Monday, February 28, 2011
I guess we need to check to see if Rose has eyes in the back of his head:
Although he excelled at cricket and soccer growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Patrick Aloysius Ewing rose from poor beginnings to become one of the 50 greatest players in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
After his parents immigrated to the United States, settling in Cambridge, Mass., Ewing, his brother and five sisters would follow four years later when family funds permitted.
In spite of a marked Jamaican accent, Ewing was determined to succeed academically since entering grade school, taking summer school classes and obtaining help from tutors to ensure his education would not stop at the high school level.
Ewing first shot a basketball in a neighborhood pick-up game at the age of 12, quickly learning the game as he grew to six feet six inches by eighth grade, drawing the attention of several prep basketball head coaches.
As a high school student at Cambridge’s Rindge and Latin School, Ewing led his team to three state championships and earned an invitation to try out for the 1980 Olympic Men’s Basketball Team when no other high school athlete had ever been invited.
Impressed to find a team coached by an African-American man, Ewing chose to attend the University of Georgetown, where John Thompson stressed that his best bet was a college education because a small percentage of college athletes make careers in professional sports.
Ewing’s junior year would be marked by the sudden death of his mother and the unplanned pregnancy of his high school sweetheart.
Nevertheless, Ewing turned down the endorsements and millions of dollars waiting for him in the NBA to keep the promise he made to his mother that he would graduate from college.
With Ewing patrolling the paint, the Hoyas reached the NCAA Championship Game three consecutive years, winning the title in 1984 as their imposing center captured the Outstanding Player of the Tournament Award.
During that same year, Ewing would also win Olympic gold as a member of the men’s basketball squad.
In 1985, the league instituted the first ever Draft Lottery to prevent teams from deliberately losing games to secure a better chance of obtaining Ewing, who was unanimously considered the draft’s grand prize.
The New York Knicks would end up winning the Lottery, and selected Ewing with the first overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.
Although injuries marred his first year in the league, Ewing was named the Rookie of the Year, averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game. In the seasons that followed, Ewing would come to be regarded as one of the premier centers in the league.
From 1988 to 1999, Ewing led the Knicks to 13 consecutive playoff appearances, four Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals appearance, while averaging better than 21 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per contest.
Over the course of 15 seasons, Ewing played in a franchise-record 1,039 games for the Knicks, the only player to play 1,000 games with the team.
As part of a seven-player deal, the Knicks shipped Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000, where he would play one season. He added another with the Orlando Magic before he announced his retirement on September 18, 2002.
On February 28, 2003, the 11-time All-Star’s jersey number (33) was retired by the Knicks in a grand ceremony at Madison Square Garden, officially going down as one of the greatest players in the franchise’s storied history.
Five years later, Ewing was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as an individual player, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 gold medal-winning United States Olympic Men’s Basketball “Dream Team”.
Ewing has been an assistant coach with the Magic for the past five seasons.
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
In an era when women and blacks were viewed as second-class citizens and were not considered qualified to compete at baseball’s highest level, Effa L. Manley became a pioneer by breaking down the national pastime’s racial barriers while hurdling the additional obstacle of gender bias.
Born on March 27, 1900 in Philadelphia, PA, Manley was raised in a household with a black stepfather and black half-siblings and chose to live as a black person despite having white biological parents.
Upon graduating from high school, Manley moved to New York, where she met her future husband, Abe Manley, during the 1932 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
"Babe Ruth made a baseball fan of me," Manley once said. "I used to go to Yankee Stadium just to see him come to bat."
After marrying in June of 1935, the Manleys started a Negro League team in Brooklyn later that year, naming the team the Eagles. However, when the Eagles were unable to compete with the Dodgers for fans, they bought the Newark Dodgers, a black semi-pro team, and moved the Eagles to Newark in 1936.
Though she had no prior financial experience, Effa assumed an active role as Eagles co-owner, taking over day-to-day business operations, arranging playing schedules, planning the team’s travel, purchasing equipment, negotiating contracts and handling publicity and promotion.
In the process, Manley became a staunch players' advocate, fighting for better salaries, better schedules and better travel accommodations.
Recognizing that the Eagles were a community resource, Manley was also a crusader and social activist for black civil rights, ensuring that the “team had an image of upholding the black community’s best standards.”
As part of her work for the Citizens' League for Fair Play, Manley organized a 1934 boycott of Harlem stores that refused to hire black salesclerks. After six weeks, the owners of the stores relented, and a year later 300 blacks were employed by stores on 125th Street.
Manley also served as the treasurer of the Newark chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), often using Eagles games to promote civic causes, including an “Anti-Lynching Day” at the team stadium.
Although described as “a sore sport in the NNL (National Negro League) setup” and consistently dogged by complaints that “baseball ain’t no place for a woman,” Manley would persevere, as the Eagles would go on to win the 1946 Negro League World Series under her management.
Despite Manley’s best efforts, the integration of Major League Baseball ultimately forced the Eagles to disband in 1948. Nevertheless, until her death in 1981, Manley devoted herself to keeping the history of Negro League baseball alive.
In 1976, Manley published Negro Baseball...Before Integration, which listed 73 players she felt were qualified for the Hall of Fame. She wrote numerous letters to the Baseball Hall of Fame and publications such as The Sporting News, urging recognition for the league and its players.
On February 27, 2006, Manley became the first woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. She was selected for induction by a special committee using new statistics from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues.
Manley is buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Calif. Her gravestone reads, “She loved baseball.”
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
The celebration on the other hand was well, "Conga Line":
Sunday, February 27, 2011
FantasyDrafthelp.com utilizes cutting-edge statistical methods in pursuit of fantasy sports value. Specifically, we use a statistic – our Ultimate Quantitative Baseline (UQB) – for baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, drag racing and NASCAR based on the concept of standard deviation from the mean. The linked explanation of the concept in Wikipedia is a bit complicated, but we include it to show the intellectual foundation of our work. What does it mean in simpler terms? Imagine, if you will, a spectrum from left to right, with zero in the middle of the spectrum. Numbers to the left of zero are negative, while numbers to the right of zero are positive. For each commonly utilized fantasy statistical category in a given sport (i.e. home runs in baseball), we calculate this standard deviation from the mean number, and then add up the numbers from all of the categories (making necessary adjustment) to find a composite score. In so doing, we measure production on a per-at bat or per-innings pitched basis in baseball or per-game or per-race basis in the other sports and NASCAR. This statistic allows you to measure proportionately how much some players help you in some categories (i.e. Carlos Pena’s home runs or Ichiro’s batting average) and exactly how much some players hurt you in some categories (i.e. Carlos Pena’s batting average or Ichiro’s home runs). While nothing that happens the previous season is a completely reliable predictor for the next season, this statistic offers the most accurate baseline possible in terms of measuring productivity.
These numbers represent the production of every player in 2010 to post a UQB number north of 300 – which is the benchmark of very good production on this system – with the exception of players with very small sample sizes. 750 is a perfect score on the UQB system for baseball.
1T Jose Bautista 750
1T Miguel Cabrera 750
1T Carlos Gonzalez 750
1T Josh Hamilton 750
1T Troy Tulowitzki 750
1T Joey Votto 750
7 Albert Pujols 697
8 Justin Morneau 665
9 Brett Gardner 649
10 Kevin Youkilis 640
11 Joe Mauer 627
12 Carlos Marmol 529
13 Carl Crawford 528
14 Nelson Cruz 522
15 Alex Rodriguez 515
16 Robinson Cano 510
17 Paul Konerko 508
18 Dan Uggla 506
19 Joakim Soria 466
20 Andrew Bailey 463
21 Heath Bell 462
22 Brian Wilson 458
23 Jayson Werth 415
24 Hanley Ramirez 406
25 Rafael Furcal 405
26 Buster Posey 404
27 Josh Johnson 401
28 Felix Hernandez 392
29 Mark Teixeira 390
30 Rajai Davis 389
31 Ian Kinsler 388
32 John Jaso 384
33 Evan Longoria 378
34 Chase Utley 376
35 Daniel Hudson 372
36 Adam Wainwright 371 *** OUT FOR THE 2011 SEASON
37 Delmon Young 365
38 Mariano Rivera 361
39T Roy Halladay 359
39T Corey Hart 359
39T Victor Martinez 359
42T Magglio Ordonez 352
42T Juan Pierre 352
44 Dustin Pedroia 350
45 Clay Buchholz 349
46 Billy Butler 343
47T Matt Holliday 337
47T BJ Upton 337
49 Ryan Braun 334
50 Ryan Howard 325
51 Colby Rasmus 322
52T Mike Napoli 319
52T Juan Uribe 319
54T Carlos Ruiz 315
54T Rickie Weeks 315
56T Aubrey Huff 314
56T Geovany Soto 314
58 Ryan Zimmerman 312
59T Martin Prado 310
59T Drew Stubbs 310
61 David Ortiz 309
62 Adam Dunn 308
63 Carlos Quentin 307
64T Roy Oswalt 306
64T Will Venable 306
66 Omar Infante 305
67 Matt Latos 304
68 Adrian Beltre 301
During the Carling Cup final between Arsenal and Birmingham, the score was tied at the 89th minute and appeared destined for extra time.
Then a freak play between Arsenal's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny gave Birmingham's Obafemi Martins an open shot which gave Birmingham it's first league title since 1963:
Compared to Gale Sayers, Roger Craig and Thurman Thomas coming out of San Diego State University, Marshall William Faulk would live up to the hype by becoming the most versatile running back in National Football League history.
Born on Feb. 26, 1973 in New Orleans, La., Faulk, the youngest of six boys, was raised in the Desire Housing Projects, one of the most crime-ravaged, oppressed projects in the United States.
Nevertheless, while many of his childhood friends fell into crime and drugs, with some dying early violent deaths, Faulk turned to football at the age of seven while his mother worked odd jobs to support her sons.
"My mom didn't have a profession,” Faulk told Sports Illustrated. “Her profession was her kids."
Although he ran into some trouble as a youth, getting kicked out of three elementary schools, Faulk was increasingly drawn to football, which became a passion by the time he entered George Washington Carver High School.
After lettering in track and excelling on the football field, especially at the running back and defensive back positions, Faulk received a plethora of college scholarship offers, with most recruiters expressing a desire for him to play defensive back.
However, Faulk preferred to play on the offensive side of the ball. So when San Diego State emerged as the only school to offer him a running back position, Faulk couldn’t resist the opportunity.
In only the second game of his collegiate career, Faulk racked up 386 rushing yards on 37 carries and scored seven touchdowns, serving as the prelude to one of the most prolific freshman seasons in NCAA history.
Faulk would complete his freshman campaign with 1,429 yards rushing and 23 total touchdowns (21 rushing). His exploits would earn him a spot on the Associated Press All-American Team—just the third freshman to receive the honor—and the second highest finish for a freshman in Heisman Trophy voting annals.
His stellar sophomore and junior years, seasons in which he finished second and fourth in the Heisman Trophy vote respectively, were sufficient motivation for Faulk to forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 1994 NFL Draft, where he was selected with the second overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts.
Faulk’s impact on the Colts, and the NFL, was immediate, becoming the first player in league history to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and the Pro Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Award in the same season.
In his second season with Indianapolis, Faulk rushed for 1,078 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns on his way to helping the Colts come within one game of going to the Super Bowl and playing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl.
Although injuries would result in a sub-par 1996 season, Faulk would rush for over 1,000 yards in each of the next two seasons, including 1,319 rushing yards, 86 receptions for 906 yards, and 2,227 total yards from scrimmage in 1998, the first of a record four consecutive 2,000-plus total-yard seasons.
Strained relations with head coach Jim Mora would result in a trade to the St. Louis Rams in 1999, where Faulk’s talents would be fully showcased in a Rams’ spread offense formation that came to be known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
Similar to his rookie season in Indianapolis, Faulk’s addition paid instant dividends for the Rams as he became only the second player in NFL history (after Roger Craig) to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a season. In addition, Faulk set a league record with 2,429 total yards from scrimmage, which has since been broken by Chris Johnson.
The 1999 season would also see St. Louis defeat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV after finishing last in the NFC West the previous season.
The following year would be Faulk’s best one as a professional, as he won the NFL MVP Award and the Offensive Player of the Year Award while becoming the first running back in league history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons (three in Indianapolis and twice in St. Louis).
The Rams returned to the Super Bowl in the 2001 season, though they would lose to the New England Patriots in what would be the climax of Faulk’s career.
After rushing for a career-high 1,382 yards, catching 83 passes for 765 yards, totaling 2,147 yards from scrimmage and scoring 21 touchdowns, Faulk won the Offensive Player of the Year Award for the third consecutive season.
Injuries and age would catch up with Faulk as 2001 was the last of his 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and though he remained the Rams' lead running back in successive years, Faulk was well past his prime, despite remaining a respected and effective player.
Faulk would announce his retirement from football on March 26, 2007, ranking 10th in rushing yards (12,279), first in receiving yards (6,875), third in yards from scrimmage (19,154), second in receptions (767) and second in receiving touchdowns (36) among running backs.
To further add credibility to his legacy, Faulk is also one of three players (Marcus Allen, Tiki Barber) to amass 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a career, as well as the only one to have 12,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving.
On Feb. 5, 2011, Faulk was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
"To talk about the great backs and not include him is a mistake," Dick Vermeil, former coach of the Rams, once told Sports Illustrated. "I've been around some great players, and he's better—he’s an elite player."
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
“I don’t have a mark on my face and I upset Sonny Liston and I just turned 22 years old; I must be the greatest!”
Those were the immortal words uttered by Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on Feb. 25, 1964 in Miami, Fla., fresh off upsetting a heavily favored Sonny Liston to win the World Heavyweight Championship of professional boxing.
By dethroning the reigning champion, Clay became the youngest man to win the heavyweight title, a distinction he would own for over twenty years until Mike Tyson burst onto the scene.
Four years removed from winning a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome as a light heavyweight, Clay became the top contender to Liston’s title by amassing a record of 19-0 with 15 knockouts.
Light on his feet and quick with his hands, Clay was an unconventional heavyweight who brimmed with confidence even after being knocked down in his two fights prior to facing Liston, whose penchant for early-round knockouts had already become legendary.
However, the Louisville, Ky. native defied most boxing experts by confounding the lumbering champion with a dazzling array of blinding combinations and fancy footwork.
By the end of the sixth round, Liston’s right eye was severely swollen and his left eye was significantly compromised due to a cut.
Complaining of a shoulder injury, Liston shockingly failed to answer the bell for the seventh round, giving Clay the victory by technical knockout (TKO), and ushering in a new era in boxing.
The week after the fight, Clay, who had joined the Nation of Islam, would change his name to Muhammad Ali and go on to achieve international superstardom for standing tall in the ring and standing up for what he believed out of it.
After defeating Liston in a rematch via second-round TKO in 1965 and subsequently defending the Heavyweight Championship eight times, Ali was stripped of the title and had his boxing license suspended in 1967 for refusing to serve in the United States Army during the Vietnam War due to his religious beliefs.
Ali’s refusal to serve in the Army resulted in a jury finding him guilty of a felony that was punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
For this stance, Ali would lose three prime years of his professional boxing career as the appeals process was being litigated.
However, during this period sentiment against the Vietnam War and support for Ali increased proportionately.
With the help of a Georgia senator, Ali was allowed to resume his career in 1970, and it was in this second stage of his career that Ali cemented his status as one of greatest fighters in boxing history.
Ali’s trilogy of fights with Joe Frazier, more specifically, the first dubbed "The Fight of the Century" and the last named "The Thrilla in Manila", as well as his upset victory over George Foreman in a bout famously known as "The Rumble in the Jungle", reestablished Ali’s technical brilliance and transformed him into a global icon who transcended the sport.
When Ali retired in 1981, he had defeated every top heavyweight boxer of his era and was one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
Ali walked away from the squared circle with a career record of 56-5, with 37 of those victories coming by way of knockout.
And despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, Ali has remained an active and beloved public figure to this day.
Forty-six years ago, Ali boldly declared he was the greatest when he defeated Sonny Liston after many had doubted he could even go the distance with the feared brawler.
Now Ali and the nickname "The Greatest" are completely and unequivocally synonymous with one another.
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Although she suffered a season-ending injury in the penultimate game of her college basketball career, Nykesha Simone Sales left the University of Connecticut (UConn) as the Huskies’ all-time leading scorer.
In her first three seasons, Sales helped lead UConn to a NCAA Championship and two Elite Eight appearances, while winning the Rookie of the Year Award in her freshman campaign and Big East Player of the Year honors during her junior season.
Sales also distinguished herself on the defensive end of the court, capturing the Defensive Player of the Year Award in a stellar junior campaign as well.
As she evolved into a more prolific scoring threat, UConn’s all-time scoring record, held by Kerry Bascom, was within reach at the start of Sales’ senior season.
However, needing only two points to break Bascom’s seven-year mark, Sales’ collegiate playing career ended when she tore her Achilles tendon with one game left to play in the regular season.
But feeling remorseful that Sales didn’t already have the record, as he had to bench her to avoid running up the score in a multitude of games, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma drew up a play to make it up to his All-American forward.
Upon obtaining approval from Villanova head coach Harry Perretta, UConn’s season finale opponent, the Big East Commissioner and Kerry Bascom, Sales was allowed to hobble on to the court at the start of the game to make an uncontested layup, giving her 2,178 career points and the UConn all-time scoring record.
"Honest to God, if she [Bascom] would have said, 'Coach, I mean, that's not right.' Then it would have been over," Auriemma would later say.
UConn returned the favor by permitting Villanova to score an uncontested layup of its own, so that serious play would begin with the score tied at 2-2.
But what was supposed to be a celebrated event came under tremendous scrutiny when many sports columnists argued that Sales’ basket violated the integrity of the game.
The basket became even more controversial when ESPN The Magazine discovered Sales had been incorrectly credited with two extra points in a previous game at Seton Hall.
Nevertheless, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, Seton Hall announced they wouldn’t alter the box score of the game, thus keeping Sales’ point total at 2,178.
Similarly, Sales showed the same type of respect to the woman whose record she broke, choosing to wear #42 on her jersey coming out of high school instead of asking to wear the #24 jersey that Bascom wore at UConn.
Sales would go on to become a six-time WNBA All-Star for the Orlando Miracle, later the Connecticut Sun, leading the team to the WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005.
Until she missed 12 games in the 2006 season, Sales had started 248 consecutive regular season games, the second longest such streak in WNBA history.
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
“Movin’ on up, to the eastside…”
Carmelo Anthony is now a New York Knick, playing in the city that he grew up in and has been dying to play for since the Lakers ended the 2009-10 season. Not to be shown up with that move, the New Jersey Nets pulled off a stunning swap and nabbed Utah Jazz franchise star, Deron Williams.
These changes illustrates both teams need to improve quickly and become a squad that must be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
Yet, did both teams come out their deals smelling like roses or could these transactions make them wilt in a year or two?
Here’s the complete breakdown of the Anthony trade (this was a three team trade involving the Minnesota Timberwolves):
F Carmelo Anthony
G Chauncey Billups
F Corey Brewer
F/G Renaldo Balkman
F/C Shelden Williams
G Anthony Carter
F Danilo Gallinari
G Raymond Felton
C Timofey Mozgov
F//G Wilson Chandler
Knicks 2014 1st Rounder
Two Second Round Picks
$3 Million Cash
C Eddy Curry
F/C Anthony Randolph
$3 Million Cash
For now, the Timberwolves will be excluded from this discussion (along with the fact that they receive little to nothing in the trade except money, an underdeveloped, big man in Randolph and the expiring contract of Curry).
The Knicks gave up most of their youth to get proven commodities. Anthony is a top ten player in the league who believes nothing can stop him from putting the ball in the hoop. He accomplishes this in multiple ways on the offensive end, a unique ability that no one on the New York team has. The attention he garners from the opposition will give Amar’e Stoudemire more space in the middle to flush dunks.
Billups is a battle-tested point guard who thrives off late game situations. While Felton will have more upside and continue to improve with more years in the league (he’s 26), he will never reach the merits that Billups has gotten throughout his career. With Anthony and Stoudemire monopolizing all the attention, the 34-year-old point guard won’t have to work hard to get open shots in Madison Square Garden.
Where the Knicks will hurt more is with their role players and their bench. Brewer will be a spark off the bench, but after him the options are thin. Balkman, Williams, and Carter are all averaging less than 17 minutes per game this season and will be asked to do more in New York.
The Nuggets will lose a cornerstone piece and his sidekick in Anthony and Billups, but now have a nice foundation to reconstruct their future. Felton (26), Mozgov (24), Chandler (23), and Gallinari (22) will be key components within that outlook. They will team up with many of their current young prospects (Aaron Afflalo and J.R. Smith are both 25 and Ty Lawson is 23) and their established stars (Nene Hilario, Kenyon Martin), making this one of the deepest teams in the West.
Despite that, nine role players will not win you a championship. Not to mention that having a player of Anthony’s caliber comes around once every ten to fifteen years, that’s if you are lucky (google the Nuggets history and check their star players). New York has been praying for redemption of historic greatness, and now have that in Stoudemire and Anthony.
Advantage: New York
Here’s the deal between the Nets and the Jazz:
New Jersey Gets:
G Deron Williams
F Brandan Wright
C Dan Gadzuric
G Devin Harris
PF Derrick Favors
Nets 2011 1st Rounder
Warriors 2012 1st Rounder
Golden State Gets:
F Troy Murphy
(Similar to the Anthony trade, this discussion will not include the Golden State Warriors.)
Williams joins a situation that is different from Anthony; he is now on a team that is nine games out of the playoff hunt. He does have a potent weapon in C Brook Lopez, who is only 22 and could develop into a counterpart that resembles the old Utah years with Carlos Boozer for a post option.
The Nets get a superstar who is third in the category of best all-around point guards (behind Chris Paul and Derrick Rose). They also finally acquire that centerpiece to build a team around in Williams. Since their last appearance in the 2003 NBA Finals with their Jason Kidd-led team, the Nets have been in need of a first tier player to return to greatness.
If Wright can ever stay healthy, get consistent playing time and regain the supreme talent that made him a top prospect at North Carolina, he could be the steal of this trade for the Nets. The Warriors were skeptical about keeping a player on board with so much promise in F Ekpe Udoh, but their loss is the Nets gain. Gadzuric is picked up because of his expiring contract.
Utah understood that when Jerry Sloan left, their franchise would have to detour in a new direction. Getting rid of Williams was in their future scheme, but premature in its timing.
Harris is a speedy point guard who can zip around the court, as if he’s built with light speed. Utah will most likely pattern their offense into an uptempo, up-and-down style team that fits the way their new point guard plays. While he doesn’t have the size or the range that Williams is armed with, he does have a great feel for the game and can distribute the ball just as well as the top point guards in the league.
Like Wright, Favors could end up being the jackpot of this move for the Jazz. At the age of nineteen, this forward has the body type and raw talent that could make him an impact big man within the next five years. Surrounding him with the likes of Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, and Andrei Kirilenko will help him fine tune his game steadily instead of stunting his growth by playing him big minutes as an under-developed post player.
The other possible big payoff down the road may be the two first round picks. New Jersey’s will most likely remain a lottery pick in the 2011 Draft. They will also have their pick, which could possibly also get lottery draw, giving them a chance to land two top ten picks this year. They may have that same situation in 2012, with the Warriors pick in hand with their own next season.
New Jersey will love having Williams be the face of the team, but with the length of his tenure in doubt(he could become a free agent after next season), it’s hard to imagine a player of that caliber sticking around if he doesn’t have the right parts around him. The promise of Favors and the two picks in the next two years is too appetizing to not like if you are the Jazz, but getting Harris in the deal is the cherry that tops the cake.
Advantage: Utah Jazz
Despite the contradiction of who won and lost in these moves, the Nets and the Knicks are as happy as Kenny Smith when Blake Griffin won the NBA Slam Dunk contest. Both teams get a significant star that are icons in the NBA.
Owners James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov have got to be dancing like George Jefferson with their new acquisitions and singing a new tune in their mind…
“We’re movin’ on up…”
During his celebration, some of the fans tried to push past the stands barricade and ended up falling onto the field:
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Throughout his 20-year career in the National Basketball Association, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s trademark sky hook was virtually untouchable, much like the records he held upon his retirement in 1989.
But since his early years growing up in New York City, Abdul-Jabbar was destined to secure his place among basketball royalty.
In high school, Abdul-Jabbar, known as Lew Alcindor, Jr. before converting to Sunni Islam, led Power Memorial Academy, to a 71-game winning streak, a 79-2 overall record and three consecutive New York City Catholic championships.
At UCLA, under the tutelage of head coach John Wooden, Alcindor would be equally dominant, twice winning the College Player of the Year Award (1967, 1969), earning three First Team All-American honors (1967-1969) and becoming the first Naismith College Player of the Year (1969).
With Alcindor anchoring the middle, the Bruins’ three-year record was an astounding 88-2, and the team would win three straight NCAA Championships with Alcindor as the Most Outstanding Player in each Tournament.
During his sophomore season at UCLA, Alcindor boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics, deciding not to join the Men’s Basketball Team to protest the unequal treatment of African-Americans in the United States.
When Alcindor’s college basketball days were over, he owned a number of records at UCLA that have stood the test of time, including highest season scoring average (29.0), highest career scoring average (26.4) and most points in a single game (61).
Not surprisingly, Alcindor was the first overall pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA Draft and the first overall pick of the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association (ABA) Draft. In addition, Alcindor was offered $1 million to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Ultimately though, Alcindor chose to play for the Bucks, who outbid the Nets for his services after coming off a season in which they finished an abysmal 27-55.
The addition of Alcindor would pay immediate dividends for Milwaukee as the team won 29 more games to lay claim to second place in the league’s Eastern Division. Alcindor was the overwhelming choice for Rookie of the Year, averaging 28.8 points and 14.5 rebounds per game.
The following season, Milwaukee added Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson to the roster, which propelled the talent-laden Bucks to 66 victories during the 1970-71 season and their first, and only, NBA Championship. The season would also turn out to be one of individual dominance for Alcindor, winning the scoring title (31.7 ppg), his first of six Most Valuable Player Awards and the NBA Finals MVP Award.
On May 1, 1971, the day after the Bucks won the NBA championship, Alcindor adopted the Muslim name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, its Arabic translation roughly meaning "generous/noble (Kareem), servant of (Abdul) the mighty/stern one (Jabbar) [i.e., of God]."
Over the next three seasons, Abdul-Jabbar continued to be the main reason why Milwaukee remained a perennial NBA powerhouse, all while capturing two more MVP Awards.
However, at his request, the Bucks traded Abdul-Jabbar to the Los Angeles Lakers because, culturally and socially, Milwaukee was no longer a good fit for the generation’s next legendary center.
"Live in Milwaukee? No, I guess you could say I exist in Milwaukee," Abdul-Jabbar said in a early magazine interview.
"I am a soldier hired for service and I will perform that service well. Basketball has given me a good life, but this town has nothing to do with my roots. There's no common ground."
In two out of his first three seasons with the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar would win his fourth and record-tying fifth MVP Awards, but when the team selected Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson with the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, a dynasty began taking shape with Abdul-Jabbar as its centerpiece.
With the tandem of Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, the Lakers would go on to become the most dominant team of the 80’s, appearing in eight NBA Finals and winning five NBA championships.
Individually, although past his prime, Abdul-Jabbar continued his assault on the league record books, winning his sixth MVP Award in 1980, replacing Elvin Hayes as the all-time leader in games played on Feb. 23, 1986 and surpassing Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA’s all-time scoring leader in 1984.
When he officially retired in 1989 after 20 seasons, Abdul-Jabbar had 19 All-Star Game appearances, 10 All-NBA First Team selections, six NBA championships, six MVP Awards and two Finals MVP Awards under his belt, to go along with career averages of 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
During his final season, Abdul-Jabbar was given standing ovations in every single game he played, and was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
That crush is Ellen DeGeneres and here is their interview on the Ellen Show:
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Utah linebacker Timote Nai Fotu was pulled over last weekend for doing just that and we have the glorious dash cam video to prove it:
(Courtesy of Kegs and Eggs)
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
This day in black sports history marks the fourth anniversary of the sudden and tragic passing of a man Larry Bird called “best I ever played with” and whom Earvin 'Magic’ Johnson lauded as “the best backcourt defender of all-time.”
These poignant words represent a mere microcosm of how respected Dennis Wayne Johnson was, and still is, throughout the National Basketball Association.
Born the eighth of sixteen children on Sept. 18, 1954 in Compton, Johnson, who lacked the size and talent to compete with his peers in high school, excelled on the street basketball circuit while working several odd jobs upon his graduation.
Johnson’s defensive skills and “rocket launcher legs”, which enabled him to snare rebounds against taller competition, garnered notice from the head coach at Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC), who encouraged Johnson to enroll at the public community college.
Johnson promptly quit his jobs and matriculated at LAHC, where he developed into a promising young guard, averaging 18.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game as he led the team to a junior college state title.
At the end of his career at LAHC, Johnson accepted a scholarship offer to play at Pepperdine University, developing a reputation for tough defense and averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in his only year in college.
Despite disciplinary issues at LAHC, where he got kicked off the team three times in two years, and with only one year of college basketball under his belt, Johnson was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 29th overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft.
After one season as a back-up shooting guard, Hall of Fame head coach Lenny Wilkens inserted Johnson into the starting rotation to play alongside Gus Williams, and the duo became a major part of the reason the SuperSonics would play in two consecutive NBA Finals against the Washington Bullets.
The Sonics wound up on the short end of the stick of a seven-game thriller in 1978, in which Johnson set the record for most blocks in Finals history for a guard (7).
However, redemption would come the following season as Seattle defeated the Bullets in five games. Johnson was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, averaging 22.6 points, six rebounds and six assists per game.
During his four-year stint with the Sonics, Johnson established himself as one of the best guards in the league, earning two of his five All-Star selections and two All-Defensive First Team honors.
Before the 1980-81 season, Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where he became a more versatile scorer while remaining a backcourt defensive stalwart.
In his three years as a Sun, Johnson averaged 17.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists, while leading Phoenix to the Western Conference Semifinals in two consecutive seasons as the team’s main scorer. This span would also see Johnson play in two more All-Star Games while being voted on to three consecutive All-Defensive First Teams.
Johnson’s next seven seasons were spent with the Boston Celtics, which he described as “a dream come true”.
As a playmaking point guard this time, Johnson was the engineer of a Celtics team that featured Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, and won two NBA Championships in three seasons (1984, 1986).
At the time of his retirement in 1990, Johnson played in 1,100 of a possible 1,148 games during his 14-year NBA career, and was only the 11th player in league history to amass more than 15,000 points and 5,000 assists.
On December 13, 1991, the Celtics franchise retired Johnson’s No. 3 jersey at the old Boston Garden.
However, Johnson would not live to receive the ultimate honor of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, suffering a fatal heart attack on February 22, 2007. Johnson’s death was met with shock throughout the entire league.
Three years later though, Johnson would be posthumously elected into the Hall of Fame.
Among others, current Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called him one of "the most underrated players of all time [...] and one of the greatest Celtics acquisitions", and one-time rival Bill Laimbeer called him "a great player on a great ballclub".
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
While most were working on trying to prove their stamina through a sand drill, some of them should have been more worried about the guy in the gorilla suit trying to prank them:
(Courtesy of Off The Bench)
Monday, February 21, 2011
Although in the twilight of his career, with nothing left to prove, Michael Jeffrey Jordan continued his assault on the National Basketball Association’s record books.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Wilmington, N.C., Jordan was motivated to prove his worth since he failed to make his high school’s varsity basketball team as a sophomore.
So upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, it should come as no surprise that Jordan tallied approximately 20 points per game over his final two seasons of play, including averaging a triple-double—29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists—during his senior season.
After accepting a scholarship offer to play at the University of North Carolina, Jordan went on to average 17.7 points and five rebounds per game over the course of three seasons. In the process, Jordan was named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman of the Year and won the Naismith and Wooden College Player of the Year Awards for his junior season exploits.
Jordan gave up his final year of eligibility to enter the 1984 NBA Draft, where he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick after Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets) and Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers).
For the 15 seasons he played in the NBA, Jordan would prove that the Rockets and Trail Blazers missed the mark with each All-Star Game he made (14), each Most Valuable Player Award he won (five) and each Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy he brought back to the Windy City (six).
From 1991 to 1998, the Bulls would win the NBA title every season that Jordan was playing. The only two years Chicago didn’t lay claim to the championship (1994, 1995), was when Jordan temporarily retired to pursue a career in baseball.
Jordan would walk away from the game a second time after leading the Bulls to their second three-peat in eight years, further affirming his status as the greatest player in league history.
Two years later, Jordan returned to the NBA as part-owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards, which would only stoke the competitive flames that still burned within.
As a result, Jordan returned to play for the Wizards the following season, in which he led the team in scoring (22.9 ppg), assists (5.2 apg) and steals (1.42 spg).
The 2002-03 season would be Jordan’s last, as advancing age and nagging injuries finally caught up with “greatest basketball player of all-time,” but he would depart with a flourish.
Playing in his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game, Jordan scored 20 points to become the all-time leading scorer in All-Star Game history.
For an encore, on Feb. 21, 2003, Jordan became the oldest player to score 40 points or more in a game, when he lit up the New Jersey Nets for 43 points in an 89-86 Wizards victory.
In a testament to his love of the game, Jordan was the only Washington player to play all 82 games that season, averaging 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.
After tributes were paid to him throughout the league, Jordan played his final game on April 16, 2003 in Philadelphia.
Jordan went to the bench in the third quarter after scoring only 13 points and with the Wizards trailing the Philadelphia 76ers, 75–56.
The fourth quarter would see Jordan re-enter the game for a 50-second stint to sink the final free throws of his career. Subsequently, when he returned to the bench, Jordan would receive a three-minute standing ovation from his teammates, the Sixers team, the officials and the capacity crowd at the First Union Center.
His legacy secured, the ultimate form of acknowledgment would come from one of Jordan’s legendary peers who once said:
"There's Michael Jordan and then there is the rest of us." – Earvin 'Magic’ Johnson
Click here to read the original article at Examiner.com.
The below clip comes to us from the world of college hockey where Denver University faced off against Montana Tech.
With Denver up by one in the second period, Denver freshman David Makowski hit possibly one of the longest short-handed in hockey history:
(Courtesy of NESN.com)
^ Beware the installation of new systems in the NFL in 2011 with a looming lockout likely to imperil at least some of the lead-up to the next season. Keep in mind how much everyone speaks of the league being on a year-round basis these days, with minicamps and offseason workouts and training sessions. Now consider that players may be missing all of these learning opportunities, as well as part or all of training camp itself – by far the most important of all educational sessions. Skill-position players being asked to learn new schemes and nomenclature this season face the odds of being way behind their peers who have the fortune to be in a more stable situation presently.
^ While the league has been moving away from the concept of a dominant lead back on most teams since at least about 2005, the increasing viability of two RB starters from the same team (i.e. LT/Greene, Charles/TJ, Bradshaw/Jacobs) really took off in 2010. Pairing two of these together is inadvisable under all but the most extreme circumstances, but you may find yourself on an increasing basis playing one team’s back and facing an opponent starting that RB’s counterpart.
^ While it is still wise to fear having a star WR who gets double-teamed because his fellow receivers are quite lame, the examples of R White and Bowe this year show that the fear can be overblown.
^ Many new WRs presented themselves in 2010 as viable starters in 2-WR leagues: S Johnson, Lloyd, Nicks, Maclin, M Williams-TB.
^ What looked to be the best fantasy year for tight ends perhaps in NFL history proved to be quite disappointing, as some failed to live up to expectations due to injury (Clark and Finley) and others just fell off the map in terms of their place in the offense (Celek). Only M. Lewis stepped up to offset this unfortunate trend.
Do you know what your body type is? Do you know of any handy websites regarding this subject? Do you have problems getting clothes to fit you?