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Posts tagged "Basketball"

Mamba Mentality for Losers

Mamba Mentality for Losers

Kobe Bryant won’t go away. I was desperately waiting for him to retire so that I wouldn’t have to watch his brand of basketball or listen to his brand of pop-psychology anymore.

Then he retired. But now he’s back.

Bryant developed a reputation during his playing career for being ultra-competitive (true) and always coming through in big moments (not true). There’s a difference, you see, between being willing to take an important shot at the end of a basketball game (competitive fire) and actually making that shot (coming through). Bryant was always willing to shoot it, regardless of the presence of more-open…

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Geno Auriemma and the Tyranny of…Wait, Didn’t We Just Do This?

Geno Auriemma and the Tyranny of…Wait, Didn’t We Just Do This?

Geno Auriemma is the high priest of women’s college basketball. His career record is 1027-136, which, I promise you, is not a typo. I checked it a bunch of times. His University of Connecticut basketball team is the unquestioned top dog (it’s a pun…they’re the Huskies) in the sport. They get all best recruits, lose an average of about one game a season, and nearly always win the National Championship.

But Auriemma’s not satisfied. He has no peace.

Sports seems to provide the perfect crucible for this sort of impossible-to-satisfy quest. Tom Brady’s on it, and so is almost every other athlete,…

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Snatching Defeat from the Esophagus of Victory

Snatching Defeat from the Esophagus of Victory

I.

Y’all, I’m going to be real with you: last Thursday night, I experienced something that made me feel more intensely depressed than I have felt in a really, really long time. What happened, you ask? Did someone I love pass away? Did I lose my job or break up with my girlfriend? Did I watch a documentary about the Syrian Civil War? Nope, nope, nope.

I watched a basketball game. I watched what has been my favorite team in all of sports since I was an infant—the currently unranked Louisville Cardinals men’s basketball team—lose to the #1 ranked Virginia…

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NCAA Final Four: The Gamecocks are "Letting the Sun Go Down On Their Anger"

NCAA Final Four: The Gamecocks are “Letting the Sun Go Down On Their Anger”

You may say, “Well that’s not biblical,” but the Gamecocks have to, or they don’t get to play. No, seriously, if a player doesn’t show up angry, he sits the bench. “If you’re not matching his intensity, you’re not going to be on the floor,” said freshman guard Tommy Corchiani, while describing coach Frank Martin. That intensity? It ain’t no joke. I remember first noticing Martin when he coached Kansas State in the NCAA tourney a few years back. On a court full of very large, physically imposing people, he stood out to me as (by far) the most ominous presence,…

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Smells Like (Dream) Team Spirit

Smells Like (Dream) Team Spirit

The first Summer Olympics I remember being fully invested in were the ’88 games in Seoul. Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith Joyner dominated the track, while Matt Biondi and Janet Evans ruled the pool. It was an exciting time to be an American, especially a pint-sized one. My nine year old self looked at these people and saw honest-to-God superheroes. I resolved that when Barcelona rolled around in ’92, I wouldn’t miss a moment.

In the weeks and months leading up to the opening ceremonies that year, one story overshadowed all others: the advent of the Dream Team, AKA the USA Olympic Men’s Basketball team. For…

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The Shelf Life of Athletic Grace

The Shelf Life of Athletic Grace

The Los Angeles Lakers get what they want. Period. Numerous franchises have flared up throughout NBA history in a prestigious Cinderella-like supernova only to, just as quickly, burn out. Since moving to the City of Angels from Minnesota, the Lakers have certainly been one of the association’s few spoiled evil stepsisters. As an Orlando Magic Fan, I abhor the Los Angeles Lakers above all other franchises for reasons that are obvious to any medial NBA fan (the Shaq embezzlement of ’96, dismantling us in the 2009 finals, and repeating history in 2013 when they yanked Dwight Howard away from…

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Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

This week, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been trounced in the two opening games of the Western Conference Finals, losing on Monday by 17 and on Wednesday by a whopping 35. Down 2-0 in the series and without injured starter Serge Ibaka, the Thunder will most likely be eliminated by the Spurs. Perhaps in an effort to celebrate the Thunder before their season ends, Brian Philips of Grantland wrote a brilliant piece on Wednesday about the career trajectory of Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.

Philips meditates on the perceptions of Westbrook’s unorthodox style of play. Early in his career, basketball…

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"Bracketology", the Big Dance, and the Quest for Perfection

“Bracketology”, the Big Dance, and the Quest for Perfection

Warren Buffett has given away more money that one thousand of us can give away in one thousand lifetimes, but now he’s just getting bored. Buffett is offering one billion (with a b) dollars for a “perfect NCAA bracket”. Apparently, a perfect bracket has never been accomplished in the 64 team era. The odds of achieving the perfect bracket are in the quintillions (with a q, and a lot of zeros). That’s not stopping tens of millions of people from filling out Buffett’s bracket – hey it’s free! I’ve got mine in there and I’ve got a pretty good feeling,…

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LeBron James and His Freedom

LeBron James and His Freedom

I love LeBron James. I love the way he plays basketball. He is freakishly athletic–he’s a 6-foot-8, 260-pound freight train that bulldozes his way up and down the floor, while having the court vision and passing skills that are unheard of for a player his size. Then, of course, is his otherworldly leaping ability. I remember watching LeBron in a regular season game in 2008 and being dumbfounded. James went up and caught what was supposed to be an “alley-oop”, but was thrown far too high. When LeBron caught it, he was eye level with the rim. With his size…

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Derrick Rose, Sneakers over Stats, and the Beauty of Empathy

Derrick Rose, Sneakers over Stats, and the Beauty of Empathy

I remember visiting my brother in Memphis during basketball season in 2008: Derrick Rose was the talk of the town. With a 6-foot-4 frame, Rose was slightly taller than most of the point guards he went up against and could jump higher and run faster. Rose came out Simeon High School in Chicago, a hotbed for freakishly athletic ball players–Rose was certainly no exception. After a phenomenal freshman year at Memphis, Rose was the first overall pick in the NBA draft the following year.

If you remember, in our NBA Season Preview of sorts, Derrick Rose’s return to the NBA–after sitting out…

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The Appeal of Running and Shooting and the Foolishness of Giving

The Appeal of Running and Shooting and the Foolishness of Giving

Football fans love quarterbacks. Basketball fans love point guards. In this week at Mbird sports, we’ll examine some key elements that make up the two positions, and try to make some distinctions as to why they are so beloved, while noting how they may be even more attractive today than ever.

Joe Namath. Peyton Manning. John Elway. Joe Montana–what’s the appeal? Is it the all-american poster boy persona? The rocket arm? Maybe it’s how they dissect defenses/secondaries with ease, and place the ball exactly where they want. Is it leading offenses downfield and calling audibles amongst screaming fans, keeping everyone calm…

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The Mockingbird 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview

The Mockingbird 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview

It’s an understatement to say that it is currently an exciting time in the world of sports, but it really is. The World Series starts tonight. College football and NFL is beginning to heat up and bowl games and playoffs we all love will be here before you know it. That’s not even to mention that the NBA is about to start. On that note, I thought it’d be most appropriate to whet our appetites for the upcoming season by mentioning a few of the most compelling stories in the league.

1. LeBron James and the Miami Heat

LeBron James had an…

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