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Sports Then and Now



LeBron James: The Incredible Journey to the NBA 0

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Tiffany Watts

King James, The Chosen One, Greatest of All Time – these are just a few of the names that LeBron James has been known for his entire career. Indeed, the last one may seem contentious and is the source of constant dispute, but there’s no denying that he belongs in that conversation.

After winning the 2020 NBA Championship, LeBron has once again proven that he is one of the best basketball players in the world, if not the absolute and undisputed greatest player today.

At the age of 35, LeBron continues to dominate the competition which is unprecedented for someone who’s already spent 17 straight years playing in the NBA at the highest possible level. People remain wondering when Father Time will catch up to him, but that’s beside the point.

In his already historic career, LeBron has served as an inspiration not just for the young players in the league today, but also for regular people around the world. But it would be wrong to say that he was merely destined for this greatness. Much like other people, LeBron has had his fair share of struggles. A look back at his life and journey to the NBA into becoming one of the greatest athletes of all time is something that will truly motivate and inspire anyone, basketball fan or not.

LeBron’s Childhood

LeBron Raymone James Sr. was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. His mother, Gloria Marie James, was 16 at the time. LeBron’s father did not have a presence in his life, and it was only him and his mother since day one.

The early years of LeBron’s life were filled with constant movement from home to home. His mother struggled to find steady employment. He struggled to make friends in school, and he found it difficult to focus on his studies due to his situation. He fortunately found an outlet for himself by playing sports. He mainly played basketball and football.

He began playing organized basketball when he was in the fifth grade, and later on joined the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars in the Amateur Athletic Union. This was where the seeds of greatness were planted.

A Star Athlete

LeBron went to high school in St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he played for the school’s football and basketball teams.

He immediately made an impact in the school’s basketball program. During his freshman year, he led the Fighting Irish to a perfect 27-0 record. He remained stellar throughout his high school playing days, being named Ohio Mr. Basketball and getting selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team consistently.

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NBA Prepares for Season in a Bubble 3

Posted on July 28, 2020 by Dean Hybl

After joining the rest of the country in taking a pause back in March, the NBA is looking to get back to work with a return to game action this week. If all goes well, the NBA hopes to crown a 2019-2020 champion by mid-October.

Unlike Major League Baseball, which is attempting to play games in home cities, the NBA made the decision to create a bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando with all games being played at one location. Like MLB and other leagues, they will be playing in an empty arena.

Given the challenges that MLB has already seen after just one weekend of teams staying in hotels and traveling on airplanes, it looks like pretty good strategy by the NBA to take the travel element out of the equation and instead have everyone in one location without regular outside contact.

Of course, given the nuances that the COVID-19 virus has shown, there is no guarantee that even creating a bubble can keep 200+ athletes safe for an extended period of time. However, if odds were being given, I would have to say I feel the NBA is more likely to be playing to the conclusion of their season than MLB or even the NFL, which also plans to play in home stadiums beginning in September.

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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.

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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.

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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 →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

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