When the Bulls and the Suns met in the 1993 NBA Finals, the championship showdown had everything: Michael Jordan at his peak, Charles Barkley at his most animated, a triple-overtime classic and a title-clinching jump shot that will live in the memories of basketball fans forever. Twenty years after the blockbuster series, some of the principals, including Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Danny Ainge and John Paxson, recall what many deem the “best finals ever” to contributing writer Jack McCallum in this week’s SI.
“No matter what anyone says about being ready, nothing will prepare you for the pressure of the Finals when you’ve never been there before,” says former Suns point guard Johnson, now the mayor of Sacramento, who struggled in a Game 1 loss.
Barkley’s 42 points in Game 2 were not enough for the Suns to avoid going down 2-0 in the series.All season long the Suns rode Barkley on the offensive end, but his indifference on the defensive end frustrated coaches. During the regular season Barkley even admitted to Suns coach Paul Westphal, “It’s not that I can’t play defense, it’s just that I don’t always want to”. (PAGE 66)
In Game 3, the Suns defeated the Bulls 129-121 in triple overtime. “It was the greatest basketball game I ever played in,” says Barkley. Before the game, Westphal chose a struggling Johnson to guard Jordan.
“I was sleeping with a blanket over my head on the flight to Chicago and somewhere between Utah and Kansas, Paul wakes me up and says, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the series is not over. The bad news is, you’re going to be guarding Jordan.’ I put the blanket back over my head and on the way out of the plane, I say to Paul , ‘You won’t believe the nightmare I had. You told me I’d be guarding Michael.’ And he says to me, ‘That wasn’t a dream.’” (PAGE 68)
After Jordan put up 55 points in a Game 4 win, Suns rookie Richard Dumas’s 25 points led Phoenix to a Game 5 victory. Dumas would play only two more seasons before drug problems ended his career. “I feel bad every time I think of what could’ve been for Richard Dumas,” says Westphal. (PAGE 70)
The game-and series-winning three-pointer by the Bulls’ Paxson in Game 6 erased the Suns late game lead and inevitably their NBA Finals run. Paxson was wide open after Ainge decided to leave and help on Horace Grant. “All I know is that it was like a million other jump shots, in my driveway, in college, in the pros,” recalls Paxson. (PAGE 72)
“‘Don’t leave your man.’ That’s what Paul told us. So the so-called smartest guy on the team, Danny, leaves his man,” says Johnson. (PAGE 72)
The following season there were high hopes for the rising Suns, but injuries got in their way. “The next season I had taken so many injections in my knee, I wouldn’t have been able to play in the Finals anyway,” says Barkley. (PAGE 72)
SI.com Managing Editor Matt Bean and Time Inc. News and Sports Executive Video Producer Ian Orefice Discuss SI Now Powered by Ford, SI.com’s New Live Daily Talk ShowPosted: May 28, 2013
On Monday, June 3 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is set to debut SI Now Powered by Ford, a new live, 30-minute daily talk show broadcast on SI.com. Hosted by SI’s Maggie Gray, the live show will deliver commentary, analysis and social interaction with SI writers and editors, newsmakers and special guests. It will air Monday through Friday at 1pm ET.
Inside SI sat down with Matt Bean, SI.com managing editor and Ian Orefice, Time Inc. News and Sports executive producer, to discuss the launch of the new live show and what it means for the future of SI.com.
Why is SI.com starting a daily live show?
Orefice: Over the past three years, SI Video has evolved greatly. One of our goals has always been to connect with our audience on an immediate basis. We’ve aired live shows on an opportunistic basis and now this regular live show will allow us to have daily interaction with our viewers.
Bean: SI Now represents not only a new opportunity for our best-in-class contributors and writers to reach a live audience daily, but it’s also representative of a new way to produce video here at Sports Illustrated.
SI.com has already produced live shows, including for the NFL draft previews, NCAA tournament and SI Swimsuit. Tell us about the process and what different challenges live shows present?
Orefice: The key to producing a great live show is the team and technology. Post production videos vs. live videos are a completely different workflow. We’ve invested in technology that will not only be used to produce a live show, but will also let us create “live to drive” video and increase the overall volume of video on the site.
Tell us about your video production team? Maggie Gray?
Orefice: Maggie Gray, who has been with us since the start of SI Video, will serve as the host of SI Now Powered by Ford. Maggie’s depth of sports knowledge rivals anyone in the industry. She will lead the charge in directing the conversation in a way that viewers can connect with. The guests will be a rotating cast of SI experts and newsmakers from sports and the show will also include guests from outside of the sports world our viewers want to hear from.
Behind the scenes, we are adding folks with live TV experience to complement our team of producers who have been working in a post production world. The team will have a nice hybrid of talents.
Will you take the show on the road? What does it do for the viewer?
Orefice: The plan is to go on the road for some of the world’s biggest sporting events. We will be live from the U.S. Open the second week of the show. For the viewer, it allows them to be in the moment of the event and have a better contextual relevance and feeling for what’s going on.
Who is the target audience?
Bean: We chose 1:00pm eastern to air the show live to capitalize on a peak traffic time for SI.com, and draw in folks who are looking for a lean back experience at their desks around lunch or those just starting their day on the West Coast. After the show airs live we will offer it as video on demand and will allow viewers to watch either the entire show, or just the segments they are most interested in.
How will fans be involved?
Bean: This show will be a conversation amongst fans and our anchors and experts. Built right into the experience for the viewer will be a comment panel that our anchors, guests and producers will be scanning for feedback. Numerous features on the show will rely on fan feedback.
What does SI Now mean for the future of SI.com?
Bean: It’s another example of how SI.com is evolving. I think the next six months are going to represent one of the most exciting periods of change for SI.com and SI Now is a pillar of this exciting future.
5 Female and 5 Male Finalists Featured on SI.com; Winners to be Announced May 22
Sports Illustrated today announced on SI.com 10 finalists for the 2012-13 SI College Athlete of the Year. The award will celebrate one female and one male collegiate student athlete who have achieved athletic distinction and have had an outsized impact in the classroom or in their communities.
The finalists, chosen by SI editors, include six seniors, two sophomores and two juniors who competed during the 2012-2013 academic year. The celebrated student athletes represent ten different sports and include a four sport athlete, multiple NCAA champions and record holders and the 2013 No. 1 WNBA draft pick (Brittney Griner, Baylor).
“We surveyed the nation’s campuses, scouring gyms and stadiums, labs and lecture halls, in search of the beau ideal of the well-rounded college athlete. We sought out head-turning sporting achievement, to be sure, but we also looked for jocks who made an outsized impact in the classroom, the community or some non-athletic extracurricular pursuit. Then we sifted through the candidates to choose 10 finalists, five men and five women, who found that sweet spot between “student” and “athlete,”’ says senior writer Alexander Wolff in a College Athlete of the Year introduction essay on SI.com.
The College Athlete of the Year winners will be featured in the May 27 issue of Sports Illustrated, which hits newsstands on Wednesday, May 22. Profiles on the winners, including videos will also be featured on SI.com on May 22. Beginning on May 8, fans can vote online for their favorite athletes.
Volkswagen is the SI College Athlete of the Year sponsor on SI.com. To view profiles on the 10 finalists, click here.
- Liz Brenner, volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field, University of Oregon
- Kimberlyn Duncan, track and field, LSU
- Brittney Griner, basketball, Baylor University
- Loren Shealy, field hockey, University of North Carolina
- Taylor Thornton, lacrosse, Northwestern University
- Trey Burke, basketball, University of Michigan
- Kyle Dake, wrestling, Cornell University
- Khaled Holmes, football, USC
- Drew LeBlanc, ice hockey, St. Cloud State University
- Tyler Thornton, basketball, Duke University
It has been quite a week here at Sports Illustrated, with much of the attention centered on the Jason Collins story. So if you couldn’t get to all of the other great content on SI.com from this past week, Inside SI has you covered.
Here’s a selection of some of the top stories and video productions from our outstanding team of talent from the past week:
Click here and here to read all of the coverage on the groundbreaking Collins story, including his essay with Franz Lidz, commentary from SI managing editor Chris Stone, SI executive editor Jon Wertheim, Jason’s brother Jarron, Jason’s agent Arn Tellam, reaction from athletes, and more.
Who doesn’t love the Warriors, asks Phil Taylor after last night’s series clinching win over the Nuggets.
Chris Mannix on how the Celtics are improbably back in their series with the Knicks after Game 5 win.
Ian Thomsen writes that Bulls have reason for hope despite their loss to the Nets last night.
After being named rookie of the year, Thomsen says it could be just the start for Damian Lillard.
Ben Golliver says the Thunder are desperate after their game 5 loss to the Rockets.
Chris Mannix says OKC won’t last without Westbrook (video). Mannix also discusses NBA coaching vacancies and the potential for Phil Jackson to take on a GM role in the NBA (video).
Pete Thamel discusses his SI story on whether India can develop as a basketball power on the Inside SI Podcast with Richard Deitsch.
Brian Cazeneuve notes seven players with something to prove this postseason.
Stu Hackel on the intrigue of this year’s NHL playoffs.
Alan Muir on the Red Wing’s ugly win last night that evened their series with the Ducks.
Sara Kwak says the Capital’s beat the Rangers due to excelling on the Power play.
Tom Verducci says all the flawed Phillies can do is ride it out.
Jay Jaffe wonders if the 200-win pitcher is an endangered species.
Bryce Harper and Clay Buchholz headline Cliff Corcoran’s first Awards Watch of the season.
Joe Sheehan writes that pitching is the reason for the Red Sox great start.
Verducci explains how the Royals’ rotation depth should make them contenders for the AL Central crown (video).
Ted Keith and Stephen Cannella discuss the April MLB trends that have the potential to continue into May (video).
Peter King tries to makes sense of the draft’s biggest hits and misses in this week’s MMQB.
King discusses Tim Tebow’s future after being let go by the New York Jets (video).
Don Banks on who has won the 2013 NFL offseason.
Reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson talks with SI’s Maggie Gray about his desire to rush for 2,500 yards, win multiple rings, and how this off-season has been different without having to rehab his knee (video).
Richard Deitsch reviews ESPN and NFL Network’s coverage of the NFL draft.
2014 Mock Chris Burke takes a stab at a very early 2014 mock draft.
Tim Layden says the wide-open 139th Kentucky Derby filled with uplifting stories.
Watch Layden discuss why the Kentucky Derby is so hard to predict (video).
Michael Bamberger uncovers that Champions Tour player David Eger was the TV viewer who called in Tiger Woods’s rules violation at the Masters.
Bamberger says we could all learn a thing or two from Guan Tianlang.
SI Golf writers and an anonymous Tour Pro answer questions in a Players Championship Preview edition of PGA Tour Confidential.
Pete Thamel tells the story of Dick Kelley, the beloved Boston College media relations guru who is battling ALS.
Luke Winn’s look at 2013-14’s top 32 NCAA Hoops teams following the NBA draft deadline.
Andy Glockner hands out NBA draft declaration deadline winners and losers.
Stewart Mandel weighs in on the new Big Ten alignment, the playoff and more in his mailbag.
Pete Thamel sits down for a Q&A with Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
20 years later, Bruce Jenkins remembers Monica Seles’ stabbing and how it changed her career.
Despite working countless hours on the Jason Collins story, Jon Wertheim still found time for his weekly Tennis Mailbag.
Grant Wahl writes on the rise of Bundesliga, the return of Donovan and more in his soccer mailbag.
Newcastle faces crucial final matches amid rumor and accusations writes Georgina Turner.
Raphael Honigstein takes an early look at what to watch in all-German Champions League final.
Chris Mannix says that Floyd Mayweather has a newfound level of maturity after serving time in jail.
Mannix predicts a dominant performance from Floyd Mayweather when he fights Robert Guerrero this weekend in Las Vegas (video).
Jeff Wagenheim writes that despite his beatdown, Chael Sonnen was just 27 seconds away from the title.
Car Estes with his weekly NASCAR power rankings.
Another big week in sports has passed us by, so it’s understandable if you couldn’t get to all of the great content on SI.com from this past week. Inside SI has you covered. Here’s a sampling of some of the top stories and video productions from our outstanding team of talent from the past week:
Pete Thamel remembers Martin Richard and Lingzi Lu, whose lives were cut way too short due to the Boston Marathon bombing. He also takes a look at Dzhokhar Tzarnaev’s shocking change from role model to monster.
David Epstein remembers Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystal Campbell, a young woman who everyone seemed to love.
Steve Rushin writes eloquently on how Boston stood strong during a trying week.
Paul Daugherty on why the Reds owe it to Teddy Kramer, the inspirational Reds batboy with down syndrome, to aid him in more ways than one.
Austin Murphy has a message to coaches: Stop screaming and start teaching
Michael Rosenberg details why Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is a low-major, low-risk pick. Turns out the Chiefs agreed, as he was last night’s No. 1 overall pick!
Peter King’s MMQB needs no explanation.
Richard Deistch’s weekly Media Circus column gave readers insight into the broadcast plans of ESPN and NFL network for the NFL draft and how they both agreed to not have their writers tip picks on social media.
Tom Verducci on why patience at the plate is no longer synonymous with winning.
Ben Reiter details 5 MLB players poised for a breakout according to scouts.
Ian Thompson on how veteran players are defining the 2013 NBA playoffs.
Phil Taylor says it’s time for Derick Rose to suit up and play.
Andy Staples on how NFL draft prospects were rated as high school recruits.
Stewart Mandel opines why the new College Football Playoff is still far from perfect. He breaks down the new playoff here.
Andy Glockner provides an update on NCAA basketball impact transfers.
Stu Hackel looks back at a shortened NHL season that was full of surprises.
Brian Cazeneuve says it’s odd to see summer come early for the Devils and Red Wings.
Jon Wertheim writes on Djokovic’s calendar Grand Slam chances and more in his Tennis mailbag.
Lars Anderson gives out his Sprint Cup season quarter mark awards.
Grant Wahl answers fans questions in his Soccer mailbag.
Gary Van Sickle takes you inside Augusta’s Ultimate Masters VIP Room
Loretta Hunt sits down with Georges St-Pierre to discuss his personal and philosophical side that came out in his new book.
Paul Pabst, producer of the Dan Patrick Show, ranks the top Hollywood QB’s. Also, watch Pabst and Andrew Perloff, from SI and the DP Show, debate the most elite quarterbacks in the world of film here.
Peter King breaks down the unusual maneuvers made in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Don Banks and Andrew Perloff look ahead to the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft
Former Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis looks back on the day he was drafted into the NFL.
Raising a top NFL Draft pick: Eric Fisher and his mom
Former Oregon Duck Dion Jordan, who was picked No. 3 by the Dolphins last night, stopped by the SI studios earlier in the week to discuss his NFL future, Chip Kelly, and the draft process.
From the red carpet at Radio City in New York, top prospects get quizzed on their knowledge of NFL Draft history.
Chris Mannix talks with unified Junior Welterweight champion Danny Garcia at Gleason’s Gym about his upcoming fight against Zab Judah at Barclays Center.
In a Golf Magazine exclusive, Graeme McDowell reveals his secrets for accurate tee shots