This past week the Golden State Warriors ended 13 years of misery by finally clinching a playoff bid. My interest in the Warriors has never come close to my passion for the A's or even the 49ers but I'm excited never the less. As a kid I was a bandwagon Laker fan, which was hard not to do in the 80's, but around age 12 or 13 I dumped my bandwagon ways and started rooting strictly for the local teams then finally adopting the Warriors as my NBA team. I was a freshman in high school the last time the Warriors were in the playoffs and I only have vague memories of their season. I do remember going to their fan fest that year and getting my picture taken with Byron Houston, well because the lines for Chris Mullin and Latrell Sprewell were way too long. Damn little I knew at the time how oddly cool it would have been to have a picture taken with Sprewell although I seem to remember Houston got arrested on gun posession charges later in the year.
Now trying to figure out an entry for this I finally found an excuse to use paperofrecord.com. It's a free newspaper archive service that happens to have an expansive archive of old Sporting News. The Sporting News was still some what relevent then, although by then had already lost of a lot of it's prestige, so I figured it'd be interesting to check out an issue from 13 years ago this week and see what was being talked about in the world of sports.
Cover Story: Soar Subject. Can Danny Manning and the Hawks rise to occasion?
-Hawks had the #1 seed in the East going into the playoffs but they would be pushed to five games by the Heat in the first round and then lost in six to the Pacers in conference semis.
Sound Bites: Gorge Steinbrenner, giving yet another manager a vote of confidence:
"I will tell you exactly what I told Buck Showalter. I said, "Relax and manage the hell out of this ballclub, because there's gonna be no change made this year. I don't care of I'm 10 games out at the end of season, you're my manager, and there will be no change made this year, so you don't have to worry.
-Hey he didn't lie. He'd fire him after 1995 instead. Who would have thought that 12 years later Steinbrenner hadn't fired another manager since? Showalter has of course been fired from two more jobs since.
-The NFL announced for the first time their games would be available by pay-per-view for home dish owners.
-In 1994 for the first time those advertisements behind home plate started popping up and in the "Voice of the Fan" section there is one from a fan saying he won't purchase any product shown behind homeplate and urging others to do the same. How'd that boycott turn out?
A Lively Debate: Only two weeks into the season, juicy theories abound about the core of the game - the ball itself.
-Everyone in baseball seemed to be hitting homeruns to start the season and many thought the ball was juiced. The word "steroids" is never mentioned once in the article. I miss those days.
-In a little blurb with an update on the baseball labor situation it is mentioned that Senator George Mitchell is a lock to be the next commissioner, if he wants the job. Guess he didn't want it.
-Dave Stewart accuses Barry Bonds of not respecting anyone but himself. Get out!
-In the Expos' notes section, pitcher Ken Hill shows why his future wouldn't have been as a GM. Expos were off to a slow 4-8 start and he complained about them trading Delino DeShield to the Dodgers in the offseason and saying that teams didn't fear them anymore. Who did the Expos receive for DeShields? Some guy named Pedro Martinez.
-Of course this time of year the NFL Draft was about to happen and they had an article ranking the top defensive players in the draft.
Defensive Ends: 1. Willie McGinest 2. Henry Ford 3. Joe Johnson 4. Shante Carver 5. Fernando Smith
Defensive Tackles: 1. Dan Wilkinson 2. Bryant Young 3. Sam Adams 4. Romeo Bandinson 5. William Gaines
Outside Linebackers: 1. Trev Alberts 2. John Thierry 3. Jamir Miller 4. Rob Fredrickson 5. Ron Woolfork
Inside Linebackers: 1. Winfred Tubbs 2. Kevin Mitchell 3. Allen Aldridge 4. Ken Alexander 5. Jermaine Younger
Cornerbacks: 1. Aaron Glenn 2. Antonio Langham 3. Dewayne Washington 4. Thomas Randolph 5. Tyronne Drakeford
Safties: 1. Toby Wright 2. Marvin Goodwin 3. Van Malone 4. Jason Sehorn 5. Anthony Phillips
-They added a quick Top 50 overall rankings. Comment on Heath Shuler: "A cut above Rick Mirer." High praise indeed.
-Also they had a mock 1st Round draft. Most interesting pick they had...Charlie Ward 19th overall to the Vikings. Ooookaaay.
-Speculation that the Raiders might move to Orlando. Damn, too bad that didn't happen. A's might have had a new stadium in Oakland by now.
"They say defense wins championships. But there's not any defense in the world that can win with an offense like that."
-Charles Barkley on the Knicks. Knicks would come within one win of winning it all.
"Seattle is cruising right now now, but down the road, they're going to have a letdown. They're going to fall at the wrong time."
-Dennis Rodman on the Sonics. Wow, Rodman surprisingly prophetic as the Sonics were shocked by the Nuggets in the 1st round.