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Sports Then and Now



Can Magic, Larry and Michael Dominate the NBA Again? 0

Posted on March 02, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were teammates during the 1992 Dream Team, but have been competitors for most of their careers.

Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were teammates during the 1992 Dream Team, but have been competitors for most of their careers.

Of the 19 NBA seasons between 1979-1980 and 1997-98, only three times did the NBA Finals not include at least one of the trio of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan (two of which none of the trio played an entire season). With Johnson now joining Bird and Jordan leading an NBA franchise, can this trio again dominate the NBA?

The easy answer would seem to be no, but given the determination of all three NBA Legends, anything is certainly possible.

Michael Jordan’s track record leading an NBA Franchise has been a bit less than earthshaking. He had a dubious front office start by drafting Kwame Brown with the first pick of the 2001 NBA Draft while serving as Director of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. He was ultimately fired by the Wizards following the 2003 season.

He became a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006 and as part of his role was the primary decision maker for basketball operations. Jordan became the majority owner in 2010 and has maintained that role through the name-change of the franchise back to being the Charlotte Hornets.

During the past decade, the Bobcats/Hornets have not been particularly impressive on the court. They have managed only three winning seasons and in each of those years lost in the opening round of the playoffs. The 2011-2012 team posted a 7-59 record during the strike-shortened season for a winning percentage of just .106.

Last season the Hornets had an impressive 48-34 record, but were again knocked out in the opening round of the playoffs. Expected to be a contender this year, they are currently 11th in the East with a disappointing 25-33 record.

Given his competitiveness, you can bet if Jordan sees Magic Johnson come in and return the Los Angeles Lakers to past glory, it will light an even greater competitive fire under the best player in NBA history.

While Jordan’s tenure as an executive has clearly been below par, Larry Bird has had some stretches of success leading the Indiana Pacers.

Bird served for three seasons as head coach of the Pacers from 1998-2000 and had an overall record of 147-67. He guided the Pacers to the 2000 NBA Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

He became President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers in 2003 and in 2011-2012 was named the NBA Executive of the Year. He left the team for a year from 2012-2013, but since 2013 has again served as President of basketball Operations for the Pacers. Read the rest of this entry →

Win Or Bust: Will The Miami Heat Seal Their Legacy With A Three-peat? 1

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 →

NBA Flashback: Bird Overcomes Headache To Lift Celtics Over Pacers 2

Posted on January 23, 2010 by Joe Gill

Bird and Person battled in an epic and deciding Game Five in the '91 NBA Playoffs.

In the ’90-’91 season, the Celtics were still one of the top teams in the NBA. They finished with a 56-26 record under head coach Chris Ford and won the Atlantic division. However, everything wasn’t rosy for the Celtics especially with Larry Bird.

Age and injuries were catching up with the “Big Three”. Kevin McHale only played 68 games, Robert Parrish miraculously stayed healthy and only missed one game, and Larry Bird missed 22 games to due to a compressed nerve in his back. This would be the injury that would cause Larry Legend to retire after the following season.

Bird, at age 34, would still have a productive season. He averaged 38 minutes per game, 19.4 points (which led the team), 7.2 assists, and 7.6 boards. However, he was a far cry from the Larry Bird of old.

The Celtics faced the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs that season. Boston would split the first two games at the Garden before traveling to Indiana for Games 3 and 4. The Celtics would take Game 3 112-105, but they couldn’t close out the scrappy Pacers in Game 4. The series was tied 2-2 and set up a winner take all Game 5 back in Boston.

Larry Bird spent the night of May 4, 1991 in the hospital in traction due to his insufferable back pain. No one really thought Bird would be able to play in the deciding Game Five versus the upstart Pacers.

However, as people learned throughout Bird’s whole career, never count him out.

Read the rest of this entry →

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