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Sports Then and Now



Ding Dong, the Lakers are Dead (at least for this year) 2

Posted on May 08, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The dismal performance by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011 NBA playoffs was a surprise to everyone.

Even when the two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers lost the first two games of their Western Conference playoff series at home to the perennial underachieving Dallas Mavericks, most of the NBA “experts” still expected Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to eventually flip a switch and return to their dominating ways.

That prediction was officially proved wrong on Sunday afternoon as the Mavericks whipped the Lakers 122-86 to complete an improbable four-game sweep of the former champions.

While history and past success are as celebrated in the NBA as in any other major professional sport, there comes a time when banners and history are no longer enough.

Though still a very talented team with a Hall of Fame coach and all-time great superstar, the Lakers are starting to show signs of age and the difficulty of staying motivated at the highest level.

There was a lot of talk this season about how they could just “flip the switch” when it was time to play their best, but the reality is that in a league where the difference in overall team talent is rather minimal, it isn’t all that easy to just suddenly jump from average to awesome.

The question now facing the Lakers is whether they can rebound next year with the same cast of characters or if it will take a significant overhaul for the Lakers to return to prominence.

Of the top 10 players on the roster, only 25-year-old reserve Shannon Brown and 23-year-old starting center Andrew Bynum are under the age of 30. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

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