John F. Kennedy was president. A dozen eggs cost 32 cents. A gallon of gas cost 28 cents. People were going to the movies to see “West Side Story,” and Andy Warhol was painting cans of tomato soup.
Also, in 1962, Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double for a full NBA season.
He was the last person to do it. Until Friday.
In Phoenix, Russell Westbrook guaranteed he will be the second person to put up those numbers for a season — he needed just six assists, and he got that in the third quarter against the Suns.
Westbrook had a couple generous assists handed him by the scorekeeper in Phoenix, but he also had a couple missed opportunities because Steven Adams missed point-blank shots.
There’s been a push in some quarters to denigrate what Westbrook has done this season in an effort to pump up James Harden for MVP. That must stop. Make a case for Harden (there’s a strong one), but do not dismiss what Westbrook has done — not just the triple-double average, which is impressive, but leading a team that plays at the level of an 18-win team when he is not on the court to the playoffs. He has been clutch for them in big games. There are no nights off for him — forget being sat to rest, he is out there every night going 110 percent. Fans get their money’s worth. He doesn’t have a second gear. Westbrook plays with a rage, with a ferocity, too often lacking in the long NBA regular season.
Westbrook deserves all the credit in the world for his season. It has been a joy to watch.
Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.