NB85-21: Michael Jordan’s rookie NBA season – Lakers at Bulls (Feb 19), vs Celtics (Feb 22) – 1985 | Podcast


Young Mike

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:


* L.A. Lakers at Chicago – February 19, 1985

* Chicago vs Boston (at Hartford) – February 22, 1985


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!

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Orlando Woolridge, Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Bob McAdoo, Kevin McHale, Jawann Oldham, Robert Parish, Dave Corzine, Scott Wedman & Greg Kite.

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NB85-3: Michael Jordan’s rookie NBA season – 1984 USA pre-Olympic Exhibition Games | Podcast


Jordan versus Isiah

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:


* Team USA’s 1984 pre-Olympic Exhibition Games versus NBA Stars


The Olympians played a total of nine exhibition games in just under five weeks, as a build-up to the 1984 Olympic Games, in Los Angeles. You’ll learn facts, figures and tidbits from each of the exhibition games – much of which, we’re confident you’ve never heard before.

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Kevin McHaleSam BowieTerry Cummings.

Many thanks to great friend of the show, Todd Spehr. He kindly provided box scores for each of the exhibition games.


Topics / articles discussed (every effort has been made to confirm exact dates):


Jun 22, 1984: USA vs Indiana University Alumni (final minutes of game)


Box Score: Jun 22, 1984 – USA vs Indiana University Alumni

Box Score (courtesy of @toddspehr35)


Jun 23, 1984 – Olympic cagers prove team skills with victory over former Hoosiers

Jun 23, 1984 - Kentucky New Era


Jun 23, 1984 – Jordan won’t overdose on basketball

Jun 23, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Jun 28, 1984 – Olympic Cage Squad Finalized

Jun 28, 1984 - Argus Press


Box Score: Jun 28, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Box Score: Jul 1, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 2, 1984 – USA cagers shaping up

Jul 2, 1984 - Lewiston Journal


Jul 2, 1984 – Ewing Hears The Cheers

Jul 2, 1984 - Observer Reporter


Jul 4, 1984: USA’s Basketball Tradition on Line When Olympic Competition Commences

Jul 4, 1984 - Schenectady Gazette


Box Score: Jul 8, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 9, 1984: USA vs NBA (a then, record-breaking crowd)


Box Score: Jul 9, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 10, 1984 – U.S. Olympic basketball team becomes part of game’s history

Jul 10, 1984 - The Day


Box Score: Jul 12, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 13, 1984 – Jordan paces Olympians’ win

Jul 13, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Jul 13, 1984 – Michael Jordan leads Olympians

Jul 13, 1984 - The Telegraph


Jul 13, 1984 – Knight influence is evident

Jul 13, 1984 - Milwaukee Journal

Box Score: Jul 13, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 17, 1984 – Knight’s Brash Courtside Manner Is No Accident

Jul 17, 1984 - Palm Beach Post


Jul 21, 1984: USA vs NBA


Box Score: Jul 21, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Box Score: Jul 25, 1984 – USA vs NBA



Jul 26, 1984 – Carolina twosome decisive

Jul 26, 1984 - The Courier


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AIR044: Great NBA Games – Michael Jordan 63 points (1986) – Bulls at Celtics | Podcast


Adam and Todd discuss Michael Jordan’s record-breaking Playoff game – April 20th, 1986 – MJ scored 63 points in the Chicago Bulls’ double-overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.

We discuss all the key aspects of the game. We talk about the CBS broadcast and its commentary team of Dick Stockton, Tom Heinsohn and Pat O’Brien. We chat about the contrasting nature of Boston and Chicago’s respective seasons, leading into their first-round Playoffs meeting. We talk about each team’s roster and our memories and opinions on this incredible match-up – arguably one of the top 10 NBA games ever played.

As per usual, the conversation is scattered with humor and plenty of insight. Todd also updates us on the status of his forthcoming book on the late, great, Drazen Petrovic. A must-listen, for die-hard NBA fans, regardless of the team you support.


Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference

April 20, 1986 | Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers [Box Score] [stat-sheet]

1986 NBA Season Summary

Sports Illustrated (1986): Bird; NBA’s all-time best player?

Greatest Sports Legends (1988): O.J. Simpson | Elvin Hayes

Bill Simmons’ Grantland (2014): George Gervin


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AIR034: Steve Lipofsky – NBA Photographer (formerly, 23 years with the Boston Celtics) | Podcast


Professional photographer (formerly, 23 years with the Boston Celtics), Steve Lipofsky.

Steve has been a professional photographer in excess of 25 years. We talk about his entry into photography as a youngster, the early years spent honing his skills, plus, his wide-ranging experiences, including, working with former and current Presidents (Clinton and Obama).

Steve’s work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Sports Illustrated and TIME – we talk about those opportunities, too. It’s also interesting to learn about Steve’s technical skills; he opens up about the pros and cons of pre-digital photography and the challenges of taking memorable photos.

We discuss Steve’s 23-year tenure as the official Boston Celtics photographer, starting (full-time) in 1982. He was also official photographer for the newly-crowned, 2013 World Series Champion, Boston Red Sox.

There’s also plenty of discussion about Boston’s ‘Big Three’; Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Plus, we talk about Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and of course, the great Red Auerbach.


Links to topics discussed (more added soon):

Steve Lipofsky online: WebsiteFacebook Page


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Water Heater Game – Erving and Bird

Contributor: Greg – a fan, collector and researcher (Dr. J. Memorabilia) | A perfect example of how ‘your story’ can become a great part of NBA Narratives.

April 6, 1986 | Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers [Box Score]

In small-town Canada, the NBA on CBS was the only television pipeline to NBA games. For me, it was religion. This spring Sunday, the Sixers and Celtics were playing their last of six regular season match-ups. The Celts had won four of the previous five and would be collecting another NBA title, a couple of months later. The Sixers were no longer title contenders and Julius Erving would begin his final season in the fall of this same year. Regardless, it was still Sixers / Celtics.

My friend and I were die-hard Sixers fans and would often watch the games together. We’d usually watch at his house, because his cable TV clarity always trumped my rural antenna reception. All games were recorded on VHS. This day was no different.

A third friend joined us and we settled in to enjoy what was once, one of the greatest rivalries in sport. There was no Moses Malone or Andrew Toney that day for the Sixers. Instead, we saw unfamiliar players like Terry Catledge, Greg Stokes and Perry Moss. But Cheeks, Erving, Barkley and Clemon Johnson (off the bench), kept the Sixers in the game.

With only 20 seconds left in the 4th quarter, the Sixers trailed 94-92, with Boston about to inbound the ball in the Sixers’ end. Philadelphia inexplicably let the clock wind down to seven seconds, before fouling Larry Bird – the leading FT-shooter in the league. We needed Larry Legend to miss one. These were Bird’s only two FTs of the day and he shockingly missed them both. Barkley grabbed the rebound, called timeout and promptly flashed the choke sign.

Barkley 'choke' sign

Barkley ‘choke’ sign

From half-court, Erving in-bounded to Barkley, outside the arc. His drive for the tying basket ended with Kevin McHale tying him up. Jump ball, with just three seconds left.

McHale ties up Barkley

McHale ties up Barkley

This play was the breaking point for my friend and he stormed out of the room, marched over to the hot water tank and gave it a good kick. The two of us still watching the game, could hear hissing and the sound of water hitting the floor. Pleas for assistance were ignored as there was still 3 seconds left in the game. So, as my friend frantically searched for the water shut-off, we watched Barkley win the jump and tip the ball to Erving, just outside the 3-point line.

"...he's got a crack at it!"

“…he’s got a crack at it!”

Doc’s buzzer-beater was good and the Sixers won the game, 95-94. Our pal had no idea why we were screaming with delight – he was still battling the flood. Good thing we recorded the game.


AIR032: Mike Fratello – NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator | Podcast


NBA Coach of the Year, TV Broadcaster and The Czar of the Telestrator, Mike Fratello.

We discuss EuroBasket 2013, where Mike coached Ukraine to a fantastic 6th place finish; securing the team a spot in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. We then revisit Mike’s high school years, where he was a star athlete. He talks about his foray into coaching and the opportunities that would lead him all the way to the NBA. We talk about his intrinsic links to Hall of Fame legend, Hubie Brown.

Mike opens up on the re-building process that led the Hawks’ to four-consecutive 50-win seasons. We chat about his 1986 Coach of the Year season and he tells a fascinating story about how he helped motivate Dominique Wilkins, to reach even greater heights (literally and figuratively) as a player. We talk about the 1988 NBA All-Star Game, where he coached the Eastern Conference squad to victory.

Mike discusses his entry to the world of TV broadcasting, the origin of his classic nickname and relationship with the great Marv Albert and former guest of this show, Ian Eagle. You’ll also learn how Mike received a pair of game-worn, Shaquille O’Neal shoes, in unusual circumstances. We get the inside scoop on Mike’s experiences with Michael Jordan, including his time alongside MJ, as a coach at the Michael Jordan Senior Flight School.

We talk about Mike’s six seasons coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers and his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. Plus, we somehow find time to talk about the 2014 NBA season. An incredible array of topics are covered. Thank you, Mike Fratello!

Thanks to former guest on this podcast, Bob Hill – he was key to making my chat with Mike, happen. Many thanks, Bob.


Links to topics discussed:

Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference | Profile

EuroBasket 2013: Tournament Wrap | Formula of Success

1984: Bench-jockeying, NBA Style

1988: NBA All-Star Game | Hawks v Celtics – NBA Playoffs (Game 7)

1993: O’Neal collapses Shaqboard | 2002: NBA on NBC | 2012: Mike Fratello & Ian Eagle

Mike Fratello online: WebsiteTwitter


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