Links, commentary, strange connections, and silly photos of Gilbert Arenas, randomness…
Bryon Russell will be forever cemented into Michael Jordan lore. You know exactly why. And evidently, Russell holds a solid spot in Washington Wizards/Gilbert Arenas lore as well.
Because of Jordan’s last shot as a Chicago Bull, a game six and championship winner that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 14, 1998, which came courtesy of a Jordan push-off of Russell and subsequent burial of the Utah Jazz, Russell and Jordan will always be connected. The moment has been in/on video games, video game commercials, posters, artwork, t-shirts, books, and captured via wide-ranging multimedia design. No one has been, and perhaps no one will ever be, more remembered for having a basketball shot hit on them. The rest of it travels down an unexpected road.
After the shot marinated in basketball history for over four years Russell teamed up with Jordan on the 2002-03 Washington Wizards, a team surrounded with strife and disaster that failed to even make the playoffs in Jordan’s final NBA season. Russell averaged 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds over 19.8 minutes per game and appeared in 70 contests. Russell then joined the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers, a team that epically failed to be a team in the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. No championship for Bryon. Russell played 16 total minutes during that playoff run, the swan songs for the careers of Karl Malone and Horace Grant, and the end of the Kobe/Shaq era; Gary Payton was also involved.
Seeing that pro basketball fans are essentially suspended from the NBA due to squabbling amongst millionaires and billionaires, passing time might be aided by chronicling all NBA and team suspensions of the Washington Wizards since circa 1995. Why? Well, because we humans love stories about crime and punishment, and to most, the NBA lockout fits the bill for both. So away we go (with old basketball cards to accompany on occasion)…
[Note: This listing is incomplete and unconfirmed for accuracy; information has been gleaned, copied and pasted from eskimo.com/~pbender and prosportstransactions.com with the understanding that all suspensions and fines might not have been publicized or reflected.]
Bernard King suspended by team for altercation with head coach at practice.
[Editor's Note: Before we all complain about the inundation with all that is LeBron -- with coverage good, bad, overall, and everything in between -- consider the fact of how such a unique character provides an opportunity to relish in how influential sports figures have become. That is to say, at least all of this is not boring. Ben Standig (Twitter: @BenStandig) writes about DMV sports all over the web, CSNWashington.com amongst them. In a TAI guess piece below, Ben breaks down a commonality between LeBron and Mike Tyson, who, by chance, is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame today. -Kyle W.]
Once upon a time, Mike Tyson was legitimately the baddest man on the planet and in that era he delivered one of the best quotes – both figuratively and in his case, literally – depicting the nature of intimidation in the world of sports. When told before a fight that his opponent had a plan to beat him, Tyson brashly countered that “everyone has a plan, until they get hit in the mouth.”
This quote is pertinent to the NBA Finals because up until a few days ago, most of the basketball world surely would have slotted one LeBron James into that role of baddest of the bad. Not that he would land an actual haymaker to an opponent’s cranium or was the one guy in the league you wouldn’t want to cross, but his physically imposing ways surely put fear into the hearts of opponents. That physicality certainly blinded the observing world.
A D.C. pic, bullets of Wizards links, and words with those links…
A man with a plan, and a pizza. [Meridian Hill Park, 16th St. NW - Washington, D.C. - photo: K. Weidie]
> John Wall, at his young age, understands how important it is to be an ambassador for the game of basketball and for professional athletes. He also seems to know that it’s part of his job, but in a sense where when he does good deeds, they don’t have to involve a big production or show. He just does them. He takes extra time to sign autographs, all the time… excessively. I’ve seen this. And now, I’m imagining that over time you’ll hear more and more great stories like this one relayed by Dan Steinberg.
[DC Sports Bog]
> Washington Post music writer David Malitz makes a good observation … should the ’04-’08 “Glory Years” Wizards be celebrated as the first team to reap benefit from the Internet age (partially thanks to the rise of blogs, prominently via Dan Steinberg and Gilbert Arenas)? I think so.
A moving picture GIF for fake 3-D effect (don’t get dizzy), with links and commentary…
[Lafayette Elementary School, NW Washington, D.C. - photos: K. Weidie]
I recently took part in a ‘Word on the Street’ sports roundtable put together by Ben Standig of CSNWashington. My pick for the Preakness didn’t come through, but I still stand by the rest.
A week from today the Washington Wizards will hold a press conference to unveil their new look, which includes a red, white and blue color scheme, a new logo, and new uniforms. Various sites could probably hold various polls until clicking fingers are tired, but I’m guessing that the vast majority would still agree that, while a color change to build more unification around red and the colors of the American flag is a good start, “Wizards” as a franchise nickname continues to be a horrible joke and in no way should be a representation of professional basketball in the capital of the United States.
The vast majority would then probably split between those who want the team to return to being called the “Bullets,” and those who understand that reverting back is not going to happen, and that the franchise is better off moving on with a completely new name. Also in lieu of official polling, I’ll speculate that the team name, and thus its colors, have been the biggest hot-button issue surrounding Ted Leonsis since his ownership group took control of the franchise last June.
Thus, the results of next Tuesday’s unveiling will likely come under a particular amount of scrutiny. Does a color change need to happen? Yes/Sure, why not?
Does a color change, new uniforms, and especially a new logo, likely come at a great cost to the franchise? Re-branding efforts, even if it doesn’t mean a name change, are usually very expensive. So, yes.
This Skybox basketball card commemorates Darrell Walker‘s rebounding prowess as a guard for the Washington Bullets in the early 1990s. In ’90-91, Walker led all guards with 7.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, amongst those who played at least 15 minutes per game and achieved at least 400 rebounds. When strictly looking at per game stats, according to the search results at Basketball-Reference.com, Tyrone Corbin of the Minnesota Timberwolves averaged more rebounds per game as a guard, but he was more a swing-forward to Walker’s true ability to play the point. [Note: Rounded, both Walker and Magic Johnson averaged 7.0 boards per game in '90-91, but Walker was a fraction above Magic.]
In Washington Bullets/Wizards franchise history, according to BBR, only four guards have played in more than 60 games in a season, averaged over 25 minutes per game and over five rebounds per 36 minutes. Those players were: Larry Hughes (’02-03 to ’04-05), Michael Jordan (’01-02 and ’02-03), Darrell Walker (’88-89 to ’90-91) and Earl Monroe (’67-’68).
From the BBR database spanning from 1946-47 to the present day, only two NBA guards have appeared in more than 70 games, had a Total Rebounding Percentage (TRB%: an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor) above 13-percent and a Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DRB%) above 20-percent.
Those two guards are Jason Kidd (2006-07: 13.2 – TRB%; 20.8 – DRB%) and Darrell Walker (1989-90: 13.4 – TRB%; 20.4 – DRB%).
I recently completed the process of moving … not too far away, still in D.C., still in the same apartment building in fact. Regardless, moving is a pain. At one point of my life, partially during the college years, I moved seven times in seven years. I’m sure there are worse stories.
Moving also provides chances … chances to purge. Combine being a sports fan with a mild case of pack-rat-itis and you’ll accrue a lot of stuff. Combine that with having a mom who was an art teacher, which gave me an eye to see just about everything as a potential project, and you’ll have even more crap that your girlfriend (or significant other) doesn’t admire.
Tickets to just about every sporting event I’ve been to in 30 years? I’ve got most of them around somewhere … pretty sure I’ll do something cool with them someday. Boxes of old basketball and baseball cards? Not only do I have plenty with me, but I also stockpiles spread in other states at the respective abodes of both parents.
So, I took my recent move as a chance to purge, but mostly from the inane — umbrella hats, extra sets of poker chips, t-shirts, t-shirts & more t-shirts, novelty Velcro shoes that I purchased from Wal-Mart when I was in college for one reason or another — not sports collectibles, just items wrought with ridiculousness. Some of these things have come in handy for several last-minute Halloween costumes, but most of my retained crap can be directly attributed to acquiring something just for a zinger effect. The things we do when we’re young.
“I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolfpack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolfpack, it grew by one, so there were two of us in the wolfpack. I was alone first in the pack and then Doug joined in later. And six months later when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought ‘wait a second, could it be?’ And now I know I added two more guys to my wolfpack.”
Adam Morrison, who Jordan drafted third overall in the 2006 draft when he was manager of basketball operations in Charlotte, has accepted an invitation to join the Washington Wizards in training camp, according to the Washington Post’s Lee.
[Ed. Note: I'm going to warn you. Rashad is about to divulge himself as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Please, do not be outraged. I already knew this and it is okay. He's a fine young man (who's older than me) and you should not hold his fandom of a certain team about 140 miles north against him. Now Mr. Mobley is going to explain why the Bobcats are worth checking out, aside from wondering if Gerald Wallace is going to injure yet another Wizard. -Kyle W.]
I have been a Philadelphia Eagles fan since 1985 when I saw Randall Cunningham running and passing his way to superstardom. And although they have just one Super Bowl appearance and no titles during my 25 years of loyalty, my allegiance remains strong.
Unfortunately, since sports is mostly about business and not fan loyalty, some of my favorite players have left the Eagles via trade, free agency or waivers. Randall Cunningham retired as an Eagle and then unretired and played for Minnesota; Reggie White left for Green Bay via free agency; Terrell Owens was released and then he signed with Dallas; and just this past summer, Donovan McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins.