Sports Outside the Beltway

Philadelphia 76ers hire Eddie Jordan to be head coach

He will replace Tony Dileo who was interim coach after Maurice Cheeks was fired. From AP-

Eddie Jordan is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving Sacramento’s vacancy as the only remaining coaching opening in the league.

Jordan and the Sixers have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal to reunite the former Washington Wizards coach with Sixers president Ed Stefanski after Jordan and Stefanski worked together in New Jersey.

Jordan was the first to interview for the Philly job — which came open May 11 when Tony DiLeo returned to his front-office post after taking over for Maurice Cheeks in December and guiding the Sixers to the No. 6 seed in the East — and the only other candidate interviewed twice by Stefanski besides Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey.

Sources said Jordan was also the top candidate in Sacramento, but it was believed from the start he preferred to land with the Sixers, largely because Philly is coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. The Kings are essentially starting over after going 17-65 last season and coming out of last week’s lottery with the No. 4 overall pick despite finishing with the league’s worst record.

The status of the NBA franchise Philadelphia is obviously much rosier than that of the one in Sacramento. However the 76ers are nothing more than a run of the mill team. Jordan will have to work hard to improve on that and quickly or he could be fired just as fast as Cheeks was. I will grant this- Jordan did achieve a 20 game improvement in his second year in Washington from what the Wizards did in his first year as their coach. Maybe he can do it again.


Wizards’ DeShawn Stevenson start streak to end at 275

The last time he wasn’t in a NBA starting lineup was three years ago. From ESPN-

With the Washington Wizards off to a 4-21 start, lineup changes were to be expected. Unexpected is DeShawn Stevenson volunteering to sacrifice his 275-game starting streak to help give the team a spark.

Stevenson, who has started 189 straight games since joining the Wizards for the 2006-07 season, will come off the bench Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Stevenson is shooting 31.7 percent from the field this season.

“In a real team gesture he basically told me: ‘Tap, I’m struggling a little bit. Why don’t you let me come off the bench and see if I can’t get my swag back,’ ” interim coach Ed Tapscott said.

Tapscott said he hasn’t settled on the exact lineup for Tuesday’s game. One possibility would have Caron Butler moving to shooting guard and Dominic McGuire starting at small forward.

Washington matched a franchise record for the worst 25-game start with Sunday’s 97-86 loss to Dallas, equaling the mark set by the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets.

Stevenson is being unselfish, which is a good example for other players. The firing of Coach Eddie Jordan I see has done wonders for Washington. NOT! I doubt Stevenson’s gesture, which is the right thing to do, will be make in substantive changes in this team.


Washington Wizards fire Coach Eddie Jordan

The second head coach firing of the 2008-09 NBA season has taken place.

Eddie Jordan was fired as coach of the Washington Wizards on Monday after opening the season 1-10 without injured starters Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.

Ed Tapscott, the Wizards’ director of player development, will replace Jordan on an interim basis, running his first practice as the team’s new head coach Monday morning, a team spokesman told The Associated Press.

The firing was first reported by The Washington Post on its Web site.

Assistant coach Mike O’Koren was also let go, and the Wizards named Randy Ayers as top assistant coach, a source told ESPN’s Ric Bucher.

Jordan was in his sixth season with the Wizards and led the team to the playoffs each of the past four. In September, shortly before the start of training camp, the Wizards picked up a one-year option to keep him under contract through the 2009-10 season.

Frankly I would have been more inclined to giving Jordan more time to work out the problems in Washington. These two recently fired coaches were producing dismal results too but didn’t have Jordan’s success in previous season.


Yao Ming out for season with left foot injury

He will need four months off to heal the injury. From AP-

HOUSTON – All-Star center Yao Ming is out for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, a stunning blow to the surging Houston Rockets. General manager Daryl Morey made the announcement Tuesday, hours before the Rockets put their 12-game winning streak on the line against the Washington Wizards.

Yao was having a terrific season, averaging 22 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

“It is not an injury we feel he can play with,” Rockets team doctor Tom Clanton said. “I’ve made the recommendation that it be treated surgically and we are working with him to get other opinions just to be certain that that is indeed what should be done.”

If Yao chooses surgery, Clanton said, it would involve placing screws across the bone to hold it together. The second option would be to treat it with a cast and crutches. Both options involve a healing time of about four months.

Clanton would not say when Yao could play again, but said he doesn’t expect the center to miss the Beijing Olympics in August.

The Rocket GM says this won’t compromise Houston’s playoff hopes. Maybe not, but without Yao Houston isn’t likely to advance far.


Betting the house

Gilbert Arenas, star of the surprising Washington Wizards, found himself in a bit of trouble with the league.

The NBA warned Gilbert Arenas on Sunday not to repeat his actions of Tuesday night, when he said he made $10 bets with a group of fans during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“We spoke to Gilbert and explained the issue to him,” NBA spokesman John Acunto said. “And he assured us he wouldn’t do anything like this again.”

Arenas was being heckled by Trailblazers’ fans so he decided to put up rather than shut up and promised to make a critical shot or owe the fans (apparently he did this with two fans) $10. He was unsuccessful and the Wizards went down 100-98.

And how did he know how to pay up? He asked the fans for their e-mail addresses.

And how did the NBA find out about his antics? Arenas wrote about the incident on his blog.

I understand that leagues have to take a strong stand about betting. It may be that this was done in harmless fun and he was betting to win. But at some point once someone’s betting, the possibility that he could be compromised if he runs up too many debts becomes real. There’s a need to draw the line someplace. This case was harmless, and, frankly, probably added to the entertainment value of the fans. I understand why the league reprimanded him.

However the league has gone a step further and removed the blog entries referring to the incident from his blog. Now that the story’s all over the news, I hardly see the point to that.

Read the blog. Check out his player page.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad.


Greatest NBA Centers Ever

For Shaq’s 35th Birthday ESPN saw fit to rank the top 10 centers of all time and I can’t disagree with #1 at all.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

As for his achievements: 1967-68 USBWA College Player of the Year; 1969 Naismith Award; Six-time NBA MVP; Six-time NBA Champion; Two-time Finals MVP; NBA Rookie of the Year (1970); and NBA Hall of Fame (1995).

Like no other player, Abdul-Jabbar embodied the maestro team brilliance of Bill Russell and the individual excellence of Wilt Chamberlain. His NBA cup runneth over: six championships, a record six MVPs and a Finals MVP award … at 38 years old!

Possessed the single most unstoppable shot in NBA history — the sky hook — but more than that, he was clutch, consistent and underrated in the toughness department.

He was the starting center on six championship teams and had the presence of mind to cohabitate with stars like Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and James Worthy.

He’s the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points; was named to the All-NBA Defensive team 11 times; and is the only modern era player to lead the league at least once in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, minutes played, field-goal percentage and PER.

However, in their explanation of choosing Kareem as #1 I believe they left out on of the most amazing things about Kareem’s career. His expected arrival in the college ranks led to directly to a preemptive rule change by NCAA when they banned the dunk after the 1967 season and reinstated it shortly after his departure from UCLA. No other player that I can think of recieved the same treatment. While the rule was made mostly to limit his size advantage, it didn’t slow Kareem down as UCLA went 88-2 while he was a player.

The other thing to ponder about this list would is where Bill Walton would be if he hadn’t the chronic injury problems.

As for the complete list:
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Bill Russell
4. Shaquille O’Neal
5. Hakeem Olajuwon
6. Moses Malone
7. Bill Walton
8. David Robinson
9. George Mikan
10. Patrick Ewing


Michael Jordan and Wife File for Divorce

Michael Jordan and his wife of 17 years have filed for divorce.

Michael Jordan and his wife, Juanita, filed for divorce Friday after 17 years of marriage. “Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17 year marriage,” the couple said in a statement issued through their lawyers. “A judgment for dissolution of their marriage was entered today. There will be no further statements.”

Michael Jordan and Wife Juanita Divorce Photo Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan, right, reacts to a reporters' question as his wife, Juanita, listens after he announced his retirement from basketball on Jan. 13, 1999, in Chicago. Jordan and his wife divorced Friday, Dec. 29, 2006, 17 years after the couple wed. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green,file) Juanita Jordan previously filed for divorce in January 2002, but withdrew her petition a month later when the couple announced they were attempting a reconciliation.

During her last divorce petition, Jordan said attempts to reconcile their marriage had failed and future ones “would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family.”

Truly a shame. Jordan’s lifestyle is not the most conducive to maintaining a stable marriage, unfortunately.


Two Washington Wizards players arrested on South Beach

From the Miami Herald-

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – (AP) — Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas and forward Awvee Storey were arrested on charges of disobeying police, part of the crackdown on disorderly behavior among those who have flocked to Miami Beach for Memorial Day weekend.

Storey had been blocking traffic in the middle of a busy street when an officer told him to get back to the sidewalk Saturday night, according to police reports. Storey did not get out of the street, and the officer arrested him and charged him with failure to obey a command.

While police were arresting Storey, Arenas got out of a vehicle and walked toward the arresting officers. According to reports, an officer told Arenas to get back in his vehicle, but he refused, saying he wanted to stand next to his teammate. The officer took Arenas into custody and charged him with resisting without violence.

As Arenas was being arrested, according to reports, he said, “You can’t arrest me. I’m a basketball player. I play for the Washington Wizards, and I’m not going to leave my teammate.”

Both players were then taken to jail for processing.

The Wizards released a statement saying, “We are aware of the situation and, until we have more information, we will have no comment.”

Up my way people block the road all the time but there is never police around. It is never wise to disobey a policeman. That is if you don’t want to go to jail.


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