March 2, 1993 |
They are making their way through the NBA together, two rookies - one a player, the other a coach, both with basketball miracles in their backgrounds. But there are no miracles to be found with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Success must be taken in smaller measure. And given the nature of professional sports, theirs is an unequal partnership. The rookie player has all the security in the world, while the rookie coach has none. Still, rules are rules. When impetuous forward Christian Laettner missed a mandatory practice after the all-star break, interim coach Sidney Lowe suspended him from last Tuesday's game against the New York Knicks.
January 3, 1993 |
Deep in the depressing tundra of Minnesota, the Timberwolves have taken firm hold of the title as Worst Expansion Franchise in the NBA. It's a little sought-after honor, but the Wolves clearly deserve it. Orlando, hit by lightning in the lottery, has come around. Miami can compete when healthy. Charlotte is on the way to the playoffs. And then there is Minnesota, whose coach, Jimmy Rodgers, struggles to survive a situation that threatens to overtake him at any moment. Like good residents of the Gopher State, the Timberwolves are burrowing deeper into the depths of the Midwest Division.
February 20, 1995 |
Owner Harold Katz, channel-surfing NBA games on a satellite dish in Florida, is said to be feverishly entertaining all comers. His more reluctant coach and general manager, John Lucas, admits that would-be partners are calling "every day. " Yes, with three days until the NBA trade deadline, the 76ers are flirting heavily in attempts to land the floor-running team leader they so desperately need. "We're talking to everybody, about everything," Lucas said, covering all bases.
March 13, 2015 |
RORY KARPF didn't have any trouble coming up with the title for the ESPN "30 for 30" documentary he directed that airs on Selection Sunday at 9 p.m. "I Hate Christian Laettner" is the title of a film about the former Duke player who despite hitting "the shot" went on to become villified by people he never met. "They wanted to do this one on Christian," said Karpf, who has also done the "Book of Manning" and "Snoop & Son, A Dad's Dream" for...
March 27, 1990 |
Christian Laettner was sitting in his room in Angola, N.Y., watching television in the spring of 1986. On the screen, the sophomore at the Nichols School in Buffalo saw a press conference from Dallas, the site of that year's Final Four. Featured performers in that press conference were Duke seniors Johnny Dawkins, Mark Alarie, Jay Bilas, David Henderson and Weldon Williams. "Duke was always my school since I saw that press conference," Laettner said at the Meadowlands last Saturday, an hour after hitting the basket against Connecticut that sent Duke to its fourth Final Four in five years.
April 7, 1992 |
They gave ugly a new name, their star couldn't hit the side of a barn, they looked out of breath and out of heart, they were dead. The Duke Blue Devils were all these things in the first half of college basketball's championship game last night. But they won anyway. They always do. Led by Christian Laettner, who was a wallflower one half and a lion the next, Duke defeated the Michigan Wolverines, 71-51, last night to become the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back national titles.
June 22, 1992 |
It was a picture postcard day in this beautiful suburb of San Diego. Beaches at nearby La Jolla were crowded, but the celebrities from the USA men's Olympic basketball team were nowhere to be found. The start of practices had been moved back from yesterday to today, providing most of the 12 members of The Dream Team an extra day to play golf or make flight connections. Less than a mile from the Grand Sheraton in Torrey Pines, a group of eight select college players were working out at the Jewish Community Center.
April 12, 1997 |
What a difference Shaq makes. Shaquille O'Neal returned from a 28-game layoff in a big way last night with 24 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-98 victory that snapped the visiting Phoenix Suns' 11-game winning streak. O'Neal, his left knee encased in a purple brace, played as though he had never been away. He scored 10 of the Lakers' first 13 points on an impressive array of slam dunks that ignited 17,505 cheering fans at the Forum. "Believe me, Shaq is back," guard Eddie Jones said.
March 26, 2000 |
After paying the $7 toll to enter Hoop City, go left on Lynette Woodward Way, then right on Pat Summitt Lane. After passing Rise magazine, take a left on Linda K. Sharp Street and a quick right on Marianne Stanley Street. There, at the end of the road named for the former Immaculata star and Old Dominion coach, is the Last-Second Shot booth, where you, too, can be Charlotte Smith, the North Carolina standout whose three-point buzzer-beater propelled the Tar Heels to the 1994 national title over Louisiana Tech.
April 19, 1993 |
Christian Laettner always will have fuzzy-warm memories of Philadelphia and the Spectrum. "I'm sure my Duke teammates and I will be remembered for what we did here last year," the Minnesota Timberwolves rookie said, referring to Duke's 104-103 overtime victory over Kentucky for the NCAA Eastern Regional championship on the night of March 28, 1992. "People said it was the greatest game in college basketball history. I don't know if it was or wasn't, but it's a game I definitely won't forget.