Sunday, May 17, 2015
NBA RAW: The Revolution Has Begun: EDITOR'S NOTES-Corey Rockafeler NBA RAW -CLIPPERS...: The Clippers choked! You can try to spin it, re-frame it, and then spew out feel good character-building niceties. The unvarnished truth...
Posted by NBARAW at 8:25 AM
The Clippers choked! You can try to spin it, re-frame it, and then spew out feel good character-building niceties. The unvarnished truth remains-Clippers melted like ice cream on a hot July day. Up 3 games to 2, playing in your building, with a chance to define your post-crazy uncle Donald Sterling era by making the conference finals for the first time in your 45-year history, and what happens? You are outscored 40 to 15 in the 4th quarter, brick 16 of the 22 shots you hoist up, oh and then you are out-rebounded for the game by 16. Not to pile it on, but you are not beaten in the 4th quarter by near-MVP and offensive flopper extraordinaire, James Harden, you get beat( no disrespect gents) by Corey Brewer and Josh Smith? Are these are your father's Clippers? A team exemplified by abject incompetence for nearly a quarter century- chronically bad talent decisions( yep Michael Olowokandi with the first overall pick in the 1998 draft over Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce), parsimonious ownership unwilling to pay players, a coaching revolving door, and of course the litany of Sterling's racial transgressions( that other owners conveniently ignored).
The moment of truth is here. Doc Rivers, CP3, Blake, and DeAndre will have to come up BIG in a defining game 7 on a hostile court against the invigorated Harden and Howard-led Rockets. If not, a tsunami of pivotal questions will need answers. Should Doc Rivers be coach and GM? Does Jordan-who has already expressed an interest in the Dallas Mavericks leave as an unrestricted free agent? Will the Clips find a young 3 and D stud wing to replace Matt Barnes? Then add a 2-guard with size , and lets not forget the anemic bench. Success can forestall the inevitable but so long.
Doc Rivers may have changed the culture, but we are now speaking of an unprecedented collapse. Only 7 teams in NBA history have come back from 3 to 1 deficits. That includes the Olajuwon-led Rockets in 1995 when the beat the Phoenix Suns on their way to their second straight ring. We will, know the results ladies and gentlemen in a few hours. Otherwise it will a very long and hot summer in L.A.
Posted by NBARAW at 8:23 AM
Sunday, March 1, 2015
NBA RAW: The Revolution Has Begun: Corey Rockafeler-NBA RAW -Anthony Mason-A hero for...: There are some sports figures who exert a much larger impact than their statistics. These unique players transcend the moment. They embody...
Posted by NBARAW at 9:32 PM
Long before Marshawn Lynch's " Beast Mode, "there was " Mase in Your Face." This nimble 6 -7 ,250 pound chiseled block of granite with shoulders broad enough to carry the hopes of championship-famished Knick fans became a instant hit in New York. Mase authored an unyielding take-no-prisoners, win-or die-trying style of play with the powerhouse Knick teams of the 90's. Knick fans are a tough, discerning, sophisticated bunch who recognize two things-heart and effort. Mason gave them an abundance of both. The Springfield Gardens,Queens High School star was one of them. Mason along with Patrick Ewing, and fellow bruiser- resident enforcer, Charles Oakley, formed one of the most physically imposing front lines in NBA history. Their forte' was in an in-your- face, not-in-my house type of defense crafted by coach Pat Riley. Together, along with another fan favorite, John Starks, they triggered the most sustained success in franchise history making the post-season for 10 straight years( 5 with Mason). Their success culminated with a grueling 7-game loss to the Houston Rockets in the 1994-95 NBA Finals.
Mason was a lot more than just a bruiser. He was uniquely gifted. He had the handle of a point guard, the deft foot work of a dancer, and the uncanny passing ability to play point forward. But defense is where Mason carved out his niche. The self-proclaimed " the locksmith" due to his ability to "lock down" opposing scorers. Mason had breathtaking defensive versatility. He could guard 1 through 5. It earned him NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1995( also leading the league in minutes played), 1996-97 All-NBA Third Team, NBA-All Defensive Second Team( both with Charlotte Hornets) and an NBA All-Star trip in 2001( with the Miami Heat).
Part of Mason's every-man appeal was his circuitous path to the NBA. He was drafted in 1988 in the third-round by the Portland Trailblazers from little known Tennessee State University. He was then cut . Mason's grit-and-grind show took him everywhere from Turkey, Venezuela, the CBA, USBL, two abbreviated NBA stints( with the Nets and the Nuggets), until a fateful summer in 1991. Playing summer ball in the Catskills, new Knick coach Pat Riley caught a glimpse of Mason playing. Mason was like a man playing against boys. The rest as they say is history.
At the time coach Riley was better known for his viscerally entertaining, aesthetically pleasing brand of NBA ball called Showtime. Adorned with five rings and former cast that included Hall Of Fame talents like Kareem, Magic, and Worthy, Riley went against the grain in New York. He recast the Knicks into a rough and tumble ,bruising style of defense -first gladiators . He found a perfect center piece in Mason. The Knick post season wars with the Michael Jordan led Bulls were legendary. These were grueling ,win-or die, heavyweight slug fests akin to the Ali- Frazier epic boxing battles. The Knicks may not have won any titles, but they electrified the city and were feared everywhere they played.
Mason would play five years for the Knicks before being shipped off in a trade with Charlotte for Larry Johnson. Statistically Mason would enjoy his best years with the Hornets averaging 14 points, 9 boards, and nearly 5 dimes over three seasons. He would then be reunited with Pat Riley for 1 year in Miami before spending his last two years with the Milwaukee Bucks. Mason retired in 2003 with career stats of 10.9 points, 8.3 rebounds,m and 3.4 dimes.
Like many of us, Mason had his transgressions. But no one can ever dispute he gave the game of basketball everything he had and then some. Anthony Mason was my hero and a hero to millions of Knick fans worldwide. We loved you then Mase and and we will always love you. God bless you brethren, You will forever be in our hearts. Mase in your face.
Posted by NBARAW at 9:19 PM
Sunday, January 4, 2015
NBA RAW: The Revolution Has Begun: Corey Rockafeler -NBA RAW -Stuart Scott : Lifetime...: Sometimes it takes just a single name:Jordan,Pele,Montana,or DiMaggio to conjure up potent visceral images of winning and accomplishme...
Posted by NBARAW at 4:49 PM
Sometimes it takes just a single name:Jordan,Pele,Montana,or DiMaggio to conjure up potent visceral images of winning and accomplishment. These icons and their iconic endeavors are seared into memory banks to be replayed on demand for years to come. But just as there are memorable professional sports athletes,there are also relevant non-athletes closely linked to sports who are as memorable . ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott is one of those individuals. Stuart is also one of my heroes. Since 1993- his first broadcast - he has been a nightly guest in my home and someone I have had the good fortune to meet on several occasions. Right as I was leaving church service today my son Miles sent me a text message to inform me the Lord called Stuart home. My eyes immediately began to tear. I had to head to the nearest men's room for a private moment to cry and pray. Stuart Scott was not supposed to die. No, not now and not for a long time. Although, Scott has been battling a rare form of cancer since 2007, he had emerged stronger and his doctors were optimistic for a full recovery. His July 2014 speech at the ESPY awards where he received the Jimmy V award was as indelible and brave as anything you will ever witness on live television. "When you die, it doesn't mean you lose to cancer," Scott passionately stated. " You beat the cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live." He took a prideful moment to speak with a father's pure love and admiration for his two daughters Sydni and Taelor. He then bought Sydni up on stage , "come on up and give dad a hug because I need one." There was not a dry eye in the house.
Stuart was as much as a game-changer as the sports figures he spoke glowingly about. His infectious energy, inimitable spirit was contagious to all. He was like a multi-sensory Red Bull. Scott was a new generation sports broadcaster who gave a new generation of athletes their own voice. He emboldened their personal journeys with a sense of authenticity style, and swag not previously seen or heard. The players all related to Suart. He was one of them. What athlete did not want to end up on ESPN with Scott exhorting: " boo-yah, " , "as cool as the other side of the pillow," to " you ain't gotta go home, but you gotta get the heck out of here, " Scott became a cultural touchstone with his own hip sports lexicon. He was popular with sports fans from Brooklyn to Berlin.
It was no secret that battling cancer is mentally, physically, and emotionally exacting We knew Stuart Scott was a warrior and he would emerge victorious. The Lord however had another plan for our brother.
The greatest compliment you can say about someone is they made your life better. Stuart Scott made a lot of lives better. Like Kobe, Iverson, or even Namath, Stuart Scott forever changed the landscape. Like all great ones his impact will endure forever. Stuart Scott was a great broadcaster but most importantly he was a great person. I love you my brother and may God bless you and welcome you in heaven.
Posted by NBARAW at 4:42 PM