Adam and Aaron discuss the 1994 NBA season – the first, following Michael Jordan’s shock-retirement (October 1993). The in-depth conversation covers the entire season.
We talk about great games and memorable moments, including David Robinson’s all-time highest-scoring performance, that ousted Shaquille O’Neal, for the individual scoring title in The Admiral’s regular-season finale. We chat about the NBA’s only 60-win team – the Seattle SuperSonics – who, were ultimately stunned by the upstart Denver Nuggets in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs. We cover all the major award winners and reminisce about some of the notable retirees, including, three former-Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons.
We delve into Scottie Pippen’s ascent as Chicago’s franchise player, plus, the incredible second-round Playoffs match-up between arch rivals, the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. We also discuss other pivotal moments from the post-season – culminating with Olajuwon v Ewing in the 1994 NBA Finals.
Photos from my (Adam) 1994 NBA Tour, as mentioned in the episode. Also included, is Aaron’s photo with Bulls legend, John Paxson (Chicago, 2012).
Adam and Aaron discuss Michael Jordan’s all-time highest scoring game – March 28th, 1990 – MJ scored 69 points in the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We break down all key aspects of the game. We discuss TNT’s broadcast, the commentary team of Bob Neal and Doug Collins and the Cleveland newspaper article that possibly led to Michael Jordan’s explosive, all-around excellence. We dissect important moments throughout the contest and offer our opinions on relevant players from each roster. Winston Bennett fan? This podcast episode is made for you.
We also touch on the 1990 NBA season as a whole, plus, talk about how each of the two teams fared in the Playoffs. 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.
Three-time NBL Champion, four-time Australian Olympian and NBA player, Mark Bradtke.
Mark talks about his entry into competitive basketball and we discuss his quick rise into Australia’s basketball elite. We chat about his time at the Australian Institute of Sport and later, playing for the Adelaide 36ers, in Australia’s NBL.
We talk about Mark’s decision to move interstate, to play for the Melbourne Tigers – joining forces with Andrew Gaze and Lanard Copeland – helping the team win its first NBL title, in 1993. Recently, the Tigers celebrated the 20th Anniversary of that victory and Mark talks about the reunion and special bond he shares with those players and personnel.
We cover Mark’s outstanding Olympic career, where he represented Australia on four occasions. Mark talks about his opportunities to attend NBA training camps, plus, his 1997 season on the Philadelphia 76ers roster. He is open and honest about his time in the NBA and offers wonderful insight into the trials and tribulations of the experience.
In 1997, Mark returned home to Australia. We talk about the contrast of leaving a struggling NBA franchise, to resuming his career at home and winning a second NBL title, just months later. We look back at Mark’s 2002 MVP season and he also offers his opinion on the current state of basketball in Australia, plus, his future ambitions within the sport.
The conversation is scattered with references to the history of Australian basketball. Aside from his Tigers teammates, we talk about Shane Heal, Luc Longley, Andrew Vlahov and numerous other greats of Mark’s era.
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.
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.
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
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
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!”
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.
Contributor:Ross Franco | Learn about his encounters with Michael Jordan.
I grew up in a small coastal town in North Carolina, called Wilmington. I moved there when I was about 11 years old and absolutely fell in love with it. As any NBA fan knows, Wilmington, North Carolina, is also the home of Michael Jordan – the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.
Ross’ 1981 HS Yearbook | Laney Buccaneers vs. Hoggard Vikings
Back in the early 1980s, we didn’t have the Internet, Twitter and Facebook, bombarding us with a constant flow of information; so, I had not even heard of Michael Jordan, until he was a senior in high school. MJ entered my consciousness about the same time as most other people – when he played at UNC as a freshman and hit this game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship, against Georgetown:
I have been fortunate to meet Michael Jordan, on four or five different occasions in Wilmington, NC.
The first time I met him, I was at Independence Mall in Wilmington, with a friend of mine. We were talking, looked up and saw a familiar figure, bobbing his head and walking toward us with another guy, who would become one of my best friends. It was Michael Jordan and David Bridgers – one of MJ’s lifelong friends. It was kind of surreal, because MJ was a sophomore at Carolina and was already becoming a little bit famous. Can you imagine him walking in a shopping mall now? We exchanged pleasantries and the guy I was with said, “Let’s go play some ball.” I was actually a really good player for a 5′ 10″ white guy, but I knew immediately that there was no way in hell, MJ was going to lace them up and play basketball with us. He kind of laughed and gave the smile that we all know so well. That was the end of that meeting.
Jordan was in Wilmington, another time, which I think was the summer between his rookie year and second NBA season (broken foot and 63-point game against the Celtics). At that point, he was VERY famous. I had also become good friends with David Bridgers during the two or three years since I first met MJ. I was invited to meet them at a local dance club, which was actually in the local Holiday Inn (that’s how small the town was back then). When I arrived, MJ, David and a couple of other guys – Buzz Peterson and Adolph Shiver – were already there. I walked up to MJ and introduced myself to him. He was sitting down at the bar and I was standing beside him. I tried to play it cool like I was ‘one of the guys’ and never once mentioned basketball to him. However, on the inside I was thinking, ‘Holy f#$k, I can’t believe I’m talking to Michael Jordan!’ That was a very long time ago; I don’t specifically recall the conversation. I know he was in town for a golf tournament, so, I wished him good luck. What was most impressive to me was that before I left, he said, “You taking off?” and called me by name. He knew, even at that young age, that it was important to remember people’s names – knowing it would make a lasting impression; it certainly did. I left with David and had to drive him back to MJ’s house to pick up his car, as he had ridden with MJ. I’ve had my car parked in MJ’s driveway, more than once – but that’s another story.
In 1987, MJ ran a basketball camp at UNC-Wilmington. I was neither one of the campers (mostly young, local kids – I was 22 or 23, attending college there), nor, one of the coaches, mentors or guides. I was a student, hanging around that camp a lot, just to see MJ play. Every evening after the campers were sent to their dorm rooms, I’d go and watch pick-up games at Trask Coliseum. Sadly, for me, that was my one opportunity to play in a pick-up game with MJ and some other local talent that I knew well; however, I’d just had surgery on my shoulder, a week prior to the camp – my arm was in a sling and I couldn’t play. I’ve played several times with Larry Jordan, MJ’s older brother, but, it’s not quite the same.
I remember Cozell McQueen, of NCSU, played in some of those pick-up games, as did a then-unknown, Sean Elliott. I think MJ flew him in, just to upgrade the level of competition for him to abuse. I remember MJ doing a drive to the basket that was the most athletic, spectacular MISSED shot, I have ever seen. The closest move I can compare it to, is this one that MJ made against the New Jersey Nets, in 1991 – except, even more spectacular!
Wondering if footage exists from these pick-up games? In the documentary to Michael Jordan’s, ‘Come Fly with Me’, the narrator alludes that the (following) video is from a pick-up game in Chapel Hill. However, it is in fact, from the 1987 UNC-Wilmington camp. Watch from the 19m 21s mark – what you see, is actually Trask Coliseum:
[Adam: I always questioned the date of this. Thanks for the definitive clarification, Ross!]
UNC-Wilmington’s colors are green and gold – you can clearly see those colors painted on the court. Also, see the photo below – MJ is wearing the exact same clothes in the video. I was probably standing beside the guy filming the game when I took the photo, as I was equally close to the court. Possibly, I was at the opposite end. I’m not sure.
I do recall one funny moment from the 1987 camp. I’m now 49 years old – most people think I’m in my late 30s, as I still look relatively young. Well, when I was 22 or 23, I looked like I was 17 or 18. I was at Trask Coliseum, right before the pick up games started one night and I walked past MJ. He said, “Aren’t you supposed to be in bed?” He thought I was one of the campers…probably because he had seen me hanging around so much.
As far as memorabilia goes, I have a couple of MJ photos that I took at the camp – also, an autographed poster, from around the same time. I can’t recall if it was at the camp or somewhere else that I got the poster signed but, I do still have it. It’s in terrible condition, but I would never part with it.
I have been really good friends with David Bridgers, for about 30 years. He is known as “MJ’s childhood friend.” I have read about David, in Sports Illustrated and he appears on ESPN’s 30 for 30, Jordan Rides the Bus. He is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever known. You can hear and see David, at around 2m 8s and 5m 16s, here:
I called David at home, the night that Mr. Jordan’s body was discovered. He probably thought it was MJ calling, because the phone didn’t even ring a whole ring, before he answered. I told him I was sorry to hear about Mr. Jordan and he just started sobbing uncontrollably. He was really close to “Mr. J”, as he calls him.
Everyone wants to hang out with MJ and get to know him (myself included). David has to be really protective of his relationship with Michael – and, who he ‘lets in.’ He keeps a really tight lid on it because as you can imagine, everyone wants a pair of shoes or an autographed jersey or something else from MJ.
Me (left) and David Bridgers – circa 1995
I want to make it clear that I don’t know Michael Jordan; I just know lots of other people who do. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet him and I hope I have a chance to talk with him again one day.
Those are my few encounters with the Greatest of All Time.