Big Game James

December 30, 2009

Perhaps it is appropriate to characterize James Worthy as one of the luckiest players ever to play in the Association. Drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982, the 21 year old Worthy immediately became a member of one of the top two teams in the NBA. Imagine if Worthy had been selected second by the San Diego Clippers, we probably wouldn’t be calling him “Big Game James.” Imagine coming into the league right out of college and trying to establish yourself as a talented player while playing under the likes of Bob McAdoo, Norn Nixon, Magic Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It is possible that Worthy might not even be in the Hall of Fame today if it weren’t for the fact that he was drafted by the Lakers.

During his three seasons at North Carolina, Worthy played with one of the greatest collections of talent ever assembled by a collegiate program. During the 1982 season, Worthy stared for the Tar-Heels alongside Sam Perkins. Joining them was a curiously talented freshmen guard named Michael Jordan. This trio carried the Heels to the 1982 Final Four, and eventually to the NCAA Championship game. Worthy and the Heels squared off against Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas, with the Tar Heels prevailing on a late jumper from none other than Michael Jordan.

That year, Worthy was rewarded for his exploits in Tar-Heel blue; he shared National Player of the Year honors with Virginia’s Ralph Sampson after averaging 15.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. Worthy was also a consensus first team All-American. As always, Worthy was at his best in crunch time; he scored 28 points on 13 of 17 from the field and provided a key steal that helped seal a Carolina victory in the 1982 NCAA Championship game. The legend of “Big Game James” was born.

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Champ’s Power Rankings: Week 5

November 30, 2009

give it time Brandon Jennings.


1. Los Angeles Lakers: The Champ is sure that the Lakers are glad that Pau Gasol’s injury hasn’t kept him out until Christmas. Sure the Suns have more road wins, but a 19 point rout  by the Lakers earns them the top spot this week, again. A good early home schedule and wins against teams like the pathetic Nets leave LA looking good early.

2. Phoenix Suns: The Pacific Division certainly looks good this year. First team to 14 wins? Impressive. With Steve Nash dishing out double digit assist nights and the team scoring in triple figures, the Suns are winning ball games.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Lights out shooting against the Top-10 Dallas Mavericks cancels out the ugly loss despite a late comeback against the Charlotte Bobcats. Undefeated when the team scores 100, the Cavaliers are slowly clicking.

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Season Preview: Detroit Pistons

October 10, 2009
The Pistons combine luck and leprechauns in their playing style, or maybe it's just leprechauns?

The Pistons combine luck and leprechauns in their playing style, or maybe it's just leprechauns?


Founded in 1941 by Fred Zollner, owner of the Zollner Corporation, the Detroit Pistons were initially called the “Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons,” as we have previously covered on “Inside the Name.”

They joined the National Basketball League and quickly became a force in the league, going to the finals for four years in a row, winning two consecutive championships in 1944 and 1945, and posting an obscene .700 winning percentage in their seven years in the NBL.

Fort Wayne then transferred into the Basketball Association of America, going an abysmal 22-38 before the BAA and the NBL decided to merge, creating the NBA we know today. The Pistons strung together 14 consecutive playoff appearances from 1949 to 1963, but only appeared in the NBA Finals twice (in 1955 and 1956), losing both times. Due to some crazy playoffs formats in the infancy of the NBA, the Pistons had only five seasons of a record above .500. In 1957, the Pistons moved to Detroit.

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August and Everything After

August 27, 2009

Trying to correctly guess what team is going to sign Allen Iverson is less accurate than a shot in the dark. Allen Iverson has recently tweeted about possible suitors and landing destinations, hinting that a possible deal is in the works. The teams reported to be interested in the future Hall-of-Fame guard have included the Heat, Bobcats, Knicks, Grizzlies, and Clippers. Now, the actual interest these teams have in Iverson could be overblown or underplayed, depending on the actual team. The term “fit” will almost never have been so loosely applied as when Iverson eventually inks a deal with any team.

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Inside the Name Part 4

July 28, 2009

When it comes to naming a team in the National Basketball Association, in my opinion, the name can fall in any one of five categories. Unbeknownst to many so-called “fans” of basketball, there is an unspoken hierarchy among the various team names. Well, unspoken until now. In a “Paints in the Point” exclusive, we go…


In Part One of “Inside the Name,” we looked at animal team mascots in the Association.

In Part Two of “Inside the Name,” we looked at the assorted alliterative team names found within the Association.

In Part Three of “Inside the Name,” we looked at team names in the Association that actually make sense, given their geographic location.

Another week has passed, and now we move on to…

Part 4: Laziness

Relocation has been a part of the Association since its founding: in the first fifteen years as a league, five teams of the eight that were left in the Association’s smallest configuration relocated to larger cities and one franchise relocated twice.

Upon relocation, some teams opt for new names, but most owners decide to keep the old team name. Perhaps they do so in a foolhardy effort to retain some fans from the place they just wrenched a team from, but I call it by its true name – “laziness.”*

There are two types of laziness when relocating a team: “creative laziness,” and what I like to call “unemployed-uncle-who-can’t-be-bothered-to-even-pry-his-fat-butt-off-of-his-couch-to-defecate laziness.”

The first type is relatively harmless and perhaps not the fault of the owner. Maybe all the good ferocious animals have been taken. Maybe the dictionary required to find a classic alliteration is hard-to-find or too heavy for the feeble hands of an elderly owner to lift. Maybe the new city is not noted for anything that is a suitable basketball team name. These owners merely take the team name and try to make it work in the new city, replete with a new logo.

The second type is the epitome of laziness. It looks something like this:

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The Pistons Effect

July 2, 2009

averyjohnsonThe news broke recently that the Pistons have agreed in principle with Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon for 5-year deals. These deals either directly or inadvertently impact the rest of the teams in the Association.

The first thought that comes to mind is “what”? Read the rest of this entry »

Wrap It Before You Scrap It

June 19, 2009


Well ladies and gentlemen, another NBA season has come and gone and before we throw it away and prepare for the draft, let us all take a look at what we learned.

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