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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 →

Preparing for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game (INFO GRAPHIC) 9

Posted on February 12, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Kevin Durant and LeBron James should be the leading stars in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

Kevin Durant and LeBron James should be the leading stars in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

Since the first NBA All-Star Game in 1951, the annual gathering of the best players in professional basketball has provided an opportunity to revel in the amazing talents of these stars.

The 2014 game includes six first-time All-Stars, including two former number one overall picks (John Wall and Anthony Davis) that will be able to get off the dubious list of number one overall picks that didn’t make an All-Star Game.
Read the rest of this entry →

2010 NBA All-Star Game – Game Opinion Review / State of the League 2

Posted on February 15, 2010 by Chris Kent
NBA All Star Game

Dwyane Wade was the MVP of a super-sized All-Star Game.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game told us a lot. First, pro basketball has a huge fan appeal that is Texas-sized! We can thank two of the most visible and dynamic owners of professional sports franchises for that as Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban made much of this event possible in a plush new stadium that is less than a year old.

According to TNT NBA Anchor Ernie Johnson, a Guinness Book of World Records for attendance at a basketball game was set with 108,713 people attending the game at Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 14.

Second, after trailing throughout most of the game, the world’s greatest collection of athletes proved that coming from behind is no big deal if none at all as the West refused to let the East pull away.

Third, we are seeing a changing of the guard in terms of the best-of-the-best players in the NBA as we enter a new decade. The good news here for basketball fans is that the best players in the league are still very young and while many are veterans, they are in their prime or just reaching it.

In football, it is said that many players need four years to develop to become an all-pro caliber and championship player. The speed of the game is faster and some differences in rules between the college and pro game factor into that. The same can be said in basketball give a year or two shorter or longer. There is also a learning curve with things like the pick-and-roll, help side defense, and clock management. Read the rest of this entry →

NBA All-Star Game is a Star Studded Event 0

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Dean Hybl
You can always count on LeBron James to put on a show at the All-Star Game.

You can always count on LeBron James to put on a show at the All-Star Game.

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 also includes skills and horse competitions, a celebrity game and a game between first and second year NBA players.

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 →

Allen Iverson Crashes the NBA’s All-Star Party 4

Posted on January 24, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Allen Iverson has been selected to the NBA All-Star team for the 11th straight season.

Allen Iverson has been selected to the NBA All-Star team for the 11th straight season.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem unusual to have Allen Iverson listed as a starter for the NBA All-Star Game. After all, Iverson has now been selected to 11 straight All-Star Games and has twice been named the game MVP.

However, what has made his selection to start the 2010 game somewhat controversial is that he is no longer playing at an All-Star level.

Iverson began the 2009-2010 season with the Memphis Grizzlies, but after three games was released and is now back with his original team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Though Iverson sports a 26.8 career scoring average, he is averaging only 14.3 points per contest this season and has only played in 21 games.

Even with his pedestrian performance, Iverson remained on the minds of NBA fans and was selected as a starter for the Eastern Conference.

As could be expected, the selection of a player clearly no longer among the best in the league has sparked a new round of controversy about the legitimacy of fan participation in selecting starters for league All-Star Games.

I have no intention of making a case for the inclusion of Iverson in the All-Star lineup based on his statistics this season, but I will spend all day if necessary defending the rights of the fans to have a say in which players appear in All-Star exhibition games for any professional sport.

For those who have forgotten, the original purpose of All-Star Games was to provide fans with a chance to see the best stars of the game, not necessarily to reward success in that specific season. While recognizing current greatness has become an integral part of the All-Star process, there should always be a place in these exhibitions for long-time fan favorites. Read the rest of this entry →

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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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