Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

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The ONLY Airness there ever will be…

December 16, 2008

Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James have one thing in common… they’ve all been dubbed the “Next Michael Jordan” at one point in their lives. And there will be more young phenoms with that label thrust upon them.

It’s safe to say that none of the above have lived up to that tag, not because they weren’t skilled or were busts in the NBA. It’s simply because there will never be another Michael Jordan.

“By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”—Introductory line of Jordan’s NBA Encyclopedia biography

As if the above quote is not enough to summarize Jordan’s excellency in the pantheons of NBA greats, I guess I will share some statistics:

Led the NBA in scoring in 10 seasons (NBA record)

Holds the top career and playoff scoring averages of 30.1 and 33.4 points per game

Jordan’s total of 5,987 points in the playoffs is the highest in NBA history

With five regular-season MVP’s (tied for second all-time)

Six Finals MVP’s (NBA record)

Three All-Star MVP’s

Michael was known for his fierce competitiveness, and intense desire to win. It was made most apparent the day he punched a teammate in practice, because he demands the best not only from himself, but out of everyone on his team.

His unwillingness to lose has made many memorable moments, from his game-winning jumper as a Freshman at UNC in the NCAA Championship game, to his buzzer-beater jump shot in 1989 to beat Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Semis, to his 1997 performance in the NBA finals when he was stricken with the flu and still managed to score 38 points including the game-deciding three-pointer with under a minute remaining, to his final shot as a Chicago Bull in Game 6 of the 1998 Finals where he drained a shot that gave the Bulls the lead and their 6th NBA Championship.

There were also countless Jordan moments that are too long to list here. His dazzling skills on the court were unmatched by anyone in the history of the NBA. Sure, LeBron might have better jumps, Kobe might have a better scoring touch, or whoever else… but none of them had the ENTIRE package of skills Jordan had.

Which leads to my request, err… rather more of an order, please STOP saying there will be a next Jordan, because there never will be. PERIOD.

From North Carolina… at 6’6″, Guard… Number 23… MICHAEL JORDAN!

His Airness

His Airness

~Runteldat~

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The Legacy at Krzyzewskiville…

November 22, 2008

In the college world, there is probably no other team that fans love to hate more than the Duke University Blue Devils mens basketball team. I don’t really know why people love to hate Duke, I guess it’s similar to the way people hate the New York Yankees, because they just seem to keep winning and fans get tired of seeing the Blue Devils in March.

Haters aside, let me explain why the Blue Devils are regarded as one of the best college basketball programs around and it all begins with this man, Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Known as Coach K, he was an assistant for one year under the legendary Bob Knight at Indiana University, then coached his alma mater, West Point, for 5 years before landing the job at Duke University in 1980. Ever since he arrived in Durham, North Carolina, he has established a winning program that has helped him accumulate 803 career wins, only the sixth coach to amass over 800 career wins in college basketball. He is roughly 100 wins away from supplanting Bob Knight as the winningest coach in history, which many predict will happen.

He has won three NCAA Tournament Championships (1991, 1992 and 2001), ten ACC Conference Tournament Championships, and eleven ACC Conference Regular Season Championships. Among those accomplishments, he has also developed a bevy of excellent college basketball players that have also succeeded in the NBA in various aspects. Here are some well known players that have played at Duke and in the NBA; Johnny Dawkins, Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and Jason Williams.

His accomplishments at Duke have been so admired that the Duke administration named the floor at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach K Court, in his honor. Also, the grassy area outside of Cameron has been named Krzyzewskiville which has its own set of traditions and rules (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krzyzewskiville).

I have been a fan of Duke basketball ever since 1990 even though they lost by 30 points to UNLV in the NCAA Championship game, I was fascinated by Coach K and his squad, how they seemed to get on everybody’s nerves with their hard-nosed playing and aggressiveness. The next year Duke won their first NCAA championship and I was thrilled to have seen them win. The following year was even better as Duke successfully defended their title. However, that season the best game was not the championship game, rather it was the Eastern Regional Final, versus Kentucky when the biggest shot in college basketball was made.

Let me set up the scene for you… It was overtime and Duke called a timeout with 2.1 seconds to play. Coach K drew up a play that called for Grant Hill to heave a long pass to to the top of the key where it would go to Christian Laettner and he would have 2.1 seconds to dish or attempt to shoot the ball. Here’s what happened…

It ended a magical night for Christian Laettner, who was perfect from the field that evening. 10-10 in field goal attempts, and 10-10 in free throw attempts. I was in Florida with my family on spring break and visiting Disney World, and I remember watching the game in the hotel room with my sister while my parents went out to pick up dinner for us. I was jumping up and down on the bed with my sister screaming at me to shut up!

Duke basketball will always be reviled as long as Coach K and his gang shake the world at Cameron Stadium. I have a feeling I will see a few more NCAA Championships before Coach K turns the lights out in his office for the last time.

Fight! Fight, Blue Devils
Fight for the White and Blue
March on through
There’s a slam dunk there for you,
Go get ’em!
Duke is out to win today
Carolina go to hell!
So turn on the steam, team,

Fight! Blue Devils, Fight!
(clap clap clap) Go!
(clap clap clap) Go!
Rip ’em up, tear ’em up! Give ’em hell, Duke!
(clap clap clap) Go!
(clap clap clap) Go!

Rip ’em up, tear ’em up! Give ’em hell, Duke!
Here in Durham town
There’s a university
And tonight those tower bells of Duke
Will ring out merrily.
See that old Blue Devil smoke
Arising to the sky.
There’s something doing, there’s vict’ry brewing,
Don’t you hear that battle cry.

GO BLUE DEVILS!

~Runteldat~