Basketball, broken down to its simplest compound, is about scoring more buckets than the team you’re playing against. The Semi-Automatic refers to players who leave bodies in their wake with their innate ability to get buckets. And from the minute he stepped onto Georgia Tech’s campus in ‘82-’83, until his eventual retirement from the NBA in ‘98, William Mark Price did the thing with pure excellence. Ask any seasoned playground vet with a street pedigree or one of the winningest coaches of all time and they’ll tell you the same.
In the early to mid ’80s, I began paying serious attention to what head coach Bobby Cremins – an exuberant, white-haired, passionate native New Yorker in his 30’s – was building in Atlanta at the Georgia Institute of Technology. A 7-foot Brooklyn cat named John Salley, who tore it up at Canarsie High School, was doing his thing out there along with a guard from Harlem named Bruce Dalrymple. I couldn’t resist the New York flavors and watched those teams every chance I could. And each time, I walked away more and more impressed with a kid from Enid, Oklahoma, who stood a shade under six-foot. Read More »
The Dunk! The Ram! The Slam! The Bong! Whatever you want to call it, it’s an art form, birthed on the playground, that has revolutionized the way the game is played. And in game 4 of the Western Conference playoff battle between the Houston Rockets and Pheonix Suns on May 5th, 1994, Kevin Maurice Johnson threw down one of the illest yokes of all-time. Read More »
“Simple and plain, give me the lane, I’ll throw it down your throat like Barkley!” - Chuck D’s lyrics from the Public Enemy classic, Rebel Without A Pause.
To young fans, Charles Barkley is simply a former player. He’s better known as the affable television personality that always has something funny to say on the TNT show, Inside the NBA.
But for those who watched ball in the ’80s and ’90s, he was an awe inspiring, revolutionary talent that turned the establishment on its ear. He was an unstoppable, undersized, 6′4″ power forward who owned the low post, an explosive leaper and ferocious rebounder who could dribble, pass, score and pump gallons of fear through the hearts of even the most accomplished big men. Read More »
Johnny Earl Dawkins came from a family of ballers. Running on the D.C. playgrounds with his father and three uncles, the young boy learned the essence of the outdoor game before ever stepping inside the cushy confines of the gym.
“They didn’t cut me any slack,” Dawkins told Darren Sabedra of the San Jose Mercury News about playing on Dodge City’s asphalt. “But it hepled me because I understood how to play the game at a faster pace. I had to play just to survive.”
It was during those asphalt runs that he developed into the mercurial, quicksilver marksman that would go on to become one of the greatest guards the college game has ever seen. Read More »
For the past couple weeks I’ve been raving about the young talent the New Jersey Nets have accumulated. In particular, the acquisition of Devin Harris has made the Nets a fast team. To have a guard that can conduct a one-man fast break, generate steals, run the high-hash screen and roll, and knock down the open jump shot has given the Nets an All-Star caliber replacement for Jason Kidd. His rise is reminiscent of the Kevin “KJ” Johnson trade to the Suns after Georgia Tech’s Mark Price won the starting point position in Cleveland. Harris, like Johnson, creates easy offense off the transition and finishes strong at the cup. Read More »