The real-NBA, fantasy-NBA hybrid podcast
The real-NBA, fantasy-NBA hybrid podcast
Classic Game: Blazers—76ers G6 1977 Finals
David Smooke rejoins the pod to discuss the 1977 NBA Finals between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers. We explore the ABA/NBA merger, including some of its lesser known backroom deals. We map out Julius Irving's journey from the Nets to the 76ers and detail the intertwined histories of the Blazers and 76ers. We discuss the style of play from both teams, the way the game is shot and broadcast, and assert a link between developments in broadcast technology and the NBA's stylistic developments.
Stops and Starts
The season wrap up of the Scorekeeper fantasy basketball league and the re-start of the real NBA as the world turns toward positive social change.
Classic Game: Blazers—Nuggets G3 1977 WC Semifinals
During the first season after the NBA/ABA merger, the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers faced off in the Western Conference Semifinals. David Thompson scored 40 points in this game, the third of the series, but Bill Walton's all-around brilliance and the Blazers depth ultimately won out. The Blazers went on to win the NBA Finals, the first and only title for Jack Ramsay and his colorful 70's chic outfits. In this episode, we discuss Walton's impressive passing, Lionel Hollins' verve, positional archetypes, David Thompson's demons, and the funk origins of ABA nicknames. We compare the NBA and ABA aesthetics', touch on some of the ABA's whacky history, and our guest, David Smooke examines how the three-point line is actually a constraint that allows for greater freedom.https://www.nytimes.com/1976/05/27/archives/aba-trophy-returns.htmlhttps://deadspin.com/how-to-lose-everything-and-get-some-of-it-back-1833665975
Dunk Contest History
"Artistic ability, imagination, body-flow, and fan response"—this was the judging criteria for the 1976 ABA Dunk Contest, the first major dunk contest in history. This contest gave us Dr. J's renowned free-throw line dunk and spawned decades of free-throw line dunks from Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Brent Barry, Vince Carter, and most recently, Zach LaVine. In this episode, we dive into the history of the dunk—an act that was rebellious and subversive from its origin. We outline the dunk’s creative and aesthetic evolution, from its first cage-hanging iteration in 1910 to Derrick Jones Jr. in the 2020 NBA Dunk Contest. We re-examine the NCAA’s dunking ban—which robbed David Thompson of countless highlights—and the racial tensions which may have led to the ban. We journey backwards in time, dissecting the 1976, 1985, 1988, 2016, and 2020 Dunk Contests.
Classic Game: Bulls-Jazz G6 1998 Finals
Is the NBA's most storied moment a bad game? Were we so caught up in the hype and drama of The Last Dance, in awe of MJ's accumulated greatness and the finale of the Bulls dynasty, that we didn't notice that the players were beset by injuries and fatigue, the game was plodding, the refs missed crucial calls, and the Bulls made a game plan of illegal defense? Join us as we revel in chipping away at the aura. We talk the triangle, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone facing off in a WCW tag-team main event, the Bulls' iconic intro music and pregame theater, Skip Bayless in his early days as a Bulls sportswriter, whether Walter White has something of Michael Jordan in him, and how despite all the ugly parts of the game, MJ was still transcendent.
Classic Game: Celtics-Lakers G6 1963 Finals
We draw a line from our present moment back to Game 6 of the 1963 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers—Bob Cousy's final game—and think about how much the game has changed from its inception to 1963. We reflect again on Dave Hickey's seminal basketball essay, "The Heresy of Zone Defense," as we consider the NBA's rules changes, spikes in popularity, and an improved broadcast product, while also looking back at the barnstorming teams of the 1920s and the leagues that came before the NBA, with teams that moved from city to city, and sometimes, like the leagues themselves, even folded before basketball caught on as a popular sport.We should give a shout out to some sources, which were helpful in contextualizing this game:Hickey, Dave. "The Heresy of Zone Defense." Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997): 156-157.Neal-Lunsford, Jeff. "Sport in the land of television: The use of sport in network prime-time schedules 1946-50." Journal of sport history 19, no. 1 (1992): 56-76.Sarmento, Mario R. "The NBA on Network Television: A Historical Analysis." PhD diss., State University System of Florida, 1998.Staffo, Donald F. "The Development of Professional Basketball in the United States, with an Emphasis on the History of the NBA to its 50th Anniversary Season in 1996-97." Physical Educator 55, no. 1 (1998): 9.