Support ‘In all Airness’ at the 2015 Podcast Awards

2015-Podcast-Awards

The 10th Annual Podcast Awards Show, will be held in Las Vegas, in April 2015. If you have enjoyed the content I’ve provided, your nomination is a fantastic way to show your support of my passion for NBA history and podcasting.

As a self-funded podcast, the Awards would help to significantly increase exposure of the show to a wider audience.

Here are the easy steps to follow. I’ve included a screenshot below, too (click to enlarge):

 

1. Visit: Podcast Awards

2. Scroll to: Sports

3. Click ‘Podcast Name’. Type: In all Airness – NBA History podcast

4. Click ‘Podcast URL’. Type: inallairness.com

5. Scroll to: Your Details

6. Type your name & a verifiable e-mail address

7. Select ‘Listener’, ‘Podcaster’, or ‘Both’ (whatever option describes you best)

8. Scroll to: Comments or Questions and add a comment (they’re critical, so the reviewing team understand why a show is deserving of being nominated)

9. Click ‘Submit’.

 

Here’s Michael Jordan’s (hypothetical, of course) completed nomination form – perhaps add more specifics in the ‘Comments’ section!

MJ's completed form

 

You submit the nomination form, one time only. Please ensure you nominate all your favorite podcasts in their respective categories! Once you submit, you’re done!

Thanks again for your tremendous support. Here’s to a great 2015!

Video: Michael Jordan’s first regular-season NBA game (1984 debut)

Michael Jordan

Historically-important footage of Michael Jordan has emerged. Here is the pre-game show, including player introductions, from MJ’s NBA debut – October 26, 1984.

Michael Jordan gets his first taste of NBA-stardom. He receives a rousing-ovation from the Chicago-faithful; even though it is clearly, far from a full house. In the 1984 NBA season, the Bulls were a lackluster 27-55; missing the post-season completely. The 1984 NBA Draft changed all that and the Windy City welcomed a young Michael Jeffrey Jordan into its arms. Jordan had just led Team USA to gold, at the Los Angeles Olympics. Prior to that, he was the 1984 NCAA Player of the Year and collected a slew of awards and honors in a decorated, three-year career with the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Prior to this footage surfacing, a ‘Hardwood Classics’ version of MJ’s first NBA game, was all that existed. The game was joined in progress, in the 3rd quarter. It’s remarkable that it has taken almost 30 years since this game was played, for it to appear in its entirety.

In the first half of this game, Jordan, on a strong drive to the hoop, was met at the rim, by a man mountain named Jeff Ruland (my recent podcast guest):

For the record, Michael Jordan finished with 16 points, in a 109-93 Bulls victory.

 

Video: Michael Jordan referees 3-on-3 – Barkley, Kidd & Finley, versus sumo wrestlers – Japan

More intriguing footage of Michael Jordan has emerged. This time, MJ and fellow Nike pals, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire, are in Japan, taking part in the Hoop Heroes exhibition. According to Ad Age and the Arizona Daily Star, this event took place in September of 1996. The sumo wrestlers are Akebono, Konishiki & Musashimaru. At upwards of $500 for a courtside seat, you would hope that the crowd in attendance, got their money’s worth.

In the above-clip, Jordan referees a game of 3-on-3. It starts off strong; not surprisingly, Jordan goes to work on Barkley, calling him for a touch-foul almost instantly; much to the delight of the crowd. Due to the immense size of the sumo wrestlers, Charles Barkley appears more like a svelte-looking Scottie Pippen, than his usual self.

In a prescient-moment, during the 1994 NBA season – Jordan, then-retired from the sport he had dominated – wryly-said (referring to Barkley): “There comes a time in life when you need to try something new, and sumo wrestling may be that challenge for him, you never know”

The video instantly enters the canon of rare Michael Jordan footage. It recently surfaced on YouTube, but my research suggests it originated on Vimeo – whether or not the uploader is indeed the Konishiki – who features in the clip – remains to be seen.

 

Video: Michael Jordan playing 9 Hoops II and 9 Hoops Hide – Japanese TV

Just when you thought you’d seen it all. This video clip is incredible, strange and captivating. It was most-likely recorded in 1999; Michael Jordan is listed as 36 years old.

In January of 2000, he became a part-owner of the Washington Wizards and was named President of Basketball Operations. Jordan ultimately sold his ownership stake, so that the team could sign him as a free agent in September, 2001 – clearing the way for his return to the NBA, as a player.

In the above-clip, Jordan’s credentials (to date) are listed on-screen, along with a montage of career highlights. We see a plane landing and are shown signage of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Though I don’t speak a word of Japanese, an incredibly-excitable commentator, lends his talents to proceedings. I assume this program was made for Japanese TV and filmed in L.A? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Jordan is playing a game called 9 Hoops II & 9 Hoops Hide. At first glance, it seems the challenge has been designed by an evil basketball-genius. A competitor has 12 attempts to make nine baskets. At the 9 Hoops II-end of the court, Jordan is confronted by 9 separate basketball hoops – a majority are moving targets; horizontally or vertically. At the 9 Hoops Hide-end of the court, a more devious setup awaits. Three rows of three hoops, strategically-staggered at wildly-varied heights.

The contest is a variation of 9 Hoops; a game that Michael Jordan played – with Charles Barkley, as flashback footage shows – in September of 1996 (part of the Nike Hoop Heroes Tour).

My initial thought was that MJ was simply going through the motions – making his sponsors happy and appeasing those involved. However, as the contest progresses, Jordan is increasingly-challenged to make a wide-array of difficult shots. As he builds towards his final shot on the last hoop, Jordan is dialed-in like he’s back on the Delta Center floor in Utah, for Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. His competitive juices are flowing and his reaction to making the final basket, rivals that of his game-winning buzzer-beaters!

Having watched this amazing clip, there’s little wonder why Jordan chose to return to the NBA, in late-2001 – his immense desire to compete was far from satiated. You could argue, it still isn’t.

 

Kendall Gill: Illinois great, All-American and NBA star | Interview

Illinois Fighting Illini great, All-American and NBA star, Kendall Gill.

Due to audio issues, our initial recording of Kendall’s podcast episode failed. Here is the transcribed interview of that conversation – featuring discussion topics that didn’t make it into the re-recorded episode. Thanks again Kendall for your great generosity.

 

Podcast: In all Airness – Jordan-era | NBA History

Guest: Kendall Gill | Record date: Jan 28, 2014 | Key: A = Adam / K =Kendall

 

A: Kendall Gill, thanks for joining me.

K: No problem. It’s a pleasure to be heard Down Under in Australia.

A: Have you ever been to Australia before?

K: Never been to Australia before – but someday, I plan on making it.

A: How do you compare the in-arena atmosphere of college basketball, to the support your Charlotte Hornets received in the NBA?

K: It was a little bit different, because an important thing to remember about the Illini players – each and every one of those players; even the walk-ons – was from the state of Illinois. All of us were home grown. It was special.

When I go to North Carolina and play for the Charlotte Hornets, it was great as well, because of the 22,000 fans they had there every night – they were basketball crazy. At that time, the Hornets were the only show in town. It seemed like a college atmosphere, but it was a little different playing pro basketball to college basketball, because players can get traded and you don’t get to form the special relationships as a pro player, that you can as a college player. The fan support was awesome in Charlotte.

A: How was it, playing with a unique team mate like Muggsy Bogues?

K: Well, with Muggsy, it was great playing with him, because he was a point guard that could deliver the basketball to you. That was his first priority. In today’s day and age, you have guys that shoot first. Muggsy was not at all like that – he pushed the basketball up the court. If you ran, he would give you the basketball. Defensively, people didn’t want to dribble the basketball up against Muggsy Bogues.

If you remember Rod Strickland, who is one of the great point guards – most underrated point guards that has ever played in the NBA – bringing the ball up against Muggsy, he never wanted to do that. He always passed the ball off to the two-guard and let him bring it up. That lets you know that even though Muggsy was 5’3”, he could change the game at any time.

A: True. Rod Strickland had great handle of the ball, so it’s a testament to how good Muggsy was. It must have been quite jarring to see someone of his (Bogues) stature, compete and be so good at NBA level, where players are much taller. Can you talk about his competitiveness?

K: Absolutely. He’s a big-time competitor and confident. Totally confident. Even though he was small, he used his speed to his advantage. He had a great ability to cause disruption on the defensive end. These are his strengths. We know he wasn’t the greatest scorer – he was great at other things and that is what he kept him in the league for so long.

A: Most listeners will know, as we record this chat, the Charlotte Bobcats will soon revert back to being named the Charlotte Hornets. As one of the Hornets’ best players in their franchise history, what’s your opinion of their name change?

K: I think it’s great. I think the fans were so hurt when the franchise left for New Orleans, that when the NBA brought them back, it still wasn’t the same – they were the Bobcats. I think the city identifies with the colors of purple and teal. They identify that with the Hornets name. Now, it seems like the real girlfriend is back (laughs) – so to speak.

I think the city will embrace it and with the name change, there will be more pride instilled in the franchise. Michael Jordan and Fred Whitfield and all those guys understand that. That’s why they wanted to bring the name-change back. It is going to be great for the franchise.

A: [Mutombo’s Nuggets defeated Gill’s Sonics: 1994 NBA Playoffs] After losing Game 5 and returning to the locker room, what happened behind closed doors?

K: Well, it was like a morgue. It was completely silent and like a train hit us. We didn’t know what happened. I don’t know if you saw, but I’m a big boxing fan. Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez; in a fight in which he got knocked out. Manny was winning the fight and then, all of sudden – boom – one punch…he’s out. Exactly the feeling we had when we lost to the Denver Nuggets.

A: At what point in your career, did you increase your physical conditioning, with boxing and aerobic-type exercises?

K: About my 10th year in the league, I started to do mixed-martial arts – things you’d see on the UFC. I did that for extra conditioning in the summer time – being a 10th year player, you need something else to take it to another level, to keep you ahead of the younger players and that’s why I did it. My first love was always boxing. I used to box when I was a kid. I went back to my first love. I had four professional fights – I may have another one – I’m not sure right now. I’m trying to work out the details. However, that is my passion and I do it every day.

A: I know that recently you set a goal to get back to your ideal NBA game-shape. The physical conditioning that you’re talking about – is this one of the driving forces behind that decision?

K: It is. My brothers actually bet me that I couldn’t get into that type of shape again. At Christmas, at my parents’ house, my brothers actually bet me that I couldn’t do it. I said, ‘OK’. It’s a challenge – I always look for challenges – I’m going to do it. I’ve already been in a month of training and I’ve got about a month and a half to go. We’ll see. I’m half way there (laughs).

A: Who did you get amped up for and look forward to playing, when you read your NBA schedule?

K: Well, I’ll tell you what. I used to get amped up to play against Drazen Petrovic. He always brought the best out in me. He and I had some terrific battles. I loved playing against Michael, because…one thing, Michael had the Mike Tyson effect. He had the other guys beat before they even got to the arena. They were afraid of him, you know. That never worked on me. I was never afraid and I relished playing against him – even though he was the greatest to ever play the game. I’m not going to stop him; but, I’m going to make it hard for him. I made it very hard for him to score, but, he still scored. He also had the best offense – the Triangle.

You know, we can go back to Kobe Bryant and how great he was. Shaquille O’Neal. Scottie Pippen. Another guy I loved playing against, even though I didn’t guard him – Hakeem Olajuwon. I think he was the second best player I’ve ever played against. Players like that…you know, Glen Rice and I had a lot battles. Also, Grant Hill. A lot of people don’t know; had Grant Hill never been injured, we’d be talking about one of the greatest players to ever play this game. He was one of the most difficult guys to cover as well.

 

Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

NCAA: Retrospective | Flyin’ Illini1989: Elite Eight

NBA: Draft | Dunk Contest | Highlights | Nuggets v Sonics | Kendall v MJ

Boxing: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Fight Night

Kendall Gill online: Twitter | Instagram | The Backcourt Online

 

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

Follow: Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Subscribe: iTunesRSS | Website

Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail

 

Podcast origins – a year in review

In all Airness - Subscribe to podcast

A year ago, today, I released my first podcast episode. Eternal thanks, Bill Wennington; helping me set sail on the journey. Time now, for us to reminisce.

The premise for my podcast was simple; in theory. I planned to chat with (primarily former) NBA players, personalities and media. That, coupled with NBA history conversations with my basketball-obsessed friends. The latter, was achieved rather easily. The former? Well, that’s a Mark Eaton-sized stumbling block.

Since 1989, I’ve been completely obsessed by all-things NBA; particularly, Michael Jordan-era. I read voraciously – countless Basketball Digest, Hoop, Pro Basketball Today and a myriad of other magazines and annuals. I’ve pored over 20+ year-old box scores, more times than you would believe. I have spent an unimaginable number of hours, watching NBA games and programming on VHS and DVD. As for today’s digital age – don’t even go there.

All that aside, the problem remained – how could a (currently) non-credentialed NBA enthusiast, in Australia, chat with high-profile players and personalities? The Internet allows people to connect like never before. I have been equal parts thrilled and humbled, by the generosity that each guest has shown, agreeing to take time to speak with me. In turn, they have allowed me to compile a collection of episodes that I couldn’t be prouder of.

Perhaps, even greater, is the fact that past guests willingly vouch for my research and podcast preparedness. I have one opportunity to make a great first impression on these people that I admire – I don’t intend to waste that.

Importantly, this podcast journey has also allowed me to meet many great people, who I now consider friends. I thank each and every person who has taken time to listen to one, some or all of my episodes. Further, thanks to those who have also helped spread the word about my show – you know who you are – it’s greatly appreciated.

I have plenty more great guests and episodes in the pipeline – stay tuned, as the journey continues into 2014 and beyond. Also, I plan to add much more great content, here on my website.

Here are some statistics, for those interested in my podcast’s distribution:

Top 5 – Countries (total downloads):

USA, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Iceland.

The ‘Top 5 U.S. Markets’ are San Francisco (includes Oakland and San Jose), Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Here in Australia, the ‘Top 5 Regions’ are Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

To date, the show has been heard in 105 countries!

As always, I encourage you to interact with the podcast and here on the website. You are a part of the In all Airness community. I welcome your suggestions, comments and feedback.

Thanks for your wonderful support. I want to also thank my amazing wife, for her support, too. Without her patience and understanding of my hoops obsession, this podcast would not be possible. Here’s to many great years ahead!

Adam