Magic Johnson, Kevin Love, Others Remember Jackie Robinson

Leave a comment

Jackie Robinson, most recently immortalized in last year’s baseball film, 42, is a sports icon—in large part due to the significant contribution he made to all sports in being the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball during racial segregation (prior to the Civil Rights Movement).

Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball when he started for the Brooklyn Dodgers 67 years ago on this very day, April 15, 1947.

10 years ago, in 2004, Major League Baseball decided to commemorate Robinson’s legacy by beginning a tradition, known as Jackie Robinson Day, in which all uniformed players and managers wear the number 42 to honor his legacy.

Despite Success, Price of 2014 Clippers Playoff Tickets Below 2013 Lakers

Leave a comment

When it comes to professional basketball in Los Angeles, the Lakers have dominated the conversation. The Clippers have always been the little brother compared to the Lakers, but this season the Clippers are in the playoffs without the Lakers joining them for the first time since both teams have played in LA. The last time the Clippers franchise was in the playoffs in a season in which the Lakers weren’t was the 1975-76 season when the Clippers were still the Buffalo Braves. Even though the Clippers have surpassed the Lakers in the standings, they can’t make the jump in ticket prices.

LA Clippers playoff tickets at Staples Center are averaging $229.75 on the secondary market, according to TiqIQ. Even as one of the higher averages in the playoffs this year, that price is still 39 percent lower than the average price of Lakers tickets last year when they struggled to the seventh seed. The Lakers were swept by the Spurs in that series and were without Kobe Bryant.

The price for Clippers playoff tickets has increased from last season, though. last year they had an average price of $185.51, but were directly competing with Lakers sales. Last year the Lakers averaged $378.57 a ticket, which would be second only to the Toronto Raptors this year. The Raptors are a three seed, back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, are in a big market and have the highest playoff premium above the regular season average than any other team in the playoffs.

History is likely in play for why the Lakers continue to cast a shadow over the Clippers. The Lakers have won 16 championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics all-time, have been a perennial playoff team every season, and always seem to be led by one of the biggest names in the sport. Even last season, when they barely made the playoffs, the Lakers had name value in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

On the other hand, the Clippers have had a tortured history on par with some of the worst franchises in sports. They have only recently been able to turn things around with the drafting of Blake Griffin and the trade for star point guard Chris Paul. But that hasn’t been enough to reverse the fortunes of the two franchises.

The Clippers have a legitimate chance of winning a title this year as the third seed in the West, and sport the second-best point differential in the league. They will face an exciting Golden State Warriors in the first round, a team that almost found a way to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals last postseason. The Clippers finally have the spotlight to themselves and could use a successful playoff run as the next step to escaping the Lakers’ shadow.

Chris Bernucca’s Postseason Award Choices

Leave a comment

Image.AdamSilverTransparency 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 into the lottery drawing. He okayed press releases that admitted, Yes, we blew that call.

Since replacing Stern as commissioner less than three months ago, Adam Silver has taken the NBA’s transparency up a notch. He declared that there will be an open dialogue about officiating and is walking the walk by making internal memos available to the media.

But Silver is getting something back, too. At All-Star Weekend this year, the media presented the notion of transparency with regard to how its members vote on postseason awards, and the commissioner bought in. 

Pages: 1 2

Bernucca: Have Pacers Lost Belief in Themselves?

4 Comments

Believe it or not, there’s someone out there who doesn’t think the Indiana Pacers are coming apart at the seams. Lance Stephenson

“Everybody goes through this,” Spurs guard Tony Parker said last week after San Antonio manhandled Indiana, 103-77, on the Pacers’ home court. “I’m not worried about them. They’ll still make it to the Eastern Conference finals and they’ll still play Miami.”

Parker is somewhat right. From time to time, every championship contender has a stretch during a season where they look ordinary. Addled. Even awful at times.

Last month, the Miami Heat lost three in a row and seven of 11, including a home contest to Denver and a visit to New Orleans after which Chris Bosh plainly said, “We suck.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed back Russell Westbrook as they came out of the All-Star break and immediately lost three straight and five of eight, including a home loss to Cleveland and a road setback to the L.A. Lakers. The Houston Rockets were a pedestrian 8-8 in December, losing at home and on the road to Sacramento, at Utah and being blasted at Oklahoma City and Indiana.

Pages: 1 2

Bernucca: Spurs Aren’t Streaking, They’re Gliding

1 Comment

lebron-wade1There have been some fair comparisons drawn between the current 17-game winning streak of the San Antonio Spurs and the remarkable 27-game run put together a year ago by the Miami Heat.

Both teams expect to compete for the NBA championship. Both teams found their rhythm at the most opportune time of the season. Both teams stormed to the league’s best record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

There are obvious differences as well. For one, San Antonio still needs 10 straight wins – a run reached by only three other teams this season – to merely match Miami’s streak. Even if they win out, the Spurs will still come up one short of the Heat and have to resume the chase next season.

But here’s the biggest difference. The Heat were somewhat consumed by their streak. The Spurs are not consumed by theirs.

Pages: 1 2