Chuck Daly won’t ever be known as the greatest basketball coach of all-time, but he’s definitely one of the best. He led the Pistons to a pair of titles and delayed the long reign of Michael Jordan. He installed a defensive identity that helped forge the identity of Detroit basketball and Detroit itself. And he coached the Dream Team. That’s right, not the second bogus Dream Team or the subsequent Team USA squads stocked with NBA stars. The original Dream Team, with MJ, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Barkley and co.
(The hair changed color, but the style didn’t.)
Daly passed early Saturday morning from pancreatic cancer, losing a battle he’d been fighting for months. The NBA wasted little time in announcing that they’d honor his memory with “CD” pins on the lapels of all coaches’ jackets during the playoffs. They NBA Coaches Association is also creating the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, which tells you just about all you need to know about how other coaches feel about Daly.
Pretty much everything about appearance is public perception. This is why Mike Krzyzewski seems like such a nice person in public and always makes sure to swear under his breath.
(”So … roll it up and down underneath your armpit, right?”)
But as Joe Ovies at 850 THE BUZZ points out, if you accidentally mike up Coach K, you’re going to get some unfiltered noise. Like, for instance, him telling LeBron James about his personal odiforousness-ness.
While you were sleeping or taking part in your usual late night weekend activities USA Basketball was busy restoring order in the world of international basketball and not playing defense in the Gold Medal Game against Spain.
The cleverly titled “Redeem Team” closed out the tournement with a 118-107 victory over Pau Gasol and the politically correct Spaniards.
The USA came into Sunday’s game beating their opponents in their first seven games by an average of 30.3 points, which included a 37 point smackdown of Spain in pool play. In the finals, however, Spain gave the US a hotly contested offensive slugfest that remained in question until the game’s final two minutes.
I think it’s safe to say the entire Olympic experience has been something of a letdown for the Spanish basketball team. First there was the whole “hey, look at us, we’re racists!” photo shoot, followed up by getting thoroughly waxed on the court courtesy of the Americans, 119-82.
After the U.S. throttling, BOSTON GLOBE reporter Marc Spears, on the scene in Beijing, sought to interview some of the Spanish players. Funny thing: they wanted nothing to do with the American media in light of recent events (up to and including getting their arse handed to them).
Guard Juan Carlos Navarro, formerly of the Memphis Grizzlies, did make himself available to the Spanish media, however, and after he was done answering their preguntas, Spears cornered him for a question. Awkward hilarity ensued:
• Even though Michael Phelps made Olympic history, one church doesn’t think the 8-time gold-winning swimmer is all that high and mighty.
• Aghast by Jeff Kent’s comments on Vin Scully, Brewers broadcaster Jim Powell wonders how the Dodgers’ 2nd baseman will be able to play “with that enormous spiked shoe in his mouth.”
• BOSTON SPORTS MEDIA tunes in to learn that fromer DEADSPIN guru Will Leitch has landed a spot on Beantown’s WEEI radio.
• GIZMODO volleys up the true origin of that weird black stuff seen on Kerri Walsh’s shoulder.
Mike Krzyzewski might not be a favorite among college basketball fans not affiliated with Duke, but he is the coach of this year’s U.S. Olympic b-ball team. And if you’re willing to root against fellow Americans just because certain players are from rival pro teams or schools, then Coach K can do without “low-life” fans like you.
850 THE BUZZ has a honey of a quote from Team USA’s general. Penn Holderness of NBC 17 in Raleigh quizzed the coach about fans’ allegiances to particular programs & franchises getting in the way of national b-ball pride. More importantly, if UNC or NC State fans would be rooting for the Blue Devil Incarnate at the Olympics:
Some nicknames are just awesome enough defy the constraints known as space, time or team. Others just need to go away quickly (like everything this guy has come up with). It’s rare though, that we see an amazing nickname emerge from the direct translation of another language.
We are, as Tom Ziller of FANHOUSE points out, fortunate enough to experience one of those rare moments, as Olympic Basketball in Beijing unfolds with the emergence of Carlos Boozer’s amazing new nickname. Translated directly from “Fan Gu Zai”, Boozer is: “Betrayal Skull Dude”.
The USA men’s basketball team had been averaging 118 points in its first three exhibition games, in Sunday’s victory however the Americans only put up 103 points in their exhibition with Russia. Seventeen of those American points were actually scored on the Russian side thanks to traitor point guard J.R. Holden.
Just like Becky Hammon, Holden is going for Olympic Gold as an American playing for the Russian National team. The native of Wilkinsburgh, PA has been playing in Europe since graduating from Bucknell in 1998, and in Russia as a member of CSKA Moscow for the last eight years. Holden, who is the first American to play for the Russian national team and can’t speak or read the language, reached superstar status in Russia when he drained the winning shot in the finals of Eurobasket 2007 against Spain to give his team (notice we didn’t say homeland) the championship.
With the Beijing Olympics less than a month away team USA called on representatives from the 51st state to participate in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas.
Despite being banged up; LeBron James missed the game due to an ankle injury, Dwight Howard is coming off a stress factor to his sternum and Dwayne Wade missed the majority of the 2008 season with a bad knee (climbing onto Star Jones each night takes its toll on your body), the USA beat the Canadaians and their universal healthcare 120-65.
So there’s no need for the other teams to show up, right? Or even try? I mean, LeBron James, for reals, already told TIME MAGAZINE that the Americans will win the gold medal in Beijing. And it shall happen. Right?
(Words you can take to the engraver, or just another puff of smoke?)
When James was comparing the feeling of winning a gold medal to opening gifts on Christmas (because he’s … won Olympic gold?), a sterling reporter wanted clarification if James meant he was going to lead Team USA Basketball to one of those shiny golden medals. “Absolutely.” When asked if that was a guarantee, he said, “Absolutely.” Read more…