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About Adam Ryan

Podcaster and basketball-obsessive, Adam Ryan - authority on Michael Jordan | NBA history; has spent 25 years absorbing the NBA.

NB86-10: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – February 7 through 21, 1986 | Podcast

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Michael Jordan seeks a second opinion on his broken foot

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – February 7 through 21, 1986

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played six games in this span – two wins and four losses.

Michael Jordan sought second (and third) opinions on his broken foot, before ultimately making the difficult decision to postpone his would-be (February) comeback plans. His Chicago Bulls were facing the distinct possibility of missing the 1986 NBA Playoffs, if the team’s form continued to plummet.

In other NBA news, Alvin Robertson entered rarefied air, becoming just the second player in history (joining Nate Thurmond) to record a quadruple-double, in the San Antonio Spurs’ win versus the visiting Phoenix Suns.

Larry Bird continued to star, as his league-leading Celtics became the first team to register forty regular-season wins. Tune in to hear this and plenty more, as we uncover some hidden gems from the NBA’s golden era.

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: Herb Williams, Moses Malone, Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley, Michael Holton, Kevin McKenna, Micheal Ray Richardson, Julius Erving, Kyle Macy, Mike Gminski & Jeff Lamp.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

86-02-12 – Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers

86-02-14 – Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls

86-02-16 – Dallas Mavericks @ Chicago Bulls

86-02-17 – Chicago Bulls @ Indiana Pacers

86-02-19 – Chicago Bulls @ New Jersey Nets

86-02-21 – Portland Trail Blazers @ Chicago Bulls

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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NB86-9: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – January 23 through February 6, 1986 | Podcast

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Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – January 23 through February 6, 1986

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played eight games in this span – two wins and six losses.

The Michael Jordan-less Chicago Bulls were struggling to keep its head above water. Could they weather the storm, prior to the on-court return of the franchise cornerstone? The Bulls had some great individual performers – the talented (rookie) Charles Oakley; the sporadic brilliance of (troubled) Quintin Dailey; and ageing star, George Gervin, to name a few – yet couldn’t string together more than three-consecutive wins since Jordan injured himself in just the third game of the season.

In other NBA news, the Los Angeles Clippers had their first win – since moving from San Diego – over the cross-town Los Angeles Lakers. On the topic of historical achievements, Manute Bol recorded an astonishing (equal career-high) 15 blocks, in his Washington Bullets’ win versus the Atlanta Hawks.

Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics continued to steamroll opponents, en route to a 13-game winning streak; remarkably, it wouldn’t be the longest such streak the team enjoyed during this season. Tune in to hear this and plenty more, as we uncover some hidden gems from the NBA’s golden era.

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: Kiki VanDeWegheCharles Oakley, Alex EnglishKelly Tripucka, Patrick EwingDavid Thirdkill, Charles BarkleyKyle Macy & Keith Lee.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

86-01-25 – Phoenix Suns @ Chicago Bulls

86-01-27 – Chicago Bulls @ Dallas Mavericks

86-01-28 – Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks

86-01-30 – Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls

86-02-01 – Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls

86-02-02 – Chicago Bulls @ Indiana Pacers

86-02-04 – Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls

86-02-06 – Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

NB86-8: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – January 8 through 22, 1986 | Podcast

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Magic Johnson - Los Angeles Lakers

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – January 8 through 22, 1986

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played six games in this span – one win and five losses.

We chat about the Bulls’ continued struggle to remain competitive, in the absence of (still injured) Michael Jordan. Conversely, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers – led by superstars, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson – seemed headed for a would-be rematch of the previous season’s NBA Finals.

In other NBA news, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the first player to surpass 34,000 career points. Meanwhile, the rivalry between Jawann Oldham and Manute Bol, led to a frightening brawl at Chicago Stadium. That fracas offset another (video) tidbit that was highlighted on (NBA Entertainment’s) Awesome Endings.


 

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: Darwin Cook, LaSalle Thompson, Calvin Natt, Marques Johnson, Purvis Short, Charles Oakley, Kyle Macy, Otis Birdsong & Herb Williams.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

86-01-11 – Los Angeles Clippers @ Chicago Bulls

86-01-14 – Washington Bullets @ Chicago Bulls

86-01-15 – Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons

86-01-17 – Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls

86-01-19 – Chicago Bulls @ Washington Bullets

86-01-20 – Los Angeles Lakers @ Chicago Bulls

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

AIR071: Phoenix Rising – Suns (1968-69 through 1993 NBA Finals) | Podcast

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Phoenix Suns - 25th Anniversary

Adam and Adam discuss the evolution of the Phoenix Suns. From the franchise’s 1968-69 inception, through to the 1993 NBA Finals.

We cover a wide range of topics. You’ll soon learn why Adam is a true Phoenix Suns ‘Super Fan’. When he was a young boy, the Suns were Phoenix’s only professional sports team. We chat about the 1976 season and the Suns’ improbable first trip to the NBA Finals. That 1976 team was lovingly referred to as the ‘Sunderella Suns’. Earlier this year, Tom Leander released a fantastic documentary – of the same name – devoted to the 40th anniversary of that iconic squad [Part I | Part II].


 

Our main topic of discussion, focuses on how the Suns franchise was rebuilt from the ground-up, throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, culminating with their 1993 NBA Finals appearance. We cover some of the off-court issues that plagued the team during the 1980s, then discuss the tragic death of promising Suns center, Nick Vanos. Plus, Adam has a great story about the 1988 NBA Draft and the aftermath of the Suns selecting Dan Majerle. It wouldn’t be a conversation about the Phoenix Suns, if we didn’t chat about Tom Chambers‘ insane jam over Mark Jackson.


 

In November, 1990, Adam sat next to photographers, near the basket support at Memorial Coliseum, to watch the visiting Chicago Bulls – who went on to win the 1991 NBA Finals – take on the Phoenix Suns. He talks about his unique view and memories of that game. The Suns continued to strengthen their roster and all the pieces fell into place, when they traded for Charles Barkley, not long after the 1992 NBA Finals. We talk about the 1993 post-season. Phoenix narrowly escaped a first-round humiliation to the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. Paul Westphal boldly predicted the Suns would win in five games, which they did. We then discuss the 1993 NBA Finals and how the Suns worked their way back into the series, after losing their first two (home) games at America West Arena.

As per usual, the conversation is scattered with humor and plenty of insight. A must-listen, for die-hard NBA fans, regardless of the team you support.

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Curtis Perry, Kevin Johnson, Alvan Adams, Michael Jordan, Larry Nance, Tim Perry, Cedric Ceballos, Mike D’Antoni & Steve Nash.

Statistics mentioned, are often courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

AIR070: Rolando Blackman – Kansas State legend & four-time NBA All-Star | Podcast

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Rolando Blackman - Dallas Mavericks

Kansas State legend and four-time NBA All-Star, Rolando Blackman.

 

High School: William E. Grady Career and Technical, New York

As a young boy, Rolando moved from Panama to New York. We discuss his successful transition to a new country and how he managed to learn – then master – a second language, all from just the age of eight.

To this point, Rolando’s sporting love was football (soccer). After two years of struggling to find others who shared his love of the game, he began to take an interest in basketball, courtesy of his soon-to-be mentor, Ted Gustus. What followed was a transformation from “a kid who couldn’t play…a kid who was throwing the ball away”, to being named one of the city’s top high-school players. Perseverance, passion and focus was paramount. Three times (seventh, eighth and ninth grade) Blackman was cut from his high-school team, before making his breakthrough and fast becoming one of the state’s finest players.

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College: Kansas State University

Years: 1977-78 – 1980-81 | Coach: Jack Hartman

We chat about Rolando’s decision to attend Kansas State University. He had upwards of 200 offers from schools across the country. For three of his four college seasons, Rolando was teammates with friend of the show, Ed Nealy. As a junior, the Wildcats made it to the NCAA Tournament, before bowing out (second round) with a two-point loss to eventual champions, the Louisville Cardinals. Individually, Blackman had a fantastic season, being named Big 8 (now Big 12) Player of the Year and 3rd-Team All-American.

Following his junior season, Rolando was invited to the Olympic trials (May, 1980) in Kentucky. Upwards of 50 nations – USA included – boycotted the (July) Games, protesting the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan. Whilst researching for my conversation with Rolando, I discovered that (his) Team USA participated in exhibition games – dubbed the ‘Gold Medal Series‘ – against teams of NBA stars, culminating in a match-up against the 1976, gold medal-winning U.S. Olympians. Rolando reflects on the trials, the exhibitions that followed and the moment he realized he was one of the nation’s elite players.

Rolando Blackman - Team USA (1980)

 

As a senior at Kansas State, Rolando’s buzzer-beating, second-round heroics, helped advance his Wildcats, deep into the NCAA Tournament – ultimately making a trip to the 1981 Elite Eight. It’s widely agreed that his game-winner versus Oregon State – along with U.S. Reed and John Smith’s same-day buzzer beaters – solidified the term, ‘March Madness‘.

 

1981 NBA Draft

Date: June 9 | Location: New York | Pick: 9 (Round 1) | Team: Dallas Mavericks

We discuss Rolando’s first-round selection and he shares a fantastic draft-day story about fellow-1980 Olympian and future (Dallas) teammate, Mark Aguirre.

 

NBA / Euro career | Years: 1981-82 – 1995-96

Seasons: 1981-82 – 1991-92 | Team: Dallas Mavericks

Coaches: Dick Motta, John MacLeod & Richie Adubato

Rolando joined the expansion Dallas Mavericks, after just their first season in the NBA. They went 15-67 before he entered the scene. The team improved markedly in his first-two seasons with the Mavericks. He talks about the transition from being a college standout, to steering a fledgling team in the NBA.

I refer to my conversation with another friend of the show, Dale Ellis, when I ask Rolando to recall the franchise’s first (series) victory in the 1984 NBA Playoffs. It culminated in a crazy finish to the fifth-and-deciding first-round game versus the Seattle SuperSonics. The game was played at Moody Coliseum, due to Reunion Arena’s already-existing booking to host a WCT (tennis) tournament. Dallas won the game in overtime, not before both teams were ushered back from the dressing rooms, to play out the final second on the clock – which didn’t start, the first-time around. The game is known as ‘Moody Madness‘.

Rolando Blackman’s passion for life, is perhaps best demonstrated in the 1987 NBA All-Star Game. In the final three seconds of the fourth quarter, down two points, he drove strong to the hoop, as a contingent of Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan tried to stop him. A foul was called, just before the time expired. Blackman stood alone, needing to make both free-throws, to force an overtime session. Rolando details his mindset on the final moments of regulation, the ensuing shots from the charity stripe and how he dealt with the countless distractions – most notably, Magic Johnson‘s attempts to limit Isiah’s incessant trash-talking. As you may expect, we also deep-dive into Rolando’s famous exclaim – “Confidence, Baby, confidence!” – one of the NBA’s most-memorable moments ever.


 

2017 marks the 30th anniversary of that game. Rolando also discusses his opinion of Tom Chambers‘ All-Star Game MVP honors. Speaking of All-Star Games, we chat about the 1986 contest, played at Dallas’ Reunion Arena. Rolando talks about being the Mavericks’ sole on-court representative.

It wouldn’t be a conversation about the 1980s Dallas Mavericks, if we didn’t cover the team’s battles against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks extended the World Champion Lakers, to seven games in the 1988 Western Conference Finals.

From 1988 through 1992, the Mavericks were coached by John MacLeod and then, Richie Adubato. The franchise began a decline that would bottom out, the year after Blackman left the team. Rolando candidly discusses the series of events which led to the franchise’s lowest era to date.

 

Seasons: 1992-93 – 1993-94 | Team: New York Knicks

Coach: Pat Riley

In June of 1992, the Mavericks traded Rolando to New York. Instead of playing for Dallas’ 11-71 (1993) squad, he was a member of the mighty New York Knicks – a franchise set to seriously challenge the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a third-straight NBA title. We chat about Rolando’s move to New York and his thoughts on the trade.

The 1994 season is one of my all-time favorites. The league was in transition, with the then-retired Michael Jordan, playing baseball. The Houston Rockets and (Blackman’s) New York Knicks were poised to make the leap to the NBA’s elite. After disposing of the New Jersey Nets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, en route to the NBA Finals, the Knicks went to seventh-and-deciding-games, in the next-three series – versus, Chicago, Indiana & Houston. Rolando shares his thoughts on the end of his NBA career, plus, talks about his decision to finish his playing days with international stints in Greece and Italy.

After retiring as player, Rolando would return to Dallas. In the early 2000s, he was a Player Development Coach for the Mavericks. These were crucial years in the development of future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki. Rolando talks about how closely he worked – and scrimmaged – with a young Dirk.

Within the decade, Rolando also coached internationally. In the 2006 season, he was an assistant coach to Avery Johnson, as the Mavericks made it to the NBA Finals. We discuss his future ambitions within the sport of basketball.

In 2000, the Mavericks retired his famous #22 jersey. Then, in 2007, Kansas State retired his #25 jersey. In 2015, Blackman was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.


 

I ask Rolando – though it’s almost a certainty we’d know what he’d pick – to recall “The Game I’ll Never Forget”. Our conversation concludes with a quick chat about the significance of his jersey numbers.

People mentioned in this episode, include: Sam Bowie, Sam Perkins, Hubert Davis, James Worthy & Kurt Nimphius.

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

AIR069: Great NBA Games – Indiana Pacers vs Chicago Bulls (May 31, 1998) | Podcast

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Michael Jordan drives to the hoop

Adam and Jeff discuss Chicago’s must-win Game 7, to clinch the Eastern Conference and make a sixth trip to the NBA Finals – May 31st, 1998 – the Bulls take on the visiting Pacers, at the United Center.

We cover all the key aspects of the game. We discuss the NBC broadcast and its commentary team of Bob Costas, Doug Collins, Isiah Thomas, Ahmad Rashad and Jim Gray. We chat about Indiana’s rookie coach, the iconic Larry Bird, and his drive to give the Pacers their first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. Conversely, Phil Jackson dubbed this 1998 season, The Last Dance. Something had to give. We talk about each team’s roster and our memories and opinions on this do-or-die match-up.

 

As per usual, the conversation is scattered with humor and plenty of insight. A must-listen, for die-hard NBA fans, regardless of the team you support.

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Michael JordanScottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, Luc Longley, Mark Jackson, Toni Kukoc, Rik Smits, Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Travis Best, Chris Mullin, Jud Buechler & Jalen Rose.

Statistics mentioned, are often courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail