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Old 02-24-2003, 10:59 PM   #1
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Default Sports Central Newsletter - #97 - An Easy-to-Forget, Memorable Week

The Sports Central Newsletter
February 23rd, 2003 - Issue #97

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|-- IN THIS ISSUE... --|

- Words From the Editor
- The O-Files: "An Easy-to-Forget, Memorable Week"
- What's new at Sports Central?
- Feature Article: "David Robinson: The Forgotten Man"
- Marquee Matchups (NBA)



Hello folks,

It's been an eventful sports week, to say the least. From the on-again, off-again Mike Tyson fight (which Tyson easily won in 49 seconds) to another tragic death in the sports world because of a drug supplement to some rare events in the NBA. In that very NBA, for the first time, five players scored 40+ in one night (Friday) in the NBA, and the newly-turned-40 Michael Jordan became the first 40-year-old to score over 40 in a game (43 points on Friday).

Brad Oremland thinks this past week was definitely memorable in the short-term, but one easy-to-forget a few years from now. I couldn't agree more! Read on to see what you missed from this crazy week.

Also, do you hear that? It's snow melting! That's right, baseball players are down in Florida and other warm climates, preparing for the upcoming season. If you want to participate in our fantasy baseball league, check out the following link for information:
https://www.sports-central.org/commu...&threadid=6515 -- it's in its third year and spots will be going quickly! See you there.

Until next time,

- Marc James
mailto:[email protected]


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|-- THE O-FILES--|

"An Easy-to-Forget, Memorable Week"

By Brad Oremland

Ten years from now, no one will remember the week of February 16-22 as being a momentous one for sports. But there are so many storylines to follow right now, how can we possibly keep them all straight?

College basketball, professional hockey, and the NBA are all in full-swing. The Maryland men beat North Carolina by 40 on Saturday. The UConn women won their 64th game in a row. The bankrupt Ottawa Senators lead the NHL points race. The Seattle Supersonics traded Gary Payton and got Ray Allen from the Bucks.

In 10 years, no one will remember any of that. No one will care. What we will care even less about, though, are the stories that everyone's talking about. From Sports Illustrated to ESPN to your annoying neighbor, there are the "sports" stories that make a mockery of all things sports.

The headliner had to be the Mike Tyson/Clifford Etienne fight with Tonya Harding on the undercard. That was circus, not sports. Tyson was once the greatest fighter in the world, but now he's a washed-up madman who hasn't beaten a credible opponent in almost a decade. He's the Michael Jackson of the sports world. We may have a guilty fascination -- what's he going to do next? -- but we stopped really caring a long time ago.

Harding is just as bad. Women's boxing is as legitimate a sport as the men's version, but it only makes news when someone like Harding steps into the spotlight. Go ahead, name one female boxer other than Harding, Leila Ali, or Jacqui Frazier-Lyde. One is famous for arranging an attack on a competitor, and for figure skating (in that order). The others are famous for, well, having famous fathers.

And of course, there's the annual joke that is the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Don't get me wrong, it's a guilty pleasure -- Petra Nemcova makes me drool -- but it isn't sports. I don't entirely blame SI for continuing to run its most profitable issue each year, but they've stopped even pretending that it has anything to do with sports.

We also have the usual assortment of quasi-sports absurdities. Sure, they're ostensibly about sports. They just aren't about the games. The ongoing FSU gambling scandal. Football players in hit-and-run accidents. Spring training's starting up again; let's talk steroids! Or Derek Jeter! I heard he was out past midnight on Friday. Can you imagine?

The USOC is still in the news every day, but does anyone care any more? Lloyd Ward is staying for now, and none of us will benefit from reading the same story we read last week, only with rumors of his eminent demise changed to the news that he'll hang on for a while longer.

The golf world is talking about Tiger's equipment. Well, most serious golfers probably aren't, but the rest of us are. But then, we also know that Harding lost and that Tyson won in less than a minute, for the ninth time in his career.

So you see, it's been a busy week for sports. But really, who cares? I'm going to go watch the Michael Jackson special I taped last week.


Brad welcomes your feedback on his column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=O-Files



Revisiting the new articles for the period of 02/17/03 - 02/23/03:


COLUMN: Amico Report: Ice-cold NBA
By Sam Amico

The Amico Report is a free e-mail newsletter/column from pro basketball columnist Sam Amico. Sam covers the NBA for various newspapers, magazines, and web sites, including Sports Central.



NHL: Defense wins hockey games
By Vishal Patel

As crunch-time rolls around, teams will be looking to turn around a bad season or continue an already successful one. SC's Vishal Patel argues that defense is the key to taking home the Stanley, and Dallas, New Jersey, Ottawa, and Colorado are proving it.



NBA: Kobe's quest for greatness
By Jeff Daniels

Kobe Bryant has been hotter than hot lately. He is currently making a strong push for the MVP award and is only 24, yet he already has three NBA championships. Kobe is having a great year, but he's chasing something bigger and better than an MVP award. He's chasing the legends of the game, but he cannot reach that greatness with Shaquille O'Neal by his side, says SC's Jeff Daniels.



NFL: Draft preview: The circus life
By David Shaw

Throw in a few hundred college football players, a few hundred reporters, a scale, a tape measure, and you've got yourself the biggest three-ring circus football can offer. Forget the Super Bowl, this is the NFL scouting combine, where fortunes rise and fall like the typical Mike Tyson weekend. SC's David Shaw wades through the fluff and pulls out the offensive players to watch.



NBA: David Robinson: The forgotten man
By Louis Llovio

As future Hall of Famer David Robinson makes his final tour of the NBA, nobody seems to be taking notice. Through all of his success, Robinson has spent his playing days in the shadows. And in the waning days of his career he, again, seems to have been forgotten. Can one of the real goods guys quietly slip away?



COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Does anyone want to be No. 1?
By David Parish

A number of teams have held the No. 1 spot in college basketball, but can anyone hold onto it? This year's parity will make for one of the most exciting NCAA tournament's in recent memory, but who will win? Here are SC's David Parish's picks for the Final Four and NCAA tournament, creeping closer and closer.



NFL: The legacy of the 1990 NFC Championship Game
By M. Edward Guest

There have been more glamorized games and there have certainly been more memorable games, but has there ever been a game that quite matched the 1990 NFC Championship? In a word, no -- and yes that is inordinately difficult for an ex-49er fan to admit, even though it has been 12 years. Because, to be simplistic, Matt Bahr will always make that field goal, says SC's M. Edward Guest.



NBA: Grizz on road to success?
By John DeCosta

With the majority of the press given to the Clippers for their mismanaging ways, many seem to neglect the ineptitude of the Grizzlies. Although being excused for the first few years of losing because of their expansion status, the have only mustered an inexcusable 23 wins a season since 1995. But now led by Jerry West and Hubie Brown, have they finally found their way?



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"David Robinson: The Forgotten Man"

By Louis Llovio

A quick glance would have you believe the NBA is made up of nothing but gangsters and thugs. That is not true. Far from it. Although there are some, the NBA is filled with mostly decent, hard-working men.
And sadly, the most decent of them all is riding off into the sunset and nobody seems to notice.

David Robinson came into the league two years after graduating college because he owed his country a tour of duty in the Navy. For the next 13 years, he's served the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs, and the city of San Antonio much as he served the Navy -- with the utmost dignity and respect, setting an example on and off the court for everyday working people and athletes alike. Not only is he an example of how to be a great basketball player, but how to live your life.

Robinson, a sure-fire lock for the Hall of Fame, is the only player in NBA history to win the rebounding, block shots, scoring titles, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and MVP. Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he is the only other player's to ever win rebounding, block shots, and scoring titles. In his rookie season, he averaged 24.3 points, 12 rebounds, 3.89 blocks, and shot .531 from the field, leading San Antonio to the greatest single-season turnaround in the history of the NBA.

A 10-time all-star, Robinson was named to the All-NBA First Team four times, the Second Team twice, and the Third Team three times. He was named to the All-NBA Defensive First and Second Teams four times each, becoming the only player in the league's history to be named to both in his first seven seasons.

And in 1996, he was rightly named one of the Top-50 Players of All-Time.

But it wasn't until the 1998-99 season that Robinson finally won an NBA championship. And he won it in typical David Robinson fashion -- he took a backseat to teammate Tim Duncan. "I just figured winning was more important than anything else I could do for the team."

"How many superstars would have done that?" Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich asked. "Not many."

At 7-1, it was inevitable that his knees and back would begin to give out. Over this weekend, he sat out the last two games of his Spurs' nine game-winning streak. But that's nothing new for the aging star. He's spent the last couple of years plagued by injuries, which is why he's decided to step down.

That, and he couldn't dream playing anywhere other than San Antonio.

Over the last four years, Robinson and his wife have forked over $9 million dollars to The Carver Complex, a college prep school and cultural center built in one of San Antonio's roughest neighborhoods. He has fed the homeless through his "Feed My Sheep" program, he has helped families get diapers and baby food through "The Ruth Project," and fulfilled a promise he made to about 50 elementary school students -- he gave them each $2,000 towards college or hairdressing school when they graduated from high school.

But that's nothing special -- it's who he is. "These aren't sacrifices to me. If I'm clutching on to my money with both hands, how can I be free to hug my wife and kids?"

What else can you say about a guy like that?

Through all of his success, Robinson has spent his playing days in the shadows. And in the waning days of his career he, again, seems to have been forgotten.

Now, Michael Jordan, also in his final year, is garnering all the attention. Arguably the best basketball player to play the game, he's playing for a sub-.500 team struggling to make the playoffs while Robinson's team trails only Dallas in the toughest conference in the league and a championship is not a too lofty a goal.

But as always, the man they call the Admiral stands stoically by as others accept the praise. And that's fine with him. His reward is in the life he's led and in his teammates' success. "You dream about having a team where everybody trusts each other, all the way, and here we are," he said in '99 as his team, now led by Duncan, headed towards a title.

So as the Kobe Bryant's, Allen Iverson's, and Tracy McGrady's continue on, the Admiral will sail off into the sunset, his career a great one, but his true success is the life he's lead. The rewards and accolades he leaves for others, his thanks will be his life being an inspiration and shinning example.

So the next you have a few bucks in your pocket, stop and think what David Robinson would do with it. That is how you can thank the Admiral for all he's done for the game we all love.


We welcome your feedback on this column: mailto:[email protected]?subject=Feature_Article


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--> National Basketball Association

Detroit (37-16) at Sacramento (38-18)
Tuesday, February 25th, 10:00 EST; Arco Arena; Sacramento, CA; TV: FOX

This battle between the Pistons and Kings is intriguing because it's an illustration of just how far the NBA has progressed. Both teams are extremely successful, but they're achieving that success with completely different styles. The Kings, though their defense has improved, are primarily an offensive-minded club, while the Pistons wear down the opposition with suffocating defense.

It could be argued that the trade that brought Richard Hamilton to the Pistons from the Wizards in exchange for Jerry Stackhouse helped both teams. In truth, though, the Pistons' fade in last season's playoffs could be attributed in part to Stackhouse's desire to break out of the confines of Detroit's offense. Hamilton seems to thrive on being the Pistons' go-to guy without being their star. "Rip" may be Detroit's only pure-scorer, but he's doing it within the team concept.

Team is what head coach Rick Carlisle emphasizes, and it's why Clifford Robinson's career has been reborn after a bad ending in Phoenix. Robinson is the rare NBA starter who likes to shoot the ball, but also likes to shutdown his man defensively. He takes great pride in it, and it meshes perfectly with Carlisle's philosophies. It also fits with Detroit's real "star," Ben Wallace -- described by some as Dennis Rodman before he began taking his shoes off on the San Antonio bench. Wallace continues to be the NBA's most exciting -- if not its most dominant -- defensive player. He's averaging 14.6 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.

Sacramento came into this season as the favorite to unseat the Lakers as NBA champs -- if any team were going to do that. But injuries have kept the Kings from claiming the league's best record or even from grabbing a comfortable Pacific division lead. Mike Bibby began the season on the injured list, while Chris Webber continues to sit on the bench in street clothes. But the Kings are still the NBA's deepest team.

To begin with, Sacramento is the league's best-shooting team. Peja Stojakovic, Bobby Jackson, Mike Bibby, and Hedo Turkoglu can all hit from long-range on a consistent basis. Webber -- when healthy -- and Vlade Divac are terrific shooters for power position players. On a nightly basis, the Kings haven't missed Webber that much, because the offseason signing of Keon Clark gave them a power forward who likes to score inside. But in the playoffs, Webber's absence would be immeasurable. He's not the player to take the game-winning shot in the final seconds, but he's nice to have for the game's first 47 minutes.

[ Game Breakdown ]

Offense -- Sacramento
Defense -- Detroit
Coaching -- Even
Intangibles -- Sacramento

Prediction: Kings 97, Pistons 90


Want a game previewed? Send us your feedback:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=MM

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(Thanks for reading! Next issue set to come out on 03/09/03.)

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