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Historic Rookies: Oscar Robertson In 1960-61

With the 1st overall pick in the 1960 the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals selected Guard Oscar Robertson.  Robertson stared in college at the University Of Cincinnati.  During his college days Roberston became a 3-time scoring leader and a 3-time first team All-American.  When the 1960 season began he was kicking off what would become a Hall Of Fame career.

NBA Hall Of Famer Oscar Robertson. (Getty Images

NBA Hall Of Famer Oscar Robertson. (Getty Images

On October 19, 1960 Oscar Robertson made his NBA debut in Cincinnati against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.  The Lakers squad who also had a rookie who would go on to be considered one of the greats, Jerry West.  Robertson’s team was victorious at home on opening night and defeated the Lakers by a score of 140-123.  Robertson scored 21 points, 10 assists and had 12 rebounds in his debut as a professional.

When his rookie season was finished in March of 1961 Oscar Robertson had led his team to a fourth place finish in the NBA’s Western Division.  Robertson was the leading scorer for the Royals with 2,165 points.  He finished with a scoring average of 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists.  Robertson also made his first All-Star appearance in 1961 where he was named the All-Star MVP.  On top of all of his accomplishments during the 1960-61 seasons was being named the Rookie Of The Year.

Eleven season after his debut Oscar Robertson would win his first and only NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1970-71season.  Robertson played with the Royals from 1960-1970 and finished his career with the Bucks from 1970-1974.  He was elected into the Hall Of Fame in 1980.

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The 1933 NFL Championship Game: “The First NFL Playoff Game”

Nothing is more exciting in any professional sport than a playoff game. American’s have enjoyed the NFL playoffs for eight decades. Since the NFL’s inception there have been over 500 playoff games. That tradition did not start in 1920 with the league’s inception.  From 1920-1923 the NFL Champion was voted by the team owners.  During the 1924-1932 seasons the Championship was won by the team with the best record (win percentage) at the end of the season.

The 1932 season was the final season before a Championship Game was instituted.  The final game of the ’32 season was technically a “playoff” game. The Chicago Bears (6-1-6) and the Portsmouth Spartans (6-1-4) shared the league’s best win percentage of .857.  To settle the tie an addition game was played between the two teams. The Bears were victorious in that final contest by a score of 9-0 over the Spartans. This game was recorded as a regular season game in the record books for both teams.

At the conclusion of the the 1932 season the NFL decided that a Championship game would take place at the end of every season. The two teams holding the best record in their division (Eastern and Western) would face each other to determine a champion. Thus began what we now know as the NFL Playoffs.

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

On December 17,1933 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL the first NFL Championship Game took place. The Western Division’s Chicago Bears (10-2-1) went to battle with the Eastern Division’s New York Giants (11-3). This game featured two of the NFL’s all-time greats, Red Grange and Bronco Nagurski both playing for the Bears.

The Bears drew first blood with a Jack Manders 16-yard field goal in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter the Bears would receive another field goal from Manders, while the Giants QB Harry Newman threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Red Badgro. The Giants led 7-6 going into halftime.

When the second half began the Bears would retake the lead with another Manders field goal. The Giants quickly responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Max Krause, the Giants now held the lead by a score of 14-09. The Bears scored their first touchdown of the game Bronco Nagurski touchdown pass to Bill Karr before the 3rd quarter concluded.

The 4th and final quarter began with the Bears holding a 16-14 lead over the Giants. The lead would change early in the final quarter when the Giants QB Harry Newman completed his second touchdown pass for the day to Ken Strong to take a 21-16 lead. The Bears came through in the final two minutes to take the lead and the win with a Bill Karr 19-yard touchdown reception. The Bears defeated the Giants 23-21 on that day. The Bears became the first NFL team to capture a championship via a “playoff” game.

Many people debated whether the first NFL game was in 1932, 1933 of 1967. The 1932 game was not officially scored as a “playoff” game while the 1933 game was. The semifinal playoff games did not begin until the 1967 season so some consider it to be the first season with a playoff. I feel that the 1933 game was a playoff game and has even officially been regarded as that by the NFL. With that being said, the first ever NFL Championship game was the first playoff game ever.

“Going Out On Top”: The Story Of Jim Brown’s Nine Season NFL Career

When football fans think of the greatest running backs of all time a few names usually come up.  Names like Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Gale Sayers.  There is a player some would consider greater than those previously named, Jim Brown.

The legendary Jim Brown. (Getty Images)

The legendary Jim Brown. (Getty Images)

Jim Brown was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 6th overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft.   Brown was a first-team All American at Syracuse University.  His senior season at the school was the most impressive.  During the 1956 College Football season Brown ran for 986 yards and scored 14 touchdowns in only eight games that season.

Jim Brown’s pro career would mirror the success of his college days.  When he came to Cleveland the Browns had yet to find an incredible running back since Hall Of Fame running back Marion Motley quit the team in 1954.  During his rookie season Brown ran for 942 yards and had 9 touchdowns.  Brown really turned it up a notch in his second season in 1958, rushing for 1527 yards with 17 touchdowns.

This amazing running back went on to seven seasons with 1,000-yards or more during his nine year career.  His highest rushing yardage season came in 1963 when he ran for 1,863- yards.  Brown’s 1963 season became the running back record for most rushing yards in a single season.  The record stood until 1973 when O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003-yards.

Jim Brown’s final season came in 1965.  His final game was on January 2, 1965 in the NFL Championship game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, WI.  Brown ran for 50-yards, caught 3 passes for 44-yards but scored no touchdowns.  The Packers defeated the Cleveland Browns by a score of 23-12.

During his final campaign Brown ran for 1,544 yards and once again recorded 17 touchdowns on the ground.  Brown would decide to leave football following 1965 season to pursue an acting career.  Many around football could not believe he would leave the NFL while still proving to be one of the best players in the game. At the age of 29 Jim Brown was retired from football and would never play again in the NFL.  

His nine season career still stands out as one of the best in NFL History.  Jim Brown amassed 12,312 yards (An NFL record not broken until 1984 by Walter Payton) while rushing for 80 touchdowns and caught 20 touchdown passes.  Brown led the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons and was selected as a Pro Bowler in every season he played in the NFL.  In 1971 Jim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

When going back through the records and accomplishments during his playing days it is hard to deny that Jim Brown is one of the greatest players of all time.  He may no lomger hold any of the amazing records he set during his career but they are still impressive 49 years after he retired. He was a bruising power back the likes we have never seen since and may never see again.  Jim Brown truly left the game of football while still on top.

History Now: Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan On The All Time Scoring List

On December 14, 2014 in Minnesota, Kobe Bryant made history and moved up on the NBA’s All Time Scoring list. In a game between the Los Langeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bryant scored 29 points. With the points scored in this game Bryant now holds the 3rd spot on the NBA’s most precious record list. He passed Jordan on a free throw in the first half (Bryant’s first career point also came via a free throw). Following this milestone point Bryant received great applause from the Minnesota crowd and was congratulated by both teams.

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan during the 1997-1998 basketball season. (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan during the 1997-1998 basketball season. (Getty Images)

Michael Jordan was the previously held the 3rd position with 32,292 points scored during his 14 seasons in the NBA. It took Kobe Bryant 19 seasons to pass the legendary Jordan. Bryant appears to be nearing the end of his career which would mean that he not move up any further on the list. Karl Malone is the NBA’s 2nd All Time Points Leader with 36,928 points. In order for Bryant to reach this mark he would need to stay healthy and play for at least 3-4 more seasons.

Kobe Byrant has had a few injury plagued seasons lately due to his age and the effects of 19 seasons in the NBA. Interesting enough Bryant broke another record this year in the NBA, most career missed shots. This happened on November 11, 2014 when missed his 13,418 missed shot.

Kobe Bryant (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant is definitely a living legend and one of the all time great in the game of basketball. This latest accomplishment will surely have people debating whether he is a better player than Michael Jordan was. Beyond the records and accomplishments it is safe to say they were both two of the best basketball players of the modern era.

History Now: Peyton Manning Sets A New Record For Career Touchdown Passes

On October 19, 2014 the Denver Broncos future Hall Of Fame QB Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s previous NFL All-Time Career Touchdown record in Denver, CO. Favre’s previous record had been 508 TD’s. Manning came into the game against the San Francisco 49ers with 506 career TD’s.

Peyton Manning began the game with an early score in the 1st quarter when he completed a 3-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders. He then tied Brett Favre’s record with a 39-yard TD pass to Wes Welker late in the 1st quarter of the game. Manning’s third TD of the game came right before half time, a 8-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas. With that touchdown Manning had passed Favre with TD 509. He would throw one more TD pass to Thomas for good measure in the third quarter. When Manning was taken out of the game in the third quarter he had 510 career touchdowns. Manning broke Favre’s record in 57 fewer games played.

Peyton Manning celebrates his record breaking game.  (Getty Images)

Peyton Manning celebrates his record breaking game.
(Getty Images)

Peyton Manning’s feat is an incredible show of strength and determination. In 2011 Manning had season ending neck surgery. Many people believed he would never be the same if he was even able to return. Manning would return in 2012 with the Denver Broncos and has proven he is one of the best quarterbacks of his era. The 38 year old Manning is in fine form and does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.

The 1994 MLB Players Strike: The 20th Anniversary

On August 11, 1994 the final game of the 1994 MLB Season was played between the Montreal Expos and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates were victorious on that day winning by a score of 4-0. Twenty years ago today the history of baseball changed forever. There have been strikes in the game of baseball before but none of them were as damaging to the game as this one.

Here is the short story of what transpired prior to August 11, 1994. The MLB Players Association had been going back and forth with the MLB Oweners for almost one year over a proposed salary cap. The Owners claimed it was necessary to have a salary cap in place for small market teams to survive the current state of MLB.  The salary cap combined with local television revenues would sustain the smaller market teams and thus benefit all of MLB. The players were not willing to agree to the terms the owners had set and after numerous negotiations decided as a group to sit out the rest of the season. On top of all of the problems between the two sides there had not been an official commissioner presiding over baseball since 1992.  Baseball needed a commissioner that could moderate between the two sides.

The lock gate of a MLB stadium during the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

The locked gate of a MLB stadium during the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

On August 12, 1994 The strike officially began and America would not see Major League Baseball action until the strike ended on April 2, 1995. Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States District Court for the Southern District, New York, issued an injunction that ended the strike. Judge Sotomayor ruled that the players and owners were bound by the expired collective bargaining agreement until a new deal could be reached. The strike lasted a total of 232 days and reduced the 1995 season to 144 games from the traditional 162 games.

The sight that awaited the players when they returned to the diamond following the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

The sight that awaited the players when they returned to the diamond following the 1994 Players Strike. (Getty Images)

Throughout the 1995 MLB Season the fans showed their displeasure with the strike that had tainted the game that they love.  Many fans saw it as two greedy side fighting for more money.  Fans all over the country showed their disdain for the players in their own ways.  Many fans decided not to go to games or buy any MLB merchandise, while other fans decided to show up and let the players know how they felt by throwing objects at them and taunting them.  Baseball did not see much gain in popularity until the steroid driven home run fest of the late 1990’s.  The “Steroid Era” further damaged the game of baseball when it was made public in the mid 2000’s.

Because of the 1994 MLB Players Strike there was no World Series played that year, it was the first season without a World Series since 1904. There were many casualties of the strike of the 1994 Strike. The most notable were the Montreal Expos who were having their best season in team history and lead baseball with a 74-70 record when the strike ended. The Expos would have likely reached the MLB Playoffs and possibly even the World Series but instead faded into obscurity. The franchise would not reach the post season until the team became the Washington Nationals more than a decade later.

There are many lessons that have been learned from the 1994 Players Strike. The most important of those lessons is that no League can disregard the fans and still profit greatly from them. Many felt the financial impact that the strike had on the game due to raising the fans ire. Baseball was considered America’s most popular sport prior to the strike. It fell behind the NFL in popularity a few years after the strike and has never grabbed its old position back from football since. The game of baseball is a beautiful game but in 1994 it was tainted by greed and the fans were the biggest victims of the dispute between the owners and the players.

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.