Tag Archives: NBA

Unexpected NBA death shifts basketball history

Art by Scarlett Hatton

Story by Jadon Stoner

No introduction needed. Every news channel and social media platform is filled with the reports of the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Devastating. Horrendous. Heartbreaking. These are just a few of the words that swirled around the minds of millions of people throughout the world over the past 24 hours. Turn on ESPN, NBA network, or really any sports or news related TV channel and you will see interviews and quotes of various teammates, coaches, and media members. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you will discover that people who never even met this man have been inspired and transformed by the motivational stories of hard work and dedication of the great Kobe Bryant.

Kobe was a basketball legend; we all know that. Five-time NBA champion. Two-time Finals MVP. Voted the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. Eighteen-time all star. Over 33,000 points scored. The list of Bryant’s career accolades goes on and on. His undeniable desire to win and his willingness to sacrifice anything to achieve greatness is something we can all strive to embody. But the story of the Black Mamba goes much deeper than the bright lights of L.A. This particular story starts thousands of miles away from the beautiful coastline of Southern California in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kobe was the youngest of three children. His father, Joe Bryant, played in the NBA until Kobe was six years old. After retiring from the NBA, Joe Bryant moved him and his family to Rieti,Italy to play lower level professional basketball. Growing up, young Kobe would watch his father play and watch tapes of NBA games his grandfather would video and send to him in the mail. From this, the love of basketball sparked in Kobe and drove him through his whole career. In 1991, the family moved back to Philly and the next year enrolled Kobe in Lower Merion High School: the place where his basketball career began.

Bryant started playing varsity as a freshman and won Pennsylvania Basketball Player of the Year as a junior. He led the team to a state championship in the 1995-96 season and was receiving offers from big time colleges like Duke, North Carolina, and Villanova. After seeing Kevin Garnett taken 5th overall in the NBA draft out of high school the previous year, however, Kobe decided to go straight to the NBA. He was taken 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers later that night. Now, over 20 years later, and Kobe is looked at as one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

This is a very sad time for the game of basketball and for anyone who was influenced by his greatness. It is natural to mourn in moments like these and think back to all the historical and monumental moments in his career. But I encourage all those who, like myself, missed a heartbeat when the news was confirmed, to not feel grieved or bitter, but to rather reflect on his astonishing and awe-inspiring career and try to implement part of who he was into our own lives. He was only here 41 years, and he gave it everything he had in everything he did. He lived life to the fullest, and his sudden and abrupt death is a reminder to all of us of how precious life is. Kobe’s legacy will live on forever on the court and in businesses and classrooms across the world. I think it’s safe to say there will never be another Kobe Bryant ever again. One man. One mission. One hero. One Mamba.

 

Summer sports wrap-up

By J.D. McKay

That was fast. 

As an athlete, it went even faster. Strength and conditioning coach Donnie Gumble trained athletes hard this summer. The cross country teams went to a week-long camp to run, with some athletes putting in more than 40 miles. Plus, the basketball teams played in summer leagues against other top teams. With the work Gumble put in with our athletes and the rest of the work they put in this off season, it should be a very good year in FC sports. 

There was plenty of action outside of Floyd County, though. Most of it was a surprise, too. I expected the Warriors win in five games, then sign another big name free agent like Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard. Serena Williams and Roger Federer would win women’s and men’s at Wimbledon. The Yankees would be the best team in the MLB at the all-star break, and a veteran would win the homerun derby. Romeo Langford would be a first round pick but not a Lottery Pick. Finally, our local summer sports team, the Louisville Bats, would be the worst team in Triple A baseball. 

If you follow sports very closely you know that only none of those statements are totally true. The Warriors lost in six games. Then, balance in the NBA was restored for the first time since 2014. Anthony Davis joined Lebron in LA. Then, a few weeks later, the Clippers formed the second super team in LA with Leonard and Paul George. The East Coast was not just watching this happen. The Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Irving to form their own super team. Houston traded for Russell Westbrook to go with James Harden and get a pair of their own. Plus, Golden State still has Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The other NBA statement I made was only partly true. Langford was a first round pick; however, he was a Lottery Pick and will be playing basketball for the Boston Celtics and ex-Butler coach Brad Stevens. 

Neither Federer or Williams took home titles at Wimbledon. They were won by Novak Djokovic in the mens’ and Simona Halep in the ladies’. There was some other craziness around the tournament. Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff qualified for the tournament and upset Venus Williams in the first round. She stuck around until the fourth round before losing and all of her matches were the most watch of the day in America. 

My baseball predictions were the most accurate. The Yankees were the best team in the American League and second best in baseball. The Bats are not quite the worst team in Triple A baseball, but they are the second worst. The only completely false statement was the veteran winning the Homerun Derby. That was dominated by two rookies, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso. Guerrero had the greatest Homerun Derby of all time. He hit 91 homers in 13.5 minutes. That was spaced out over two hours, but that many dingers is impressive regardless. Even with that many homers, he still lost in the finals to Alonso, who hit 23 to beat Guerrero’s 22. 

Finally, I did not have much of a prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals, but the St. Louis Blues finally took home the Cup for the first time after 50 years. They played seven and the final game was won by goalie Jordan Binnington. Who had perhaps the greatest most clutch performance I will ever see in hockey. He gave up one goal on 33 shots and as a hockey fan, I was amazed, because most of the shots he blocked were shots that are almost always goals. 

This summer was crazy in sports. That feels weird to say but it really was. Hopefully the rest of the school year is as crazy as the summer was. Or maybe not, I do not know if we can handle that for 10 more months. 

 

Column: How to fix the NBA Playoffs

By JD McKay

The NBA playoffs started last Saturday, April 14, and will not end until the first week of June. As a reference, in that time period the New York Yankees will have played just over a quarter of their games. Plus, we all have a pretty good idea of what is coming. Warriors vs Cavs part IX.

That predictability is the reason I will not be tuning in until Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The NBA needs to take a page out of the NCAA’s March Madness when it comes to people being interested. That tournament is the only time of year when non-sports fans and sports fans come together to see if the Cinderellas can do the impossible or tune in to see if a 16 seed can beat the 1 seed.

The NBA does not need to go to one-game playoffs, but four best-of-seven series is too much. They should start the first round with a best-of-three series. That could give the underdogs a chance to beat the super teams they have to play in the first round. Then go to a five-game series, followed by the seven-game conference finals and seven-game NBA Finals.

While we are talking about the playoffs, I thought I would tell you what is going to happen. I think the Eastern Conference Finals will see the Milwaukee Bucks losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the West will have the Oklahoma City Thunder losing to the Golden State Warriors.

The Finals will be less interesting than last year. The Warriors will sweep the Cavs, and a few weeks later Lebron James will join the snake Kevin Durant and the Warriors.

Just kidding.

Maybe.