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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Love’

Morning shootaround — Sept. 8


VIDEO: Day 3 of the FIBA EuroBasket tournament

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Parker makes EuroBasket history | Report: Nets add veteran Jones | The hard times of Bulls fandom

No. 1: Parker makes EuroBasket history — As we inch ever closer to the start of the 2015-16 NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs are seen as one of the favorites to win it all once again. They had a great offseason, adding LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to a core that includes mainstays Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Speaking of Parker, he’s been busy in the summer himself, powering France through the EuroBasket tournament. At the start of 2015-16, Parker will have played in 1008 regular-season games and 203 playoff games. But in yesterday’s game against Poland, he became the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket history. Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News has more:

Tony Parker became the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket history as France held off Poland on Monday to improve to 3-0 in group play.

Parker scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half of France’s 69-66 victory to push his career EuroBasket total to 1,046. He entered Monday’s game, his 62nd in the tournament, tied with long-time record holder Nikos Galis of Greece.

Galis played in just 33 games at EuroBasket, leading Greece to the 1987 championship before retiring in 1994. His scoring average of 31.2 points will likely never be broken.

“I’ve seen Galis do things I never saw in the NBA,” three-time NBA scoring champion Bob McAdoo once said as he finished his professional career in Europe.

Parker, in contrast, has steadily amassed his total since his first appearance at EuroBasket in 2001.

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No. 2: Report: Jones signs deal with Nets — Despite averaging less than 6 points and 2 rebounds in the NBA, Dahntay Jones has carved out an 11-season career thanks to his defensive skill and ability to fit in on just about any squad. He’ll get a crack at a 12th season come this fall as he has a non-guaranteed deal with the Brooklyn Nets, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Free-agent guard Dahntay Jones has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Jones, 34, will have a chance to make the Nets in training camp. Brooklyn has 12 guaranteed contracts, and several players on partial guarantees, including Markel Brown, Quincy Miller and Ryan Boatright.

Jones is familiar with Nets coach Lionel Hollins, who was a Memphis assistant during Jones’ stint with the team from 2003-07.

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No. 3: Being a Bulls fan isn’t always easy — By the measure of success in The Finals, the Chicago Bulls are perhaps the gold standard in the NBA considering they are 6-0 all-time on the championship stage. But the times before and since those title runs of the 1990s have been up and down for Chicago fans. One famous supporter — David Axelrod, a former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama — details his memories of the good (and not-so-good) days as a Bulls fan:

I moved to Chicago in the early ’70s to go to college, where I spent more time in the gym playing pickup games than the library, excelling in neither. The first thing I did when I got a job after graduation was buy two Bulls season tickets. After the Garden, the Chicago Stadium seemed familiar to me; another creaky, cacophonous relic where, in 1932, the Democrats first nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt for President. My seats were in the second row of the first balcony, which hung right over the court and cost, if memory serves me, $6 apiece. These were the days before the need for luxury skyboxes made the old vertical, coliseums obsolete, and when working people could still afford the price of admission.

At first, I was simply a basketball-loving refugee, tacitly embracing the hometown team, but mostly just happy to see pro games. The Bulls had some scrappy teams in the early to mid ’70s: Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier, lockdown defenders who turned every encounter with opposing backcourts into something approaching a mugging; the smooth, sweet-shooting Bob Love and Chet Walker; and Tom Boerwinkle, a hulking seven-footer, who once grabbed 37 rebounds off Kareem but, improbably, could also throw gorgeous, backdoor passes from the post. And then I lived through some mostly horrendous seasons. That is, until Michael arrived.

Our 13 years with Jordan, especially the last eight, were a basketball fantasy. When Michael was on the court, with his all-world talent and an otherworldly will to win, the extraordinary became commonplace; the heroic, expected. The Bulls, with Phil Jackson as ringmaster, were perennial favorites, and their annual march through the playoffs was, for Chicagoans, a joyous, annual civic communion.

Ten years later, when the Bulls miraculously cashed in on a 2 percent chance to win the lottery, they drafted Derrick Rose, and we thought it was the beginning of the rebirth; the native son and local schoolboy hero, returning home to restore the Bulls to their rightful place atop the NBA . And two years later, when the team hired the brilliant and relentless Tom Thibodeau as coach, it seemed as if a New Bulls Era was at hand.

But the basketball Gods giveth and they taketh away. After showing messianic promise as the league’s youngest MVP, Rose blew out one knee and then another, dooming the team and a stout supporting cast to a permanent state of “respectability.” And to paraphrase the late Harry Caray, respectability is like kissing your sister — nice, but not all that satisfying.

So now the Bulls are at a crossroads. Thibodeau is gone after five winning seasons, shoved out the door by a management that tired of his sullen “my way or the highway” approach. In his place, they’ve hired the anti-Thibodeau — Fred Hoiberg, a popular ex-Bull and Iowa State coach, as genial as Thibs was dyspeptic. Hoiberg is an exponent of an uptempo game the Bulls brass believes is better suited to the league and the personnel they have today. Whether he can install his system and still maintain the withering defense that was Thibodeau’s trademark is an open question. So, too, is whether the talented group of players the Bulls have assembled can cohere as a unit.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Dwight Buycks is considering a deal with a team in China … Former UCLA standout Lazerick Jones has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Memphis Grizzlies … Philadelphia 76ers second-rounder J.P. Tokoto has signed a one-year deal with the team

NBA ‘Legends’ Host Clinic For Hoops, Life

CALUMET PARK, Ill. – For the kids who participated in a clinic of basketball and life skills Saturday in south-suburban Chicago, the mere fact that they were in a gym and a classroom all day meant the event was successful at its most fundamental level.

“You take away the opportunity for the kids to be recruited by the gang members, who are out there recruiting every day. So now they’re in here with us,” said Marco Johnson, a 29-year veteran of the local police force and representative of the Police Athletic League.

More than 100 at-risk youngsters took part in the event, hosted by the National Basketball Retired Players Association in conjunction with the National PAL and the National Urban League. Former Chicago Bulls and NBA players such as Bob Love, Dave Corzine, Jeff Sanders, Kenny Battle, Emmette Bryant and Casey Shaw logged eight hours or more at the Calumet Park Recreation Center.

The clinic – one of 14 already staged or coming to cities across the country – rotated young players through various skill stations, with enough classroom time to address some of the more pressing issues in their daily lives, ones they might not talk about if not for all the fun and star power Saturday.

“The biggest part is, give the kids hope,” said Chris Hill, president of the NPAL. “We’re going into communities where there’s a lot of violence, a lot of drugs and alcohol and a lot of bad education. We’re trying to let them know there’s a way out. The way to get them here is to bring in athletes.

“Once they get here, we also let them know there’s more to life than what they see every day.”

Seven-foot giants such as Corzine, Roger Brown and LaRue Martin aren’t part of the kids’ everyday scenery. “The size automatically gets their attention,” said Johnson, a sturdy man with a wide smile and, though he kept them holstered for this event, a mean stare and a backup scowl. “But what’s amazing is, a lot of these kids know the history of the game. One of the little kids was like, ‘Is that Bob … Bob … Bob Love?’

“I said, ‘How’d you know that?’ ‘My dad told me about him.’ ”

Some of the NBRPA “Legends” who volunteered were done playing before some kids’ parents were born. Still the name recognition was high, especially those who crossed paths with a Michael Jordan Bulls’ team. And with basketball’s prominence in many of the youngsters’ worlds, the former players’ stories resonated.

“I was talking to my son,” Johnson said, “because they showed on TV the other night that LaRue was ‘the worst [No. 1] pick ever.’ I said, ‘You tell me, would you rather be the worst draft pick in the NBA or no pick in the NBA?’ My son was like, yeah, I guess you’ve got a point.

“If these kids perservere, they will make it, whether it’s in sports or something else.”

Corzine, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, is back at his alma mater of DePaul as an assistant athletic director working in community outreach. He and Brown offered instructions on post play, while finding ways to stress ambitions beyond basketball.

“The earlier we can get the message to kids, the better,” he said. “Without being too much of a dream buster – everyone’s entitled to pursue their own dreams – so many people focus on the ones who make it and are successful. They’re a very small percentage  but they’re the ones everybody sees.

“The value, really, of athletics is physical fitness, healthy lifestyles – people take that for granted. Anything they can do to stay active is important. But also, you want them to be able to translate those skills they learn into what they can use academically and eventually in a career, as far as working hard and teamwork and being persistent, having integrity for the people you play with and work with. All those skills are transferable to their lives.”

Said Battle, who is supervising seven of the 14 clinics: “A kid knows, if he’s part of a sport or an organization, there are rules and regulations. I guarantee you, every one of those rules has educational value, where you have to maintain certain grades, you can’t be involved with a gang, you can’t be bringing trouble to the youth center or an organization.”

The NBRPA, NPAL and the National Urban League already has hosted events in San Diego, Charlotte, Detroit and, for tornado victims, in Oklahoma. Upcoming clinics are scheduled in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Orlando and Miami.

The messages from week to week largely remain the same. But the audience changes, so the impact stays fresh.

“We were in North Carolina this past week and Chris Washburn came in,” Hill said of the NBA’s third draft pick in 1986, a notorious bust undermined by drug addiction and behavioral issues. “We had no idea what he was going to say, and he got up and said, ‘Listen, I made $4 million a year. I didn’t do things right. I was homeless – eating out of garbage cans. I ended up using drugs. I went to jail. Then I went to prison. But I made my way out because I rebounded back to what I learn. Now I own my own business, but look at what I went through.’

“This was the message he said to kids. We’re trying to stop them from going through that.”

Particularly those who never get that far, yet learn to cope without ever bouncing a ball in college or the pros.

Boerwinkle, The Pre-Jordan Bulls And The Great 12-Foot Rims Experiment

CHICAGO – To a lot of Chicago Bulls fans, Tom Boerwinkle wasn’t just an alumnus and early big man of their favorite team. He was a litmus test, the guy who could separate the longtime diehards from the bandwagon set. If you followed the Bulls when Boerwinkle played for them – pre-Derrick Rose, pre-Michael Jordan, essentially pre-Artis Gilmore – you were the real deal.

Boerwinkle, the 7-footer from Cleveland by way of the University of Tennessee, died Wednesday at age 67. Drafted by Chicago with the fourth pick in 1968 – Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld went 1-2 that year – Boerwinkle played all 10 of his NBA seasons with Chicago, averaging 7.2 points and 9.0 rebounds.

He took up space and banged inside against the behemoths who roamed NBA courts back in the day, from Wilt Chamberlain, Hayes and Unseld to Willis Reed, Bob Lanier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Offensively, he was what the old announcers and sportswriters referred to as a “pivot man,” working in the high post as cutters moved around him, dishing bounce passes or handing off to perimeter shooters.

Most of what you’d want to know about Boerwinkle can be found here, via longtime Chicago Tribune sportswriter Sam Smith‘s piece for the team’s Web site. The bottom line for so many Chicago fans, though, was that Boerwinkle represented the team’s early adopters and hardcore faithful, the ones who followed Bob Love, Chet Walker, Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan and coach Dick Motta as they played underdogs to the Lakers, the Knicks, the Celtics and the Bucks, among others.

It was easy to root for the Bulls once Jordan arrived and went supernova. Hanging in there in the Boerwinkle years required a little more stamina and faith, despite the Bulls’ run of six straight playoff appearances and seven in the big man’s tenure there.

In spite of Boerwinkle’s steady play and facilitating presence, many felt the roster required an elite center. So the Bulls went searching for one, trading for broken-down Nate Thurmond a couple years too late. Only when Gilmore arrived via the ABA dispersal draft in 1976 did Chicago have its answer for Abdul-Jabbar or Lanier. Yet the Bulls never broke through with Gilmore, either.

The other memory of Boerwinkle that stands out for a kid who grew up in Chicago in the 1960s and ’70s actually came from his college days. In November 1967, he was a senior at Tennessee when the Volunteers coach Ray Mears participated in an experiment for Sports Illustrated. To address the concerns that some in the game had about the dominance of the big man, the magazine explored the possibility of raising the rims to 12 feet.

All of a sudden, for this one trial intrasquad game, Boerwinkle’s reference point to the basket was that of a man about five feet tall.

What surprised many was that the biggest man, Boerwinkle, who is fairly agile and quick, had the most difficulty. While he had 15 rebounds, a little above his average, he had trouble getting them, although most of the missed shots fell within a 12-foot radius of the basket. He had no chance at all to get the shots that hit the front of the rim. The rebounds usually caromed over his head and were taken by one of the smaller men. On many shots the ball took longer to come down, giving the other players time to crowd into the lane and fight Boerwinkle for the ball. Several times he had the ball stolen away when he came down with it. He failed to block a single shot and did not score on a tip-in. He made only one basket in 16 tries, a jump shot from the foul line.

Boerwinkle never had to play on jacked-up rims again. He settled into a long career with the Bulls and remained popular later as a broadcaster and team alumnus. His place in their history is secure, wheeling and dealing out of the high post.


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