In a break with tradition, I am casting my NBA awards ballot after the 81st game, not the 82nd. It’s a rarity, but this season I will not hem and haw and sleep on it until the afternoon after the final day of the season. You’re welcome. I have been an official NBA postseason awards voter for nearly a decade, and it would have been longer if not for a rule at the Associated Press, where I worked from 1987-2005, forbidding
This is a tough column to write. It’s the last edition of the Most Improved Player Rankings, and like John Boehner at an eighth grade science fair, I’m about to lose it. I uhh…I just want to tell you all how much you mean to me. (Voice cracks) It’s been another incredible year in this column space. We’ve talked about Ike Manfresca, the Oscars, Seinfeld, the genetic connection between twins, existentialism, John Lennon, Mars Blackmon, and un-seeing the Eastern Conference standings. We even compared every candidate to a character in
Transparency is a two-way street. For years, NBA media members – echoing the sentiments of its passionate fan base – wanted more transparency from Commissioner David Stern and his executive staff. Whether it was a lottery drawing, a suspension in the playoffs or a referee scandal, folks felt like they were entitled to an explanation. And they were. Stern grudgingly came around. He arranged for the media to meet with referees prior to the season about rules changes. He allowed the media
Monday night. 10 p.m. Eastern. Memphis Grizzlies. Phoenix Suns. Only one of them can make the playoffs. The Grizzlies will be coming off a game the previous night against the Lakers. If they win that game, they’re a game up on the Suns. If they lose, the two teams are tied. Phoenix has to be praying the Lakers get the win, because they’ve lost all three games against the Grizzlies this season, and they need to claim the eighth spot
With one week left in the NBA regular season, the pressure is on for two Eastern Conference teams and four Western Conference teams fighting for the final playoff spots. Millions will intently watch what transpires over the next seven days as teams face must-win games, and the effort and intensity pick up. Each of these half-dozen teams have a player who will greatly impact the fate of their clubs the rest of the way.
In these rankings, much like in life, you’ve got to be lucky to win. You can be the same exact person, with the same skill set and attitude, but if that ball doesn’t bounce the right way, you don’t get the recognition you deserve. Take UConn coach Kevin Ollie. If 7-foot freshman center Amida Brimah, who hasn’t played more than four seasons of organized basketball in his life, doesn’t complete a ridiculous three-point play with less than 25 seconds left in the first
As the sun fades into the North Texas sky (not sure why we can’t call it Arlington) on Saturday evening, college basketball will take center stage on the American sports landscape. Everyone except Chris Bernucca will settle in for the Final Four, where some of the NBA’s future stars will duke it out in a titanic stadium not meant for basketball with everything on the line. It is a spectacle that deserves America’s attention. And that is why we’ve decided to lend
March is about underdogs. That’s why we love it so much. Well, most of us anyway. (Can someone check Chris Bernucca for a pulse?) Just kidding, boss. It’s the incredible stories like Mercer’s upset of Duke, Dayton’s run to the Sweet 16 and Stephen F. Austin’s miraculous comeback against VCU that keep us glued to the TV screen in March, like a month-long Rob Ford press conference. There’s nothing like a good underdog narrative, and year after year, the NCAA Tournament delivers with several