Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Barry and Howard

Two basketball stars with two last names that are also first names. Rick Barry and Juwan Howard.

Rick Barry was a star in the upstart American Basketball Association and later in the NBA when the two leagues merged.  Juwan Howard was one of the fab five: University of Michigan freshman who came within a foolishly called time-out and a national championship.

I have gone to the last three Northeastern University basketball games.  Our team is well coached and fun to watch. They don't always play well, but they are moving continuously.  Last week we beat a very good Hofstra team.  On Saturday night we again won--that time against the College of Charleston. We laid an egg on Martin Luther King day losing a very winnable game to the University of Detroit.

I noticed something during the last two games.  At halftime of the Charleston contest I saw that one of the players for the opponents was practicing foul shots like Rick Barry. Rick Barry was one of the few players in the NBA to shoot foul shots underhanded.  In the fifties and sixties you would see a few players who would take the foul shot underhanded. Wilt Chamberlain who was hopeless from the line no matter how he shot the ball tried the underhanded shot for a stretch. But others took the shot and made them successfully during basketball's early years. But then nobody was taking them. Until Rick Barry came along in the mid sixties. And he shot nearly 90 per cent for his career.  Since Rick Barry, I don't remember seeing a single NBA player take the shot underhanded despite the many players who could use a boost in their shooting averages.

So, I noticed this twenty year old kid taking the foul shots underhanded.  He turned around at one point and I noticed the name on his jersey. Kid's name was also Barry.  What are the odds of that?

On Monday when I went to see NU lay an egg, I listened to the introductions of the opponents and one player was introduced as Juwan Howard Jr.  How many Juwan Howards can there be?  Juwan Howard Sr. was the player among the fab five who lasted the longest in the NBA. He wasn't the best of the five, but he had the greatest longevity.

I checked it out when I got back to my home. Both college players, Barry and Howard, are the scions of their famous fathers.  I wonder how much pressure this puts on the players and those who coach them.  Interestingly both players had about the same impact on their respective teams. They both were starters and both scored in double digits, but neither was "the man" on their teams.  Neither is going to be playing in the NBA.

But their daddies sure did.   Probably the only kids on the teams that did not need their scholarships given what basketball stars earn currently.  So the good news is that you're Rick Barry's/Juwan Howard's kid. And the bad news is that you will always be Rick Barry's/Juwan Howard's kid.

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