Today marks the anniversary of a watershed moment in Detroit sports history, and given that many that follow this blog also follow Detroit professional sports, I'm putting it up here for discussion.
10 years ago today, following an on-the-court altercation between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest, Artest thought it would be nice to take a nap on the scoring table. Indiana and Detroit were dominant forces in the East at the time, and the Pacers were just about done administering a beatdown on the scoreboard, so the mood was negative even before the Wallace-Artest incident. Artest's act of defiance really set off the crowd - he was just as unlikeable then as he is now, name changes notwithstanding.
A fan not only called Artest's level of douche, but raised it by tossing a half-empty beer toward Artest, and then the melee ensued. Artest went into the stands seeking retribution. Unfortunately, Artest went after a guy still holding his beer - the wrong guy! (If only Artest had with him a then-popular blue dog to help him decipher the clue that someone usually does not simultaneously  throw their beer and  still have it.)
10 years later, it seems like something very similar could still go down. Fans still have very close proximity to the players, and while there is more security, it looks insufficient to anyone who has sat courtside. The problem of fan involvement has been around for years (e.g., Monica Seles), and I'm not sure what can be done without gutting the fan experience. Certainly an increased investment in security would make sense.
In any event,
happy unhappy anniversary.
THJ dropped twenty on the Pistons tonight, including a closing-seconds triple. The Knicks lost the basketball game, but really should have won.
The man is and always was clutch --
[edit: removed derogatory comment about the Detroit Pistons.]
There's an article on the Detroit News' website (not sure if it made the print edition, or if it will tomorrow) defending the Piston's draft choice by comparing Trey Burke to fellow Michigan all-time great Cazzie Russell.
As the article tells us, in the 1966 NBA Draft, the Pistons passed up on the opportunity to draft Cazzie Russell.
"The Pistons passed on one of the greatest college players of the day, the Wolverines' Cazzie Russell, who had just led his squad to three Big-10 Titles and consecutive appearances in the Final Four, in favor of Dave Bing of Syracuse."
Dave Bing, as you may be aware, turned out to be a pretty darn good NBA player. The implication here is that history is repeating itself, and we should not judge Joe Dumars harshly for his decision. The author even digs up a personal memory to give the article that extra bit of impact...
"Trey Burke is some player, and some man. The overwhelming sense is the Pistons are in dire need of both. But I remember feeling much the same as I did this morning, when I learned as a 10-year-old the Pistons had passed on a guy who was an absolute god to me at the time."
So what's the problem? The entire premise of the article is flawed, because the Pistons never "passed" on Cazzie Russell. The Pistons had the second pick of the 1966 Draft. The New York Knicks had the first, which they used to pick... Cazzie Russell. He was not available to the Pistons. Perhaps the author (sportswriter Gregg Krupa) was thinking of the Territorial Pick rule, in which an NBA team could select a local college player BEFORE the first round of the draft - but that rule ended in 1965. Or perhaps the author has gained Mitch Albom's mystical ability to make strong emotional connections to events that never took place.
This has been today's edition of "Why Print Media is Dying and We Will Not Mourn Them."
EDIT: Several hours after this topic was posted, the article on the News' website was editted. The bits quoted in this post have been replaced, and the Pistons are now said to have "missed out" on Russell rather than "passing on" him.
I'm hoping my fellow MGoBloggers might be able to help me out:
I have a 12 year old son who has become a huge basketball fan this past year. He plays PG for a city basketball team where we live in Ulsan, South Korea (안녕하세요). This is my proud-father opportunity to mention that he was tournament MVP for the last two tournaments.
I coach his team, and we spend a lot of time talking basketball. It has developed into one of those marvelous father-child opportunities that parents cherish. It's been fun introducing him to the basketball of my youth - 1989 Championship, Fab Five, and the Bad Boys.
He is especially interested in the Fab Five (having seen the doc and having read the Mitch Album book) and the Bad Boys. I have searched tirelessly for downloads of games for either team but can't find anything that is current and being seeded. Is there a specialized but less publicized place to find older sports downloads?
Does anyone know where I can download or watch any Fab Five or Bad Boy games? I would be very appreciative and you'd make my Trey-Burke-uniform-wearing-Michigander-boy-in-Korea very happy and connected to his home.
EDIT: and for discussion purposes, which games do you think would be the best and most essential viewing?
Fab Five - it is painful just thinking about the finals loss to Duke and NC. This game is the only game that we could find, via YouTube and extra low-quality. The 92-93 Kentucky game was classic. Which Fab Five victory do you think would be essential viewing?
Bad Boys - really the greatest era of the NBA. Clashes between Bird's Celtics, Barkley's 76'ers, Magic's Lakers, and that one guy named Jordan. Many classic series. I'm trying to find the 1988 Pistons loss to the Lakers in game 6 of the finals - the phantom foul game. I believe that was one of the classic NBA serices, with the Pistons losing in 7 games. Argh. But the next two championships sort of eases that pain. I'm also trying to find one gave vs. the Bulls (1990), Celtics (1988), and the finals vs. the Trailblazers (1990).
I guess this play is getting all sorts of hype on the four letter network. Kind of looks like MANBALL.
So the NBA Summer leagues are underway.
I know numerous posters have come to hate the NBA (understandable) and among those who don't, there are still some that hate the summer league (televised scrimmages), but among Pistons fans some are hoping they now have their potential Big 3 and while it might take time for the other megateams to age, the Pistons might shortly become relevant again.
With the Lakers, Heat, and apparently Nets becoming hated teams loading up on superstars, I prefer the way the Pistons are building, similar to the Thunder. Now I'm not saying anyone on the Pistons is Durant, and probably not even Westbrook or possibly even Harden, but this is a good chance for younger players to get some court time together against non-teammate, officiated competition.
So knowing that Knight will get time this week with Drummond is big to me. Knight, Monroe, Stuckey, and Drummond represent our current young core. While summer league all-stars sometimes make little regular season impact, I'm encouraged by the performance on Kim English in yesterday's opener.
The Pistons are playing in the Orlando league this year instead of Vegas. They took on the Jazz yesterday and won the game by dominating the 3rd quarter, 32-11.
The starting 5 was Knight, Drummond, English and Kyle Singler and Austin Daye. 4 of the 5 were in double figures in what was a more defensive game, ending 76-73. The team shot 40% from the field, but the starters were far better than the subs, shooting 52%. The biggest concerns were some sloppiness (17 turnovers with only 10 assists), fouls (no limit in these leagues, but 4 Pistons had 4 or more in a 40 minute game), and a Drummond air-ball free throw attempt.
Otherwise decent start for the squad, who plays the Magic today, which got 24 and 12 yesterday from Andrew Nicholson.