A record to be proud of, and to hope lasts forever
So the good folks at NBA Canada put me at the same table with Robert Horry for a delightful hour-long conversation yesterday and it was really cool.
He was here on a media tour to beat the drums for the NBA playoffs and it was an excellent chat, telling stories and talking about people and events; relaxing and interesting.
And given that the guy’s got seven NBA championship rings and hit just about every big shot he ever took, pretty topical for this time of year.
Given what’s going on this year, it was interesting to hear him say that his second most favourite championship – a close second to the 1995 “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” Houston Rockets – was the 2001 Lakers, who went an astonishing 16-1 on their way to a title.
He did mention that it’s all well and good to think that records are made to be broken and it’s the polite thing to say but, deep in his heart, he hopes that one stands for all time. The one loss – in Game 1 of the Finals against Allen Iverson and the Sixers – became a bitter pill.
“I think I took that loss harder than almost any loss … That was something special that would never, ever happen. Sweep everybody in the playoffs? I know David (Stern) and the big guys were mad because we swept everybody but we were just rolling. We came together as a team and we were clicking.”
Now, the context, of course, is whether the Miami Heat could go 16-0 this year given how overwhelming a favourite they are for a second straight championship.
I don’t think it can happen – it wouldn’t shock me if they ran the table in the East but there’s going to be someone awfully good waiting for them in the Finals – and I guess that just underscores what Horry and those Lakers did back then.
Think about it?
These are generally good and well-rested opponents who are quite capable of making in-series adjustments that should allow at least one of them to steal a game or two here or there, no?
But to go 12-0 before losing? And then to put that one loss – that was the game Iverson made the shot in the corner in front of the bench and stepped over Tyron Lue as we recalled – behind them and get four more in a row?
When we’re talking about all-time great playoff accomplishments – and we might with the Heat as this year’s post-season progresses – it’d be wise to keep that Laker team in mind, and in context.
(Of course, in the jinx world I live in, the Bucks will beat the Heat tonight and the talk will be moot but at least it’s good for this morning.)
So Alan Arbus dies and what’s a guy to think about?
One of the best sitcom themes of all time.
You don’t know?
How about Dr. Sindey Freedman?
Now, on the list of deep supporting characters in great TV shows, he’d probably be up there with Rev. Jim, right?
Who else have you got?
Speaking of readers …
I need some writers. Letter writers. Mailbag letter writers.
Please. You know the drill, firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away.
After gathering Super Son at the end of his work shift – and why there was a line of seven people with full carts at a Loblaws at 10:45 p.m. is beyond me – caught a second or two of Spurs-Lakers before crashing.
And how weird was it to see, for a few minutes at least, Cory Joseph out there going at Steve Nash.
There’s your past and your future of Canada’s national team point guard position and I’m not going to get all trite about the passing of the torch or anything like that but I imagine, deep in their hearts, it was a moment they thought about.
There’ll be more on Nash in the Nothing But Net stuff I have to type later this morning but I bet he thought at one point, well, my national program looks like it might be in good and capable hands.
Okay, so I got to see the TFC-Impact game last night so I can get the lay of the land and learn at the feet of the masters before flying solo on Saturday afternoon and someone asks:
“Hey, how are you going to feel covering the soccer.”
I check the TFC season results to date and it becomes crystal clear:
"They lose buzzer-beaters and never make the playoffs."
I’m right at home.
But, really, it was kind of enlightening. Now, I’ve covered some soccer before – mostly the women’s national team the one time they played Brazil here and a handful of times at the Beijing and London Olympics but that was my first TFC game.
A couple of differences and a similarity from the usual gig:
You are very, very, very far away
I’ve had some dubious seats at some NBA games – sometimes in hockey press boxes – but not for a while and there’s quite a gap between where you sit and the someone what huge playing field.
Now, I’m told that once the weather turns the windows open and that has to be better but last night it was like watching a game on TV with no sound. It made for a very odd experience, you really couldn’t get a feel for the energy a crowd might provide and the only noise was fingers on keyboard and me asking Not Grace, “hey, what did I just see?”
Yeah, you get marshalled into a tiny room, the coach comes in, answers some questions and then you move on to the locker room area – and it’s a workout area rather than a real room – to get quotes from the players. That was entirely familiar and, yes, didn’t yield an awful lot of great quotes, just like with the basketball.
Not sure how often I’ll have to be around the games – we need to start working on a replacement for the irreplaceable D. Girard and Not Grace is going be around – but I think I can get the hang of it quickly.
Get ready to sleep fast Saturday night because the first gamer’s in Sunday’s paper. Lucky, lucky readers.