Tag Archives: coach

The 25th Anniversary Of “The Shot”- Michael Jordan’s First Legendary Moment

The career of Michael Jordan is rich with exciting and memorable moments.  His first amazing moment occurred in game 5 of the 1989 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The series had been hotly contested going into final and deciding game.  Both teams had won a game on the road and Jordan had scored no less than 30 points in each of the first four games.  The Cavs had firepower on their side as well with Mark Price, Ron Harper and Craig Ehlo.

On May 7th, 1989 in Cleveland, Ohio the stage was set for this historic game.  The fans of Cleveland had been criticized by the media for not being as excited and as loud as the Chicago fans, they were alive and loud for game 5 however.

As the game started the Cleveland faithful cheered their team to an early lead.  The Cavs were on top from the great play making of Ron Harper and Mark Price.  The Bulls only lead once in the first half and it was in the middle of the first quarter.  The Cavs would take the lead back and stay in the lead until the middle of the fourth quarter.

In the first half Jordan was somewhat cold going only 5-13 from the field with 14 points.  Bill Cartwright and Horace Grant forced themselves to the bench by getting into early foul trouble.  The Cavs looked ready to finish off the Bulls in the second half when halftime started.

The Second half is when Jordan became a major factor in the game.  He basically had no choice but to step up due to Cartwright and Grant sitting on the bench most of the third quarter.  The Bulls took the lead half way through the fourth quarter and then the game got even more insane. With both teams trading the lead leading up to the final 2 minutes.

With 1:07 left in the game Scottie Pippen who had struggled throughout the game finally showed up and hit a clutch 3 pointer to put the Bulls up 97-95.  Craig Ehlo would match him with a 3 pointer of his own and the Cavs were suddenly in the lead by a score of 98-97 with :50 on the clock.  Just 44 seconds later Jordan hit a jumper from the free throw line on an assist from Pippen putting the Bulls ahead 99-98.  The game looked all but over until Ehlo made a layup for the 100-99 lead with only 3 seconds remaining in the game.  The Bulls coach Doug Collins called a time out and positioned Jordan for history.

Michael Jordan seconds after making "The Shot" (Getty Images)

Michael Jordan seconds after making “The Shot” (Getty Images)

Center Brad Sellers in bounded the ball to Jordan who was in 3 point territory.  Jordan took the ball up about twelve feet and hit “The Shot”.  Craig Ehlo tried desperately to block Jordan’s shot but was unsuccessful.  The clock ran to :00 as the ball made it through the hoop.

Ehlo has been made part of history in video clips of Jordan celebrating this moment while Ehlo collapses on the sideline in defeat.  The Bulls were headed to the next round and the city of Cleveland had another heartbreaking sports moment to add to their long list of disappointments.

Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 44 points, 30 of which came in the last half of the game.  The next highest scoring player from either team was Craig Ehlo who had 24 points off the bench.  Mark Price also had a really good game with 23 points many of which were crucial 3 point shots.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls went on to beat Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks in the second round of the Playoffs.  They would later fall to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.  But this moment would become the history that Jordan and the Bulls were built on.  The Bulls won their first NBA title two years later and the rest is history.

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Clint Malarchuk – Surviving The Worst Televised Sports Injury Ever

Many American professional sports can be brutal and very violent at times.  When most sports fans think of horrible sports injuries that were broadcast on American television they think of one particular injury.  That injury is the infamous Lawrence Taylor tackle on quarterback Joe Theisman in November of 1985 on Monday Night Football.  Theisman had his lower leg completely snapped in half and it was live for all of America to see.  There is an even worse sports injury that happened almost four years later.

On March 22,1989 the NHL match up between the St Louis Blues and the Buffalo Sabers began in Buffalo, NY.  Goal tending that night for the Sabers was the 8th year veteran Clint Malarchuk.  Nobody in the building had any idea what was about to happen, including Malarchuk.  During a fight for the puck at the net between Blues player Steve Tuttle and Sabers player Uwe Krupp both of them crashed into the goal.  When they did Tuttle’s skate caught Malarchuk in the throat.  Malarchuk immediately clutched his throat area.  Once every one of the Ice realized what was happening blood began pouring to the Ice from Malarchuk’s neck.  He was aided to by the referee and a few players.  The television broadcast went to a commercial break.  When they came back Malarchuk was being taken off of the ice.  Their were several pools of blood after he was taken into the back of the Arena.

Clint Malarchuk just seconds after his horrific injury. (Getty Images)

Clint Malarchuk just seconds after his horrific injury. (Getty Images)

One man was responsible for saving Clint Malarchuk’s life that night, team trainer Jim Pizzutelli.  Pizzutelli reached into Malarchuk’s neck and pinched off the bleeding until doctors could arrive.  It has been estimated that if the cut was just a little high on his neck he would have been dead by the time he received medical attention.  Malarchuk lost 1/3 of his entire blood supply and needed over 300 stitches to close the cut.

Clint Malarchuk would end up playing a few more season following his recovery.  During his seasons following this incident his play was never quite as good as it had been previous to the injury.  He would retire from Hockey 1996 and later found himself as a coach for a few NHL teams.

“The Fall Out” How Jon Jones Killed UFC 151

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones helped make history this past week.  It was not good history by any means.  The UFC was forced to cancel their September 1st show in Las Vegas.  Jones is completely responsible for this cancellation.  When his challenger went down due to injury on Thursday a wild ride began that did not slow down until Friday afternoon.

Jon Jones
(Getty Images)

UFC President Dana White was able to get a replacement in Chael Sonnen.  Jones would not face Sonnen with only 8 days before the fight.  Jones’ Coach Greg Jackson tried to take the blame for not letting his fighter take the fight.  With that situation Dana White was forced to cancel the show and blamed Jackson for being a “sport killer”.

The next option for the fight was Lyoto Machida.  Machida was due a title shot but not this soon.  It was announced that Machida would take the place of Henderson and the fight would be moved to the UFC 152 show on September 22nd in Toronto.  Machida later declined and the UFC went after another former champion to fill the spot.  That former champion was Shogun Rua, he too declined the fight.

With no other options for a main event fighter for Jones, Dana White chose UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.  Belfort accepted and the fight will take place on the UFC 152 show.   Belfort has great hands but does not have the genetic gifts that Jones possesses.  Belfort is much like a Dan Henderson type fighter in the sense that he is a dangerous veteran that could win but will likely lose.  This 24 hour period of insanity is a true low point for the UFC.

Traditionally when a fighter goes down due to injury the replacement is usually accepted by the remaining fighter.  Jones did not want to follow suit.  Because of this he will drive his appeal down with a fan base that does not really see him as a star yet.  Jones is a fan favorite for the hardcore MMA fans but not casual fans who are the ones that really make or break a star and a champion at the ticket window.  Jones has gone Heel (a pro wrestling term for bad guy) but he is doing it the wrong way.

MMA has had its share of heels through its history.   The most recent being Brock Lesnar and Chael Sonnen.  Both of those fighters know what they are doing with their characters and play the role well.  They make calculated moves that make themselves the bad guys but still marketable and appealing.  Jones does not have the personality or the where with all to be a true heel.

Marketing was stated as a possible reason Jones did not take the fight.  Jones was worried that he may not keep his hot streak alive and possibly lose and hurt his selling potential.  If that was his concern he would have taken the fight with Sonnen.  Even if he lost and came back to another title shot he would be in a better light and position than he is by not taking this fight.  Sonnen was the perfect opponent, he had not been training and would be moving up a weight class.  Jones on the other hand would be peaking for the fight still and would have had 3 months of training under his belt.  Now Jones will be know as the man responsible for destroying UFC 151.

There are many victims from Jones’ decision.  The Cable companies who promoted the fight and where counting on their percentage of the PPV numbers.  The UFC has also spent a lot of money promoting the fight, they even had a huge billboard at Times Square in New York City.  The fighters who will have to wait on a pay day because their fight has to be moved to October or even November.  The most hurt will be the fans who have spent their money to fly into Las Vegas, stay in a hotel  and wait to have their tickets refunded by the UFC.

Jon Jones will likely become a villain from this situation, which for most fighters could be a positive thing.  Not for Jones who needs to be liked.  He recently signed a deal with Nike and when it come to merchandise if you are not liked people will not buy you things.  Jones has a long road ahead of him, can he shake this situation?  Maybe, he could come out on UFC 152 and knock out Belfort and everyone will forget about this like it never happened.  It could be something that sticks with him his entire career and effects his earning and drawing potential.

“The End Of Drama In Orlando”- Dwight Howard Traded To Lakers

After playing eight seasons for the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.  The trade had been rumored since yesterday became a reality on Friday.  The trade involved The Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and 76ers.  The Lakers ended up with Howard and sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers who also recieved Jason Richardson from the Magic.  The Nuggest landed Andre Iguodala from the 76ers while the Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, three 1st round picks and a second round pick for 2013.  It was the mega trade we had been expecting almost the entire summer.

Dwight Howard is leaving Orlando as a villain.   He skipped out on a charity event recently in Orlando, that wasn’t going to win him any fans.  Howard has been playing hardball with the team since the season ended. Yet the team still tried anything they could to make him happy enough to stay.  The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy in May and the previous GM to appease Howard.  Howard did not care he still wanted to leave as a free agent.  The Magic had been that road before with Shaq in 1996 and were not about to let that happen this time around.

When trade rumors started Howard demanded going to the Brooklyn Nets and nowhere else.  Howard put the team in a rough situation by lowering his trade value.  He stated that he would not resign with any team other than the Nets or Mavericks when his contract is up after this season.   A lot of interested teams quickly ran away not wanting to lose a lot for a one year stand with Dwight.  Luckily for the Magic they were able to put together a deal that they can build a team for the future with.  The team is ready to get on with life and with Dwight Howard out of the picture will be able to.

Dwight Howards legacy with the Magic will be a tarnished one.  A story of feuding with his coach, stirring up trouble for the team and alienating himself from the fans of Orlando.  The City of Orlando had been waiting for a star when they drafted Dwight in 2004.   The team wanted to win a championship with Howard and the closest they came was the 2009 NBA Finals.  The Lakers squashed the Magic in that year and the team never returned to the championship game since.  The Magic should have realized earlier that Howard was not the man that could take them to a title.

Howard is now officially the most hated man in the NBA and it will not change anytime soon.  He cares not about the team but himself.  Howard has made his bed and no he has to sleep in it.  Good riddance Dwight Howard.

NCAA Lays The Smackdown On Penn State Football Program

On Sunday morning the statue of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was taken down and put into storage.  The new school administration figured it was in the best interest in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky trail and Freeh Report to put the  statue away for now.  That did not save the football program from the NCAA’s president Mark Emmert and his wrath.  On Monday morning Emmert announced the punishment that the school would receive for the previous administration knowing and not reporting Sandusky’s criminal acts on minors.

The president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert.
(photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The punishment levied on the school was announced as being unprecedented and it was exactly that.  The school will be fined $60 million, which is about what the football program generates in revenue during a single season.  The football team cannot participate in any conference championships or bowl games for the next 4 years.  The football program will be reduced in the amount of scholarships it can give out in the next 4 years.  Instead of the usual 25 scholarship the number will be reduced to 15.  The players on the football team will be allowed to transfer to other schools without having to sit out a year before being aloud to play again.

The most shocking punishment came down not on the school but their legendary former head coach Joe Paterno.  All of his victories that he received while coaching between the years of 1998-2008 were vacated.  The interesting twist to the punishment is that coach Paterno reached the record and broke the record for most wins by a college coach in 2001.  Paterno will no longer be considered the winningest coach in college football ever again.

Joe Paterno along with the former administration of Penn State led the football program down into the depths.
(photo by: Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

The NCAA really pulled no punches in this announcement.  It was the right decision.  The schools administration and Joe Paterno sat back after they knew what Jerry Sandusky was doing and did nothing about it.  Paterno instead of reporting the allegations he received about Sandusky went to the administrators of the school.  Paterno should have gone to the police, there is no chain of command when criminal acts of this sort are taking place.  The punishment on Paterno is correct and is going to leave the black mark on his legacy that he should have.

As far as the school goes their punishment is deserving as well.  Penn State should consider themselves lucky that they did not receive the “Death Penalty”, like the once great SMU received in the 1980s.  This way the school will at least have the chance to rebuild their legacy.  I think it will be very hard for them to do so.  The football program will  be tarnished forever.  What happened behind the scenes of that school’s football program over the last couple of decades is disgusting.

Sandusky is about to spend life in jail after being found guilty on over 40 charges of child molestation.  Joe Paterno is no longer considered the great man and coach he once was.  The school will have to deal with the results of bad decisions by many people.  This is the new legacy of Penn State football, let it sink in.