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Top Five: Basketball Games (Attended)

I debuted the “Top Five” post a few weeks ago with my top five Bon Jovi songs.

This week, I’m going with the theme of the month by listing my top five basketball games.

These are all games that I attended in person, not just watched on TV. Also, I’m only including college and pro basketball. Adding high school would have been too difficult.

With that said, here are my Top Five Basketball Games (Attended).

Honorable Mention: GSC Men’s Tournament first round: Montevallo vs. Delta State — Feb. 28, 2002

How bad did my alma mater use to be in basketball? In the 2001-02 season the Falcons went 10-17 and lost in the first round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament, 77-71. They went 8-6 in conference play.

Sounds like a bad season, right? Well it was actually a good season by Montevallo standards. In fact, UM coach Jeff Daniels was named the GSC coach of the year that season. I’m not kidding.

This tournament was in Tupelo, Miss., and remains the only time I have traveled out of state for a game I was covering. It was a loss, but it was still a memorable experience.

No. 5: Louisville at Alabama — Nov. 30, 2000

This was the first event I ever got a press pass to.

In 2000, Alabama had just recruited stud freshman Gerald Wallace. Louisville was coming to town, so Scoop and I got passes to sit on press row.

The atmosphere at Alabama was awesome, with Bama racking up 51 points in the first half. Rod Grizzard finished with 25 points and Wallace came off the bench to score 22.

The next day on SportsCenter it showed one of Wallace’s monster dunks. As he is running to the basket, you could see Scoop and I on press row.

I even asked Wallace and Grizzard a question in the press conference after the game. The whole thing was quite a fun experience.

Alabama 100, Louisville 71

No. 4: Wizards at Hawks — Nov. 1, 2001

I had never gotten a chance to see Michael Jordan live when he played for the Bulls. So when he announced his comeback with the Washington Wizards, I knew I had to go.

Steph, another huge MJ fan, went with me to the game. This was the second trip we had made to Atlanta together, and went a lot better than our first trip in Sept., 2000. (To be continued in another blog).

It was only Jordan’s second game back and he made it a memorable one. He scored 31 points, including the first dunk of his return.

A couple years ago, Steph found a photo of us from the game and posted it on Facebook. I can’t decide if she was overdressed and/or I was underdressed.

Wizards 98, Hawks 88

No. 3: NCAA South Regional first round, No. 5 UConn vs. No. 12 Utah State — March 17, 2000

Scoop and I bought tickets for the first two rounds of an NCAA regional in Birmingham in 2000. We paid $120 for the six-game package.

The bracket including top-seeded Stanford, No. 4 Tennessee and No. 8 North Carolina. However, the game that will always stand out to me is the match-up between defending champ UConn and Utah State.

Since I was an insomniac at that point in college, I spent a lot of time watching Utah State play late at night. When I saw the Aggies were seeded in that regional against the defending national champs, I immediately started predicting the upset.

Everyone thought I was crazy of course, except for Scoop. He still didn’t think it would happen, but at least he was willing to admit it was possible.

Utah State didn’t win the game, though it kept it close enough in the second half to add some excitement. It also had the coolest mascot, an angry looking bull, which actually got in on the cheerleader routines.

Utah State was been my NCAA bracket kryptonite ever since. I almost always have them winning at least one game in the tournament, usually in upset fashion. Only one season they have actually rewarded me.

The whole six-game experience was pretty cool and well worth the money. If only the ticket taker hadn’t ruined our souvenirs by ripping it in half at the game. Are you still devastated by that Scoop?

UConn 75, Utah State 67

No. 2: AND1 vs. Houston — June 28, 2006

This was the 720-degree dunk game with former Galveston County grad T.J. Fontenette, aka, the Air Up There.

I went into this moment in an earlier blog post: Greatest. Dunk. Ever.

This was another game where you could see me on press row when the highlight made sports center. It was an unbelievable moment.

No. 1: Wizards at Hawks — April 3, 2003

I can’t imagine anything ever topping this game.

My senior year of college, Andy, Patty, Cuddles, Clay and I bought a five-game season ticket package for the Atlanta Hawks. It was a pretty awesome deal, which included some great match-ups and cost just $50 for upper deck seats.

Also part of the deal was two Hawks jerseys. I got the Jason Terry jersey, while Andy got the Shareef Abdur-Rahim jersey.

This was one of the last games of the season ticket package and was against Jordan and the Wizards. It was already assumed this was Jordan’s last year, so this was the last time any of us would see him live.

For the first three quarters, the game was kind of painful to watch. Jordan looked very much like an old man and the Hawks had nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Then Jason Terry talked a little smack to Jordan. Bad idea.

Jordan proceeded to score 10 straight points to tie the game. At one point, with Terry guarding him, Jordan stared at him for a good two seconds, smiled and then sank a 20-footer. It was sick.

Jordan had a chance at a game-winning shot, but missed. With 0.6 seconds left, it appeared the game was going into overtime. Then this happened…

Never before have I seen so many people boo a player from the home team for sinking a game-winning shot. We were all stunned and felt like we were robbed of another Michael memory.

The five of us were probably booing the most, especially Andy, who was yelling, “This is bullshit.” It made it funnier that he was wearing the Abdur-Rahim jersey.

Among games I ever attend, this will likely stay No. 1 for the

Hawks 91, Wizards 89

Mad ramblings

• Not going to lie, this new sundae from Denny’s sounds pretty gross, but I definitely have to try one.

• I will have my MLB predictions out this weekend. ESPN started posting theirs this week. My favorite was the NL Central predictions. Here are their top four teams: Reds (85-77), Brewers (85-77), Cardinals (83-79), Cubs (82-80).

Is it really possible for four teams in one division to be separated by just three games? I highly doubt it.

• Watched US soccer’s 1-1 tie with Argentina on Saturday. It was a pretty exciting game. I hope this Juan Agudelo kid turns out to be the real deal at forward.

• Going to see Guster in concert next week with Yeh-Peu-Dah, Corey and Jenny. Should be a good time.

Bear Down and Keep the Faith!

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About Joshua Buckley

I used to be a Sports Editor. Now I'm the Media Relations Manager at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Top Five: Basketball Games (Attended)

  1. Actually, she tore my ticket right on the perforation. That whole tournament experience was awesome, except for all the time between games.

    The Alabama-Louisville game is kind of haunting for what might have been. We didn’t realize Gerald Wallace was right about Mark Gottfried years before the rest of Alabama figured it out. The future looked bright, but I don’t think that team even made the NCAAs.

    Posted by David Clemons | March 30, 2011, 5:35 pm
  2. Yes I was overdressed, but I was also poor and I seriously think that was the only red shirt I owned. What a fun trip, though. I’m so thankful for that memory, even if MJ was a wizard. Blah.

    Posted by Stephanie Newton | March 31, 2011, 8:48 am

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