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Sports Then and Now



NBA Prepares for Season in a Bubble 2

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 →

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 →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Randy White: The Manster
      September 4, 2020 | 5:14 pm

      In recognition of the start of football season, we have selected a two-time All-American from the University of Maryland who went on to earn a spot in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames as our Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Randy White actually came to the University of Maryland as a fullback, but as a sophomore new head coach Jerry Claiborne recognized that he had the skills to be a great defensive lineman and quickly moved him to defense.

      Read more »

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