January 5, 2013 |
Pete Maravich came to town 25 years ago, Jan. 5, 1988. No newspaper, local or national, had an obituary prepared. No need, presumably. Everything seemed normal that morning in the gymnasium at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena. Maravich had flown in from his Louisiana home to do some radio work with James Dobson. Maravich had become a born-again Christian. Dobson was the nationally known head of Focus on the Family, his spacious headquarters located at the intersection of the 57 and 10 freeways in Pomona.
March 1, 2012 |
It seemed so absurd, it might as well have happened in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. A player of Bunyanesque proportions pulls off a feat straight out of a basketball fantasyland, and only a smattering of fans are there to see it in the candy-coated nowheresville of Hershey, Pa. Where's the TV footage? How come there's no full radio account of the game? Wilt Chamberlain did indeed log the NBA's only single-triple 50 years ago Friday, the colossus of a center scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors long before a player's exploits could be broadcast in high definition or instantaneously dispensed through social media.
February 9, 2012 |
This was not your typical in-season coaching change, but few are as monumental. If Lakers coach Jack McKinney hadn't decided to ride his bike to a tennis date with assistant Paul Westhead on Nov. 8, 1979 the course of the team's history might have been different — and so would the course of several men's lives. McKinney had left an assistant's job in Portland to coach the Lakers in 1979 and soon installed the foundation of the Showtime era. His team was humming along at 10-4, his relationship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar solidifying into a deep trust, when McKinney hurtled over the handlebars of his bike and struck his head on the pavement, sustaining a serious head injury.
May 16, 2013 |
Phil Jackson never liked to compare Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan. Believe me, I tried everything. Sometimes I'd ask him after random Lakers practices or before games against Charlotte, the team Jordan owned. Or after games in Chicago, where nostalgia hopefully would add to the mix. There would be a little nugget here, a tiny nibble there, but nothing that mattered. It's coming out now, though, in Jackson's 339-page memoir co-written with Hugh Delehanty and available Tuesday: "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.
November 16, 1986 |
For the longest time, Doctor J was the basketball player and Julius Erving was the man. Gradually, the two personalities merged as Erving became appreciated for himself, rather than for the instantly recognized nickname attached to the skywalking legend of the old American Basketball Association. When the time came to announce his retirement, however, it was Erving, and not Doctor J, who said the time had come to pinpoint the end of his career.
July 17, 2013 |
WNBA star Brittney Griner remembers a day in seventh grade as if it were yesterday. Class had just let out and the hallway was flooded with students. As Griner made her way through the crowd, a boy stopped her. "You're a dude," he said. "I just stood there and took it. I was humiliated. The whole school was laughing at me," Griner recalled. In college at Baylor, Griner was a phenomenon on the court. She finished as the NCAA's second-leading women's scorer of all time and created a buzz with her dunks and athleticism, twice winning player-of-the-year awards.