By Brian Hoffman – Sports Editor
The first NBA preseason games are scheduled to begin this Friday, Dec. 11, ready or not. That’s just two months to the day after the Lakers finished off the Heat to win the championship on October 11.
The fake news will tell you the Heat has yet to concede the championship to the Lakers, citing a “rigged” final series. No evidence of that has been found and the Lakers are assembling their team like they’re defending champions, signing LeBron James and Anthony Davis to multi-year contracts. It’s also not true the Lakers offered President Trump front row season tickets to pardon Javaris Crittenton.
Well, with the first exhibition games this week it’s been announced the NBA had 48 positive COVID-19 results as of last week. That’s 8.8 percent of all tested, or almost nine out of every 100 players. That’s not good.
James Harden missed his first practice of the season with Rockets after breaking protocols for the virus. Reportedly, and I don’t have this first hand, just from the Internet, he attended a party at a strip club.
While we know the NBA isn’t playing in a bubble this year, shouldn’t James have been aware that the “strip club” would be off limits? The NBA is cracking down on players who break COVID-19 protocols as the season starts and if players can’t keep away from the strip clubs during the season, it will cause a big problem for teams.
Well, here comes “IsMyGirl” to the rescue. I got an e-mail about this Monday explaining that this website is “a premium platform for adult models to monetize their sexy content, formally extending an offer to the NBA to partner with the site to help keep players away from strip clubs and Instagram models. By interacting with some of the hottest models online, players can ensure that their needs will be satisfied while still complying with the strict COVID-19 protocols. And if you’re like James Harden, a player known to succeed in cities with the best strip clubs, the players’ performance may actually improve the more they use the site.”
I guess that’s why Harden got traded out of Oklahoma City. I bet J.J. Redick never had that kind of offer at Cave Spring.
Here’s a player that you might find interesting if you’re an NBA fan. I won’t give his name until the end of the column – see if you can guess who he is.
He played in 963 NBA games at 6’10” and 215 pounds. He averaged 15.3 points while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 56 percent from the line and couldn’t make an outside shot if he was the only person in the gym. He did manage to lead the league in rebounds five times. It’s not DeAndre Jordan. Answer below.
Even though no fans are allowed at the games, I’m glad we can at least watch football on TV. That really hit home last week when the Thursday night game between the Cowboys and Ravens was moved to Thursday.
We had an NFL game Wednesday night and I watched three games Sunday, at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and the Monday and Tuesday games as well. But I was still disappointed not to have a Thursday game to watch. Compare that to the summer when there was nothing to watch but reruns and corn hole.
I’ve been watching an extra amount of football with my wife out of town. She made a relatively big Thanksgiving dinner, then left for Nashville the next morning to help our youngest son’s family get ready to move back to the Roanoke Valley. With that, I was left with all the leftovers just for me.
I had Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then, a former employee who knows how much I like turkey, brought a bag of leftovers to the office Monday afternoon. I had turkey again for four more days, making eight straight days I had turkey for dinner. And I loved it.
Life is good if you appreciate the little things…like turkey and football.
I’m still here
Do you ever get mail like I do that says, “Brian Hoffman or Current Resident?” Insert your name instead of mine and doesn’t that make you feel special?
What they’re saying is, I don’t care who gets this as long as it’s someone. They’re giving you first dibs, but if you moved, died or changed your name, it’s no big deal.
The good thing is, it’s one less thing I have to deal with because it goes right in the trash. And, if someone steals it – no loss. I don’t expect there’s a check in the envelope.
Still, it’s always nice to get mail.
But I’m not Brock’s dad
Just to clear the air, Brock Hoffman of the Virginia Tech football team is not my son.
There was an article in The Roanoke Times earlier this fall about Hoffman, who transferred from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech prior to the 2019 season. Brock’s mother had a health concern and he filed for a “Family Medical Hardship Waiver” to play at Tech in 2019. It was denied, but this year he’s the starting center for the Hokies and doing quite well.
In the article in The Times his father was quoted several times, and his father’s name is “Brian Hoffman,” just like me. After the story came out several people came up to me and complimented me on how well my “son was doing for Tech.”
The first time it happened it caught me by surprise and I didn’t know what they were talking about. However, the next couple times I knew right off the bat and explained I’m not “that Brian Hoffman,” not that it wouldn’t be cool to have a son playing football for Tech.
As far as I know Brock’s dad and myself are two of the not-as-famous Brian Hoffmans in the world. I’ve Googled my name and there’s a Brian Hoffman who founded and played guitar for the satanic heavy metal band “Deicide” and another Brian Hoffman who does a show of impersonations in Las Vegas. His most famous impersonation is Red Skelton, who ironically enough was my very favorite comedian when I was a kid.
Surprisingly, no one has ever come up to me and said, “I really like your guitar licks on ‘Homage to Satan’ or ‘your Freddie the Freeloader impersonation is spot on.’”
However, I do find it ironic that I love the 76ers and Brock Hoffman wears 76. I’d like to have one of those Tech jerseys.
And the answer is…
It’s former Boston Celtic Bill Russell!!! With those stats he was a five-time MVP and won 11 NBA championships with the Celtics.
Russell is often listed with the greatest NBA players of all time, but having seen him play, both live as well as many times on TV, I feel he was just a very good player. He was no Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, to say the least. He wasn’t as good a center as Kareem, couldn’t shoot like Larry Bird or dribble like Magic Johnson. He would have had a hard time guarding Shaq.
In comparison, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points for his career while shooting 54 percent from the floor, although he wasn’t a good free throw shooter either. Wilt led the league in scoring seven times and was the NBA rebounding leader 11 times, and is still the all-time leader in rebounds per game at 22.9.
The difference? Russell won 11 championships and Wilt won two. Russell’s greatest asset was that he always had a lot of good players around him, and that wasn’t always the case with Wilt.
Of the nine all-time players with seven NBA championship rings or more, eight are Celtics. Can you tell me the non-Celtic? It’s the “great” Robert Horry with seven, two with the Rockets, three with the Lakers and two with the Spurs.
Former Boston guard Sam Jones is second all-time with 10 championships, just one less than Russell, and no one calls him one of the all-time greats although he averaged more points (17.7) than Russell for his career, shot better from the floor (.456) despite taking much longer shots and was way better from the line (.803).
Maybe they should have named the NBA trophy after Sam Jones.