Making History ! or Making History ?

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By Stefan Anderson

To return from a retirement to a 4-2 defeat to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern conference semifinals in 1995, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were looking for revenge.

“I think it was without question the biggest motivation coming that following season,” former Orlando Magic head coach Brian Hill said. “Michael Jordan played the whole season with an unbelievable will to win. There were eight to 10 games where he basically willed his teammates into winning games.

The vengeance they sought was a record setting 72-10 season solidifying  the 95-96 Bulls as one of the greatest, if not the greatest team ever.

One game away from eclipsing Chicago’s record, the Golden State Warriors will have to beat the team provided their magic, the gritty Memphis Grizzlies. 

After falling down 2-1 to the Grizzlies during the Western Conference semifinals last season, the Warriors magical season appeared to coming to end and the old adage of fast, jump shooting teams could never win a NBA championship.

As told by soon to be named back to back MVP, Stephen Curry during an interview with ESPN’s Zach Lowe in February the losses to Memphis motivated the Warriors to get back on track to where they were.

“It wasn’t clicking. We didn’t have our usual flow, as Coach Kerr would call it. For whatever reason, Memphis found a way to muck up the game. We had to shake it out, and get back to who were. We showed our resilience rolling off three straight, and doing the same thing against Cleveland.”

“That has made us such a more mature team going into this year — having gone through that.” said Curry.

The Bulls went on to sweep the Magic in the conference finals the following year en route to their first championship of their second three-peat.

Golden State has the same opportunity to turn motivation into history with their Wednesday night win over Memphis, while continuing to defying the odds set against them on how great of a team they too are one of the best teams we’ve ever witnessed.

The Magic will forever be etched in NBA history not only for Nick Anderson’s missed FT’s in the finals and his infamous “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan,” and “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to”, but were responsible for assembling a top-five guard-big combo in Shaq and Penny.

Memphis might not be remembered in the latter years, but have been a maverick of their own, with their grit and grind style of play in today’s NBA.

But if the Grizzlies can find another way to “muck up” the game again, it will the brightest spot of their gloomy injury ridden season. Memphis will be amongst the New York Giants of 2007 and University of Wisconsin of 2015, keeping them in the history books as not only the team that helped to inspire the storming Warriors, but that stopped the possibility of 73-9.

 

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The NBA Mount Rushmore

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By Stefan Anderson

After the sound bite from an interview that was aired last night on NBA TV featuring  the league’s brightest star, LeBron James, where made a comment on NBA’s Mount Rushmore. After explaining the blueprint for his Mount Rushmore that included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, “The Chosen One” , during his  the interview  went on to say “I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game,”  and then went on to add  “For sure. And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they better find another spot. We’ve got to bump somebody. Somebody got to get bumped. 

James’s remarks who on who thinks belong on the NBA’s Mt. Rushmore stirred a lot of controversy and rebuttals from other players after his statement, including his arch nemesis.  

Kevin Durant replied and give his description of his Mt. Rushmore by saying, “If I had a four, it would be Michael, Larry, Magic and Kareem,” Durant said. “[Abdul-Jabbar is] the all-time leader in points. How many championships does he got? Multiple championships. MVPs. He’s got it all. As far as accolades and championships, he’s got it all.”

Kobe Bryant also had a opinion in the conversation by adding “Magic, Bird, Michael, and Russell. But it’s impossible to do four, come on, man.” – Kobe Bryant

If I were to make my own Mt. Rushmore, I would agree with all the league’s top stars by including the Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan. That trio of players would be included in my architecture because of their impact of the game and how they all mastered the swingman position ranging from the PG to SF even Center in Magic’s case. But I would disagree with James because you would have to include the Center and what they have contributed to the game. Even that task would become difficult to choose because of the greats that have come along at that position. But I would bring the list down 3 Centers: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and an honorable mention to the “Big Diesel “Shaquille O’Neal.

I would choose Wilt Chamberlain over Abdul-Jabbar and Russell for many reasons. I am well aware of Abdul- Jabbar career leading stats in Points, 6 MVP’s and Titles, he has never averaged 50 points in a season and only has only has averaged over 30 points for 4 seasons in comparison to Chamberlain who did an impressive 9 times.  Not to discredit Abdul-Jabbar for his great play, he played for 20 seasons and had great guards like Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson similar to Shaq who played with Kobe, Penny, D-Wade and LeBron James. Bill Russell, known for his defense, never averaged more 16 points per game in any of his season. If Blocks and Rebounds per game were accounted for during those times it would be a great argument for Russell but would an even bigger exclamation mark for Chamberlain’s stats as well. Therefore my Mt. Rushmore would be concluded with Jordan, Bird, Magic and Wilt because of his dominance of the game and how he transformed it as a big man.

If you were to make your own Mt. Rushmore who you include or exclude?? Leave your comments and remarks below.