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Sports Then and Now



Bob Cousy: Houdini of the Hardwood 0

Posted on February 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy

The Boston Celtics traded prior to the 2017-2018 season for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, but the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was 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 juggernaut. Read the rest of this entry →

Some Key NBA Foot Injuries Now And Then 1

Posted on December 07, 2017 by Joe Fleming
Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Sprinting and jumping, two of the most frequent activities in professional basketball, are very hard on the feet. And it’s not just the activities on NBA game days. By the time athletes reach that level, their feet have already undergone years of pounding in practices and games since they were teenagers.

Although foot injuries are much more serious when you sprint and jump for a living, these wounds are not limited to top professional athletes. In fact, they are quite common, especially among active people. While your options are usually limited in terms of correcting the injury, it’s always a good idea to follow a doctor’s orders. There are some choices available in terms of recovery including physical therapy, surgery, and bracing. Instead of just any device, use one of these top shoes for foot injuries. They not only hasten your recovery but also add comfortable and maneuverability while you are laid up.

Bill Walton

A foot injury transformed one of the most dominating forces on the hardwood into one of its most prolific towel-waving cheerleaders. Then again, Mr. Walton was always quite a contrast. In college, he was the best player on those unbeatable John Wooden-led UCLA teams. In the 1973 title game, Mr. Walton almost literally beat Memphis State all by himself, scoring 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting in an 87-66 win.

But the foot injuries soon took their toll. After several campaigns on the Portland Trail Blazers team that included two deep playoff runs, an MVP trophy, and a championship title, Mr. Walton missed the entire 1978-79 season in an injury-related holdout. He played on and off for the next decade, even winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award with the Boston Celtics in 1985. However, Mr. Walton and his foot issues will probably be remembered as the man who still holds the record for the number of career games missed due to injury. 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 →

30 Years Ago: Shocking Death of Len Bias 6

Posted on June 19, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Len Bias was an All-American at Maryland.

Len Bias was an All-American at Maryland.

It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since that shocking day in June of 1986 when one of the brightest young basketball stars of the day was suddenly went from a sports icon to a national symbol for the drug epidemic that seemed to be plaguing the country at the time.

During his college basketball career as a member of the Maryland Terrapins, Len Bias was known as one of the most athletic and talented players in the game and was expected to be an impact player for the Boston Celtics, who chose him with the second pick in the 1986 NBA draft.

Instead, his shocking death on June 19, 1986 became the impact moment for America’s war on drugs and led to harsher laws that negatively impacted the lives of many low-level drug users, a disproportionate number of whom were young black men, who were suddenly faced with mandatory prison sentences.

Even though the Internet was still nearly a decade away, in the days following the death of Len Bias information, much of it proving to be inaccurate, was coming out fast and furious from a national media that was surprisingly captivated by the story.

Even today, it is not typical for a sports event other than the Super Bowl, Olympics or some other large event or a major tragedy to cross into the general national consciousness. However, because of the shocking and abrupt nature of Bias’ death and the fact that drugs were involved at a time when the national “war on drugs” campaign was at its apex, the death took on a larger than normal stature. Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Current Philadelphia 76ers the Worst Team in NBA History? 0

Posted on November 29, 2015 by Dean Hybl
The Philadelphia 76ers will need to get moving if they hope to not finish with one of the worst records in NBA history.

The Philadelphia 76ers will need to get moving if they hope to not finish with one of the worst records in NBA history.

The Philadelphia 76ers have started the 2015-2016 season with 17 straight losses, but they have a long way to go to be considered even the worst team in franchise history.

That honor currently rests with the 1972-73 76ers squad that remains the only team in NBA history to finish a complete (82 game) season with fewer than 10 victories.

With a roster that included future Hall of Famer Hal Greer in his final season and leading scorer Fred Carter, the 76ers had won 30 games the previous season, but started with 15 straight losses and were 3-35 before the calendar turned to 1973.

Head coach Roy Rubin was fired after a 4-47 start and replaced by guard Kevin Loughery, who was nearing the end of his 11-year playing career. Loughery was listed as a player-coach having played in 32 games earlier in the season, but after not scoring in the second game he served as coach, Loughery did not see action again and focused on his coaching role.

The 76ers were marginally better playing for Loughery with a 5-26 record, but all five of those wins came during a seven game stretch in mid-February. The team lost the first 11 games coached by Loughery and the last 13 to complete their miserable campaign with a 9-73 mark.

Given that the current 76ers have not won a game since March 25th, a string that includes their final 10 games of last season and first 17 so far this campaign, they certainly have a chance to match the futility of 1972-73.

However, given that the 76ers also started last season by losing their first 17 games, but finished with 18 wins on the year, there certainly could be time for the team to achieve respectability.

In comparing the 1972-73 76ers with the current team, the most striking difference is in the experience level of the team members. In addition to Greer, who was in his 14th season, the squad included three other players with 10 years of professional experience and only one rookie. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Mike Gminski: Four-Year Duke Star
      March 10, 2018 | 11:05 am
      Mike Gminski

      Mike Gminski

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a star big man who achieved great success at Camden Indoor Stadium in the era before Coach K and the One-and-Done big men became the norm at Duke University.

      Much like recent Duke big men Marvin Bagley III, Jayson Tatum and Jahlil Okafor, Mike Gminski made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils. However, because he played 40 years earlier at a time when few players left college early, Gminski spent four years racking up stats and success in Durham.

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