Golden Basketball Magazine
July 14, 2019

"To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate."

Michael Jordan

Tiger Den Basketball

LSU Post-Season Games - 1970

Pete Maravich
finally had enough of a supporting cast his senior year to lead LSU to the post-season for the first time since 1954.

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NBA Finals - Game 7: 1957

St. Louis Hawks @ Boston Celtics

One of the greatest game sevens ended one of the greatest finals, in which eleven future Hall of Famers participated.

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Season in Time: CCNY 1949-50

Five fabulous sophomores shot the City College of New York basketball team into the national rankings and a season that has never been matched by any team before or since.

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Basketball Quiz

Match each NBA star with the college where he played.

  1. Steph Curry
  2. James Harden
  3. Damian Lillard
  4. Chris Paul
  5. Russell Westbrook
  1. Arizona State
  2. Davidson
  3. Duke
  4. Kentucky
  5. UCLA
  6. Wake Forest
  7. Weber State

Worst Team Ever?
You Lose Some, You Lose Some, Eric Furman & Lou Harry (2004)
One of the greatest arguments in sports is the MVP argument, and it goes a little something like this:
On the one side, you've got the folks who oly want to know: who is the best player in the league? That's it. That's your answer. When you find him, you've found your MVP. No matter how good or bad his team is.
On the other side, the criteria is a bit different: which guy, if taken off his team, would cause his team to absolutely crumble? This side believes you must take into account the team's position in the standings. If said team is horrendous, then its best player isn't all that valuable. ... They're the people who believe there's a reason why it's MVP and not MOP (Most Outstanding Player). That V stands for Valuable, and to figure out who that is, they've got to go a little below the surface.
And for all their efforts, we'd like to present them with this treasure of a should-have-been-MVP example: Billy Cunningham.
Any good argument needs background info, and here's ours: In 1970-'71, the Philadelphia 76ers went 47-35, good for second in the NBA's newly formed Atlantic Division. Clearly the team's best player was Cunningham. He averaged 23.0 ppg. He led the team in rebounding ... and he was second on the team in assists ...
The following year, the Sixers traded G Archie Clark to Baltimore for Kevin Loughery and Fred Carter. They also obtained Bob Rule and Bill Bridges in trades. With all the new faces on this team in transition, the record suffered at 30-52. But the future looked bright, especially with Cunningham shining brightly. ...
This is where you will start to see how this situation is so appropriate to the argument: Billy Cunningham abruptly left the 76ers after the 1971-'72 season to join the ABA's Carolina Cougars, and whatever part of the dam he had been holding together was suddenly a leaky - no, gushing - mess. The 1972-'73 Sixers - sans Cunningham - were a disaster.

L-R: Billy Cunningham, Roy Rubin, John Q. Trapp
The bad stuff was in full effect when a new coach arrived in town: Roy Rubin, who had no previous NBA experience (although he spent eleven successful years at Division I University of Rhode Island). "It was a joke, like letting a teenager run a big corporation," team leader Fred Carter told Sports Illustrated some years later. The biggest complaints against Rubin were that he was in over his head; he wasn't familiar with the NBA style, nor did he know the players around the league. "We had [Hall of Fame G] Hal Greer on that team, and Rubin had no idea who he was. After we went 4-4 in preseason, Rubin said, 'I don't think Boston will be so tough.' We just looked at each other and laughed," Carter said.
Rubin's Sixers lost their first fifteen games, and put themselves into a bigger hole than the Grand Canyon. From those First Fifteen, "it was clear we were the league's universal health spa," Carter explained. "If teams had any ills, they got healthy when they played us."
As you might be able to gather, the team didn't have much respect for Roy Rubin. Still, what John Q. Trapp did on December 20 was way over the line. In a 141-113 blowout loss, Rubin was trying to keep his troops fresh as they were run up, down, around and over by the Pistons. But when he sent a substitute in for Trapp, John Q. refused to come out of the game. He apparently wanted his garbage-time minutes. Badly. When Rubin insisted that the forward heed his instructions, Trapp told the coach to look behind the Sixers' bench. There, the legend goes, one of Trapp's consorts opened his jacket to reveal a handgun. Rubin gulped, turned back to the court, and left John Q. Trapp in for the rest of the game. No use getting killed just to hold a team under 140 points. ...
At the All-Star break, Philly got rid of Rubin. They named Kevin Loughery player-coach, and one of his first orders of business was to release John Q. Trapp. Which didn't change things too much - except for the coach's on-court safety level.
Still, the city of Philadelphia watched while its team struggled almost as much without Rubin as it did with him. It couldn't have happened to a more impatient bunch of fans. Philly sports boosters are known for their "What have you done for me in the last third seconds?" attitudes. They boo without must provocation; they curse with even less. ...
Maybe it's not all bad that these are the people who had to sit through an entire season that had the rival Celtics finishing fifty-nine games ahead of them in the standings. ...
Somehow, in February, the Sixers reeled off five wins in seven games. It's hard to come up with an explanation for it, so let's just move on. Because immediately following that five-of-seven streak came the thirteen losses to run out the year. ... Final record: 9-73.
And there's the real story. Billy Cunningham was so important - so valuable - to his franchise, that when he left, the rest of the players regressed into the Worst Team in the History of the NBA.