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Sports Then and Now



Bringing the WNBA to Buffalo: Reclaiming the Spirit of the Braves, Breaking the Buffalo Sports Curse 5

Posted on August 08, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

According to some, the sports woes in Buffalo started when the Buffalo Braves left for Los Angeles.

Recently I completed a satirical series on this site, a sort of “Christmas Carol” for Buffalo sports fans. In the article the ghost of legendary sportswriter Phil Ranallo, who was a lover of the Buffalo Braves of the NBA, pays a series of visits to me explaining the Buffalo sports curse and the only way to break the spell.

If you haven’t read the series you might want to follow this link to get some good context for understanding this article.

To summarize, the series took off with an idea offered by Bill Simmons on ESPN a while back, that the Los Angeles Clippers (the former Buffalo Braves franchise) of the NBA are cursed by the “Indians” for the way they left Buffalo, and that nothing will go right for the Clippers because of it.

According to the Simmons column the name “Braves” referred to Indian warriors, and the inclusion of a feather from an Indian head dress and a buffalo (bison, technically) in the Braves logo meant that by uprooting the team abruptly from a city named Buffalo, and changing the team’s name and logo brought down the wrath of the Great Spirit upon the City of Angels.

(There were also some articles out at the same time stating that the Clippers are not loved in L.A. and would be better off somewhere else).

Sure enough, soon after the original publication of the Simmons column and mine, the Clippers got the number one draft pick, and unlike the last time they had it, actually drafted the best player available—Blake Griffin of Oklahoma—promptly suffered a season ending injury before the first regular game was played.
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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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