OT: When basketball mattered

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    OT: When basketball mattered

    Reprinted from SHOWTIME: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright Jeff Pearlman, 2014.

     

    Michael Cooper remembers the first time he was ever asked to guard Larry Bird one-on-one for a prolonged stretch. The date was January 18, 1981, and the Lakers traveled to the Boston Garden to face the hated Celtics. At the time, Cooper was feeling awfully good about himself. With Magic Johnson sidelined with an injury, he was a fixture in the starting lineup, right alongside stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon. Cooper stood as a key cog on basketball's best team and, he says, "I was as cocky and confident as I'd ever been."

    To Cooper, Larry Bird was still merely larry bird (lowercase intended) -- an overrated Great White Hype who captured a nation's imagination more for his pigmentation than his playing ability. Cooper had seen it all before. Doug Collins. Mike Dunleavy. Tom McMillen. Mike O'Koren. White guys came, white guys went. Larry Bird? Who the hell was scared of Lar--

    "I'm getting ready to wear your f----- a-s-s out."

    The words were uttered softly. Almost in a whisper. Had the white boy just spoken in such a manner to Michael Cooper? Had he really said such a thing? Barely two minutes had passed in the opening quarter and Bird was already slinging yang.

    "Bring it, mother------," replied Cooper, hardly a linguistic wallflower. "Bring it."

    Larry Bird brought it. Celtics guard Nate Archibald dribbled the ball down the court. Cooper followed Bird toward the top of the key -- "Larry's standing there talking to me, talking to me. Nonstop talking" -- then shadowed him as he walked down the lane and circled around a Robert Parish pick. "About to wear your a-s-s out," Bird said. "Wear ... it ... out ... " Bird pushed off Cooper. Cooper pushed off Bird. "Bring it," the Laker said. "C'mon, f----- ... "

    Bird jumped back, caught a pass from Johnson. "I'm still here, m-----------," Cooper said, grabbing a handful of Bird's green-and-white jersey. "I'm still here." Abdul-Jabbar, guarding Parish, stepped off his man to help. Bird jumped to shoot, and Cooper lunged toward him -- certain he was about to block the shot.

    Then, quick as a dragonfly, Bird somehow brought the ball down and wrapped it around to a wide-open Parish. "I still have no idea how he got the ball to him," said Cooper, "because my hands are up in the air, Kareem is coming out -- and the only way he could have gotten it to him was to lob it over the top. But he didn't lob it over the top. I'm still confused." Cooper spun, just in time to see Parish slam the basketball through the hoop.

    He looked back toward Bird, who smirked. "Wearing your a-s-s out, m-----------," he said. "Wearing it out. ... "

    Those words stuck with Michael Cooper. That moment stuck with Michael Cooper. Throughout his first eight-plus NBA seasons, he had been assigned to guard players of all shapes, sizes and builds. One night he might find himself standing before Utah's Rickey Green, the league's fastest point guard. The next night, it could be Denver center Dan Issel. Or Milwaukee small forward Junior Bridgeman. Or Knicks shooting guard Michael Ray Richardson. "He was worthy of Defensive Player of the Year every year," said Greg Ballard, the Golden State forward. "He was long, fast, stronger than you'd think. Coop was made for defense." 

    Although the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird connection was forever discussed and hyped, it was Cooper who felt tied to the Celtics star. He obsessed over Bird's moves, over his thinking, over his patterns and tendencies. If a Celtic game was televised, Cooper watched, his eyes glued to number 33. He looked toward nights against Boston as one would a wedding. It was Michael Cooper's moment.

    "Covering Larry -- that meant everything to me," he said. "People said he was overrated ... f---, no. If anything, he was underrated. What made him so good was you didn't just have to worry about his scoring. You had to worry about this guy's defense, his passing, his ability to save balls from going out of bounds, his ability to set picks and get people open. Larry could beat you in many ways. And he was the hardest player for me to play against, because you had to guard against all those things. Most players are one- or two-dimensional. Larry was ten-dimensional."

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140304/showtime-excerpt-michael-cooper/#ixzz2vVxlaUIk

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from 42AND46. Show 42AND46's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to Muzwell's comment:

    Reprinted from SHOWTIME: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright Jeff Pearlman, 2014.

     

    Michael Cooper remembers the first time he was ever asked to guard Larry Bird one-on-one for a prolonged stretch. The date was January 18, 1981, and the Lakers traveled to the Boston Garden to face the hated Celtics. At the time, Cooper was feeling awfully good about himself. With Magic Johnson sidelined with an injury, he was a fixture in the starting lineup, right alongside stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon. Cooper stood as a key cog on basketball's best team and, he says, "I was as cocky and confident as I'd ever been."

     

    To Cooper, Larry Bird was still merely larry bird (lowercase intended) -- an overrated Great White Hype who captured a nation's imagination more for his pigmentation than his playing ability. Cooper had seen it all before. Doug Collins. Mike Dunleavy. Tom McMillen. Mike O'Koren. White guys came, white guys went. Larry Bird? Who the hell was scared of Lar--

    "I'm getting ready to wear your f----- a-s-s out."

     

    The words were uttered softly. Almost in a whisper. Had the white boy just spoken in such a manner to Michael Cooper? Had he really said such a thing? Barely two minutes had passed in the opening quarter and Bird was already slinging yang.

     

    "Bring it, mother------," replied Cooper, hardly a linguistic wallflower. "Bring it."

     

    Larry Bird brought it. Celtics guard Nate Archibald dribbled the ball down the court. Cooper followed Bird toward the top of the key -- "Larry's standing there talking to me, talking to me. Nonstop talking" -- then shadowed him as he walked down the lane and circled around a Robert Parish pick. "About to wear your a-s-s out," Bird said. "Wear ... it ... out ... " Bird pushed off Cooper. Cooper pushed off Bird. "Bring it," the Laker said. "C'mon, f----- ... "

     

    Bird jumped back, caught a pass from Johnson. "I'm still here, m-----------," Cooper said, grabbing a handful of Bird's green-and-white jersey. "I'm still here." Abdul-Jabbar, guarding Parish, stepped off his man to help. Bird jumped to shoot, and Cooper lunged toward him -- certain he was about to block the shot.

     

    Then, quick as a dragonfly, Bird somehow brought the ball down and wrapped it around to a wide-open Parish. "I still have no idea how he got the ball to him," said Cooper, "because my hands are up in the air, Kareem is coming out -- and the only way he could have gotten it to him was to lob it over the top. But he didn't lob it over the top. I'm still confused." Cooper spun, just in time to see Parish slam the basketball through the hoop.

     

    He looked back toward Bird, who smirked. "Wearing your a-s-s out, m-----------," he said. "Wearing it out. ... "

     

    Those words stuck with Michael Cooper. That moment stuck with Michael Cooper. Throughout his first eight-plus NBA seasons, he had been assigned to guard players of all shapes, sizes and builds. One night he might find himself standing before Utah's Rickey Green, the league's fastest point guard. The next night, it could be Denver center Dan Issel. Or Milwaukee small forward Junior Bridgeman. Or Knicks shooting guard Michael Ray Richardson. "He was worthy of Defensive Player of the Year every year," said Greg Ballard, the Golden State forward. "He was long, fast, stronger than you'd think. Coop was made for defense."

     

    Although the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird connection was forever discussed and hyped, it was Cooper who felt tied to the Celtics star. He obsessed over Bird's moves, over his thinking, over his patterns and tendencies. If a Celtic game was televised, Cooper watched, his eyes glued to number 33. He looked toward nights against Boston as one would a wedding. It was Michael Cooper's moment.

    "Covering Larry -- that meant everything to me," he said. "People said he was overrated ... f---, no. If anything, he was underrated. What made him so good was you didn't just have to worry about his scoring. You had to worry about this guy's defense, his passing, his ability to save balls from going out of bounds, his ability to set picks and get people open. Larry could beat you in many ways. And he was the hardest player for me to play against, because you had to guard against all those things. Most players are one- or two-dimensional. Larry was ten-dimensional."


    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140304/showtime-excerpt-michael-cooper/#ixzz2vVxlaUIk




    still matters to me...and sorry to tell you but Lebron James is better than Bird or Magic was

    oh no! Heresy! INFIDEL! nothing is as good today as the "good ol' days"! Lebron would be 12th man on those Celtics and Lakers teams! If he even made the team!

     

    Kobe was better too

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bradysgirlforreal. Show Bradysgirlforreal's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    Why anyone watches this waterd down inferior product, much less pay big dollars to see live, is beyond me. The NBA has been a joke since the early 90s! Constant non called travelling, one man shows, and just a water downed league-stopped watchig NBA after Bird and Johnson retired.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bungalow-Bill. Show Bungalow-Bill's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    I still enjoy the NBA even though its not great to be a Celts fan right now. A lot of people point to the flopping and fouls called but if you think about it the NFL is not really different in that regard with the amount of phantom PI and holding calls or wide receivers begging for a penalty after every other incompletion.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Muzwell. Show Muzwell's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to Bradysgirlforreal's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Why anyone watches this waterd down inferior product, much less pay big dollars to see live, is beyond me. The NBA has been a joke since the early 90s! Constant non called travelling, one man shows, and just a water downed league-stopped watchig NBA after Bird and Johnson retired.

    [/QUOTE]

    I hung in there through the Jordan era and even the Knicks/Pacers/Olajouwon eras. Those Reggie Miller teams against the Ewing/Starks Knicks was great entertainment. Haven't paid attention since though.

    The athletes are better than ever, like in every sport (except boxing and horseracing), but the game is boring.  If you like it, good for you. 

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    The officiating was always bad, now it's atrocious. The NBA is one step up from roller derby these days.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from stillgridlocked. Show stillgridlocked's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    They should just put down some asphalt and put up the chains because the NBA today is nothing but street ball.  Traveling is blatantly allowed and other rules have been changed to allow for offense to be highlighted but the game itself really suffers.

    Kids who think Michael Jordan, Bird, Johnson, Jabbar etc couldn't compete today are completely clueless.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kelvana33. Show kelvana33's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    They ruined the NBA.

    The NFL is too big for them to ruin, but it sure hasnt stopped them from trying.

    Give it time.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from patsbandwagonsince76. Show patsbandwagonsince76's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to 42AND46's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     


    still matters to me...and sorry to tell you but Lebron James is better than Bird or Magic was

     

    oh no! Heresy! INFIDEL! nothing is as good today as the "good ol' days"! Lebron would be 12th man on those Celtics and Lakers teams! If he even made the team!

     

    Kobe was better too

    [/QUOTE]

    Maybe both better physical 'specimens' and have spectacular aspects to their games but because of Magic and Bird the mid 80's Lakers and Celtics could mop the floor with todays Heat. Really depends how you measure 'better'.

     

    One caveat: The heat might have a chance if the game had todays officiating. The players of that time did not know how to take advantage of the 5 steps that are allowed today after the dribble.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from CablesWyndBairn. Show CablesWyndBairn's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to 42AND46's comment:

     

    In response to Muzwell's comment:

     

    Reprinted from SHOWTIME: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright Jeff Pearlman, 2014.

     

    Michael Cooper remembers the first time he was ever asked to guard Larry Bird one-on-one for a prolonged stretch. The date was January 18, 1981, and the Lakers traveled to the Boston Garden to face the hated Celtics. At the time, Cooper was feeling awfully good about himself. With Magic Johnson sidelined with an injury, he was a fixture in the starting lineup, right alongside stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon. Cooper stood as a key cog on basketball's best team and, he says, "I was as cocky and confident as I'd ever been."

     

    To Cooper, Larry Bird was still merely larry bird (lowercase intended) -- an overrated Great White Hype who captured a nation's imagination more for his pigmentation than his playing ability. Cooper had seen it all before. Doug Collins. Mike Dunleavy. Tom McMillen. Mike O'Koren. White guys came, white guys went. Larry Bird? Who the hell was scared of Lar--

    "I'm getting ready to wear your f----- a-s-s out."

     

    The words were uttered softly. Almost in a whisper. Had the white boy just spoken in such a manner to Michael Cooper? Had he really said such a thing? Barely two minutes had passed in the opening quarter and Bird was already slinging yang.

     

    "Bring it, mother------," replied Cooper, hardly a linguistic wallflower. "Bring it."

     

    Larry Bird brought it. Celtics guard Nate Archibald dribbled the ball down the court. Cooper followed Bird toward the top of the key -- "Larry's standing there talking to me, talking to me. Nonstop talking" -- then shadowed him as he walked down the lane and circled around a Robert Parish pick. "About to wear your a-s-s out," Bird said. "Wear ... it ... out ... " Bird pushed off Cooper. Cooper pushed off Bird. "Bring it," the Laker said. "C'mon, f----- ... "

     

    Bird jumped back, caught a pass from Johnson. "I'm still here, m-----------," Cooper said, grabbing a handful of Bird's green-and-white jersey. "I'm still here." Abdul-Jabbar, guarding Parish, stepped off his man to help. Bird jumped to shoot, and Cooper lunged toward him -- certain he was about to block the shot.

     

    Then, quick as a dragonfly, Bird somehow brought the ball down and wrapped it around to a wide-open Parish. "I still have no idea how he got the ball to him," said Cooper, "because my hands are up in the air, Kareem is coming out -- and the only way he could have gotten it to him was to lob it over the top. But he didn't lob it over the top. I'm still confused." Cooper spun, just in time to see Parish slam the basketball through the hoop.

     

    He looked back toward Bird, who smirked. "Wearing your a-s-s out, m-----------," he said. "Wearing it out. ... "

     

    Those words stuck with Michael Cooper. That moment stuck with Michael Cooper. Throughout his first eight-plus NBA seasons, he had been assigned to guard players of all shapes, sizes and builds. One night he might find himself standing before Utah's Rickey Green, the league's fastest point guard. The next night, it could be Denver center Dan Issel. Or Milwaukee small forward Junior Bridgeman. Or Knicks shooting guard Michael Ray Richardson. "He was worthy of Defensive Player of the Year every year," said Greg Ballard, the Golden State forward. "He was long, fast, stronger than you'd think. Coop was made for defense."

     

    Although the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird connection was forever discussed and hyped, it was Cooper who felt tied to the Celtics star. He obsessed over Bird's moves, over his thinking, over his patterns and tendencies. If a Celtic game was televised, Cooper watched, his eyes glued to number 33. He looked toward nights against Boston as one would a wedding. It was Michael Cooper's moment.

    "Covering Larry -- that meant everything to me," he said. "People said he was overrated ... f---, no. If anything, he was underrated. What made him so good was you didn't just have to worry about his scoring. You had to worry about this guy's defense, his passing, his ability to save balls from going out of bounds, his ability to set picks and get people open. Larry could beat you in many ways. And he was the hardest player for me to play against, because you had to guard against all those things. Most players are one- or two-dimensional. Larry was ten-dimensional."


    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140304/showtime-excerpt-michael-cooper/#ixzz2vVxlaUIk

     

     




    still matters to me...and sorry to tell you but Lebron James is better than Bird or Magic was

     

     

    oh no! Heresy! INFIDEL! nothing is as good today as the "good ol' days"! Lebron would be 12th man on those Celtics and Lakers teams! If he even made the team!

     

    Kobe was better too




    Lebron and Kobe are transcendant talents and every bit as good or better than the stars of yesteryear.  I think where you may be right about their athleticism being superior to Bird or Magic, it doesn't automatically make them better than Bird or Magic as players.  Bird and Magic had more BBIQ if not the innate, rare physical gifts of Bryant of Lebron.   Why do you continue to insist that Boston sports fans cannot be impartial or unbiased?  You're like a running monologue the "stupid Boston fans" shtick.  We get it already, you paint us all with the same brush, unlike NY fans who are clearly unbiased and dispassionate.  WTH do you expect around here?   

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to patsbandwagonsince76's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to 42AND46's comment:
    [QUOTE]

     


    still matters to me...and sorry to tell you but Lebron James is better than Bird or Magic was

     

    oh no! Heresy! INFIDEL! nothing is as good today as the "good ol' days"! Lebron would be 12th man on those Celtics and Lakers teams! If he even made the team!

     

    Kobe was better too

    [/QUOTE]

    Maybe both better physical 'specimens' and have spectacular aspects to their games but because of Magic and Bird the mid 80's Lakers and Celtics could mop the floor with todays Heat. Really depends how you measure 'better'.

     

    One caveat: The heat might have a chance if the game had todays officiating. The players of that time did not know how to take advantage of the 5 steps that are allowed today after the dribble.

    [/QUOTE]

    Lol..yes, travelling, up and down, palming are all just part of the game now. I would put those Celtic and lakers teams against the heat and guarantee the heat lose in a best of 7.

    back then it was more team ball oriented vs isolating superstars to score. All around basketball was a much more interesting sport back then. 

    42andsh1t is comparing athletic ability. Yeah, sure Lebrun and kobie are more athletic than bird, but bird has them beat in every other category. He was a pure shooter, better than either of them, and his defense, passing, etc were amazing as well. Same with magic. If building a team, I would rather have bird and magic vs Lebrun and Kobe. 

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from NoMorePensionLooting. Show NoMorePensionLooting's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    You let kids into the NBA before they even know how to really play the game, make them stay in school. The travelling and palming the ball is totally ignored. The Refs, actually control who wins a game on any given night. You think the NBA Ref that got caught rigging games was a singular event....

    The NBA is dead to me.

    And Magic Johnson was the best BASKETBALL PLAYER in my lifetime.

     

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from patsbandwagonsince76. Show patsbandwagonsince76's posts

    Re: OT: When basketball mattered

    In response to NoMorePensionLooting's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    You let kids into the NBA before they even know how to really play the game, make them stay in school. The travelling and palming the ball is totally ignored. The Refs, actually control who wins a game on any given night. You think the NBA Ref that got caught rigging games was a singular event....

    The NBA is dead to me.

    And Magic Johnson was the best BASKETBALL PLAYER in my lifetime.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    When you have a significant number of rules that are judgment calls such as travelling, fouls, charging the games are much more fixable.

    The NFL needs to clear up off. holding and Pass interference to avoid the same fate as the NBA.

     
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