2 Cent Tuesday: Top 2017 March Madness Stories

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog

Today’s sports blog spotlights five remarkable stories surrounding March Madness; i.e. this year’s NCAA national championship tournament.

Without doubt, incredible story lines that typically pervade March Madness coverage focus on last second finishes, heroic feats and dominating individual performances.

College basketball fans love reading about star players, brilliant coaches and underdog teams.

For example, college hoops fans will never forget Louisville’s “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison’s poise as a freshman in 1989, NC State’s Lorenzo Charles’ tip-in in 1983, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew’s amazing last second shot in 1998, Princeton’s epic upset of UCLA in 1996, Michigan’s Rumeal Robinson’s clutch free throws in the 1989 championship game and perhaps everyone’s personal favorite memory – except UNC Tar Heels fans – Villanova’s Kris Jenkins’ shot of the ages in last year’s final game.

However, I always enjoy the compelling stories behind the scenes and away from the hardwood. I love reading about unlikely team successes, circuitous personal journeys of players and coaches and indomitable wills of those who overcame injury or other adversity to emerge victoriously in “One Shining Moment” as so eloquently captured by the NCAA tournament jingle.

With that in mind, here are my stories on March Madness’ 5 top stories:

South Carolina Gamecocks

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks will make their Final Four debut this coming weekend. Few fans had them advancing far in their brackets. The team’s suffocating defense and stellar play from Sindarius Thornwell, PJ Dozier, Mail Kotsar, Duane Notice and Chris Silva proved college basketball fans, coaches and pundits wrong. Love this underdog story.

Gonzaga Zags

A second first timer to the Final Four, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are a mid-major no more. The Zags have quieted the skeptics who ridiculed the supposed weakness of their WAC Conference scheduled and intimated that wildly successful coach Mark Few could never advance to the national championship semi-finals. Way to go, Gonzaga and Coach Few!

UNC’s Luke Maye

Loved UNC coach Roy Williams’ mea culpa quip following his team’s dramatic last second victory over the Kentucky Wildcats this past week where a self-deprecating Williams confessed “how smart he was” to allow game winning shot makers Maye to “walk on” to his Tar Heels squad after failing to offer him a scholarship. Gotta love Maye’s never losing hope to play for UNC and his inexplicably emerging as last weekend’s March Madness hero.

LaVar Ball

This highly overbearing and terribly meddlesome father of electric UCLA freshman guard Lonzo Ball witnessed his son’s team’s departure from March Madness after rival first year Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox totally outplayed him in a Sweet 16 game. Sure, the elder Ball’s non-stop braggadocio irritated me, but we can all agree that it more than likely motivated a quiet and composed Fox to a 37 point outing against the Bruins, arguably the best performance in this year’s tournament. Thanks, LaVar! Just let your son play ball!

South Carolina Coach Frank Martin

The South Carolina coach has unwittingly become the college basketball community’s newest star. What fan hasn’t admired the amazing job he’s done this year with the Gamecocks? More importantly, upon listening to this guy speak, what parent wouldn’t what their son playing for him and what person wouldn’t want his leadership, poise, gratitude, level of commitment and desire for excellence to be replicated for all?

And, that’s my 2 cents.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Carrying Team on Shoulders

MRO 69 Carrying team on shouldersToday’s Friday Sports Funny focuses on a tiresome, but spot on sports cliche.

Though the saying can apply to any sport, it’s most often used to describe that indomitable athlete on the basketball court, especially during March Madness.

One of the most exciting things about watching the annual NCAA national basketball tournament is witnessing remarkable individual performances during pressure-packed games.

Whether it’s a future NBA star or not, you can count on ESPN to show continuous highlights of players who dominate and lead their schools to victory.

This comic drives home the point of those unique, single players who carry much more than their own weight during games.

While leading his squad to a thrilling victory, the dribbling player is literally carrying four of his teammates.

Stars Carry Teammates on Shoulders During March Madness

In every March Madness season, college basketball fans will be watching for the latest rising stars that can metaphorically carry a team on their shoulders.

Over the years, college hoops fans have witnessed broad shouldered stars like David Robinson of the Navy in 1986, Wally Szczerbiak of Miami University in 1999, Ali Farokhmanesh  of University of Northern Iowa in 2010, Jimmer Fredette of Brigham Young in 2011 and the incomparable Steph Curry of Davidson of Davidson in 2008 lead their undersized, undermanned and lower seeded squads on improbable runs deep into the NCAA field.

Enjoy NCAA March Madness again this year and be watching for another surprising break out star to capture the hearts of an awaiting public.

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In addition to reading about a star player carrying his team on his shoulders, you’ll also see other basketball cliches come to life like prying the lid off the basket, ice water in her veins, big man owns the paint and more.

Enjoy the read, and most importantly, relish the madness as March is finally here.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: The Admiral David Robinson

The Admiral David RobinsonToday’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the game clock back to 1987 when David Robinson was the rage during that year’s NCAA March Madness tournament.

The highest rank in the U.S Navy that he ever held was Lieutenant Junior Grade. However, this former U.S Naval Academy basketball star will always be known by his notable nautical nickname, The Admiral.

While an NBA pro with the San Antonio Spurs, David Robinson won two Olympic gold medals, two NBA championships and a 1995 NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

In 1995 he was named as one of the 50 greatest NBA players in history.

Despite his professional and Olympic celebrity, David Robinson will always be remembered for his unexpected, brilliant college basketball career at the U.S. Naval Academy. That’s where Navy fans first saw him star as The Admiral.

Surprisingly, Robinson started playing basketball competitively as a high school senior. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy as a skinny 6’8” and 185 lb. freshman with very little basketball ability. He even needed special permission from the Navy to apply because he already stood taller than the military school’s maximum height allowance.

The late-blooming Robinson graduated four years later as a muscular, highly skilled 7’1” athletic center. Robinson left his mark on college basketball as the all-time greatest U.S. Naval Academy player.

David Robinson Led Navy to NCAA Elite 8 in 1986

In his junior year, The Admiral led the Midshipmen to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, the school’s highest finish ever. During his senior season, he averaged 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game.

Robinson received college basketball’s two highest honors during his senior season. The Admiral won both the Naismith and Wooden Awards, given each year to NCAA college basketball’s top overall player.

Even though he was selected by the San Antonio Spurs as the overall number one pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, Robinson did not enter the NBA immediately after graduation.

Instead, The Admiral served two years of his required active duty in the Navy before joining the Spurs organization in 1989. He played for San Antonio during his entire 13-year NBA career and was elected into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson also ships in at #4 in all-time NCAA Basketball Favorites.

MIKE NCAA Basketball FavoritesClick on the blue cover above to safely download the sports comic book from Amazon for only 99 cents.

This Naval Officer may have only worn the uniform of a Lieutenant Junior Grade during his service in the U.S. Navy.

But, whenever David Robinson stepped onto the basketball court, he played like the top ranking leader for which he was named – The Admiral.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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International Happiness Day: Sports Sights That Make Me Happy

International Happiness DayToday is International Happiness Day.

To celebrate the world’s annual joyful holiday, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 sights that make me happy as a sports fan.

These splendid sights always bring a smile to my face. They cover a bunch of sports and give fans the opportunity to experience the world of sports through a very happy lens.

Hope my list makes you happy, too.

20. Lighting the flame in an Olympic stadium – Gotta love the awesome tradition of the Olympic torch’s tireless journey. After an arduous trip being passed from one torch bearer to another across many continents, the flame finally lights the awaiting bowl in Olympic Stadium and officially marks the beginning of the games.

19. Capacity crowds – Cheering fans all clad in matching team colors and packing out a 100,000+ seat stadium or filling a rickety old high school gym is always a wonderful sight.

18. Not having to see these guys in uniform anymore – In spite of their skill and athletic excellence when they played, I love NOT having to see the likes of Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco and Chad Ochocinco in uniform anymore. It’s very doubtful anyone would disagree.

17. Fly-overs at big games – USA fighter jets buzzing a capacity filled stadium immediately after hearing the National Anthem may now be a thing of the past. But, what a thrill it was to witness these fly-overs in person.

16. Expertly groomed field for baseball game – I love gorgeously manicured grounds! Think of all the suburbanites who would give anything to have their front lawns look as pristine and expertly mowed as your favorite baseball infield or outfield at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.

15. Crunching hit on the boards in hockey – This bone rattling play on the ice looks and sounds like a train wreck coming right at you if you’re seated anywhere near the glass in the rink.

14. Soccer goal celebrations – You may have to wait endlessly for them during a nil – nil match, but inventive and exuberant post goal parties on the field are always worth the wait.

13. Dimming the lights for introductions – Gotta love the darkening of arenas, anticipating the choreographed starting line-up introductions accompanied by strobe lights, pulsating music and maybe even smoke and pyrotechnics.

12. 4th and inches in a tied 4th quarter game – If you’re watching at home, this sight will force you to put down the chips, place conversations on hold and move to the edge of your seat. If you’re watching at the game in the bleachers, this sight will always bring you to your feet.

11. The 5-4-3 double play in baseball – In spite of the brief moments it takes to complete this complex task, turning a double play in baseball is a smooth, quick and efficient sight made to look extraordinarily easy. It immediately excites one set of fans, while totally deflating another.

More Sports Sights That Make Me Happy

10. Marching Bands – We all love to watch perfectly aligned students wearing swanky costumes and plumed hats while they march in unison. This sight reaches a whole new level as gleaming tubas, clarinets, trumpets, xylophones and drums complete this beautifully choreographed picture.

9. Punt return in football for TD – Sports fans love watching this for two reasons. One is to anticipate a thrilling return and the second is to witness the possible figurative decapitation of the punt returner that will be replayed endlessly on ESPN Sports Center.

8. Championship celebrations – Balloons, bear hugs and falling confetti are accompanied by grateful thanks, bumbled (yet easily forgiven) comments, champagne baths, tears of joy, proud boasts and the raising of expensive trophies. The entire spectacle makes staying up past midnight – if you live on the East Coast – worth the wait.

7. Technology like the FOX box, yellow 1st down line and ESPN scrolling squeeze box at bottom of the screen – How did sports fans ever survive without them in the days before our multi-media, multi-tasking world?

6. Home run robbing catch – The sight of an athletic outfielder climbing a 12 foot fence to extract a baseball out of mid air that’s about to leave the ball park is both heart stopping and priceless.

5. Perfectly executed screen play in football – With a simple flick from the quarterback and several 300 lb. linemen in tow, successful screen passes will always make the sports highlight reels on ESPN Sports Center’s plays of the day.

4. Perfectly executed pick and roll in basketball – Especially if they’re run as effortlessly and efficiently as those we see executed on John Stockton and Karl Malone highlights, no basketball fan would want to miss this sight.

3. Perfectly executed squeeze play in baseball – Even when you instinctively know this risky and lightning quick play is about to happen, it always seems to catch everyone by surprise.

2. Alley oop pass – There’s a reason why the beautiful and exciting sight of high flying flushes off precise alley oop passes always make ESPN Sports Centers’ plays of the day. They’re poetry in motion.

March Madness: My #1 Pick on International Happiness Day

1. March Madness upset – Skipping work on a Thursday afternoon to watch a Cinderella #15 seed upset a heavily favored #2 seed is exactly why we all readily embrace the spring sickness known as March Madness. Kids of any age will find every excuse under the sun to play hooky from work, school and family commitment.

Contact me at mikeonsports@yahoo.com if you have a few favorite sights of your own for my list.

Shop for Thousands of 100% Authentic Autographed Sports Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.comIn addition to reading about the top sights in sports, this offer should make sports fans happy. For fans interested in shopping for authentic sports collectibles from their favorite teams, star players or championship seasons, click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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And, here’s to a very happy International Happiness Day to you!

Mike – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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FREE Book: College Basketball Comics

MIKE FREE College Basketball Comics by Jim SweeneyThe wildly popular NCAA men’s national basketball championship tournament descends upon fans every year.

From mid March through early April, college basketball fans are smitten by the sports world’s most popular annual event that the NCAA has brilliantly Trademarked March Madness.

College hoops junkies trudge around like zombies. They get through the day mumbling about stats, scores, match-ups, RPI ratings, regional brackets and overall strength of conference schedules.

They also can’t part with their remotes, dividing ESPN viewing time between jumbo televisions, smaller WiFi notebook screens and even tinier LCD screens on their pocket-sized iPhones.

FREE College Basketball Comics

College basketball fans consumed by the annual NCAA tournament will enjoy this FREE sports comic book. Click HERE to safely download.

It’s filled with 25 of my all-time favorite NCAA college basketball comics. They not only capture special players from previous tournaments, but also lampoon tireless basketball clichés we utilize as part of our, at times, outdated sports language.

You’ll laugh at the guys clad in tuxedos and bow ties getting invited to the Big Dance and you’ll smile at a player attempting to remove an actual lid from the basket with a blow torch.

The Admiral, Phi Slamma Jamma, Fab 5 and more

You’ll recall the brilliant leadership of The Admiral and the amazing athleticism of Phi Slamma Jamma.

You’ll admire the poise of Louisville’s Never Nervous Pervis and the precociousness of Michigan’s Fab 5.

You’ll get a kick out of the nail biters in the stands and the tall guys who own the paint.

You’ll cheer on the little guy who takes the charge and empathize with the undersized team that came up short.

You may go mad like the Cameron Crazies or go crazy with Dickie V’s cliché laden basketball expressions.

So, cheer on your favorite team because when it comes to the NCAA college basketball tournament each March, your squad is certainly playing for all the marbles.

And, before there’s no tomorrow (see Chapter 25 to learn more), enjoy the book. It’s funny and, better yet, it’s FREE! Click HERE to safely download.

Note that there are plenty more MIKE Sports Comic Books available on Amazon.com.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: The NBA’s Portland “Jail Blazers”

Portland TrailblazersToday’s #TBT sports blog looks back on one of the best, but most dubious nicknames in sports history – the Portland “Jail Blazers.”

Professional sports team management often turns a blind eye to the bratty behavior of their athletes when they perform well for the team and bring in big bucks for the franchise.

However, the sports world may never again witness the “pa-role model” line-up of this group of knuckleheads.

They were the infamous Portland Trail Blazers of the early 2000s.

 

Better named the Portland “Jail Blazers”, the franchise featured a team of felons, alcohol abusers and potheads. They were talented but troubled athletes. These jailhouse jocks quickly angered the team’s loyal fan base. They damaged the City of Rose’s reputation around the league as a model championship organization and brought embarrassment to the franchise.

This star-studded Portland team was expected to compete for an NBA title. However, the Portland “Jail Blazers” imploded as quickly as these great athletes filled the lane on the fast break. Their names regularly showed up in the local police station’s arrest reports.

Instead of taking the charge on the basketball court, these troubled athletes were being charged in police offices away from the hardwood. Ruben Patterson was charged for felony domestic abuse. Zach Randolph was booked for driving under the influence. Qyntel Woods was charged with animal cruelty and marijuana possession. Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire received misdemeanors for marijuana possession.

The “Jail Blazers” Irritated Portland Fans

While still on the court, other “Jail Blazer” players irritated Portland followers. Lazy efforts and abusive comments toward teammates, refs and coaches created more problems for the team. J.R. Rider, Bonzi Wells, Nick Van Exel and Darius Miles further upset their own fans. As if enough petals hadn’t already fallen off this rose, the team’s flaky center, Shawn Kemp, left the team in mid-season to check himself into a drug and alcohol rehab clinic.

Since the outbreak of the Trail Blazers early 2000s reputation, the Portland franchise has rebuilt its once respected team. The organization has drafted gifted athletes who also possess off the court character.

Instead of blazing a path to the local jail, here’s hoping these players pioneer a trail for the City of Roses back to the NBA Finals.

Kudos, sort of, to the former “pa-role model” Portland Jail Blazers.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: NBA Hypocrisy

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog unmasks recent NBA hypocrisy.

Yesterday, NBA EVP of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced that Golden State Warriors star forward Andre Iguodala was fined $10,000 for inappropriate comments made during a media interview. Caught on film following his team’s loss on March 10 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, a frustrated Iguodala made racially insensitive remarks about his coach and repeatedly used the racially charged N-word during the exchange.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, recipient of one of Iguodala’s controversial comments, immediately defended the 2015 NBA Finals MVP and chuckled that the media got “Andre’d” by his player’s penchant for joking around.

Even ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith came to Iguodala’s defense that the Warriors star is a respected NBA veteran who utilizes a keen sense of humor to foster dialogue regarding otherwise highly sensitive and racially polarizing topics.

Brooklyn Nets Host “Biggie Night” at Barclay’s

However, if the NBA esteems itself so morally superior in disciplining players for utilizing language it deems inappropriate, why would it condone the celebration of “Biggie Night” at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn this past weekend?

This screams of NBA hypocrisy at its best.

At the same time Iguodala’s NBA censure was being issued to leave him ten large lighter in the wallet, Brooklynites and Brooklyn Nets fans were applauding the team’s official night to commemorate Christopher George Latore Wallace – aka The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls – tragically killed by a drive by shooter in Los Angeles on March 7, 1997.

Widely recognized among rapper elites, Biggie Smalls rose to fame by glamorizing a gangster lifestyle through song lyrics drenched in infectious, but shamelessly violent, misogynistic and racially demeaning lyrics.

As the Barclay’s Center crowd clapped and cheered for the Nets’ honoring Biggie this past weekend with a B.I.G. 72 jersey, the NBA front office remained silent.

There were no comments, no remarks and not even a whisper emanating from league offices in NYC.

Not a Word From NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Not a word from Commissioner Adam Silver was spoken. Neither was there a peep from Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Should we deduce from their silence that both Silver and Prokhorov support the late singer’s licentious lyrics? Should we provide these leaders a pass for celebrating intolerable lyrics that far too many young kids mimic 20 years after Biggie Smalls recorded them?

Are Silver and Prokhorov not equally concerned over the vile, inappropriate language The Notorious B.I.G. spewed in songs before his tragic death that continues to live on two decades later?

Should it suggest that Silver enjoys Biggie’s songs like “Me and My B*tch” or “N*gg*s Bleed”? Or, perhaps Prokhorov’s playlist boasts some of Biggie’s best songs like “Gimme The Loot” or “10 Crack Commandments.”

Take a listen to Biggie’s words. Let them sink in until they nauseate you.

If we’re condemning the inappropriate and insensitive media remarks made by Iguodola, then where’s the NBA’s equal moral compass when weighing in on Biggie’s nasty lyrics that bankrupt kids’ souls, empty their wallets and unnecessarily lead them on a path of destruction?

Is this really the type of world we want for our kids? Do these songs portray how we should reference women? How can we quickly, wisely and definitively respond to explicit lyrics promoting drugs, sex and guns?

If we’re taking our cues from the hypocritical NBA leadership, we’re apparently saying it’s okay, so let’s bask in Biggie’s boorish behavior and raise his #72 jersey into the Barclay’s rafters.

Adam Silver should have condemned the Nets’ choice to promote this Brooklyn native, but maybe he was too busy promulgating NBA hypocrisy by collecting the 10 grand from Andre Iguodala for inappropriate language.

And, that’s my 2 cents.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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NCAA March Madness: College Basketball Bracketology

MIKE Comic 1 March MadnessLast night, NCAA March Madness officially began and college basketball bracketology gloriously tipped off.

For weeks eager bracketologists have had their pencils poised, erasers ready and theories thought out.

That’s why immediately following the NCAA Tournament Committee’s selections, bracketologists’ prognostications were picked and their brackets filled out.

These rabid college basketball fans  eschewed sleep to compare selections with those of friends, co-workers, loved ones and even total strangers on the internet.

March Madness Bracketologists

By early evening, March Madness bracketologists began to speculate about the always dangerous Kentucky Wildcats, the determined Duke Blue Devils, the undervalued Big 10 teams, an overvalued South Carolina squad, an erratic North Carolina, the unpredictable Louisville Cardinals and the tournament’s #1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova.

The debates didn’t stop there and certainly continued late into the night.

The same fans probably pondered the fate of a seasoned Kansas Jayhawks squad, an exciting Arizona Wildcats team and the always pesky Wichita State Shockers.

Can Gonzaga Reach Its First Final Four?

As expected, college hoops fans begun to postulate who will be this year’s bracket buster and whether a perennial favorite and mid major Gonzaga Zags team can finally reach its first Final Four.

History reveals that every college basketball fan has a hunch. Most will have theories. But, all will be mesmerized by the madness. Yes, March Madness has descended again upon a wanting college basketball crazed America.

Eager bracketologists, like those pictured in the above comic, best capture the exuberant fans that embody this maddening spring illness that intoxicates NCAA college basketball fans each year.

Man or woman, young or old, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, former jock or just a fan, bracketology appeals to the masses and discriminates against no one.

Everyone can fill out a bracket. And, anyone can pick a Cinderella.

The avid and toothy college basketball fans in this comic are confidently filling in their NCAA tournament brackets.

Chaotic Spring Malaise of March Madness

It’s obvious they’re eagerly embracing the annual chaotic spring malaise of March Madness. How fun. How exciting. How maddening.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson often asks in his clever Discover Card commercials, “What’s in your wallet?”

Well, let me pose today’s questions to both experienced as well as budding college basketball bracketologists.

Who’s in your bracket?

Let the madness begin. Embrace March Madness!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Makeable Putt in Golf

MRO 76 Makeable Putt w borderThis “makeable putt” comic is an easy choice for today’s Friday Sports Funny.

Standing alone a few feet from the hole always elicits painful memories of my own golf game.

And no recollection is worse than bogeying an easy makeable putt in golf.

As a career duffer, I have a bad short game and my putting is horrible. I struggle at times to make the simplest shots on the golf course.

That’s why in today’s Friday Sports Funny I’m sharing a chapter from my FREE book Clever Sports Comics.

It features one of my favorite sports comics – the makeable putt.

You don’t need to be a PGA golfer to understand this ridiculously obvious sports cliché.

I love the comic above in which a golfer stands over his putt before a cavernous hole on the 16th green preparing for an easy tap in.

In this case, the caddy doesn’t appear too confident.

It’s evident that the caddy’s fingers are crossed and his facial expression shows that he’s a bit worried.

Today’s Friday Sports Funny paints a great picture for all of us NOT to take the seemingly simple things in life for granted – like in this case – a makeable putt on the 16th green.

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Also, for fans interested in authentic sports merchandise or collectibles, simply click on the Sports Memorabilia logo above.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: NBA Finals Hero Willis Reed

MIKE sports comic - former New York Knicks Willis Reed

Today’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the game clock to the 1970 NBA Finals.

That’s when Willis Reed provided New York Knicks fans with perhaps the most memorable entrance in Big Apple sports history.

40+ years later, Knicks fans still vividly recall when an injured Willis Reed limped out of the dark tunnel from his locker room and onto Madison Square Garden’s brightly lit center court.

Fans can even recite Knicks radio announcer Marv Albert describing Reed’s entrance “Now here comes Willis… and the crowd is going wild!”

Despite a torn lower leg muscle, Reed’s courage to play on May 8, 1970 energized Knicks fans and inspired his teammates during Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

The Garden erupted early in the game when the hobbled Knicks lefty center scored the game’s first two baskets. Though he did not play much during the remainder of the game, Reed’s heroics helped the New York Knicks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 113 – 97. That’s when the Knicks captured the franchise’s first ever NBA crown.

That NBA Finals victory capped an incredible year for the under-sized Reed. At 6’9” Reed battled against the league’s much taller opponents like 7-footers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

During the 1969-70 season, Reed guided the Knicks to their best record in team history. In doing so, he became the first NBA player in league history to be named MVP of the NBA regular season, the NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Finals.

During his entire 11-year career, #19 played in the pivot for only the Knicks. Drafted as the #8 pick in the second round out of Grambling State University, Reed compiled a brilliant NBA resume. When he retired in 1975, his career numbers included 18.7 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game in 650 total games.

The seven-time NBA all-star repeated as NBA champion in 1973. In that year the Knicks upgraded their roster by adding Jerry Lucas to an already formidable frontcourt and signing Earl “The Pearl” Monroe to pair with Walt “Clyde” Frazier as the NBA’s best back court.

Reed Voted One of Top 50 NBA Players Ever

Voted as one of the 50 greatest NBA players ever, Reed continued in the game after he officially stopped playing. He coached in both the college and professional ranks at Creighton University and St. John’s University as well as the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks.

Willis Reed enjoyed his greatest sidelines success when he was appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Jersey Nets. The NBA Hall of Famer’s front office basketball knowledge was instrumental in helping the Nets advance to the NBA Finals in both 2002 and 2003.

Since Reed’s retirement in 1975, the Knicks’ franchise fortunes have never really flourished again at the same level.

However, the muscular lefty remains New York’s most beloved Knick, and the city’s never-to-be-forgotten 1970 NBA Finals hero.

Without a noticeable limp long gone, Willis Reed also makes his expected grand entrance into the #5 spot in New York Sports Icons.

New York Sports Stars and LandmarksClick on the purple cover above to safely download your FREE copy of my sports comic book New York Sports Icons.

Read about legendary New York Knicks Willis Reed and other iconic sports figures in New York City history.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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