On the eve of the 2015 NBA Draft, where franchises each year attempt to choose the next sure-fire stars and unearth diamonds in the rough, the selection of one particular lottery pick is actually a generation in the making.
That’s because University of Kentucky guard Devin Booker, like his father Melvin before him, is a basketball prodigy and a product of tiny Moss Point, Miss. But come Thursday night in Brooklyn, Devin will undoubtedly do something his dad, a standout at Mizzou in the early-1990s, was never able to accomplish – being drafted into the world’s premier professional basketball league. The younger Booker, the SEC Sixth Man of the Year and an All-SEC Freshman Team selection, is in the discussion as the class’s best shooter and may even go in the top-10 picks. No matter the differences, father and son will both anxiously await the commissioner reading the surname they share.
After losing the first set to the reigning Wimbledon champ on July 3, 1920, the upper-crust Pennsylvanian looked destined for defeat. But the American hadn’t devoted those many months to honing his backhand to be disgraced by his well-built Australian opponent. So instead of matching stroke for stroke to overcome his rival, this “consummate tactician” relied on his brains.
The tale of Charles “Sonny” Liston is far more complex than that of just an intimidating ex-con who broke legs for the mob on his way to seizing boxing’s heavyweight title. “His story,” says boxing writer and historian Springs Toledo, is “almost Shakespearean.”
If you turned on the TV Thursday night for the first game of the NBA finals, you witnessed an event happening for the very first time: two Australians competing against each other in the championship series. Specifically, that’s guard Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers and center Andrew Bogut of the Golden State Warriors.
There are seven Aussies in the National Basketball Association—a record number of Boomers, as members of Australia’s men’s national team are called. With the San Antonio Spurs’ consecutive title appearances in 2013 and 2014, which included guard Patty Mills and forward Aron Baynes, Australians are fast becoming a staple of the NBA postseason. While Australia’s rise may look like a recent phenomenon to the more casual basketball enthusiast, it’s actually the result of a steady growth model three decades in the making.