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Sports Then and Now



Vintage Video: Remembering the Greatness of Kobe Bryant 0

Posted on February 05, 2020 by Dean Hybl

While the shock over the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others has started to wear off, the tributes to his basketball greatness will continue for a while, especially with the NBA All-Star game coming up soon and the Olympics later this year.

As most sports fan knows, Kobe’s legacy is a complicated one and it is okay to remember and recognize both his great strengths and his flaws.

However, given that Sports Then and Now is a site that celebrates sports history, we wanted to remember the basketball greatness of Kobe through our Vintage Video segment.

Below are some highlights from Kobe’s exceptional NBA career.

Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Lakers the Western Conference Favorites? 0

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Dean Hybl

With the NBA season nearly a month old it seems safe to say that after nearly a decade of struggles the Los Angeles Lakers are back on top of the NBA and the Western Conference. Of course, adding Anthony Davis to a squad that already included one of the all-time greats in LeBron James certainly helped hasten their rebuilding.

Currently 17-3, the Lakers are clearly among the betting favorites and you can get your list of all betting offers to back them up. Other betting sites are anticipating the Lakers to win the playoffs at 3/1 in average, meaning stakes are high. You could use this fact to your early advantage and place a bet now on the LA Lakers.

In many ways, the start of this season is a reminder of how quickly things can change in professional sports.

After being the dominant team in the NBA over the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have been devastated by injury and are off to a league worst 4-18 start. With Klay Thompson likely out for the season and Stephen Curry expected to be sidelined for at least three months with a broken hand, their chances of returning to the playoffs is very doubtful and bookies are giving them odds as low as -450.

In a complete contrast, the Lakers were 37-45 last year and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. However, their off-season acquisition of Davis has paid immediate dividends.

Read the rest of this entry →

LeBron to the Lakers! What’s the Big Deal? 0

Posted on July 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl

LeBron James will become the 20th out of the top 83 scorers in NBA history to play for the Lakers.

LeBron James will become the 20th out of the top 83 scorers in NBA history to play for the Lakers.

If you are surprised by NBA superstar LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers then you obviously are not much of a follower of basketball history.

Once LeBron officially takes the court for the Lakers, he will become the sixth of the top eight scorers in NBA history to wear the purple and gold for the Lakers. Currently the seventh leading scorer in league history, James will join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (first), Karl Malone (second), Kobe Bryant (third), Wilt Chamberlain (fifth) and Shaquille O’Neal (eighth). Only Michael Jordan (fourth) and Dirk Nowitzki (sixth) among the top eight never player in Los Angeles.

But looking at career scoring really only scratches the surface in terms of how normal it is for NBA greats to play for the Lakers.

Though not in the top 10 in all-time scoring, Jerry West (21st), Elgin Baylor (29th), Magic Johnson (77th) and James Worthy (102nd) all were all-time greats who spent their entire careers playing for the Lakers. Of course we also cannot forget the first great NBA player, George Mikan, who led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA titles in six years and won three scoring titles during his seven year career.

Others from among the top 100 scorers of all-time who spent at least a portion of their career with the Lakers include Adrian Dantley (28th), Gary Payton (32nd), Pau Gasol (39th), Mitch Richmond (41st), Antawn Jamison (44th), Gail Goodrich (52nd), Bob McAdoo (61st), Glen Rice (68th), Dwight Howard (70th), Lou Hudson (73rd) and Steve Nash (83rd). Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering the Boston Celtics Comeback of 2008 1

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Aleksandra Udovenko

2008_NBA_Finals_–_Game_2It was without a doubt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. And that includes the incredible Liverpool comeback in the 2005 Champions League Final. In fact, it was so thrilling that even the most casual of basketball fans will probably be able to tell you where they were when the Celtics put in one of the most heroic performances the NBA has ever seen.

But first a little background.

It was 2008, and the Boston Celtics, with fresh recruits Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, had made it to the Championship Finals. They faced their age-old rivals the LA Lakers in what many neutrals billed as the Finals matchup of the century. The Celtics went into the Finals series as the record holders for most NBA Championships, yet it had been 22 years since their last win. The Lakers were second to the Celtics in terms of Championships won, but that didn’t stop them from being the favorites.

At home, the Celtics won Games 1 and 2 before heading to the Staples Center where the Lakers managed to win Game 3 81-87. The series was set up for a barnstorming Game 4, and the significance of the result cannot be understated. With the Celtics leading the series 2-1, a Lakers win would have tied the series and put a serious dent in the Celtics confidence. And in the first quarter, that’s exactly what looked like was happening. Read the rest of this entry →

Waiting for the Weekend: Is the NBA Using Monopoly Money? 0

Posted on July 07, 2017 by Dean Hybl

Some of the NBA free agent signings makes me think of the guys chasing Butch and Sundance. "Who are those guys?"

Some of the NBA free agent signings makes me think of the guys chasing Butch and Sundance. “Who are those guys?”

As I have read over the last few days about all the NBA players receiving huge guaranteed, long-term contracts, I can’t help thinking about the classic movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Early in the movie when Butch and Sundance are being followed by a group of horsemen, they keep asking themselves “who are those guys?” as they are unable to shake them despite making many maneuvers that typically would have knocked trackers off their trail.

With several of the players who have signed mammoth contracts this week, I have that same question “who are those guys?”

Obviously, a few of the players receiving eye-popping contracts are household names, like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Kyle Lowry, but it seems that many of the large contracts have gone to players who even regular NBA fans barely know.

Tell me the truth, could you really pick Otto Porter Jr. (4 years, $106.5 million offer sheet by the Nets), Danilo Gallinari (3 years, $65 million by the Clippers) or Langston Galloway (3 years, $21 million by the Pistons) out of a lineup? Not to mention, Tim Hardaway Jr. signed a four year, $71.5 million offer sheet with the Knicks. Now, in his day I could see Tim Hardaway Sr. being worth that type of money, but the young Hardaway has a career scoring average of 11 points per game, including a career-high 14.5 ppg this past season. I barely even knew he was still in the NBA.

I remember in the early 1980s when new NBA Commissioner David Stern pledged that the NBA was on their way to an average salary of a million dollars (at a time when a million dollars was a lot of money). Granted that he made that claim early in the era of Bird and Magic, but still, it seemed a bit far-fetched given that the NBA was clearly number three in terms of the professional sports pecking order in the United States.

Now 35 years later, you can argue that in some ways the NBA is still third among a broad group of sports fans in the U.S., but it probably has the most loyal core of young fans (age 10-30) of any of the three professional major sports leagues and is definitely giving its rank-and-file players larger contracts than that level of player can find in the NFL or MLB. Read the rest of this entry →

Can Magic, Larry and Michael Dominate the NBA Again? 1

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 →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bob Cousy: The Houdini of the Hardwood
      January 31, 2020 | 4:05 pm
      Bob Cousy

      As we reach the halfway point of the NBA season, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

      Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball power.

      Read more »

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