Posts tagged "Basketball"

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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Magic Johnson’s Smile, John Calvin’s Selfless Christian Life, and God’s Grace

Magic Johnson’s Smile, John Calvin’s Selfless Christian Life, and God’s Grace

During the NBA season, you’ll see an extremely chipper analyst on ESPN: Earvin “Magic” Johnson. I’ve always had a great respect for Magic, not only for the way in which he played the sport he loves, but for the ways in which he has spoken about those he loves. I still remember watching old–and incredible–VHS tapes like NBA Superstars and Michael Jordan’s Playground and seeing Magic contagiously smile as he described just how great Michael Jordan was. It seems as though Magic’s first inclination has always been to point out the good of those around him, be it…

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Jeremy Lin Crushed by the Law of Linsanity

Jeremy Lin Crushed by the Law of Linsanity

You gotta love Jeremy Lin, and I say that not only as a recently minted Houstonian who is looking forward to some serious Harden/Howard/Parsons beatdowns. In an article posted yesterday, ESPN reports on Lin’s unusual candor before a crowd of Taiwanese (presumably) Christian youth:

Lin went as far to say that he experienced “emptiness, confusion and misery” at points last season. “The one thing I learned was how empty fame and worldly success really are. … The desire for success never stopped,” Lin said. “If the voice that you listen to the most isn’t God’s voice, then eventually you will experience that…

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Coaching By Grace

Coaching By Grace

Growing up playing basketball, I had lots teammates, all of whom were very different. Sensitive players. Coach’s pets. Troubled prodigals and hot shots. And then some that should not have made the team but wore their jerseys on game days with more gratitude than all the rest (think Landry from Friday Night Lights). I think that’s one of the beautiful things about sports: there’s a diversity of personalities and temperaments. It makes for some great memories at least. Likewise, I’ve had a lot of coaches–all of which have also been very different. Each one had their own strategy.

In retrospect, I’ve…

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Even Lebron James Needs Help, or Heat Hate and the Offensiveness of the Gospel

Even Lebron James Needs Help, or Heat Hate and the Offensiveness of the Gospel

God forgive me, I detest the Miami Heat. As I watched the Heat cap off another championship, I fumed with anger, and I don’t really even care about NBA basketball. The only times I turned on the NBA Playoffs was when it appeared that a team may take down the franchise that I despise more than any professional team I ever have seen.

I have had to assess why it is this sports franchise can elevate my blood pressure to the point that I have been up until 12:30AM CST the nights after Game 6 and Game 7, stewing over their…

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This Team is Terrible…And Awesome

This Team is Terrible…And Awesome

The Carroll Academy Lady Jags have lost 213 straight high school basketball games. They’ve won six games in fourteen years. Let that sink in for a second. Now watch this touching piece on their story:

As you can see, Carroll Academy is no ordinary school, and this is no ordinary basketball team. It’s almost as if the coaches have been reading Mockingbird! There are, to be sure, a few of the usual ESPN tug-the-heartstrings triumph-in-the-face-of-adversity moments, but some of the things that the coaches say are wonderfully profound.

This is nothing compared to what you’re gonna face in your life. 20, 25,…

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