Posts Tagged ‘Usain Bolt’

LBJ And KD … Friends And Rivals?




HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Outside of tennis legends and sisters Venus and Serena Williams and Jamaican sprint superstars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, has there ever been a pair of world class-level rivals in any sport who have trained together at the height of their powers?

Athletes in other sports have done it, challenging each other to get better during the offseason and sharing tips. But rarely, if ever, have we seen anything like what’s going on in Akron, Ohio right now, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

But for the second straight summer, Miami Heat star and MVP LeBron James and NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant have hooked up for a week of workouts (Hell Week II?) in preparation for the upcoming season.

While some people might cringe at the idea of these two combatants working together (lest we forget, they were teammates all summer on the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team that won a gold medal at the Olympics in London), this is a breath of fresh air here at the hideout.

You couldn’t have competed any harder than James and Durant did against one another in The Finals, with James and his Heat team prevailing in June. They joined forces in London and proved to be a dynamic and devastating duo against some of the best the rest of the world had to offer. And we have no doubts that they’ll crank right back up this season battling for NBA supremacy from the start of training camp until the final buzzer of the 2012-13 season.

But not everyone is as accepting of this sort of pairing. Some folks, even a stray voice or two here at the hideout, are not as comfortable with this training set up, even if is just one week.

What say you?

Van Gundy Keeps On Blasting Magic

HANG TIME, Texas – Are there any bridges left in Orlando? If so, Stan Van Gundy will probably burn them by tomorrow.

Dwight Howard’s former coach and sparring partner continued his carpet bombing of the franchise that fired him by calling CEO Alex Martins naive and said he had “no knowledge of the game” during Mike Bianchi‘s radio show on 740 AM in Orlando:

“It’s a typical lack of understanding from someone who has no sports knowledge, who has never coached or played, who has never been in a lockeroom….it’s a naivete,” Van Gundy said of Martins Monday morning on Mike Bianchi’s show on 740 AM.

“….I’ll stand on the relationships with players based on the results we got.

“I think Alex’s comments are based on the fact that Dwight and maybe others didn’t like me…and thinking somehow that’s important.”

Nobody will ever nominate Van Gundy for a post in the diplomatic corp, so the fact that he’s been forthcoming and blunt in the aftermath of being let go by the Magic is hardly shocking. Truth is, in a world of professional sports that has become increasingly corporate, clandestine and, frankly, often quite boring, StanVan and his willingness to react like an exposed nerve end is as welcome as a cleansing summer rain.

Who can forget the scene last spring when Van Gundy had just finished telling a throng of reporters that Howard had asked to have him fired just before the disgruntled center walked up and placed an arm around his shoulder to act buddy-buddy?

It was just last week when Hang Time noted Van Gundy’s previous outburst on 790 The Ticket in Miami. (more…)

LeBron Can Cap Best Year With Gold

LONDON – He didn’t have to be here.

He could have spent this summer lying on a beach somewhere as far removed from the game of basketball as humanly possible. He could have avoided the crush of being one of the four or five most recognizable people — Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, British gold medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis, Kobe Bryant and royals Kate Middleton and Prince William — in this city right now.

No one would have blamed LeBron James for finally taking a little time away from his life’s passion. After a decade of chasing a legacy, and a championship, he finally secured his title, leading the Miami Heat past Oklahoma City in The Finals. James won his third NBA regular season MVP award and snagged a Finals MVP to add to his treasure chest.

With a chance to add a gold medal to his 2012 haul Sunday in the Olympic final against Spain, James is attempting to add an extra layer on top of a cake already drowning in icing. Only Michael Jordan has had a comparable season, piling up all of the aforementioned honors, and that came 20 years ago when he led the Chicago Bulls to the second of what would be six NBA titles and then spent his summer dazzling the world while leading the original Dream Team to gold in the Barcelona Olympics.

Even on a team filled with superstars, James is the headliner and biggest star, playing in a comfort zone and an elite level no one else in this competition or beyond can match.

And now he’s got a chance to cap his best year with gold in a rematch of the 2008 gold meal game in Beijing won by the U.S. Team.

“I don’t think you could have written this script any better for him,” said U.S. forward Kevin Durant, dazzling in his own right throughout this competition, and James’ chief rival with the Thunder during the NBA season. “I’m sure that would be fine for him, the way this has all played out so far. You can’t beat that right there.”

In just two short years, James has gone from the daunting task of trying to live up to expectations few athletes of any generation have ever had to literally winning it all.

Having his best year after his toughest year has to make this current run even for James.

“I would have hoped that this would be it,” James said of the moment, the year, when it all came together. “I would be able to compete for a championship, and win a championship in the NBA. And also be a part of this team and compete for a gold medal. If I would have had to map it out it would have been like this … it’s going in the right direction.”

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Everyone Wants To Be A Witness

Kobe Bryant took this shot on the practice track before Jamaica’s amazing Usain Bolt set an Olympic record in winning the 100 meters Sunday night.

LONDON – The eyes of the world were on the Olympics and Usain Bolt Sunday night, and that includes those of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team.

As star-studded a group as they are, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the only athletes competing here that could rival Bolt for global recognition right now, the need to witness history on the track in the fastest 100 meters race was a must.

“This is the biggest event of them all right here,” James told the Associated Press shortly before Bolt’s Olympic-record sprint to glory. “The whole world is going to watch this tonight.”

Pretty much.

There is a mutual admiration among so many of the world’s elite athletes that permeates this competition. They finally get a chance to interact with each other at the venues and in the Olympic Village.

From 100 meter bronze medalist Justin Gatlin and other members of the U.S. track and field team showing up in the stands to support James, Bryant and the crew when they whipped Tunisia to members of the basketball team showing up at everything from beach volleyball to swimming to women’s basketball to tennis (Bryant caused a particular stir at Wimbledon over the weekend), this is one of those rare occasions when they can all enjoy each other competing at the highest level.

“It’s just a recognition of all of the hard work, of a job well done to get here and be able to represent your country,” Bryant said of what draws these athletes from different disciplines to each other. “In Beijing we got a chance to see Michael Phelps in action live and I told all of these guys that we had to do more of that this time. When you look back years from now and tell your kids that you were at the Olympics, you want to be able to tell them you saw history being made.”

Kevin Love took Bryant’s words to heart, and has been on a mission since setting foot on British soil to document every magical moment of the team’s trip — Twitter and the popular photo-sharing app Instagram being his weapons of choice.

Working around their own practice and competition schedule, Love said they haven’t missed much. Sometimes they go in pairs, but more often in larger groups, hustling to make sure they witness as much as they can.

“I was all in from the moment we met up in Las Vegas for training camp,” Love said. “But I really think it hit me at the opening ceremonies. Once you are inside that stadium and you see the athletes from every country walking in and those flags waving. It’s hard not to get caught up in the Olympics. Obviously, our first priority here is to take care of business and win a gold medal. But you don’t get here and not take advantage of the entire experience. You have to enjoy this time in whatever ways you can.”

The U.S gets back to work on the court in the final game of pool play at the Olympic Basketball Arena tonight against Argentina (5:15 p.m. ET, NBC).

Father Time Chasing The Celtics?

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Posted by Shaun Powell

BOSTON – You know, it’s not about age. Not really. Not individually, in the case of the Celtics. But collectively? Yes, right now, before our eyes, age is catching up with the Celtics like Usain Bolt chasing a snail.

Kevin Garnett showed he’s still capable of bringing it, as he did in Game 3. Ditto for Ray Allen, in Game 2. We haven’t heard much from Paul Pierce, but figure he’ll be in the mix for Game 4. OK, then. Individually, the Celtics’ thirty-somethings can rise every now and then.

But will they ever rise together again? In unison?

What Boston needs, and what Boston has been missing in this series, is the sight of the Old Threes giving a top-shelf effort and performance in the same game. The Lakers couldn’t compete with that. Imagine, for a second, in the same game, Allen hitting 6 or 7 threes, Pierce gunning for 25 points and KG grabbing 8 boards with 4 blocks and using elbow grease for 15 points. That’s the Celtic team that won in 2008, going three-for-three with those guys. Now, they’re lucky to get two out of three. More like one out of three, with Rajon Rondo chipping in.

I suspect that those old Celtics, circa 2008, went down with KG’s knee the following year. Kind of reminds me of the Blazers in 1978, the year after they won the title. They started 50-10 that season, everything humming along sweetly, until Bill Walton felt something snap in his foot. Uh, oh. Dynasty over.

It’s still not impossible, this series. Boston can pull it out, but too much is falling on Rondo’s shoulders. He’d have to play huge every game and get something from at least two of the old foggies. Otherwise, Kobe is getting one ring closer to MJ.