1960, 1992 Olympic teams go into Hall of Fame talking trash to each other

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Dream-Team.jpgThere were no two better teams ever assembled than the two teams going into the Hall of Fame Friday. Two very competitive teams. And they are not done competing.

When Charles Barkley went up to meet 1960 Olympian Bob Boozer and shake his hand, Boozer told FanHouse this is what he said:

“I said, ‘We would have kicked your butts,”’ was how Boozer said he greeted Sir Charles.

And it has been going on like that all week — all in good fun.

The 1960 USA team featured Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Jerry Lucas, Terry Dischinger, Walter Bellamy, and more. It was a real team — five players on the team averaged double-digit points through the tournament.

The 1992 Dream Team featured Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone — 10 players from the 50 greatest NBA players of all time on one team.

Two groups of very competitive guys.

At a roundtable discussion at a Hall of Fame dinner Thursday night, the two teams went at each other. Jerry Lucas… turned to Barkley and said, “I’m sitting next to a player who played on the second-best Olympic team.”’

That got Barkley going.

“First of all, nobody wearing Chuck Taylors can guard me,” Barkley responded. “They always talk about breaking ankles. We would definitely be breaking ankles (of the 1960 Olympic team).’…’

“We were amateurs and we played against many of the older European teams,” Boozer said. “They beat everybody by 43 or something points and we beat everybody by 42 but we were shooting with a soccer ball (which is how Boozer described the then-smaller international basketball) and we didn’t have the three-point line. When you shot a long jumper, it would change directions.”

“Are you kidding me?” Malone said when asked who would win if the 1960 and 1992 teams played in their primes. “We know about Oscar and Jerry (West). We would have double-teamed them. And Lucas … I’m like Charles. I don’t know if you’re going to guard me in Chuck Taylors. They were great but I’m bias. I respect what they did… (But) we would have beaten them by 20. We might feel sorry for them (by not winning by more).”

Hawks sign two-way Tyler Cavanaugh to standard contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who originally came to Atlanta on a two-way contract, has signed a multi-year deal with the Hawks.

Cavanaugh has averaged 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19 games, including one start, since signing the two-way contract on Nov. 5.

Cavanaugh, from Syracuse, New York, played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to George Washington, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds last season. He was selected the National Invitation Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2016 after leading the Colonials to the NIT title.

 

Carlos Boozer announces retirement

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Carlos Boozer went from being known as a gritty second-rounder to an overpaid defensive liability.

In some ways, that’s the ultimate success story.

Now, after playing last season in China, he’s walking away.

Boozer on ESPN:

I’m officially retired.

The Cavaliers drafted Boozer with the No. 35 pick in the 2002. After he spent a couple productive seasons in Cleveland, the Cavs declined his cheap team option to make him a restricted free agent – with an agreement he’d re-sign at a reasonable rate if you ask them, with no handshake deal if you ask him.

Boozer bolted for the Jazz, who gave him a six-year, $68 million contract. He made a couple All-Star teams and helped Utah reach the conference finals.

Then, he went to Chicago on a five-year, $75 million contract after the Bulls struck out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010. The Derrick Rose-led Bulls never broke through, and Boozer was often the scapegoat.

Chicago amnestied him, and he spent his last NBA season with the Lakers three years ago.

Boozer was a pretty good player paid like a very good one, and that didn’t endear him. We mostly remember him for accidentally punching a referee below the belt:

Painting on hair:

And yelling “and one!” after nearly every shot.

For a while, it seemed the 36-year-old Boozer wanted to play another NBA season. But he finally could no longer find a front office eager to pay him.

It’s only fitting that he was denied that last “and one!”

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis still not talking off court

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The Bulls are 5-0 since Nikola Mirotic returned from an injury suffered when Bobby Portis punched him in the face during a preseason practice. Mirotic and Portis are both excelling individually, and Chicago has outscored opponents by a whopping 34.3 points per 100 possessions when those two share the court.

Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

When asked if the two former combatants have spoken yet, Mirotic said, “We did on the floor. We’ve always spoken because we need to have good communication.” As for whether they’ve talked off the floor, however, Mirotic was succinct in his response: “No.”

I guess Mirotic hasn’t completely moved on, though he said he did. But that’s fine. How could someone get past a teammate punching him in the face?

Importantly, this is becoming just a regular NBA problem. The extent of that practice punch was practically unprecedented. But plenty of players have loathed teammates while making it work on the court. That happens more than people realize.

Mirotic and Portis can make this their status quo – at least the on-court cooperation. I’m not convinced Chicago will keep winning like this.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ short film (video)

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Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.

Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful: