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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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      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

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      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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