The air conditioning remained shut off. A star player appeared negatively affected by the conditions. And his opponent gleefully took advantage of the circumstances.
That about sums up the San Antonio Spurs’ 110-95 Game 1 victory over the Miami Heat, a game that featured a broken AC unit, LeBron James missed the last part of the fourth quarter because of cramps and the Spurs reeling off 16 of the game’s last 19 points. Similar circumstances happened in Game of the 1984 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Boston Celtics, a contest that featured such steamy conditions that it became dubbed “The Heat Game.”
The Lakers had entered the Boston Garden accustomed to the arena’s lack of air conditioning. But this time, it became too unbearable. That never-ending reality coupled with a Boston heat wave set up temperatures inside the building that CBS reported to be measured at 97 degrees, leading many central characters suddenly evaporating on the court.
The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan reported referee Hugh Evans needed to stop at halftime due to dehydration. Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar needed to breathe out of an oxygen mask during stoppage time as he labored through a 7 of 25 performance. And with the Lakers lacking much from their star player, the Celtics largely benefited from Larry Bird posting 34 points on 15-of-20 shooting and 17 boards.
““I play in this stuff all the time back home,” Bird said, according to Pro Basketball Talk. “It’s like this all summer.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Microsoft is using a three-day conference this week to give people a peek into Windows 8.1, a free update that promises to address some of the gripes people have with the latest version of the company’s flagship operating system. A preview version of Windows 8.1 was released Wednesday at the start of the Build conference for Microsoft partners and other technology developers. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The move denies Magic Johnson the chance to be a part of ownership group that would have overseen what could have marked the third Los Angeles-based sports franchise where he exerts influence. Yet, Johnson sounded as gracious on Twitter about former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer making a $2 billion bid to purchase the Clippers as the former Lakers great shows with his infectious smile.
Instead of offering apologies to Magic Johnson for making racially disparaging remarks about him, Donald Sterling threw some more verbal grenades.
On an appearance with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the Clippers’ embattled owner threw out unsubstantiated charges that Magic Johnson fails to help minorities. Sterling criticized Johnson for contracting the HIV virus stemmed from previous infidelities that forced his initial retirement in 1991. Sterling downplayed Johnson’s role in bolstering funds through his foundation for AIDS and HIV awareness through education, treatment and research.
Underneath Sterling’s unprompted attacks on the Lakers’ legend reveals his belief that Johnson has tried leaving him out to try dry so he could position himself to purchase the Clippers.
“He just said: “’Wait. Be patient,’” Sterling said on CNN when describing his attempt to apologize. “‘I will help you. We will — we will work it out. I think he wanted me just to do nothing, so he could buy the team.”
No doubt, Johnson has expressed interest in the Clippers whenever it is put up for sale. But Johnson laughed off Sterling’s assertion, saying he has much more preference in owning a franchise where he once won five NBA championships instead of its crosstown rival.
“This notion that I want his team? If I was going to trick somebody, deceive somebody, be dishonest to somebody, steal somebody’s franchise, it is going to be the Los Angeles Lakers,” Johnson said on Anderson Cooper 360.° Let’s make that clear right now. It won’t be the L.A. Clippers.”
Lakers legend Magic Johnson spoke at Cal State Long Beach
Monday, May 05, 2014, Long Beach, CA.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze
Magic Johnson’s talk with Long Beach State University students at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center on Monday night was a night filled with laughs and that trademark Magic smile.
But there were also tear-jerking moments.
Johnson was asked in the early portion of the Q/A what marked his favorite moment with former Lakers owner Dr. Buss, who passed away last year in February. Johnson said there was too many to choose from, but ultimately decided on his final moment with Buss.
The former Lakers great told the crowd the story of when he went to visit Buss in the hospital, being told by Buss’ daughter, Jeanie, that he was not doing very well.
“I went into the hospital room and he just perked up. And we just started talking about the run that we had, all the championships and all the moments we had together. We sat there for hours, just talking and laughed. And I was thanking him for being a father figure,” said Johnson. “And I knew I was saying goodbye. So I held his hand and we got a chance to reminisce and talk about how we built the Lakers to what they are today.
“When we left each other we both just started crying, because we knew that was going to be the last time for both of us.”
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls (L) eyes the basket as he is guarded by Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during their 01 February game in Los Angeles, CA. Jordan will appear in his 12th NBA All-Star game 08 February while Bryant will make his first All-Star appearance. The Lakers won the game 112-87. AFP PHOTO/Vince BUCCI (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
During the Q/A portion of Magic Johnson’s “Evening With” series at Long Beach State University Monday evening, the former Lakers great was asked to choose between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“Jordan over Kobe, even though I like Kobe a lot and Kobe is my man,” said Johnson. “But Michael Jordan never lost a Finals. Six trips and 6-0.”
“I love Kobe, but he is not Michael. But he’s the closest to (him) that we have ever seen. Kobe got game.”
Even though he called it an “easy” decision to pick Jordan over Bryant, Johnson did not hesitate to offer high praise of the Lakers superstar, who missed the majority of the season with knee injuries.
“I hope that (Kobe) is healthy so he can lead our Lakers back,” said Johnson. “He’s on my Mount Rushmore. He is unreal. Think about his mindset and attitude and how he can just do it night in and night out. That’s one thing great about Kobe. I love him.”
Johnson was also asked to choose between LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He said that was also an easy choice to make, seeing as James can beat an opponent in so many ways. But Johnson called Durant the MVP this season.
The Clippers have already draped their player-featured posters over the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jersey. They have at least temporarily taken away the conversation from the Lakers’ woes that ensured their worst season since moving to Los Angeles 54 years ago and shifted talk to their first-round series against Golden State. And now, the Clippers have done this – tie red-and-blue balloons onto the heels of every Lakers statue outside Staples Center.
Yup, the video above shows balloons around Magic Johnson and Jerry West while they direct the offense, around Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as he shoots a skyhook and while around the late Chick Hearn while he calls the action.
All of this will lead to inevitable outrage among Lakers fans. They will stew about the apparent disrespect even though the Clippers can host their games at Staples Center however they see fit. They will make jokes that the Clippers feature balloons while the Lakers feature statues. They will brag about the Lakers’ storied championship history. They will then lament that foundation won’t temporarily fix the Lakers’ lost season.
There is an easy solution of course: don’t look at the balloons. There’s a more difficult solution: the Lakers’ quest to rebuild quickly.
Lakers’ Kobe Bryant begins on-court training
Golden State’s Mark Jackson keeping the faith through uncertainty
Dirk Nowitzki tells Steve Nash he’s skeptical he’d return if he had similar injury
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at email@example.com
The Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan comparisons took another turn, and it went beyond Phil Jackson writing about them in a book or basketball fans endlessly debating about them.
Jordan threw himself in the conversation by sharing he openly imagines playing against NBA legends in their prime, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and, of course, Bryant.
Jordan threw the famed Laker a compliment. Sort of.
“I don’t think I’d lose other than Kobe Bryant because he steals all my moves.” Jordan said in an interview promoting the video game, NBA2K14.
To which Bryant responded on Twitter.
“Domino effect. I stole some of his … this generation stole some of mine. Bryant then added the hashtag, #thecycle.
How would that Bryant-Jordan one-on-one game play out?
“He’s about 50 years old. It would be a hard time now,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Jordan before laughing. “Back then? I don’t know. He’s one of the greatest, if not greatest player. It would be fun to watch him play, that’s for sure. But I have no clue.”
Beneath his bubbly personality, Magic Johnson often reveals a brutally honest assessment surrounding the Lakers.
His skepticism these days doesn’t just rely on the Lakers’ slim championship fortunes, the product of a first-round sweep last season to San Antonio, Dwight Howard’s departure and uncertainty surrounding Kobe Bryant’s torn left Achilles tendon, From one Lakers legend to another, Johnson also doubts Bryant will return in time for the team’s season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers at Staples Center.
“I don’t think he’ll make the first game,” Johnson said Monday on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “I think that’s asking a lot of a man who’s dealing with an Achilles and he blew it out to come back for the first game. I think it’s going to be later than that.”
No one knows for sure how Kobe Bryant will look once he steps on the basketball court.
Sure, we’ve seen his unyielding determination as he’s progressed enough from his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon both to run on a weight-bearing treadmill and to shoot on a “Pop a Shot” arcade game. An informal sampling of outside medical experts familiar expect Bryant will still play effectively, but voice concerns that the seriousness surrounding the injury will take away his athleticism. It’ll be interesting to see to what degree the Lakers allow Bryant to expedite his recovery time versus exercising caution.
But that hardly has stopped NBA2K14 from offering a sneakpeak. The game doesn’t debut until Oct. 1, but Ronnie2K offered a brief video via his Instagram account on how Bryant looks in the video game. In that clip, Bryant’s aggressive. He relies on his crafty footwork to create space off his defender. He relies on his outside shot instead of driving to the basket. And, of course, he scores.