Wednesday, March 14, 2007

big 8 hoops summit, garden and more

note - read my last year's blog 'about one basketball summit' for
further info.
destination: cape town, south africa.
when: feb 9 - feb 11.
what: basketball meeting
discussion: nba, ncaa march madness, euroleague, etc.
*who'll win the nba c'ship?
-ioanna > pistons
-wang i-hua > rockets
-mehmet > mavericks
-carmen > mavericks
-christiane > heat
-wojtek > suns
-javier > suns
-me > spurs
*who'll win the ncaa title?
-ioanna > north carolina
-wang i-hua > texas
-mehmet > florida
-carmen > ucla
-christiane > florida
-wojtek > duke
-javier > kansas
-me > ohio state
now i'm running a hoops summit column which i read on sunday evening
that will (hopefully) get you in the mood for some good time (courtesy
of 'total basketball' book).
*the legendary arena - boston garden*
/by charles salzberg/
over the years, there have been many arenas that have become major
parts of basketball folklore.
one that tops the list is certainly boston garden, home of the celtics.
tex rickard, the new york promoter, planned to mass-produce madison
square garden, building carbon copies in six major cities.
he began in boston, erecting the boston garden on top of north station,
the hub of the boston and maine railroad.
(larry bird once commented, *i thought it was pretty near that the
railroad station was below and the gym was up above.*)
it took less than a year to build the garden and it was christened on
november 17, 1928, with a boxing match between honeyboy finnegan and
andre routis.
(over the years, some of the other boxers who appeared at the garden
included joe louis, sugar ray robinson, jake lamotta, gene tunney,
rocky marciano and muhammad ali.)
the bruins hockey team moved in not long afterwards.
eventually, after rickard's death, the building passed on to boston
millionaire henry lapham and george v. brown.
the boston evening american held a rename-the-building contest and
woman named ruth fassano came up with the clever idea of calling it
"boston garden".
in 1929, the ringling brothers & barnum & bailey circus played the
garden and into the 1930s the arena was host to a variety of events,
including a six-day bicycle race, a hunting and fishing show, a notre
dame football game, a winter ski exhibition, midget auto races, the
sonja henie ice revue and the rodeo.
in the 1940s brown widened his scope, booking women's softball, the
shriners ball, book shows and big bands.
calvin coolidge spoke at the garden and in 1940, a rally for
presidential candidate franklin delano roosevelt was held there.
bob hope entertained there during an army-navy relief show and, during
world war II, the garden was home to war bond shows featuring judy
garland, gene kelly and greer garson.
in the 1950s, bishop john j. writer celebrated a mass for 11,000 of the
faithful; liberace played and signed autographs until 4 a.m.
in 1960s, jfk held his final presidential campaign rally in the garden
and the beatles played there in 1964.
in 1972, the same night that boston mayor kevin white bailed them out
of a rhode island jail, the rolling stones performed a midnight
rambler show.
the boston garden was primarily built as a showcase for boxing; hence,
all the seating had a pronounced vertical slant and the incline was
particularly steep upstairs.
(the second version of madison square gardeb, on 49th and eight, was
no different; from upstairs seating, it felt as if you could topple
as kids, relegated to the cheap seats, we used to call it the
"nosebleed" section.)
the garden was also infamous for its obstructed-view seats.
since the arena was built for boxing, not basketball, less than
one-quarter of the seating capacity of 14,890 was on the desirable
the checkerboard patterned parquet floor was, of course, the focal
point for anyone who either attended a game at the boston garden or
played there.
in 1946, the floor was built at a cost of $10,000.
due to the shortage of hardwood during world war II, the brookline,
massachusetts fellow named dinatale who was responsible for building
it had to take oak scraps cut from a tennessee forest.
the boards were an inch-and-a-half thick a particularly strong because
they were cut against the grain.
the five-by-five foot panels were arranged in an alternating pattern
that formed the parquet effect.
the floor lasted until the garden was abandoned in 1995, but it was
brought over to the new fleet center and laid there.
finally, it was replaced.
while examining the floor in 1987, cleveland guard ron harper remarked,
*man, my driveway is better than this.*
and magic johnson once observed, *some courts are fast amd some are
this one here is a little softer.
here you have to dribble that much harder just to make the ball come
former celtic danny ainge put his finger on one of the problems
encountered by players who weren't used to the floor: *a lot of times
you're dribbling the ball upcourt, the ball won't come back to you.
so the guys who do a lot of fancy dribbling, they never know.
they go behind their back and come up empty.*
and the final word goes to tom meschery, who obviously didn't think
there was anything quaint about that legendary surface: *the floor
looked great on television, but the checkerboard was a disgrace
because of loose screws, dead spots and everything else.
nonetheless, that floor became a symbol for winning.*
incredibly, there was no air-conditioning in the garden and sometimes
the players suffered badly for it.
for instance, during boston's pivotal game 5 victory against the lakers
in the 1984 finals, the temperature in the arena was close to 100
degrees, causing kareem abdul-jabbar to suck oxygen from a mask late
in the game.
the locker rooms were also a disgrace and not only for the visiting
tom heinsohn blew that myth apart.
*i have heard players that played in boston garden say the visiting
locker room was overheated and all kinds of other stuff.
in fact, we were treated as poorly as the visitors by boston garden
management in my early days with the celtics.
our locker room, in the heyday when we were winning all those
championships, consisted of two nails for everybody.
i was stationed between bill russell and bob cousy, practically in the
we had one shower that would overflow and flood the locker room so
everybody would rush to get out fast so their shoes wouldn't get wet.
in philadelphia, you'd go play at convention hall and you didn't even
get a hook.
we used to lay our clothes out on a table in some dingy conference
so facilities weren't the best.
nowadays the players go first class, everybody has their own room.
never happened in my day.*
john havlicek agreed.
*the dressing rooms were some wooden benches located under the
that meant the taller guys had to dress in the front of the room where
the ceiling was higher.
as you went deeper into the room, the ceiling sloped down and that was
where the smallest guys were.
to call it a locker room is a misnomer, because there were no lockers.
just a strip on the wall with nails pounded into it.
you hung your clothes on the nails and hooks.
there was a six-foot area that had four showers and there was only one
toiled, so guys would line up before the game.*

some scattered thoughts at the end:
...the cavs are 9-2, all-time, WITHOUT 'BRON (!). very intriguing.
...where's agent zero?!
...turning the heat up WITHOUT WADE.
...keep up the good work, knicks. (well, steve francis hitting a
game-winner IN 2007? you gotta be kiddin me.)
...orlando in the lottery.
...great work, iggy, andre miller and co. (psst! start losing now,
guys. why? draft durant, please.)
...michael j. is hot - in running the bobcats, of course. jefferson is the m.i.p.
...yao ming will score 40 against toronto on friday.
...lakers breaking news: flea got injured. jack nicholson is sick.
...this pops off my mind right now: are the nuggets better WITHOUT
MELO!? i am nuts.
...the clips will be in the playoffs. i believe. my father do not.
...golden state is ruining my "warriors theory" (see last blog), but
hey, it's just march.
...what happened to those nok hornets? damn.
...minny's OUT of the playoff race. we all knew it.
...memphis is gunning for greg oden. seriously.
...tonite game dallas vs. phoenix will be prosaic. because i know
dallas will win. i had a dream yesterday.
...i wagered 20 slovak crowns on today's nba schedule. my tips:
por-det 2
orl-uth 2
ind-wsh 2
tor-nyk 1
phi-chi 2
cha-sac 2
mem-cle 2
dal-phx 1
hou-lac 1
and bos-atl 0 (no doubt this is going to be an overtime game)
if i win those 16,720 slovak crowns ($649), i bet it on nyk winning the

p.s.: *defensively, offensively, rebounding - it's amazing that people
don't talk about him.
but you know what it tells you?
an under-appreciation for just how good he's been for so long.
people don't appreciate that, but ask any gm what player, right now,
they'd rather have,* said toronto coach sam mitchell on tim duncan.
p.s.2:*i will tell you right now, there is no way that having a baby is
more painful than playing through a sprained ankle.
no way,* said charles "chuckster" barkley.
p.s.3: when asked what tony parker has been able to do (during his
left-hip-strain injury), gregg popovich quipped, *eat steak, watch tv,
go to hollywood parties.*
p.s.4: t.j. ford couldn't drop the ball in the water from the deck of a
ship in the middle of the atlantic ocean. (-charley rosen)
p.s.5: scoring against washington is a breeze, but stopping them from
doing the same can be like spitting into the wind. (-charley rosen)
p.s.6: *other people may have dismissed the spurs, but with the people
they have, that's crazy.
they have won championships.
dallas hasn't, we haven't.
and that kind of experience talks pretty loud at playoff time,* said
mike d'antoni.
p.s.7: kevin garnett is an extraordinarily talented complementary
player, who needs to play along side a monster in the middle.
someone like shaq or tim duncan. (-charley rosen)
p.s.8: pop [popovich] went to high school in merrillville and i used to
date a girl that worked for one of the local papers up there.
she once showed me a photo from their archives of pop in his
high-school uniform.
he wore no. 21.
how strange is that? (-johnny ludden)
p.s.9: i think because the spurs play far better defense than the suns,
and better defense on a more consistent basis that the mavs, that san
antonio will represent the west in the finals. (-charley rosen)
p.s.10: if the spurs intended on trying to track down dallas, they
would have been better off signing harry potter. (-johnny ludden)
p.s.11: 13-win streak? *it doesn't mean a damn thing.
what means something, is getting better.* (-quote by gregg pop)
p.s.12: save sam cassell for the playoffs, like his buddy rob horry?
take himself out of the lineup too often and the clippers aren't going
to make the playoffs.
*yeah,* cassell said, *it's a catch-22.* (-johnny ludden)
p.s.13: *I think he's got about two, three years left in him,* horry
*maybe someday he can be tony parker's backup, give him some solid
then he could play the kind of minutes i do.*
the notion brought a wide smile to cassell's face.
*tell that to pop," sam said.

Posted by Foreigner in CS - Mar 14 2007 10:14PM

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