Not many people could trouble Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the paint, but Nate "the Great" Thurmond was one hell of a defensive player down low. As you'll see in this rare video highlights package, Thurmond was an absolute monster defensively -- a powerful, legitimate big man. Plus, he totally wore that receeding hairline like a boss (LeBron, take note).
The creator of this youtube highlights package described Thurmond as accurately as anyone possibly could here:
One of the greatest 1 on 1 post defenders of all time. Nate Thurmond stood 6-11 w/o shoes and weighed 240lbs in his prime, he had extraordinarily long arms, great strength and incredible defensive discipline and instincts. Thurmond tormented opponents like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Willis Reed holding them to their worst offensive numbers of their careers. He is one of the NBA's 50 greatest players and is the first player to officially record a quadruple double.
New commercial from Footlocker [video]: Carmelo Anthony is an incredibly busy man. That's why he has a bunch of "Melo's" to help play body-double for him; including one who looks strikingly similar to Craig Smith.
As we've previously talked about here, the romantic tale of the 2012 London Olympics has been Team USA basketballer Kobe Bryant and Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice. And it looks like the flirtations are continuing, with the pair today seen enjoying each other's company at the Olympic cycling event.
The photos, published on news.com.au show Bryant joking it up with Rice and other Aussies as they watched Anna Meares (Australia) take on Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) in the velodrome.
Are we witnessing the beginnings of a new high profile sporting romance?
Patty Mills has certainly turned on the inspired play for the Australian Boomers at an optimal time of the Olympic Basketball tournament. After pouring in 39 points against host nation Great Britain, Mills hit a buzzer-beating three point shot to give Australia a two point victory over previously undefeated Russia.
After two losses to Spain and Brazil to start the tournament, the Boomers convincingly took down China to stem the bleeding. Entering the game against Team GB, they needed victory to ensure their presence in the medal knockout rounds, however things did not start out well. The Boomers were down by 15 points in the third quarter, before turning things around to surprisingly finish with a 31 point victory.
Mills put up 39 points on 5/7 three point shooting and 64% from the field to lead the Boomers. That points total represented the highest by any player in the tournament during the 2012 Games and capped a 70-29 second half by Australia.
Coming into the Russia game, Australia had already ensured a crossover match with the might of Team USA, but were looking to ensure momentum. And no better momentum could be guaranteed than the thrill of a last second three by Mills to pull Australia through to a 3-2 record with a win over Russia.
As you can see from the above shaky video footage, Mills received a perfect pass at the top of the key and drilled the three to put the Boomers ahead by two as time expired. Brett Brown drew the play up impeccably and plenty of credit must go to Matthew Dellavedova for a solid screen to get Mills open.
(I had uploaded the final minute of the game to YouTube, but a little thing called Copyright restrictions meant that I had to delete that.)
Next up for Australia is Team USA on Wednesday. The Aussies will be hoping to use their quickness and the physical toughness of their experienced bigs to keep the USA in check for at least three quarters. If they can stay in touch until the fourth quarter, anything can happen. Of course, no one is expecting the game to be remotely close, which gives Australia the 'nothing-to-lose' mentality that can cause upsets.
Things have been a little quiet lately here at A Stern Warning with the Olympics in full swing. You may wonder why... well, I've been writing over at the Olympic Basketball Blog for the duration of the London Games. Check it out, as there is some really good coverage of the Games coming from a range of writers, covering things from multiple angles with numerous articles per day.
Liz Cambage of the Australian Opals today threw down what is believed to be the first dunk in Women's Olympics Basketball history against Russia. Watch it from about seven different camera angles below, as she carves up the matador-esque defence.
Australian womens basketball superstar Lauren Jackson has been rightly accorded the honour of being flag bearer for Australia at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The announcement was made earlier this morning (Australian EST) by Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team, Nick Green.
Jackson has helped the Australian Opals to three straight silver medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, with the USA being the only thing that has blocked their path to gold. On three occasions she has been named the Australian International Player of the Year (1999, 2000, 2002). Her WNBA and WNBL performances have seen her win 3 WNBA and 4 WNBL MVP awards along with numerous championships in both leagues.
“I congratulate the Australian Olympic Committee on their selection of Lauren as the flag bearer for London, not just because she is one of our own basketballers, but because she embodies what is great about Australia and the Olympic ideal,” said Basketball Australia Interim CEO Scott Derwin from London. “She strives for excellence every single day and has achieved success at every level. Lauren is the ultimate competitor who won’t back down from any challenge. I think she is the perfect choice to carry the flag.”
Incoming CEO of BA, Kristina Keneally, also was full of praise for Jackson.
“Lauren will be the ideal representative for all Australians in London, including the over one million people around the country who play basketball,” said Keneally. “She is an outstanding athlete, an exceptional leader and a terrific role model who has inspired so many young Australians with her amazing performances.
“Our best ever men’s basketballer carried the flag in Sydney in Andrew Gaze. Lauren is quite clearly our best ever female basketballer, and quite possibly the greatest female player of all time. I can’t think of a better choice as flag bearer.”
(image courtesy Mark Travis of Silver Screen and Roll)
Julian Khazzouh is one of five names that Australian National Basketball League fans will know in the 2012 NBA Summer League. Whilst his Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Ater Majok has not made as much of an impression, the former Sydney Kings big man has performed a very nice audition in his final Summer League game.
Against the Adam Morrison-led Los Angeles Clippers, Khazzouh put up 16 points, including 10 points in the first seven minutes of the game. His perimeter shooting was impressive, as he connected on 4/5 three-point shots and 6/7 field goals overall, which included a nice drive to the basket and a cleanup on a teammate's miss. He added six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block to his stat line.
The Olympic Village is traditionally a place where world class athletes come together and share a common admiration for each other and their exploits. As athletes arrived in the United Kingdom for the fast-approaching start to the 2012 Games, it turns out that both the Australian swimming team and the Team USA basketball squad are sharing the same Manchester hotel.
A show of mutual fandom was shown when NBA star Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) visited the pool where the Aussies were swimming. The swimmers took turns greeting Kobe and sharing the love. Of course, Aussie swim hearththrob Stephanie Rice took centre stage when she presented the Black Mamba with a Team AUS swimming costume -- which Kobe apparently questioned the size of (watch video here, courtesy of Australia's Nine News).
Rice took to her instagram account to post the photo above with Bryant. I just love the big wet handprint on Kobe's chest, not to mention the goofy grins of shared Olympic joy.