Speaking of time, this isn't basketball related, but it is sports related at least. Today's the 10th anniversary of Mario Lemieux's comeback after retiring from the NHL in 1997 to battle Hodgkin's lymphoma. Watch this clip from his comeback game and be ready to get hit with a sonic wave of applause when he first skates onto the ice:
Lemieux notched an assist just 33 seconds into the game, then scored the brilliant goal you see at 3:10 in this clip en route to a 1 goal, 3 assist outing. Not bad for a guy who hadn't played competitive hockey in three years and was just coming back from friggin' cancer. If you aren't terribly familiar with hockey, Lemieux is easily the second greatest player in history, and if he didn't have such a string of health issues (spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendinitis of a hip-flexor muscle, chronic back pain, and atrial fibrillation), he perhaps would have matched or beaten many of Wayne Gretzky's records despite playing quite a bit of his career in the "dead puck" era when scoring paces were much lower than the mid 1980s or today. Oh, and fun fact: Lemieux is the only person ever to win the Stanley Cup as both a player and an owner. Woo.
Worst of Christmas Weekend in Pictures:
"Hey Pau, whaddya think of my new sneakers?"
Shaq Sneak Attack!
Uh, hey Birdman, I think you missed a spot. I can still see an inch of skin on your left pec...
The Bosh unhinges its jaw to devour its pray whole. It is a dangerous predator from a medium range, but is highly allergic to paint
"Really? We lost to the Warriors on Christmas? Really?"
Stan Van Gundy throws a temper tantrum upon learning all he got for Christmas from David Stern was a bunch of neckties
Nationally Televised Games: Craptors at Grizzlies, NBA TV, 8pm: Zach Randolph has more double-doubles this season than the entire Craptors team. I just died a little inside.
All The Other Games: Magic at Nyets, 7pm: Now that the Magic have taken down the mighty Celtics in a super ugly game, do they actually show up for this one, or do we have a hilarious letdown game? Even Stan Van Gundy said "Hopefully we don't get full of ourselves."
Pistons at Bobcraps, 7pm: The Charlotte Bobcraps may suck, but at least they'll be entertaingly sucky from now on. New coach Paul Silas had this to say: "I want to bring some energy to this ball club. I want us to get up and down and let it all hang out. If they don't want to get up and down, they can come sit down by me."
Hawks at Bucks, 8pm: Are you ready for more Earl Boykins playing time? Enjoy it while it lasts, because the time he gets to play seriously meaningful minutes may be (wait for it...) short.
Yeah, I'm sorry.
Hornets at Timberwolves, 8pm: The 863rd sign your team sucks: STATS LLC adds the qualifier "only" in this sentence from the game preview: "Minnesota has lost six straight to New Orleans by an average of only 7.5 points since a 116-108 home victory on Jan. 23, 2009."
Mavericks at Thunder, 8pm: Did you know Dirk Nowitzki has passed Larry Bird for 25th on the NBA's all-time scoring list? Unreal.
Wizards Generals at Rockets, 8:30pm: Good news/bad news for Rockets fans. Bad news? They're considering trading Yao. What will Houston ever do without a 7'6" dude riding a stationary bike giving spectators fistbumps? But moving on... the good news? Kevin Martin is on fire. Marc Stein noted in his power rankings that the Elias stats guys discovered Discount Store "is on pace to become the first player to lead the league in total FTs and 3s made in a season."
Frail Blazers at Jazz, 9pm: The Blazers are a crappy road team, and their two wins in the entire past decade in Salt Lake City don't bode well for tonight's game.
Clippers at Kings, 10pm: Chris passed along this great link: Tom Ziller compares age versus success, considering only meaningful players to avoid artifically skewing the numbers. In general (with Oklahoma being a major exception), young teams suck. And yep, the Purple Paupers are young. And they definitely suck. And yet, as Chris also noted, front row tickets to this game will set you back just over $1000 apiece. Mind... reeling...
76ers at Warriors, 10:30pm: The Warriors haven't won three games in a row since April 1-5, 2009. Hey Philly, this would be a nice late Christmas gift for the Warriors organization, just FYI.