Two days ago, I posted deleted scenes from my Dallas Observer story (“Larry Brown Just Can’t Stop”). I gathered a lot of material during the research process that, while interesting, I wasn’t able to use. Larry Brown is such an integral part of basketball history — it would be a shame not to share what I was given.
Here are some unused portions of my interview on February 13, 2013 with Coach Brown.
Your first pro-team was the Akron Wingfoots [sponsored by the Goodyear Tire Company in Akron, Ohio]?
Wasn’t a pro-team. I got drafted. I think I was the 54th pick in the draft [according to Basketball-Reference.com, he was the 55th pick], but at that time, if you tried out for a team, if you even went to one practice, you were a pro. And there were very few pro teams at the time. And then, there was a tremendous AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] program. You know, Goodyear, Phillips 66, Peoria Caterpillars, you could play ball and get a career, you know start a career. Coach Smith got me a tryout. He had me going to Phillips 66, but for some reason it didn’t pan out. I thought I had a job at Goodyear, and I ended up having to try out actually. I made the team. You played ball and then after work you got to practice. And then, if you had a game, the company gave you off to play games. We played like 50, 60 games. We ended up beating Phillips in the finals in the first tournament, which was a big thrill for me. But it was a great experience, and then four of us made the Olympic team from Goodyear. We won the Olympic trials. It was a great experience. And I probably could have stayed and played for a number of years, but Coach Smith asked me to come back after the Olympics and coach. Worked out great. Read more →
If you want to hear me ramble about the Dallas Mavericks, click the play button below (or the link). I was a guest on “Unnecessary Roughness” yesterday, the afternoon show for ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM. I give my performance a solid “B-”. They invited me to return, so that’s something.
link: David Hopkins on ESPN 1660 AM
(4 minutes, 12 seconds)
For this week’s Two Man Game column (representing ESPN’s TrueHoop Network), I got philosophical on the Mavs’ decision to not shave until they are back to .500, meaning they have an equal win-to-loss ratio.
I’ll admit my sports writing doesn’t always look like sports writing. I’m working on it. But hopefully, I can offer the readers something unique to balance out their diet of stats and play-by-play analysis.
I was particularly proud of these three paragraphs:
What does the beard actually accomplish? Charles Darwin suggested that the beard might have served an evolutionary role in attracting suitable mates, as an indicator of virile masculinity. In many religions, the beard symbolizes an act of holy submission. From the Bible, Leviticus 21:5 states that “They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.” Throughout history, the beard has come to represent crazy, dedicated people who were too busy to shave. (Abraham Lincoln was the first bearded president.) In modern times, beards can symbolize that you are quirky and hip, or that you’re homeless.
For the Mavs, is this beard a daring statement of manliness over their emasculated foes? Is it an act of contrition before the basketball gods? Is it a statement that there’s work to be done? Does it just look cool? Or is it based on the idea that if the Mavs keep playing poorly they may be kicked to the curb?
In the end, anyone who loves sports, be it fan or athlete, is prone to a little superstition. They understand the fickle nature of a ball dancing along the rim with seconds remaining. They have felt the injustice of a call that could’ve gone either way. They have seen their best player on the ground, suffering from a torn ligament that would’ve been fine had he not landed just so. Beards, rally caps, lucky socks… if it works, it’s not weird.
Click here to read it all.
As a columnist for the Two Man Game, which is affiliated with the TrueHoop Network, which is affiliated with ESPN, I’m on a semi-regular rotation with ESPN’s 5-on-5. I get to offer my pro-basketball opinions, and then commenters get to tell me why I’m wrong. Actually, it’s a lot of fun.
For December 28th, “Who’s buying, who’s selling?” Which teams will be the movers and shakers before the trade deadline?
For December 12th, “Oddsmakers: Mavs-Celts, Spurs-Jazz” Predicting 2012-13 outcomes based on each team’s current Hollinger Playoff Odds
I’ve been writing my Two Man Game column for almost ten weeks now. Here’s an update:
Gone Too Soon (November 6th) – Top Five Most Beloved Short-Lived Mavericks
Make or Break (November 13th) – Dallas Mavericks guards Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones have a lot to prove this season.
A Thesis on Being Thankful (November 20th) – A review of a basketball encyclopedia from the 90s gives present day Mavs fans much to be thankful for
Hope for the Half Man (November 27th) – Vince Carter still contributes while everyone else seems ready to retire him.
General Manager Time Machine (December 4th) – In the 1980s, Dallas Mavericks drafted well, but here’s how it could’ve been better.
Player Paradox (December 12th) – Why Chris Kaman is a sneakily productive player
I’ve enjoyed writing for the TrueHoop Network. Plus, Rob Mahoney has been a great editor. If you care at all about the NBA, you should visit and bookmark his Point Forward blog for Sports Illustrated.
This week, I posted my second column for The Two Man Game: A Meditation on Movement. It was about the Mavs’ new starting point guard Darren Collison.
For every column I write, I start with a quote from Galactus–basically because he’s a baller and a truly epic trash talker. “The be-all and end-all am I!” I believe Galactus must look favorably upon basketball (Wasn’t it Galactus who originally said, “game recognizes game”?), because the Devourer of Worlds blessed O.J. Mayo’s preseason game against the Bobcats when I wrote about him. He had a respectable 13 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, which we should just round up to a triple-double. This week, Collison received the Galactus bump when I wrote about him. He had a team high 17 points against the Lakers, played some incredible defense against Nash, and the Mavs won. Last night, Collison scored 17 points again with 7 assists against the Jazz. Kirk Henderson says it best on Two Man Game:
Darren Collison (17 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds) really is a breath of fresh air. While he struggled in the 3rd and 4th quarters, his attacking mentality early in the first quarter and then later again in the second is what kept Dallas in this game early on, despite the rebounding advantage from Utah. He also has posted on 3 turnovers in 65 minutes of playing time this season. (link)
It’s Galactus. Look for his blessing every Tuesday on the Two Man Game.
The Two Man Game posted my first Tuesday column: The Burden and Blessing of Expectations. In my column, I examine the creation myth of O.J. Mayo and the implications of Mayo’s career to date.
Do you remember last week — those simpler days, that more innocent time — when O.J. Mayo was generally regarded as the no. 2 offensive option? Nowitzki would be Nowitzki, and Mayo could simply fill the far right column of the box score behind him. Mayo’s biggest concern was walking in Jason Terry’s shoes. But now, with Nowitzki out for the next six weeks due to knee surgery, Mayo has some larger shoes and a longer road.
Mayo did not start a single game for the Memphis Grizzlies last season, and now, he’s potentially the Mavs’ best offensive hope for the month of November. Sure, Elton Brand will take Nowitzki’s position on the court, but not his role on the team. That will almost surely belong to Mayo. Read more →
Last week, Rob Mahoney put out a call for new contributors to The Two Man Game.
I’ve been reading his blog for quite a while. It’s one of the best-written sites covering NBA basketball and the Dallas Mavericks. After every game, I always stop by to get his keen insight–and then repeat it to my friends and pretend I’m a sports genius.
I sent Rob my portfolio, and he invited me to join the team. Hooray for me. I’m now writing a weekly column. Look for it on Tuesdays at around 10:30 AM CST. I would describe the column as a player (1) profile (2) almanac (3) folklore guide and (4) book of hymns. Fear my basketball insight. You can expect at least one well-reasoned defense of Derek Harper as the Mavs’ greatest point guard. I might also post a few badly-reasoned defenses too.
As a warm-up, I made my first contribution today: “Blue and White.”
I will be here on Tuesday night:
UTA Maverick Speakers Series presents Frank Deford
“Journalism: Sports and Beyond”
Frank Deford’s work has appeared in virtually every medium. With a 50-year tenure at Sports Illustrated, Deford is a senior contributing writer there. As a commentator, he appears regularly on NPR and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO. Deford is the author of 17 novels. His latest is Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter. He has written several TV documentaries, and his novel, Everybody’s All-American, was turned into a feature film. Among his journalism honors are a Peabody, CableACE, and Emmy. Deford also serves as chairman emeritus of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Plus, I’m a sucker for any presentation with the phrase “and beyond” in the title.
I contributed an article to the Mavs Fast Break blog as part of their “Fan’s Voice” series. I’m happy they included my optimistic rambling about the upcoming season.
Regarding the Fan’s Voice articles: “A selected few will be featured on www.mavs.com and entered in for a chance to cover practice or even a game.” I would truly, truly love a chance to play sportswriter for a day. If you visit the site, I could use your likes, shares, and comments. Thanks.