Saturday, September 21, 2013
Make Way For The Ram.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Welcome back to the show Kurt, 'Randy The Ram' Rambis. This Summer saw the return of a Los Angeles Laker role playing legend of the 'Showtime' eighties to an assistant coaching position he held during the Phil Jackson era. Now that's a lot of championships. No wonder they wanted this guy back. The hard working legend that could make Mark Madsen or Rony Turiaf's celebratory bench presence, hustle or dunk finishes seem tame was an inspiration to them both and more. The spectacle wearing hipster had his place between the goggles of Kareem and Worthy in the three tiers of downtown L.A.'s Hotel Figueroa which currently is getting some GTA recognition. Looking something like Garth from 'Wayne's World' with a magnificent mullet and setting defensive traps and rebound sets for his enemy like 'Rambo', this guy was cold blooded and blue collar. Exactly what the Showtime Lakers needed against Boston. He played like a Celtic but sweat and bled purple and gold.
The behind the scenes grit and grind to the Hollywood show of Magic, Kareem, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott and A.C. Green, this guy was just as integral and inspirational to this golden and purple era of storied Laker and Larry legacy. Whether Bird or O'Brien, better or worse, victory parade wagon or season hearse, Rambis was always there. Those rings belong to him too. With a moustache that would make 'Movember' proud with one twirl he could finish off his man like Christophe Waltz in 'Django Unchained'...and you thought he looked like a dentist....haha! This guy was no Ned Flanders for the Lakers Simpsons yellow, okely dokely? There was a six pack of strength not beer below that T.V. sitcom dads sweater (and from 'Sweet Valley High' to 'Married With Children' this guy has more T.V. acting credits than his Klingon, 'Showtime' teammate James Worthy too). Just ask Kevin McHale, Bill Laimbeer or any of the other eighties hard men of the NBA...or check their bruises, there probably still there. The man with the teacher spectacles could take anyone to school. Laugh at the mullet now.
Now, recently we have argued to Springfield and the ceiling that Michael Cooper deserves his place in the Hall Of Fame and the Lakers retired jersey rafters with his eighties comrade Jaamal Wilkes. Not to knock him but we may never see the 31 up their or the glasses in the trophy cabinet down the hall. Still that doesn't mean Rambis isn't a vital part of Lakers lore. Besides his college alma mata retired his hash-tag 34. Next throwback night someone's got to rock his number and specs for the ultimate hipster eighties Hollywood night. It's just a shame Bill Walton's son has retired. Kurt took the Lakers to hoops nirvana, he came as we was and rocked mainstream Hollywood with his signature style and punctuated play. The man with the horn rimmed glasses helped lead the Lakers championship charge with a stampede of bruising blocks and off-ball, on-point play. The record books may not carry his name, but his trophies are engraved all the same. You can't write off what's already been wrote.
From Terre Haute, Indiana he played bigger than his 6 foot 8, 213 pound listing. From Santa Clara his career afforded more than all the rounds and teams that passed on him before he was picked 58th by the New York Knicks, looking like a familiar N.Y role playing legend of the 60's Phil Jackson and one day having his place next to him in Laker history and on the bench. You see the legend on those cool t-shirts or by fans that dress up like that Kobe heckler from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers video. By the way the billboards held up during his career where a protest to just how good he was in the Lakers banner years. Some may have overlooked the perspired hard work that fogged up glasses, but the real fans saw. In less than a decade with the Lakers that's what he did...he left his purple bruised and gold coronated mark. The Hornets, Suns, Kings and Greece know what we're talking about. Still, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento or Athens have nothing on his time in Los Angeles. Just ask Run-TMC or Dwight Howard, good or bad it doesn't take long to make your mark in the bright light of California.
5.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1 and some change assists may be the average of his career but they have nothing on the four 'chips he helps raised and get off his teammates Celtics harassed shoulders. He may have been a few bucks shy of seven feet but he rose above it all and earned his millions like the tallest man in the room. Once he wrapped that bandana on his head he was Kurt Rambo with an ammunition of tank like strength, rolling over opponent canon fodder drawing first blood. Darrell Rambis was known as Kurt to us, Kyriakos Rambidis to Greece and a nightmare to his opponents who lost possession as well as sleep. You couldn't stop Kurt when he played like a man possessed. The city of angels found their demon to take them through the dark dog days and to the light and gleam of July's trophy. The overachieving underdog got his bone and found his home in a Forum of talent. He caught every ball, word out of Jim Murray (the incredible journalist wordsmith joked that he thought this guys name was 'Loose Ball Rambis' because that's all he heard before his name) and Chick Hearn and every round of applause from those who valued hard, earned teamwork.
No wonder the dirty work will of this man has taken him to the coaching class. Still make no mistake about that old adage of average players making the best coaches, Rambis was a Marvel like Stan Lee, anything but mediocre. Now behind the scenes for a big named Lakers team again he looks to shed that tag and give the new Lake Show as a coach what he did as a player. He already impressed Kevin McHale again at the head of Minnesota now what can he do for a former Minneapolis Lakers team once known for their hard work led by the spectacles of George Mikan? Just think what he could do for Pau Gasol's game. Soft!? Yeah right this guy born in the U.S.A. of the Springsteen American blue jeans, boot strapped strong age was tougher than the rest. Chick Hearn once called this Clark Kent lookalike Superman and with the second Man Of Steel gone this could just be the hero the Lakers need in their Avenger season. Time to step in the booth and loosen up the tie. The only thing missing is Colonel Sanders...or Phil Jackson as he's known...but wait, lets get real here chicken, because behind the Hollywood glamour nothing or nobody works more than Kurt. Adjust your glasses and look for this eighties legend in L.A. once again. Now you remember how to do the hustle right?
Monday, September 16, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
Tracy Murray was all about the three. That's how pure a player he was. Whether wearing number 35, 30, 31, or 3, from behind the arc to down two, the cult fan favourite could clutch wins away from his opponents and into the hands of his team...no matter which team it was. The 6 foot 7, 225 pound player from Los Angeles California had a fresh fade and beard cut of a Long Beach rap star, but on court is where Murray sang and laid it down over the ball to hardwood beats. Serving up his opponents like his Andy namesake in Wimbledon, games where set when the T-Murray match-up threw up the ball at his teams service. The high-school courts of Glendora taught Tracy his basketball education. His incredible 44.3 average led the nations point tally in his senior year as he amassed a grand total of 3,053 high-school points...the highest in the state. Even as a kid, this player was just a points machine. A gunner that could shoot down anybody or net on the basketball floor.
These days Murray helps broadcast for Fox Sports and the UCLA Bruins to keep close to a game he one day wants to coach pernamently. You can hear him talking about the youth and next generation of an alumni he actually is a part of. You can see his team photos in the trophy case as the campus janitor isn't the only one whose been cleaning the glass for awhile. During his time with the blue and yellow, an aspiring Murray scored a swingman perfect complete 18.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.5 APG in his basketball statistical averages and was two time Pac-10 all conference (his half and half 50% from three led the Pac too). The UCLA college star who looks like he could be related to Jordan Farmar had a similar path, but his California vacation, took a Texas detour as the San Antonio Spurs selected him 18th overall in the 1992 draft as David Stern put it. As a Spur, Murray could have truly clicked with the admiral David Robinson, but just a week after the draft another port called Murray in.
If you thought that was crazy 'charming' then imagine being traded twice in the same day, but that's what happened to Tracy as he headed to Milwaukee for Dale Ellis and was then dealt up north to Portland for a Trail Blazing career as he was swapped for Alaa Abdelnaby. He found his range and his home in the Midwest Portland trail, blazing the league with his lightening bright three-point explosions. He paced the entire league with a three point percentage of 45.9% in the 1993/1994 season proving he hadn't lost that touch from his step behind the arc at college. The young man matured in the league but still kept that youthful fire when it came down to the embers of the shot or game clock. His shot in Portland was so much of a bullseye it should have come with a Jordan shrug.
A bow-tied, gift-wrapped perfect package of Murray and M.J. like great Clyde Drexler was then delivered and propelled on a glide to the Houston Rockets for Otis Thorpe and other shipping costs. A championship ring came in the post season too via a special delivery. The only problem forecasted in Houston was time as Murray only played 25 games before being stole away in the expansion draft by the NBA's new Canada team, the Toronto Raptors. Far from cold or extinct however Murray played his best basketball in the great city of Toronto. His statistical output of 16.2 PPG, 1.6 APG and 4.3 RPG was more than average as this guy proved he could score big and facilitate his court comrades scores. Murray had some rebound mound in him too. It was all looking good for the new raw Raps and their seasoned vet. That was until he was clawed away from the NBA's Jurassic Park by a lucrative contract from the capital city of the United States.
Murray's shot with the Washington Bullets reloaded his career. The tricks of his trade brought change. The D.C. team made a stand against it's cities growing gang and gun culture by getting their Harry Potter on and changing their name to the Washington Wizards with a flick of the wand. Murray had some spells on the court too in the journeymans four year break in White House town. Back in the playoffs since his Portland days his stepped up output of 18.3 PPG, 0.7 APG and 3.0 RPG was really an upgrade from his raw talent spare change numbers with the trail. A embattled half century game in a fight with the Warriors of Golden State proved Murray was not just a big-time scorer, but a big time player. Far from a point gun for hire, Murray is one of only six Washington players ever to hit the big 50 or more. With Wizard great Gilbert Arenas and the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan being in the six-shooter chamber of these Bullets that's some big shot company.
Changing altitudes, Murray's strong attitude withstood another move as he mined some time with the Denver Nuggets. Unlucky for some though after just 13 games, Murray was passed around like basketball currency and found himself back in Toronto just like the good old times. Murray logged the equivalent of a good season or so for the T-Dot Raps before he was out again. The L.A. king returned home and to the STAPLES centre of Los Angeles as he played for the wood-floor team, otherwise known as Hollywood's biggest show. Traded with the draft rights of Kareem Rush for Lindsey Hunter, the purple and gold of the Lakers uniform seemed like the perfect fit and California love for the Los Angeles born and bred basketball pedigree but after one good season he was back in the trade bait dog house again.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
That's what it takes to make a legend and one of the greatest players ever in this league, even if some of your prime or playing time is overshadowed by Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant...but hey it doesn't get any better than that. That's why Mitch was one of the best. That's why the 6,5, Rich weighing in at 215 pounds averaged 21 points and 3 and a half assists was a fifth pick pedigree in the first round of the '88 draft. The highest scoring player ever not named to the Naismith Hall Of Fame needs an election day this time next year. He's a six time All-Star as well as a Gold and Bronze medal Olympian from Seoul, Korea to Atlanta, America and a the king of Sacramento Kings, with his number 2 jersey retired by the purple and black and those classic half and half throwbacks. Simply put 'The Rock', Mitch Richmond was gifted with the rock of basketball. The Rock wrestled his way through opponents and teams on a muscled up pain and gain career which saw his fast and furious style motor on to a championship belt, cementing him as one of the storied 90's golden era leagues heavyweights. No contest...it's was a knockout.