When was the last time you saw an NBA player forcibly knocked to the ground after going up for a lay-up or dunk? It rarely happens nowadays. But back in Bill Laimbeer’s playing days, it was comically commonplace. That was an era when the NBA game was a lot more physical. Such physicality is outlawed in today’s game. The Celtics played a physical game, which the Pistons picked up on and took it to another level, which eventually led to that style being phased out of the game.
It appears that the NBA Finals for this year will be Golden State against Cleveland, as both teams are dominating in their respective conference final series. The question comes to mind, is this a good thing for the league to have two teams so much above the rest of the league? I don’t think it’s a bad thing; it’s always been the survival of the fittest. The cream rises to the top. It’s no different from it was back in the day when it was the Lakers and Celtics every year (during the 80’s); when Magic and Bird were in their heyday. In those years you had some teams that rose up to challenge them. There was the Mavericks with Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackmon; Phoenix with Kevin Johnson and Larry Nance; Portland with Clyde Drexler and Buck Williams; and Utah with John Stockton and Karl Malone. That’s four teams who challenged the Lakers every year. In the East, the Celtics were challenged by the Sixers with Dr. J, Moses Malone and Charles Barkley; Detroit had the Bad Boys led by Isiah Thomas and Bulls were up and coming with Michael Jordan. The point is those teams in that era had established stars that were capable of challenging both the Lakers and the Celtics and in some years winning it all.
This era of the NBA is not nearly as talented as the teams were during that time. I have said all along that the NBA is so watered down with players lacking the fundamentals, it’s made the league weak and not as interesting. Golden State and Cleveland just have the best thing going now. The other teams will have to up their game to get to that level. I hope the league does something about so many players entering the league not ready to play. It will make the league more exciting and more teams may have a legitimate chance to reach the level of the Warriors and the Cavs.
Former Detroit Lions linebacker Wayne Walker, who once held the franchise record for games played (200) and seasons (15), died Friday in Idaho. He was 80 years old.In 2007, Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer and in 2015 he announced he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Another Lion great player that I remember watching play has gone on. Walker played on some very good defensive teams in Detroit. He has the distinction of being a part of the College All-Star team that defeated the Detroit Lions in 1958. I thought it was ironic that he would be joining the Lions as a rookie the year after the Lions won the NFL championship(1957). That is the last year the organization has won a championship.
As the 2017 season unfolds, one has to wonder how long the Detroit Tigers will be in contention. As far as the batting is concerned, on paper, the Tigers have a formidable group with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and J.D.Martinez. The starting pitcher led by Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmerman and Mike Fulmer appears to be serviceable, however, the bullpen is a big question mark. Closer Fransisco Rodriquez has been demoted in favor of left-hander Justin Wilson. If the Tigers are going to do anything, the bullpen has to get it together.
One thing in their favor is playing the AL Central, where all five teams are bunched close together in the standings. Minnesota leads the division by only 3 percentage points over Cleveland and one game over the Tigers. The last place team (Kansas City) is only 5 and half games out.
Yale Lary was one of the best all-around football players of his generation, even though he missed two seasons in the prime of his career to serve in the Army. Lary was not only a Hall of Fame defensive back, but also doubled as the punter and punt/kick returner for the Lions during his career.
As the baseball season has begun, I came across a blast from the past. In 1965, in a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Fransisco Giants, there was an incident that spark a brawl between the two teams. The main participants in the spark that fueled the brawl was John Roseboro of the Dodgers and Juan Marichal of the Giants. During that time, both teams were pennant contenders and fierce rivals stemming back to the days when both teams played in New York.
Roseboro intentionally dropped the ball, moved behind Marichal to pick it up and whizzed his throw past Marichal’s face. Marichal later said the ball clipped his ear. He turned to face Roseboro. “Why you do that, coño?!” he demanded, using a Spanish slang word for female genitalia.