Sports Shots 7/08: Hoops? Of course it’s Mostly Hoops

b-ballYeah, I’m back. Miss me?

You think I’m really going to try and talk European soccer with you, France vs. Portugal for the title, or Tour de France,  or Wimbledon?

Of course not. Though I’ll reiterate, NBC bike race announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen remain my favorite announcing duo in any sport.

What you care about is who’s hot at the Peach Jam? You know, basketball recruiting. Well, I’m not going to talk about that either.

Golden State with Kevin Durant. Of course, the buzz is, how many titles are the Dubs going to win with their New Death Lineup?

And all I’m thinking is, how come you guys never listen? Have you not learned yet that the best conglomeration of players does not necessarily the best team make.

Let me remind you once again, as if I haven’t already ad nauseum every time talk of a super team comes up.

Lesson #1. Los Angeles Lakers, three seasons from 1968-71.

Three players on that team were among the very best in the NBA at the time. In fact, those three players remain among the Top Ten guys who balled in the 20th C.

Wilt Chamberlain.

Jerry West.

Elgin Baylor.

They never won a title.

In ’69, they fell to the last gasps of the Celtic dynasty. Cousy and K.C. and Jungle Jim Loscutoff were long gone, Bill Russell and Sam Jones were old and just about done. They had Hondo Havlicek, Bad News Barners, Don Chaney and a thin bench that included former Louisville Cardinal Bud Olsen. They were the lowest seed in the Eastern Division, but, after besting the ’76ers and Knicks, beat L A and its trio of superduperstars in 7 for the Crown.

In ’70, Willis Reed hobbled on the court, inciting the throng at Madison Square, and the Knicks survived the Lakers in 7.

In ’71, the Milwaukee Bucks and their super duo of Big O and Kareem beat Wilt, the Logo and Elgin for the Crown.

Only the following year, after Baylor retired, and former Celtic Bill Sharman came over from the ABA to coach, did Los Angeles succeed.

Hear me now, as you’ve heard me many times over, more isn’t necessarily more.

The Warriors, whose new roster looks mighty meek under the boards, might win. They just as well might not.

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U of L Cardinal Basketball. We’ve learned long ago that The Rick talks out of both sides of his mouth about his players.

When it became clear that Chinanu Onuaku was going pro, Pitino’s line was that it would free up time for the other bigs, and, despite the loss of talent, would be better for team chemistry. Which seems spot on.

Then, soon enough, we hear the Cards are pursuing a graduate wing from Nebraska, a former Rock Chalk Jayhawk. Who, if he came, and if he was worthy, would steal court time from Deng Adel, T.J. King and perhaps others.

Then, as quick as that flirtation came about, it went away, and The Rick was smitten no more.

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Tom Jurich. The Florida AD job is still open and it’s been hard for me to imagine that the SEC power hasn’t been in contact with U of L’s incredibly successful AD. Several people who might know have mentioned that Tom Jurich has discussed the opening in Gainesville with the powers that be.

I’m also told, as I suspected, that his preference is to stay in Louisville, where he’s had a good thing — essentially free reign — under Jim Ramsay, but is nervous how matters might change under a new prexy.

It’ll be nice when they hold a presser in Gator Country and introduce a new athletic director whose name isn’t familiar.

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College Football. I ordered the new edition of Phil Steele’s College Football Yearbook today.

It’s the cheatsheet I use to sound like I know what I’m writing about, when I do my weekly Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications, a weekly autumnal feature beloved by all from hither and yon.

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Megatron. If you haven’t seen ESPN’s interview with retired Detroit Lions super receiver Calvin Johnson, track it down and do so.

It provides the latest revelations as to how brutal the pro game is, and the effects it has on the players. And what a lame organization runs my Detroit Lions, who have now lost the two best players of recent times because of organizational ineptitude.

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Muhammed Ali. I remain stunned at the adoration and outpouring of love toward Muhammed Ali.

I also discovered, in the aftermath of his passing, that I can no longer watch boxing. I tried to watch some of his fights, but the sport is simply too brutal for me now. The only video I could stay with was the final round of the Rumble in the Jungle.

That was it.

Olympics. We gotta watch just to see if they can pull it off without major incident.

And to see if Bob Costas ever stops talking.

— Seedy K