Golden State Warriors stirring up old memories of 40 years ago

The NBA didn’t matter the last time the Golden State Warriors played for a championship.

The National Basketball Association was still a decade away from garnering national interest amid the sports landscape when Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes, George Johnson, Butch Beard, Clifford Ray and Jeff Mullins last brought a title to the Bay Area.

It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were reaching all corners of the country through a complex rivalry, that both media and fans started to truly pay attention. But before those theatrical days were plenty of other benchmarks being laid throughout the history of the league.

The Warriors claimed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference during the 1974-75 season with a modest 48-34 record. They did so by leading the 18-team league in scoring, rebounds and steals before pulling an upset (assuming they were indeed the underdogs, of course) of the Washington Bullets (60-22) by way of a sweep in the NBA Finals.

That series has some historical significance aside from the result as Golden State’s Al Attles and Washington’s K.C. Jones became the first black head coaches to face off in a professional sports championship. Never mind that Attles was thrown out of Game 4 for attacking an opposing player during the game.

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Cleveland Cavaliers return to top of NBA’s Eastern Conference

So much changes over the course of eight years. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers, who last played for an NBA title back when they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs following the 2006-07 season.

Three years later the Cavs decided it was time to move on from head coach Mike Brown, while all-star LeBron James decided to move on from Cleveland following semifinal setbacks to the Boston Celtics (2008, 2010) and an Eastern Conference final loss to the Orlando Magic in 2009.

And now, mercifully, Cleveland gets another shot at breaking a pro sports title drought that dates back to 1964 when the Browns last finished on top.

This time the Cavs’ hopes won’t hinge on the likes of overachievers such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson and, unfortunately, Anderson Varejao, who is one of two remaining players still on roster from 2007 but has been sidelined due to injury.

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Harold Hitt talks first baseball state title at Oviedo High School

Oviedo High School’s baseball team had made four trips to the state final four before this season but were never able to advance past the semifinals to play in a title game.

That all changed last week as the Lions pounded Plant City Durant 12-0 in a Class 7A semifinal Wednesday before claiming their first championship with a 9-5 triumph of Sarasota a day later.

I covered the Lions in a region title game for the Orlando Sentinel a week earlier as they hosted Tallahassee Chiles, a team they lost to in the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.

Oviedo coach Harold Hitt joined me on Carnahan Chronicles on AM 740 The Game Saturday morning to talk about the championship run by the Lions, the standouts on the team that helped make it happen, and the amount of quality baseball Central Florida has produced over the years.

( – Click here to listen to Coach Hitt and J.C. on AM 740 The Game – )

Oviedo, led this year by pitchers Cooper Bradford and Cameron Peppiatt, previously reached the state final four in 1986, 1992, 2001 and 2002.

B.B. King is dead, long live his blues

The longer we live the more people we’ll see moving on from this crazy world. It’s inevitable. Many will be famous, others closer to home.

Late Thursday word began to spread of the passing of blues guitarist B.B. King at the age of 89. Whether you dig the blues or not, you most certainly know that King ranks among the greatest guitar players of all time.

Born in Mississippi in 1925, his music was a reflection of his upbringing. It connected with people of all walks of life and backgrounds, such is evident in videos below featuring U2 and Big K.R.I.T., and it’ll continue to inspire and live on for countless generations to come. Just as it should.

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Four teams remain in Stanley Cup Playoffs and none are from Canada

I hardly have time to care too much about the National Hockey League. There’s just too many other things going on in the world of sports to consume my attention.

But now we’re down to the final four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s reason enough to start paying attention, right?

What’s interesting about the upcoming matchups this weekend is that there’s no hard feelings stemming from previous postseason clashes to help get the excitement brewing. Instead we’ve got one team in the mist of a marginally lengthy Stanley Cup drought and, in comparison, three others still cleaning up confetti from recent triumphs.

On Saturday it’s the top-seeded New York Rangers and the No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning meeting in the Eastern Conference. Sunday it’ll be the No. 1 Anaheim Ducks hosting the No. 3 Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

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Even fake beer is great beer

The beer connoisseur in me can’t get enough of sampling different styles of suds from all corners of the globe.

Unfortunately, there are some intriguing options we’ll never actually get a chance to taste, as they’re not even real beers in the first place.

Bennett Hawkins at UPROXX compiled a Top 20 list of fictional brews from movie and television shows last April.

I realized how little I paid attention to such details upon stumbling across the post. Now, I’m holding out hope that we’ll one day see some of these beers produced in my lifetime.

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Bernard Morris morphing into Arena Football League Ironman

ORLANDO, Fla. – Bernard Morris is evolving into a throwback for the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators.

In a league that once placed value on “Ironman” football – players who excelled offensively and defensively – the Jones High School product is willing to line up anywhere on the field.

The starting quarterback in Orlando last season, Morris won’t be behind center Saturday when the Predators (3-2) host the Cleveland Gladiators (3-2) at Amway Center at 7 p.m.

The Preds lost 56-46 at Cleveland in the American Conference title game in August, the outcome ultimately decided when Morris fumbled for the second time as Orlando trailed by nine points with nearly a minute left. It was his third-straight conference final loss after spending the previous two seasons with the Jacksonville Sharks.

(Click here to read revised story on Bernard Morris at Orlando Sentinel)

Morris will contribute in different ways in the rematch as former Tampa Bay Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard gets the starting nod again for the sixth time this season.

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Kenosha, Wis. is most interesting story in 1st round of NFL Draft

Something unique took place in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday that hasn’t happened since 1997.

When Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes was selected No. 11 overall by the Minnesota Vikings and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was taken No. 15 by the San Diego Chargers, it marked just the fifth time since 1990 that high school teammates were drafted together in the opening round.

Waynes and Gordon starred on opposite sides of the ball at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis., home of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former NBA All Star Nick Van Exel.

(Click here for a video feature on Waynes and Gordon via Big Ten Network)

The Big Ten rivals are the first set of high school teammates to earn such a distinction since Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook was drafted No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions and Nebraska cornerback Michael Booker went No. 11 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Westbrook and Booker played together at El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.

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Ice Cube (1990-1994) – Spotify Playlist

The four albums that unleashed the solo career of Ice Cube onto the world are a treasure in the history of hip hop.

Whereas stereotypes have largely perpetrated rap in certain ways over the past couple decades, the initial era of the former backbone of N.W.A. is worthy of revisiting as he’s helped legitimize social concerns for an entire group of people.

Once you get past the menacing attitude of the production and equally intimidating delivery of the emcee, there’s lots of depth to peel back within each album. Ice Cube in the early 1990s comes complete with commentary matching the times, which can be tough to digest upon first sitting if hesitant to soak it all in.

There’s scathing tracks about corruption of law enforcement and the prison system, and government degradation and racial tension, and tales of street life and sexual relations. It’s all packaged with punk rock bravado from a ghetto-American point of view.

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Apopka knocks off nation’s No. 1 high school baseball team

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The No. 1 high school baseball team in the nation fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday as Orlando Olympia was crushed 8-4 by Apopka in the Class 8A, District 3 title game.

The loss means the Titans (25-1-1) go on the road in the opening round of the region playoffs. Apopka, which lost two games to Olympia each by 2-0 margins, starts the postseason at home with a potential rematch looming in the second round.

Olympia went 29-0 in 2012 before losing in the region championship game.

On Friday Apopka right-hander Nick Barber pieced together an impressive game on the mound until Olympia began rallying in the final inning while down 8-1. A double by Kirk Sidwell, single by Drenis Ozuna and 2-RBI triple by Juan Hillman was not enough though as Barber finished with eight strikeouts against six hits.

(Read more about Apopka’s 8-4 win over Olympia at Orlando Sentinel)

Barber yielded three singles in the fourth inning after working three up and three down over the first three innings. He also finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and RBI.

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National No. 1 Olympia High School turns in unbeaten regular season

ORLANDO, Fla. – A come-from-behind win on the final day of the regular season kept Orlando’s Olympia High School atop the MaxPreps national high school baseball rankings this week.

The No. 1 Titans became just the second team in Central Florida history to make it through the regular season without a blemish on its record. But it’s an elusive trip to the state final four that would be most satisfying as playoff qualifiers get underway this week.

The Titans face Ocoee on Wednesday in their Class 8A, District 3 opener, just four days after local rival Dr. Phillips had their backs against the wall late in the season finale.

Olympia scored seven runs in the final three innings to win 9-5 (in eight innings) and improve to 100-12-1 since 2012, which happens to be the last time Olympia went unbeaten before losing in the region title game to finish 29-1.

(Read more about Olympia’s win over Dr. Phillips at Orlando Sentinel)

“They just believe they’re going to win,” Olympia coach Chuck Schall said. “Even at the end there when we’re down, there’s not a guy on that bench that doesn’t think we’re going to come back.”

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Let’s be honest, Lawrence Phillips never stood a chance

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Take a quick glance back at the life of Lawrence Phillips and it’s not hard to imagine how he ended up residing in a California prison.

If it was uncontrollable rage that drove Phillips to succeed on the football field, it was fueled by an unsettling mixture of abuse, neglect and a lack of trust in others during his formative years.

When news broke this week accusing the former University of Nebraska, National Football League, NFL Europe, and Canadian Football League running back of murdering a cellmate, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone surprised at such allegations.

His rap sheet speaks for itself.

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Roots Manuva – “Stolen Youth”

I’ve always been attracted to the imagery of the music video. Too bad they don’t get much play anymore on television.

But the beautiful thing about the technology of the world today is that the music video fan has taken over where the big-budget directors have left off. So take that, MTV.

The “Stolen Youth” track by Roots Manuva has gotten the DIY treatment by Karina Tolmacheva and Balazs Kajcsa, each of whom captured its essence in different ways while adding to how powerful the song already is on its own.

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Adrian Gonzalez off to monster MLB start with Los Angeles Dodgers

There’s one player that stands head and shoulders above the rest less than a week into the Major League Baseball season. On Wednesday, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez blasted three home runs in his first three at-bats to help the host Los Angeles Dodgers take two of three from the San Diego Padres.

Perhaps even more impressive is that Gonzalez has opened the season batting 10-for-13 with 5 homers, 7 RBI, 7 runs scored and 27 total bases. In just three games.

Gonzalez finished 4-for-4 Wednesday after going 3-for-4 on Tuesday and 3-for-5 on Monday.

Six different players have recorded six hits so far this week while five others have each connected on two home runs.

It’s to be noted that announcer Vin Scully mentions in the video above that the last player to start a Dodgers season with homers in his first three games was Jimmy Wynn, who played in L.A. from 1974-75.