In this week’s SI: NBA Playoffs, Rockies on the Rise, Red Wings’s Datsyuk, Austin Collie and a Tribute to Beryl ShipleyPosted: April 27, 2011
The NBA Playoffs: The Most Exciting First Round in Ages
A Young, Humble Trio of Stars Has the Rockies on the Rise
Can the Dazzling Datsyuk Lead the Red Wings to Another Stanley Cup?
How the Twice-Concussed Austin Collie Has Cleared His Head
Beryl Shipley: A Tribute to a Coach Who Helped Integrate College Hoops in the Deep South
The transcendent performances of Paul and others have made the first round of the NBA playoffs—for the first time in ages—a must-see spectacle. Many fans continue to hold up the 1980s as the halcyon days of the NBA, but even players from back then are blown away by the current caliber of play (page 30):
• Hall of Famer Bill Walton: “TV pays the bills in the NBA, but it doesn’t do the game justice. I wish anyone who doubts the effort level could sit courtside one time, because they would be blown away by the ferocity. The players are just so good, so fluid, it looks effortless on TV.”
• Former Bulls center Will Perdue: “The perimeter talent in the NBA is the best it’s ever been. These guys are acrobats as much as athletes.”
And yet a Harris Poll released in January revealed that professional basketball was only the fifth most popular sport in the U.S. in 2010, behind professional football, baseball, college football and auto racing. Only 6% of those polled listed pro basketball as their favorite sport, compared with 13% in 1998. In light of the acrobatics displayed during the first round of this year’s playoffs, the poll’s results raise the question: Why aren’t more people watching?
To read the full online version of Perfect Storm, click here.
On the Tablet: Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins) discusses the latest playoff news in the Sports Illustrated Audio Podcast, plus a gallery of the best shots from a high-flying first round.
COLORADO ROCKIES: Oh, the Places They’ll Go – Phil Taylor (@SI_PhilTaylor)
Once a franchise known for spending big money in the wrong places, the Colorado Rockies now restrict their big financial commitments to players with as much character as talent—starting with Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez. Led by the young trio, the Rockies are off to a hot start and appear set to contend for years to come. Describing the team’s new spending philosophy, general manager Dan O’Dowd says (page 44): “We found that talent that isn’t also accompanied by other qualities, such as humility, accountability and integrity, really didn’t work for us. We’ve tried to build this team not just with a certain kind of player but a certain quality of person.”
To read the full online version of Oh, The Places They’ll Go, click here.
On the Tablet: A humorous video “profile” of the Coors Field humidor as well as a gallery of five pitchers who have tamed Coors.
PAVEL DATSYUK: Disgusting, But in a Good Way – Brian Cazeneuve
In 1998, when he was 19, Pavel Datsyuk was certain his Dynamo Moscow teammates were kidding when they told him he’d been drafted into the NHL. He recalls, “They showed me the newspaper two days later. And I thought, ‘O.K., printing mistake.’ ” Thirteen years later Datsyuk’s dazzling all-around game is the key to the Red Wings’ quest for another Stanley Cup. Says Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill, who was often assigned to cover Datsyuk during the finals in 2008 and ’09, when Gill played for the Penguins (page 50): “It seems like you’re never really playing against him; you’re playing against his shadow. You try to keep him from the net, and the next thing you know he pops out the other side.”
To read the full online version of Disgusting, But in a Good Way, click here.
On the Tablet: Video of Datsyuk’s between-the-legs assist in Game 2 vs. Phoenix and hotspots of five other contenders for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
AUSTIN COLLIE CLEARS HIS HEAD – TIM LAYDEN (@SITimLayden)
Two brutal concussions last fall put Colts receiver Austin Collie at the forefront of the NFL’s head-injury crisis. Even as experts remain unsure of how much danger he’s in, Collie is eager to get back on the field. He says (page 56): “My body feels great, my head feels great. I don’t want the label…. I don’t want to be the poster boy for concussions.”
Collie adds: “People are entitled to their opinions about me, but they’re not the ones who’ve had the concussions. They’re not the ones who know how I’m feeling. I’ve got a family and a kid. I know there are more important things than football. If I get another [concussion], I’ll take into consideration what’s happened in the past. But every person is different, every body reacts differently. I’m ready to continue what I started in those first six weeks last year.”
To read the full online version of Austin Collie Clears His Head, click here.
On the Tablet: Video of both of Collie’s concussions in 2010.
BERYL SHIPLEY, 1926–2011: AN ACCIDENTAL HERO – JOHN ED BRADLEY
The onetime coach at Southwestern Louisiana (now known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Beryl Shipley was vilified for violating NCAA rules. But special contributor John Ed Bradley, who grew up in nearby Opelousas, remembers him for helping to integrate college basketball in the Deep South. Says Marvin Winkler, one of the first black players on USL’s varsity team (page 60): “Coach Shipley gave up his life for us. They went after him because he was the forefather—the first to walk through the door. He did it even though they kept telling him, ‘No, we’re not going to integrate yet,’ and he said, ‘Yes, we are. I don’t care what you say. I’m going to get them, I’m going to sign them, and I’m going to see to it that they come to school here.’ ”
To read the full online version of An Accidental Hero, click here.
POINT AFTER: BUD IN FULL BLOOM – JOE POSNANSKI (@JPosnanski)
Bud Selig may come across as “the guy with a hot dog in his hand and mustard on his face” (in the words of one baseball executive), yet no commissioner has changed his sport more over the last 20 years. And he gets little credit for pushing his agenda and doing whatever he thinks should be done—MLB’s takeover of the Dodgers being the latest example. Selig says (page 70): “Yes, I know what people say about me. I try not to be sensitive about it, but I am human. I know people say that I’m indecisive or that I move slowly. But I learned a long time ago, that doesn’t matter. Getting things done is what matters. You have to know how to get things done.”
To read the full online version of Bud in Full Bloom, click here.
Scorecard Essay: A Love That Will Never Die – L. Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim)
After the death of Yeardley Love last May, Love’s mother, Sharon, and sister, Lexie, established the One Love Foundation. The support has been staggering, ranging from a lacrosse association in Thailand that volunteered to be international ambassadors for the foundation to a road-racing trio in Virginia who raised $65,000 after initially hoping to raise $5,000—this in addition to countless letters and e-mails. Senior writer L. Jon Wertheim, who last year covered the events surrounding Yeardley Love’s death, spoke with Sharon and Lexie Love in their first wide-ranging interview since the tragedy (page 12).
To read the full online version of A Love That Will Never Die, click here.
WEIGH IN ON THE BCS LAWSUIT AT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S FACEBOOK PAGE
Long a loser in the court of public opinion, the Bowl Championship Series may now have its day in a different, more formal court. With Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff intending to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS, Sports Illustrated wants to know how readers feel. Anyone can share their thoughts on the impending lawsuit at facebook.com/SportsIllustrated.
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD(page 21)
Andrew Moore (Eugene, Ore.) – Baseball Lauren Dykstra (Mendham, N.J.) – Lacrosse
Amber Freeman (Lakewood, Calif.) – Softball O’Neal Wanliss (Berkeley Lake, Ga.) – Track and Field
Neil Weygandt (Upper Darby, Pa.) – Marathon Cassandra Tate (Hammond, La.) – Track and Field
Follow Faces in the Crowd on Twitter @SI_Faces.
THIS WEEK ON THE TABLET
SI Digital Bonus: Girl Power – Thirty-one years ago, William Nack chronicled Genuine Risk’s victory at the Kentucky Derby—the first filly since Regret in 1915 to win the Run for the Roses.
About Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is a multimedia sports brand that takes the consumer into the heart and soul of sports. The Sports Illustrated franchise is anchored by the weekly magazine—the most respected voice in sports journalism, reaching a weekly audience of nearly 22 million adults—and www.SI.com, the magazine’s 24/7 sports news website that delivers more than 300 original stories to its users each week. The franchise also includes Sports Illustrated Kids (www.sikids.com), a monthly magazine targeted to kids age 8 and up; GOLF Magazine and www.Golf.com; www.FanNation.com, a social networking and sports-news aggregation platform; SI Presents, the magazine’s specialty publishing division; as well as SI Books, SI Pictures, SI Productions, SI Digital and SI Events. Founded in 1954, Sports Illustrated is a division of Time Inc., the world’s leading magazine publishing company and a subsidiary of Time Warner.