Homage to The Answer

It is rumoured that on October 30th Allen Iverson will be announcing his retirement from the NBA, marking the end of a career rich with success.

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Iverson was the number one pick in the 1996 NBA draft for the Philadelphia 76ers and didn’t take long to establish himself as one of the leagues promising talents.  Nicknamed “The Answer“, he launched himself into every game showcasing his agility, crossovers and ability to score under immense pressure.

In his NBA career Iverson achieved almost every accolade that can be bestowed upon a player. In his first season he was named rookie of the year, he is a four time scoring champion and was crowned  MVP in the 2000-2001 season, which was the year he led the 76ers to the NBA finals.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/allen-iverson-retirement_n_4117401.html

In 2006, after 10 years with the Philladelphia 76ers Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets in search of new beginnings and a possible shot at making the NBA finals. Over the next four years Iverson played for the Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Turkish team Besiktas and once again for the Philadelphia 76ers, until he was delisted in 2010.

At 38 years of age and the chase for a championship ring behind him, it may be time to retire the number three jersey for good.  However, they are only rumours and if there is one thing you can expect from Allen Iverson it’s the unexpected.

Where Amazing Happens

The fundamentals of the game basketball are not hard to grasp. You have a ball in your hand and a ring above your head. All you have to do is throw the ball in – doesn’t seem so hard right? So how did an activity so simple develop into a sport played all over the globe? It has established a major sporting league known as the National Basketball Association and that league has produced some of the greatest athletes in history. What makes it so interesting? There are a number of reasons why but let me tell you a few.

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(Manny Millan/Sports Illustrated, n.d.)

Has anyone ever heard of Michael Jordan?. He is one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the hardwood with God-given talent. Playing above the rim, changing direction in mid-air and scoring 43 points whilst ill with the flu are just a few highlights in a career rich with success.

 

Michael Jordan is one of the reasons why the NBA is what it is today because, lets face it, he changed the game. His style of play was unparalleled by any other and he put on a display that would leave fans wanting more. The spectacle that he put on the game has evolved the sport and set a benchmark for any player striving for greatness.

It is this evolution of the sport that makes it so interesting. Each season NBA players are launching themselves into the game with faster play, longer shots and bigger dunks. I mean who wouldn’t want to see 6 foot 10 Blake Griffin jump over a Kia Optima to win the 2010 All Star Weekend Dunk Competition. I’m sure fans in the crowd didn’t expect that when they purchased tickets. It’s moments like these that continue to re-invent the sport and prove that the NBA is truly the place “where amazing happens”(NBA.com).

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Ok, for a second lets put aside the impressive achievements of legends and high flying displays. Another thing that must be recognised is that although these feats are displayed on the grandest stage, the game itself is still based on those fundamentals that I mentioned earlier – and the best apart about that – anyone can be involved. That is one of the best qualities about the sport. We see these athletes perform and it inspires us to dream big but that doesn’t stop anyone from grabbing a ball and shooting a few hoops in the backyard.

Michael Jordan once said “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”
 

That’s what its all about.

In this blog I will include updates, features and highlights on hot topics in the NBA. Drawing on professional blogs, news sources and statistics, I aim to share my passion for the game and encourage others to express what it means to them.

http://quotes-motivational.com/Motivational/Basketball-Quotes.html

www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2011-02/21/content_12048633.htm

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/photos/1302/sports-illustrated-100-best-pictures-of-michael-jordan/93/

http://www.nba.com

http://blog.mcgrathkia.com/kia-optima-blake-griffin-facebook-game/

 

For Love of the Game

February 7 2012, it’s a balmy Florida night but even as I stand amongst a throng of rowdy NBA fans, sweat beading and t-shirts sticking, I still manage to stay cool. I am not bothered by the humidity because I know that in less than one hour the Miami Heat will take to the hardwood of The America Airlines Arena to face the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.  This is the moment that true fans look forward to. The excitement in the air is electrifying as crowds gather around merchandise stores, bars and jostle to their seats. What will we witness tonight when Miami’s superstar Lebron James goes up against the team that introduced him to the NBA, the team that used to call him the chosen one, the team that would eventually come to despise him for leaving.

Half an hour to go and I have made it to my seat, Miami Heat shirt and drink bottle in hand. As I sit there sipping on my one litre Dr Pepper I’m running a highlight reel in my head. High Flying dunks, Alley – oops, long range three pointers. I had only seen these things on ESPN or NBA.com’s highlights. I stare in awe as both teams hit the court to warm up. Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving and three time NBA MVP Lebron James.  Lightening quick passing, huge dunks, shots I had never seen before and the game hadn’t even started. As a basketball player myself I come to realise how talented these people are as athletes.

The teams gather in the centre of the court as the national anthem of the United States of America comes over the speakers. I’m not even American but I’m so excited that I join in anyway. The anthem finishes and the players gather for their introductions.

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Cheering, whistling, screaming fill the arena as both teams huddle for one last time. I’m so occupied by what the players are doing that I don’t realise security have told me to sit down. The crowd is going ballistic as they head to centre court to shake hands with their opponents.  We all rise to our feet as the referee approaches with the game ball in hand. There is silence for a split second before the ref hurls the ball into the air and the crowd erupts!.

Game on

I love this game

Heat Rising in Miami

One of the best  shooting guards in the game, a versatile all-star power forward and a four time NBA MVP .. throw in the greatest  three point shooter in history and it appears that the Miami Heat have ticked all the boxes right? .. Wrong!

In their journey to capture their second NBA championship in a row, the Heat exposed a weakness that many rivals will look to take advantage of next season and that is height !.  In the 2012-13 season we saw Miami’s big men struggle in the post against teams that were defensively strong and had the presence of a 7 foot centre. Look at the playoff series against the Indiana Pacers where All-star centre Roy Hibbert man handled the Heat and nearly sent them home early.

Enter Greg Oden.  The overall number one pick in the 2007 NBA draft and he is 7 feet tall. Although this may seem like the last box has been ticked and there is no stopping the Heat from here on out, there is the issue of whether or not Oden will be healthy and stay that way for the upcoming season.

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                                                           (Miami Heat,2013)

Since being drafted in 2007 Greg Oden has been plagued by injuries that have seen him sit out most of his NBA career. He was forced to miss his rookie season due to micro fracture surgery on his right knee and wouldn’t return to the hard tops of an NBA court until the 2008 season.  Having only played 82 games since he was drafted, Oden has technically played the equivalent of one NBA season out of the total five seasons he has been signed for.

The question that must be asked is have the Heat found the tall presence they were looking for?, or have they gambled on a player who is untested and still in the rookie period of his career.

The only thing that is certain is that the heat is rising in Miami in more ways than one.

http://watch.nba.com/nba/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/08/03/20130802-oden-signs-with-miami.nba

Miami Heat (2013, August 8). [Image]. Retrieved from http://nba.si.com/2013/08/07/greg-oden-miami-heat-welcome-joe-dumars-kobe-bryant/