When 16th-century English theologian Richard Hooker said, “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better,” he didn’t know anything about NBA traders. But he did know something that Portland Trail Blazer forward Buck Williams has learned: The road to success is not always smooth. Sometimes it takes you through New Jersey. Kyle Rote Jr. caught up with the Blazers’ veteran to ask him how change has affect his life.
Reading the children’s classic The Little Engine That Could might be the easiest way to understand what Avery Johnson has gone through to make it in the NBA.
Like the little blue engine from Watty Piper’s story, Johnson is an inspiration. Like the little blue engine, Johnson is much smaller than his counterparts. Like the little blue engine, Johnson has had to persevere. And like the little blue engine, Johnson’s goal is to climb a mountain.
I think I can – I think I can – I think I can – I think I can.
The putt only covered 15 feet, but it seemed more like 100 to the gallery gathered at the eighteenth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 on that early Sunday evening in June 1999. It traveled uphill, broke ever so slightly to the right…and slipped gently into the cup.
Payne Stewart, wearing his trademark knickers and argyle socks, hoisted the ball up to the heavens. The crowd roared. And for the second time in his career, Stewart was crowned champion of the U.S. Open–the most prestigious event for American golfers. The victory would be his last on the PGA Tour.
Four months later, on October 25, 1999, Payne Stewart entered the gates of heaven after his private jet plowed into a dirt field in Minot, South Dakota, taking the lives of Stewart and three business associates. His death at only 42 years old shook the golf world and the entire nation… Continue reading
Dikembe Mutombo is a giant among men.
At 7 feet 2 inches, the former Houston Rockets center towered above a majority of other players in the NBA. Regarded as one of the most prolific defensive players of all time, Mutombo has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times, and in 2007 he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, behind Hakeem Olajuwon.
Where the basketball superstar stands out most, however, is in the area of philanthropy. Called the “NBA’s tallest humanitarian” by the New York Daily News, Mutombo has a heart as big as he is tall; a heart that reaches across the Atlantic Ocean to his homeland of Africa, the poorest continent in the world… Continue reading
In only his fourth NBA season, A.C. Green has become the Los Angeles Lakers’ leading rebounder. Although small for a power forward, A.C. is an iron man in the lane. He has endured on some of the toughest turf in sports, appearing in every regular season contest but three during his first three campaigns. A.C. (whose initials stand for the letters A and C) talks with Kyle Rote Jr. about crashing the boards with the big boys.
KYLE: Let’s talk about the toughness of the game itself. A lot of people have believed for many years that playing basketball in the NBA is physically the toughest of any of the professional sports.
A.C.: That’s true in that it’s really demanding on your body. And it’s pretty obvious to anyone who might watch…
Imagine having a job in which you get paid only if you do better than most of your fellow workers. And some weeks when you show up for work, your superiors make you try out just to see if you can even work that week. That’s something like the high-pressure world of the professional golfers tour, where nothing is given to you free and the rewards are there only for those who can persevere. Kyle Rote Jr. Talks with PGA golfer Larry Mize to find out how he survives on tour…
Mize won the Masters in 1987, when he chipped in from off the green at the 11th hole at Augusta in a playoff to win his only major title. Click here to read Sports Spectrum’s interview with Mize from its January-February 1991 issue. Continue reading
Let’s go back to 1988. To the suburban community of Lake Bluff, Illinois, home of Lake Forest High School. Rob Pelinka is nearing the end of an outstanding prep basketball career. As a senior, the 6-foot, 6-inch guard is averaging 30 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game.
Recruiters from around the country are knocking on his door, offering their championship promises on a daily basis. Coaches from Arizona, Stanford, Illinois, and Michigan are regulars at the Pelinka residence. That’s not to mention the letters of interest from perennial basketball powerhouses North Carolina and Duke…
Click here to read our 1993 feature on Rob Pelinka, who was the sixth man for the University of Michigan under the Fab Five and now represents NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Continue reading
Simply the best.
John Wooden is, without question, the most successful, most respected, most everything collegiate basketball coach in the universe.
Wooden passed away at age 99 on June 4, 2010, about fourth months from his 100th birthday… Continue reading
Roger Thomas Staubach. Winner. What more can you say? Here’s a guy who had only one losing season in his lifetime. From Cincinnati’s Purcell High School to the New Mexico Military Institute to the Naval Academy to the Dallas Cowboys – his only sub .500 season was when injuries sank his senior season at Navy. And his winning percentage in the pros was a wave-worthy .746… Continue reading
Just the mention of his name elicits a collection of defeated, almost fearful responses from major league hitters.
Some shake their head and laugh nervously. Others ponder their fate for a moment…then shrug their shoulders in resignation. Still others take a deep breath and slowly exhale as if they’ve narrowly escaped death… Continue reading