SPORTSMEN OF THE YEAR
For all the grousing that has gone on about the NBA recently, I'd like to borrow, if I may, from the last line of a football movie, "The Longest Yard."
"Stick this in your trophy case!"
Such a bold sentiment won't garner me any sportsmanship awards, but then again, I won't claim to be the class act that either Tim Duncan and David Robinson is.
In the movie, "this" referred to the game ball. For my reference, "this" is Sports Illustrated's Sportsmen of the Year Award. In a televised special on Sunday, Duncan and Robinson, who may not have room in their trophy cases for another award, were named SI's 2003 Sportsmen of the Year.
And to that I say, "'Bout time!" Not only does it validate (not that they needed validation) Duncan and Robinson as sportsmen and citizens, but it shows that the NBA remains a positive cultural force, as ESPN.com's David Aldridge pointed out in his most-recent Web column.
Duncan and Robinson are just the fourth and fifth NBA players to be named Sportsmen. Only Bill Russell in 1968, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1985 and Michael Jordan in 1991 have been so named. Duncan and Robinson also became just the second set of teammates and the seventh duo to garner Sportsmen honors.
“The remarkable combination of skill and sportsmanship that Tim and David displayed on the court is matched only by their sense of duty and commitment to their community,” said SI managing editor Terry McDonell. “They are good neighbors and truly amazing athletes. It is that combination that makes them our Sportsmen of the Year.”
Hear, hear! Congratulations to Duncan and Robinson on this singular honor.
And to the man who led them both, Gregg Popovich? Well, one columnist thinks Pop is a hero, too.
ON SECOND THOUGHT...
Picked by most to finish in the upper-half of the Atlantic Division, the Magic lost their 19th consecutive game to the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday.
The loss leaves the Magic four short of the all-time league record of -- gulp -- 23 consecutive losses in a single season, shared by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets. At the beginning of the season, one Orlando columnist wanted the Magic to take the next step. Little did he know that step would be off of a cliff.
Now, the columnist wants his old, mediocre Magic to return.
"New cheer for the Magic:
'We don't care if you're king of the hill,
Meanwhile, this Magic fan, even though he cannot see, has a great outlook on life.
The other news out of Orlando is if Grant Hill can't go on his surgically repaired ankle ... he'll have one more!
Hill told Sentinel columnist Brian Schmitz that he'd go for surgery again if it wasn't extensive.
"I should have never said that," Hill said. "I mean, it's probably it if they have to go in again. . . . but it depends. I can't rule it out."
Best of luck to you, Grant. May you never need to see an anesthesiologist and count down from 100 again.
BEST! UNIFORMS! EVER!
Last Friday, throwback uniform fans got a real treat. The San Francisco -- ahem, pardon me -- Golden State Warriors broke out the best NBA uniforms of all time.
Some may argue (and that's what I want), but I need to stick with The City as the best of all time. Here are my top five of all time:
1. San Francisco Warriors, 1966-71
Honorable mentions: Buffalo Braves, 1973; Chicago Bulls, present; Milwaukee Bucks 1978-85; Denver Nuggets, present; Sacramento Kings, 1985-88 (powder blue, names below the numbers)
The Warriors will sport the retro look five times this season. Too bad they can't live in the past more often.
Got a beef with our taste? By all means, e-mail us and let us know.
On the Alonzo Mourning donation front, He'll tell you, rightly, different.
-- Boston Herald
Coming soon to a scouting report to near you about the Blazers, thanks to the recently traded Bonzi Wells: "I told (Memphis center Lorenzen Wright), 'Man, they're about to start bugging,'" Wells said of his former team's collapse. "I could see it in their eyes. It's just like that sometimes. When you get a reputation, it sticks with you."
Now, Allen Iverson feels that he hasn't been getting the calls. He only has 38 more attempts than anyone else in the league, this season and has averaged a whopping 665 trips to the line in his past four seasons.
Nothing says getting to know you, getting to know everything about you like a long road trip.
Mmm... contempt for your opponents.
I am impressed. Truly, on two levels.
One, in regard to our e-mail question last week about "What trade do you think would make your team better?" not one person sent in: "I think we should trade our bench for Shaq/Duncan/AI." Thank you, people, for not making made wade through that.
Two, Raptors fans are intense and passionate.
Did we ever get e-mail from Raptors fans. And we thank you, fans north of the border, for your missives. They were well-written, well-reasoned and informed. Yes, informed, like your general manager, Glen Grunwald. Before the trade for Jalen Rose and Donyell Marshall, the Raptors had not reached 90 points in regulation all season. After the trade, the Raptors have averaged a nifty 100 points per game and have won four straight.
Not bad, not bad at all.
One man has said both the Bulls and Raptors have benefited from the trade.
In regard to the e-mail, we received some OK suggestions:
"The Dallas Mavericks should try to trade Tony Delk and Shawn Bradley for someone bigger and tougher in the paint. Jamaal Magloire would be perfect, provided the Hornets would agree."
Editor's note: Yes, Dave. Provided.
We had some people think out their trades, verbally:
"The Sonics have only one player who is both tradeable and expendable: Ray Allen. Flip Murray is going off, and scoring bunches, so Allen can be moved. The Sonics need a physical big man. But few teams will willingly trade their big men. So there are not many players available in the Ray Allen talent area. There are a few, Gasol, Big Ben, C-Webb (maybe), and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
"The most attractive of these options is Webber, but he isn't going anywhere, and Sacto doesn't need Allen. Wallace isn't moving, because he is too important and popular. Gasol is the best option, since he is young, and is more in tune with the more European style of the Sonics. Rahim is also very good, and is a better inside player. But Allen for Gasol is the trade to make, maybe with a second round pick moving in the deal."
Editor's note: A Sonics fan's dream, but that's all it is.
We had another dream trade:
"First of all, Click and Roll is probably my favourite section of the whole NBA.com Web site. I literally spend hours checking out all the links and quips. (Editor's note: As should everyone!) But getting on, my team here in Canada has got to be the Raps. Yeah, they've been struggling, but soon enough they'll come on strong with Rose and the rest of 'em. "Hopefully, we'll get somewhere around .500, but I'm not that confident yet. Although, for a dream trade (I'll try and be as conservative and realistic as possible in this situation) I think KG is exactly what the T-dot needs. Yeah, he's a little tied up now (Can you say multi-year deal?) but he would've been, and still could be, a great addition. Forget even Jalen, KG's got the boards, points and the leadership that Jalen lacks the latter of.
"Not only would he take the strain off VC, but the other guys as well, although it's not like they're trying too much now anyway. His explosiveness is unmatched and his spirit and excitement for the game is unbeatable. Think about it: 'And, from your Toronto Raptors, No. 21, Keviiiin Garnett!!" Dream on Toronto, for now."
And we got funny ones:
"Maybe the Kings should trade Chris Webber's knees for some that will let him play 82 games for the first time ever."
We want to thank everyone who wrote in and we would like to pose our next Click and Roll e-mail question (in addition to the best uniforms of all time). In accordance to all the e-mail Raptors fans sent it, it opened my eyes to the passion they have for their team. But are they the most passionate fans in the NBA? Which team has the most passionate, devoted and loyal fans in the NBA? And why?
E-mail Click and Roll and we'll print the best missives next week.
-- Rob Peterson, NBA.com