The Reuters global sports blog
By Larry Fine
The Lakers have owned Los Angeles in the NBA sense for 50 years since moving to the City of Angels from the Land of 10,000 Lakes where they were born the Minneapolis Lakers.
Now with a startling suddenness since the end of the NBA lockout, the famed franchise with its 16 NBA titles looks ripe for a challenge for local hoops supremacy from their Staples Center co-tenants – the perennially sad-sack Los Angeles Clippers.
Read the season preview here courtesy of Larry Fine, and our American sports editor Julian Linden weighs in with five players to watch as well as five teams sure to set pulses racing over the shortened 66-game programme.
Now that all of the hype surrounding the Miami Heat’s season opener against the Boston Celtics is over, the question remains: how good is this team?
Clearly the Big Three, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, underperformed, especially the latter two, who combined for just seven of 27 shooting from the floor.
Where have all the big men gone?
When the Americans last won the title, in 1994, seven-foot-one Shaquille O’Neal was a towering presence that led the U.S. team in scoring, rebounds and blocks.
In North America sports culture summer is the time for baseball. The MLB season kicks off in early April and for the most part flies under the radar for the first few months as fans’ attention is focused on the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft and to a lesser extend the NHL playoffs.
By the middle of June an NBA champion is crowned, (sorry LeBron, maybe next year with your new team) the NFL is as far removed from the ever watchful media’s eye as it ever is, (thank you Brian Cushing, OTA’s were still a few weeks away) and the NHL playoff run receives unprecedented media coverage…in Canada.
LeBron James is sounding like his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers are numbered.
The heavily-favoured Cavaliers were moved to the brink of elimination by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and the NBA’s best player sounded, if not disinterested, distracted.
For many people, watching a ball game represents a chance to escape the problems of everyday life.
Money problems melt away, at least for a few seconds, when watching LeBron James take off from the foul line and rip down a rim-rattling, backboard-swaying slam dunk. Watching Albert Pujols slug a three-run homer into the upper deck with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth can make one forget, albeit briefly, painful family issues.
Often casual fans define the toughness of a sport by the extent of injury that players are willing to play through.
While basketball is often overlooked, this year’s NBA playoff run is giving us several examples of players placing the goal of a team championship above their own individual bodies.
Passion for sport is no greater or less in North America than in other countries but there is a difference. The focus here is unashamedly on the domestic, with an ambivalent attitude among many fans about what the rest of the sports world is doing or thinks.
On the same day that Woods held his first media conference before this month’s US Masters at Augusta, an event that was streamed live around the globe, the hottest topic of conversation in North America was who would win that night’s college basketball final between Duke and Butler.