Archive for the sports Category

Talking Wrestlemania with the blokes over at The Bloke Show Podcast

Posted in Hulk Hogan, podcast, pop culture, sports, wrestling, WWF with tags , , , , on February 27, 2014 by Paxton

blokeshow

Just yesterday my appearance on Episode 46 of The Bloke Show Podcast went live. AJ Maggott and the fellas over there asked me to stop by and discuss the first three WWF Wrestlemanias from 1985, 1986 and 1987.

Wrestlemania I Wrestlemania 2 Wrestlemania III

Those three events were the bread and butter of my professional wrestling fandom culminating in Wrestlemania III which may be the greatest Wrestlemania event ever.  We talk about the feuds that lead into each event and we talk about our favorite matches.  Expect lots of love for Bobby Heenan, Hulk vs Andre and Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage.

Lots of love, lots of wrestling and lots of fun.  I had a blast on the show and I hope to go back sometime.  Check out The Bloke Show podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or online.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 76: Nerds Talkin’ Sports

Posted in movies, podcast, sports with tags , , , on March 12, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

So, for episode 76 of Nerd Lunch we return to what the TAG Network calls a “3 Way Dance”. It’s just Carlin, Jeeg and I and we start talking about sports. You heard me right, SPORTS.

International Quidditch Association
(Via International Quidditch Association)

We discuss our thoughts on watching sports, we talk about our own personal experiences playing sports and then we talk about some of our favorite sports movies. It’s a fun discussion in which we discuss a topic that seems the opposite of what this podcast is about.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.

Review of Dream Team by Jack McCallum (2012)

Posted in basketball, books, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, NBA, pop culture, reviews, sports with tags , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

So this week I’ve been looking at the 1992 Dream Team as this year is their 20th anniversary. On Monday I talked about their first appearance in the Tournament of Americas. On Thursday I looked at how that team had been merchandised and marketed to the world.  Today, I’m going to review a brand new book about the Dream Team that came out a week ago. It’s a behind the scenes book written by Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum. The book is titled simply, Dream Team.

Dream Team

On the surface, this book is similar to another book that was released in 1993 called The Golden Boys by Cameron Stauth.

The Golden Boys

Like Stauth, McCallum was a reporter that hung around the Dream Team at the time of the 1992 Olympics. McCallum gathered his notes and interviews with an eye towards releasing his book, like Stauth, right after the team won gold. Unlike Stauth, McCallum’s book deal fell through. McCallum kept those notes, however, and used them to write this new book.  And he supplemented it with new interviews.

Unlike Stauth, however, since this new book is being released 20 years later, he can get some perspective on the 12 man circus that was known as the original Dream Team. None of these guys are still active in the NBA. Twenty years makes people a lot more comfortable about revealing what really went on. In Stauth’s book, you weren’t going to get the honest truth so close to the situation (except from, maybe, Charles Barkley). With McCallum, new interviews with the members of the team and the officials/executives that made the team happen are much more candid. People now are much more willing to talk about the behind the scenes machinations that made this team.  And this is why McCallum’s book is endorsed by the NBA and Team USA and Stauth’s book was not.

Case in point, the controversy surrounding the exclusion of Detroit Pistons point guard, Isiah Thomas.  McCallum covers this topic at length.  It’s very interesting what everyone has to say about this.  Essentially, it comes down to Thomas really keeping himself off the team, but, there were definitely people that didn’t want him there.  Players and executives.

Isiah Thomas
I didn’t make the team?!

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A look at merchandising for the 1992 Dream Team

Posted in basketball, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, NBA, nostalgia, pop culture, sports with tags , , , , on July 19, 2012 by Paxton

1992 Team USA Logo 2012 Team USA logo

Just like anything else during the 80s-90s heyday of the NBA, the 1992 Olympic Men’s Basketball Team (The Dream Team) was marketed in every way imaginable.  Lets take a look at some of that awesome product.  I’ll start with some of the product from around the time the team played, ie 1991-1992.  Then I’ll move forward to present day as there are several things going on now for the 20th anniversary of the team.

One of the first merchandising items I remember were the posters.  These came out in late 1991/early 1992 before a game had ever been played.  The posters were mocked up images of players with Team USA logos photoshopped over their normal uniform.  Here’s the poster I had of Larry Bird.  It hung in my dorm room my entire first year of college.  You can tell it’s a mock up because Bird is wearing his traditional black Converse that he wears with the Celtics.

Larry Bird Team USA poster

Speaking of Bird’s shoes, next I remember the special edition sneakers. Many of the players released their own Olympic sneaker. My favorite, of course, was Converse’s Larry Bird Olympic shoe.  I owned two pairs of these.  I bought one pair, wore them out, then just as they were being discontinued, I bought a pair on clearance.  Then wore those out.  I wish I had kept at least one pair.

Larry Bird Olympic shoesLarry Bird Olympic Shoe
(Via solecollector.com and Air Randy)

The next big merchandising item I remember are all of the NBA Hoops Dream Team card sets.  There were several.  There was a set for the Tournament of Americas which featured many game photos as well as publicity shots.

Larry Bird TOA Dream Team TOA

There was also a regular Dream Team set featuring all the players in mostly publicity photos.

Larry Bird Dream Team John Stockton Dream Team

Skybox had a nice set of Dream Team cards as well.

Skybox Dream Team cards box Skybox Dream Team cards 1

In 1992 there was a video released by the NBA featuring a “documentary” of game clips for the first 10 of the NBA players on the Dream Team. The video was released before the final two spots were filled by Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner.  The documentary included only existing game footage as well as a voice over touting the strengths of each player. I still have this video.

NBA Dream Team video NBA Dream Team back

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1992 USA Olympic Dream Team 20th Anniversary collector cans from 7-Up

Posted in basketball, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, NBA, pop culture, soda, sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

This summer is the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Olympic Men’s basketball team. The original NBA “Dream Team”.  To commemorate this anniversary, 7-up products have a set of 7 collector cans featuring 5 of the legendary team’s members.

2012 Dream Team collector cans

Here is the lineup of cans available.

2012 7-up cans

The five players chosen to represent the “Dream Team” for this set are Magic Johnson (Sunkist), Larry Bird (7-Up), Patrick Ewing (A&W), Scottie Pippen (Sun Drop) and David Robinson (Canada Dry Ginger Ale).  As I said, there are only 5 of the 12 players represented, but there are 7 different cans.  Consequently, Magic Johnson is also on Diet Sunkist and David Robinson is also on Welch’s Grape.  I’m surprised they didn’t go for the full player roster and have 12 collectible player cans.  When I found out about this I was actually concerned that I would have to hunt down 12 more collector cans so soon after my last hunt for cans (see Avengers cans) just ended.  I need not worry now.  I’d like to get all of these cans but I think I’m only getting the Bird and Magic cans.  And I’ll probably get only the Diet Sunkist Magic can.

Larry Bird can Magic Johnson can

Honestly, I’m not surprised about Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley being absent from this set.  They have separate likeness deals that have always made including them in NBA deals dicey.  Jordan rarely showed up as a playable character in NBA Live games in the 90s.  However, why not include cans of Stockton and Malone, Chris Mullin, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler or Christian Laettner (not really missed, btw)?  I’m very saddened by the absence of Stockton and Malone especially.  I was a big fan of the Jazz in the late 80s – early 90s.  I’ve even seen them play at The Delta Center in Salt Lake City.  Next to Larry Bird, John Stockton is my favorite NBA player of all time.  I had planned on just getting the Stockton, Bird and Magic cans, but now, like I said, I’ll have to settle for only the Bird and Magic cans.  Which is fine by me, but I would have really liked to have a Stockton can.

So, the actual anniversary of the selection of the initial 10 Dream Team players is September 21.  I’ll be back then with a small retrospective on the team.  I had planned on doing this retrospective anyway, but it’s nice to see 7-Up, ESPN and the NBA have also remembered the anniversary of this most historic basketball team.

Oh, and NBATV has also been running an hour and a half documentary called The Dream Team.  It covers the selection, practices and tournament play of the team with footage and interviews.  It’s been running several times a day every few days.  Check it out if you get the chance.  Here’s the trailer.