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…this has been the story of my life…

I am not sure why, but especially on matters sporting, i have always been a die-hard fan of the second best (or second most visible…)

When the second-best one, through dint of hard work ends up becoming numero uno as well, as Rahul Dravid has done now and Stefan Edberg has done in the past, my cup runneth over…

Otherwise, even when I have been an aficionado of the undisputed numero uno (eg Michael Jordan) my loyalty has always been with the second gun (Scottie Pippen with the Bulls, VVS Laxman throughout his illustrious career that has delivered but only 10 splendid centuries, Leander Paes,…)

The sole exception I can think of is Steffi Graf…she came out of the gates strong, something about her hard-working no-nonsense clean and crew-cut style appealed to me and she remained a favorite till she called it a day several years later…for once, Gabriela Sabatini and Monica Seles never supplanted her in my eyes….

…perhaps this is the reason why I am rooting for the Portuguese soccer (or should we say real football?) team, Michael Schumacher, Vijay Singh and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (over his more heralded fellow-south-paw skipper)…

Comments

Jaunty Quicksand said…
Except for Laxman and Edberg, the common trait with all your favourites is that they lacked the talent the alpha-dogs of their sport did, but that did not deter them from carving a niche for themselves. If Laxman had been treated better by the selectors and management, he would have more than his 10 centuries. Though to be fair, many of his splendid innings have been 50’s, proving to be the difference between victory and defeat, like Dravid’s twins in the Kingston Test.

2:40 PM

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Kaiser said…
why was Schumacher pushed to an underdog Status ? He never was and will never be so

2:04 AM

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There is a frequent debate amongst my circle of friends about the relative importance of a college basketball program with respect to preparation for subsequent success in the NBA.

For example the much heralded Duke program has really produced just 2 top-notch and perhaps one or two tier-2 NBA players in the last decade or so – Grant Hill and Elton Brand qualify in the “Outstanding” category and Shane Battier and the player who was perhaps the best NCAA basketball player ever, Christian Laettner, are perhaps the two others who have gone on to have meaningful professional careers. The jury is still out on Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, Jay Williams’ career emerged still-born due to an off-field mishap and in general Duke basketballers including Mike Dunleavy Jr have failed to match their college success without the nurturing coaching of Mike K and the avid support of the system from the great Univ in Durham NC.

Their legendary rivals from across the Research Triangle Park, the UNC Tar Heels, have done a far better job of preparing players for a career as professional NBA players – apart from MJ and James Worthy, several others have had very distinguished NBA careers including Larry Brown, Rasheed Wallace, Sleepy Sam Perkins, Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Bob McAdoo, Kenny Smith and Rick Fox.

Two very productive colleges in recent times have been the Univ of Arizona (Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson, Damon Stoudamire, Jason Terry, Clifford Robinson, Andre Iguodala and one of my personal favorite player-philosophers Steve Kerr stand out) and the University of Connecticut (Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, etc). Georgetown has produced a profusion of outstanding big men incl Patrick Ewing, Alonzon Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo though my personal favorite from there has to be the inimitable Allen Iverson.

For sheer numbers of NBA players produced, few colleges can compare with the profusion from Kentucky, UCLA and Kansas, though their greatest products came out a long time back.

Here is a very helpful link for analyzing NBA players grouped by their alma mater… http://www.basketballreference.com/players/playerbycollege.htm