Petty), in his illustrious career.

Earnhardt’s death sent shockwaves throughout the sports world as the biggest star of the nation’s fastest growing sport was suddenly gone.

While they have been numerous safety advances in the decade since his death, there has been no driver that has captured the imagination of NASCAR fans throughout the world like the way Earnhardt  and his famous #3 black Goodwrench Service Chevrolet did.

With their beloved icon no longer on the race track, the many fans of the “Man in Black” had to find a new favorite driver to root for.

The most logical choice was Earnhardt’s son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drove for his father’s racing team, Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Read the rest of this entry →

The Daytona 500 Gives Everyone a Fighting Chance 2

Posted on February 13, 2010 by Dean Hybl
The end of the 1980 Daytona 500 was must see television.

The end of the 1979 Daytona 500 was must see television.

Sunday’s 52nd running of the Daytona 500 is sure to be full of thrills and excitement, but it will have a hard time topping the “battle” that occurred 31 years ago.

The hot-tempered drivers of today have nothing on old-time drivers Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough as 31 years ago the trio came to blows on the infield after Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed on the final lap of the 500 mile race.

With Allison clinging to the lead, the two cars tangled in the final turns and both men soon found their cars off the track and stopped in the infield. They were helpless as Richard Petty held off Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt to claim the sixth of his record seven Daytona 500 titles.

As Petty celebrated, the CBS cameras quickly turned back to Donnie Allison and Yarborough, who had both gotten out of their cars and were jawing in the infield. Donnie’s brother Bobby soon joined the duo and his arrival helped escalate the war of words into an actual physical battle.

Which Are You More Likely To Watch?

  • Winter Olympics (60%, 9 Votes)
  • Daytona 500 (27%, 4 Votes)
  • NBA All Star Game (13%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Of course the tradition of temper displays by NASCAR drivers is alive and well as recent battles between Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick as well as Kurt Busch versus Tony Stewart illustrate.

No doubt the racing on the track will be exciting on Sunday, but let’s see if tempers off the track come close to reaching those experienced 31 years ago.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

      Read more »

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