Posts Tagged ‘Isiah Thomas’

What happens when you’re young stays with you forever

November 4, 2008

In the early 1970’s, the fact is, ‘Mr. Clutch’ was the first favourite NBA player of this corner …

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Jerry West still is a reluctant sports hero
West can best be described as one of the most conflicted legendary sports heroes of our time. He is a man who has had a lifetime of success in nearly all facets and has never been comfortable with that.

Part of that might hark back to the third nickname, the one he likes the least: “Zeke from Cabin Creek.” That was placed on him by other players from bigger cities when he arrived in the NBA in 1960, the second pick of the draft and perhaps a comparative hick. He had been an All-American at West Virginia, and nobody questioned his basketball credentials. Nobody but him, that is.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the pros,” he said back then.

As the second-youngest of six children growing up in the relative poverty of Cheylan, W.Va., and learning his basketball craft mostly alone on muddy outdoor courts with cheap hoops, West couldn’t have been less prepared for something like Los Angeles.

“Cabin Creek was about a mile away,” he said, elaborating with a snapshot of life in the ’50s in a coal mining state. “That’s where we got our mail. I’d run there and back. Maybe that’s why I was in such good shape to play basketball. I remember running past Wade’s Pool Hall on a Saturday morning. You could tell how wild a time the coal miners had had the night before by how many of the windows were broken out.”

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While time and increased maturity have succeeded in developing an increased appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the game of terrific players like, e.g. The Great Bill Russell, the ‘Big O’, Kareem, Dr. J, the ‘Moutain Man’, Magic & Bird [because they will forever be linked together], Isiah, MJ, Hakeem, Duncan, etc., it can never overshadow what it meant to these young eyes, late at night, watching on a grainy black & white TV a certain player, wearing #44, who just kept hitting big shot after big shot, in an effort to help his team win a rather silly game, played the Right Way, in short pants with a round ball and an elevated basket.

Although time marches on … you can never ever replace THAT.

It’s baaaack …

October 28, 2008

Raptors unveil … a new way to make money for MLSE

September 26, 2008

Unlike some others in the hoops’ blogosphere …

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Black is the new Red: Raptors unveil new third jersey
Olympic medalists Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon unveiled the Raptor’s alternate road uniform Thursday at Air Canada Centre in front of fans, guests and some guy named Matt Devlin. They look pretty slick.

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for this corner, keeping this franchise solidly IN THE BLACK … majorly in the BLACK, in fact, to the Raptuous Tune of Big-Time profits … is all it’s been about for the Dinos, since the shift in ownership, several years ago, from the original John Bitove/Isiah Thomas group to the all-encompassing conglomerate control of the parent company known as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment [MLSE].

In terms of black unis, to these eyes, this style belongs, first and foremost, to the original San Antonio Spurs, then les infants terribles Orlando Magic, and best of all to the 6-time World Champions, Chicago Bulls, of a different completely era.

In today’s game, however … when organizations like the Lakers and the Pistons and the Celtics [etc.] – historically talented and championship-worthy NBA teams – are choosing to keep their focus on things like winning and tradition, this corner takes particular note … in sharp constrast to some other otpp-rich-and-larry-come-lately-wannabee outfits, without a single appearance in an NBA Finals to their credit yet, but a slew of less-than-.500 finishes, and a number of seasons with 1st Round Playoff exits … who seem most intent, not on doing what’s necessary to build a championship calibre NBA team, down-the-road for this franchise … e.g. like acquiring the best available young talent [i.e. Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge or Rudy Gay, in the 2006 NBA Draft] with considerable upside for their roster … but on making the MOST MOOLA possible, for their ownership group, while distributing an insidious and lethal does of treadmill-status-camoflaging Kool-Aid to their rabid fan base, year after year after year after …  

IT SIMPLY MAKES THIS STOMACH WANT TO WRETCH. 

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Black is NOT the new Red for the Toronto Raptors.
Far from it.

BLACK is simply the colour it’s been ‘about’ for this ‘outfit’ since that ownership transfer took place, behind closed doors … only difference is, now it’s also on full public display, merchandising style, for everyone else to see for themselves.

New York State of Mind

September 26, 2008

This corner, for one, Truly, Madly, Deeply believes in & respects the fundamental human dignity of Stephon Xavier Marbury … as evidenced in this interview, from yesterday, with Bruce Beck:

Marbury Speaks Out About Future With Knicks

[on a bigger picture]

“First of all, I would just like to say how good God is, how good he’s been to me, whereas talking about being waived this year … it’s nothing … because being in this peaceful place [as a state-of-mind-and-body-and-spirit] … it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me … and, Playing basketball, it’s so small, you know, it’s a bigger, bigger picture going on, as far as me being waived and if I’m gonna be here and all of the speculation … at the end of the day, I wanna play basketball, so it doesn’t matter if I’m waived or not.”

[on the correct framework for success]

“I’ve worked extremely hard, I worked out six months straight, you know, I dedicated myself to gettin back in the best shape of my life, I’m 200 lbs, I’m 7.5 body fat, uhmm … I’m eating right, I’m living right, I’m doing all of the things, I’m doing all of the things that I’m supposed to do to put myself in the situation where I can come out and be a dominant force … I’m mentally right, physically right, spiritually right … I’m inclined with myself, I’m in tune with what I have to do on the basketball court … I mean, I’m ready to play basketball, and it doesn’t where.”

[on when & what to fight]

“I felt like I have a lot to prove … you know, a lot of people have said that I can’t play anymore, you know, you have reporters walkin around with no spirit, sayings things about me that aren’t true, and they can say those things because they’re not, they don’t feel anything within themselves, so you know, when I hear the things that they’re saying, I’m like, wow, that’s malicious, you know to say these things about me and to talk about me the way that they’ve been talkin about me, it’s wrong … so for me, the only thing I can fight is principalities, I can’t fight people.”

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Yes, it’s a long interview … at 13+ minutes.
Watch it all for yourself.

Laugh if you will, but … to these ears, heart, and mind … there’s an awful lot to genuinely like about this young man.

Hopefully he will find a place to ply his trade this season.

No human being is perfect, or can ever come close to reaching that standard … BUT each and everyone of us deserves a second chance … and a third, and a fourth, and fifth, and a sixth, etc., etc., etc.

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IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

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Doing the best that you can do, at all times, is the best that you can hope for and achieve.

NBA owner No. 1

September 5, 2008

In so many different ways … and, crucially, some of THE ones which matter most …

(for example)

* I depend, 100%, on the people who are in charge of whatever they’re in charge of. And nobody has run the Pistons better than Joe [Dumars].

* The reason I get rid of a coach is if he’s lost the players. I don’t want to subject my players to a coach they don’t want, basically and in whom they have lost faith.

* I’ve been living with this for 30 years or more, I don’t see color. I don’t distinguish color anymore, which is a good thing. Thirty years ago, I might have. But by being with the players, getting to know them, if you asked me do we have a white player on the team, I couldn’t tell you — well, I could tell you, but it wouldn’t make any difference. I get to know the personality much more than the color of the skin. Color means nothing.

Bill Davidson

Bill Davidson

this Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee [2008] fits the Bill Laimbeer to a tee.

Aptly described as “honest, direct, self-assured, and charming” by Mitch Albom, this is the first extensive interview this correspondent can recall by the octogenarian owner of the Pistons and the Shock.

And, it’s a beaut.

Bill Davidson Speaks … on Isiah, Laimbeer, Joe D., Rasheed, Race, He who is not what he appears to be, Carlisle, Flip, Curry, NBA Owners, NBA Referees, Hugh Evans, tips of icebergs, the City of Detroit, Politics & Business, the Commish, etc.

Yet another ALL-TIME CLASSIC!