Hubbard: Roy Tarpley — Good Guy, Sad Story

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During his second year with the Mavericks, Roy Tarpley was 23 years old and on his way to winning the 1987-88 Sixth Man Award. He was a young man full of exuberance, already beloved by his teammates for two reasons: 1. He was a great basketball player. 2. He was refreshingly naïve and perpetually happy. Roy always had a smile on his face and was a wonderful teammate. Despite prodigious talent, he did not start because the Mavericks had a veteran accomplished power

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Hubbard: Prospects Bleak for Derek Fisher; Should He Open an IHOP?

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Sometimes weirdness creeps up on you slowly. You are aware of it, but because it happens gradually, you get used to it. But you watch what’s happening in New York, then you look at the larger overall NBA picture, and you think how strange is it that three of the greatest winners in the history of basketball had become either tolerant of or responsible for losing? Five years after winning his 11th NBA title as a head coach, Phil Jackson has the

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Hubbard: Any Truth to Gloom and Doom Forecasts for Spurs?

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As good as the Spurs have been during the last 16 years, there is an inevitable point each season when gloomy forecasts surface. We had one here recently. At times, doubts are legitimate. The Spurs have won five titles, but 11 other times, they had problems that kept them from winning, although some of those can be traced to the excellence of opponents. When a team like the Lakers had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in their primes, losing to them was

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Hubbard: Celebrating Naismith on Basketball’s 123rd Birthday

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Respect for the inventor is unique to basketball. Even today, 123 years after Dr. James Naismith composed a list of 13 rules and supervised the first basketball game in history, it is not unusual for someone to say something like: “That’s the way Dr. Naismith intended the game to be played,” a statement that would likely amuse a man universally praised for his surpassing intelligence and uncommon humility. You never hear “that’s the way (whoever) wanted (baseball or football) to be

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Hubbard: Magic, like Michael, has a competition problem

Magic Johnson

A few years ago, Magic Johnson came to Dallas for a charity event that included playing a game of H-O-R-S-E at Roger Staubach’s house. Staubach, a notorious competitor, has a basketball court in his backyard where the basic rule is: Roger wins. There were several former Cowboys there along with slam dunk legend Spud Webb and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. Magic made the final in the competition and was playing a woman, who I believe was a former college player. She

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Hubbard: Tanking used to be much more fun

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When I regularly covered the NBA on a daily basis too many years ago, a number of us promised ourselves that when new days arrived, we would never bore people by talking about the good old days. The notion that the past is always better than the present is a sermon delivered by the aged and, as Pete Townshend once wrote, “Hope I die before I get old.” But having observed the Philadelphia 76ers the last two years, I can’t help myself: Tanking

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Hubbard: Lakers are all Kobe, All the Time

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My annual Thanksgiving trip to Los Angeles did not hold the promise of trips past. A year ago, I arrived in time to watch the Lakers win a game and even their record at 8-8. Even though there was considerable hand-wringing going on (Kobe had agreed to his new contract and the common opinion of the Laker faithful was that he was greedy, which, makes him different in L.A. how?), there was the always-entertaining Lakers optimism. Lakers fans are my favorites

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Hubbard: Bird-Dirk: Still not a good comparison

When Dirk Nowitzki recently passed Hakeem Olajuwon on the list of all-time leading scorers, one publication ran photos of the top 10 scorers and it was easy to spot Dirk, the only white guy. There is nothing particularly profound about that. Dirk’s been around 16 years. We all know he’s from Germany, he’s white and he’s a great basketball player. But it did remind me of a comparison that was made long before it was even close to being even remotely legitimate

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