Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:
* 1985 NBA Finals (May 23 through June 9)
* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history
The penultimate episode of #NB85. We discuss numerous happenings from the 1984-85 NBA season. This time, The Finals. Make sure you stay tuned for our final episode. We have a tremendous guest joining us, to finish the series in style.
Two-time Junior College All-American, Missouri star and NBA Champion, Clay Johnson.
Clay discusses his childhood love of multiple sports – including three years playing soccer (football) – where he developed skills that he would use to his advantage, on a basketball court. His journey to the NBA almost didn’t happen. Following high school, Clay contemplated a career as a plumber, before being convinced to attend junior college, where he became a two-time All-American at Penn Valley Community College. He still ranks (see pages 26 & 58) Top 10 for ‘Rebounds in a Season’ and ‘Rebounds in a Career’. Atop these lofty achievements, he’s also a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA Region XVI) Hall of Fame.
Johnson was recruited to the University of Missouri, by Coach Norm Stewart. As a junior, Clay scored a career-high 39 points, in a game against Colorado. In his senior season, he was a team captain, hitting a game-winning jump shot, to advance Mizzou to the second round of the Big Eight Postseason Tournament. Remarkably, with a losing record (14-15), the team (also featuring Larry Drew) qualified for the 1978 NCAA Tournament. In his final game as a Tiger, Clay torched Utah for 30 points.
We talk about the 1978 NBA Draft, where Clay was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the fifth round. Clay recalls his experiences playing in the Summer Pro League and some NBA preseason games. He was waived by Portland, before the regular season commenced.
In August of 1981, Clay signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers. He had to wait until April of 1982, to make his NBA debut – as fate would have it – against Portland, the team that first drafted him, back in 1978.
We chat about Jeff Pearlman‘s excellent book, Showtime, where Clay is quoted on his dislike of (Lakers) Coach Paul Westhead. He contrasts that, with the high esteem he holds for Coach Pat Riley, who Johnson played under, during his two seasons with the Lakers. Clay was a member of the Lakers’ 1982 NBA Championship squad. We talk about his experiences on that team and playing alongside (future) Hall of Famers, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy.
Clay’s last NBA season was 1984, as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics. After failing to come to terms with Coach Lenny Wilkens, Johnson returned home to Missouri, joining the CBA’s Kansas City Sizzlers.
Family aside, Clay’s energy and passion – since his playing career ended – revolves around his Clay Johnson Foundation, where he mentors youth in the Kansas City area and around the country.
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In this episode, we discuss the fifty-third and fifty-fourth 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, the visiting Lakers make their one and only trip to the Windy City. Next, we chat about the Bulls’ visit to Hartford – Boston’s home-away-from-home – to take on the might of the Celtics.
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!
Our conversation covers the whole season – we discuss best / worst team records, all major award winners and notable retirees. We also focus on the 1991 NBA All-Star Weekend; Dee Brown’s ‘Blind Dunk’ and Craig Hodges’ amazing 3-point shooting. We chat random stats, fake player nicknames (incredibly, back by unpopular demand) and of course, the 1991 Playoffs – culminating with Jordan v Magic in the 1991 NBA Finals.
Adam and Todd go head-to-head, in the debut of Retro GM. We assume the role of General Manager, to assemble the best team of players from 1987-1993. We discuss our memories of each player, plus, offer up stats and NBA chatter associated with the era.
Adam and Aaron recap the 1990 through 1994 NBA All-Star Games. We discuss rosters, coaches, leading vote getters, memorable moments and Most Valuable Players. Controversy reigns supreme, when true feelings about a Hall of Famer bubble to the surface. The chat is filled with plenty of insight, mixed with a healthy dose of good humor.