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Jeudi 4 août 4 04 /08 /Août 05:26

The first major professional basketball league in history was the Basketball Association of America. The league began operations in 1946 as a way for hockey arenas to have business during the off-season. The BAA lasted for three seasons until it merged with the smaller National Basketball League in 1949. The combination of the BAA and NBL gave birth to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949. Six of the franchises that played in the BAA are still in existence today (Celtics, Knickerbockers, Lakers, Pistons, Royals and Warriors.)


The Boston Celtics dynasty

In the early 1950s, the Minneapolis Lakers won several NBA championships. But when the Boston Celtics hired Red Auerbach as coach and acquired players such as Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Russell, the Celtics began the greatest basketball dynasty in NBA history. Starting in 1957, the Celtics won 11 NBA championships in 13 years. Their main rivals in this era were the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers. Despite having a lineup equally as impressive as the Celtics, the Lakers did not win any NBA titles during this time in history.


The ABA threat and other problems


In the early 1960s, the NFL faced its most serious threat in history in the form of an upstart, exciting new league known as the AFL. In the latter part of the decade, the NBA faced similar problems from its new competitor, the American Basketball Association (ABA). The new league attracted many star basketball players and featured a more fast-paced style of play. The ABA is probably most famous for its red, white and blue basketball. Finally, the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976, when the elder league welcomed the Nets, Nuggets, Pacers and Spurs into their organization.


The merger did not end the NBA's problems. This was also a dark time in basketball history because many NBA players faced serious drug problems in the 1970s. Rumors were rampant that many NBA basketball players were abusing marijuana and cocaine during this time in history. Certainly, the NBA was not unique to drug problems in the 1970s. But the negative image led to declining morale, low attendance and poor television ratings.


Glory days: the 1980s


Just when the NBA reached its lowest point in history, two young superstars entered the league and reenergized the NBA. Larry Bird joined the Boston Celtics and Earvin "Magic" Johnson joined the Los Angeles Lakers. During the 1980s, the Celtics won three NBA titles and the Lakers won five. In fact, the two rivals faced each other in the finals three times in the decade. Older, traditional basketball fans sided with the Celtics, while younger NBA fans favored the "showtime" fast-paced style of the Lakers. Most importantly, interest in basketball in general brought old and young fans alike to NBA arenas and ratings soared.


While the Celtics and Lakers were renewing old pleasantries during the 1980s, a skinny young kid from North Carolina exploded onto the NBA scene. As soon as he entered the NBA, Michael Jordan was routinely scoring 30-40 points per game. Jordan's talent was limitless, both as a shooter and jumper and his tenacious competitive spirit was legendary both as a defender and especially in practice. It took his team, the Chicago Bulls, several years to assemble an adequate supporting cast with the right coach. But once they found the right formula, Jordan and the Bulls won six NBA titles and most experts agree that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in history.


The NBA in the 21st Century


When Michael Jordan retired and the Bulls ownership dismantled the team, their coach, Phil Jackson, joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson continued his winning ways by capturing five more NBA crowns, giving him 11 NBA titles as head coach, the most in history. Among players, the debate throughout most of the early 21st century has been whether Kobe Bryant(notes) or LeBron James(notes) is the best player in the NBA. While most agree that James is the most talented player in the NBA, Bryant is considered the best player because of the championships he has won.


Although the NBA is currently suffering many of the problems facing corporations in a poor economy, basketball is still very popular and the league is very strong. Its fast-paced style and appeal with young people ensure that basketball will be popular for the foreseeable future and probably for many generations to come.

Par runion
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Mardi 12 juillet 2 12 /07 /Juil 04:20

England manager Martin Johnson has effectively been given the green light to decide his own future after the World Cup, as an extraordinary administrative crisis engulfs Twickenham.

The Rugby Football Union, England's national governing body, currently has no permanent chairman or chief executive just nine weeks before the World Cup starts in New Zealand as a result of its botched plan to hire a performance director.

Former chief executive John Steele was forced out last month after changing the job description for the new, and still unfilled, position of performance director in May, stripping the role of any responsibility for England's senior Test team.

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That was seen as a deliberate snub to Sir Clive Woodward, strongly tipped for the role, by making the post seemingly unworthy of the 2003 England World Cup-winning coach and other high-profile candidates.

Yet 48 hours later another U-turn saw the initial terms of the job re-instated.

Martyn Thomas quit as RFU chairman on Sunday after reportedly being criticised in a review of the fiasco by Judge Jeff Blackett, the Union's chief disciplinary officer.

But he remains as acting chief executive with Paul Murphy, who will take over as RFU president next year, the interim chairman.

Meanwhile 2003 World Cup-winning captain Johnson remains in his post.

He guided England to their first Six Nations title in eight years last season and the former lock has said he finds being England manager "very addictive".

Johnson's contract expires in December and if he wants to stay on it is by no means certain with whom he would have contract talks, although Thomas has said he would fill in if required.

A successful World Cup - which would mean a semi-final spot at least after England's appearances in the 2003 and 2007 finals - would all but assure Johnson of a new contract and Thomas said on Monday: "Martin is such an honest assessor of his own performance that he will judge himself after the World Cup.

"He will turn around and say he is pleased with what he has done and he is staying or that, because he is very self-critical, that he is not happy.

"There is unlikely to be a CEO before January. I will have no problem in sitting down with Martin after the World Cup and resolving his position in the interests of England and the coaching team."

The England squad are due to meet a week on Monday for the build-up to their August World Cup warm-up matches against Wales, home and away, and Ireland.

England begin the tournament proper against Argentina in Dunedin on September 10 and Thomas insisted the administrative upheaval had had no effect on the players and team management,

"I have spoken to Martin Johnson and the coaches," Thomas said.

"They said to me that what was going on at Twickenham was not on their radar. The players are not interested in what is happening here."

Par runion
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Lundi 4 juillet 1 04 /07 /Juil 03:43

However, the Ukrainian has revealed he has set his sights on the winner of the bout between unbeaten British contenders Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury, who meet on July 23 in London.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that Haye could be offered a shot at Klitschko’s elder brother, Vitali, if he retains his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Tomasz Adamek. The suggestion came from Bernd Boente, who manages both Klitschko brothers.

“I know Haye intends to retire in October, but the fight we would like to see is Vitali Klitschko against David Haye,” Boente said. “But Vitali will first fight Adamek in October. Then I would like to see Haye versus Vitali. It is a fight I have in my mind, and it is definitely possible. I think it would be a good fight,and a great promotion - Haye’s chance to redeem himself against the other Klitschko.”

It would require complex negotiations for the fight to go ahead and Haye no longer has the bargaining chip of a world title after his defeat on Saturday night. The Londoner surrendered his World Boxing Association belt as he failed to find a way past the ramrod jab of Klitschko, who already held the World Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Organisation titles.

Haye believes he should be allowed the opportunity to fight Klitschko again. “Hopefully, Wlad looks at the numbers,” Haye said. “There’s no one out there for him. Look at the sums. It makes economic sense. The ball is in his court.

“I have three and a half months left in boxing. Whether Wlad would want to do it again is another thing. Because he now has the titles, the contract would be difficult. It might seem trivial to you, but the Klitschkos are hard to deal with.”

Adam Booth, Haye’s trainer, admitted he would be “happy” if Haye retired now, and did not want his charge to enter into “a slave contract” to fight Vitali. “But it’s not up to me,” he said. “Doing business with the Klitschkos without parity, I’m not sure David would do it. There’s been plenty of dirty tricks they played on us throughout this fight. They have been hard to deal with from day one.

“David needs to make that decision, though. I want him to get out with all his brain cells intact. In 2003, David and I agreed that he would retire at the age of 30, that we’d do this on our own terms, with the most success we could have, and make as much money as we could.”

Klitschko’s victory was classic demonstration of the art of boxing, the taller, heavier fighter making full use of his range combined with a watertight defence. He earned a unanimous landslide decision - 117-109, 118-108, 116-110 - on the judges’ cards. Some rounds were close, but Haye rarely threatened, forced on to the defensive for most of the fight.

The Klitschko brothers now dominate the heavyweight division. Wladimir claimed his was “a victory for boxing over a man who had disgraced the sport with his [pre-fight] antics”.

Klitschko said: “It’s not cool what he did with the T-shirts showing my brother and I decapitated. It put a certain shadow on the sport and just disgraced the sport.”

Haye, like Klitschko, will have earned in the region of £10 million for his part in the contest, which was more chess match than spectacle although Haye reasoned: “I realise there’s going to be a backlash. If I lose, people have the right to have a dig at me. But I took his best shots, and I didn’t go down. Nothing happened in the fight I wasn’t expecting. I had a plan to drop down if I was pushed down. Why try and take his weight? I felt in control in there, I could see his shots coming. I was taking his strongest punches. But early on in the fight, I couldn’t push off with my back [right] foot.

“Nothing is planned definitely yet. I don’t want to make any rash comments or decisions the morning after. I’ll know in a couple of weeks. But I’m a born fighter. This is what I do. I’m used to training, used to fighting. It’s the type of character I am. It’s hard to think about going out like this, on a loss. I never contemplated losing in this fight. I’d have gunned for Vitali if I had won this fight. I wanted his strap. But they may never give me the opportunity again.”

Par runion
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Jeudi 30 juin 4 30 /06 /Juin 03:46

CHARLOTTE -- Corey Maggette has played 12 seasons in the NBA and been to the playoffs only once. Now he's about to join a team that's never won a postseason game and has spent the past year getting rid of most of its veterans and scorers in a rebuilding movement.

But Maggette insists he was thrilled to be traded to Charlotte for three reasons: He's about to start again, play his natural position and, most importantly, suit up for Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.


As Jordan prepares for his sixth season in charge of the basketball operations in Charlotte and his second full year as majority owner, he'll lean on Maggette to provide scoring and a much-needed veteran presence on what is now one of the NBA's most inexperienced teams.

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Vendredi 24 juin 5 24 /06 /Juin 03:33

Armed with only second-round draft picks in the NBA draft and an aging roster, the Lakers unsuccessfully tried to trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves' No. 2 overall pick in the first round.


The Lakers offered sixth man of the year Lamar Odom for Minnesota's No. 2 pick, according to two NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publically on the matter, but L.A. was turned down.

The Lakers wanted to use the second pick on Arizona's Derrick Williams, an athletic 6-foot-8, 248-pound forward, both officials said.


When the Odom deal was rebuffed by Minnesota, the Timberwolves then inquired about trying to acquire All-Star forward Pau Gasol or center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, both officials said.


Because the Lakers were not interested in trading Gasol or Bynum, talks broke down between L.A. and Minnesota, and the teams stopped talking, an NBA official said.


Bynum was never an option to be traded because Jim Buss, son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss and the team's executive vice president of player personnel, has let it be known that the 7-foot center he had a hand in drafting in 2005 is not available.


The proposed deal sending Odom to the Timberwolves could have worked under the current NBA collective bargaining agreement because Minnesota is far enough under the salary cap to take on the 6-10 forward's contract without having to send another player to the Lakers.


Odom is guaranteed to make $8.9 million next season, but his 2012-13 salary is only partially guaranteed; Odom has a buy-out worth about $2 million.


It appears Odom has become the Lakers' hot commodity to move because of his contract, versatility and what he might be able to bring back to the team.


Odom, 31, has averaged 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists over his 12-year career.


He averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists last season when he played in all 82 regular-season games, 35 as a starter.


The Lakers gave their 2011 first-round pick to New Jersey when they traded Sasha Vujacic to the Nets, making it the second consecutive year L.A. has not had a first-round pick.


If the Lakers don't make a move before the draft Thursday, they will have four second-round picks — the No. 41 selection (received from the New York Knicks); 46 (from the Miami Heat); 56 and 58 (received from the Golden State Warriors via the Nets from the Vujacic trade).


The Lakers, who had 10 players on their roster 30 or older this past season, are in need of a point guard and an outside shooter —– though that probably will be difficult to find with second-round draft picks.


One possibility for the Lakers is Duke's Nolan Smith, a 6-2 guard who impressed the Lakers with his workout. But Smith might not be around when the Lakers make their pick.

Par runion
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