ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Welcome to an occasionally recurring feature here on All Ball, in which we celebrate the birthday of an NBA great by delving into the highlight vaults. And today we recognize the birthday of one of the All Ball blog’s favorite players, Lakers guard Nick Young.
Born in Los Angeles, Young played three years of college basketball at Southern Cal before turning pro and being drafted by the Washington Wizards. After five seasons in Washington, and brief stops with the Clippers and Sixers, Young ended up back home in Los Angeles as a member of the Lakers. A 6-7 swingman, Young plays with a shoot-first attitude. His confidence on the court is matched only by his confidence off the court, where he enjoys the self-popularized nickname Swaggy P and represents the best of the West Coast. He was also once almost killed by a dolphin.
To celebrate Swaggy P’s big day, let’s check out some of Nick’s greatest hits…
Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
Today’s Topic: Golden State Warriors Win 1975 Championship
The Golden State Warriors were hardly the NBA title favorites when the 1974-75 season began. When they rolled into the playoffs as the West’s No. 1 seed, there were still some doubts they’d reach The Finals. And when they ousted the Chicago Bulls in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, few thought the Warriors could beat the mighty Washington Bullets.
Yet the Warriors did exactly that, locking up the NBA championship on March 25, 1975 with a 96-95 win that completed a sweep of the Bullets. At the time, it was only the third sweep in Finals history and to this day is perhaps the greatest Finals upset ever.
In honor of the Warriors’ feat, we take a look back at Rick Barry and the other players that made that 1975 team shine:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During last night’s Hawks/Wizards Game 5, as terrific as it was, might have been upstaged by a few seconds on the Kiss Cam. As you can here, a young couple is enjoying the Hawks game, and then the Kiss Cam shows up and puts them on the screen, so they kiss and…welp…you can see how it went…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In Game 3 of their series against the Washington Wizards, the Atlanta Hawks mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback, only to lose on a game-winning buzzer-beater from Paul Pierce. And not only was it a game-winning buzzer-beater, it was a game-winning buzzer-beater off of the glass. As Pierce said later, he didn’t call glass, he called game. Pierce joined Chicago’s Derrick Rose, who also hit a game-winning buzzer beater, also off the glass, to beat the Cavaliers.
How to deal? Well, the Hawks suggested perhaps we should just ban using the glass on buzzer-beaters altogether. If you’re a Hawks or Bulls fan, you can support this movement by signing their iPetition. OK, so it’ll never work, but still, as coping mechanisms go, this one is rather humorous.
Did you call bank? Paul Pierce was asked after putting the dagger in the Hawks.
“I called game,” he responded.
Perfect. And clutch. And another part of his Hall of Fame legacy. And a funny summation.
Pierce hitting the 21 footer — off glass — to give the Wizards a 103-101 win Saturday in Washington and a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals was everything, delivering in the moment and also the emotional boost of a close victory, or any victory, with All-Star John Wall sidelined by a broken left hand.
Pierce supplying a much-needed veteran presence in the wake of the emotional hit of losing Wall would have been plenty. It really would have been a big contribution as the Hawks charged back from a 21-point deficit with about 10 minutes to play. The shot, though, was a highlight moment even for a player who has had so many through the years.
It wasn’t just a clutch shot. It was a tough shot, slightly fading away and under defensive pressure from Dennis Schroder. Pierce was near the top of the free-throw circle, took a one-bounce dribble to his left and elevated with the additional clearance at 6 foot 7 over the 6-1 Schroder. Kent Bazemore came over for the double team, but it was too late. The ball was away.
Pierce shouldn’t have been needed to play the hero. The Wizards were up 21 early in the fourth quarter, until the Hawks went on a 17-0 run to close within three points with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining. When Mike Muscala connected from behind the arc with 14.1 seconds left, Atlanta had erased the entire deficit. It was 101-101, setting the stage for Pierce.
Rhetorical question, right?
Pierce’s momentum took him backward and to the court, where he stayed, on his back with his arms up and outstretched. Bradley Beal, the first teammate to get there, stood over Pierce and delivered a series of soft punches to the gut and chest — right, left, right, left, right. The other Wizards charged over to mob him, including Wall in suit and tie, as the crowd exploded in delight. The shot was the thing, but high marks for the reaction as well.
Five Horrys, because five is the limit. This should break the scale, though. Five isn’t enough. Ten wouldn’t be enough. Maybe 34 would be.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Atlanta Hawks have probably the best in-arena organist in the business. Sir Foster has become known for playing all sorts of songs you never hear played on an organ during Hawks games. It’s a little bit deceiving — you’re used to hearing typical “rah rah” songs from the organ, so if you’re not careful you might not notice that Foster is jamming on OutKast or 2 Chainz or whatever Atlanta or national artist is popular at the time.
Foster is very active on Twitter, interacting with fans during games. (I’ve requested he play ATL group Kriss Kross‘s “Jump” whenever there’s a jump ball.) Yesterday, our friends at SB Nation launched a campaign to get Foster to play “Pony” by Ginuwine during last night’s Hawks/Wizards game. Why “Pony?” As they said on SB Nation, “there is one song every human being on earth enjoys, and that song is ‘Pony’ by Ginuwine.”
After using Twitter to lobby Foster during the day, he responded…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Paul Pierce is on a roll. The Washington Wizards may have underwhelmed in the regular season, but Pierce and the Wiz swept the Toronto Raptors in four games in their first round series, which gave Pierce the chance to troll our neighbors to the north.
And now, with some time on their hands before the next round of the playoffs, Pierce and his Wizards teammates went to last night’s Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders hockey game. And since they were in the front row, when given the chance to taunt the visiting Caps Islanders, Pierce couldn’t help himself…
And whether it was Pierce’s influence or not, the Caps won and advanced to round two, the first time the Caps and Wiz have both been in the second round in the same season.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Washington Wizards released a new primary logo today, joining the Milwaukee Bucks as teams looking for a little visual re-boot heading into the postseason. According to the Wizards…
The new primary logo incorporates the “monument ball” design that has been in place since 2011 in combination with the iconic striping from the team’s uniforms, the three stars that represent D.C., Maryland and Virginia (which are also featured on the apron of center court at Verizon Center) and the team’s wordmarks. The Wizards will continue to prominently use both the monument ball and “DC hands” logos in all collateral materials and will discontinue the use of the “wizard/partial moon” logo that was introduced in 1997 and revamped in 2011.