Hoop Dreams - The Basketball Thread



Been enjoying the WCF... The Mavs are putting on a show and it made me realize, I didn't know much about Luka's hoop background. Sheesh!!! He's a monster. On All NBA First Team 5 of his 6 seasons and got Rookie of the Year his first season. So many numbers and records.
 
Was at UW when the Sonics won the NBA Championship in 1979 - great time to be a Sonics fan!

James Edwards played for UW, Clint Richardson for Seattle U. Warren Moon was the UW quarterback.

Used to play a lot at the IMA Building + a nearby outdoor court next to our dorm. That’s when I learned to pump up the ball a LOT when you go play outside in 30 degree weather.

Occasionally played with some UW football players - everyone called their own fouls. So they’d shove you into a post or wall & then argue that they didn’t touch you!

One thing I missed was trash talking - was a lot of fun. Back then the black & Asian areas were kinda close so we were all in the same boat. Couldn’t do that in Honolulu cuz there’d be a fight.

Played in some leagues after I moved back to HI - was fun. Sometimes hotheads would go overboard threaten opponents & refs saying that they’d get them afterwards.
 
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I grew up and still live in Ct. HOF player Calvin Murphy was and still is a legend here. An old friend I played a lot of pick up with was a very good D3 player around the same time Calvin was at Niagra. My friend used to work summers at various basketball camps. Calvin was at one of the camps and after hours the counselors would play pickup. Calvin and my buddy are about the same size and often ended up guarding each other. He talked about how fast and tough Calvin was. He said one night Calvin and one of the counselors got into a little scrap going after a loose ball. The kid was about 6 ft 5 and pretty well built. He got cocky and decided to throw hands with Calvin. Before he could throw a punch Calvin dropped him with a 2-3 punch combination. I knew other guys who had played against him in high school, and they all said he was unstoppable and strong as an ox.
When Calvin finished college, he barnstormed playing local all star teams before the NBA Draft. I saw him play at a nearby high school. Most of the night he was guarded by a guy who was an excellent D1 player at Georgia. Calvin dropped 73 pts on him. This guy was no scrub, he finished his college career averaging about 17 points a game. A week or so later he passed through at another nearby high school and finished the evening with 101.
Calvin was listed as 5 ft 9. I'm 5 ft 7 and met him and he was maybe a half inch taller than me. Most amazing athlete I've ever seen.
 
Was at UW when the Sonics won the NBA Championship in 1979 - great time to be a Sonics fan!

James Edwards played for UW, Clint Richardson for Seattle U. Warren Moon was the UW quarterback.

Used to play a lot at the IMA Building + a nearby outdoor court next to our dorm. That’s when I learned to pump up the ball a LOT when you go play outside in 30 degree weather.

Occasionally played with some UW football players - everyone called their own fouls. So they’d shove you into a post or wall & then argue that they didn’t touch you!

One thing I missed was trash talking - was a lot of fun. Back then the black & Asian areas were kinda close so we were all in the same boat. Couldn’t do that in Honolulu cuz there’d be a fight.

Played in some leagues after I moved back to HI - was fun. Sometimes hotheads would go overboard threaten opponents & refs saying that they’d get them afterwards.
Kid from my area played at UH and was captain his senior year.
 
Kid from my area played at UH and was captain his senior year.
Do you recall his name?

I remember once my housemate (also from Hawaii) & I went to a nearby park to play basketball. We ended up on opposing teams - we were the shortest players & the only ones on the court who couldn’t dunk. We were point guards, passed the ball & watched our teammates do their thing. 😊
 
I saw Lew Alcindor play for the Bucks at Boston Garden. Years later, I saw Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play with the Lakers against the Suns in Tucson.
 
Do you recall his name?

I remember once my housemate (also from Hawaii) & I went to a nearby park to play basketball. We ended up on opposing teams - we were the shortest players & the only ones on the court who couldn’t dunk. We were point guards, passed the ball & watched our teammates do their thing. 😊
Phil Lott. I think he may have played professionally in South America after UH. Not 100% sure. He's in his early/mid 50's now. I'm a retired teacher and last I heard he works for the same school system I retired from as a truancy prevention counselor.
I went to Berklee as a music/trumpet major and stayed all year round. I lived one summer near Northeastern U. We used to play pickup late at night on a campus outdoor court that was lit all night. One of the guys that I lived with had a serious vertical. We were playing 2 on 2 against some local guys one night. One of them could really jump. They went at each other and threw down several tomahawk dunks. I had a job and got out at 10 pm. We'd play from 11 to 1 in the morning. Get a slice at an all night pizza place and go home. Good memories.
I had a pretty decent vertical in my day. I could touch the rim at 5 ft 7. No dunking for this short haole. When I saw Calvin play, he slapped the backboard at least a foot or maybe more over the rim.
You on Oahu? My wife is from Kalihi, just below Kam School, Kealia Drive. Went to The Priory. We get over every year in the fall for 6 weeks and stay in Kailua near the high school.
 
I remember Phil Lott, wondered what happened to him after basketball. Not too many guys could touch the rim at 5'-7" (We're the same height - I'd need a ladder). 😝

I live in Kaimuki, not far from where your wife grew up.
 
I remember Phil Lott, wondered what happened to him after basketball. Not too many guys could touch the rim at 5'-7" (We're the same height - I'd need a ladder). 😝

I live in Kaimuki, not far from where your wife grew up.
My friend who played against Calvin Murphy is a 5 ft 9 haole. When he was playing in college, he dunked one and two handed. I saw him do that a few times. Last time I played pickup with him was years ago and he could still grab the rim at 46 years old. He's 74-75 now.
He was drafted by Cincinnati Royals in one of the last rounds. He had been accepted to law school and never went to camp.
My wife still has a lot of family scattered all over Oahu. Pearl City, Ewa, Hawaii Kai and Kailua. A few on The Big Island in Kurtistown and a bunch on Maui in Kula. The cousins in Kula were lucky and had no damage from the fire.
BTW, Jake is playing a show nearby on Father's Day. Herb Jr and Bryan Tolentino are in the area late July. Going to both shows.
 
If the story linked below is correct, he is the all-time-number-one in at least one category.

Ha! Calvin definitely spread his love around.
A guy I went to high school with was a high school All American. He had an extremely successful college career and played professionally for many years overseas. Honorable mention All American his senior year of college. He was one of the nicest guys I've ever known, but in his younger days he had several kids with several women. By the time his freshman year in college was finished he had a kid. She ended up one of my band students! I'm not sure but she may have had a twin brother. He may have been a half brother from another mother.
He passed away unexpectedly 6 years ago and was a great grandfather at 63. His obituary said he was survived by his 6 children. I had to laugh and thought that was the 6 he knew about. There were probably 5 or 6 more scattered all over Europe.
He eventually settled down in England and married a local gal, they had 3-4 kids. He finished his playing career there and coached several years. He had retired from coaching and ran some kind of youth basketball program. He was awarded an MBE Medal for his work from The Queen Mum!
It's not how you start, it's how you finish.
 
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The Logo has left this mortal coil. RIP (Peace and Power) to the legendary player and executive Jerry West.

I saw him play with the 70-71 Lakers, also featuring Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, and Pat Riley (!!!). He really was all that as a player, and his record as an exec is all that too. 🙂
 
I saw him play with the 70-71 Lakers, also featuring Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, and Pat Riley (!!!). He really was all that as a player, and his record as an exec is all that too. 🙂
Jerry was also a really good defensive player. Jerry and The Big O are the most complete players at the guard position I've ever seen. They had no weakness. RIP Jerry.
 
Not wanting to be too glib in my praise of Jerry, I want to also remember him as someone who spent the last 15-20 years of his life speaking more about mental health than basketball. His 2011 autobiography has the subtitle "My Charmed and Tormented Life", which only barely hints at the brutality therein. He was very frank about the abuse he suffered from his parents, the trauma of an older brother passing early in Jerry's life, the many times he considered suicide, his attempts to muffle his pain with as many women as he could bed, and much, much more. He really did have a tough time of it.

(One of the most chilling examples actually comes in Pat Riley's book -- Riley both a teammate of West's, and famously a coach for West as GM. He tells of finding Jerry on a 17th floor balcony after a particularly brutal loss, and quietly approaching him with just three softly spoken words: "Don't do it." Jerry nodded once, and that was that for that episode.)

In talking about how mighty a competitor he was, we don't talk enough about how often he lost -- and you better believe he never forgot it. He not only lost SIX FINALS IN A ROW to Bill Russell's Celtics, he actually lost more championships than any player in NBA history (8, followed by his teammate Elgin Baylor with 7 championships losses -- although at least West won 1, which came after Baylor's retirement). It was endlessly galling to him to be praised for greatness when he was vastly more aware of his failures.

In fact, he remains the only Finals MVP to win that award in a losing campaign, in 1969 -- yet again to Russell's Celtics. He talks in the book about fantasizing about going to the MVP ceremony in New York and blowing up the car. He didn't, but after he retired, he also never set foot in Boston for as long as he lived.

(Not that either he or Russell took the rivalry personally. West always said that if he could have had any player on one of his teams it would be Russell. And affter that 1969 finals that LA lost at home in the final seconds of game 7, Bill went to the locker room to console Jerry, because he knew, KNEW, the agony that Jerry was in. Yet another example of Russell's class, imo.)

Jerry and The Big O are the most complete players at the guard position I've ever seen.

It drives me absolutely insane when people talk about MJ having any defensive chops whatsoever. Bullspit. He never stopped anybody from doing anything. (Maybe keeping Reggie Miller's Pacers out of the Finals? Reggie's only appearance in the Finals was in one of MJ's gap years, where they lost to Shaq & Kobe, two players that Jerry West brought to the Lakers.) Oscar makes a compelling argument that Jordan wouldn't have won ANY championships if Oscar had been playing, and if you disagree, it's only because you didn't see Oscar play. What a monster! My #2 all time behind Russell.

We also don't talk enough about Jerry's work for other teams after the Lakers. The Grizzlies were nothing until Jerry became GM, and he took them to the playoffs three years in a row -- and he HATED that he won Executive of the Year when they kept losing in the finals, but in fact, those teams dramatically overperformed while Jerry was exec. (Players he brought in include Pau Gasol, as well as Coach Hubie Brown, who won Coach of Year, at least once, but I think twice? I'd have to look it up.)

At least his Golden State Warriors teams won a couple of championships, with Steph Curry among the players he brought in. He won a couple more Exec of the Year awards, but those didn't make him mad since he had some championships to go with them. 🙂

It's typical that truly great players make terrible coaches -- can you think of an exception? I can't -- but I also can't think of another truly great player who became a truly great executive. Only Jerry.
 
It's typical that truly great players make terrible coaches -- can you think of an exception? I can't -- but I also can't think of another truly great player who became a truly great executive. Only Jerry.
Sometimes they do, but it's pretty rare.
Not much different in music as well. A few years back I attended a Glen Campbell Tribute Show that Jimmy Webb did. Glen's daughter Ashley performed, and she is a really fine guitarist. We ended up sitting next to Glen's widow Kim, and afterward spoke to her for a few minutes. I complimented her on Ashley's guitar playing. She smiled and said that Glen briefly tried to teach her, and it failed miserably. Glen was simply one of the best to ever pick up the guitar. Glen had little or no theoretical knowledge and never learned to read music. Kim said she ended up getting Ashley and their other kids private lessons
 
I forgot to mention, a couple of nifty links for people wanting to dig a little more into a fuller picture of Jerry: this recent one from The Ringer (Jerry West and the Burden of Being the Logo) and one from SI from soon after Jerry released his autobio (back when it wasn't a zombie site being "written" by AI), Basketball Was The Easy Part.

And The Photo that led to The Logo!

JerryWestTheLogo.jpg
 
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