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10 NBA Teams With The Most Championships

The Milwaukee Bucks franchise, winners of the 2021 NBA Championship, are the epitome of how hard it is, and what it truly requires to win multiple NBA championships. When you think about the likes of Oscar Robertson, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Ray Allen, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, you would think that they’re an organization with 10 or 15 banners hanging from it’s arena’s rafters.

Even though you could field an all-time starting five of Bucks players that would probably beat 90% of that of other franchises, winning takes having the right pieces at the right times, while their mere two NBA titles in franchise history is proof in that pudding.

Lets a look at the franchises with the most championships in NBA history, and a few of the players that helped them reach the pinnacle of the basketball world.

Boston Celtics: 17 NBA Championships
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LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates in the final moments of the Celtics’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 12, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Celtics are tied with the Lakers for the most NBA championships in league history. They’re one of the original four teams from the league’s inaugural season in 1949, and have always been located in the same city while sporting the same nickname.

Bill Russell led the franchise to eight consecutive NBA titles between 1959 and 1966. He largely considered the greatest winner in NBA history; having the most rings among any player.

The Celtics drafted small forward Larry Bird out of Indiana in 1978 and continued their winning ways during the 1980’s when Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish led them to three title runs during that decade, with the latter of the bunch coming in 1986.

22 years after their title in 86′, the Celtics were able to win one more in 2008. That Celtics team defeated the Los Angles Lakers in six games to win their 17th NBA Championship. That team was led by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.

Los Angeles Lakers: 17 NBA Championships
(Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 16: Magic Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with the Walter A. Brown championship trophy after winning Game 6 and series against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 16, 1980 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Of the two teams in Los Angeles, The Lakers are the more iconic franchise in the NBA. They won four of the first five NBA titles during the early 50’s in becoming the first dynasty that we’ve ever seen in professional basketball history. Those teams were led by legend George Mikan, Jim Pollard, and Vern Mikkelsen.

A notable win-streak of theirs was a 33 game unbeaten-run that they went on during 1972. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest centers in NBA history, led that team along with Jerry West , Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor.

Their next dynasty came after they drafted a point guard from Michigan State named Magic Johnson in 1979. Throughout the 80’s, Johnson was accompanied by the likes of Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott and Michael Cooper, en route to winning five championships on a Lakers team coached by Pat Riley.

After going through a title drought during the 90’s, The Lakers returned to NBA supremacy in the early 2000’s. It all started with a trade that brought Orland Magic superstar center Shaquille O’Neal to the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal joined All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson to lead the lakers to three straight championships from the year 2000 to 2002.

After O’Neal joined the Miami Heat in 04′, it took Kobe a few years to win his first championship without the big man, but he got it done with back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

Finally, a LeBron James-led Lakers squad honored the late Kobe Bryant in the best way they could’ve when they won the franchises 17th championship in 2020 over the Miami Heat. Anthony Davis was James’ running mate during last year’s title run and will look to help the Lakers tally more championships in the coming years.

Chicago Bulls: 6 NBA Championships
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SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES: In this 14 June 1998 file photo, Michael Jordan (L) holds the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and former Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson holds the NBA champions Larry O’Brian trophy 14 June after winning game six of the NBA Finals with the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The Bulls won the game 87-86 to take their sixth NBA championship. Jackson left the Bulls following the 1998 season and 12 January reports indicate that Jordan plans to announce his retirement at a 13 January news conference in Chicago.

It’s hard to imagine life without the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, which is crazy because they were only good during one decade, the 90’s. Coached by Phil Jackson and led by NBA great Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J Armstrong and Horace Grant, the Bulls won their first championship in franchise history during 1991, and three straight from 1991, until 1993.

Form 1996 to 1998, they were able to win three consecutive championships once more. The carried the same core of Jordan and Pippen.but added pieces like Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr.

Their next closest shot at a championship probably came in 2012, when MVP Derrick Rose led them to having the best record in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. During game 1 of the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose tore his ACL in the dying minutes. Chicago would get eliminated by the Sixers in six games that year.

Golden State Warriors: 6 NBA Championships
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: Fans holding what’s called a “hustle head” card board cut out of Andre Igoudala #9 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in front of the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center during the the Golden State Warriors Victory Parade and Rally on June 19, 2015 in Oakland, California.

The Warriors resided in the city of brotherly love from 1951 to 1962, and were crowned NBA champions for the first time in 1956. Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin led those teams and are a few of the greatest players in franchise history.

During the early 90’s, “Run TMC” a play-on with 80’s Hip-Hop group “Run DMC” was the nickname for the trio of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond. Although they never won a championship together, they’re one of the most iconic trios in NBA history, and one of my favorite NBA teams ever.

Finally, a new era of bay-area dominance was brewed in 2015 when the 67-win Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the organization’s 4th NBA championship. That same year, they put up the 2nd best winning streak of all-time when they won 28 straight games.

Over 11 seasons, Curry has won two MVP’s, three championships and has been t0o seven All-Star games. Paired with Klay Thompson, they are considered the greatest shooting backcourt that the game has ever seen, garnering the nickname, “Splash Bros.”

The year after his Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, superstar Kevin Durant decided to join Golden State, and would help them win two more championships in 2017 and 2018.

San Antonio Spurs: 5 NBA Championships
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – JUNE 15: Manu Ginobili #20, Tony Parker #9, Patty Mills #8 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate on the bench in the closing minutes of Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

During the late 90’s, the Spurs were formidable competition for the rest of the league with teams that were led by David Robinson, Avery Johnson, and arguably the greatest power forward of all-time in Tim Duncan. That team, coached by Gregg Popovich, would win their franchises first championship in 1999.

Their true domination started during the early 2000’s though, when they won the NBA Finals in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Those teams were led by Popovich, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli. After a seven-year title drought, San Antonio got another chance to add to their trophy case, and did so in defeating the Miami Heat and their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, while avenging their gut-wrenching loss to Miami in 2013.

Philadelphia 76ers: 3 NBA Championships
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INGLEWOOD, CA – JUNE 1982: Julius Eving #6 of the Philadelphia 76ers lays the ball up over Kurt Rambis #31 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers during an 1982 NBA Finals basketball game at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

The Philadelphia 76ers were once known as the Syracuse Nationals, and posted winning seasons in 11 out of their first 14 campaigns. After losing the 1950 and 1954 finals to the Minneapolis Lakers, the Nats broke through in 1955 in beating the Fort Wayne Pistons in seven games to win their first championship. Earl Lloyd and Dolph Schayes were key cogs in that championship team.

The Nats would undergo a name change 12 years later, making them the Philadelphia 76ers on August 6th of 1963. They’d win their first championship four seasons later, as Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlain, and Billy Cunningham beat Rick Barry and the San Francisco Warriors for the franchises 2nd title.

In 1982, the Sixers made a trade that would lead to their next and latest triumph. They got Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets in what is now considered one of the more lob-sided trades in NBA history. Malone would join Julius Erving, who they acquired from the Nets in 1976, Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney on a Sixers team, coached by Billy Cunningham, that would sweep the Lakers in 1983 in the NBA Finals.

18 years later, they came within three wins of lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy once more, when a skinny guard from Georgetown named Allen Iverson led Philly to having the best record in the Eastern Conference and an NBA Finals appearance in 2001. They lost in five games to Kobe, Shaq, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Detroit Pistons: 3 NBA Championships
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AUBURN HILLS, UNITED STATES: Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons holds the MVP trophy after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in game five of the NBA Finals to win the championship 15 June, 2004 at The Palace in Auburn Hills, MI. The Pistons won the game 100-87 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-1.

The late 1980’s and early 1990’s Detroit Pistons basketball teams had a reputation for a hardcore bully-ball play style that optimized basketball during that era. While Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, and Bill Laimbeer, might’ve been the brutes of the league, they were also kings of the crop when they won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. Their heated rivalries with the Bulls and Celtics during that era was great for basketball. Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Daly coached those Pistons teams.

Their latest championship came during 2004. That year, the Pistons acquired Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks midseason, and would end the year winning 16 of their last 19 games. Accompanied by Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, TayShaun Prince and Ben Wallace, the Pistons would end the Lakers dynasty in 04′, defeating LA in five games.

Miami Heat: 3 NBA Championships
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MIAMI, FL – MAY 30: LeBron James #6 and Chris Bosh #1 and Toney Douglas #0 of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

When the Miami Heat drafted Dwayne Wade out of Marquette in the 2003 NBA Draft, they found themselves a franchise cornerstone for the next 12 years. By the time 2004 rolled around ,the heat were a young playoff team, but were missing one more piece to take them to the next level. At the time, Shaquille O’Neal was not happy in Los Angeles, and longed for the possibility of joining forces with an up-and-coming D-Wade. In 2006, it all came together when Wade and O’Neal led Miami to their franchise’s first NBA title.

Six years later, another NBA superstar fancied the idea of joining forces with Wade and the Heat. On July 8th of 2010, LeBron James did, and created a super team led by himself, Wade and Chris Bosh. That Miami Heat “Big 3” would win back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.

For me, their most memorable title run came against the Spurs in 2012, when the Heat rallied from being down 3-2 in the series to win in seven games for LeBron’s first NBA championship.

Houston Rockets: 2 NBA Championships
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10 Jun 1994: Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets (center) goes up for two during the NBA finals game against the New York Knicks.

During the NBA’s Jordan-less years of 1994 and 1995, the Houston Rockets were able to capitalize on the league’s best player opting to go play baseball. In 94′ the Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell and Sam Cassell, matched up against Patrick Ewing’s Knicks , beating New York in seven games.

The next year, Olajuwon and company swept Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Orland Magic in route to their franchise’s second championship.

New York Knicks: 2 NBA Championships
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UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1975: Walt Frazier #10 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball during an NBA basketball game circa 1975 at the Baltimore Civic Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Frazier played for the Knicks from 1967-77.

I’m sure the Knicks would’ve liked to have the likes of Walt Frazier and Willis Reed, while going up Hakeem Olajuwon and those Houston Rocket teams during the mid 90’s.

Unfortunately for those Knicks teams, Reed was before their time, but was the MVP of the 1970 NBA Finals. That series saw New York defeating the Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain led Los Angeles Lakers in seven games for their first NBA championship. Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, and Dave DeBusschere were other key players for the Knicks during the early 70’s. The Knicks would win for a second time in 1974, beating that same Lakers team, this time in five games.

Those mid 90’s battles against Houston is the closest that New York has gotten to another championship.

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Sports Strength

Which U.S Professional Sports Team Has the Most Championships?

What’s better than being crowned the best at what you do? I’ll tell you. Doing it again, and again, and again. Some American sports franchises have had to struggle for decades to win a single championship, while others have triumphed multiple times. Of all the teams in American sports history, the New York Yankees have won the most championships, with 27 World Series titles.

Major League Baseball: New York Yankees (27 World Series Titles)
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26 Oct 1996: Closer John Wetteland of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after Game Six of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium in New York City, New York. The Yankees won the game, 3-2.

The Yanks have built a culture that expects to compete for the World Series every season. After their first title in 1923, the Yankees had three notable dynasty teams that would help win 26 more championships. From 1936-1939, the Yankees when won four consecutive titles, and from 1949-1954, they won five in a row. Those teams were managed by Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel and were led by legends like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Yogi Berra.

The next dynasty came during the late ’90s, when they won World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Those teams were managed by Joe Torre, and led by Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams.

In 2009, Jeter, C.C Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, and Mark Teixeira helped New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies for their 27th title, a series that I was glued to the television for as a 13-year old Yankees fan.

If you ask me, their most impressive championship came in 1996, when they beat the defending champion Atlanta Braves. Atlanta went up 2-0 in the series but the Yankees battled back and won four straight.

National Hockey League: Montreal Canadiens (25 Stanley Cup Championships
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1991: Montreal Candiens head coach Pat Burns looks on from the bench during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers circa 1991 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Montreal Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup in 1919, and have been around longer than the NHL itself. Much of Montreal’s success points to its dominance in the 1950s, 1960’s and 1970s. They won six Stanley Cups between 1950-160, including four consecutive from 1956-1960. Those teams were coached primarily by Joe Blake and featured players like Jean Bèliveau, Henri Richard, and Claude Provost.

During the 1960s, they won the cup in 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1969 as Richard, Serge Savard, Jacques Lemaire, J.C Tremblay, and Yvan Cournoyer highlighted those teams.

Finally, their most recent dynasty began in 1971, as they’d go on to win six Stanley Cups during the ’70s, including four straight. Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, and Bob Gainey were key players during that era. 

National Basketball Association: Los Angeles Lakers ( 17 NBA Championships)
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Center for the Los Angeles Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks at the Los Angeles Lakers 1988 Championship Parade

One of the most historic and successful franchises in all of sports are the Los Angles Lakers. George Mikan, who is considered the NBA’s first dominant big man led helped LA win four of the first five NBA titles, marking the first professional basketball dynasty we’ve ever seen. Those teams also featured Jim Pollard and Vern Mikkelsen.

In 1972, NBA logo icon Jerry West, along with Gail Goodrich, Elgin Baylor and Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, led the Lakers to an NBA record 33 -game winning streak and won the championship that same year. In 1979, they drafted Magic Johnson and would soon find its most successful run of form to date. Along with Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, Magic led the “Showtime” Lakers to five championships during the 1980’s.

During the early 2000’s, head coach Phil Jackson, center Shaquille O’Neal and shooting guard Kobe Bryant started a new era in Lakers dominance when they won three consecutive titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. After O’Neal was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2004, Bryant became the alpha dog and led the Lakers to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

NBA: Boston Celtics (17 NBA Championships)
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Larry Bird and Kevin McHale high-five during the 1986 NBA Finals

Presumably inspired by the dominant run of the Lakers, the Boston Celtics reigned supreme during the latter years of the 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s in the NBA. Led by Bill Russell, , John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, K.C Jones and Ed Macauley, the Celtics won eight consecutive NBA championships in 1959 and and 1966. Russell, who served as player-coach from 1966 to 1969, would win five MVP’s and set the record for most rebounds in a game with 49.

In 1978, Boston drafted arguably the most popular Celtic of all-time in Larry Bird. Bird, along with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson, led Boston to title runs in 1981, 1984 and 1986, while stirring up a heated rivalry with Magic Johnson and “The Showtime Lakers.”

Celtics fans waited over 20 years for their next championships, which came in 2008. Head coach Doc Rivers, and a “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen defeated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games that year.

National Hockey League: Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cups)
(Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MAY 7: Mats Sundin #13, Bryan Berard #34, Dmitri Yushkevich #36 and Lonny Bohonos #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1999 Quarter Finals of the NHL playoff game action at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canad

Like the Celtics-Lakers in the NBA, the Maple Leafs-Canadiens are one of the most historic rivalries in the NHL. Toronto were crowned with their first Stanley Cup in 1918, while their most recent Stanley Cup succession 1967.

In between that time, they had two dominant stretches, one coming in the late 40’s when they won three straight titles, while the other came during the early 60’s, when they won the whole thing in 1962, 1963, and 1964. Mats Sundin is the all-time leading goal-scorer for the franchise.

National Hockey League: Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings stands next to the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl with Bill Daly, deputy commisioner of the NHL (R) after the Red Wings, after the Red Wings defeated the Stars 4-1 in game six of the Western Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 19, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

The Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings are a few of the original six teams that made up the NHL between 1942-1967.

The Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 1936, and won four consecutive titles between the years 1950-1960. Right winger Gordie Howe, who is considered by some as the greatest NHL player of all-time, partnered with star-studded goalie Terry Sawchuk to help Detroit dominate the 50’s.

In 2008, they would face-off against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That Red Wings team won that series in six games, was anchored by defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, and lead on the attack by Henrik Zutterberg , who was the 2008 Stanley Cup MVP.

Major League Baseball: St. Louis Cardinals (11 Championships)
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Trevor Rosenthal #26, catcher Yadier Molina #4 and David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after the Cardinals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 18, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.

When the St. Louis Cardinals won their first championship in 1886, they were actually known as the St. Louis Browns. They became the Cardinals in 1900, and had to wait 26 years until their first World Series Championship triumph in 1926, beating a New York Yankees team led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Right-fielder Billy Southworth, Shortstop Tommy Thevenow, First Baseman Jim Bottomley, and starting pitcher Pete Alexander anchored that team to help defeat the Evil Empire.

The last Cardinals championship came in 2011 when they defeated the Texas Rangers. Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and World Series MVP David Freese played huge roles in that series. 

Major League Baseball: Boston Red Sox (9 World Series Championships
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox celebrate after winning game four of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 3-0 to win their first World Series in 86 years

From 1903-1918, the Boston Red Sox were a dominant baseball franchise. They won five World Series championships during those years. Those squads were led by The Great Bambino, aka Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young. Their most notable championship run happened during 2004; which is the year they broke their 86-year drought without a World Series. That year, they came back and won from a 3-0 series deficit against arch-rival New York Yankees in the American League Championship series, becoming the first baseball team in the history of the game to do so. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, and Pedro Martinez came up huge for Boston during that title run.

They’d go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that year, but beating my beloved Yankees in seven game is what made that postseason run extra special for the Red Sox.

Yuck, next.

Major League Baseball: Oakland Athletics ( 9 World Series Championships)
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Pitcher Dave Stewart #34 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch during a game against the New York Yankees in the 1990 season at Oakland Alameda County Stadium in Oakland, California.

Between the years 1903 and 1954, the Oakland Athletics franchise were residing in the city of brotherly love, and were formally known as the Philadelphia Athletics. They won their first World Series in 1910, and would go on to win titles in two out of the next three seasons during the early 1910’s. The organization has seen an influx of some of the greatest players that the game has ever seen, including Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Mark McGwire, and Tony La Rusa.

The franchises most recent championship came in 1989, when Oakland swept the San Francisco Giants. Henderson, the all-time leader in walks, runs, stolen bases and leadoff home-runs in baseball, was featured on that 1989 championship team, and might be the greatest A’ of all-time.

Starting pitcher Dave Stewart won World Series MVP in 1989 after pitching a complete game shoutout in game 1. In 2005, en-route to winning 103 games, Oakland went on the 5th longest streak in MLB history while winning 20 games in a row.

Major League Baseball: San Francisco Giants (8 World Series Championships)
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San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) raises the 2014 championship banner in left field after mounting a horse on his way to deliver the banner to center centerfield before their home opener against the Colorado Rockies

The Giants were based in New York from 1903-1957, and won their first of five World Series championships as the New York Giants in 1905. Right-hander Christy Mathewson pitched three games during the World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics that year, and did not allow one single run in 27 innings of action. 11 years later, they set the MLB record for most consecutive wins with 26. The Giants most recent World Series championship was a seven-game thriller against the Kansas City Royals in 2014, marking their third title during a 5-year stretch. Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner was electric and won MVP of the series, joining the company of baseball’s elite after clutch performances in Games 1, 5, and 7 on short rest. Bumgarner has a career 0.25 ERA in World Series games, good for the greatest mark in the history of baseball.

Major League Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers (7 World Series Championships) 
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Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers holds the Commissioners Trophy after the teams 3-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Six to win the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas

The Dodgers played in Brooklyn under seven different nicknames before they became the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. Their first title was won in 1955 in seven games over the New York Yankees, as the team was carried by Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres, and Carl Furilo. Additionally, 2nd baseman Jackie Robinson is notorious for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, becoming the first African-American to play in the big leagues in 1947. Additionally, without the the emergence of veteran Negro-league superstars Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson during that time, the young Jackie Robinson might’ve never had his shine.

LA’s latest World Series championship came in 2020, in a series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. All-Star center-fielder Mookie Betts was named MVP of the series. 

National Basketball Association: Chicago Bulls (6 NBA Championships)
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Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates after game six of the NBA Final against the Utah Jazz at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-86..

The Chicago Bulls dominated during the 1990’s as their success rested on the laurels of arguably the greatest to ever do it in Michael Jordan. Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, and B.J Armstrong, to help win the Bulls their first championship in 1991, but they didn’t stop there.

The Bulls won again in 1992, and 1993. After Jordan took a hiatus from basketball during 1993 and 1994, Chicago three-peated again in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman, and Ron Harper were key additions that supported the star-studded duo of Jordan and Pippen during the late 90’s.

I’d say their most impressive finals performance was the 1997 series against Utah. The Jazz, led by John Stockton and Karl Malone, came back from a 2-0 series deficit to force a game 5. That game is remembered as the famous “flu game”; the game in which Jordan was visibly sick and had to be helped off the court by teammates going into timeouts. Nevertheless, Jordan dropped 38 points in a Chicago victory as the Bulls would go on to win the Finals in six games. 

National Basketball Association: Golden State Warriors (6 NBA Championships)
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Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and MVP Andre Iguodala celebrate after their team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 to win the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Warriors played in Philadelphia from 1951-1962, and won their first championship as the Philadelphia Warriors in 1956. Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin led those teams and are a few of the greatest players in franchise history. During the early 90’s, “Run TMC” a play-on with 80’s Hip-Hop group “Run DMC” was the nickname for the trio of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond. Although they never won a championship together, they’re one of the most iconic trios in NBA history, and one of my favorite NBA teams ever.

Finally, a new era of bay-area dominance was brewed in 2015 when the 67-win Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the organization’s 4th NBA championship. That same year, they put up the 2nd best winning streak of all-time when they won 28 straight games.

The emerging backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson quickly became known as “The Splash Bros”. With the addition of Kevin Durant two seasons later, Golden State would go on to win two more championships, back-to-back in 2017 and

National Hockey League: Chicago Blackhawks (6 NHL Championships)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after teammate Patrick Kane #88 scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Blackhawks have only won the Stanley Cup six times, but they’ve been dominant over the past 10 years with three Stanley Cups over that time-frame. Their first championship came in 1934 when they beat the Detroit Red Wings, clinching the series during a double-overtime victory in game 4. Their latest championship came in 2015 when they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. Stan Mikita is probably known as Mr. Blackhawk, and is arguably the greatest Chicago Blackhawks player of all-time. Patrick Kane might be 2nd on the list of all-time greatest Blackhawks, and had that classic game-winning OT goal against the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup in 2010, which broke my heart as a semi-Flyer fan that only shows up for the playoffs.

National Hockey League: Boston Bruins (6 Stanley Cup Wins)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Rich Peverley #49 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his third period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup all the way back in 1929 when they swept the New York Rangers in a best-of-three series. Wingers Harry Oliver and Dit Clapper, along with centers Bill Carson and Dutch Gainor scored goals for the Bruins in that series, while 25 -year old goalie Tiny Thompson allowed zero goals in 120 minutes of play. They won their most recent championship when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games during 2011. Brad Marchand , Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder were monsters on the attack in that series and really carried the team. As for other notable Bruins, Defenseman Bobby Orr is not only a great Bruin, but is considered one of the greatest hockey players in NHL history. Fellow Defenseman Eddie Shore, along with centers Patrice Bergeron and Phil Esposito are other great players in Boston’s history on the ice.

National Football League: New England Patriots (6 Super Bowls)
(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady embraces Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft (R) after winning 03 Super Bowl XXXVI 03 February, 2002 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Over the last two decades, the New England Patriots have been incredibly dominant and vastly hated by opposing fans. At the start of 2002 though, The Patriots had zero Super Bowl Championships and were underdogs, even with Bill Belichick and a young Tom Brady . That year though, the Patriots shocked the world and defeated the heavily favored St. Louis Rams, aka, “The Greatest Show of Turf” in Super Bowl XXXVI. Their victory against Kurt Warner and Co. would spark the greatest dynasty run that the NFL has ever seen. They managed a combined record of 28-4 during the seasons they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004, while going 17 straight seasons with ten wins or more from 2003, to 2019. Even though they lost the 2007 Super Bowl to the New York Giants, they steamrolled the league in route to a 16-0 record. Their latest Super Bowl triumph came in 2018 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but their most impressive Super Bowl win has to be that 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in 2016.

National Football League: Pittsburgh Steelers (6 Super Bowls) 
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 01: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy as Mike Tomlin and Dan Rooney look on after defeating the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 27-23

As the 7th oldest franchise in the NFL, The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as one of the most historic teams in not just football, but in professional sports. Steelers fans had to wait 42 years until the team won their first Super Bowl in 1975.

After that however, they were able to win four Super Bowls in the next six seasons while putting together arguably the best football team that has ever been assembled. The team was coached by Chuck Noll, and featured numerous halls of famers including quarterback Terry Bradshaw, cornerback Mel Blount, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert and defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene.

Their most recent Super Bowl victory came at the expense of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, and was capped off by a game-winning touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes . 

National Basketball Association: San Antonio Spurs (5 NBA Championships)
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Manu Ginobili #20, Tony Parker #9, Patty Mills #8 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate on the bench in the closing minutes of Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals

After the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan in 1997, they became the epitome of winning, class and consistency in the NBA throughout the 2000’s. They won the 1999 NBA Finals under Head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich, and with a team led by Duncan, David Robinson, and Avery Johnson.

Their true domination started during the early 2000’s though, when they won the NBA Finals in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Those teams were led by Pop, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli. After a seven-year title drought, San Antonio got another chance to add to their trophy case, and did so in defeating the Miami Heat and their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, while avenging their gut-wrenching loss to Miami in 2013.

National Football League: San Francisco 49ers (5 Super Bowl Championships)
(Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana in celebration against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 24 at the Louisiana Superdome.

The San Francisco 49ers have featured some of the most legendary players to play for their franchise. Cornerback Ronnie Lot, quarterbacks Steve Young and Joe Montana, and wide receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens are some of the greatest niners of all-time. The pinnacle of their success as a franchise started in the 1981 when they won their first Super Bowl, while their latest Super Bowl win came in 1994. Head coach George Seifert won 98 games and led the franchise to two SuperBowls between 1989 and 1996, while Bill Walsh won 92 games and three Super Bowls between 1979 and 1988. For me, their most memorable championship was Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Montana threw a game-winning back touchdown pass to receiver John Taylor in that game, and is one of the greatest plays in NFL history.

National Football League: Dallas Cowboys (5 Super Bowl Championships)
Photo credit should read ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman signals touchdown 31 Jan during the fourth quarter Super Bowl XXVII. Aikman and the Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills to win the game 52-17.

Famously known around the NFL as “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl in 1972 against the Miami Dolphins. Bob Lily’s sack on Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese is one of the greatest plays in Cowboys history and helped clinch Dallas’ first ever Super Bowl championship. Their latest Super Bowl win came at the expense of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996, and capped off Dallas winning three Super Bowls in four seasons during the 90’s. Quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman anchored all of the Cowboys Super Bowl triumphs. Other notable Cowboys include Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Jason Witten, and of-course their famous president, general manager, and owner since 1989, Jerry Jones. Wade Phillips, Bill Parcels, and Jimmy Johnson are a few notable coaches in Dallas Cowboys history as well.

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Finance NFT

What NFTs Look Like in 5 Years, According to Jack Settleman

NFTs are pumping. The Crypto market got a resurgence and BTC is back up to above $40,000. 

All of this excitement is great. People are becoming interested and are taking notice of this market. But with that excitement, there are a lot of overreactions occurring.

So let’s look at the next five years. 

Something that has made headlines over the past weeks is Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity, giving people from 3rd world countries the opportunity to make money, has made a billion dollars over the last month. It is inspired strongly by the structure and style of Pokémon. You get to collect characters, they get into battles, and have their own attributes. 

But something I have been thinking about a lot is where NFTs are going. And where will they be in 5 years? 

A game like Axie doing a billion dollars is nuts. But five years is so far away. So much can change in that time. While I am in awe of what they have accomplished, the reality is that the graphics are mediocre. And not just that, but the gameplay is mediocre. And when you put it in comparison to what is available on Xbox, Playstation, etc… Even without “trashing” the game, it is a more simple concept. 

Cryptopunks

I think Cryptopunks are a lock for the future. They were first. And if that isn’t enough, the owners of these Cryptopunks are all important figures. 

Larvalabs created them. As the company that is responsible for them, it is possible that they could screw things up to ruin their brand recognition? While I don’t think it is likely, I do think it is possible. 

TopShot

When looking at the things that TopShot has going for them, there is one thing that stands out among the rest. They are partners with the NBA. A major staple in world culture. That feels like it would be a safe bet.

But when you purchase a Top Shot moment, you are making three bets. You are betting on Dapper Labs to create a good product. You are betting on the NBA to remain a relevant part of society. And you are betting on Lamelo Ball to be a rockstar of similar status in 5 years. 

Zed

While observing the big picture of Zed, I think one of the things that is a strong point for them is the history of horse racing. For hundreds of years, horse racing has been around. And not just that, but gambling on horse racing is popular.

Now, they just got bought… but is their game THAT good? Could someone else come in with 50 million dollars and create a better game structure? Absolutely. 

It is tough to not be a prisoner of the moment with NFTs. It is 24/7/365. We get easily excited about what companies are building and creating. But think about things in 5 years. Is this something you would be comfortable to sit on for that amount of time and know that it won’t get to zero? These are all things to consider when looking at the larger scale of NFTs.

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Sports Strength

A Recap of NBA Free Agency 2021: The Winners and Losers

More than any other sports league, the NBA has been able to turn free agency—a fancy series of private job interviews and contract negotiations—into a marquee event. Thanks to short contracts, emboldened players and a malleable salary cap (which, like computers or the wind, seems to be governed more by magic and whimsy than logic), NBA free agency represents an annual reshaping of the league. This year’s iteration felt particularly hectic since nearly a third of the teams can plausibly claim to be legitimate contenders next year. Here, the winners and losers of basketball’s silly season:

Loser: Dennis Schröder

Over the last week, NBA teams awarded $2.2 billion worth of contracts to 105 free agents. Of those numbers, $640 million were given to 20 point guards. Dennis Schröder—not even a year after turning down a four year, $84 million extension from the Lakers—has gotten none of it. Believing that a team would somehow become desperate enough to offer a $100 million contract this summer, Schröder priced himself out of consideration for nearly every possible destination as cap space around the league evaporated. Meanwhile, the Lakers’ trade for Russell Westbrook has rendered Schröder vestigial to their championship ambitions and without a clear spot in their rotation. At this point, it seems likely that Schroder will have to settle for a one-year deal in the neighborhood of five million dollars. 

Certainly, Schroder isn’t a bad player; his spindly quickness propelled him to be the runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year two seasons ago. Nor is he strapped for cash—he’s earned over $70 million so far during his career. He is, however, a victim of external circumstance and his own hubris. There’s not a huge demand for monopositional guards who are unremarkable shooters, passers or defenders. If only Schroder realized this before it was too late. Tough—no, Tuff 🔥 💯—scene.

Winner: The New York Knicks

Yes, the Knicks. The Knicks! Perhaps even more shocking than their playoff berth last season is the fact that they’ve managed to keep the good vibes rolling into the summer, augmenting a relatively solid core with some backcourt brio. By adding Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, the Knicks have addressed their most glaring weakness from last season: a lack of guys who make stuff happen. Even during their surprising 41-31 season, they often couldn’t conjure up any reliable source of offense beyond hoping that Julius Randle would drain contested jumpers like a thicc Kevin Durant. Now, Walker is instantly the best point guard the Knicks have had in at least 20 years; although his busted knees caused the Boston Celtics to trade him, and the Oklahoma City Thunder to cut him, he’s still one of the premier pull-up shooters in the NBA. Similarly, Fournier is a clever scorer who can offer some secondary playmaking. Sweetest of all, the Knicks have souped up their guard rotation at their rival’s expense: the Celtics traded three draft picks in deals involving Fournier and Walker, only for the pair to end up with the Knicks. 

Barring any league-wide wonkiness, though, the Knicks will probably finish with a worse record than they did last year, despite their clear improvement. The Eastern Conference’s middle class has improved and it’s difficult to imagine the Knicks being better than the Nets, Bucks, Sixers, Heat and Hawks. Still, that’s almost beside the point. If last year proved the Knicks are back, this summer announced their intention to never leave. 

Loser: The New Orleans Pelicans

Back in 2006, a man went viral for making a series of small barters, ultimately trading his way up from a red paperclip to a new house. The New Orleans Pelicans are doing the opposite of that. While the ‘Cans seemed poised for an extended rebuild after trading Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have been so good that they’ve expedited that process; Williamson and Ingram are ready to win now and New Orleans’ front office has panickedly scrambled to accommodate. 

As such, the Pelicans approached the offseason with a single focus: a doomed pursuit of Kyle Lowry or Chris Paul. They sacrificed draft capital to slough off the salaries of Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams to Memphis; they made no real effort to retain Lonzo Ball, who was their clear third-best player last season and provided important connective offensive lubrication. After Lowry tampered his way to Miami and Paul stayed put in Phoenix, the ‘Cans ended up coughing up another first round pick for Devonte Graham. To be sure, Graham is a good player; it’s his fit that’s more dubious. Graham’s greatest strengths—his pull-up shooting and steadiness with the ball—is mitigated by the fact that he will cede control of the ball to Williamson and Ingram while his twerpiness will exacerbate an already-terrible defense. Worse, Williamson is trending towards disgruntlement, à la former franchise players like Anthony Davis or Chris Paul. In total, the Pelicans became a smaller, less athletic team with less roster flexibility; they’re in the process of turning a house into a red paperclip. 

Winner: The Los Angeles Lakers

Everybody—including Lebron James, especially Lebron James—has seen the jokes. The Lakers are playing NBA2K21 with the salary cap turned off; the Lakers are a lock to win the 2014 NBA championship; there’s only one ball; the Lakers are just hitting up all their old exes. And, to a certain extent, those jokes are true, but they’re obscuring the most important fact: the Los Angeles Lakers are now the overwhelming favorite to not only win the Western Conference, but to win a championship.

For years, the prevailing strategy for a Lebron James-led team has remained constant; if you surround James with shooters who can play tolerable defense, he will reward you with a Finals appearance. By trading for Russell Westbrook, the Lakers have eschewed that formula for something much weirder and potentially better. At this stage in James’s career, he’s addled by his own middle-agedness—he’s no longer able to bullrush his way to the basket at will and, last season, took a smaller proportion of his shots at the rim than he has in a decade (conversely, he shot more threes than ever). More, he’s suffered major injuries in two of the last three seasons, adding a new degree of precarity to his partnership with the similarly brittle Anthony Davis. 

Westbrook, though, offers an antidote to these ills, taking on creation responsibility while James slides into a less strenuous role during the regular season; despite his obvious flaws, Westbrook remains one of the most explosive and productive players in the league. Beyond being the best and also angriest passer that James has ever played with, Westbrook represents a bridge from James’s ball-dominant past to a less demanding future. 

Categories
Sports Strength

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland Might Be the Most Slept On Player in the 2021 NBA Draft

Let’s start with the viral video. It’s a late September night in 2017 at the CheckRock streetball league in Wilmington, Delaware and a crowd has gathered to watch Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland (the-then 17 year-old streetball legend and now-20 year-old Denver Nuggets first round draft pick) play one-on-one against two guys who don’t seem to know what they’ve gotten themselves into. Game to seven, scored by ones, make it take it.

Up first, Green Shirt. After 30 seconds, Green Shirt is down 3-0, his lineless oval face progressively scrunches with frustration as he’s beaten 7-3. White Tank Top fares much worse, losing 7-0 and only ever touching the ball when he embarrassingly tosses it at Hyland’s head to try to save face. None of this is remarkable on its own; in fact, Hyland can’t even recall exactly who those guys were or why they deserved such ignominy. But the message—the cascade of double stepback jumpers on unforgiving double-rims—is clear.

“I’m a killer, straight up,” Hyland said as he prepared for the NBA Draft. “When we’re on the court, I need you to know that you can’t guard me.”

To a degree, this video (appropriately named Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland Destroys Two Philly Trash Talkers) is really a public service announcement, introducing its 3.3 million viewers to not just Nah’Shon Hyland, but Bizzy Bones, Hyland’s on-court alter-ego. Whereas Nah’Shon is polite and affable, Bizzy Bones (Bizzy because he gets busy with the ball; Bones because he’s so skinny and long-limbed) is ruthless. Nah’Shon is a basketball player; Bizzy Bones is a hooper. Nah’Shon wants to laugh with you; Bizzy Bones wants to make people laugh at you. 

“Off the court, he’s energetic, he’s joking around, he’s lampin’,” said Thomas Jackson, a quasi-big brother figure for Hyland and the CEO of the Wilmington-based streetwear brand Carry My Own Weight. “But when it’s game time, there are no more jokes and no more friends: he’s going at you.” 

When Hyland was ten years old, he made the neighborhood YMCA his personal exhibition space, transforming a children’s’ rec-league into a showcase where he would unveil the crossovers and dribble moves that he learned from watching AND1 YouTube mixtapes of Hot Sauce and spent the last seven days practicing in the mirror. More, this was where Bizzy Bones was born. 

“I was, like, 10 years-old, dropping 50 points just about every weekend,” Hyland remembered. “I was making ten threes in a half. The other kids were just looking at me like, ‘Damn, there’s nothing I can do about that.’” 

For four years at St. Georges Technical High School, Hyland continued his reign of terror over the Wilmington youth basketball circuit. As such, he quickly became a celebrity—or at least the Delaware high school equivalent of one—as people swarmed to watch him exhibit the depth of his scoring bag. 

“Our gym was always full,” said Rodney Griffin, Hyland’s high school coach. “From his Junior year on, no matter where we went—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland—the games were sold out. People would show up to root for Bones and watch him play.” 

With good reason.

“There was one scrimmage where Bones got super hot—he was shooting from everywhere, he could shoot it from the ocean,” Griffin said with a laugh. “During a timeout, he comes up to me and tells me he’s going to shoot from behind halfcourt. So, on the next play, he does and he splashes it; the net doesn’t even move and the crowd is going nuts. And right away, the other coach calls the game—he ends the scrimmage because he said he’d seen enough.” 

Although Hyland held scholarship offers from basketball powerhouses like Michigan and UConn, he ultimately committed to Virginia Commonwealth University because they were committed to him—not only were they one of the first notable teams to offer him a scholarship, but they never wavered in recruiting him, even after he tore his patella tendon so severely by jumping from the window of a burning building that doctors feared he’d never play basketball again.  

After a relatively muted freshman season at VCU, Hyland fully emerged as Bizzy Bones during his sophomore year. Despite only being named to the Atlantic 10’s preseason third-team by the conference’s coaches, he became the conference’s clear star and best NBA prospect. By season’s end, he was named the conference player of the year. He proved to be unguardable—although A10 is perennially one of the best mid-major conferences in college basketball, no team was equipped to handle Hyland’s combination of game-breaking shooting and speed. Over the course of 12 conference games, Hyland averaged 20 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, shooting 37.6 percent on nearly eight three point attempts per game and hitting an array of shots so difficult and mind-bending that at one game, his defender couldn’t help but congratulate him.

As Hyland stands at the precipice of a professional basketball career looking back at his amateur basketball days, he has only one regret: he wishes that positive COVID-19 tests on his VCU team hadn’t abbreviated their 2021 NCAA Tournament run before it began. 

“I broke down when I heard the news [that we had been disqualified], because I thought that I lost my shot to show the world who I am,” Hyland said. “Before the game, I swear to God, I had a feeling I was going to go crazy [against Oregon in the first round]. I was gonna get 40. I knew it.” 

Next, Hyland imagines, his Rams would’ve continued their run to the Sweet Sixteen by notching an upset against a second-seeded Iowa team that spent the bulk of the year ranked in the top ten. “They were too slow for us,” Hyland declared. “We would’ve run them off the court. We were going to put [Luka] Garza in the pick-and-roll and I would’ve made him fall.” 

Now, looking forward to the NBA, the first league that he won’t be able to dominate on talent alone, Hyland is unfazed. As predicted by mock drafters and media pundits, Hyland was selected towards the end of the first round, picked 26th by the Denver Nuggets as the 16th guard off the board. If there are 15 better guards than him in the draft, that’s news to him. 

On the competitive dynamics of the pre-draft process: “During all this pre-draft stuff, I haven’t run from anything—I’ve played in any workout, I scrimmaged at the combine. Other guys get caught up in all this ranking stuff and have been ducking me [in workouts for teams] because they know it’s not gonna end well for them.”

On his status compared to his peers: “I’m the best scorer in the draft. I’m way shiftier with the ball than any other guard. I shoot it better and I shoot it with more range and I can create space with my stepback to get it off.”  

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland

I’m the best scorer in the draft.

On his worries about Patrick Beverly and the elite defenders that await him: “I’ve played against defenders better than Pat Bev. He’s just aggressive and I’ve faced aggressive defenders before—I use that against them and they get themselves in foul trouble.” 

Cocky? Maybe, but self-doubt is incompatible with the way that Hyland plays: hoisting jump shots from 30 feet away with your momentum carrying you away from the hoop requires a certain fortitude and strength-of-will. It’s this kind of confidence—a physical charisma that radiates outward from him like a heat shimmer—that allows Nah’Shon to become Bizzy Bones. 

The important thing about Bizzy Bones is that just about everybody likes to watch him play basketball; the important thing about Nah’Shon Hyland is that just about everybody likes him. Talk to enough people in his orbit and a common theme quickly emerges: he sparks joy.

“Coaching him was so much fun,” said Griffin. “He plays with a lot of joy. More than scoring, I think the source of his joy is setting up his teammates—making passes and getting everybody involved. Whenever Bones would pass to one of our good shooters, he’d be running back on defense with three fingers in the air before the shot even left the guy’s hand.” 

Similarly, “I met him in 2017 or 2018,” said Jackson, “and I could tell that he’s different almost right away. There’s just something about his dedication and his leadership that draws people in.”

Beyond his immediate inner circle, Hyland shares a special bond with the city of Wilmington. In 2018, the city rallied around him in the aftermath of an unimaginable family tragedy (Hyland’s grandmother and little cousin died in a house fire that he managed to survive by jumping out of a window). “Nobody else can know what he’s been through,” said Jackson, “but it’s our responsibility to give him a space where he can feel understood.” In addition, a family friend set up a GoFundMe that raised over $23,000 from people all over the state who wanted to help Hyland’s family recover.

“The city has supported me and my family,” Hyland said. “Since it happened, I’ve felt like everybody really welcomed us with open arms and that people care about me and my family. Sometimes it feels like all of Wilmington is embracing us and giving us a hug. It’s really opened up the world for me and helped me realize the ways I can make a difference outside of basketball.”

Accordingly, Hyland puts on for Wilmington and Delaware, in ways both big and small. His left arm is a billboard for his hometown. Across the outside of his forearm, “WILMINGTON” is tattooed in unmissable block letters; keep looking along that same latitudinal place and TG4L—a tribute to Tressi Gang, the collective that he formed in high school—is visible on the side of his hand, a touch below the pinkie.

A portmanteau of tres (three) and si (yes), Tressi Gang is a testament to the snowball-effect of Hyland’s good vibes. What began as his friend group’s inside joke morphed into a larger collective of talented young players and then into a minor regional movement with a de facto theme song—the music video for “Tressi Bop” by local rapper Shizz Nitty has nearly 60,000 views on YouTube and features a dancing Bones Hyland. 

“With Tressi Gang, we’re basically kinda putting our own style on three-pointers,” Hyland explained. “But bigger than that, we’re a bunch of kids from the inner city and we want to show people that there’s a road out of the streets and that you can go down it together.”

In a league full of players who have had any public-facing personality smoothed away by media-training and PR-speak, Hyland is refreshingly unpolished. He speaks eagerly and engagingly, punctuating most sentences with a laugh. Even when he dips into standard pro-athlete fare, he sounds genuine and thoughtful.

On his travel itinerary during the pre-draft process: “It’s actually been great, honestly. I’ve been flying all around—East Coast, Midwest, West Coast—and it’s fun to see all these cities I’ve never been to before.”

On his work-ethic: “When I take stepbacks and deep threes in a game, those aren’t out of the blue. At St. Georges and VCU, I’d get to practice early and stay late working on those moves and the coaches would see the effort I’m putting in and feel confident even when I’m taking tough shots.”

On his larger purpose: “I just want to put smiles on people’s faces and help them out in the best way because I know that the blessings will come around tenfold.”

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland

We’re a bunch of kids from the inner city and we want to show people that there’s a road out of the streets and that you can go down it together.

Even during the stale, empty ritual of a post-draft press conference, Hyland brought energy. Whereas most prospects unconvincingly stumble through how they definitely grew up a lifelong Sacramento Kings fan, Hyland spoke with real enthusiasm. He talked about rapping for the Nuggets’ braintrust during his pre-draft interview; he discussed his fit with the roster and what he’ll add to their offense. He confessed: “I feel like I’m the real Bones though—all due respect to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. I’m the real Bones.” 

Just as the Bizzy Bones/Nah’Shon dialectic has defined Hyland thus far, his ultimate NBA success will hinge on his ability to maintain his signature flair while scaling his usage to fit within the framework of his team. Viewed pessimistically, Hyland is stuck between traditional basketball archetypes: his frame (6’3” and only 170ish pounds) renders him too small to defend shooting guards, but his negative assist-to-turnover ratio at VCU makes it untenable for him to conduct an NBA offense. His shot-making and accuracy in a variety of contexts (pull-ups, stationary catch-and-shoots, off-ball movement shooting, etc.) may guarantee that he commands minutes, but it could be tricky to construct lineups to fit those minutes within. 

“The shot-making is there,” said a member of a Power Five team’s coaching staff, “but the combination of his limitations as a passer and slight frame leave him without a natural position.” 

Optimistically, Hyland defies myopic basketball conventions because he fits within a more modern conception of the sport. Players have become skilled in such diverse and sundry ways that basketball in 2021 has transcended the game’s original positional template. The idea of point guard-iness and how it’s in conflict with shooting guard-dom has largely faded into obsolescence, replaced by a broader understanding of how players can fit together on the court. 

“To me, Bones is a combo guard, meaning that he’s equally capable playing on or off the ball,” said Rashad Phillips, a former pro player turned NBA Draft analyst and player development trainer. “The best situation for him is one where he’s given the freedom to play his game and be creative, but in ways that don’t pile too much responsibility on him right away.” 

Appropriately, the Nuggets play with a peerless weirdness, led by Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP and the goofiest great player in recent memory. Every NBA team’s offensive philosophy is built to some degree upon the concept of gravity, using their personnel to alternately force defenders to cling to shooters along the three-point or collapse to the paint; the Nuggets, alone, incorporate centripetal force. With Jokic as the slick-passing axle, the other four Nuggets orbit him, creating passing opportunities and disorienting defenses through this regulated chaos. This at once alleviates some of Hyland’s most glaring offensive weaknesses while presenting a new host of challenges: Jokic’s playmaking will scale down Hyland’s creation load and allow him to focus primarily on different ways to weaponize his jumper, but it will also require Hyland to adapt to a novel role without the ball.

“I think in a lot of ways this fit can be mutually beneficial,” said PD Web, the anonymous mayor of Draft Twitter and the director of research and development at Cerebro Sports. “The Nuggets get a shooter while he gets an easier volume of shots. It’s going to be really interesting to see how a guy can handle going from being a mega-on-ball, do-it-yourself creator to being a very good shooter who can leverage his gravity, while also maintaining those other skills.” 

In this sense, the Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland Experience requires a kind of enlightened ambivalence, an ability to hold two separate, potentially conflicting ideas, simultaneously and without friction. To PD Web, Hyland’s success with the Nuggets could hinge on how easily he can adjust to subsisting on easier looks. To Rashad Phillips, he needs a structure where he can play free of structure. To Rod Griffin, Hyland is a conscious-free scorer who launches such outrageous shots that opposing coaches rage-quit scrimmages, yet who somehow finds greater delight in simple passes. To Thomas Jackson, it’s impossible for anybody to truly know Hyland and it’s his duty to try to understand him. But what image does Hyland want to project to the world?

“I want people to think I’m an enthusiastic, kind person,” said Nah’Shon Hyland, adding with a Bizzy Bones laugh, “but also that I’ll destroy them if I need to.” 

Categories
Sports Strength

Chris Paul’s Legacy: A Recap of the 2021 NBA Finals

For a while, at least, things were going surprisingly great. After 16 exhausting seasons and 102 television commercials–and after the Phoenix Suns’ playoff bracket cracked open like a walnut—Chris Paul found himself two games away from his first championship. In Game One, he bedeviled the Milwaukee Bucks, manipulating their defense into switching a hopeless big man onto him and making them regret it. In Game Two, he quarterbacked one of the greatest team shooting performances in NBA Finals history. In Games Three, Four and Five, he was badgered to the outermost corners of the known universe by Jrue Holiday. And in Game Six, he slunk off the court with tears in his eyes. 

Watching a title slip away is the cruelest outcome for Paul, but it’s also the most logical. Although he has firmly ensconced himself amongst the greatest point guards ever, his career has been one of all-consuming competency and gnawing inadequacy. No one has played such flawless ball with such tepid results; after this Finals loss, he’s the only player to have blown four 2-0 series leads. This isn’t to say that he’s a choker, just that he’s limited in ways his peers aren’t. 

At the most basic level, the difference between the prophecy-fulfilling Bucks and the vanquished Suns lies in the physical differences of their respective stars. In Giannis Antetokounmpo’s hands, basketball looks simple. Whether he’s a “hooper” or not, Antetokounmpo is almost always bigger, stronger or faster than the guy guarding him—often, he’s all three. Against the Suns, he was at his rampaging best, averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists and winning Finals MVP; his 50 point, 14 rebound, five block master stroke in Game Six is an instantly iconic performance. He may not have developed a deep bag of countermoves and counter-countermoves, but that’s because he doesn’t need one.

When he’s on the court, the inherent cat-and-mouse game between offense and defense is rendered obsolete—his permanent plan of attack is to pile-drive his way to the hoop and the defense’s only reasonable response is to panic. Accordingly, there’s no point in learning the finer points of foul-drawing chicanery when opponents crumple from a single blow to the chest; it’s a waste of time to snake a pick-and-roll when you can simply snake your giant arm beyond the reach of any defender’s contest. Lesser, shorter players can whinge all they want about how it takes no skill to be seven-feet tall, run, and just dunk, but that criticism ignores a central truth: being seven-feet tall, running, and dunking is the ultimate skill. No matter what question the Suns’ defense posed, the answer was always Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Whereas Antetokounmpo is one of the world’s most startling athletes, Chris Paul is roughly the size of your kinda tall friend. Once injuries dejuiced his legs, he maintained his Point Godliness by evolving into one of the smartest and most skilled players to ever live. Every decision and move that Paul makes on the court is informed by an awareness of his physical limitations; his continued success is an act of defiance against his own body. Too slow to blow by defenders, he’s infused his dribbles with a slippery economy, gliding to his spots without any profligate movement. Too small to challenge big men at the rim, he has become the greatest mid-range shooter this side of Michael Jordan. Here is basketball as extreme couponing—small gains and microskills compiled into a giant stockpile of greatness. As such, Paul has become basically the perfect basketball player by necessity.

In this sense, Paul’s climate-controlling style leaves no margin for error. His success depends on his ability to drain difficult shots and maximize every advantage; in the last four games of his season, he could only maximize most of them. Compared to his torrid playoff run that spanned from the second round through the first two games of the Finals, Paul shot the ball a little less often and a little less well; he racked up slightly fewer assists and more turnovers.  Still, excepting an on-court blimp fire in Game Four, he played extremely well, even as the balance of the series shifted against him in subtle yet fatal ways. 

In Game Six, Paul controlled the game until he couldn’t. He led the Suns with 26 points and scored with remarkable efficiency; he created 16 assist opportunities, although only five of them were converted. But during the game’s final seven minutes and 38 seconds, he didn’t even attempt a single meaningful shot; he finally succumbed to his own overmatchedness while Antetokounmpo took over.

During this season-ending—if not season-defining—stretch, Paul struggled to advance the ball against Jrue Holiday’s hellhound full-court defense, sapping any tempo from the Suns’ attack as clumsier teammates were delegated with initiating the offense. He was skittish off the dribble and spooked by Milwaukee’s collective length as he passed out of shots that he normally would take. Unable to create an advantage against the Bucks, he passively followed the script of the game and turned into a cardboard cutout of himself. The hidden cost of refusing to make a bad play is that sometimes you don’t make any play at all—and the hidden tragedy of Paul’s career is that his singular commitment to greatness will never be good enough.

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Sports Strength

The Last 11 NBA Finals MVPs, Ranked

The Finals concluded last night in electrifying fashion, so now’s a great time to look back at some of the greatest NBA Finals MVPs of the last 11 years. From the Slim Reaper to Iggy, here’s the definitive ranking of some of the best players on the NBA’s biggest stage:

11.) 2015 Andre Iguodala: 16.3 PPG, 5.8 REB, 4.0 AST
Beat Cavaliers 4-2

What could have been a great battle between the up and coming Warriors and the Lebron-led Cavs was reduced to a six game series that was not very close due to injuries. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were both sidelined this series so Lebron was left with no supporting cast. It’s astonishing that the Cavs were capable of winning two games to be completely honest. Steph Curry should have been the MVP this series averaging 26/6/5, but instead Iggy was handed the MVP for his defense on Lebron. Iguodala had a stellar series, but Steph was the best player on the Warriors, so this Finals MVP is pretty weak. 

10.) 2014 Kawhi Leonard: 17.8 PPG, 6.4 REB, 2.0 AST
Beat Heat 4-1

This was another series that did not quite live up to the hype. 2014 gave us the Heat vs Spurs part two, a rematch of the previous year’s finals, which went 7 games. The Spurs completely dominated the Heat from the rip and it was never close. Kawhi played lockdown defense on Lebron and it launched him into superstardom. With that being said, he was far from the best or most dominant player on the Spurs. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were playing some of their most efficient basketball. They simply knew how to go out and win together and it showed this series. This is a weaker finals MVP because it really could have gone to any of these players, but like the previous year, locking down LeBron will lock you in as finals MVP. 

9.) 2019 Kawhi Leonard: 28.5 PPG, 9.8 REB, 4.2 AST
Beat Warriors 4-2

In his one year with the Raptors, Kawhi capped off one of the best individual playoff runs in NBA history with a championship. They took on a Warriors team with a sidelined Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. With a fully healthy squad, this series most likely goes a lot differently. A huge factor into the Raptors closing out this series was also Kyle Lowry. Lowry holds a number of records for the Raptors and will have his jersey in the rafters one day. I think that this Raptors team was really underrated and is going to be fun to look back on.

8.) 2011 Dirk Nowitzki: 26.0 PPG, 9.7 REB, 2.0 AST
Beat Heat 4-2

These Finals can be defined as maybe the greatest Davis and Goliath story in NBA history. This was the Heat’s first year together as the big three with Lebron, Wade and Bosh and they plowed through the East. They hit a roadblock in the Finals against the big man from Germany, Dirk Nowitzki. This Finals was the epitome of “it takes a team to win,” which is why I don’t have Dirk ranked higher. I vividly remember watching Dirk hit clutch bucket after clutch bucket almost every game though, and he did elevate the Mavericks to the Larry O’Brien. 

7.) 2013 Lebron James: 25.3 PPG, 10.9 REB, 7.0 AST
Beat Spurs 4-3

The first matchup of the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs in the Finals was unforgettable. A seven-game series that looked so over in game 6 that Heat fans left the arena before Ray Allen hit his famous shot from the corner. Lebron was incredible this series, despite missing the game-tying three in game six. He made up for it with a dagger jumper to close the series in game seven. This was LeBron’s second consecutive Finals MVP and was the second most physically dominant season of his career. 

6.) 2018 Kevin Durant: 28.8 PPG, 10.8 REB, 7.5 AST
Beat Cav’s 4-0

This was easily the most mismatched Finals we saw in the last decade. LeBron carried a questionable Cavs roster to a fourth consecutive final. The 2018 conference Finals saw the Warriors and Cavs both go to seven games, so both teams had to fight to reach the Finals. The Warriors were playing their best basketball ever in the Finals and the whole team just dominated. There was no question who was winning this championship and Kevin Durant could not be stopped. 

5.) 2012 Lebron James: 28.6 PPG, 10.2 REB, 7.4 AST
Beat Thunder 4-1

The 2012 season ended with LeBron James finally capturing his first NBA championship. This was easily the most physically dominant season of Lebron’s career. He punished opposing players on both ends of the floor and was relentless. Facing off against the baby Thunder was no challenge for the Heat. You could see the vengeance in LeBron’s eyes all series from losing the year prior against the Mavericks. I like to call this the Supervillian era of LeBron’s career.

4.) 2016 Lebron James: 29.7 PPG, 8.2 REB, 5.4 AST
Beat Warriors 4-3

In LeBron’s own words, capping off the 3-1 comeback against the Warriors propelled him to the ‘GOAT’ of basketball. This was without question the greatest NBA finals of the last ten years and debatably ever. A stacked Warriors roster that just had the best regular season of all time against Lebron and one of the most efficient offensive teams of all time. Even though Kyrie Irving hit the game-winning shot of game 7, Lebron was omnipresent on both ends, doing anything and everything needed to win. This game gave us the most famous Lebron block ever and one of Mike Breen’s best calls. 

3.) 2020 Lebron James: 29.8 PPG, 11.8 REB, 8.5 AST
Beat Heat 4-2

One of the most telling moments I remember from “The Last Dance” documentary about the 90s Chicago Bulls dynasty was when it was said that Michael Jordan was at his deadliest in 1993 because he simply knew how to go in and win games. I think the same will be said about LeBron’s 2020 campaign. This will be remembered as the bubble NBA finals in Orlando amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, but LeBron’s command of this series cannot be overlooked. Nearly averaging a 30 point triple-double, I think this was LeBron’s most dominating NBA Finals performance of all time.

2.) 2017 Kevin Durant: 35.2 PPG, 8.2 REB, 5.4 AST
Beat Cavs 4-1

Taking the number 2 spot in our rankings is Kevin Durant’s 2017 NBA Finals campaign. In his first year with the Warriors, Durant was playing the best basketball of his life. He seemed happier than ever and looked like he was genuinely having fun. It’s not hard to have fun when you average 35 points while shooting 55% from the field, 47% from three and 92% from the free-throw line. This was the most dominant performance I have ever witnessed live in an NBA Finals game. No matter who the Cavs threw at Durant, he would just pull up and hit the most insane shots. Kevin Durant gets a lot of hate for his move to the Warriors, but looking at the numbers he was putting up and the result, I really can’t blame him for making the move.

1.) 2021 Giannis Antetokounmpo: 35.2 PPG. 13.2 REB, 5.0 AST
Beat Suns 4-2

Just last offseason, Giannis took an alternate route than most superstars take when he re-signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. Some said that he couldn’t win without a super-team, and others said no one would want to play with him in a market like Milwaukee. Now at the young age of 26, Giannis has completed his hall of fame resume. I would say this is one of those rare championships like Dirk’s in 2011 when it really felt like one guy had a whole city on his back. I don’t think there is another player as deserving of this glory than Giannis.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

GaryVee Talks To Pro Athletes About How to Make An Impact

If you saw the “30 for 30″—then you already know the story.

“By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.”

Former Tennessee Titan, Derrick Morgan, is looking to change that.

Last Friday, Morgan spearhead a financial conference called “I AM Nation.” It included guests speeches from the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk and Anthony Pompliano.

“Life is only about access. And the great mistake of athletes is not going aggressive enough, to make relationships in the cities where they have played,” Vaynerchuk had to say when speaking at the event, emphasizing the need for personal connections.

In addition to increasing financial literacy, Morgan, and a slew of other current and former athletes, are hoping to also make an impact. They’ve laid out their priorities as capital, community, and culture.

When players are in the primes of their career, financial strategy and investing are rarely discussed in the locker room. The event was made to provide a forum for players to learn, network, and open that conversation.

The “I AM Nation” group has put together quite the team. The roster includes Josh Childress, Byron Jones, Stephen Tulloch, Winston Justice, Justin Forsett, EJ Manuel, Vincent Fuller, Kevin Byard, and Spencer Paysinger.

These players’ backgrounds are all different. Some of them have already dabbled in entrepreneurship and others are just getting started. Either way, their involvement is helping diversify the investment space.

At the event, the conversations revolved around NFTs, real estate, cryptocurrency, and stock trading. Each subsection was given a speaker dedicated to providing valuable information for the group.

“[Athletes] are playing in real cities, with real die-hard fans. Football is one of the great passions of our society.  And because of that passion, you can access some really influential people, who will take a meeting with you, who will say yes to doing business with you” Vaynerchuk emphasized.

The event united the focuses of Morgan’s vision, by bringing capital, community, and culture together.

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Sports Strength

What’s Next for the Sixers: Is a Ben Simmons Trade on the Horizon?

The Sixers blew an 18-point lead on the road and a 26-point lead at home in back-to-back games in their second round series against the Hawks before winning Game 6 104-99 and losing Game 7 103-96, ending a season for a team that had NBA Championship aspirations. Losing three home games in a playoff series is unacceptable; Ben Simmons’ play had a lot do with their early exit.


Simmons missed 48 free-throws in 12 playoff games this year. He was 25-for-73 from the charity stripe (34.2 percent) and that 34.2 percent free-throw percentage is the worst in NBA Playoffs history (with a minimum of 70 attempts).

Is Ben Simmons Overrated?

Wizards broadcaster Justin Kutcher called Simmons “one of, if not the most overrated players in the NBA” back in March. I see where he is coming from, but I wouldn’t call Ben Simmons the most overrated player in the NBA. Simmons does a lot of things really well: he is an elite defensive player, he’s one of the best perimeter defenders in the league right now, he’s strong, physical, moves his feet, plays clean and smart defense, has wingspan, lateral quickness and he’s just so physical. I’ve seen him neutralize a lot of top guards; Simmons is really good at taking away their strengths, and in that sense he’s very valuable down the stretch of big games.


Simmons is a good slasher, he’s a good rebounder, he’s a good playmaker, he’s got good vision, he’s great in the open court and he’s done a good job initiating offense historically. Simmons has done that for the past four years. The problem is that he’s gotten NBA All-Star nods, All-NBA nods, the Rookie of the Year award and a lot of critical acclaim. He’s been praised like a borderline superstar, but I think that he’s a borderline All-Star. I look at his game from the perspective of an eye test, in addition to a statistical and production standpoint and who he is to his team. That said, I would take many guys in the league over him simply because they have a complete game, offensively speaking, which is the most important thing in basketball. Simmons is not on the level of Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown or so many guys that are borderline superstars, but he gets the nod right away.


This was year one of a five-year, $177 million contract with the Sixers. Simmons had just five points and only attempted four shots in Game 7 against the Hawks. And don’t forget about this infamous play:


Ben Simmons’ stats in the 4th quarter in this second round series against the Hawks are pretty damning:


Game 1: 2-2 FG

Game 2: 0-0 FG

Game 3: 1-1 FG

Game 4: 0-0 FG

Game 5: 0-0 FG

Game 6: 0-0 FG

Game 7: 0-0 FG


Seeing Simmons take All-Star spots from elite talent and get this level of acclaim bothered me. The truth is that he is a flawed player, and it hurt his team.


Ben Simmons is an impure player. He couldn’t make his free-throws and he was scared to look at the basket. It was frustrating to watch. This hurt the Sixers’ entire offense and had a direct effect on all four other players on the floor. They should have put Shake Milton or Seth Curry at the 1 and played real basketball. Simmons should have played the Draymond Green role. He shouldn’t have been a perimeter player.
If you are the Sixers, you have to move Ben Simmons to the 4 and have him be a superstar version of Draymond Green, or trade him for an actual wing scorer and a threat.


Defense Matters, But…

Defense 100 percent matters. Please don’t get me wrong, but basketball is about a bucket and it always comes down to it in the playoffs. The Sixers lacked offensive flow and it cost them their season. Teams drop on Simmons in the clutch and it hurts Joel Embiid, who has major spacing issues because the opponents don’t have to play Simmons close knowing that he is scared to shoot and Embiid can’t get certain looks and can’t get in certain spots. He has to adjust a little bit, he has to fight a little bit and that all comes down to Simmons. If the Sixers want to be more than just a regular season team, then they have to switch his position or trade him. The game looks very cool on TV, but the NBA courts become a very small space with all this athleticism and length.


Again, not to beat a dead horse, but Ben Simmons was an offensive liability. He was scared to look at the hoop. The Sixers had no offensive flow and Simmons has completely lost confidence. We may have seen his last game with the Sixers.

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Sports Strength

Matt Sponhour’s 5 Proposed Trades for the 2021 NBA Off Season

We’re in the middle of the NBA playoffs, so there really couldn’t be a better time to talk about possible trades for the upcoming off-season. Trade season is far closer than you might realize considering it’s only 3 months until training camp begins. We’ve already seen the Thunder and Celtics make a deal this offseason—which actually messed up one of the potential trades I was going to write about.

A word of warning before we get into these deals: these are a mix of things that I think would be good, but might not be realistic, and trades that I don’t love but are fairly likely to happen. I’m also taking into account rumors that have been reported by good sources, so if it ends up being bad info, that’s on me.

Damian Lillard to the Philadelphia 76ers
Abbie Parr / Getty Images

Portland receives:

Ben Simmons

Tyrese Maxey

4 First Round Picks

Philadelphia receives:

Damian Lillard

Portland would only do this if Dame demands a trade, and I’m honestly not too sure that he’s going to do that. That being said, if he does choose to get out of Portland, this trade gets him on a serious contender and nets the Trailblazers a serious return. Simmons might have been pretty rough in the playoffs, but I think playing for a rebuilding team that isn’t looking to win right away can take some of the pressure off him and help him develop his offensive game. Maxey is also a legitimately great prospect that I’m sure 76ers fans would have a rough time parting with. Pairing him with Simmons and the picks is a pretty strong deal that I’m not too sure any other team could beat.

For the 76ers, this is probably the move they’ll have to make, especially considering the lackluster end to their season. When you have the chance to get 2 superstars (Embiid and Dame) on the same team, you’ve got to take it. You could also see Portland throw in another role player that they’d no longer need if Dame was gone to sweeten the deal for the 76ers, someone like Robert Covington.  

Lakers, Kings, Hornets 3-Way Trade
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Los Angeles receives:

Buddy Hield

Sacramento receives:

Kyle Kuzma

Second round pick from Hornets 

Charlotte receives:

Marc Gasol

Alfonzo McKinnie

It’s hard to make a 3 team trade that actually works for all parties involved, but I think I’ve done it with this one. The main man on the move here is Buddy Hield to the Lakers, who would add more spacing to a Lakers team that’s always looking for more. His fit next to Lebron would be very strong, so even despite a big contract I can see LA pulling the trigger. 

It might be hard to understand the Kings side of this, but moving for Kuzma saves them over 20 million dollars over the next 3 years. There’s also been some frustration with Hield, as he’s failing to meet the expectations set by his contract. You could also argue that Kuzma could be better off in a new situation, but I don’t know if that’s worth holding out hope for. They would really just be clearing up some cap and getting a second round pick, which isn’t an awful deal.

For the Hornets, they help the money work and get a veteran center in Marc Gasol. I don’t think the Lakers should necessarily move off of Gasol, but it seemed at times that was the direction they were heading, so the Hornets could be a solid fit. Charlotte desperately needs new faces at the 5, so even if Gasol is just a rotational player it could be a nice pick up.

Collin Sexton to the San Antonio Spurs
Ronald Cortes / Getty Images

San Antonio receives:

Kevin Love

Collin Sexton

Cleveland receives:

Keldon Johnson

1 first round pick


2 second round picks

I’m going to be honest, I don’t understand the Cavs reports that they want to move on from Sexton. I understand that he and Garland might not fit together, but I’ve really liked what we’ve seen out of him lately. If they do have to move on from him, I see the Spurs as a team that would be willing to make a move to pick up the young guard. It’s no sure thing that DeMar DeRozan is back next year, so they could be looking for a young #1 scoring option, which is exactly what Sexton can be. Even if DeMar comes back, Sexton is still a great young player to build around.

The Cavs get a few things out of this move. Kevin Love is also being shipped to San Antonio in this deal, which helps clear up the cap for Cleveland. The Spurs send back Keldon Johnson, a solid defensive wing, which is something the Cavs are most definitely missing. On top of that, they throw in a protected future first to get this deal done.

Kemba Walker to the Miami Heat
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Miami receives:

Kemba Walker

Oklahoma City receives:

Goran Dragic

Andre Iguodala

I’m not sure if I would make this trade, but the Heat might. They constantly look for ways to add talent without giving up young players or picks and this is certainly a way to do it. Kemba has his flaws: he looked rough with the Celtics, his contract is big and he’s injury prone, but he still has a lot of talent as a shot creator. Someone who can help run the offense is exactly what the Heat are looking for. Would it be shortsighted? Yes, which is why I would shy away from it, but that’s the type of move I see the Heat making. There’s no denying that the Heat are in win now mode.

The Thunder would be happy to do this trade as it gets them 2 expiring deals for Kemba’s long term contract. That would free up over 60 million dollars over the next 3 seasons. They would likely try to ship off Dragic and Iggy to a team trying to win now. This would probably be the last resort for the Heat as they’ll be contenders to land free agents like Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul. This might not be an earth shattering trade for either team, but if neither can find a better move it could be something they explore.

Harrison Barnes to the NY Knicks
Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Sacramento receives:

Kevin Knox

First round pick

New York receives:

Harrison Barnes

I—along with everyone else—want the Knicks to make a big slash in free agency, but if they can’t find a way to do that, I think picking up Barnes is a solid move. It wouldn’t surprise me if Barnes’ time is up in Sacramento, not because he’s played poorly, but because the Kings might be better off moving him for future assets. That’s exactly what they get here with a first round pick and Kevin Knox. Now, to be clear, Knox is not really the reason they would make this trade. They’d be doing it for the 1st. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with the Kings bringing him in just to see what he’s got.

The Knicks get a very solid wing to add to a roster that I think has a lot of good pieces, but still needs to be rounded out. New York’s offense seems to get stuck in the mud at times, so with Barnes they’ll get another good shooter and offensive creator. It might not be the flashiest move in the world, but they could do far worse.