Tag Archive | "Michael Jordan"

Bias’ NBA Career Unveiled

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Bias’ NBA Career Unveiled

Posted on 20 June 2012 by Dwayne Showalter

BiasWith yesterday being the 26th anniversary of the passing of Len Bias, there was a lot of social media chatter amongst us middle-aged Terps fans. Much of it centered on the memories we all were all robbed of when Bias ingested a lethal amount of cocaine in a campus dorm in the early morning hours of June 19th, 1986.  The comparisons to Michael Jordan invoked.  The rings, the rivalry, the NBA in general.  With that premise, I decided to, ever so scientifically, track Bias’ career as it would have almost certainly played out (according to me and my crystal ball).  It starts in Boston in 1986.

 1986-87 It’s Bias’ rookie season in Boston.  Bias makes his inroads slowly under K.C. Jones who knows his team is already the best in the East before the arrival of Bias.  He finishes the regular season averaging only 10.5 points and 4.5 boards in about 22 minutes per game.  Chuck Person is still the Rookie of the Year.  But much like the 1984 ACC tournament, Bias arrived in the post-season.  He averages nearly 15 points and 8 boards.  The Celtics, pushed to 7 games without Len against Milwaukee and Detroit, now win both series in five.  With Bias playing significant minutes in the Finals, the Celtics still fall in the Finals to the Lakers (though in 7 games instead of 6).

1987-88 An injury to Kevin McHale opens the door for the 2nd year forward.  Though Michael Jordan wins the league MVP, Bias is the difference between the Celtics bowing in the Conference Finals to Detroit and instead winning the East.  He starts 33 games, averages 30 minutes with 15 points and 7 rebounds.  Again he raises his game in the playoffs.  K.C. Jones may not be able to hold Bias back next season.  James Worthy and Len Bias are third on the marquee in the Finals behind Magic/Bird and Parrish/Kareem.  But by the end of the series, Bias’ raised play and Bird’s clutch shots make them the heroes and the Celtics repay the Lakers winning in seven.

1988-89 Another injury creates opportunity for Bias though he clearly is ready to start.  This time, it’s Bird who is lost for most of the season and the playoffs.  With Parrish and Dennis Johnson aging, Bias gets the minutes he’s craved and the ball.  Bias puts up All-Star numbers in the 1st half and makes his first appearance in the game.  He starts every game for the Celtics but the burden of the offense wears on him.  He finishes averaging just over 24 points per game and 8 rebounds.  The Celtics win the division with Bias instead of finishing second.   But without Bird, the first Jordan/Bias playoff matchup goes to the Bulls in 6 games in the second round.

1989-90 – With Bird back and pouring in 22 a game, he’s deferring more to Bias as the season wears on.  Reggie Lewis is now a key player as well.  Bias comes back leaner and quicker after hitting a late-season wall in ’89 determined to make the East a three-team race of Detroit, Chicago and Boston.  Bias makes another All-Star game and starts 80 games.  The aging Celtics make what could be their last run with Bird running the show.  The mix of young and old works perfectly and the Celts down the Bulls and Pistons before sweeping Portland Blazers in the Finals and Bias gets his second ring.  But Bird, in somewhat of a sentimental vote, wins the Finals MVP.

1990-91 With Bird now 34, he plays only 60 games but still sees the ball in key moments, almost as an homage to his greatness.  Bias posts career highs in almost every category.  He’s 4th in the league scoring with 28.1 a game.  He averages nearly 10 rebounds and is named to the All-Defensive team.  And Bias, always a solid shooter from 18-22 feet, has now solidified his 3-point shot.  The Celtics shoot passed Detroit with Bias but falter against Jordan and the Bulls who feel now it’s their time.  Bias however edges Jordan in MVP voting after much politicking by Bird.

1991-92 Bias is now the man in Boston.  He, with Reggie Lewis, now fuels the team.  Parrish continues to contribute.  Bird is hurt again.  McHale struggles mightily.  The Bulls rule the regular season again and Jordan continues to pour in points.  With Detroit faltering, the Celtics contend with Cleveland to face the Bulls in the conference finals.  Bias puts up his best playoff series to date against the one player selected ahead of him in the NBA draft, Brad Daugherty.  He pumps in 36 a game in the 6-game series including 49 in the series clincher.  Bias has set Jordan squarely in his sights.  But the Bulls are too much again.  Bias and the Celtics fall in a classic 7 game series with each perennial All-Star averaging over 33 points.  Bias also plays in Barcelona on the greatest basketball team ever assembled and wins a Gold Medal averaging 12 points a game during the Olympic Games.  He is now clearly one of the top 5 players in the world.

1992-93 Bias misses camp in a contract dispute.  He plays sparingly in the first few weeks.  Then he is injured and misses the All-Star game for the first time in four years.  Suddenly, the Knicks have risen to the top of the East.  But Bias returns for the final 30 games and has the Celtics running on all cylinders as the playoffs start.  In round two, Bias gets the best of Jordan for the second time in 5 tries in the playoffs.  The Bulls face too many obstacles to complete the three-peat.  One being Bias.   The Knicks cannot stop Bias either.  With Bird gone, the former Terp has the chance to put his stamp on the Celtics.  Boston wins 4-1 over both New York and Barkley’s Suns to win Len’s 3rd ring.  This time, it comes with a Finals MVP trophy.

1993-94 Bias enters his eighth season with no main rival.  Jordan has moved onto baseball.  But he has no 2nd fiddle on his team either.  Reggie Lewis dies in the off-season.  And Parrish is now 40 and Bird retired.  Bias needs to score now more than ever.  And he does.  For the first time he averages over 30 points.  But the team struggles and squeaks into the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The lose 3-2 to top seeded Atlanta.  Bias and the Celtics miss an opportunity in the Jordan-less NBA to win their fourth title in Bias’ career.  They must re-tool.

1994-95 They don’t.  Greg Minor and Eric Montross are drafted and make minimal impact.  An aging Dominique Wilkins is brought in and performs well but Bias and he don’t gel as well as hoped.  Bias’ scoring slips to 27 points per game.  The team struggles again and finishes 8t h again.  The Magic, with Shaquille O’Neal, bounce Boston in round one.  The natives are restless.  The off-season won’t be pretty.

1995-96 Bias and Red Auerbach have a great relationship and come to an agreement that the window in Boston has closed for Bias to keep the team in contention alone.  He is shipped to Washington for Rasheed Wallace and a No. 1 draft pick.  He will play in his own backyard and mentor Chris Webber and Juwan Howard.  Bias shines.  The team, attendance and the general outlook Washington improves.  The Bullets hadn’t been in the playoffs in seven seasons but make it now.  Bias again averages over 30 points but misses a scoring title by 0.3 points to the un-retired Jordan.  The Bullets upset Indiana but fall to the Magic in 7 games. 

1996-97 The Bullets win 50 games for the 1st time since their glory days in the late 70s.  Bias scores 29.3 per game, again losing the scoring title to Jordan by 0.3.  In the playoffs the Bullets oust third-seeded New York but the Miami Heat win the second-round series over Washington 4-2.  Bias is hobbled by a hip injury in Game 3 and cannot compete at his usual high level and will need surgery.

1997-98 Bias, a folk hero in Washington, struggles with the lingering hip injury. He is relegated to action in only 33 games.  It’s the second time Bias deals with significant injury.  But now in his twelfth season and 35 years old, Bias is noticeably less spry.  His numbers fall drastically and Washington flounders, missing the playoffs.  Many count Bias out and the Bullets determine they need to part ways with the aging, damaged star after three seasons.

1998-1999 The Los Angeles Lakers come calling in need of a veteran front court player.  They contemplate Dennis Rodman and Len Bias.  They take Bias for his ability to score. The Lakers lean on a young dynamic duo of Kobe and Shaq.  Bias isn’t expected to contribute as he once did in Boston but a strike shortened season helps Bias’ body heal.  He surpasses expectations in a role shared with Robert Horry but the Lakers as a team disappoint.  Len Bias is happy and likes the direction of the young team.  Retirement talk starts but Len will play into the new millennium.

1999-2000  Bias settles into a supporting role and the Lakers start to role the West.  He averages only 19 minutes and 10.1 points a game.  The Lakers ride Kobe and Shaq to the top seed and blast through the Western playoffs. In the playoffs Bias’ minutes go down but his production goes up.  He is used as a spot up shooter….deadly on the baseline.  He uses brain over brawn now. Bias still averages 12 points in the Finals against the Pacers.  The Lakers win 4 games to 1.  Bias plays most of the fourth quarter in Game 5 to serenades of  “Len-ny Bi-as……Len-ny Bi-as.”  He’d become a fan-favorite in LA and treats them with 22 points in the clinching game.  Bias has won his 4th ring – one less than his rival Jordan who will eventually resurface in Washington.  Bias chooses not to pursue the 5th ring in LA, one that looks like a sure thing.  He retires at 37.  It is a fitting end-point. 

For his career he averages over 25.01 points a game, thirteenth all-time, in 14 seasons.  He averages 8.8 rebounds.  He shoots 81% from the free throw line.  His pure numbers put him in company with the likes of Karl Malone and Julius Erving.  He makes 8 All-Star teams.  Three times is on the All-Defensive team.  He wins one MVP award, one Finals MVP and one Gold Medal.  He wins 4 NBA Titles, 3 in nine seasons in Boston and 1 in LA.  His number is raised to the rafters in Boston in 2004.  He is elected to the NBA Hall of Fame in 2005.  He goes 2-3 in playoff series against the greatest player ever and his main rival, Michael Jordan.  They are to the 90′s what Magic and Bird were to the 80′s.

 

 

 

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

Posted on 02 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Unlucky Chapter 13: ‘The Magic’ and ‘The Oriole Way’ got stranded on 33rd Street…

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Unlucky Chapter 13: ‘The Magic’ and ‘The Oriole Way’ got stranded on 33rd Street…

Posted on 17 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in 2006, this is Part 13 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Bseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Please save Thursday, April 5th for some civic action regarding the demise of the Orioles in Baltimore.)

There is very little question that Camden Yards only holds a handful of good memories for most of the “old school” Orioles fans who lived through the glorious Memorial Stadium days.

Maybe you consider the Bill Hasselman vs. Mike Mussina brawl in 1993 memorable. Or perhaps that Brad Pennington head-jerking launch toward The Warehouse by Ken Griffey Jr. on that Sunday afternoon in that pretty teal jersey jogs your memory a bit.

Opening Day and Sutcliffe in 1992 was also pretty outstanding.

The night Mussina almost threw that perfect game was memorable. And how about the night he took a liner off of his face?

And the ALCS games at Camden Yards in 1996 and 1997, while not victorious, were at least memorable.

The Marquis Grissom home run. The Todd Zeile incident. The Cecil Fielder home run. The Tony Fernandez home run. Darryl Strawberry, of all people, coming back to haunt the Orioles with home run after home run in October 1996.

Our community stole the Browns from Cleveland so we might have had karma working against us for that 1997 ALCS disappointment coming to us as fans — especially after that Robbie Alomar blast at The Jake the previous fall — but the Yankees thing in 1996 was just insufferable.

On second thought, maybe we CHOOSE to not remember some of the stuff during those two WINNING seasons because we got stuck watching the World Series on TV. And there’s very little doubt that the BALTIMORE Orioles were the best overall team in baseball throughout that ’97 season.

My feelings about those years are probably the same way my Pop would’ve felt about 1973 and 1974. He never talked about those years as particularly good (although he loved Rich Coggins) because 1966 and 1970 and, even 1969 and 1971, were so much better and more memorable for him.

Yeah, we were good in ’96 and ’97, and we had some big wins, but when it really mattered the most, in October — the big at-bats, the big pitches, the big plays, and in the case of Jeffrey Maier in 1996, the big calls — all were tilted mightily in the other direction when all was said and done and World Championship trophies were handed out.

Honestly, as close as we were, we CLEARLY weren’t very close at all when you saw how those games played out in October. And other than Mussina, Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken, none of those players made a dent in the heart of Orioles’ fans.

 

In his most recent public appearance/infomercial this past spring, Peter Angelos informed WJZ’s Denise Koch that “we were one pitch away from the World Series — you must remember that!”

The seats in the owner’s box must’ve shown a different set of games or “time” must’ve illuminated “the glory of their deeds.”

Because from where I sat, it looked like the better team won both years — with or without Jeffrey Maier —

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Friday Mud…please read responsibly

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Friday Mud…please read responsibly

Posted on 30 December 2011 by Drew Forrester

That’s it for 2011, huh?

Over already?

Wow, seems like just yesterday (or so) when I was in Sarasota with Glenn Clark, hunkered down in an outrageously posh satellite-trailer that served as a de facto media workroom in the parking lot of the Orioles spring training complex.  And that was March.

Here we are now, brushing up against January and preparing for (we hope) a Ravens Super Bowl run and, within 7 weeks if you can believe, discussion about pitchers and catchers as they prepare for yet another (losing) baseball season in Baltimore.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

Well, for five months a year, anyway.

I hope you all have a safe, enjoyable New Year’s weekend.  We’re obviously all going to be glued to the TV at 4:15 pm on Sunday to see the Ravens take on Cincinnati.

I assume you’ll be hungover.

I hope the Ravens aren’t.

Consider this edition of Friday Mud a tasty start to your holiday weekend.

And you don’t even need to drink a glass of warm milk two hours before you read it.

————————————————————————————————

>  Did you hear the great story about Oregon football player Mark Asper?  Wednesday night he and the Ducks were at a dinner as part of their Rose Bowl festivities and the father of one of Asper’s teammates started choking on a piece of meat.  Asper applied the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged the piece of meat and a health emergency was avoided because of his quick work.  Great story, huh? Anyway, several teams and colleges quickly sent along notes of congratulations and small gifts to show their appreciation for his life-saving work.  The San Diego Chargers sent a football signed by the entire team and a nice card with a personal message.  The Golden State Warriors also sent along a compliment-filled note and a team jersey with Asper and the number “1″ on the back.  The Red Sox provided a card with the words “Congrats on knowing the Heimlich, please USE THESE as often as you can in 2012.”

>  So…a listener from Timonium named Theresa reached out to me via e-mail last week and offered me a scathing keyboard-tongue-lashing about a few of the pictures I’ve posted recently here on Friday Mud.  “I can’t speak for everyone,” Theresa wrote, “but I’m appalled at your continued inclusion of those girls from Central Connecticut State as part of your Friday blog.  These are college girls — and they don’t deserve to be objectified in the manner that you’re doing it.  I respectfully ask that you stop including photos of those young women in your Friday blog.”  Well, I must be getting old…and soft…because I’m going to agree to not include any Central Connecticut volleyball players here.  Seriously. I’ll link a photo and I guarantee — in fact, DOUBLE guarantee, that it’s not a girl from Central Connecticut.  (I know what you’re thinking…”Drew, come on, we’re going to click on that photo and it’s going to be a girl from Central Connecticut.”)  Nope.  Not a chance.  Here you go Theresa, THIS RIGHT HERE is just for you.

>  Did you like the Ravens uniform combination last Sunday…the black pants and the purple top?  I gathered that a lot of folks didn’t like it.  I did.  You know what other color combination looks great, to me, anyway?  Royal blue and black.  For some reason, I’ve always thought those colors went great together.  Here, let me show you what it looks like and you tell me.  CHECK IT OUT and tell me…do you think it looks good?

>  Hey Theresa, you like apples?

>  I’d love to pick the Ravens to win this weekend.  Really, I would.  But I don’t trust them on the road.  Just when I get ready to type the words “I think the Ravens are going to win in Cincinnati”, I get visions of Jacksonville, Seattle and San Diego in my brain.  Too many road stinkers for me…too many lay-up games turned losses for my liking.  Sorry — Bengals 24 – Ravens 10.  I hope to hell I’m wrong.

>  The Philadelphia police have been very concerned about female Flyers fans speeding recklessly as they enter Broad Street off of I-95 and approach the Wachovia Center.  They’ve even gone as far as placing THESE WARNING SIGNS up on the roads leading into the arena to give the female fans a chance to slow down.

>  There are two ways to identify a Steelers fan.  One is…they always wear a yellow top.  The other?  Well, as you can see RIGHT HERE, this guy is definitely a Steelers supporter.

>  OK, the time has come to unveil the two finalists for my “Top 10 Winners of Professional Sports ” in the last 20 years.  I’m doing this a little differently than originally intended.  I was going to just list my #2…and then the following week, the #1.  Instead, I’m going to reveal the final two — and you decide who you think is #2 and #1.  Obviously, just by the fact that he hasn’t been listed yet, Michael Jordan is one of the finalists.  What can you say about #23 (and #45 for a year)?  He’s just a great winner, period.  But is there someone else who MIGHT (and I say “might”) be a better winner than Jordan?  I think the answer to that is yes.  Maybe.  This man is a 3-time champion.  And a 9-time All-Star.  He won more games than anyone who ever played his sport. If you wonder whether or not this guy is a winner, you’ll want to take a look at his playoff stats — and then you’ll get it.  So, no more delay. You want a winner?  A great one?  RIGHT HERE he is, folks.  Don’t think he’s great?  CHECK OUT THE STATS.

>  I hear the Orioles had a big sale last week prior to the Holidays, where they put most of their merchandise and novelty items out for fans to buy as gifts.  A friend of mine went to the sale and sent me THIS PHOTO to prove he was at Camden Yards.  Yep, sure looks like an Orioles sale.

>  The Shoot Section (the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth)

I don’t want to go into all the details here — I’ll save that for Monday.  But starting next Monday, I’ll have a 4-part “interview” up at WNST.net that was conducted by a listener.  I think you’ll find it interesting.  We covered a lot of territory…my history with the Blast, my move to WNST, the Orioles, the Ravens, “the lawsuit” and much more.  I went into it a little apprehensive, because the person who interviewed me has been both a listener, reader and critic of mine over the years, but he handled it all fairly and I think you’ll enjoy the series next week and learn some behind the scenes things that maybe you don’t previously know.  It all starts on Monday at WNST.net.

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Baltimore Native and Maryland All-American, Keith Booth, Joins Loyola University Maryland Women’s Basketball Staff

Posted on 17 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Former University of Maryland All-American and NBA World Champion Keith Booth has been named an assistant women’s basketball coach, Greyhounds Head Coach Joe Logan announced today.

“We are ecstatic to have Keith Booth join our Loyola women’s basketball program and excited that he is able to return home to Baltimore to continue his coaching career,” said Logan.

Booth, a Baltimore native, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team at the University of Maryland under Head Coach Gary Williams.

In his time at Maryland from 2004-2011, the Terrapins won no fewer than 19 games and reached the NCAA Tournament three times. Booth assisted with the daily operations of the men’s basketball program, including recruiting, advance scouting, player development and game preparation.

“Keith brings with him a unique perspective, which I am looking forward to and I know our whole program will benefit from,” Logan said.

As a player at the University of Maryland, Booth led the Terrapins to four NCAA Tournaments, including a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances, and in 1994 began Maryland’s streak of 11 consecutive NCAA berths that ran from 1994 to 2004. Current Loyola head men’s basketball coach, Jimmy Patsos, was an assistant coach at Maryland and helped in the recruiting of Booth.

In his senior season at Maryland, Booth led the Terps in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg) and steals (2.0 spg) and is still Maryland’s all-time leader in free throws made (576). Booth finished his impressive career at Maryland among the Terps’ all-time leaders in scoring (9th, 1,776 points), rebounding (6th, 916 points), steals (5th, 193) and is one of 15 players to have his jersey honored above the Terps’ home court at Comcast Center.

In October 2008, Booth was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2010, Booth represented Maryland as one of the ACC Basketball Legends honored at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Booth played his high school basketball locally at Dunbar High School and was considered one of the major recruiting windfalls for Williams and the Terps in the mid-1990s.

As a senior at Dunbar, Booth was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American selection. He also led his team to the Maryland Class “A” State Championship. Booth was named Player of the Year in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland by the Baltimore Sun.

After a stellar career at Maryland, playing alongside Joe Smith, Rodney Elliott, Johnny Rhodes and others, Booth was an AP All-America Third Team selection as a senior in 1997. Booth left Maryland with a host of accolades including All-ACC honors four times, earning first-team honors as a senior, third team as a junior, and honorable mention designation during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Booth’s teams appeared in two NCAA Sweet Sixteens, finishing his sophomore season as ACC regular season co-champions and ranked No. 10 in the country in the final AP poll. That year (1994-95) the Terps compiled a 26-8 record, including a perfect 16-0 record at Cole Field House. Booth finished his Terrapin career with averages of 14.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds.

After his playing years at Maryland, Booth was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1997, taken as the 28th selection overall. Booth was a member of the 1998 Chicago Bulls NBA World Championship team led by Michael Jordan.

“Keith’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Logan. “He has won at every level and we are looking forward to him developing our players into winners both on and off the court.”

Booth joined “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. You can hear the interview in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

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My Top 10 Sports Illustrated Covers

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My Top 10 Sports Illustrated Covers

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Ryan Chell

It was a spirited discussion on “The Afternoon Drive” with Rex Snider today about our “Top 10 Sports Illustrated Covers”, and while I could have easily thrown in 10 Swimsuit Issue covers or iconic moments from sports throughout the years, I decided to stick close to home with my SI Covers.

Like my choices? Think I missed something? Tweet me @RyanChell87 on Twitter, comment below, or give us a call Friday 410-481-1570! Would love to hear from you…

David Tyree

10. David Tyree catch (Feb 11, 2008)-Not only one of the best-if not the best catch in NFL history, but a heck of a shot by SI’s photographer. And a future Raven-albeit for a short while-on a national cover ain’t bad.

Ben McDonald

9. “Rare Birds”-Mike Mussina/Ben McDonald (July 18, 1994)-Mike Mussina was my favorite Oriole growing up. I copied his wind-up out in the backyard playing baseball when he would check the runner at first-base by leaning over and looking through his legs. And to have the two polar opposites-the stern Mussina and the happy-go-lucky Ben McDonald on the same cover, it was a great pairing of the two on SI.

Cal Ripken

8. Cal Ripken Jr-”Chillin’ with Cal” (Aug 7th 1995)-Another great shot, and Cal showed up on Sports Illustrated several times in his career. On top of getting a good look at a down-to-earth player like Cal, but to see him with hair ( a lot on his chest too), it was great to see Cal in a light-hearted environment of a swimming pool.

Ray Lewis Nov 13 2006

7. Ray Lewis-”God’s Linebacker” (November 13, 2006)-Ravens fans know about Ray’s transgressions and his involvement in the murder trial in Atlanta at the early part of the decade. It was one of the stains on a great career of a Hall of Fame linebacker, and that blemish steered a lot of people and endorsements away from Ray. One example was Disney -who chose quarterback Trent Dilfer to do their iconic “I’m Going to Disneyworld” commercial post-game after Super Bowl XXV as opposed to the Super Bowl MVP in Ray Lewis. But this issue of Sports Illustrated was a big kick  towards putting the past where it belongs…in the past. A very forgiving gesture on the part of SI…

John Unitas

6. Johnny Unitas-”Play Now, Pay Later (May 7, 2001)-This article, and its cover photo-touched me deeply. On top of the fact that we lost Johnny U a year later-on on the one-year anniversary of September 11th, we learned from this article about the pains that Johnny Unitas was going through because of the hits he took during his career fighting to get Baltimore a win. He could barely hold a pen to give an autograph, but that wouldn’t stop Unitas from giving you one if you asked.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

5. -Johnny Unitas-”The Best Game Ever” (April 28, 2008)-Johnny Unitas’ crowning achievement in his career-the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. Enough said-and no better shot of Johnny Unitas. I saved this particular issue of Sports Illustrated and have it in a safe spot in my desk drawer.

Matt Wieters

4. Matt Wieters-”The Catch”-(March 15, 2010)-Another Sports Illustrated cover that I have saved. Not a lot of players from perennial losing teams make the cover of Sports Illustrated. Matt Wieters did. I don’t care what people say-Matt Wieters will be a star. He made the All-Star team this year because he deserved it, not because he was the only Oriole worthy of doing so. Great picture of Wieters, and I can’t wait till his game matures enough that this issue of Sports Illustrated is thought of more seriously not just in Baltimore, but across the nation. Maybe he’ll make another cover issue.

Len Bias

3. Len Bias-”Death of a Dream” (June 30, 1986)-Numerous people said it. If Len Bias would have made it to the Boston Celtics and played in the NBA, he would have been just as good-if not better-than Michael Jordan. That of course would have meant that Bias would have beaten out Jordan for most SI cover appearances, which Jordan has the achievement of doing a record 49 times.

Sadly, that never came to fruition due to Bias’ tragic passing after experimental cocaine use. He certainly left his mark on the University of Maryland and on the sports world, and it was a shame we didn’t get to see Len Bias on more SI covers.

Juan Dixon

2. Juan Dixon-”Mighty Maryland”-(April 8, 2002)-WNST’s own Glenn Clark might say this is worthy of #1, but it doesn’t trump my winner. But, Maryland’s run to its only national title in men’s basketball and to be thrust on the front stage and the front pages of Sports Illustrated is quite the honor. Hopefully Mark Turgeon gets Maryland back to this level yet again.

Ray Lewis

1. Ray Lewis, “Special Commemorative Issue-SB XXXV”-There were a lot of issues that had the Ravens on the front pages of SI during their Super Bowl run in 2000-2001, but I chose this one because it wrapped up and completed the run. And to have the Super Bowl MVP, Ray Lewis, on its cover-the leader of that defense-you can’t go wrong here. And to keep the trend of my future hopes for SI Covers, hopefully the Ravens do it all again and send Ray Lewis out on top with another championship issue.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at RyanChell87 and listen to me on “The Afternoon Drive” with Rex Snider! Check out Rex’s list here and keep tabs on us as we prepare for Ravens season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Selig Should Deal A-Rod Out for a Year

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Selig Should Deal A-Rod Out for a Year

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Playing poker with Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio may sound innocent enough on the surface. That probably explains why fans, at least to this point, have been largely dismissive of the latest A-Rod indiscretions (if true) and are expecting them to blow over quickly with little or no consequence. But while some will see this as just further indication that in his heart A-Rod pines to be a Hollywood jet setter, others will see it as Rodriguez worst indiscretion to date and grounds for a tough penalty from Major League Baseball. Put me in the camp of the latter.

Baseball has a long and troubled history with gambling and the criminal element, and Rodriguez has apparently already been apprised by Major League Baseball once that his participation in these types of poker games is unacceptable. In addition to the star-studded cast of characters we know about, we can bet that games of that caliber are typically hosted, attended and protected by criminals and high stakes professional gamblers. Therein lies the biggest issue, and likely MLB’s greatest concern.

 

Professional sports gamblers, good ones at least, typically have particular areas of expertise. Often, these areas of expertise are fortified with “inside information”, well placed contacts who can give information to gamblers that the general public has no knowledge of, information that could influence the outcomes of games and therefore information that when in the right hands could prove quite valuable.

 

It seems unlikely that Rodriguez would intentionally feed this type of information to that type of element, but without intending to do so, gossip and anecdotes told over a poker table could potentially yield invaluable insight to an unsavory element clamoring to discern it. For baseball, that would be a big problem.

 

Additionally, and more importantly, it would seem that most tales of athletes or insiders gone awry because of gambling, find themselves at the mercy of criminals because of their inability or unwillingness to pay back big losses from card games, bets on other sports or other gambling losses. No matter how much a person makes, coming out of big money is never easy. Michael Jordan’s alleged $1 million plus in golf gambling losses became an issue not because he couldn’t pay it, we knew about it because he didn’t pay it. Coming off of a million bucks isn’t easy for anyone…even Michael Jordan…allegedly of course.

 

While it’s unlikely that an athlete who’s made in the ballpark of half a billion dollars in his career could find himself in that kind of trouble, there are plenty of guys making half a million per year or less that easily could. As the poker craze continues to grow, MLB is in a position where, like it or not, they’ll be setting a precedent going forward. They’d better make it a strong one.

 

Most but not all of those who have been banned from baseball for gambling were implicit in the fixing of games, but on rare occasions simply consorting with a criminal or gambling element has led to action from baseball. George Steinbrenner was banned for 3 years after consorting with criminal Howard Spira to get “dirt” on Dave Winfield. One year for A-Rod would probably suffice if the accusations against him are true.

 

There are literally thousands of elements to sports that we the public can appreciate, celebrate, even demand, but without integrity in the games themselves the rest of those factors and elements become meaningless and all sports become pro wrestling. While A-Rod is a bad example of someone who could or should find himself in a bad way to a bad element; in the interest of those who are compensated far less, he needs to be made an example of.

 

Begrudge athletes and their salaries if you’d like, but one fact relative to those salaries seems clear: High compensation for professional athletes is supposed to insure integrity in the games. Gambling is a big enough business that gamblers would make athletes rich if their teams didn’t. That the teams do, is supposed to keep players (and officials) above those types of temptations and problems. And like it or not, in addition to the most insane top end salaries of any sport, baseball also seems to have more guys in important roles making half a million dollars or less per season than any other professional sport too. Surely they don’t want those guys sitting down and playing “Rounders” with actual whales, sharks and other sea creatures with unsavory intentions.

 

Speaking of “Rounders”, even if I’m wrong and baseball lets this whole episode blow over, I’d hope at least a 10-game suspension would come down from Yankees brass for losing his money to high profile Red Sox fans Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Most Entertaining Sports Figures I’ve Ever Watched

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Most Entertaining Sports Figures I’ve Ever Watched

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Luke Jones

In honor of the great Deion Sanders being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton this weekend, today’s Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 was “The 7 Most Entertaining Sports Figures I’ve Ever Seen.”

With Glenn Clark filling in on The Afternoon Drive this week, Drew Forrester kindly included me in the weekly spot.

Remember you can hear our explanations for our Top 7 lists in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

Luke Jones’ list…

7. Bo Jackson
Bo

6. Ray Lewis
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d60hKgNPlVE[/youtube]

5. Randy Moss
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmJcUlrkMNg[/youtube]

4. Tiger Woods
Tiger

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What is a Living Legend?

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What is a Living Legend?

Posted on 13 July 2011 by Rex Snider

During yesterday’s Afternoon Drive, we debated the topic of “Living Legends” in baseball. Along with Allen McCallum, we talked about what it takes to be regarded with such reverence.

The best description we could outline was “competitors that transcended the game” …..

During today’s show, we’re going to open the conversation to all sports. And, as a taste of what to expect, some of my LIVING LEGENDS can be found, below:

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We look forward to your thoughts during today’s show.  It all starts at 2pm …..

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To Lefty Driesell, Len Bias was more than just a player

Posted on 26 June 2011 by Peter Dilutis

On June 19, 1986, Len Bias passed away just two days after being drafted number two overall by the Boston Celtics. One of the greatest college basketball players to ever live was gone before he ever got the opportunity to play at the highest level.

Twenty-five years after Bias passed away, there are still many misconceptions surrounding Len and the circumstances that led to his death. Lefty Driesell joined Luke Jones on June 19th, exactly 25 years after Bias’ death, and discussed the man who he coached, but more importantly as Lefty put it, loved like his son.

“He was a great individual, a great human being,” Driesell said. “A recruit we had that went out with him the week before he died, I asked him if Leonard was messing with any drugs or anything the night he was with him. He said ‘Coach, he wouldn’t even drink a beer.’”

Driesell insists Bias was a good student, telling Luke that it was his own fault, along with Len’s advisor, that Bias flunked his 15 credits during his last semester at Maryland.

“Let me tell you something, Leonard Bias was a good student,” Driesell said. “I don’t think he ever flunked a course until that last semester. He would have graduated, he would have passed everything had he not been an All-American and number two NBA draft pick.”

While Lefty referred to Bias’ death as a “tragic accident,” he believes his death has served as a warning to all those who have used or considered using cocaine or other harmful drugs.

“I think he’s been a great example,” Driesell said. “I’m speaking down at Chuck’s camp at the Citadel this week and I always bring that up. You know, stay off of drugs. Leonard Bias was a born again Christian, went to church every Sunday, so don’t let anyone talk you into experimenting with drugs. Anything you take that messes with your mind is bad. Even if it doesn’t kill you it messes your mind up. I think it has had a tremendous effect.”

Aside from the personal storylines surrounding Len Bias’ death, the reverberations that it had on the basketball world cannot be ignored. The Boston Celtics were greatly counting on Len Bias to help them stay on top of the basketball world. Driesell believes Bias would have fit in very well with the Celtics.

“I think it would have been a perfect fit,” Driesell said. “Like I told you, Red Auerbach is no fool. He knew what he was doing and that’s why he drafted him second. There were a lot of good players who came after him but he knew how good Leonard was going to be. The thing about it was when Leonard passed away it really hurt the Celtics in the future.”

“I don’t like to brag on my own players, but Red Auerbach is probably the best evaluator of talent that there has ever been,” Driesell said. “He picked him number two, so I think he was going to be a great player. I think they were grooming him to take Larry Bird’s place.”

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