Monday, September 14, 2015

Holy Moses!

"Moses Malone, 60; NBA’s ‘Chairman of the Boards’" by Globe staff and wire reports   September 14, 2015

Moses Malone devoured rebounds so easily it sometimes seemed he missed shots on purpose to pad his total before scoring.

No, take it from personal experience, sometimes you are just laying brick. It's the "sticktoitiveness" that is to be saluted.

All those points and rebounds made Mr. Malone an NBA great.

A few words, and one championship, made him a Philadelphia sports icon.

Mr. Malone, a three-time NBA MVP and one of basketball’s most ferocious rebounders, died Sunday in Norfolk, Va., where he was scheduled to appear at a charity golf event. He was 60.

Mr. Malone had just attended this weekend’s enshrinement ceremonies at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Nicknamed the ‘‘Chairman of the Boards,’’ Mr. Malone was inducted himself in 2001 and remains in the NBA’s top 10 in career scoring and rebounding.

‘‘With three MVPs and an NBA championship, he was among the most dominant centers ever to play the game and one of the best players in the history of the NBA and the ABA,’’ NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

Norfolk police said Mr. Malone was found unresponsive and not breathing in his room by hotel staff shortly before 8 a.m. Norfolk Fire Rescue responded and pronounced Mr. Malone dead at the scene. A cause of death had not been determined.

He was a big man with a big appetite. That can be a tough combination.

A 6-foot-10-inch center who was the first to make the leap right from high school to the pros, Mr. Malone is the NBA’s career leader in offensive rebounds and led the league in rebounds per game for five straight seasons from 1980-85.

He was part of an era.

Mr. Malone led the 76ers to the 1983 NBA championship, and the club said he will ‘‘forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the most storied era in the history of Philadelphia 76ers basketball.’’

Mr. Malone helped Julius Erving and the 76ers get to the top in his first season after arriving in a trade with the Houston Rockets. He won his third MVP award that season and made his famed ‘‘Fo’, Fo’, Fo’,’’ prediction that the Sixers would win all their playoff series in four-game sweeps.

He wasn’t far off: The Sixers lost just one game that postseason before sweeping the Lakers in the NBA Finals, with Mr. Malone winning the Finals MVP award after averaging 26 points in that postseason.

Led them to the Promised Land. That team won 67 regular season games and I would put them up against anyone in history. They would have to be included in any tournament.

Mr. Malone came within two games of winning an NBA title in 1981. In that year’s Finals, the Rockets lost to the Celtics, four games to two.

Before the fifth game, with the series tied 2-2, Mr. Malone boasted that he could defeat the Celtics by teaming with four guys off the streets of his hometown, Petersburg, Va.

After the Rockets lost Game 5, Mr. Malone said: “The Celtics are still chumps. I’m speaking from the heart now, and I want everybody to understand. I have respect for those guys, but they just aren’t that good. If we play our game, they can’t beat us. Tonight, we just didn’t play our game.’’

He also offered a prediction.

“The Celtics aren’t going to drink champagne after Game 6,” he said. “They’ll drink Gatorade . . . to get their strength back.”

What is he supposed to say? Series is over? We can't win?

The Celtics wrapped up the series with a 102-91 victory in the sixth game.

During a championship celebration at Boston’s City Hall Plaza, attended by 50,000 fans, Celtics star Larry Bird noticed a huge cardboard sign being paraded through the mob that disparaged Mr. Malone.

“I look out in the crowd and I see one thing that typifies our whole season,” said Bird, who then told the gathering that he agreed with the sign’s derogatory message.

It was "Moses Eat Shit" if I'm not mistaken.

Bird apologized for his remark shortly after the rally.

“I have no feelings at all about it,’’ Mr. Malone said the following day. “It doesn’t matter to me what he says. Larry Bird is certainly entitled to his feelings. He didn’t seem to have those feelings when we were playing, but that’s all right.” 

I now appreciate the skills of both men as the fire of youth washes away. 

The day I learned I loved basketball was the day Jordan scored 63 in the playoff game against the Celtics. Didn't see it. Was out of town and heard on the radio on the way back. I went to one of the local sports bars where my friends were and asked a guy if Jordan scored 63. He said, "Aw, (name withheld for security reasons), the Celtics won anyway," and I said I don't care, Jordan scored 63?!!

Thing is, I hated the Bulls teams he led to titles; was a Ewing and Knicks fan then. When Jordan came back to play with the Wizards was when I became a fan of the man. The reporters asked whether returning would tarnish his legacy given his advancing age. His response was I love to play the game of basketball. 

Mr. Malone’s staggering statistics across 21 seasons and 1,455 professional games included 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He holds NBA records for offensive rebounds in a career (6,731), season (587), and game (21).

Powerful on the court, he was helpful to both friends and foes off it.

‘‘Even before we played together, he was one of the first greats who truly mentored me and showed me how to be a professional,’’ Hawks Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins said. ‘‘I never saw anyone work harder than Moses and away from basketball, he was just as kind and thoughtful.’’

‘‘The man I called ‘Dad’ passed today,’’ Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said. ‘‘Words can’t explain my sadness. I will never know why a Hall of Famer took a fat, lazy kid from Auburn and treated him like a son and got him in shape and made him a player.’’

God calls home the good ones.

Drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1974, Mr. Malone went on to play for eight NBA clubs and was the league’s MVP in 1979 and 1982 while playing for the Rockets.

His death comes shortly after the passing of another 76ers center, Darryl Dawkins.

That's under bonus coverage.

Moses Eugene Malone was selected by the Stars in the third round of the 1974 draft. He also played for St. Louis before being selected in the ABA dispersal draft by Portland, which traded him to the Buffalo Braves. Mr. Malone would go on to play for the Rockets, 76ers, Washington, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Philadelphia again, and San Antonio, ending his career in the 1994-95 season.


What is strangely missing from that eulogy is the actual date of birth and any mention of family. Perhaps he didn't have any, I don't know. It's just an omission I thought noticeable. the whole thing is basically his public persona surrounding the basketball court.

Playing ball later this week and this one will be for you, Moses.

Look who is on fire:

"Calif. wildfires destroy 180 homes, displace thousands" by Ian Lovett and Ashley Southall New York Times  September 14, 2015

LOS ANGELES — Two wildfires north of San Francisco killed at least one person, forced thousands of people to flee their homes, and prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency on Sunday, continuing a drought-fueled fire season that could be the worst the American West has ever endured.

I'm not going to argue about it anymore.

The fires have burned through more than 100,000 acres; destroyed as many as 1,000 homes and commercial structures; and burned houses, schools, and other infrastructure, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Hardest hit were the communities around Middletown, a town in Lake County just outside the Napa Valley. A fire that started Saturday raced through the town overnight, reducing much of the area to ash as residents grabbed what possessions they could before escaping, witnesses said.

Maddie Ross, a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, fled with her grandparents and their three dogs from their home in Hidden Valley Lake after the flames leapt into their backyard.

“We were surrounded by fire,” Ross, 25, said. “It looked like hell everywhere. It was terrifying, truly terrifying. I’ve never been in a situation like that. We all felt like the world was coming to an end.”

The family grabbed the dogs and got into a truck in such a hurry that it left behind family photos that Ross had intended to pack and medication for her grandparents.

“The police just said, ‘Run!’ ” she said. “We didn’t even have shoes on.”

It took the three of them an hour to get out of the community because the roads were packed with hundreds of people trying to get out, Ross said. The family went west to Ukiah, where it was staying at a hotel full of Hidden Valley Lake residents who had left in trucks packed with supplies, pets, and small livestock, she said.

The area is full of horse farms, and many of the animals were left behind. 

The absolute terror that they will feel. I hope somebody at least loosed them so they can possibly fiend their way to safety.

Dry conditions from the drought, high temperatures, and gusty winds were contributing to explosive conditions, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for Cal Fire. The department has increased staffing and canceled scheduled time off, and it is accepting help from neighboring Nevada.

Firefighters have been moving farther afield to try to get ahead of the fire in Lake County, but each time the fire’s embers have jumped past them and they have had to move to a new area, evacuate more residents and try again to form a containment line, Berlant said.

“It doesn’t necessarily matter how many firefighters we put on it,” he said. “The fire just jumps right over us despite our valiant efforts.”

Southeast of Sacramento near the Sierra Nevada, more than 4,100 firefighters and personnel were battling the so-called Butte fire, which had burned more than 65,000 acres in Amador and Calaveras counties and was only 20 percent contained Sunday. Brown declared a state of emergency for those two counties Friday.

All that carbon going into the atmosphere, and yet you are to pay a tax for trying to catch a breath. 

The other, missing component in all this has been the state and federal neglect and mismanagement of not only the woods and water supply, but the entire fire-fighting program. they have shorted it and taken money from it for wars and Wall Street, and this goes back to the days of W Bush.

The Butte fire had destroyed 81 homes and 51 buildings and threatened 6,400 more structures, according to Cal Fire.

Of the 13 fires that Cal Fire was responding to, the Butte and Valley fires posed the greatest threat to life and property, Berlant said.

Federal agencies were also battling a handful of fires that have engulfed more than 250,000 acres of national forests from the Oregon border to an area east of Fresno.

The total surface area of the active wildfires is more than 547 square miles. In comparison, the city of Los Angeles is 503 square miles.

The fire threatened to scorch the California wine industry at harvest time. Nearly half of the nation’s wineries are in California and concentrated in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Harvest season begins in late summer, and many wineries see an increase in traffic. 

Ah, it's going to threaten the elite nectar. It's enough to get you all Berned up.


Meanwhile it's another damp day here after heavy rains yesterday evening and night.

NDU: Deadly Northern California fires rage on