September 2007 - Posts
Hothead referee Joey Crawford has been reinstated into the NBA. As I blogged about earlier, Crawford was suspended back in April of this year for slapping a benched Tim Duncan with two quick technicals, and then jawing with him as he was leaving the floor, purportedly asking the big man, "Do you want to fight?" As a response, David Stern was quick to suspend Crawford from the league (Duncan was also fined $25,000 by the L for the incident).
I guess after the Tim Donahue mess this summer, a hothead ref is the least of the league's worries. Think about it this way: the league doesn't want this whole summer mess to affect games in any way. They don't want gunshy refs swallowing their whistles because they fear making too many calls will bring scrutiny. They don't want regular calls to be overanalyzed. In short, they want a bunch of veteran refs who are too stubborn and hard headed to do anything but call the game their way and give a big F-you to anyone who claims they are rotten. Joey Crawford fits this role perfectly.
Hopefully, some good will come out of this whole Donahue mess. I'm hoping the worst refs will be shown the door (Violet Palmer, I'm looking in your general direction). And maybe Stern will officially reprimand Hue Hollins for his officiating in the 1994 ECFs which cost the Bulls their chance at a non-MJ championship. (Interestingly, if you Google "Hue Hollins" you'll find that he's made quite a few "Worst Sports Call in History"-type lists due to that infamous game where he whistled Pippen for a late foul that, essentially, decided the winner of that otherwise exciting Bulls-Knicks playoff series. I still can clearly remember watching that game and my reaction when that call was made... unbelievable...)
Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame today (along with Phoenix Suns announcer Al McCoy, among others). Phil Jackson has an impressive 919-393 regular season coaching record (70% winning percentage) and 179-77 postseason record (69.9% winning percentage). He has won nine NBA championships - six with the Chicago Bulls, three with the Lakers.
Despite his monumental success, his detractors note that his years as an NBA head coach have always involved some of the very best players ever: Jordan and Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in LA. And he has never won a championship without two superstars. During Jordan's two-year retirement in the mid-90s, the Bulls made the playoffs both years but never made it past the conference semi-finals. And without Shaq to anchor the front court lineup, the Kobe-led Lakers haven't gotten out of the first round of the playoffs.
Regardless, Phil Jackson has a knack for making the most of his talent and keeping the peace between his talented players. While he was unable to smooth out the growing rift between Shaq and Kobe, he did manage to keep a lid on it for several years before it boiled over. And he skillfully handled Dennis Rodman's craziness in Chicago, something many other coaches were incapable of doing (ask San Antonio, Dallas Maverick, or Lakers fans). But his most impressive and rewarding task was in convincing Michael Jordan to ditch his me-first attitude and to trust in his teammates. Without that, Chicago may still have won one or two championships, but there certainly would have been no three-peat, let alone two.
Congratulations on your induction into the HoF, Coach Jackson.
I spent the better part of today upgrading NBAWebLog.com. Previously, NBAWebLog.com was running on an old blog engine called .Text. .Text was a sort of open-source freeware project that was later turned into a more commercial product, Community Server. Like most open-source projects, .Text had some rough edges and, as it morphed into a newer, more feature rich software package, support for .Text grew thin. Long story short, I should have upgraded to Community Server years ago.
The good news is that I finally got off my lazy butt and did the upgrade. Unfortunately, like most upgrades, there were some hiccups in the process. The main issue is that I decided not to transfer all of the blog content or blog accounts. While the "old" site had a dozen bloggers or so, only two of them had contributed substantially or had made any recent posts. Hence, I did not transfer over those blogs that fell into those categories. If you are one of those bloggers and would like your content online so that you can resume blogging, please let me know and I can still transfer it.
On a more minor note, I decided not to bother transfering the old blog comments. Most blog entries had zero comments, due in large part to the fact that I disabled comments quite a while back in order to stop the onslaught of comment spam directed at this blog. Comments are now re-enabled because Community Server supports comment moderation. So there should be zero comment spam on this blog!
Lastly, the URL patterns used by .Text and Community Server differ a bit. I wrote some code to handle some of these differences automatically, but there are likely still several old URLs that are now broken. I apologize for any inconvenience.
If you are interested in starting your own NBA-related blog, please do drop me a line. I'd be happy to set you up with a blog here, free of charge.