Larry Bird

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Louisville wins NCAA, beats Michigan 82-76



The Cardinals of Louisville are the champions of basketball, rallying as only Louisville can to beat Michigan 82-76. Louisville, in the last game as a member of the powerful Big East Conference, captured their third NCAA title, their first since 1986. Rick Pitino wins his second NCAA title as a coach and becomes the first coach to win NCAA titles at two different schools, Kentucky and Louisville. Talk about living a charmed life — his team won the title on the same day he was introduced as one of 12 new members of the Naismith Hall of Fame. His horse won the Santa Anita Derby and will run for the roses in May at the Kentucky Derby. Continue Reading →

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Final 4 memories




As this year’s NCAA tournaments crown new men’s and women’s national champions, this reporter took a stroll down my own memory lanes. I didn’t begin watching college hoops until the mid-to-late 1960s – I sneaked downstairs and watched the UCLA-Houston game played in the Astrodome on television – it was past my bedtime.  As a result, I watched Lew Alcindor (UCLA 1967-69) but not Bobby Joe Hill of Texas Western (1966), the first national champion with five Black starters. The UCLA great — now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, guards Earvin Johnson (Michigan State 1978-79) and Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State 1998-2000); and forwards Keith Wilkes (UCLA 1972-74) and David Thompson (North Carolina State 1974) are my personal five-player, all-time great tournament team. Georgetown (1983-84) always will be my all-time championship team simply because the Hoyas were the first men’s national champs coached by a Black man.  The UCLA squads (1966-69; 1971-73), N.C. State (1973-74), Indiana (1975-76), Michigan State (1978-79) and UNLV (1989-91) ranks just right behind them. If I had to choose the most memorable historic moment, although I didn’t witness it, it would naturally be Texas Western’s 1966 title win. Continue Reading →

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New book examines race and the NBA after ‘Palace Brawl’




Selling the NBA to a White fan base historically has been a challenge. First it was seen as second class to college basketball. Then came Black players in the late 1950s. Later, the growing Black rank-and-file were being seen as nothing more than drug users during the 1970s. Then came Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird in the 1980s; that temporarily brought new “team-first, me-second” notoriety to the NBA. Continue Reading →

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