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Gary’s Blog: Hoops & Hockey

By Gary Dickman.

It’s hard to believe that its almost the middle of June already. This year has gone a lot faster than last year, I wonder why.

I always love the NBA and NHL playoffs. This year, I love them even more as two of my teams, the Brooklyn Nets and NY Islanders, are both still playing. By the time you read this, my Islanders could be in the Final 4 of Hockey, more on that later.

I kind of enjoyed last week when the Lakers got LeEmbarrassed losing in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Every year or so I see something that strengthens my feelings on who the GOAT is, or who it isn’t. That’s up to us all as to how we judge or view athletes. I saw two cases of poor sportsmanship last week that I despise in pro sports. I never like it when we, the fans, get lied to. It’s an insult and lack of respect to the people buying tickets and buying all the over-priced merchandise. And before Game 5 ended last week with LA and Phoenix, LePoor loser left the Lakers bench for the locker room, still with over five minutes left in the game. I thought leaders led, they set good examples, etc. They don’t leave their men by themselves cause they’re not happy. And here’s the lying to the fans part: When asked why LeNot the GOAT left the bench, Coach Frank Vogel, while looking like Pinocchio, told us that James was getting an early start on treatment for his injury. Now I’ve been watching basketball closely for over 50 years (yes, I’m that old), and I’ve seen a few players leave the bench early. Not very often, but it’s happened. And not once was getting a head start on treatment given as the reason why. It’s a lie. How were those 10-15  minutes going to make a difference, if it was true? It just shows a lack of class and respect by LeLoser.

And then James continued this embarrassing display when, after the series ended after Game 6, he never shook hands with Phoenix. I can’t stand when players do that. He did it in Cleveland and Miami as well when his season ended. I hope someone mentions that when he’s getting in the Hall of Fame. And just to put perspective on him leaving the bench early. Remember back in 2013 or 2014, when Hawaii was losing to Air Force in the CIT or CBI, two nobody cares postseason basketball tournaments. Near the end of that game, UH’s Vander Joaquim walked off the court and left, forever. Would we have believed if Gib Arnold said he was getting an early start on treatment? One kind of funny side bar to Vander. He went to the UH locker room to change and go home. But because the game was still going on, the locker room was locked. It wasn’t as if he could get anyone to open it for him, so he left in his full UH basketball uniform, back to his dorm.

Now, a little bit about the NHL and my NY Islanders. I love a lot of sports, and college basketball is my favorite sport, but my favorite sport to see in person is hockey, by far. There’s nothing like it. I know a few people here who have gone to a game for the first time over the last few years, and they all love it. I know people say they don’t understand all the rules, and on TV it’s hard to see the puck. If you ever get the chance, see an NHL game in person. I’ve seen games in seven different cities, even went to Montreal just to see a game. In person, you’ll appreciate the speed and skill of the game.

I’ve said on the show in the past that hockey players are the toughest athletes. Got a lot of calls disagreeing. That’s ok, but hockey has to be near the top. Most of you go to Las Vega or LA or the Bay Area, try to see a game and tell me you don’t love it. And there’s also fighting, which most fans love. When I was in high school and either myself or a friend went to a game the night before, the first question in school wasn’t who won. It was, “Were there any good fights?” Some people don’t like that there’s fighting in hockey. But it is part of the sport.

If my NY Islanders can make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 3-4 weeks, I’ll be back east on vacation, and if there’s a way, I’ll be at one of those  games. And I’ll let you know how good the game was – based on the fights, of course.

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