The NBA Finals are tied 1-1 after the Thunder and Heat split two games in Oklahoma City. With Game 3 set for Sunday night in Miami, five SI.com writers analyze the biggest storylines and surprises so far, examine which team is in a better position and take issue with the criticism of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
The blowout wins in Barcelona are covered, including Charles Barkley's infamous elbow against Angola and the ferocity with which Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen hounded Toni Kukoc, then a 22-year-old playing for Croatia. But where the sensational 90-minute documentary The Dream Team, which airs tonight on NBA TV, really finds its voice is with the candid, behind-the-scenes footage of the most remarkable team ever assembled.
Hate sells on television, and last year's NBA Finals between Dallas and Miami averaged 17.3 million viewers over six games, making it the league's second-most-viewed championship series since the Pistons-Lakers in 2004 (17.9 million viewers) and only slightly behind the seven-game series in 2010 between the big-market Celtics and Lakers (18.1 million viewers).
BOSTON -- It was an inspired loss and an unimpressive win. It was a game to be survived and then forgotten. It was a night of injuries, fatigue and just enough basketball scraped out of the bottom of the jar.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball, ushered in a new era of ownership Wednesday while ending a dismal chapter of ownership under Frank McCourt, who baseball's commissioner described as "looting" the club of $190 million to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
A bankruptcy court Friday approved the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team to a group that includes former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Jeff Van Gundy admits he has a horse in the race. That's the expression he uses and he's smart not to obfuscate and avoid the issue. About an hour before calling the Knicks' thrilling overtime win over the Bulls on Sunday afternoon, the ESPN/ABC announcer spoke to SI.com about the fractured relationship between his brother, Stan, the coach of the Orlando Magic, and star center Dwight Howard.
The dysfunctional pursuit of eternal happiness is backfiring on the Orlando Magic. It is becoming impossible to like Dwight Howard, who wants so desperately to be liked. The Magic desperately want to keep him, but now he must leave.
Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson's wife, talks about dating and feeling comfortable with Johnson.
A group that includes former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion, the team said Tuesday night.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly dresses as Mother Ginger in "The Nutcracker."
LOS ANGELES -- The second-best trade in the history of the Dodgers was made on July 18, 1939, when they acquired shortstop Pee Wee Reese from the Red Sox for $35,000 and four players to be named later, most notably pitcher Red Evans. Reese made 10 All Star teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Evans, whose career record was 1-11, never appeared in the big leagues again.
What is the value of having a soccer analyst on the pitch? It's a question MLS viewers will soon be able to weigh in on as NBC's MLS coverage begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
EUGENE, Ore. -- The beauty of America's smartest basketball player isn't in a layup or a fadeaway jumper or a no-look pass. It isn't in a classroom, or in a dorm room, or even in the numbers of a near-perfect GPA.
It always comes down to the story. On Sunday in Orlando, the All-Stars were introduced from a rising platform to clouds of white smoke and thumping music. The goal was to make them seem larger than life, or at least larger than they really are.
"Life is funny," says Sidney Moncrief. Only by "funny," he doesn't really mean funny. He means weird. Strange. Quirky. Unpredictable. "One decision -- any decision -- can change everything."
Last year confirmed one of the undeniable truisms of sports television: Hate sells.
I begin this the same way I began a Sports Illustrated story about Magic Johnson 10 years ago in recognition of his passing a major milestone in his battle with HIV:
The start of the college basketball season is always a big deal, and this year even more so, what with the NBA riding the bench. But this year's first big game will make history, the first ever played on an aircraft carrier.
At the 1988 Summer Olympics, the U.S. men's basketball team finished with a bronze medal, its worst finish in 11 appearances and the first time it did not win gold since 1972.
If one legendary basketball superstar on the cover of your video game is great, what about three?
These NBA Finals have affirmed what I have suspected for a while: People who criticize the NBA don't actually watch the NBA.
There's nothing like starpower when it comes to the NBA Finals. In the great 1980s we were treated to three Celtic-Laker matchups featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Michael Jordan picked up the torch from Larry and Magic. Then came Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The first time Jerry West teamed up with Joe Lacob, he did so quite reluctantly. The basketball legend was helping his friend, Magic Johnson, at his fantasy camp in Hawaii, and even his status as "The Logo" didn't grant him a trump card when it came to picking teams. This was the Magic show, and so West was left to build his roster from the scrap heap up after his former player had taken the little talent that was on hand. Lacob was a leftover, a venture capitalist with a passion for hoops who would quickly be deemed the "mouse in the house" that day when he was matched up against much bigger foes in the frontcourt.
DALLAS -- At least the book on Phil Jackson's final season finally has a title now: The Unflattering Farewell.
Many parents struggle daily to get their kids out of bed, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hoping a wake up call from the stars will do the trick.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes that a wake up call from a celebrity will help battle absenteeism. NY1 reports.
LeBron James made a regrettable stand on behalf of the 1980s NBA, and it has nothing to do with contraction. Follow his argument all the way through and he appears to be suggesting that some of the league's biggest names should accept smaller salaries for the good of pro basketball.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Some six hours later, they would be inducted en masse into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. But, at 2 in the afternoon on Friday, an assemblage of basketball's all-time greatest sat around a table in the ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel gossiping like high school kids in the lunchroom.
The Boston Celtics were staggering in the spring of 1983. They were only two years removed from a championship season and had Hall of Fame-bound superstars Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Incredibly, they were swept out of the second round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks.
From training camps in late September to blockbuster moves through the summer -- what has it all meant?
The biggest impact of LeBron James' move to Miami had nothing to do with his poorly planned TV show.
GREENWICH, Conn., July 8, 1990 -- Michael Jordan announced on national television he's leaving Chicago to join the Detroit Pistons. Jordan said it was tough to bolt Chicago, where he was the most popular athlete in many years, because he thinks he has a better chance to win a championship if he plays with Pistons star Isiah Thomas. Jordan said by playing together, he and Thomas "won't have the pressure of going out and scoring 30 every night."
LeBron James has redefined himself with his widely anticipated, and nonetheless, shocking decision to join the Miami Heat. In years to come, he promises to play less like Michael Jordan and perform more like an open-floor version of Magic Johnson, as he creates plays for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The NBA Finals has greater meaning whenever the Celtics and Lakers meet. Here are five potential outcomes we'll be discussing in a couple of weeks.
To an extent, covering the NBA in the 1980s meant covering the Lakers and the Celtics. For the better part of that decade, I could set a preseason agenda of travel to L.A. and Boston -- with some side trips to Chicago (a guy named Jordan was playing there) and Detroit (the Bad Boys first turned baaa-d in the mid-'80s) -- and be pretty much on the money. And it came, conveniently, full circle in my final year as a full-time NBA beat writer when it was Boston-L.A. in the 2008 Finals.
• The pressure is on ... Boston? The Celtics have outplayed the favored Magic to claim a 2-0 lead in the Eastern finals while winning both games in Orlando. So guess who feels the pressure to win Game 3?
If you popped on SI.com, you will see Dan Shaughnessy's interesting counter to my magazine story a few weeks ago about Tim Duncan. My story was more about my endless fascination with Duncan -- the main line was probably this one: "Has American sports ever had a player all at once so great and so unknown?" The man is so counter to today's sports world -- he's the opposite of flashy, the antithesis of SportsCenter, the inverse of hype. He's 1957 transported. He might be the greatest invisible player in American sports history.*
The title is more significant than you might think.
Is Kobe Bryant the greatest of all Lakers? He now ranks No. 1 on their all-time scoring list after dunking softly with both hands on a third-quarter breakaway Monday in Memphis. Bryant finished the 95-93 loss to the Grizzlies with 44 points for the night and 25,208 points in his 14th season, surpassing the franchise record held by the general manager who acquired him in a draft-night deal, Jerry West.
While the overall unemployment rate for Americans fell in November, the jobless gap between African-Americans and all other races actually rose, continuing a disturbing trend that has many lawmakers up in arms.
During an interview with the New Yorker's Avi Zenilman a few months ago, Bill Simmons, an ESPN columnist/author and a man who doubtless dashed off 3,000 words this morning before I managed to get the brown sugar and banana on my oatmeal, was asked about the paucity of great basketball books. See, when you write about the NBA, as Simmons does and I have done for many years, you are generally asked negatively toned questions. What's wrong with the game? What's wrong with the refs? What's wrong with the young players? What's wrong with the Knicks? What's wrong with Mike Miller's hair?
Magic Johnson would have no problem having Michael Jordan's No. 23 retired across the NBA. In fact, he says if the league approves the initiative, he and Larry Bird would be the first in line to support it.
Magic Johnson on Monday addressed criticisms he made about Isiah Thomas that revealed a split between the two former friends.
• Their friendship declined on the court. In his upcoming book, When The Game Was Ours, co-written with Larry Bird and author Jackie MacMullan, Magic Johnson admits that his close friendship with Isiah Thomas began to suffer when the two met in the 1988 NBA Finals.
When he heard the criticisms from his former friend Magic Johnson in a soon-to-be-released book, Isiah Thomas said he'd had enough. And so he began to fight back.
If the Los Angeles Lakers didn't already exist, Hollywood would have had to create them.
As an NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin "Magic" Johnson faced down such giants as Larry Bird and Julius Erving. Diagnosed with HIV in 1991, Johnson has fought off full-blown AIDS for the past 18 years. Now, as a coffee shop proprietor, he's fighting his latest battle against...scones.
Unaccustomed both to the rate and the depth at which the Los Angeles Lakers were losing during his brief stint as their coach late in the 1993-94 season, Magic Johnson locked away his trademark smile for the duration. The blemish on Johnson's stellar résumé remains a tiny one -- a 5-11 stretch marked his share of the Lakers' 33-49 record that season -- but he knew it was there and growing, and it ate at him the way a C in a biology class would have eaten at Stephen Hawking amid all those A's in quantum physics. Let's just say the Magic Man was in no mood.
Quick, what is the NBA All-Star record for most points scored in a single game? Who holds the individual mark, one game? Anyone have a clue what the series record is, East vs. West, or what the widest margin of victory was, or who made more trips to the foul line than any player in his trips to the All-Star Game?
Raven-Symone turns heads in a stunning, full-length gown at Trumpet honors in Atlanta
The selection of 2008's Top 10 CNN Heroes was made by a Blue Ribbon Panel of distinguished leaders and humanitarians. All of our judges are themselves heroes to others through their continuing commitment to public service.
As part of an ongoing series, SI asked prominent sports bloggers to give us their 10 all-time favorite SI Stories (to see choices from other bloggers, scroll to the bottom). Here are the responses from Hugging Harold Reynolds:
Long goodbyes work best for Raymond Chandler, Mick & Keith, second-term presidents, Evander Holyfield and, every few years or so, Cher.
The former Laker star visited Romo at the Dallas Cowboys training camp
It is, quite possibly, the most overwrought, snarky, hand-wringing, interminable, nitpicked and some would say nitwitted story in the history of professional sports.
As the playoffs approach and the NBA heads into its debate season for individual awards, we sometimes forget that this is still about entertainment. With that in mind, here are my picks for the all-entertainment team -- the five most fun players to watch:
Tragedy is when I cut my finger, Mel Brooks once said. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.
In 1979, the Los Angeles Lakers shocked no one when they selected Earvin "Magic" Johnson with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Twenty eight years later, the Lakers picked Magic again -- only this time they waited until the second round to acquire China's version, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process.
This article originally appeared in Sports Illustrated on June 29, 1987.
On a cold winter morning in 1986, Dennis Johnson and his Boston Celtics teammates stood outside of Market Square Arena, unable to get inside for a shootaround before their game that night against the Indiana Pacers. Johnson bundled his coat around him and pulled down his ski cap over his ears.
NBA All-Star Weekend isn't as much about the competition as it is about the entertainment. As this year's festivities commence in a city built to entertain, Las Vegas, SI.com though the time was right to countdown the most memorable moments the NBA's midseason extravaganza has produced -- at least until this year.
Kurt Rambis, whose thick glasses and gawky dynamism made him a cult hero, was a key player on the great Los Angeles teams of the 1980s. Now an assistant coach with the Lakers, he talked with FORTUN...
Former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson is one of the buyers of the tallest building in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to a published report.
As CNN celebrates its 25th anniversary by highlighting the most memorable news stories of the era, CNN.com asked readers to participate by sending in their comments about the events that had an impact on their lives.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson was famous for "schoolin'" the world's best basketball players before announcing his sudden retirement from the NBA in 1991, when he was diagnosed HIV positive. Today, he's still "schoolin'" people, only now it's on how to live with the deadly virus that sidelined his professional basketball career.
Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.
Maybe you're getting your teeth cleaned when it hits. Or sitting at home watching Regis trying to extract that final answer from yet another aspiring millionaire. When that eureka moment strikes an...
In November 1991, Magic Johnson, the pro basketball player with the winning smile who helped the Los Angeles Lakers grab five NBA championships, announced that he was retiring because he was infect...