Kevin Fixler
    Sport Matters

18 May 2012

Special ‘Teammate’ Inspires Top Ranked Cal Bears Softball Team

The players are still filing in for a Wednesday evening practice at Levine-Fricke Field on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley. The tings of batting practice from some of the early arrivals ring in the cages. Once rounded up in the dugout of the tree-shaded diamond, the team hustles down to a lower turf field to begin warm-ups as preparation for their weekend postseason games.

The top-ranked softball team in the land is in mostly a chipper mood, with young women singing and cracking jokes, and why shouldn’t they be? They just finished one of the finest regular seasons in program history with a 50-4 record, won the inaugural Pac-12 championship, and will host their first NCAA regional since 1993.

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15 May 2012

The Mystery of the Disappearing NBA Center

Alright, boys and girls, it has been a little while since I posted something. So today, I’m coming at you in a big way, with a piece currently making waves in The Atlantic! Enjoy.

For much of the NBA’s history, dating back to its formation in 1946, the league has been dominated by centers. Legendary big men like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were nearly unstoppable: players with the height and reach to block shots, capture rebounds, and score nearly at will. Since then, contemporary names like Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Yao Ming have taken their place. Lately though, these impact centers have all but vanished. Duncan is at the end of a distinguished career, while O’Neal and Yao retired last year. Today, only two players—the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers Andrew Bynum—among the league’s 30 teams are widely viewed as conventional bigs. And the numbers are not improving.

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