Tag Archives: basketball

Saying so long to the King and the Boss

Squirrel_spinning_basketbalIt’s been a busy seven days in the sports world.
Spain has been crowned the new top dog in soccer. Major League Baseball held its Midsummer Classic and lost two of the Big Apple’s favorites. And of course, the NBA was turned topsy turvy by the announcement of the forming of the 3-Heat.
It was a week ago that LeBron James went from being the lone wolf in Cleveland to just one of the guys in Miami. King James ended his free agency by joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, turning his back on his home team Cavs and the chance to be “the man.”
I understand the lure of winning rings and appreciate the desire to be on a winning team. I get playing night after night with your best buddies, but personally I think becoming a part of a trio dilutes James’ chance to ascend above every other player. Now, instead of one “King,” we have three stars.
Michael Jordan didn’t bolt from Chicago after the Bulls were trounced in the playoffs those first few seasons. The Bulls didn’t rush out and try to sign Charles Barkley or Karl Malone.
Instead, they drafted a lanky kid out of Central Arkansas. When he was selected, nobody expected Scottie Pippen to grow into the perfect accomplice to Jordan, but he did.
LeBron may have lost as many fans as he made with all the hoopla prior to the switch to the Heat. I know I was turned off by the deafening crescendo of media noise leading up to his primetime special. Yes, there was interest in whether loyalty would win out over playing in a state with no income tax, but we really didn’t need a 24-7 accounting of his every waking moment.
The Heat have definitely improved their chances of taking the title from Kobe and the Lakers, but we’ll see if there are enough shots in a game to satisfy the Heats’ new superstars.
Then on Tuesday, baseball lost an icon. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner succumbed to a heart attack.
As much as LeBron flipped the NBA script with his free agency, Steinbrenner changed baseball with his decision to buy the best players available.
I was just a kid back in ye olden days when the lure of cold hard cash first put many of my favorite players in pinstripes. As a fan of the Oakland A’s then, it was hard to watch former A’s Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter end up in New York. I guess that’s how Pittsburgh Pirates fans feel in this day and age.
After buying the Yankees in 1973, Steinbrenner with his famous altercations with managers and players became as synonymous with his team as any player on the field. Heck, he even became a pop culture star when George Costanza had frequent encounters with The Boss on television’s “Seinfeld.”
Dying only days after legendary Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard, it was fitting the 80 year old passed away on the day the All-Star game was played. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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Basketball Dog aka The Hoop Hound

I got a copy of this video in my e-mail the other day and had to share for all you fans of both sports and dogs.

I know we’re in the midst of football season, but this is a basketball-related one.

He dribbles … he scores!

I love an amiable hound who is eager to participate and please.

Tornado Hits The Georgia Dome During SEC Men’s Tournament

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Last night was an odd one for college basketball. Mother Nature can play a role in the outdoor athletics of football in the fall and winter and baseball in the spring and summer, but rarely does she impede the progress of a basketball tourney.

Tornadoes blowing through Atlanta disrupted the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and I happened to be watching the game as it was played. It was really crazy and I have to commend the announcers for Raycom, led by Tim Brando, for handling the situation with aplomb.

I was getting my March Madness groove on early for most of the day yesterday. I watched parts of the Tarheels and Florida State tangling early on Friday and saw a few minutes of the Kansas win too. I headed to the office for a while before covering a high school baseball game between two teams in my area.

After coming home from the local diamond and warming my chilled body over a warmed-up plate of leftover spaghetti, I turned the TV to more college basketball conference tourney action. I opted to watch the SEC’s quarterfinal round with Alabama and Mississippi State squaring off in a game that was pretty close most of the way through. I thought the big excitement of the game was going to be a leaning 3-pointer by Mykal Riley at the buzzer to end regulation and force overtime.

Wrong!!

While I was watching the announcers and the teams prepare for the OT, I began to notice some static in the video. I thought to myself there must be a storm moving through disrupting the satellite signal. The action began and a whistle for a foul stopped the action with 2:11 left in the extra session. Nothing unusual there.

But then, I heard a rumble and the announcers made note of something happening in the crowd behind them. Cameras panned up and you could see fans streaming up out of the arena.

Not long after the scene went to static. The signal was only completely disrupted for a few seconds but it definitely reminded me of the earthquake in San Francisco that disrupted the Bay Bridge World Series between the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 17, 1989.

As players and coaches left the court and headed to the locker rooms, the announcers tried to make sense of what was happening above and around them. The catwalks and light standards above the arena were swaying, cameras pointed out tears in the “skin” of the dome and the surrounding teflon-coated cover flapping in the breeze.

Small bits of debris had fallen on the court and other pieces of what appeared to be paper or insulation were drifting and floating in the wind whipping through the upper areas of the 29-story tall arena.

Brando compared the noise of wind rushing into the arena to a freight train, typical of a tornado. He relayed that he had been in a tornado before and the sound was comparable. At this time, it was not confirmed as tornadic activity, but later reports declared the storm cell a twister.

After a 63-minute delay play was resumed with Mississippi State winning the game. Another quarterfinal contest between Georgia’s Bulldogs and Kentucky’s Wildcats was scheduled to be played after the Mississippi State win, but SEC officials moved that game to Saturday afternoon in a different location. Now the winner of that game must play twice on Saturday – in their quarterfinal game at noon and later on Saturday night in a semifinal contest.

Georgia Tech, located in Atlanta, but not a member of the SEC, was to host the remainder of the conference’s tourney games. The arena on Tech’s campus holds less than half of the fans, so only players, cheerleaders, pep band members, families of the players and credentialed media members and conference representatives could attend. That decision was made to keep crowds of SEC fans from coming into the downtown area, eliminating the need for extra security and keeping citizens out of areas that were damaged and disrupted by the storms.

The CNN building and the Omni Hotel were two of the other well-known structures damaged by the high winds. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has reader submitted pics of damage.

The area surrounding the Georgia Dome was littered with pieces of debris and glass.

The shot that forced overtime in the Mississippi State/Alabama game may have saved lives. Should the game have ended in regulation, those crimson-clad fans would have streamed out into the street earlier, coinciding with the arrival of the storm winds. Falling debris could easily have injured fans on the street of Atlanta.

It was really weird to watch as an observer outside the area.

I’ve been covering games before when the power went out. About 20 years ago, storms caused a temporary power outage in Murfreesboro during the state tournaments. That certainly created a sense of unease in the cavernous dark arena mostly filled with strangers. The lights weren’t out long, but it was long enough.

Power never went out in the Georgia Dome, but it was obvious something was wrong with parts of the building swaying, wind roaring through the facility and debris falling from above.

Seeing the catwalks moving, my first thought was of an earthquake, but the description of the noise as a freight train immediately changed that to thoughts of tornadoes.

One of the players, Mississippi State guard Ben Hansbrough, said after the game during a press conference he heard a loud boom and wasn’t sure if it was a tornado or a terrorist bomb. That’s just part of the era we live in.

I attended the second game the St. Louis Cardinals played immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11. That was another intense fan experience with security at an extremely high level.

The logistics of moving an entire tournament to another arena on about a 13-hour notice must have been crazy both for the conference officials and the media outlets covering the games.

All-in-all, it was one weird night for sports.

Are You Paying Attention?

So you think you have an eye for details?

Watch this video and keep up with how many passes the folks wearing white T-shirts make during the scramble.

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You didn’t see that last question coming did you? I’ll admit I didn’t either.

This is an example of a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. The brain filters out what it doesn’t consider pertinent info.

If you want to see more examples of similar videos and experiments, head to PopFi.