Here are some facts and figures that you readers might want to know regarding the start of the 2013-14 U.S. National Basketball Association season.
+ Each of the 30 member clubs is allowed to employ no more than 15 players on its regular roster with a minimum of 13. Team are permitted to dress 13 active men for each game although only 12 can see action. The old rule was 12 active players with at least one on the inactive list. The latest scheme was instituted during the lockout shortened 2011-12 season and has become permanent since the time. Players assigned to an NBA Development League-affiliate are automatically placed on their NBA team’s inactive list.
There are some exceptions, though. A team is allowed to carry just 11 active players or zero inactive players for no more than two weeks at a time. It can also temporarily place up to four men on its inactive list (for a total roster of 16 players) with league permission in the event of an injury hardship.
In the past, a team must have a minimum of 11 active players but no more than 12 on its roster and at least eight men must dress up during a game. Additionally, a maximum of three can be placed on the injured list. At the time, a player assigned to the injured list must sit out at least five games. That policy was disregarded more than half a decade ago.
+ The Indiana Pacers’ blossoming All-Star forward Paul George, the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player awardee who last September inked an incentive-based five-year, $90 million-plus maximum contract extension that takes effect in 2014-15 (following the expiration of his four-year rookie-mandated scale deal that pays him a paltry $3.2 million this season), scored on an unmolested short jumper for the first points in Season 68 of the NBA’s 1,230-game regular wars.
Behind George’s 24-point, six-rebound, five-assist output, the Pacers went on to register a 97-87 home victory over the Orlando Magic. Indiana’s other high-priced All-Star forward, Danny Granger, is out for the first three weeks due to a calf strain. He was limited to just five games last season due to a knee injury.
With the 23-year-old George’s star on the rise, the 30-year-old Granger (and his expiring contract) is reportedly on the trading block. Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo, the NBA’s No. 2 overall draft selection from Indiana University behind the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anthony Bennett (the first Canadian ever to be drafted No. 1 out of University of Nevada at Las Vegas and an asthmatic 6-8 power forward who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery), came off the bench for Orlando to collect 12 points and a pair of assists.
+ Chicago completed the exhibition schedule with an 8-0 record, putting together its first perfect preseason of at least eight games since 1992. In their regular season opener at the hostile AmericanAirlines Arena, the Bulls got a 107-95 spanking from the two-time defending NBA titlist Miami Heat. The Heat received their 2013 championship rings during a pre-game ceremony.
Seven of the nine men fielded in by Fil-American Miami bench maestro Erik Spoelstra scored in twin digits, led by LeBron James’ 17 points and Chris Bosh’s 16.
Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose made his first NBA appearance since suffering a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee during a first-round playoff game against Philadelphia on April 28, 2012 and subsequently undergoing surgery that forced him to sit out the entire 2012-13 campaign.
In his first game in 18 months, the 6-foot- 3 Rose, the youngest NBA Most Valuable Player awardee in 2011 at age 22, stared for the Bulls, scored 12 points on 4-for-15 field shooting and dished out four assists in 34 minutes.
In the final game of the three-game NBA-opening bill, the retooled Los Angeles Lakers started their season against the up-and-coming LA Clippers, at the Staples Center without meal ticket Kobe Bryant for the first time since 2006.
Bryant is still recovering from last April’s surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon and reportedly will be unavailable for action until Christmas Day (versus Miami).
Without Kobe, the Lakers won again, 116-103, and are now 5-0 in Bryant’s opening-game absences since the Black Mamba made his NBA debut in 1996. It was considered a “home” game for the 16-time league champion Lakers, who are co-tenants with the Clippers at the Staples Center.
Down by four points (79-75) after three quarters, the Lakers broke away to take a 17-point lead (98-81) late in the payoff period with a number of three-point bombs from their reserves, who played the entire payoff period and the game’s final 15 minutes and knocked in the team’s final 48 markers.
Little-publicized Xavier Henry, a fourth-year shooting guard from
Thirteen teams (out of 30) in the U.S. National Basketball Association have made head coaching changes for the 2013-14 season.
Atlanta Hawks – Mike Budenholzer (replacing Larry Drew)
Boston Celtics – Brad Stevens (Glenn “Doc” Rivers)
Brooklyn Nets – Jason Kidd (P. J. Carlesimo – interim)
Charlotte Bobcats – Steve Clifford (Mike Dunlap)
Cleveland Cavaliers – Mike Brown (Byron Scott)
Denver Nuggets – Brian Shaw (George Karl)
Detroit Pistons – Maurice Cheeks (Lawrence Frank)
LA Clippers – Glenn “Doc” Rivers (Vinny Del Negro)
Memphis Grizzlies – David Joerger (Lionel Hollins)
Milwaukee Bucks – Larry Drew (Jim Boylan – interim)
Philadelphia 76ers – Brett Brown (Doug Collins)
Phoenix Suns – Jeff Hornacek (Lindsey Hunter – interim)
Sacramento Kings – Mike Malone (Keith Smart)
Significantly, six clubs – Denver (57-25), LA Clippers (56-26), Memphis (56-26), Brooklyn (49-33), Atlanta (44-38) and Boston (41-40) – decided to make a coaching change even though they registered winning records last season, including three with 56 victories or more.
Drew moved to Milwaukee from Atlanta and Rivers defected to the West with the Clippers after nine previous seasons in Boston.
Mike Brown spent his first five seasons as an NBA head coach with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-10. Subsequently, he lost his job and LeBron departed for South Florida with Miami. Brown rejoined the NBA head coaching cast during the lockout-marred 2011-12 campaign, hooking up with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, but just five games into the 2012-13 wars, the Lakers gave him the pink slip. In a controversial move, the Lakers replaced Brown with Mike D’Antoni, who had previous stints in Phoenix and New York, in lieu of the legendary Phil Jackson. Now, Brown’s back in his second tour of duty in Wine City (Cleveland).
Of the 13 first-year head coaches, nine have had no previous NBA head coaching experience and six are former league players.
Making their NBA debuts are Budenholzer, Stevens, Kidd, Clifford, Shaw, Joerger, Brett Brown, Hornacek and Malone. Former NBA athletes are Kidd, Shaw, Cheeks, Rivers, Drew and Hornacek.
Only Rivers owns an NBA title as a head coach, having accomplished the feat with the Boston Celtics in a 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2008 Finals.
Cheeks (1983 Philadelphia 76ers) and Shaw (2000-2001-2002 LA Lakers) won NBA rings as a player.
Hornacek reached the Finals in 1997 and 1998 with the Utah Jazz, but was beaten both times by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls via 4-2 decisions. Another two-time loser was Kidd, who helped lead the New Jersey Nets to the Finals in 2002 and 2003 but came up short against the LA Lakers (4-0) and San Antonio Spurs (4-2), respectively.
Kidd, a cerebral playmaker during his heyday, had his old No. 5 jersey retired by the Brooklyn Nets prior to a preseason contest against Miami at the Barclays Center last October 17. He is the sixth player in the club’s storied American Basketball Association (ABA)-NBA history to have his number retired, following Julius Erving, Drazen Petrovic, John Williamson, Bill Melchionni and Buck Williams.
A minor stockholder of the Brooklyn franchise (following his purchase of 50 percent of rap mogul-turned-player agent Jay Z’s Nets shares for $500,000), the 40-year-old Kidd is ineligible to coach in the Nets’ first two games this season after he was slapped with a two-game suspension by the NBA for pleading guilty to a driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) case that dated back to July 2012.
Lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank (the bench maestro at Detroit the previous two seasons) is mentoring the Nets for those two games (Oct. 31 at Cleveland and Nov. 2 vs. Miami). Kidd will make his NBA coaching debut in Orlando on November 4 (Manila time).
A majority – 16 – of the 30-member NBA head coaching fraternity once played in the NBA. In addition to Kidd, Shaw, Cheeks, Rivers, Drew and Hornacek, Rick Adelman (Minnesota), Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City), Rick Carlisle (Dallas), Tyrone Corbin (Utah), Mark Jackson (Golden State), Kevin McHale (Houston), Jacque Vaughn (Orlando), Monty Williams (New Orleans), Randy Wittman (Washington) and Mike Woodson (New York) also are former NBA players.
Be a part of this year’s biggest event in Philippine basketball history by participating in ePLUS Digital’s The Big Raffle and get a chance to witness the momentous NBA Global Games Philippines 2013. The NBA Global Games Philippines 2013—the first ever NBA preseason game to be held in the country—shall feature NBA hotshots the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets.
Four lucky winners will get a prize of two (2) Premium B tickets to the NBA Global Games Philippines 2013 at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10 by simply presenting any of the following at any SM Ticket Booth nationwide to avail a raffle voucher priced at P50.00: Any 2013 ticket purchased at SM Tickets; An ePLUS Tap to Pay card; an SM Cinema Cineaccess card plus official receipt; or an official Snack Time receipt. Upon receiving the P50.00 voucher, participants are to register online via www.eplus.ph/nba and fill out an online registration form with the following details: Voucher number/code; First name; Middle name; Last name; Email address; Home address; Mobile number. Upon completion of the registration, participant will receive a pop-up notification followed by an email to validate the online raffle entry.
ePLUS Digital’s The Big Raffle will run from September 19 to 30, 2013. For further inquiries, please log on to www.eplus.ph or call the Cutomer Care Hotline at 470-2222.
More on U.S. women’s basketball.
There were some doubts as to whether Nancy Lieberman was really the first woman to see action in a U.S. men’s professional basketball league.
That’s because there have been some basketball books which indicated that Penny Ann Early, a thoroughbred-racing jockey, supposedly “played” one game for the Kentucky Colonels in the old American Basketball Association (1967-76) in 1969 in a publicity stunt.
This was how the book “The Sports Encyclopedia: *Pro Basketball” by David S. Neft described the Early gimmickry:
“In the midst of a controversy over whether women should be hired as professional jockeys, the Colonels won some press coverage by signing woman jockey Penny Ann Early to a player’s contract.
“Miss Early threw the ball into play on an out-of-bounds play in a game against the Utah Stars; the Colonels immediately called timeout and took her out of the lineup forever.”
However, after a quick check with my ABA season-by-season record book, I found out that there was no single stat attached to Early nor was there even a mention of her name.
This thus legitimizes Lieberman’s stature as the first female player to compete in a men’s pro basketball league.
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Her team is out of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season in the ongoing Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) competitions but Riquna (Bay Bay) Williams of the Tulsa Shock made league history last September 8 after collecting 51 points in a 98-65 road rout of the equally inept San Antonio Silver Stars.
A 5-foot-7 sophomore guard out of the University of Miami, Williams set a new single-game scoring mark in the 17-year WNBA. *It shattered the previous record of 47 points set by 5-11 Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi against the Houston Comets on August 10, 2006, and later matched by 6-5 Seattle Storm forward-center Lauren Jackson against the Washington Mystics on July 24, 2007.
Williams’ 51 points, which broke the Shock’s old franchise record of 44 points posted by Deanna Nolan on June 20, 2008, *were the most scored at the AT&T Center, which is also home to the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
In 35 minutes, Williams, who came into the historic game averaging 14.4 scores, shot 17-for-28 from the field, including 8-for-14 from the three-point area, and went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. The eight triples equaled the WNBA record for most three-pointers made in a single game. *She knocked in 20 points in the third quarter after scoring 16 in the first half.
The 23-year-old Florida native, the Shock’s second-round draft selection in 2012, singlehandedly outscored the Silver Stars, 35-22, in the second half.
Previous to this game, Williams’ WNBA career high was 28 points, which she registered against the Mercury on June 16, 2013.
Williams, who before the 2013 WNBA season, saw action in pro leagues in Slovakia and Israel, was basically a reserve for Tulsa this season. *However, she would finish as the Shock’s second-leading scorer (15.9 ppg) behind Elizabeth Cambage (16.3 ppg) by the time the 34-game regular wars concluded this weekend.
No female athlete has ever suited up in an official National Basketball Association (NBA) game but that does not mean no woman has played in a men’s pro basketball league in the past.
The historic distinction belongs to Nancy Lieberman-Cline, who is the first woman ever to see action in men’s pro league when she inked a one-year, $100,000 guaranteed contract with the Springfield ( Massachusetts ) Fame of the United States Basketball League in May 1986 and made her debut on June 10, 1986.
Lieberman, a 5-10 point guard out of Old Dominion University, was the backcourt partner of NBA player contract signee Ann Meyers during the 1979 Pan American Games in Puerto Rico and 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada.
Nicknamed “Lady Magic” due to her outstanding playmaking skills that reminded hoop fans of all-time Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin (Magic) Johnson during the 1980s, the then-28-year-old Lieberman averaged 1.7 points, 1.3 assists and 11 minutes in 21 games with the Fame in 1986.
The following summer, Lieberman again suited up in the USBL, hooking up with the Long Island Knights. She joined the Washington Generals, the regular foils of the comical Harlem Globetrotters, in late 1987.
One of Lieberman’s teammates with the Generals was Tim Cline, whom she married in 1988, taking the surname Lieberman-Cline until the couple’s divorce on March 15, 2001.
Significantly, before Lieberman broke the gender barrier with her appearance with Springfield in 1986, another momentous development in women’s basketball history came on October 7, 1985 when the Harlem Globetrotters signed Lynette Woodard, the captain of the U.S. gold medal-winning team in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the women’s career scoring leader in U.S. NCAA Division I history from the University of Kansas.
A 6-foot guard, the then-26-year-old Woodard debuted with the Trotters on October 17, 1985 when they opened their 60th season in Brisbane , Australia . Woodard, though, left the team after just two seasons due to a contract dispute.
Lieberman, a three-time All-American and two-time national college player of the year (as the recipient of the Wade Trophy) at ODU (1976-80), was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.
With the establishment of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1997, the Brooklyn-born Lieberman latched on with the Phoenix Mercury. She played 25 games with the team, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 assists off the bench, to become the oldest player in WNBA history at age 39.
Woodard, at age 38, was the second-oldest. She appeared in 28 games with the Cleveland Rockers that same season, norming 7.8 scores each time out, after coming out of a three-year retirement following a four-year stint (1990-93) in a Japanese league. Woodward played a second WNBA season with the Detroit Shock in 1998. Ironically, Lieberman was hired as the Shock’s head coach and general manager at the time. Woodward, too, was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2004.
Lieberman coached at Detroit for three seasons but left after accusations, by unnamed players, of a sexual affair with rookie point guard Anna DeForge. Back in the 1980s, Lieberman had been a housemate of openly lesbian tennis star Martina Navratilova.
Lieberman rewrote WNBA history on July 24, 2008 when, at 50 years old, she inked a seven-day contract to play for the Shock. That erased her own previous record as the oldest player in league history. Lieberman suited up just once, collecting a pair of assists in the Shock’s 79-61 loss to the Houston Comets.
In November 2010, Lieberman broke another gender barrier when she became the head coach of the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League, marking the first time ever that a woman was to coach a men’s pro basketball team.
Lieberman is currently the assistant general manager of the Legends, an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. In the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season, she will also work with Fox Sports Oklahoma as an analyst on the Oklahoma City Thunder pre- and post-game shows.