Basketball

Basketball player Josiah Brown can dribble with either hand; he has a spin move and he regularly drains shots from outside the lane. But Brown, who lives in Wilmington, N.C., isn't a hot high school prospect, because he's only 4.

Man Versus Science

May 15, 2014
Logo for ESPN. Sport Science is an ESPN TV series
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Can an NFL running back muster the same force as a running bull? Does a nine-foot python squeeze harder than a martial arts star?

Current and former NBA players praised the league's decision to punish LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban over racist remarks he made in an audio recording. Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment Tuesday, days after the audio emerged.

In addition to the lifetime ban, the NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million.

We play for each other, for our fans, and for our families — not Donald Sterling.

That was the general message that players for the Los Angeles Clippers reiterated, off-mic, when the Sterling fiasco blew up over the weekend. They were being buffeted by questions about how, exactly, they might respond to allegations that Sterling, the team owner, had been recorded saying that he did not want black people to attend his team's games. Would they boycott? Would they be focused enough to be able to play?

Lady TarHeels advance to sweet sixteen over Michigan St. 2014
University of North Carolina Athletics

This photo from Carolina Athletics says it all:

The photo was first shared on Facebook with a caption that reads: "How sweet it is! Carolina got the win over Michigan State and is headed to the Sweet 16!"

More about the game and the NCAA championship here. Or follow the team's journey in the tourney on Facebook.

LeVelle Moton
LeVelle Moton via Twitter

Updated Saturday March 22, 2014:

LeVelle Moton's Twitter profile says it all:

"Basketball is what I do, not who I am. Child of God, Hattie Mac's Baby boy. Head Coach At North Carolina Central University."

Moton seemed destined to be the head coach at NCCU. He grew up in Raleigh, and lived with his mother in a housing project. He was a McDonald's All American Nominee at Enloe High School, was Wake County Player of the Year, and was selected for All State.

LaVelle Moton
nccuealepride.comg

Four North Carolina universities -- all located in the Triangle -- have earned bids to this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.  The highest seed is Duke.  The Blue Devils are third in the Midwest region.  But the Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up will open tournament play against Mercer University at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Friday. North Carolina Central University is making its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.  The Mid Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champions are seeded 14th in the East region.  They will put a 20-game win streak on the line against third-seed Iowa State Friday in San Antonio.  

15 Mar 1997: Coach Dean Smith of the North Carolina Tarheels gives instructions to his players during a playoff game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Tarheels won the game 73 - 56 giving
Bo Gordy-Stith (PBoBS) / Flickr/Creative Commons

Former UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball coach Dean Smith's 83rd birthday was last week, and several major news organizations have marked his life and legacy with extraordinary articles. Smith has dementia now, and that makes both of the articles we'll highlight here so moving.

basketball
mvongrue via Flickr/Creative Commons

Daniel Vermeer grew up in Iowa with a passion for basketball. When his academic studies took him to Nepal, he discovered an interesting influence of American cable television: local love for the Atlanta Hawks.

"So you can imagine," says Vermeer, "[I'm] in this little hut in Kathmandu, watching TV and an Atlanta Hawks game came on.  With these enormous guys, jumping through the roof, slamming the ball..." 

Duke Blue Planet

There's a group of students at Duke  called The Crazies. They are the kids who get all decked out and painted up and sit in the most coveted spot during basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Crazies are the uber fans. They camp out for 6-8 weeks in order to be in the front row when Duke plays UNC at home.

Duke Photography

Last week's winter storm canceled the men's basketball game between fierce rivals North Carolina and Duke. 

Meetings between coaches, athletic directors and the Atlantic Coast Conference resulted in the contest being rescheduled for this Thursday night in Chapel Hill.  That means both teams will be playing four games in eight days. 

The Tar Heels beat Pittsburgh over the weekend while the Blue Devils got past Maryland.  Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Sirius-XM it's a challenging week.

Alumni Game Dean Smith Roy Williams Michael Jordan
totomaru / Flickr

At a ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Obama awarded former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The president bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on a class of recipients including civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem.  Smith was lauded not just for his many athletic achievements, but also for his impact on the community he calls home.

Granny's Got Game

  

You might think basketball is a young person’s game, but one group of aging athletes aims to change that perception.

The “Fabulous 70s” are a group of women in their 70s who play basketball competitively. They’re the focus of a new documentary called “Granny’s Got Game.” Host Frank Stasio talks with filmmaker Angela Alford and the “Fabulous 70s” team captain Judy Barton.

NBA Entertainment/Getty Images

Charlotte's NBA franchise has begun the journey toward re-embracing the past.  Bobcats owner Michael Jordan announced Tuesday that his team is on its way to being known as the Charlotte Hornets.

Jordan said he has informed the league of his decision and feels the NBA's Board of Governors will approve the name change when they convene in July.  He says this is only the first step.

Carolina Hurricanes legend Ron Francis is the first hockey player to enter the NC Sports Hall of Fame.
Benjamin Reed / Flickr Creative Commons

Eleven new members are set to join the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.  Thursday night's induction ceremony and banquet marks the museum's 50th anniversary. 

Hall of Fame executive director Don Fish says the class of 2013 includes hockey legend Ron Francis, who retired a year before the Carolina Hurricanes won their first and only championship.

"It changed the face of sports in North Carolina," Fish says.

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