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Remember VIN Baker? Where is he now?

14 Apr

Vin Baker now coaches ninth-graders.

In his best season in Milwaukee, Baker averaged 21 pts 10.3 reb and shot 50.5% from the field

Upon retirement, many NBA players stick around the game of basketball, whether as coaches, executives, announcers, or businessmen with an interest in the sport. Vin Baker, however, didn’t have an opportunity to stick around the highest levels of the game. In 2006, Baker retired after 13 seasons in the NBA, during which he made four All-Star teams and won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Yet, despite these accomplishments, he left the game on bad terms due to struggles with alcoholism.

Now, Baker is turning his life around, and he’s doing it with the help of basketball. But while many ex-NBA athletes get high-profile coaching jobs, Baker is plying his trade in Connecticut as the ninth-grade boys coach at Old Saybrook High School, his alma mater. As you can see in the video below from SLAM Online, the team takes its halftime speeches in a converted storage closet with folding chairs and a decades-old television. It’s a far cry from a top-level facility.

But, if you watch this four-minute halftime speech, you’ll see that Baker is taking this job as seriously as any other coaching gig. He implores his kids to play for the team, not themselves, and he’s as passionate about it as a coach at any other level of the game.

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Super Bowl Moments

6 Feb

By Darius Barnes

Its that time of year again. The most wonderful time of the year! For NFL addicts atleast. The Superbowl. We all have come accustomed to making the final game of the NFL season one big party. A viewing party of the two top teams in the NFL. Call all of our friends, get the party dip out and get in front of a large television.

We all have favorite moments that we remember throughout the era of the Super Bowl. Some more than others. Many highlights remind us of how great some of these games have been, and the history of some of the greatest teams defying the odds and bringing their franchise a forever remembered title. Ah to be “Super Bowl Champions.” The Super Bowl is enveloped by hype – from media days, to the plethora of fans packing hosting cities and we can’t forget the parties that all go on during Super Bowl Week. For some non football fans, the best part of the game is the commercials – a 30 second spot this year will cost you upwards of $3 million!

But lets not forget why we are looking back at Super Bowl moments right now. Memories are great to reflect on before the game and remind us fans of what makes this game so special.

Remarkable Super Bowl Feat

The First Black Quarterback to Win A Super Bowl:

This was a great break through for the NFL, not only because it was an African American winning the Super Bowl, but he did it in fantastic fashion against one of the greatest QBs of all-time – John Elway. As former Grambling State Tiger, not only did Williams come from a Historically Black College, (HBCU), but now that the Super Bowl is a February event, we get to reflect on this moment during Black History Month (Ironically Super Bowl XXII was on the 31st of January, though) as well. As a month where we remember historical moments in African American history and how African Americans changed the world as we view it today, we cannot over look William’s achievement, it made many look at the black quarterback in a different light.

Williams’ MVP performance in Super Bowl XXII was definitely the highlight of his pro career. During the 1987 regular season, Williams only started two games – and lost both – but they made it all the way to the Super Bowl and he engineered a 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos, scoring five touchdowns in the second quarter. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards that night, adding four touchdown passes (all in that second quarter), and was well deserving of the Super Bowl MVP. Williams retired with a 5-9 record as Redskins starter (8-9, counting playoffs) and a 38-42-1 record as a regular season starter (42-45-1, including 7 playoff starts). He had 100 passing touchdowns, and 15 rushing touchdowns, in 88 NFL games.
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NBA Christmas Past

21 Dec

By Darius Barnes

Since Christmas is around the corner and the NBA always provides some good match-ups for us to watch, I thought I would go back and highlight some of the best games of Christmas Past that given viewers an extra reason to toast to the holiday season.

Although this tradition has been going since the 1940’s, to keep the list short, we’ll just look back to the year 2000, when the tradition really started to take shape with great teams to watch – at least as far as I can remember. There have been 22 teams that have participated in Christmas games since December 25, 2000. Of those 22 teams, the Lakers have appeared in a league-high ten Christmas Day games. Of the 28 games played altogether, the home team has won 17. So lets take a trip down memory lane.

The Christmas Day games usually show the past years champs and their championship opponent or a rival from the previous year. You’re also likely to see a clash between two of the better teams in the NBA. These games don’t really have any significance, only that they are hyped up to give us some Christmas Day entertainment, but it is a sure way to get the family together for some good ole’ holiday CHEER!..

Lets take a look at a few of the most memorable games played on Christmas Day.

2001 – In a rematch of the 2001 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers faced off during the following Christmas. Players to Watch: Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. Kobe was tested from a young 76er’s guard Raja Bell, who played his first significant minutes against Kobe Bryant during this game. This match-up had the ability to host a scoring mele but it didn’t happen. Neither team exceeded 90 points. The Lakers won the game by six points after trailing for three quarters. The Lakers went on to win another championship later that season for their second in a row.

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Whatever Happened to Baby Jordan

29 Nov

Minor won the '93 and '95 dunk contests

Harold Miner has to just laugh about some of the rumors about him floating around on the Internet.

Like the ones about Miner being in the witness protection program. Or working at a Jack in the Box in Los Angeles. Or being a member of the LAPD and becoming an ordained minister.

“Oh my goodness, it’s crazy,” said Miner, now 39.

The truth is much less sensationalistic. Miner now resides in Las Vegas with his wife, 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. He currently isn’t working, and still lives off the over $20 million he made during a brief NBA career which — unlike many pro athletes — he managed and invested very diligently.

Miner says the biggest misconception about him is that he’s a recluse, but such speculation about his whereabouts has become common since he last appeared in the NBA in 1996 because he hasn’t been interviewed in over a decade.

He has rejected countless requests to speak with the fan favorite who earned the nickname “Baby Jordan” by winning two NBA Slam Dunk contests and dazzling crowds with his highlight-reel dunks. Even now, he only calls from a blocked phone number in an interview arranged through a former USC sports information director.

“I’m really kind of dumbfounded as to why people would be interested in reading a story about me,” Miner said. “I haven’t played in almost 15 years and I haven’t done anything significant on a national scale since my junior year at SC almost 20 years ago. It’s a trip, actually.”

Seeing how he hasn’t spoken publicly in so long, there’s a couple things he wants to get off his chest. Specifically, he thanked his fans for all their support over the years, gave props to fellow Inglewood legend Paul Pierce for becoming an NBA star and even apologized to writers that covered him in Miami — Ira Winderman and Shaun Powell — for not being himself there because of his disappointing stay on South Beach.

So why now is Miner finally ready to speak?

“I just think it’s time,” Miner said. “It’s been a long time.”

It certainly has. Miner became a household name almost two decades ago as a junior at USC by piling up points and dunks during the 1991-92 season. Miner had the shaved head, No. 23 jersey, MJ mannerisms and the spectacular slams that reminded many of “His Airness.” Suddenly, the “Baby Jordan” nickname he picked up on the playgrounds of Inglewood had spread across the nation and made him a star, something he always grappled with.

“I probably never got used to being in the spotlight,” Miner said. “I’d say it’s always been uncomfortable for me, not natural for me.”

Miner led USC to a No. 2 seed in the 1992 NCAA Tournament, becoming USC’s all-time leading scorer (a record he still holds) and earning Sports Illustrated’s college basketball’s Player of the Year award over LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal and Duke’s Christian Laettner. But the storybook season came to an abrupt end when Georgia Tech’s James Forrest knocked the Trojans out of the second round on a legendary buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Weeks later, Miner held an emotional press conference to announce he would be turning pro.
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Trust Me… I’m a Doctor

22 Nov

Top 5 Defunct Team Nicknames

3 Nov

The NBA has generally been a league in which teams keep their names. Twenty of the thirty organizations have only ever had one team nickname in the history of the franchise, even after that franchise has moved cities (hence such silliness as the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies).

But those other ten teams have undergone name changes over the years, and some franchises more than one. Today’s top five is a look at some of the better defunct team nicknames of the former NBA and its predecessors:
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Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game

29 Oct

Wilt's the only person to accomplish this feat

by Darius Barnes

Wilt’s 100 point game is considered one of NBA basketball greatest games. It was a regular season game between the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks held on March 2, 1962 at Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Warriors won the game 169–147, setting what was then a record for the most combined points in a game by both teams. Thegame is most remembered, however, for the 100 points scored by Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain. This performance ranks as the NBA’s single-game scoring record; along the way Chamberlain also broke five other NBA scoring records, of which fourstill stand.

This game was not telivised. Only live witnesses and documents of the game were given. During this season Chamberlain was having a great year putting up major numbers. He had already scored 60 or more points a record 17 times during the 1961–62 NBA season.

On December 8, 1961, in a triple overtime game versus the Los Angeles Lakers, he had set a new NBA record by scoring 78 points, eclipsing the previous mark of 71 held by the Lakers’ Elgin Baylor.

This spectacular moment in history began on a cold, rainy Friday night, with only 4,124 spectators in attendance. From the beginning, Chamberlain’s Warriors dominated against the Knicks. At the end of the first quarter, the Knicks trailed 42–26, and in his typical style, Chamberlain had already scored 23 points. By halftime, the Warriors had lost some of their edge, but still led with 79–68. After 24 minutes, Chamberlain’s point total stood at 41. However, as he scored 60 or more points on 32 previous occasions, the Warriors felt little excitement about this fact. “I often came into the locker room with 30 or 35 points, therefore, 41 points was not a big deal,” he later explained.
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