Injuries are always going to happen during the season. Sometimes a player might miss an extended period of time ranging from one game to the entire season. This week, there were a slew of injuries that ended up being the dreaded ‘season-ending’ injury.
First on Monday, it was announced that Milwaukee Bucks point guard Michael Carter-Williams was going to undergo season-ending left hip surgery. Carter-Williams suffered a torn labrum during late December and struggled with trying to play through the pain. But after a below average season, the Bucks decided to shut down the injured guard.
Then on the following Tuesday, it was announced that New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon will undergo surgery to repair a fracture in his right ring finger. Already having missed 16 games this season with the same injury, the Pelicans guard re-injured the same finger in a Saturday night loss to the Utah Jazz.
Then on Thursday, there came out two major injuries that sidelined two young, talented NBA players. First it came out that Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo would be shut down for the rest of the season. The reason? He fell down a set of stairs at his home, or what Bucks general manager John Hammomd would describe as “accidentally tripping down his stairs.’
Then later on that same day, it was announced by the Philadelphia 76ers that rookie center Jahlil Okafor will miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee. Originally trying to rehab from a separated shin from late February, Okafor stopped when he said that his “knee just didn’t feel right.” An MRI then later revealed that Okafor had a small cartilage tear in his knee.
Already out of playoff contention and with less than 20 games to go, it’s easy to see why the those teams (76ers, Bucks, and Pelicans) had their injured players undergo season-ending surgery. As the regular season starts to draw to a close, you can expect to see more players from non-playoff teams getting injured and sitting out for the rest of the season.
Holt Hanging Up His Spurs
When Peter Holt took over as team CEO and chairman back in 1996 after being a minority owner for 3 years, the Spurs were just a team in the NBA Western Conference. They’d win about 50+ games in the regular season, only to come up short in the playoffs with first round knockouts or getting knocked out in the semi-finals.
Twenty years later, Holt announced this past Thursday that he is stepping down from his roles as team chairman and CEO at the end of the 2015-16 season.
"I'm proud of what we've achieved over the last two decades. The championships are wonderful, bringing new sports franchises to San Antonio is important but the biggest accomplishment for me will always be the impact we've had in our community. The pride, support and love that our city has for the Spurs is truly amazing."
During his tenure, the Spurs went to six NBA Championship games and came back home with five NBA titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), qualified for the playoffs for 19 straight seasons, and averaged approximately 54 wins per season in that span.
Most notably was Holt’s approach. In today’s NBA, most owners interact with the team’s daily business, getting the last word or overruling many proposed moves by a general manager or fire a head coach immediately when things go south after one season. Holt, on the other hand, knew that it took a lot of patience and faith in those he hired to run the team. He allowed head coach Greg Popovich to grow and become a league-wide respected and future hall-of-fame coach and General Manager R.C. Buford to make the moves to draft the likes of Manu Ginobli or sign guys like Boris Diaw, Gary Neal, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement upon hearing Holt's latest move. Quote,
"For 20 years the Spurs have been a model franchise under Peter Holt, winning five NBA championships and becoming an anchor of the San Antonio community along with building a global following. Peter not only provided steady leadership as an NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League owner but also distinguished himself as Chairman of the NBA Board of Governors and Chairman of the NBA's Labor Relations Committee. We thank him for his outstanding service and look forward to working with Julianna Hawn Holt in her new role as the team's Governor."
Juliana Holt is Peter's wife and will be taking over his role as the team’s CEO as well as become the team's Governor on the NBA's Board of Governors.
Passing of a Giant
Unfortunate news came out this past Wednesday as Basketball Hall-of-Famer Clyde Lovellette passed away after a battle with cancer in his home in North Manchester, Indiana, at the age of 86. Known for his physical play and ‘tough guy’ persona, Clyde Lovellette was a big-man that earned both the ire and respect of those he played with.
Clyde Lovellette attended four years at Kansas University under another Basketball Hall of Famers, Coach Forrest ‘Phog’ Allen. During his playing career at Kansas, he played in 80 games (starting all of them) and averaged 24.7 points per game to go with 10.2 rebounds per game. His best season was his senior year in 1951/52 where he led all of NCCA basketball in scoring (28.4 ppg). Lovellette led the Jayhawks into the NCAA tournament where they beat St. Johns in the title game. Lovellette was named MVP of the game with 33 points and 17 rebounds performance. He finished his Jayhawks career with a total of 1,979 points (4th all-time) and 813 rebounds (10th all-time). Lovellette was also selected to play in the USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team during the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, where he helped them beat the USSR Men’s Olympic Basketball team 36-25 in the gold medal game (Lovellette scored 9 points).
Lovellette was then drafted 9th overall in the 1952 NBA Draft by the Minneapolis Lakers (present day Los Angeles Lakers). He first made his NBA debut with the Lakers during the 1953/54 season. During an 11-year career in the NBA, Lovellette played for the Lakers (1953-57), the Cincinnati Royals (1957-1958), the St. Louis Hawks (1958-1962), and the Boston Celtics (1962-1964). He played in 704 games, averaging 17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, and had a shooting average of .443, and had a stretch from 1953 to 1961 where he averaged a double-double in six seasons. Lovellete won 3 NBA Titles (one with the Lakers during his 1953/54 rookie year and two with the Celtics) and was named an All-Star four times (1956, 1957, 1960, 1961).
Lovellete was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988, and then the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. He is the only one of 7 basketball players to have an NCAA Championship title, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA title.
Upon learning about Lovellete’s passing, current Men’s Kansas University head coach Bill Self said, quote,
"Clyde's passing is a big loss for anyone who has ever supported Kansas athletics. He was a great player, a national champion and Olympic gold medalist. He was a beloved teammate and a great ambassador for his alma mater. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Clyde Lovellette is survived by his wife, Judy Lovellette; a stepson, Robb Lovellette; three daughters from a previous marriage, Linda Mcleaish, Cherie Doyle, and Cynthia Heckelsberg, 13 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.
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