Alexander Wolff, one of Sports Illustrated's longest-tenured and most distinguished writers, was named the recipient of the 2011 Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday.
My hometown of Boston is not a mecca of college basketball. Here in the Hub we dig the pro game. The Celtics put the NBA on the map, winning 11 championships in 13 seasons in the 1950s and 60s. We've celebrated Auerbach, Cousy, Russell, Havlicek, Bird, Parish and McHale.
The last time I was around Jerry Sloan for any length of time was back in September, at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., where some NBA types were sharing a few tables at the Marriott Hotel bar. Jerry likes bars, which is something he has in common, of course, with a hundred million other males and females. He liked bars even better years ago when he spent far too many hours in them, drinking away the losses -- and the wins, too -- a man addicted to late nights, beer and cigarettes.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --You may have seen on NBA-TV's Friday night broadcast a portion of the playful banter that went on between the 1960 and 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball teams during enshrinement weekend at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (Then again, NBA-TV isn't exactly a Nielsen leader.) The televised gotcha line -- Larry Bird getting in a dig at the '60-ers with his comment about stagecoaches and swimming to the Coliseum in Rome -- was only the half of it. And playful wouldn't always be the correct word to describe it.
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.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Al Kelley retired in 1999 after a 45-year career in parts distribution with Caterpillar, Inc., the world-famous manufacturer of construction equipment. He is 77 years old, stands 5-foot-11 and looks more like your weekend poker buddy than an accomplished basketball player.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Some 30 hours before he was formally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (which should've happened a couple of years ago by the way), 63-year-old Bob Hurley Sr. was doing what he was born to do and which he has done with as much success as almost anyone -- preside over chaos. Kids were running this way and that, basketballs were flying off backboards and walls, and Hurley himself lent a note of informality to the proceedings by walking around holding in his arms his sixth and youngest grandchild, Gabriel.
They are in many ways the perfect class, three players whose greatness is unquestioned, who have had the phrase "Hall of Famer" attached to their names long before this weekend, when the title becomes official. Michael Jordan, David Robinson and John Stockton have been referred to as future Hall of Famers or certain Hall of Famers for years now, for so long that the induction ceremony Friday night in Springfield, Mass., seems like a mere formality.
In search of lox, gefilte fish and other traditional delicacies, generations of New England Jews have patronized Springfield Smoked Fish. Founded in 1934 in Springfield, Mass., the company produces more than three dozen fish products using recipes its founders brought from Eastern Europe. Certified kosher, the business follows strict rules in processing its herring, salmon, trout and mackerel. Should the fire go out in the smokehouse oven, for instance, only a rabbi is permitted to relight the flame.
There actually is nothing in the NBA to look forward to in 2009. Everything and everyone is on ice until the summer of 2010, when the league undergoes, simultaneously, a seismic shift, a sea change and a perfect storm driven by the lusted-after free agency of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming and another half-dozen or so All-Stars or game-changers. Until then, we are all Cleveland, holding our collective breaths, fearing the worst, hoping for the best, marking time.
Despite receiving word that UCLA signee Drew Gordon, a 6-foot-10 forward, will be out for the rest of the season with a left foot injury, the Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) Monrachs went out and beat Holy Cross (Flushing, N.Y.) in the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., on Monday. Though the loss of Gordon will hamper Archbishop Mitt the rest of the way, the Monarchs maintained their position at No. 7.
When Michigan State signee Korie Lucious transferred from Rufus King High to Pius XI in Milwaukee two years ago, the star guard and his new school weathered an inquisition into what many considered an unholy recruitment.
For the first time in these rankings, a father, Bob Hurley, has replaced his son, Dan Hurley, as coach of the nation's top team. The elder Hurley, whose St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) lineup boasts six Division I signees, will travel to Springfield, Mass., this weekend as the Friars and nine other teams in the Top 25 participate in the HoopHall Classic.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is the duck-billed platypus of sports' great shrines, a little-of-this, little-of-that place -- the organization, by the way, not the state-of-the-art facility in Springfield, Mass. -- designed by committee. As a result, it has too little of some very deserving potential members.
When the NCAA installed the 19-foot, 9-inch three-point arc for the 1986-87 season, no one used it to greater advantage than Providence coach Rick Pitino, whose Friars shot their way to an unlikely berth in the Final Four. Yet Pitino was one of the loudest voices in support of the basketball rules committee's proposal earlier this month to move the line to 20-9 beginning in 2008-09. "The shot is way too easy," says Pitino, now the coach at Louisville. "It's good for high school but not for college, and it makes the spacing to the post too congested."
The Hall of Fame is set to announce its Class of 2007 on Monday. To mark the occasion, we thought it would be fun to predict which of today's current players will soon be joining the enshrinees in Springfield, Mass.