Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:33 am
Play about Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rivalry set to hit the stage in 2012.
Posted by Matt Moore
The Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson rivalry is arguably the greatest in all of basketball. It defined not only its era, but set the bar for all subsequent grudge matches between players in their prime. Celtics-Lakers has always been a rivalry. But Magic v. Bird took it to the entirely next level we see today, and even Kevin Garnett's spittle or Kobe Bryant's jaw can't quite seem to reach that fevered pitch. So it's only natural for the rivalry to have been dissected and showcased as it has, in several books, a documentary, and countless television debates. But now we get something a little bit... different.
The playwright and producers for Lombardi, the on-stage production about the famous Packers coach have turned their eyes upon Magic vs. Bird, and in cooperation with the NBA will be producing a play based on the battle between Larry Legend and the Magic man. Production is scheduled for a 2012 debut, and both Bird and Johnson will be working with the creative team during the process.
Johnson's life won't be difficult to inflate to on-screen proportions. Johnson is an over-the-top personality who was beloved by nearly everyone he met and who the media gravitated towards. He had the flashy smile, was the life of the party, and changed the way we look at point guards forever. Bird, on the other hand, is a bit like Chigurh from "No Country For Old Men," a mostly-silent, emotionally-strained and cold-blooded player who generally didn't like the attention brought on by the media. But then, that juxtaposition, combined with both Bird's country roots and the close friendship that formed between the two should make for some decent material. The fact that their rivalry started in college and followed throughout their careers gives quite a bit of a plotline here as well.
If we're going down this road, can we make a few other suggestions for some on-screen adaptations?
Half-Cocked: The Life and Times of Gilbert Arenas.
180 Days on a Wire. The incredible true story of Carmelo Anthony's trade saga. Better wait about ten years to produce this for when we want to hear about it again.
The Beard, the Boom, and the Hotcakes. Baron Davis and his lifelong love affair with pancakes.
Cantankerous. Jerry Sloan's retrospective. Perhaps as a musical!
Cats. How Michael Jordan bought the Bobcats. Wait. May need a different title.
The BRIs of Love. How the NBA and the player's union put their differences aside for love. Yet to be written.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 12:31 pm
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger provides the latest updates on Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, whether the Los Angeles Lakers will make a move, why the New York Knicks hired former Denver Nuggets executive Mark Warkentien and who is in the mix to be the next head coach of the Indiana Pacers. Posted by Ben Golliver.
In a pair of CBSSports.com videos this week, NBA writer Ken Berger broke down the latest on some of the major trade rumors and personnel changes around the NBA with host Lauren Shehadi.
Always first on the docket: Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, who now has just three weeks to be moved prior to the trade deadline. "Sources are telling me that there is some indecision within the Knicks organization, some disagreement, even, as to how hard they should push for a trade bringing Carmelo to New York," Berger reports. "Those against the move view Anthony strictly as a scorer and the Knicks have plenty of scoring. They think he would be a good option as a free agent but not if major assets have to be given up in a trade when the team has so many other pressing needs."
Speaking of the Knicks, Berger investigates why the team hired a former NBA GM with ties to Anthony as a consultant. "What exactly is the Knicks' motivation for hiring former Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien as a consultant? Sources that have known Warkentien and Knicks President Donnie Walsh for years say this is a Walsh-driven move and bodes well for his future with the organization. Walsh has a contract extension that he's discussing and an option that has to be picked up by April. Several rival executives, however, are telling me this looks more like an effort on the part of ownership to appease CAA, who represents both Warkentien and, guess who, Carmelo Anthony."
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their yearly mid-season turmoil. Berger suggests that the Lakers pretty much have their hands tied when it comes to swinging a deal prior to the deadline. "The Lakers are not happy with how they are playing right now and would like to do a minor deal to kind of tweak things," Berger reports. "The problem they have: they are pretty much locked in with their core players, many of whom are over 30 and have money coming to them for several years down the road. They don't really have any attractive trade pieces that teams would be willing to give them a complementary player. Like, for example, the Wizard and Kirk Hinrich. The Lakers have long been high on Hinrich but they don't have anything the Wizards would want. A team like that would want expiring contracts and cost savings and the Lakers just don't have that. L.A. is going to have to figure this out from within. I just don't see anything more than a minor deal presenting itself between now and the deadline."
You can watch the video below.
In this week's NBA Drive, Berger also laid out the latest on the Indiana Pacers, who fired coach Jim O'Brien last week and could be in for a management shuffle this summer, as all their key pieces have contracts that expire at the end of this season. "Owner Herb Simon came out this week and backed Larry Bird, said he wants him back next season," Berger said. "So that should be a strong indication that Larry and general manager David Morway will be back. Their contracts are both up. With the vote of confidence from Herb Simon, who, by all indications, is happy with the direction if not the results. I think as long as Larry wants to be back, he will be."
Berger continued, saying the Pacers will also be re-assessing their coaching position this off-season. "The first order of business will be hiring a new coach, who may very well be interim coach Frank Vogel. There's some other interesting names on the Pacers list though. Former Cavs coach Mike Brown, former Pacer Mark Jackson, and Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin. Those three names are going to be in the mix, as well as a darkhorse, Hawks assistant Lester Conner, a little-known name around the league, but he was on the Pacers bench last season, and I think he's going to get some consideration."
You can watch this week's edition of NBA Drive with Lauren Shehadi, featuring a guest appearance from NBA Blogger Matt Moore, below.
Posted on: January 30, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2011 2:36 pm
The Indiana Pacers have reportedly fired coach Jim O'Brien. Posted by Ben Golliver.
A little more than a week ago, we noted some rumblings that changes were in store for the Indiana Pacers, as coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway were likely going to be replaced at the end of the season, with President Larry Bird's future up in the air as well.
O'Brien was said to be safe through the rest of the season, as no one on his staff was seen as head coach material. On Sunday, though, that story changed in a big way: Yahoo! Sports reports that the Pacers have fired O'Brien. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger has confirmed the decision, citing multiple sources.
The Indianapolis Star reports that Pacers assistant Frank Vogel is "expected to coach the team for the remainder of the season." According to his NBA.com bio, Vogel is just 37-years-old and in his eighth season as an assistant coach. Once tabbed, Vogel will surpass New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams as the youngest head coach in the NBA.
Berger reports that "a person with knowledge of the team's plans confirmed to CBSSports.com that Vogel was the likely choice to take over for O'Brien on an interim basis. Also under discussion internally, according to the source, was team president Larry Bird coming down to the bench for the rest of the season. If the choice is Vogel, as expected, it is an indication that Bird didn't want to coach."
Yahoo! Sports names former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown and Utah Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin as two possible candidates to replace O'Brien on a "long-term basis."
Pacers fans had been frustrated with O'Brien and the team's progress for some time. The decision to fire O'Brien now rather than wait until the end of the season likely boils down to two factors: expectations and rotations.
The Pacers got off to a 9-7 start, and have enough talent on the roster to be a lower-level playoff team in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. But the Pacers are currently 17-37 on the season, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference, could lead to the thinking that the season is at a crossroads. Salvaging a playoff seed out of this season would be huge, but perhaps O'Brien wasn't seen as someone able to reach the players and right the ship.
The other regular criticism of O'Brien has been his inconsistent rotations. Coaches of losing teams get that a lot, as they juggle the pieces looking for something that will work. The problem: O'Brien didn't have a solid argument to hang his hat on. Star forward Danny Granger has seen his numbers regress from last year, center Roy Hibbert started strong but then tailed off in a big way, point guard Darren Collison often struggled with his efficiency, and none of the other periphery parts have developed into anything substantial.
The firing comes one day after the Pacers lost to the Chicago Bulls, 110-89, on Saturday night. IndyCornrows.com notes that O'Brien was ejected from last night's game.
O'Brien was hired by Indiana before the 2007-2008 NBA season. His record with the team was 121-169, and he never won more than 36 games in a season. His career coaching record stands at 303-327.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 1:34 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Times are tough in Indiana and they appear to be getting tougher. The Pacers' coach and general manager look to be dead men walking. The team is playing horribly. Players that appeared to be cornerstones like Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert are regressing.
As a result, Larry Bird might just have had enough.
Bird is the Pacers president of basketball operations and is in the final year of his contract this season with the team. A report from Fanhouse says Bird is contemplating retiring from the NBA after this season. However, the report states the Pacers definitely will want him back but "even if they do, he's not yet sure he wants to return."
"I have no clue,'' Bird said. "I know the owner wants to sit down and he'll do whatever."
Of course Bird was the team's coach for three seasons, taking them to the Finals one of those years. He said he would coach the team for exactly three seasons and that's what he did. Bird resigned in 2000 as coach, but returned to the team in 2003 as the president of basketball operations.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 1:31 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Recently, reports started bubbling up that Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien might be a dead man walking. And on top of that, general manager David Morway could be seeing his last days.
Over the weekend, a report from ESPN.com said, "Indiana Pacers brass is not pleased with the performance of head coach Jim O'Brien, according to several league sources" But while the Pacers aren't pleased -- and why would they be with the team at 16-25 and losers of five straight -- they aren't looking to can O'Brien before the season is over, according to the Indy Star.
"Barring a sudden change of thought, the Pacers have no intention of replacing O'Brien, who is in the final year of his contract," wrote Wells. "They wouldn't move any of the assistants up and there's no point in bringing in somebody from the outside because the players would have to learn the new coach's system on the fly over the final 41 games of the season."The reason O'Brien might be safe for the rest of this year isn't because Larry Bird and the Pacers want to give him a shot to correct the team's problems and get on track. It's just because they don't feel like a proper interim candidate is on the bench. His assistants are Dan Burke, Frank Vogel, Jay DeFruscio, Vitaly Potapenko and Walter McCarty and none, according to reports, are viewed as a suitable replacement.
In other words, awesome Indiana. Even your assistants stink.
The big complaint with O'Brian, other than the losing of course, is how he manages his team. Danny Granger may be regressing, minutes and rotations are jacked up and he's handled point guard Darren Collison in an extremely odd way. O'Brien wants to win with defense, but the team hasn't played that well on that end the last month. O'Brien is kind of Larry Brown-ish, except without all the wins and success on his resume.
The Pacers will definitely be looking at change this offseason, but by all appearances, it's at least 41 more games of more of the same in Indiana. O'Brien has a shot to turn things around, but by the sound of it, the bell is tolling for him.
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:57 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2011 12:12 am
Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway are reportedly in hot water when their contracts are up this season. Posted by Ben Golliver.
The Indiana Pacers got off to a promising start this year, but it's been back to mediocre over the last month or so, as the team has fallen to 16-23, well below .500.
ESPN.com reports that another losing season could be the last for Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien and GM David Morway.
Indiana Pacers brass is not pleased with the performance of head coach Jim O'Brien, according to several league sources.
That said, O'Brien, who is in the last year of his contract, is likely to remain as coach the rest of the season. Part of the reason is that no one on O'Brien's staff -- Dan Burke, Frank Vogel, Jay DeFruscio, Vitaly Potapenko Walter McCarty -- is viewed as a suitable replacement.On Thursday, the Indianapolis Star noted that Pritchard, who is not currently employed in any capacity by the team, was travelling with Pacers president Larry Bird on the team's road trip.
Pacers president Larry Bird invited Pritchard, who was fired by Portland about an hour before last summer's NBA draft, on the trip. Their friendship goes back to when the two were teammates with the Boston Celtics during the 1991-92 season. Bird likes to pick the brains of people who have held front office positions. Golden State's former executive of basketball operations, Chris Mullin, also a former Pacers player, might hang around the team later in the season.
"There's a lot of guys around the league I talk to," Bird said. "I've always done that."Bird, the paper also noted recently, is in the final year of his contract as well, and hasn't yet reached a decision about whether or not he'll be back.
The Pacers didn't have a great offseason, drafting as-yet-unproductive forward Paul George and guard Lance Stephenson, who immediately made national headlines after getting involved in a domestic violence incident and was asked to remain away from the team. Indiana did net promising young point guard Darren Collison in a trade that dumped Troy Murphy to New Jersey, but it hasn't been enough to turn them into a solid playoff team.
Earlier this month, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger outlined the uphill battle the Pacers were facing as a small-market team attempting to compete against the league's deep-pocketed, big-market teams.
A Moneyball-style GM like Pritchard would make a ton of sense in Indiana, as his understanding of advanced statistics, analytics and cap management is generally seen as the surest way for a small-market team to get the maximum bang for their buck and narrow the gap between the LA's and New York's of the world. Pritchard's name will likely generate a lot of interest this summer, as he and TNT commentator Steve Kerr are the two biggest names among former GMs that are not currently employed in that capacity.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 2:55 pm
Posted by Royce Young
It's been over a decade since Larry Bird last coached. He led Indiana to an awesome 147-67 from 1997-2000 and last coached in the NBA Finals. He said he'd give the Pacers three years and that's exactly what he did.
Then Bird moved to the Pacers' front office, taking over completely in 2008 after Donnie Walsh went to New York, where Bird hasn't been near as successful. So the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a coaching vacancy earlier this summer, thought it might be a good idea to pull Bird back into the game.
And as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, the Cavs reached out to Bird prior to bringing in current head coach Byron Scott. Obviously Bird rebuffed the offer and stayed with Indiana, but it's interesting nonetheless. Bird took the call according to Stein but then quickly decided he had no interest at returning to coaching.
Bird, 53, is said to have pretty much ruled out any return to coaching because of health and family reasons. Never a guy to love the spotlight, Bird has preferred his front office chair instead of the sideline one.
The Cavs had a rough time during their coaching search. Scott is a former Coach of the Year, but now with this Bird revelation, that's two high-profile figures that said not thanks to Cleveland. Current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was close to accepting the job, but decided to stay in East Lansing instead.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:06 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:48 pm
Larry Bird issues sternly worded statement after more details of rookie's arrest come to light.
Posted by Matt Moore
It's important not to leap to conclusions when an athlete finds himself in legal trouble. Situations are rarely as simple as they appear, and were it to be a friend of yours, you'd want the public to extend some level of restraint in criticism and discretion. Unfortunately, the more we learn after the arrest of Lance Stephenson, the harder it is to avoid casting a harsh eye. Regardless, the Pacers aren't necessarily taking that approach. Nor are they taking a position comparable to other teams' "We support (player X) and will stand by him through this time." Instead, they are aggressively discussing punishment, particularly with reports developing that Stephenson not only threw the mother of his child down a flight of steps, but then slammed her head into the bottom step .
It's disturbing behavior for any team to face with a draft pick, but for Indiana, committed to rebuilding its team's character in the eyes of fans who saw the mid-00's team devolve into off-court turmoil (and, you know, the whole Malice in the Palace thing), it's something that will elicit the kind of response Larry Bird issued today. From Pacers.com:
Those are not the words of a franchise looking to brush past the assault charges. Those are the words of a franchise that sounds ready to cut bait on a second-round pick that had such a promising Summer League. After coming out and playing lights out this summer, Stephenson has wasted every ounce of good will he's managed to earn despite his rocky character profile.
It's frustrating. It's frustrating for the Pacers, working to move past their failures in character judgment. It's frustrating for Stephenson's fans, hoping he could capitalize on his tremendous skill if he could just grow up, just a little. To have that much God-given talent, to have worked so hard to put yourself in a position to show all the doubters wrong, and then to justify every negative thing that was said about you, how depressing is that? It's possible Stephenson's completely innocent. Our system will treat him as such, and if exonerated, I'll certainly be the first to acknowledge the mistake of presuming guilt. But it doesn't look good, and as Bird said, Stephenson put himself in a bad situation, one he shouldn't be in.
There's not a tremendous amount of leeway a second round pick gets. Stephenson's short amount of credit may have just been maxed.