Sports Medley: Wimbledon & NBA Divas 24 Jul 17
At breakfast the other day with former UCLA All- American guards on two
national championship teams, Mike Warren and Lucius Allen, I opined that
if John Wooden had been Marin Cilic’s coach in the championship match
against Roger Federer he would not have had the disaster that befell him
when he developed blisters on his foot that greatly impeded his play and
resulted in an easy straight set victory for Federer. They both laughed
and recalled how the first thing Coach Wooden did on the first day of
each year’s practice was to lecture his players on how to apply their
socks. Both said that, as a result of that annual lecture, nobody on
their teams ever had a problem with blisters. They aren’t alone. Most of
Wooden’s players recall that season-introductory lecture with fond
regularly stunned when I hear ESPN announcers refer to Bjorn Borg
winning Wimbledon by playing from the baseline, as they do constantly on
their Wimbledon telecasts. But what is even more incomprehensible is
when John McEnroe joins the conversation and agrees with the commentary.
helps to explain why Borg beat McEnroe in that classic 1980 5 set match.
How could McEnroe not know that Bjorn served and volleyed on every first
serve in that match when he was on the other side of the net?
served and volleyed on every first serve against McEnroe that year, as
he did the following year, and as he did in the last few years of every
match he played at Wimbledon. In fact, in the fifth set of the classic
1980 match. McEnroe only got two points on Borg's serve in the entire
set! Except for the first game, Borg won every service game at love.
Apparently the reason Borg won was that Bjorn followed every first serve
into the net and McEnroe didn’t know it.
There are few professions extant that have more prima donnas than
NBA basketball. It probably started with Kobe Bryant. This pampered
Lakers baby didn’t find it rewarding enough to win three consecutive
championships playing with Shaquille O’Neal and made life so miserable
for the team because he wasn’t the sole recognized star (Shaq was the
MVP of all three Championship series), that the Lakers were forced to
choose between them. The Lakers chose not the better player, O’Neill,
but the younger player, Bryant. Bryant also made life hell for coach
Phil Jackson because Jackson was apparently getting too much of the
credit for the Lakers success.
you imagine Bill Russell saying that he did not want to play with Bob
Cousy because Cousy was getting too much publicity? What Russell and
Cousy wanted the most was to win, and together they made the Celtics
champions. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig reportedly were not the best of
friends, but they got along well enough to win four pennants and three
world championships in the 10 years they played together, and neither
ever demanded a trade.
we’ve got Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving who doesn’t want to
play with the best player in the world, Lebron James. Why? Before James
joined Cleveland the Cavaliers were woeful losers but Irving was the
star. Since James joined the team they’ve been in the NBA finals each
year but Irving has to take a backseat to James’ luminescence. Irving
wants to be the first option on offense, which is apparently more
important to him than winning.
What kind of person is New York Yankees sensational rookie Aaron Judge?
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, when TV and Buster were ready to make
the award presentation for winning the Home Run Derby at this year’s
All-Star game to Judge, everybody was ready. However, Judge said he
wanted to wait for the batting practice pitcher. Olney told him that
everybody was ready and they wanted to go forward with the presentation.
Judge refused, and insisted that they wait for the batting practice
pitcher because Judge wanted the pitcher to share in the glory.