San Antonio Spurs

The End of an Era

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

-Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

 

The NBA is going to look very different next season, as two of its superstars are retiring–Kobe Bryant and as of Monday, Tim Duncan.

Bryant and Duncan have been around for what feels like forever. Their playoff clashes on the court during the early to mid-2000s seemed just like yesterday. The comparisons between the two can easily fuel a ‘who-is-better?’ conversation for hours.

Out of the last 18 championships, they amount for 10 of them–five for Kobe and another five for Duncan.

San Antonio was fortunate to have Duncan for 19 seasons. Los Angeles was blessed to have 20 years of Bryant–the only player to have spent more seasons with one team than Duncan.

Next season will have a different feel to it, with the Lakers losing its iconic face of the franchise for two decades and the Spurs saying farewell to the one player that has been a part of all five of their NBA championship teams.

Not only will the league and its fans miss seeing the two long-time stars suit up for their respective teams, but they also represent the end of an era. (more…)

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The No Trade Claus: an NBA Christmas Special

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again: your frantic little brother goes ballistic and opens up two presents on Christmas Eve, your uncle Steve drinks too much eggnog and rattles on incessantly about your corrupt generation, grandpa snores his way through mass, and you just take the whole thing in stride.  Fortunately, to alleviate your winter worries you can stuff yourself to the brim with some scrumptious non-dining hall cuisine, plop your tokus on the nearest couch, and choose from a host of top notch NBA showdowns.  Even if your favorite squad isn’t in action come Thursday, you need not worry; Santa has been gracious enough to grant every boy and girl his or her team’s wish this holiday season, in the form of some Yuletide trade suggestions. (more…)

Breaking Glass Ceilings

 

-Associated Press Images

With Becky Hammon, it was never a matter of if she could do it, but rather how and when. She has always been in control of her own path, never allowing outside criticism to define her destiny. For Hammon, external pressure has always been around her. At a young age, there was the physical defense in the paint that stood in her way whenever she played basketball with her older brother and his friends. Little by little, she would learn how to compensate for the lack of size and age difference. She figured out how to use her body as a shield against the much bigger competition as she attacked the basket. In high school, she put on a show for those who watched her play. However, for the most part, she was unnoticed. She never received attention from the premier Division-I programs. Coaches of the high-profile schools did not want to invest the time to go scout her out in South Dakota. For the coaches who did make the trip, they did not have faith in a 5-foot-6 guard playing in the collegiate level. No matter how many points she would put up, they did not feel confident in investing their time and resources in a slow and small guard.

Finally, an assistant coach from Colorado State witnessed Hammon play and was immediately impressed. After the recruiting process, Hammon committed to the Rams. From the moment she stepped onto the court at Colorado State, her presence was felt. In her four years there, she helped lead the Rams to three tournament appearances, including a 33-3 season in 1999. All of this happened while she was breaking and setting new school records. Hammon also broke Keith Van Horn’s record for the WAC all-time leading scorer. When it came time for the WNBA Draft, she was met with the same disbelief and lack of faith that she encountered during the college recruitment process. Despite all that she had accomplished at the collegiate level, coaches did not think she was big or quick enough to last in the pros. She did not let that stop her. She worked her way onto the New York Liberty, a feat that many undrafted WNBA players could only dream of. She started off on the bench for her first few seasons on the Liberty, but worked her way up the ladder, becoming a starter, then an all-star, Olympian, and, eventually, one of the best to play in the WNBA ever. Now, she’s ready to continue exceeding expectations. She has a much bigger role ahead of her now: coaching in a men’s league. (more…)