The most amazing things about everyday life, to me, have always involved the distortions that come from our perceptions of the passage of time.
Put another way, how about those 1993 Phoenix Suns?
The situation we currently share, by bringing the giant, endless daily churn of sports to a stop, has forced ESPN and the rest of sports TV to become nostalgia outlets.
Watching games we’ve seen before has gone from an occasional curiosity to a daily staple, for myself and many others. Boy, do I have observations.
Not only are there no perfect games, there are no near-perfect games. In my memory, Villanova made virtually every second-half shot in its epic 1985 upset of Georgetown for the NCAA title.
The Wildcats actually missed three foul shots, two of them one-and-one front ends, in the game’s last minute.
Texas over USC for the 2006 national championship might be the best college football game ever.
The teams combined for over 1,100 yards, had 30 first downs each (despite Texas going 3 for 11 on third down) and had zero penalties. Zero.
But also a ridiculous lateral-attempt turnover by Reggie Bush, a lateral by Vince Young that resulted in a touchdown that should have been overturned because Young’s knee was down (and wasn't even replayed), a missed extra point, a missed short-range field goal, and a general laissez-faire approach to tackling.
That feeling that college basketball is a pale copy of what it used to be, as pure hoops and as entertainment, is not just a feeling. The sport had an amazing run from roughly Bird vs. Magic through the mid-1990s. It’s both fun and sad to relive it.
Let’s be honest. Players leaving college after one or two seasons is the entire problem.
Back to those '93 Suns: League MVP Charles Barkley, peak Dan Majerle, near-peak Kevin Johnson, Tom Chambers, Danny Ainge, Cedric Ceballos (you’ll just have to Google some of these names, young people), and 16 a game (with 53% shooting) from a 23-year-old Richard Dumas.
They won 62 games and had the statistically best offense in the league, and lost to the Bulls in the finals in six competitive games.
There were some very cool Jordan-era NBA teams that weren’t getting to the promised land because MJ didn’t allow it: the Mark Price-Brad Daugherty Cavs, John Stockton-Karl Malone Jazz, Gary Payton-Shawn Kemp Sonics and Clyde Drexler TrailBlazers.
Magic Johnson, Dr. J and Oscar Robertson were so-terrible-they’re-perversely-good broadcasters. Not surprising in retrospect, but to actually see and hear it again … wow.
NBC once had a halftime studio team of Bob Costas, “insider’’ Peter Vescey and, um, Quinn Buckner.
Under-the-radar documentary recommendation: A Hot Rod Hundley bio (again, kids, Google), called “Hot Rod,’’ which I bumped into on a channel I didn’t know existed, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.
Includes grainy footage of Hundley, a taunter before it was fashionable, shooting hook shots from the foul line in the dregs of blowouts.
Fun fact: Jim Nantz’s first national job was as color man on the Utah Jazz local network with Hot Rod on play-by-play. Again, Nantz did color. The ex-player did play-by-play.
Network that has come up big: CBS, running classic March Madness games in time slots where this year’s tournament would have been.
Runner-up: MLB Network, which has done the obvious and dug into its endless trove of classic games.
Network that has come up small: The usually excellent Golf Channel, which has relied on mediocre event replays (you’d think the Valspar Championship was older than the British Open) and dredged up the unwatchable reality/game show “The Big Break.’’
The list of things I remembered wrong is long enough for its own column. On the other hand, I’ve seen two replays of games that included coaching moves that annoyed me enough at the time that I wrote columns about them.
One was Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long against the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS. The other was Notre Dame and coach Mike Brey declining to run offense on their final three possessions when they had undefeated Kentucky on the ropes in the 2015 Elite Eight.
I was right about those.