Kobe Bryant had quite a night when he scored 81 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 122-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006. Bryant, former Lower Merion High standout, is the only player to come close to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, which took place in Hershey, Pa., when Chamberlain led the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 win over the New York Knicks.
Chamberlain still holds the highest single-game scoring mark in NBA history. This year is the 50th anniversary of his unbelievable performance.
Like Chamberlain, Bryant had a big time effort. He had 14 points in the first quarter. Then, he scored 12 in the second quarter. In the second half, he had 27 in the third quarter and 28 to close out the fourth quarter.
Chamberlain scored 23 points in the first quarter. In the second quarter, he had 18 points. He scored 28 in the third quarter and finished with 31 in the fourth quarter. Bryant reflected on his brilliant effort as well as Chamberlain’s amazing performance.
“It’s a lot of points,” Bryant said. “I think it was just one of the nights for both of us. It’s really no explanation for it. You just kind of get into one of those games and one of those elements and things happen.
“I was doing mine on jumpshots though. I didn’t have to bang with too many guys down low. It was catch and shooting.”
Aaron McKie, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach, was a member of the Lakers that season as his playing career was winding down. McKie, former Temple, Simon Gratz and Sixers guard, remembers Bryant’s scoring outburst.
“It was just unreal,” McKie said. “He got in a zone. He started hitting threes and couldn’t miss shots. You know Kobe could score the ball. When he gets in the zone, he can run off 50 on you. The team was down and he was just doing everything he could to bring them back and fortunately for him that night he was hitting the three ball. Everything was going. It was just amazing.”
During the 2005–06 season, Bryant averaged 35.4 points a game. In the 1961–62 season, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points a game. Both players had tremendous individual seasons the years when they had those big games.
Danny Pommells brings plenty of knowledge and experience to the Philadelphia sports scene as the new sport anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet. And there’s a good reason for that. Pommells, a Temple University alumnus, grew up in North Philly playing sports. Basketball was his favorite.
“I’m from the Hunting Park section of North Philly,” Pommells said. “I cut my teeth over there. I would get up early in the morning bouncing the ball down the street, waking up people on my way to the park. It’s funny, I used to go to that (Nicetown) Boys and Girls Club that Shane Victorino (Phillies outfielder) rehabbed. I used to walk over there with my brother. We would walk past (Simon) Gratz and Erie Avenue. I definitely grew up playing hoops, that was my first love.”
Pommels played some basketball with former Drexel basketball star Ashley Howard, who is now an assistant basketball coach at Xavier University. He also had a chance to play against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant when he tried out for the Sonny Hill League at Cobbs Creek Parkway.
Pommells received a good foundation for sportscasting during his collegiate days at Temple University. He started out doing news, then gradually moved into the sports arena.
“I remember when I was in ninth grade I went on a tour of (CBS 3) TV station and Ukee Washington was doing sports,” said Pommells, who attended St. Joseph’s Prep hid freshman through junior years. As a senior he attended Bishop McDevitt. “Ukee does news now. I was really excited about doing work in television after that.
“I always liked to write. When I got to Temple, I had a chance to work at WRTI. I covered a lot of things. I did the chamber of commerce. I remember covering Jesse Jackson when he was in town and all kinds of things. That’s where I learned how to write for broadcast and where I really honed my skills.
“I came in one day and they didn’t have an assignment for me. So, I hung around for a little bit. Then, they asked me if I wanted to cover a Sixers game tonight. I told them yes and went down to the Sixers game. I went into the locker room after the game. The Sixers had Allen Iverson. They had a lot of reporters around him. I remember going back to the station and putting the story together. That’s where I knew how much I really liked sports. You can be real creative with sports, whereas news you have to be straight forward.”
Pommells got his big break when he had a chance to do the color announcing for the Temple women’s basketball team.
“I had an opportunity to do the games the year before Dawn Staley came to Temple,” Pommells said. “I worked with Jeff Skversky (6ABC sports anchor). He did the play-by-play and I did the color announcing. We did that for about two years. We traveled with the team. Then, he graduated. I stayed and did the color announcing for a third year. Throughout that time, I had internships at Channel 6 and the old WPHL-17 and WYBE.”
Pommells also had an opportunity to interview Hall of Fame coach John Chaney during his days on North Broad Street. He had to do a story on the passing of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain.
“I remember the day Wilt Chamberlain died,” he said. “I had to do a story for WRTI on him. I had to interview John Chaney. I was just 19 years old at time. That was really something. I was interviewing John Chaney, a real legend. I remember him talking about Wilt. It was a good experience for me.”
Pommells, 33, graduated from Temple with a degree in communications in 2002. After that, he sent out about 60 tapes. He landed his first job at WMDT in Salisbury, Md. Pommells worked as the sports director during his time at WMDT.
Before joining Comcast SportsNet, he spent time as a weekend sportscaster at KCRA in Sacramento, Ca. and WGAL in Harrisburg, Pa. He has covered a number of sporting events such as the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors playoff appearances, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers training camp, Baltimore Orioles spring training and California state basketball championships.
Pommells is looking forward to covering the Philadelphia sports landscape in the fall. There should be a lot of good stories. He plans to be right there when the action happens.
“I can’t wait until the fall when you have the Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers and the Flyers,” Pommells said. “I’m really excited about covering the teams. I’m really blessed. I appreciate all the support from my wife (Michaela) and family (Kaila, Bella, Julius). I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the success without them.”
Kobe Bryant will make his annual trip to the Wells Fargo Center Sunday night with the Los Angeles Lakers to face the Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant, one of the leaders in the NBA all-star balloting with LeBron James, recently became the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 30,000 point mark for his career.
Bryant, 34, joins an elite group of Hall of Famers that includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He is just one of five players in league history to reach this plateau.
Although the Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling this season, Bryant continues to play outstanding basketball. The 6-foot-6, 205 pound shooting guard, leads the NBA in scoring (29.3 ppg). Bryant has put together an amazing career winning five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals and a bevy of other accolades. There are still a number of people who remember the former Lower Merion star’s early days playing basketball and growing up in Philadelphia. His success can be attributed to a good foundation beginning with his family.
He’s the son of Joe and Pam (Cox) Bryant. His father was a sensational basketball player at John Bartram High and La Salle. He played eight years in the NBA including four with the Philadelphia 76ers (1975-79). In fact, he played with Doug Collins, Sixers head coach. His mother Pam is the sister of John “Chubby” Cox, who starred at Roxborough High and the University of San Francisco and the NBA’s Washington Bullets. Kobe has two older sisters, Sharia and Shaya, who were fantastic volleyball players. John Cox, Chubby’s son, was a spectacular basketball player for Engineering and Science, The University of San Francisco and now plays professional basketball in France. John and Kobe played a lot of pickup basketball together on the playgrounds.
Ollie Johnson, former Temple and NBA standout, used to watch Bryant play basketball at Community College of Philadelphia. Johnson knows his family roots. He could see a lot of ability in Bryant at a young age.
“He was a special talent in the ninth and 10th grade,” Johnson said. “He was unbelievable, but he comes from good stock. You know his dad. The family is really big. You’re talking about Joe, Pam, Chubby and everybody. He was an amazing athlete early on. He had great footwork. He just took it to another level.”
Joe Bryant and Chubby Cox played basketball in the Sonny Hill League during their scholastic careers. A big part of Kobe Bryant’s development was in the Sonny Hill League. Michael Jordan, former Penn basketball star, played in the league too. In 1995, Jordan played with Bryant on the same team in the Sonny Hill League’s Tony Samartino Future Stars Tournament.
“I tell people that I played with Kobe Bryant back in the day, but they don’t want to believe me,” said Jordan, who is currently an assistant basketball coach at Colgate. “For me, it was great. You knew way back then he was going to be a special player. I remember back in the Future Stars he was our go to guy. I really enjoyed playing with him. My job was to get Kobe the ball. The Future Stars was packed that year. We played at (Temple) McGonigle Hall. We won the championship. Kobe was our best player. John Hardnett was our coach. We also had Claude (Gross), Tee Shields, James Flint, Mr. (Fred) Douglas, Sonny Hill and Kobe’s dad. A lot of people had their hands in that team.”
Bryant also attended several of Hardnett’s workouts at Temple during summer months. His practice sessions were loaded with some of the city’s top college and NBA players. Aaron McKie, Sixers assistant coach and former Temple star, was a regular at the workouts along with his college teammates Eddie Jones and Rick Brunson, who both played in the NBA. Jones played with Bryant during his early years with the Lakers. McKie played one NBA season with Bryant.
“It’s incredible,” McKie said. “You don’t really find guys like him in this era that is driven as he is. He’s wanted greatness ever since he was a young kid. It’s a credit to his burning desire to want to win. He’s extremely talented, driven and wants to be great. He has it all and it shows. When we were in college, he used to come up and play with us. He was very athletic. He would sit in the gym and play all day. You could see he was talented.”
Bryant exhibited those talents in high school. He averaged 30.8 points a game as senior. In 1996, he led Lower Merion to the PIAA state championship. He was a McDonald’s All-American. Gregg Downer, Lower Merion head coach, has followed his exploits in the NBA.
“Obviously, he’s had an amazing career especially with the 30,000 points,” Downer said. “It’s a great accomplishment. When I saw his talent in combination with his work ethic, I knew there was potential for something special. Rarely, if ever, had I seen in my 23 years at Lower Merion that type of work ethic. Just that desire to be great was on display from day one.”
The myth and legend of Wilton Norman Chamberlain continues to grow.
Arguably the most famed athlete — and there have been many great ones — to have graced the hallowed halls of Overbrook High School, stories of Chamberlain’s exploits off and on the court continue to astound. Several of his National Basketball Association achievements have been surpassed, but one accomplishment — March 2, 1962 — still remains. On that date, as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors, Chamberlain scored 100 points in a 169-147 victory against the New York Knicks.
It gives anyone who has worn Overbrook’s Orange and Black something to brag about.
Chamberlain, who died Oct. 12, 1999, loved to tell stories about people who walked up to him claiming to have seen the game. Truth is, many lied because only 4,124 fans were in the arena. The contest wasn’t televised and there is no tape of the game. Only a grainy radio recording of Bill Campbell announcing Chamberlain’s final points remain. There is also a shot of Chamberlain scoring the final basket. Other mementos of the event include a picture of Chamberlain holding a sign with 100 scrawled on it. Then Warriors’ publicist Harvey Pollack thought it would be a great idea and he was right.
On Friday, March 2, the 50th anniversary of Chamberlain’s feat will be recognized by the Philadelphia 76ers when they host the Golden State Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center. To mark the occasion, pieces of the court Chamberlain scored 100 points on will be given away to all fans. It will be a fine and fitting tribute.
Though Chamberlain only won two championships, he will always be recognized as a winner. His individual records have been and continue to be standards. Many a barber shop argument has begun with who was better, Wilt or Michael Jordan? While Jordan can claim more titles, he can’t claim hitting the century mark. The best Jordan could do in an NBA game was a mere 69 points in a 117-113 Chicago Bulls win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 1990, in Cleveland.
Lower Merion High School product Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points in a 122-104 Los Angeles Lakers triumph over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006, in Los Angeles, has questioned whether anyone will reach triple figures in a game.
And remember, Chamberlain did it when the three-point goal wasn’t around.
One of the phenomenal aspects of Chamberlain’s 100-point game was that he hit 28 of 32 free throws. (He was a career 51 percent free throw shooter.)
When the boy from Salford Street retired, he was the only NBA player to score 4,000 points in a season; held NBA single-game records for most points, most consecutive field goals (18) and most rebounds (55). His 50.4 points per game average and 48.5 minutes per game average during the 1961–62 season are still records.
Chamberlain retired as the all-time in career points with 31,419. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Jordan have since surpassed that total.
Chamberlain’s career mark of 23,924 rebounds remains the standard.
The rules were changed specifically to stop him as the NBA widened the lane, instituting offensive goaltending and revised rules governing inbounding the ball and shooting free throws.
Because he was such a poor free throw shooter and simply because he could, Chamberlain would take the ball and leap from behind the foul line to deposit the ball in the basket.
He was special.
He was a magician who used the basketball court as a prop.
He was cheered and jeered while being gawked at and admired.
He was a presence.
He was both myth and legend.
He was Wilton Norman Chamberlain, and people are still talking about him.
The game of basketball should be played where the ball goes inside and then comes out. You need a big man around the basket to make this happen, a player who can score, rebound and close down the lane defensively.
Andrew Bynum can do all those things.
The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team blockbuster trade. The Sixers also received shooting guard Jason Richardson. In the process, the Sixers traded All-Star guard and Olympian Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Vucevic to the Orlando Magic and Maurice “Moe” Harkless, this year’s first round draft pick, to the Magic.
The Lakers received a huge package in all-star center Dwight Howard and Orlando got Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, and one protected first round selection from each of the three teams involved with the deal.
The Sixers will miss Iguodala’s spectacular play in the open court and his defense. Ironically, Iguodala’s debut as a Nugget will be against the Sixers on Oct. 31 in Philadelphia for the team’s home opener.
However, they now have Bynum, a 7-foot, 280-pounder who is one of the top players in the NBA. With Howard now in the West, Bynum immediately becomes the best big man in the East. Bynum, who grew up in Plainsboro, N.J., is only 24 years old after entering the NBA right out of high school as the 10th pick of the Lakers in 2005. He was a McDonald’s All-American when he played at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, N.J.
He has already won two NBA championships (2009, 2010) with the Lakers. He made the all-star team for the first time last season, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game while leading the Lakers to playoffs.
The Sixers defeated the Lakers on Feb. 2 in Philadelphia, 95-90. But Bynum was terrific in that contest, tallying 20 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 assists. The Sixers should revolve their offense around him. Obviously, teams will collapse on him inside, but that’s exactly what you want. This way he can kick the ball back out to players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nick Young, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson for easy shots on the perimeter.
Philly should be able to climb the ladder in the Eastern Conference with him. Miami won the NBA championship in the spring. But the Sixers just got a whole lot closer with Bynum in the middle.
The Sixers finished in the eighth spot in the conference. They defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs with Chicago missing two of its top players for most of the series in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The Sixers were very impressive in the Eastern Conference semifinals too, losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Bynum could take them to the next level. After Miami, you have the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets as the teams to watch. The Sixers are right there.
There aren’t a lot of dominant centers in the NBA today. The Sixers have one of them. Philly’s best teams have been the ones with outstanding centers. In 1966–67, the Sixers won the NBA championship with Wilt Chamberlain in the middle. In 1982–83, the team had center Moses Malone, which helped it capture an NBA title.
Bynum has already won two NBA crowns. He played with some great players such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and others. Nevertheless, he knows how to win and that should really help the Sixers.
Of course Bynum is in the final year of his contract and will be looking for a big deal. The Sixers could offer him a reported $100 million over five years. The Sixers should have a good chance to re-sign him.
He’s worth the investment.
It’s been a huge year for a number of athletes and teams in the sports world. There have also been some interesting trades and noteworthy accomplishments. The athletes will certainly be remembered for all the great things they did in a year where there were so many outstanding ones.
The team accomplishments as well as the important sports stories will have their special place, too. It’s always a difficult task to select 10 special moments in a calendar year where there were so many. Nevertheless, here’s a look at 10 notable sports occurrences from the region and beyond in 2012.
Andrew Bynum/Dwight Howard – The biggest trade in professional sports involved two of the NBA’s best centers in big men Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. The Sixers acquired the 7-foot, 285-pound all-star center for the Los Angeles Lakers and shooting guard Jason Richardson from the Orlando Magic. The Sixers also sent center Nik Vucevic and rookie Maurice Harkless to the Magic with a protected first round pick.
Howard was dealt to the Lakers. The 6-foot-11, 265-pound center, entered last weekend averaging 17.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game. Bynum has yet to play for the Sixers. He has been nursing bone bruises in both knees. The latest report from Bynum is his knees are healing. The fans are hoping to see him on the court in 2013.
Gabby Douglas – Douglas was the darling of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She won the all-around gymnastics gold medal and was the first African American to win the all-around gold medal at the Olympics. Douglas was also named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
LeBron James – It was a breakthrough year for James as he led the Miami Heat to the NBA championship last season. After losing to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 for the league title, he bounced back guiding the Heat to an impressive run in the playoffs defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. During the summer, he helped the U.S. Olympic Basketball team win the gold medal. He was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Penn State Football – In spite of the widely publicized sex abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, Penn State football turned in a very impressive season. Bill O’Brien, Nittany Lions head coach, led Penn State to an overall 8-4 record and a 6-2 Big Ten mark in his first season. O’Brien was named the ESPN and Maxwell Club Coach of the Year.
Kobe Bryant – Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. Bryant is just 34 years old. He joins some real basketball legends such as Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Usain Bolt – Bolt ran away from everybody at the Olympics. The Jamaican sprinter won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters. Bolt set a new Olympic record in the 100 meters. He ran a 9.63 in that event. In the 200 meters, he clocked a 19.3 in that race. He also led the Jamaican 4x100 meter relay team to a new world record of 36.84. He has been one of the most dominant Olympic athletes in the past two summer games. Bolt is regarded as the fastest man in the world.
New Orleans Saints – The New Orleans Saints bounty scandal was one of the biggest NFL stories of the year. It was a lot of back and forth in terms of the player’s involvement in this situation. Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, put former commissioner Paul Tagliabue in charge of what punishment should be handed out. Tagliabue determined that no players from the Saints would be suspended for their actions. Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire NFL season.
Robert Griffin III – Griffin has become a huge star in the NFL as a rookie. The Washington Redskins quarterback is a major candidate for rookie of the year honors. He has completely turned the Redskins around this season with his brilliant play. The downside for Eagles fan is Griffin appears to be a mainstay in the NFC East for many years to come.
Local High School Basketball – The best high school basketball in the state of Pennsylvania was played in the Philadelphia area with Chester, Neumann-Goretti, Imhotep Charter and Constitution high schools winning PIAA state championships.
Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera, Detroit Tigers third baseman, became the first player to win the Triple Crown in Major League Baseball since 1967, when Carl Yastrzemski captured this honor. Cabrera was named Most Valuable Player in the American League. He led the league with a .330 batting average while hitting 44 home runs and driving in 139 RBIs. He also led his team to a World Series appearance, where it was swept by San Francisco.
Swarthmore College recently held a tennis clinic with tennis star James Blake with the kids from the Chester Boys and Girls Club. The tennis program was sponsored by the Philadelphia Freedoms and the Loomis Racquet Academy, organized by Jeremy Loomis, Swarthmore College women’s tennis coach.
Blake was selected to play for the Philadelphia Freedoms this season. The Freedoms are owned by Billie Jean King and compete in the World team Tennis League. The clinic provided the youngsters from the Chester Boys and Girls Club a chance to learn the game from Blake, who is one of the game’s terrific players.
Rodale Books acquires memoir by NBA legend Earl Monroe
Rodale Inc. recently announced the acquisition of NBA great Earl Monroe’s memoir, Earl The Pearl: My Story, written with bestselling author Quincy Troupe. The book will be published in April 2013 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Knicks’ last NBA championship.
Monroe, former Bartram High and Winston-Salem State basketball standout, is among the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players. He is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player whose style and flair made him a major attraction to younger players including Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. A sensational ballhandler who could break his man down with breath taking moves, Monroe changed the way the game of basketball is played and his influence can still be seen with today’s stars such as Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Deadline for Lincoln Hall of Fame nominations extended
Lincoln University’s Athletic Hall of Fame has extended its deadline for nominations to July 31. The hall of fame induction will be a regular event to take place in conjunction with the football season. The first class will be inducted during halftime of the Lincoln-Johnson C. Smith University football game on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. For more information, go to www.lulions.com
Cheyney ‘C’ Club to hold golf tourney
The Cheyney University “C” Club will hold the Wade Wilson Golf Tournament at Penn Oaks Country Club, 140 Penn Oaks Drive, in West Chester. The event will be held on August 27. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Tee time is at 8 a.m. The golf tournament is the club’s biggest fundraising event. The club is comprised of alumni athletic supporters that have shown a great commitment to the school’s athletic programs. For more information, go to www.cheyneycclub.com
Bobby Jordan named Drexel basketball assistant coach
James “Bruiser” Flint, Drexel head basketball coach, has named Bobby Jordan as assistant coach. Jordan has been on Flint’s staff the last two years as the team’s operation assistant. He replaces Ashley Howard who accepted an assistant coaching position at Xavier University.
Jordan has been around the Dragons’ program for the last six years. He stayed at Drexel following his playing career in 2010 when he took the operations position. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office and assisted with team travel and academics.
He was a four-year letterwinner on the basketball court at Drexel. He originally walked-on the team as a freshman and eventually earned a scholarship. Jordan graduated from the school with a degree in sports management and is currently enrolled in graduate school, where he is working on an advanced degree in the same field.
Jordan was an All-Catholic League selection at Roman Catholic. He was also a Markward Award winner.
St. Joe’s women’s basketball adds Pierce as assistant coach
Saint Joseph’s has named Jada Pierce as assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. Spending the past two seasons at Army, Pierce brings more than 15 years of successful coaching including helping three schools earn NCAA tournament berths. Pierce played her scholastic basketball at Central High where she was an All-Public League star. She brings a lot of coaching experience to Saint Joseph’s.
Temple to open basketball season at Kent State
Temple will begin the basketball season playing on national television as the Owls will face Kent State on the road for a noon game on November. The game is part of the 2012 ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon which includes 11 men’s college basketball games all aired on ESPN.
It’s been a big year for Andre Iguodala. Actually, it’s been a special year for Iguodala, the Philadelphia 76ers’ small forward, when you stop and think about it. During the season, he was named to the NBA all-star team for the first time in his career.
In the Sixers playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Iguodala put on quite a show in Game 6, making two crucial free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 79-78 win over the Bulls, helping the Sixers advance to the semifinals of the Eastern Conference before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Then, on Saturday night, he was one of 12 players chosen to represent USA Basketball at the 2012 London Olympics. Iguodala is the first Sixer to compete in the Olympics since Allen Iverson in 2004.
“Congrats to Dre,” said Doug Collins, Sixers head coach. “Nobody could be more pleased than I am that he’s starting to get the recognition for being a great player. Being an Olympian in 1972, I know what this means for him and I’m very proud.”
Collins will have a chance to see him in person. He will be the basketball analyst for NBC’s Olympic coverage. Obviously, he’s proud of Iguodala. In fact, a lot of people should be proud of him.
This is quite an honor for a player who some people don’t regard as an all-star caliber player in spite of his accomplishments this season. Well, they can’t say that now. You can’t be a member of this team without having some ability.
There’s nothing but talent on this roster. The players on this team include: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), James harden (Oklahoma City Thunder), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets). This is a big time team.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University’s Hall of Fame and the head coach of the USA basketball team, knows basketball as well as any coach in the country. Coach K realizes that each player brings something unique to the table.
Iguodala brings something that all coaches love. And that’s defense. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder, is a lock-down defender. He always draws the toughest assignment. He played Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce extremely well in the playoffs. He has guarded LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Iguodala should be a great asset at the defensive end.
But his skills aren’t just limited to defense. On this team, he should be able to get out on the fastbreak where he can utilize his speed and leaping ability. He should also be able to break his man down off the dribble.
Today, a lot of people look at statistics. Iguodala didn’t put up big numbers this season. He averaged 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game. Nevertheless, he was a major reason why the Sixers had a strong run in the postseason.
He has a chance to do a lot of the same things and more for the Olympic team.
It’s a special moment in sports that has truly stood the test of time. On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain, former Overbrook High standout, put together a tremendous performance scoring 100 points in one game to lead the Philadelphia Warriors over the New York Knicks, 169-147, in Hershey at the then Hershey Sports Arena.
Chamberlain’s NBA record 100-point game remains the most amazing accomplishment in the world of sports. That outstanding game was 50 years ago. The 50th anniversary of Chamberlain’s 100-point game holds a unique place in NBA history. He shot 36-for-63 from the field and made 28-of-32 from the free throw line.
Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers all-star guard, is the only player to get close to Chamberlain’s scoring mark. Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. He was still 19 points away from the Big Dipper.
Al Attles, former head coach and general manager of the Golden State Warriors, played in that 100-point game 50 years ago. Attles was a brilliant guard for the Warriors. He played in the backcourt with former Northeast High and Temple star Guy Rodgers, who was one of the NBA’s most outstanding playmakers. Attles was 8-for-8 from the field and 1-for-1 from the free throw line that night. Rodgers handed out 20 assists.
“I did all right, but Wilt had a big game,” Attles said. “He was really dominant. It’s been 50 years since that big game. It’s the 50th anniversary of this game. Wilt was a fantastic player. He did it all that night. It’s a record that has been around for a long time. We had some good players on both teams. Guy was an exciting player. Paul Arizin was a great player. But Wilt was really special that game against the Knicks.”
The Knicks did everything they could to stop Chamberlain. Darrall Imhoff was the center for New York. Although Imhoff guarded him around the basket, he had plenty of help from his teammates like Richie Guerin, Willie Naulls and Cleveland Buckner. They all had huge games. Guerin had 39 points to lead the Knicks in scoring. Buckner and Naulls tallied 33 and 31 respectively. In any other game, this would have been enough for the Knicks to edge the Warriors, but Chamberlain was too strong inside.
Chamberlain had 23 points in the first quarter. He had 41 points at the half. He scored 28 points in the third quarter. Chamberlain tallied 31 in the fourth quarter connecting on 12 of 21 shots from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
Although Rodgers had 20 assists in that game, it was Joe Ruklick, former Northwestern University star, who made the big pass to Chamberlain for the 100th point. Ruklick, a reserve guard for the Warriors, earned a spot in NBA history with that assist.
“After the game, I went over to the scorer’s table,” Ruklick said. “I told the official scorer to give me the assist. I wanted that. I don’t remember the year, but I said to Wilt, ‘what was I doing in that game when you were trying to get 100. Wilt said, ‘I told Frank (McGuire, Warriors head coach) to put you in the game.’
“Wilt and I were friends. He gave my son the jersey he wore in his first college game. I’m the only opposing player he invited to Kansas when they retired his jersey number.”
This game didn’t mean much in the standings. It wasn’t a playoff or championship game. The attendance for that game was 4,124. Bill Campbell, veteran Philadelphia sports radio announcer, called the game on the old WCAU radio station. Campbell regrets that he didn’t make a copy of the broadcast.
“I didn’t tape it,” Campbell said. “That’s what really stuck out in my mind. That was a dumb error on my part. I got so consumed with trying to keep track of the points and making sure I did it correctly. I thought about it when I was driving home that night. I wasn’t a rookie in this business. I had been around for a while.
“I remember Wilt called me from Los Angeles after he went to the Hall of Fame. He asked me if I had a tape of the fourth quarter. I told him some of the fourth quarter. He said send it to the Hall of Fame.
“The next day, I got a call in the office from a guy. He asked me if I had a tape of the game. I couldn’t tell him that I didn’t have one. He said he had one on his homemade recorder. He said he had a couple minutes of the fourth quarter, including the period when Wilt got his 100th point. So, he sent it to me. That’s all we have. There was no television coverage of the game.”
Harvey Pollack, director of statistical information, covered the game as a stringer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Associated Press and United Press International. He was also the Warriors public relations director. But Pollack is known for one of the most popular photos in sports history. He was responsible for writing the number “100” on a plain white sheet of paper, which was handed to Chamberlain for a classic photo. Pollack, 89, has been involved with the NBA since it started in 1946. He still has vivid memories of Chamberlain’s unforgettable performance.
“The Inquirer decided not to send their beat writer to cover the game,” said Pollack, a Hall of Famer, who regularly puts out “Harvey Pollack’s NBA Statistical Yearbook” each year. “They asked me to cover the game. I got my portable typewriter. Then, the Associated Press and United Press International had staff members in Harrisburg, but they didn’t know a lot about basketball.
“I’m actually the guy who let the whole world know about this game. It’s the biggest night I’ve ever had in all my 65 years in the league. I had to send a one paragraph lead along with the game story. They wanted to know how Wilt made every shot. After the game, I checked everything out with Dave Richter who was the official scorer. Once I got finished with Richter, I went to the locker room. We had one photographer (Paul Vathis) at the game who worked for AP, he came there with his son. He saw by halftime that Wilt was going to do some fantastic feat. So, he went to the car and got his camera.
“I asked him did he get a shot of Wilt. Then, I said ‘did something happen here tonight that was unusual?’ He said, ‘yeah, Wilt scored 100 points.’ I said let’s do something to indicate that. I grabbed an 8 ½ by 11 page out of the notebook. I wrote 100 on it. I said to the guy get the ball. He asked me ‘would Wilt do that?’ I told him Wilt would do anything for me.”
The 1961–62 season may have been Chamberlain’s greatest individual year. He averaged 50.4 points a game. He scored an incredible 4,029 points while averaging 48.5 minutes a game. During that season, Chamberlain had games where he scored 78, 73, 67 and 65 points that year. As a prep star at Overbrook High, he scored 90 points in a Public League basketball game in 1955.
Chamberlain, who died in 1999, played in the NBA from 1959 to 1973. He played for the Philadelphia Warriors, which later became the San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He led the 1966–67 76ers to an NBA championship. Chamberlain also guided the 1971–72 Lakers to a league title. He scored 31,419 points in his NBA career. He never fouled out of a game. Chamberlain holds the rebounding record with 23,924.
“Wilt is by far the greatest player of them all,” Pollack said. “I’ve seen just about every great player who has ever played in this league. When he retired in 1973, the NBA record book for that year listed 128 records that he held. As of last year, 98 of those records still stood and that’s 39 years after he retired from the NBA.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan said there’s no way Kobe Bryant and this year’s USA Olympic basketball team could’ve beaten the 1992 Dream Team.
Jordan said that he laughed — “I absolutely laughed” — when hearing Bryant’s comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company.
Jordan said there’s “no comparison” which team is better.
“For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done,” Jordan said prior playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Charlotte.
Jordan said the 1992 team, which included 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to capturing the gold medal, was a better overall team largely because of the experience it put on the floor.
“I heard Kobe say we were not athletic,” said a smiling Jordan as he sat in a golf cart puffing on his cigar while waiting to tee off. “But we were smart. He said we were too old, but I was 29 and in the prime of my career. Pip (Scottie Pippen) was 26 or 27, (Charles) Barkley was 29, Patrick (Ewing) was 29 and Chris Mullin was 29. Almost everybody was still in their twenties.”
Jordan’s response came after Bryant told reporters in Las Vegas that this year’s team could pull out a win against the Dream Team if they faced each other in their primes. Bryant said this year’s team has a bunch of racehorses, players who are incredibly athletic while the Dream Team consisted mainly of players at the tail end of their careers.
Bryant’s comments received immediate and sharp rebuttal from some members of the Dream Team, including Barkley.
Jordan joined in on Thursday.
“Most of us were in the prime of our careers, at a point where athleticism doesn’t really matter,” said Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. “You have to know how to play the game.”
Jordan shook his head when asked why he thinks Bryant made the comments.
“I imagine he’s trying to say it to legitimize his own Dream Team,” Jordan said. “But to me it’s not even a question what team is better.”
Jordan said Bryant is certainly entitled to his opinion — even though he said it’s just plain wrong.
“For him to make that comparison, it’s one of those things where it creates conversation,” Jordan said. “I guess we’ll never know. I’d like to think that we had 11 Hall of Famers on that team and whenever they get 11 Hall of Famers you call and ask me who had the better Dream Team. Remember now, they learned from us. We didn’t learn from them.” — (AP)