NBA Conference Finals feature compelling matchups

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Western Conference finals are now set as the Golden State Warriors will host the Houston Rockets after a convincing game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon. The Eastern Conference championship will also feature the top 2 seeds in the conference as the Atlanta Hawks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Curry received his MVP reward a couple weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

Curry received his MVP reward a few weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

This postseason could conclude with history being made as 2 of the remaining teams have never won an NBA title. The Warriors only NBA championship came in 1974-75 with a team featuring Hall of Fame players Rick Barry and a rookie at the time Jamaal Wilkes. This Warriors team hopes to continue the momentum they created in defeating a tough Memphis Grizzlies team. Stephen Curry, fresh off of winning NBA MVP this year, will go head-to-head with the runner-up to the MVP award in James Harden.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

The Rockets are hoping to build on their own momentum after becoming just the 9th team to overcome a 3 – 1 deficit and win the series. Harden and Dwight Howard are hoping to return to the NBA Finals stage together where they were both on the losing side in their own separate championship appearances. The Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon leading the way.

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l - r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l – r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

The Atlanta Hawks are also looking to achieve an historic end to their season as the franchise searches for its first NBA title. The Hawks have had several close games so far this playoffs, but have found ways to have different players step up at key moments. Though the Hawks are the higher seed, many consider the Cavaliers the favorites to win the series, largely because of the brilliance of LeBron James in recent years in the playoffs.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

If the Cavaliers are able to get past the Hawks, it will make the 5th consecutive NBA Finals appearance for LeBron James, a feat reminiscent of the 1960’s and those Bill Russell led Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers will have an uphill battle considering they are without starting forward Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving has been battling injuries throughout the playoffs as well. So far injuries have not impacted the playoffs significantly yet as the 2 top seeds in each conference are playing for a chance to go to the NBA Finals.

Earlier this year on OnPointPress.net, this writer said offense, not defense wins championships in this NBA. Time will tell if that theory continues to hold true this year in the NBA Finals.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr is a sports aficionado and a licensed insurance agent with Health Markets. Follow me @GloverIsGood Twitter.com.

Recent NBA Finals show good offense, not defense, wins championships

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL playoffs underway, the old adage “defense wins championships” will be repeated ad nauseam by commentators and analysts. While that may apply to other sports regularly, the NBA has seen a trend of offensive excellence in recent NBA champions. While contributors at sportingcharts.com may have concluded, “Having an efficient defense is more important than an efficient offense,” it seems a great offense is better than a great defense.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

Case in point, the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs put forth one of the most dominant shooting displays en route to a 4-1 route of the Miami Heat. According to ESPN Stats and Info, “All four of the Spurs wins came by at least 15 points, outscoring the Heat by an average of 14 per game for the series. That’s the largest points per game differential in NBA Finals history, breaking the record of +12.6 PPG by the 1964-65 Celtics in their victory over the Lakers.”

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

The Spurs had 4 regular rotation players shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 35 percent or better from the 3-point line for the playoffs. In the NBA Finals their team shooting was even better with 6 regular rotation players shooting 50 percent or better and 6 different rotation players shooting 35 percent or better from the 3-point line.

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

Excellent shooting has become the deciding factor for NBA champions for the last decade now. Since 2005, every NBA champion has had at least 2 regular rotation players shoot at least 50 percent from the field and at least 3 regular rotation players shoot 35 percent or better from the 3-point line. Efficiency has become essential offensively as teams have transitioned away from the ground and pound style of offense that tended to be predictable to defend.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephan Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephen Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

As the NBA season nears the halfway point, a handful of low-seeded playoff teams have become top seeds in the conference. Though it is still early in the season, comparing teams by offensive efficiency might be the best way to determine which teams will have long playoff runs. As of today, only the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors meet the 50 or 35 percent field goal/3-point threshold common in the last ten NBA champions with the Atlanta narrowly missing the criteria.

New York Times writer Rodger Sherman recently stated during last season’s playoffs, “Being the staunchest, stingiest squad on paper does not mean as much as an old saying might make it seem.” As the season continues, it seems efficient offenses, not stingy defenses, will be the best way to determine the next NBA champion.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Spurs win fifth NBA title, epitomizing teamwork, poise and humility

The Spurs captured the franchise's 5th championship and 4th with their big 3, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili.

The Spurs captured the franchise’s 5th championship and 4th with their big 3, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Sunday night, June 15, as Father’s Day was winding down, the San Antonio Spurs wrestled the NBA Championship title away from the Miami Heat by demonstrating the power of teamwork. The Spurs put on another dazzling shooting expedition while cruising to a 104 – 87 victory over the Heat to capture the franchise’s 5th NBA Championship. The win avenges a crushing seven-game series loss in last year’s NBA Finals to the Heat. Small forward Kahwi Leonard was named Finals MVP. The core players of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Leonard all made it clear that the bitter loss remained on their minds all season-long.

Kawhi Leonard earned Finals MVP honors by taking it to last year's Finals MVP, LeBron James.

Kawhi Leonard earned Finals MVP honors by taking it to last year’s Finals MVP, LeBron James.

“I had a great group of guys behind me pushing me. They told me I had talent and they pushed me. Coach Pop pushed me and my mom pushed me,” Leonard said.

For his part, Spurs forward Duncan, speaking after the game, said the defeat last year motivated the team to succeed this year and that  “It’s unbelievable to be back here.”

“We were so close last year. This year was a great rematch and we wanted to redeem ourselves. I’ve been blessed to play with Timmy and Manu,” said Parker.

Congratulations to the 2014 NBA champs. Pictured (l-r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Congratulations to the 2014 NBA champs. Pictured (l-r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Meanwhile Ginobli said this year was about redemption. “I felt better mentally, physically. What happened last year made us stronger and we were not going to let this opportunity get away. We played at a high level.”

The Spurs overcame a rough start to game 5 to seal the series in front of the home crowd. The Spurs seemed to be on fire from the second quarter of the game, demonstrating superb ball movement and excellent shot-making. The Spurs were also diligent on defense, holding the Heat to under 100 points, a task they completed in all five games of the series. The 2014 NBA Championship games showed a stark difference from the tightly contested series a year ago. While LeBron James showed periods of excellence throughout the series, the rest of the Heat seemed vastly overmatched, especially Dwyane Wade, who seemed bored and uninterested.

Coach Gregg Popovich showed why he's the best in the business with a masterful coaching display en route to his 5th championship.

Coach Gregg Popovich showed why he’s the best in the business with a masterful coaching display en route to his 5th championship.

The Spurs showed great teamwork in all five championship games, winning the last three games by at least 17 points. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili got the bulk of the attention during the series but other players like Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills played significant roles in the Spurs victory.

NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and his teammates were the clearly superior team this time around in the Finals.

NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and his teammates were the clearly superior team this time around in the Finals.

However, it was play of Finals MVP Leonard that set the Spurs apart from the Heat. His defensive intensity sparked his offense and caused chaos in the Heat’s game plan all series long. Having the steady hands of Coach Gregg Popovich, who was named Coach of the Year, also had a strong role in leading by example. The Spurs dynasty appears to be intact and their method of winning championships will no doubt be studied by other teams who desire the same results. Congratulations to the Spurs who demonstrated poise, teamwork, humility and a burning passion to win at the highest level of the game. They deserve the championship trophy this year. Well done Spurs!-OnPointPress.net.

NBA Finals feature great players, role model fathers

Miami Heat players (l - r) Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade stand during the Pledge of Allegiance with their children prior to a home game.

Miami Heat players (l – r) Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade stand during the Pledge of Allegiance with their children prior to a home game.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA Finals are tied 1 – 1 as the series heads to Miami for the pivotal game 3. The star players in this series have garnered a great deal of praise for their play en route to the championship. As Father’s Day approaches, this writer wants to acknowledge the excellence these players have also displayed in raising their children.

LeBron James has been public with his affection for his sons, LeBron Jr. (r) and Bryce (l) , including them in commercials and featuring them in social media consistently.

LeBron James has been public with his affection for his sons, LeBron Jr. (r) and Bryce (l) , including them in commercials and featuring them in social media consistently.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are not only known for their excellence on the court, but for how frequently they share, show, and discuss their children. James has had his sons LeBron, Jr. and Bryce, featured prominently on his social media accounts as well as featured in commercials with him. James has made it clear that his father’s absence in his life motivates him. James, sharing on Instagram, said: “Like, Wow, Dad, you know what, I don’t know you, I have no idea who you are, but because of you is part of the reason I am [the person I am] today.”

Tim Duncan sits on the bench before game 1 of this year's NBA Finals with daughter Sydney and son

Tim Duncan sits on the bench before game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals with daughter Sydney and son Draven.

The Spurs are not lead by a public star who is featured in many commercials, rather, Tim Duncan is known for his stoic demeanor and exceptional basketball skills. Though Duncan keeps much more of his life private than James does, he also exhibits a tight bond with his children Sydney and Draven. Duncan has not made many public statements about his personal life, but he makes it clear that he wants to have his children around him whenever possible.

Dwyane Wade with his two oldest sons, Zaire (l) and Zion (r).

Dwyane Wade with his two oldest sons, Zaire (l) and Zion (r).

The Heat’s Dwyane Wade can echo Duncan’s sentiments for privacy after a marriage ends as Wade went through a very publicized custody battle with his ex-wife and mother of his two sons Zaire and Zion. Wade was awarded full custody of his sons in 2011 and stated after hearing the news: “For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes.” Wade recently had a third son, Xavier, in 2013, and maintains that fatherhood is the most important part of his life.

A photograph of Ginobili holding his younger twins Dante and Nicola.

A photograph of Ginobili holding his younger twins Dante and Nicola.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Manu Ginobili has had a recent addition to his family. Shortly after the first game in this year’s playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Ginobili’s wife gave birth to the couple’s third son, Luca. Ginobili did not have much time to rest after the birth, heading directly to practice from the hospital. He seemed moved by the experience, sharing with reporters: “I think the baby thing is very unique…When I saw the head for the first time, it’s hard to contain tears and stuff. It’s an incredible moment.” Ginobili is now a father of three sons, with Luca joining twins Dante and Nicola.

The San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich (l) is viewed in a patriarchal role for the organization. The same can be said for the Heat organization and Pat Riley (r).

The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (l) is viewed in a patriarchal role by the organization. The same can be said for the Heat organization and Pat Riley (r).

These are just a few of the great fathers in the NBA and in professional sports. It seems as if the NBA organizations that made it to the Finals have gone to great lengths to create a family-like atmosphere that encompasses some wonderful role models. The patriarchal figures for each organization, Pat Riley for the Heat and Gregg Popovich for the Spurs, appear to emphasize strength of character as much as they preach about strength of body. As Father’s Day nears, let us recognize the positive examples of fatherhood being put forth during the NBA Finals this year.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

What to expect in the Spurs vs. Heat NBA Finals rematch

The NBA FInals start June 5, 2014 at 9pm with the Spurs hosting the Heat. Featured above (l - r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

The NBA FInals start June 5, 2014 at 9 p.m. with the Spurs hosting the Heat. Featured above (l – r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) will begin the Finals on Thursday night at 9 p.m.. The matchup, pitting the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs, will be a rematch of last year’s Finals. The Spurs’ big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will have a chance to avenge their loss to the Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Heat won that tightly-contested series in 7 games last year, and it looks as if these two teams will again be evenly matched. But this time around the Spurs, in Duncan’s words want to get rid of “the bad taste in our mouths” that was the direct result of their epic loss to the Heat.

The best player for each team, Tim Duncan (l) and LeBron James (r) are going to need to be excellent throughout the series to lead their team to a victory.

The best player for each team, Tim Duncan (l) and LeBron James (r) are going to need to be excellent throughout the series to lead their team to a victory.

The Spurs will have home court advantage this time around, but this year the NBA will revert to the 2-2-1-1-1 home/away split that is typically used throughout the playoffs. Last year’s 2-3-2 home/away split allowed the Heat to have games 6 and 7 on their home court to come back and win the title. These teams are pretty much the same as they were in terms of composition and style last year so they will be extremely familiar with each other.

The Larry O'Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a NY team win this award in my lifetime?

The Larry O’Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a NY team win this award in my lifetime?

Both teams have some minor injury issues to worry about going into the Finals series but both should be close to full strength come Thursday night. For the Spurs to win this time, they will have to defend the perimeter, make their three point shots, and score in the paint often. If the Spurs are successful, it would be the franchise’s 5th title, all during the Tim Duncan era, since 1998.

The Spurs look to add the franchises 5th title while the Heat are seeking their franchises 4th.

The Spurs look to add the franchise’s 5th title while the Heat are seeking their franchise’s 4th.

Conversely, the Heat will need to make their three point shots, defend the interior well, and pressure the ball to cause turnovers, in order to win the series again. The Heat have been to 4 consecutive Finals and are looking to win 3 straight times and the 4th overall for the Miami franchise. If they are able to stay healthy throughout the series, I believe they will accomplish that feat and join the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics as the only franchises to win 3 consecutive championships in NBA history.

But count on the Spurs to offer a solid fight because they are on a mission to redeem their costly loss from a year ago. One thing is certain, the NBA Finals will be must-see television, with two teams determined to secure a powerful legacy.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Have the New York Knicks learned from the Pat Riley saga?

The Knicks seemed poised to bring New York a championship in the 90's with the pairing of Pat Riley (l) and Patrick Ewing (r).

The Knicks seemed poised to bring New York a championship in the 90’s with the pairing of Pat Riley (l) and Patrick Ewing (r).

By Charles Glover Jr.

With rumors swirling that Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is considering a front office position with, the New York Knicks, the team he once won a championship with as a player, the question that comes to mind is, can even he save this team? The Knicks’ franchise has a tortured recent history of mishaps and missteps that traces all the way back to 1995 when then head coach Pat Riley wanted final control over personnel matters. While it wasn’t clear at the time, the Knicks should have given in to his request.

Pat Riley is the only person in the 3 major sports to win a championship as a player, coach and an executive.

Pat Riley is the only person in the 3 major sports to win a championship as a player, coach and an executive.

The immediate aftermath of Riley’s acrimonious departure was actually favorable for the Knicks. The Miami Heat, where Riley signed on the day after turning down the Knicks contract extension offer, were found guilty of tampering and the Knicks would consistently get the better of the Heat in the several times the teams would meet in the playoffs between 1996 and 2001. However, the takeaway from Riley’s early tenure is that the Heat became immediate championship contenders shortly after his arrival as a head coach/president of operations. Meanwhile, the Knicks’ post-Riley experience peaked in 1999 with an upset of the Heat, with the Knicks as a #8 seed, and another unsuccessful trip to the NBA Finals. When Riley stepped down as head coach of the Heat in 2004 after a string of disappointing seasons, it was the beginning of a successful stretch of executive moves.

Riley is hoping to be at the helm of a 4th championship for the Miami Heat.

Riley is hoping to be at the helm of a 4th championship for the Miami Heat.

Riley has made some smart decisions in the NBA Draft, taking players like Eddie House, Caron Butler, Dwayne Wade, and Mario Chalmers, all players that have helped the Heat teams win championships. Riley is more known for his ability to attract free agents and make significant trades. In 1996, Riley traded for Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, then signed key free agents like Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, and Dan Majerle over the next couple of seasons to make that team a championship contender. In 2004, Riley signed Lamar Odom, then used him in a trade, along with a draft pick, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant, to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Riley will forever be linked to successfully convincing LeBron James to take his “talents to South Beach” when James, Wade, and Chris Bosh all joined forces in the summer of 2010. The signing of Ray Allen proved that Riley possesses the ability to convince high quality players that championships can be had if they join his team.

Will Phil Jackson become as legendary as an executive as he is a coach?

Will Phil Jackson become as legendary as an executive as he is a coach?

As Knicks fans jump for joy with the possibility of Phil Jackson taking over as president of basketball operations, there is a lesson to be learned from the Riley saga. As successful as Riley has been with the Heat, it took him 10 years to bring that franchise a championship. It took another six years and the best player in the NBA to win the second championship. There’s no doubt that the Knicks would have to be better with Jackson at the helm, as long as James Dolan stays completely out-of-the-way.

But, if Jackson’s goal is to bring a championship to New York, that does not seem to be on the way any time soon, based on NBA trends. So Knicks fans should temper their expectations regarding Jackson’s final decision and ask this question instead: Have the Knicks really learned from the Pat Riley saga, or is this just more of the same, with a so-called executive in charge on paper and Dolan meddling as usual behind the scenes?.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

 

Honoring NBA greats who paved the way for today’s superstars

Bill  Russell deservingly, receives a great deal of recognition for his accomplishments.

Bill Russell appropriately receives a great deal of recognition for his extensive career accomplishments.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the National Basketball association (NBA) exits the month of the All-Star game, many fans are looking forward to the playoffs and the MVP race. The recent conversation about all-time great NBA players always features Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many, many, more. This has prompted OnPointPress.net to honor some of the all-time greats who deserve as much recognition as those who are regularly mentioned.

At the end of each month, for the rest of the NBA season, we will highlight a center, forward, and guard who deserve to be recognized publicly and often.

Moses Malone is one of the best centers of all-time.

Moses Malone is one of the best centers of all time.

At center, we recognize Moses Malone. Malone started his professional career in 1974 in the American Basketball Association (ABA) as one of the first players to go straight to the pros from high school. Malone played for 9 different teams during his 21-year career, while earning MVP honors 3 times (79′, 82′ and 83′) and making the All Star team 14 times (2 ABA and 12 NBA).

Malone was the key acquisition of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 and the Malone\Julius Irving-led team finally captured the NBA championship in a sweep of the Lakers that season. Malone was named MVP in the Finals as well. Many basketball fans remember Malone for his serious demeanor and exceptional rebounding prowess. Malone retired in 1995 with 29,580 points, 17,834 rebounds, and 1936 assists. He should regularly come to mind when discussions of best centers of all time is raised.

Elgin Baylor, is not only one of the best players of all-time but is also the best scorer (27.4 ppg) in Lakers history.

Elgin Baylor, is not only one of the best players of all-time but is also the best scorer (27.4 ppg) in Lakers history.

At forward, we recognize Elgin Baylor. Baylor was the first overall draft pick of what was then the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958, and won rookie of the year honors in 1959. One of the best scorers of all time, Baylor would later average 27.4 points per game in his 13-year career (currently 4th best all time). Baylor would put together a phenomenal stretch while averaging 34.8, 38.3 and 34 points per game, respectively, in the 1960-63 seasons.

Baylor, along with Jerry West, led the Lakers to the NBA Finals on eight different occasions but had the dubious distinction of losing every appearance. As fate would have it, Baylor would suffer a serious knee injury that cut his career short. In fact, he retired early in the 1972-73 season, the same season the Lakers would set an NBA record winning 33 consecutive games and finally winning the championship. If not for the Celtics domination of the sixties, Baylor would definitely be brought up more regularly. Baylor (6’5″) was also an exceptional rebounder, who averaged 13.5 rebounds per game (career high 19.8 rpg in 1960) for his career.

Hal Greer holds the career scoring record for the 76ers.

Hal Greer holds the career scoring record for the 76ers.

At guard, we recognize Hal Greer. Greer joined the NBA in 1958 with the Syracuse Nationals, which eventually became the Philadelphia 76ers ,in 1963, and would play his entire career with the franchise. Though he played many years with Wilt Chamberlain, Greer holds the record as the 76ers all-time leading scorer.

The 10-time All Star would team with Chamberlain to lead the 76ers past the Boson Celtics in 1967, ending the Celtics 8-year championship run and culminating in the first title of the 76ers franchise. Greer actually led the team in scoring (27.7 ppg) during that playoff run, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Of the guards that played throughout the 1960’s, only Oscar Robertson and Jerry West are more accomplished than Greer.

This article is not intended to be a biography for these players. Instead, the writer’s intent is to remind fans of the contributions these players made to the exciting game of basketball and to the NBA in particular. Stay tuned as we honor more NBA greats in the near future.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Sports memories of 2013

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and  Finals MVP in consecutive years.

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and Finals MVP in consecutive years.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Every year has a unique sports identity and 2013 had a number of trends that immediately come to mind. This year the sports world treated us to fantastic moments like a Super Bowl that was decided in the final minutes and thrilling plays throughout a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the NBA Finals might be viewed as the game of the year as it provided us with scintillating plays all the way to the end.

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3 pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3-pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

We also witnessed serious tragedy in sports, headlined by the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While there was something memorable about the different sporting events throughout 2013, there were some trends that connected the various sports.

 

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Superstar injuries: 2013 was a year in which some of the biggest names in sports spent a great deal of time on the injured list. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kemp, Rajon Rondo, Arian Foster and Russell Westbrook were just several of the many All-Star caliber players  who suffered lengthy injuries this calendar year. Adrian Peterson has altered the perception of the impact of some of these injuries as he returned in record time to win the 2012-13 National Football League (NFL) MVP award after tearing the ACL in his knee at the end of the 2011-12 season. It is becoming apparent that Peterson’s recovery was exceptional and that it seems unreasonable to expect any athlete to return to action and be better than they were before the injury.

 

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Elite performances by the elite performers: The 2013 calendar year was tremendous for the best players in almost every sport. Peyton Manning set NFL records for quarterback in the 2013-14 season en route to a likely fifth MVP award. Miguel Cabrera proved to be the best offensive player in Major League Baseball (MLB), winning the American League (AL) MVP award for the second consecutive season. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal each won two out of four Grand Slam titles this year on the tennis tour. Tiger Woods reclaimed his position as the number one ranked golfer in the world while winning five tournaments in 2013. Perhaps no performance stands out more than LeBron James capturing his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals MVP award and fourth league MVP award this year as he led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships.

 

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him,.

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him.

Tough year in New York sports: The Yankees and Mets both faced numerous injuries to key players and failed to make the postseason this year. The Yankees had to watch their rivals the Boston Red Sox win another title. They also have to try to cope with the retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the loss of their best offensive player Robinson Cano, the unavailability of currently suspended, scandal-plagued player Alex Rodriguez while hoping that Derek Jeter is going to be healthy and productive all season. The Giants and Jets both had mediocre seasons and will be watching the upcoming NFL playoffs from home, missing the chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be played in their hometown. Both football teams will likely make numerous player changes as they look to rebound next year. The Knicks and Nets are off to painfully slow starts to the 2013-14 NBA season. Any talk about NBA championship contention for either team seems extremely far-fetched as both teams have a long way to go just to make the playoffs this year.

 

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

Sporting world’s negative headlines: The two bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 may be the most unfortunately memorable event that took place in sports. With approximately 264 people injured and 3 spectators killed that day, the tragedy unfolded slowly over the next few days after the marathon as the manhunt, shootout with one alleged perpetrator and eventual capture of the other alleged perpetrators played out on television like harrowing scenes from the FOX Network show 24.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

2013 was also witness to the arrest for murder and gun charges of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is currently imprisoned as he awaits trial for the serious charges. The Miami Dolphins sparked greater debates about bullying in athletics as news surfaced about Jonathan Martin walking away from the team after alleging that he was bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The NFL is still investigating this matter. Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was able to perform on the field while being investigated by local Florida prosecutors after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female who also attends Florida State. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue charges against Winston still raised questions about whether some athletes get special treatment from law enforcement as the attorney for the accuser remains adamant that her client was violated. At the same time, Winston consistently asserted that his encounter with the accuser was consensual and that he “did nothing wrong.”

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

2013 was quite an eventful and memorable sports year. Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament was a gruesome sight but provided the impetus to propel the Louisville Cardinals to the national title. College football’s Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Women’s college basketball’s Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies proved to be the dominant coaches in their sports as they led their teams to another national title.

Ray Lewis' last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

Ray Lewis’ last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) and Miami Heat (NBA) won championships in 2013 and have been in the finals each of the last three years. “Big Papi” David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox through the post season again to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was able to retire on top as the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With the Winter Olympics in Russia and World Cup in Brazil (for which the U.S. team was placed in the Group of Death) on docket, 2014 seems poised to garner even more interest than 2013 did in the sports world.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.