Category Archives: Big Baby Davis

Michael Jordan: A Sports Persona that Will Never Be Parallelled

Arguably the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball

Arguably the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball

By Nick Gelso

There are few NBA stars that possess the ability to have there first names be recognizable above any other name in their sport.

Today’s game boasts interesting names such as Kobe and LeBron but before they were even old enough to lace up sneakers one man separated basketball from sports.

Michael was, and remains, the most recognizable name in not just sports but in popular entertainment. His air-ness may share his name with the King of Pop and their achievements may be similar on a global stage but Michael Jordan’s ability to combine his achievements as an athlete and his ability to bolster his public image with his successes in the business world undoubtidly separate him from the other Michael.

Jordan entered a league dominated by Magic, Doctor J., Larry, Kareem and Moses. Among those titans of basketball, Jordan managed to captivate the sporting world while playing for an untalented Bulls team.

Jordan’s career seemed to reach new levels each season but his team was not always recognized as the second (behind Russell’s Celtics) greatest dynasty in basketball history.

Though MJ led his Bulls to the 8th seed playoff spot his first several seasons, a feat that is underappreciated on Chicago teams that were untalented and under achieving, his early career was marred by injuries and  controversies caused by jealous opponents.

The NBA’s most jealous superstar, Isiah Thomas, unsurprisingly led the charge in 1984. Michael Jordan was voted as a starter, by the fans, to the all-star game in his rookie season. Isiah, feeling the attention Jordan was receiving was unjust, led a player revolt in the all-star game. In a move most forgotten for unsportsmanlike behavior, Isiah refused to pass Michael the ball throughout the game.

Jordan went on to win Rookie of the Year honors and his battles with Isiah had just begun.

His next two seasons were busted by foot and knee problems.

In 1986, Jordan returned from knee surgery in time to face the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Though the Bulls were swept by Larry’s Celtics, Jordan managed to set an unbroken playoff record of 63 points in game 2.

In 1987, Jordan averaged an astonishing 37 points per game but was again swept by the Celtics.

It wasn’t until 1988, perhaps Jordan’s most successful season individually, the Bulls emerged from the first round of

Jordan holding on of his 6 Larry O'Brien Trophies

Jordan holding on of his 6 Larry O'Brien Trophies

the playoffs. That season, Jordan averaged 35 points per game, 52 percent from the field. He won his first of five NBA Most Valuable Player award and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

It’s rare to have a player succeed on the offensive and defensive ends of the court in such a dominant fashion.

In 1988, the first of 4 epic post season battles, Isiah Thomas and his Detroit Pistons eliminated the Chicago Bulls in five games.

The Pistons and Bulls would meet again in 1989 and the Pistons, now famous, “Jordan Rules” defense facilitated in once again eliminating the Bulls.

In 1990 the Bulls emerging talent surrounding Jordan again fell to the Pistons as the “Jordan Rules” was now a famous and effective method for slowing down Jordan and stopping the Bulls.

It wasn’t until 1991 that Michael and his now ultra talented squad finally beat the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls were able to finally get revenge and swept the Pistons led by Jordan opting for the assist over the shot, made difficult by the Pistons “Jordan Defensive Rules”.

Isiah Thomas, in typical unsportsmanlike fashion, walked off the court before the final buzzer without congratulating his opponent.

After defeating the Detroit Pistons in 1991, Jordan led his Bulls to their first title.

The Bulls would go on to win 6 titles in 7 years.

Michael Jordan, a man who achieved personal stats unmatched by any player in NBA history,  won 6 NBA titles,  5 NBA MVP awards, 6 Finals MVP awards, Rookie of the Year honors, Defensive Player of the Year honors, 14 all-star appearance, 10 all NBA first team appearances, 9 time defensive first team honors, 3 all-star game MVP awards, 2 Dunk contest championships, and now he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jordan, nearly single handedly, made famous such globally branded products as Nike and Gatorade.

Even in retirement, Jordan's endorsements of products such as Nike and Gatorade continues to ensure their profits.

Even in retirement, Jordan's endorsements of products such as Nike and Gatorade continues to ensure their profits.

On the day of Jordan’s first retirement, the NY Stock Exchange actually took a dip because of Jordan’s effect on global business.

No professional athlete can boast such a claim.

I consider myself to be a somewhat astute NBA historian and yet I had to research all of Jordan’s accolades online as to not forget any.

Above all of his personal and team achievements, perhaps Jordans most admirable contributions to professional sports was his ability to face defeat, adversity, world fame, and tremendous success with grace, maturity, sportsmanlike conduct, and humility.

His brilliance on the basketball court is missed but his presence is still felt by the players that follow him. Players such as Kobe and LeBron emulate Jordan in their on court highlights. We can often be found, jaw dropped, at an amazing move made by today’s players while thinking and sometimes shouting:

 “That was a Jordan move!”

Today’s players may be able to resemble Jordan in their play but they certainly cannot reach the levels Michael achieved, always carrying himself with class, on and off the court.

Marquis Daniels is the Perfect Celtic

Marquis Daniels and Danny Ainge meet with members of the press today to announce Daniels signing with the Boston Celtics.

Marquis Daniels and Danny Ainge meet with members of the press today to announce Daniels signing with the Boston Celtics.

All indications from today’s press conference and recent comments made by his agent is that Marquis Daniels will be a perfect compliment to the 2010 Celtics squad.

Daniels stated again today that he turned down better monetary offers to join a winning franchise in Boston. He stated his willingness to play whatever position Doc sees fit to benefit the Celtics in their 2010 championship run.

The Celtics are making it very clear that anything short of a championship will be a major failure for this team.

I love that attitude!

Danny also mentioned that Paul Pierce, Big Baby and Rajon Rondo have been into Waltham to practice daily. Rasheed Wallace has been in every day at 8 am. He expects to see the rest of the guys into practice right after the Labor Day holiday. This is beginning to take a shape very similar to the 2007 off season.

I love what I am hearing.

One thing of note in watching the below press conference. Danny has gotten visibly older since his heart attack. We wish him the best and good health.

Check out the press conference converage of the Marquis Daniels introductions today.

Big Baby Set to Re-Sign with the Celtics

Big Baby proves his worth, hitting the winning basket in game five of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals.

Big Baby proves his worth, hitting the winning basket in game five of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Boston Herald is reporting today that Glen Davis is set to sign a two year contract with the Celtics worth $6.3 million.

Davis is expected to sign today or tomorrow following his physical. Davis is in Boston today to complete his physical and make the deal official.

Many teams have flirted with Big Baby expressing an interest. however, to Davis’ dissappoinment, mid level dollars were never offered.

Glen had publicly hoped he would be retained by the Celtics and that hope will come true in the next forty eight hours though for much less value then his mid level aspirations.

The re-signing of Davis has, in many ways, been Boston’s rebuttal to LA’s re-signing of Lamar Odom. Though Lakers fans will disagree that Odom and Davis are on the same talent level, their is no questioning that both bring a unique and invalueable element to their respective teams.

The signing of Davis cements his role as the Celtics seventh man on the roster. It only proves the depth of the revamped Celtics bench when your seventh man just came off a post season where he averaged 15 ppg and 6 rpg filling in for Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics bench now looks like this:

Rasheed Wallace

Glen Davis

Eddie House

Marquis Daniels (expect to sign a $1.9 million, bi annual, deal this week)

Bill Walker

Brian Scalabrine

Tony Allen (for now…)

As stated in my previous post, the Celtics new look bench has arguably more talent then any other team’s second unit.

Baring any major injuries, the Celtics look to be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference crown and possibly the NBA title this season.

A Lakers/Celtics rematch in June is looking more and more interesting…

LeBron James Competition Weak Compared to the NBA’s ‘Golden Era’

Amidst the rampant off-season trade rumors circulating, I thought it would be healthy to take a break from it and do some more annoying era/player comparisons.

Today i decided to pick apart LeBron James’ Eastern Conference vs. the Eastern Conference of Larry Bird’s era. Though the league’s players have developed into athletic and physical freaks, compared to the 1980’s, the NBA team’s overall roster talent has drastically dropped.

The 1980’s brand of basketball was more team oriented, fast paced and high scoring, though watching the games, it often appeared as if the players were competing in slow motion. It’s obvious that the athleticism of today, is unparalleled by any era in NBA history.

However, In the 1980’s, Larry Bird had to contend with a more stiff level of competition in route to the playoffs and ultimately the NBA Finals.

Let’s use the 1987 season as the model for my hypothesis. As opposed to recent history, in the 1980’s the Eastern Conference was always stronger then the West.

In 1987, like 2008, The Boston Celtics were looking to repeat as champions. Like 2008, Age and injury got in the way but not before Boston blew through the regular season, ending atop the Eastern Conference, with a 59-23 record.

The Eastern Conference was stacked with names like Doctor J., Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings, Patrick Ewing and Dominique Wilkens.

During the playoffs Boston faced such formidable foes as Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Sidney Moncrief before facing Magic Johnson and the Lakers in the Finals.

Today, though entertaining, the NBA relies heavily on the media “hype machine” to promote televised games and playoff series. Sure, hype existed in the 1980’s as well, but it was hype backed up by true excitement on the court.

For example, in the 1987 playoffs, The Celtics swept the Chicago Bulls and then was forced into seven game squeakers before narrowly defeating Milwaukee and Detroit.

Both series created such historic moments as Larry Bird’s (4) clutch fourth quarter three pointers in game four in Milwaukee, the Celtics 10 point comeback vs Milwaukee in the last 3 minutes of game seven, Adrian Dantley and Vinnie Johnson’s on court collision in game seven that resulted in Dantley being carried off on a stretcher and, of course, Bird stealing the ball from Isiah Thomas in game five.

NBA Playoff Basketball at it’s best. Where amazing originated…

In 2009, With the exception of the Boston/Chicago series (certainly one of the best first round series of all time), the Eastern Conference consisted of two sweeps, two six game series, and Orlando’s game seven blow out of Boston at home.

The Miami/Atlanta series went seven games but it might as well have been a sweep as the winning team won by an average margin of 15 points.

Sure, their were exciting moments, such as Ray Allen’s 50 point explosion versus Chicago and multiple clutch jumpers, Big Baby’s 17 footer vs Orlando, LeBron’s game two heroics versus Orlando and “Turkish Jordan’s” multiple clutch shots.

If you think about it, with the exception of LeBron’s game two heroics, I can’t see the NBA playing any commercials of highlights from this years playoffs twenty years from now. Yet Larry Bird’s steal and Magic Johnson’s “Jr hook” are still getting commercialized 22 years later. Now that’s amazing!

In conclusion, though the NBA has great talent today and is very popular, Nothing can compare to the legacy’s created during the 1980’s. I guess that is why they call it the NBA’s “Golden Era”…

This article can also be found on Bleacher Report

KG: SURGERY SET FOR NEXT WEEK


Boston.com reported today that Kevin Garnett has set a date for surgery next week. Garnett will have surgery for the first time in his career to remove a bone spur in his right knee. 

He had postponed the surgery in hopes that continued rehabilitation on the knee would have allowed him to return to action had the Celtics reached the latter rounds of the playoffs.
Danny Ainge and owner, Wyc Grousbeck said today that Garnett was expected to be back at full strength next season. 
Doc Rivers reported on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan Show” that Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins all suffered from injuries in the Orlando series.
Pierce may require surgery on bone spurs while Perkins may require a procedure on his shoulder. Ray Allen suffered from a strained hamstring.
Boston.com reports that surgery maybe required by Perkins and Pierce but nothing has been confirmed.
Doc also indicated that the Celtics need to make some off season “additions”. Rivers said, “We need to improve our team. There’s no doubt about that. We don’t have to make any changes but we do need to make some additions.”
Doc also sounded less encouraging regarding Glen Davis saying, “with Baby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market”, regarding Marbury Doc said, “With Steph it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market”.
It would disappointing to see Stephon Marbury leave but losing Big Baby would be a blow deeper then losing James Posey last summer. 
More details to follow…

SAM JONES – BASKETBALL ROYALTY

Every family has some one who is often taken for granted. Perhaps the brother-in-law that always brings a case of beer to the family cookout. Soon enough we stop bringing our own beer expecting that case to have already been delivered. It’s not that we love that relative any less or lack gratitude for their selfless ways, it’s just human nature.

It was fantastic to see legendary Celtics guard Sam Jones in attendance for game four in Orlando Sunday night. 
I was surprised this evening when I read on Boston.com that Jones said he has only been back to Boston twice since retiring in 1969. “I came back for Red,” said Jones, 75,  “I never go any place unless I am invited and I haven’t been invited.” 
The current ownership group is especially inclusive with the Celtics legends. They certainly realize that these former champions are the bridge that connects the current players with the Dynasty Years of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. They are the keepers of Celtics Pride and standard bearers for which all future teams have been measured.
Sam Jones has been ingrained into our visuals of the old Celtics Dynasty. We all have seen the clips of the “Old Celtics” bruised, battered and taped up, in the line up of the 69′ Finals. We have all heard the stories of Jones bringing the Lakers celebration schedule back to Bill Russell- inspiring the Celtics to win that game. 
Sam Jones, one way or another, has been a part of every aspect of the “Old Celtics” lore and mystique. He is featured in nearly every Celtics Dynasty documentary and he is everything we have come to expect a Celtic to be. He self admittedly “bleeds green” and still roots for the Celtics.
Big Baby’s game winner last night was nothing new to Sam. True Celtics fans will never forget the highlight of Sam Jones running the picket fence and (of course) banking in the game winner against the Lakers while Johnny Most squelched “it’s good!”
Sam’s number hangs high above the parquet floor that they he helped to make famous. 
That is why it was so surprising to me that he hadn’t been “invited” back to Boston. It was nice to hear that managing partner Bob Epstien and Coach Doc Rivers spent some time with Sam prior to game 4’s tip off. Epstein pledged to “bring him back into the teams family.”
Perhaps we have all taken for granted that Jones would need an invite to attend a game on a court that he helped to make famous, in an arena with 17 Championship Banners. 
10 of which he helped to hoist. 
Sam Jones, Ever the humble man, will never come if “not invited”.  A rare spotting of KC Jones occurred in Boston for game two. I hope to see more of KC in attendance and maybe the other half of the “Jones Brothers” will be seated by his side from time to time. 
An invite is certainly not necessary. It would be an honor to have you in attendance Mr. Jones.