* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history
The penultimate episode of #NB86. We discuss numerous happenings from the 1985-86 NBA season. This time, the Playoffs through NBA Finals. Make sure you stay tuned for our final episode, when award-winning (1980s) Celtics beat writer, Mike Carey, joins the show.
Larry Bird – won his third-consecutive Most Valuable Player Award
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!
Tune in to hear this and plenty more, as we uncover some hidden gems from the NBA’s golden era.
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.
Kansas State Wildcats standout and 10-year NBA veteran, Eddie Nealy.
[Note: whilst mostly known as ‘Ed’, I refer to him throughout, as Eddie]
High School: Bonner Springs, Kansas
Eddie’s father was his high school basketball coach. He describes what it was like to have his dad calling the shots. The main focus was an emphasis on developing the fundamentals of his game. This would prove vital, as Nealy’s longevity at the highest level was due in no small part, to his tireless work ethic and mastery of hustle.
College: Kansas State University
Years: 1978-79 – 1981-82 | Coach: Jack Hartman
Nealy was a two-time Academic All-American, largely recruited by two schools – Yale and Kansas State. He talks about the reasoning behind his decision to play for the Wildcats. We also chat about a major role that he played in a fantastic game, in his freshman season. He hit crucial free throws to seal victory in the closing seconds.
Eddie’s Wildcats made it to the NCAA Tournament, in three of his four college seasons. In 1981, they advanced to the Elite Eight. I ask Eddie to talk about some key memories from his time at Kansas State, which also included an oversea tour to Japan, prior to senior season. Nealy left college with averages of 10.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. For three of those seasons, he was teammates with the great Rolando Blackman. We cover his recollections of teaming with the future, four-time NBA All-Star.
Date: June 29 | Location: New York | Pick: 166 (Round 8) | Team: Kansas City Kings
We talk about Eddie’s draft-day whereabouts and how he first heard the news that he was an NBA draftee. He also reflects on what it meant to be selected by his home-state team.
NBA / CBA career | Years: 1982-83 – 1992-93
Seasons: 1982-83 – 1984-85 | Team: Kansas City Kings
Coaches: Cotton Fitzsimmons, Jack McKinney & Phil Johnson
Along with (former podcast guest) Eddie Johnson, Nealy played all 82 regular-season games in his rookie season. He recalls some memories from his first year in the league.
The following year – his first trip to the post-season – Eddie’s Kings lost to eventual NBA Finalists, the L.A. Lakers. Nealy talks about his experiences playing the might of the L.A. Lakers.
After missing most of the Kings’ (1984-85) training camp, Eddie was released, signing on with the Continental Basketball Association’s (CBA) Sarasota Stingers – for part of the 1984-85 season – before signing as a free agent and returning to the Kansas City Kings, in late February, 1985. Following the Kings’ off-season relocation to Sacramento, Nealy was released by the team. He returned to the CBA and was a member of the 1986 CBA Champion, Tampa Bay Thrillers, led by Bill Musselman. Eddie fondly recalls his experiences playing in the CBA.
Seasons: 1986-87 – 1987-88 | Team: San Antonio Spurs
In mid-July, 1986, Nealy signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. He played with the team for two seasons. These days (2015), Eddie resides in Texas. We talk about his playing days in San Antonio and what it could have been like to play with David Robinson. Eddie also reflects on some former San Antonio teammates.
Season: 1988-89 | Teams: Chicago Bulls / Phoenix Suns
Prior to the 1989 season, Nealy signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bulls. He played 13 games in his first stint as a Bull, before Chicago traded him to Phoenix (mid-December), in exchange for Craig Hodges. Eddie talks about the move to Chicago and how he responded to hearing news of a trade to the Valley of the Sun. He also recalls a great story from the Bulls’ practice court, involving him and Michael Jordan.
In October, 1989, Phoenix traded Eddie back to Chicago. He was a Bull for the second time. We discuss what he was thinking, when he learnt he was headed back to the Windy City. Nealy played a pivotal role in Chicago’s playoff run. We reminisce about Game 4 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals – Chicago at Philadelphia. Eddie had a terrific performance, scoring 9 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. Jordan torched the Sixers for 45 points. Nealy and Jordan were interviewed by Jim Gray (CBS), post-game.
Season: 1990-91 – 1991-92 | Team: Phoenix Suns
Coach: Cotton Fitzsimmons
Before the 1991 season, Eddie signed with Phoenix as a free agent. He played with the Suns for two seasons – an exciting team, with a very-promising future. We talk about his return to Phoenix.
Season: 1992-93 | Teams: Golden State Warriors / Chicago Bulls
Nealy was waived by Phoenix (early November, 1992), signing with the Warriors, later that same month. He played 30 games in Golden State, before – with the help of Don Nelson – they traded him back to Chicago, for his third stay as a member of the Bulls. After the regular season, the Bulls placed Eddie on the inactive roster. We discuss his memories of the 1993 season, his involvement with the team and how he felt, watching from the sidelines – particularly, when John Paxson launched his famous three-point shot that sealed Chicago’s 1993 NBA Championship.
I ask Eddie to recall “The Game I’ll Never Forget”.
Mike discusses his multi-sport childhood and his decision to focus on basketball. His path to the NBA began at Clifford J. Scott High School. We chat about his tremendous tenure at George Washington University, where he starred academically (Criminal Justice) and athletically. Mike led the Colonials in scoring and rebounding, in each of his four seasons with the team. Between his junior and senior seasons, he participated in the 1984 US Olympic Trials at Indiana University. He shares his memories of those famous trials. We also talk about Mike’s relationship with Patrick Ewing, who played for the Georgetown Hoyas, just miles away from the George Washington campus.
We talk about the 1985 NBA Draft, one of the most talent-laden in the history of the game. The Chicago Bulls selected Mike in the third round (69th-pick overall). Following a season overseas (Italy), Brown returned to the Bulls, and played the 1987 and 1988 seasons with the team, alongside Michael Jordan and (a young) Scottie Pippen.
I also asked Mike about his memories of this famous move – he didn’t disappoint.
In June of 1988, the expansion Charlotte Hornets, selected Mike in the Expansion Draft, trading him to the Utah Jazz, for Kelly Tripucka.
The next five years of Mike’s career (1989-1993), were spent in Utah. The Jazz advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 1992, and we talk about the opportunities that opened for Mike, both on and off the court. He talks fondly about his time with the franchise and being teammates with John Stockton and Karl Malone. We also discuss the 1992 Olympic Games, where Mike traveled to Barcelona to watch four of his teammates (Jordan, Pippen, Stockton & Malone) win the gold medal for Team USA.
After the 1993 season, Mike was traded to Minnesota, in exchange for Felton Spencer. He talks about the adjustment of leaving a winning culture in Utah, to a franchise that was still searching for its identity. The last few seasons of Mike’s career, were with the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. He also returned overseas for a second stint in Europe.
Mike also reflects on some of the great coaches he played for, including Doug Collins, Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan, to name a few.
Since his playing career ended, Mike has been involved in coaching at various levels, and is currently working for the NBA, in a player-development role. We round out the conversation, talking about Mike’s (Las Vegas) radio show, The Embracing Project and finally, his gold-medal success at the World Masters Games, here in Australia.
We didn’t get to cover this, however, it’s very cool and definitely worth a look. Mike is clearly a fan of vintage cars.
Adam & Aaron select their Top 5 NBA Broadcasters / Commentators.
We chat about those responsible for fostering our respective love for the game of basketball. Primarily, we talk about the golden era of not only the NBA, but commentary, too. This episode is littered with sound-bites from some of the most-iconic commentators the game has ever known. We primarily focus on the time-frame 1984 to 1998. We know you’ll enjoy this audible trip down memory lane.
In this episode, we discuss the ninth and eleventh games of MJ’s professional career. We were fortunate to have access to the game DVDs, giving us plenty of topics and moments to talk about. In our first game for discussion, Jordan lights up the Spurs with one of his seven, 40-plus (point) games of the 1984-85 NBA season. Following that masterclass, MJ’s Bulls are schooled by The Doctor and his rampaging Philadelphia teammates.
Aside from a focus on Jordan’s burgeoning career, we cover numerous sub-plots, individual milestones, amusing moments and minutiae from both games.
This episode continues our coverage of the 1984-85 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!