Honoring the 1968 Pipers, Pittsburgh’s only pro basketball champion

first_imgMEMBERS OF THE 1968 PITTSBURGH PIPERS, who won the 1968 ABA championship, May 4, 1968, at the Civic Arena. The MVP of the series was Connie Hawkins, pictured holding the basketball.Pittsburgh officially became an incorporated city in 1816. And in the 202 years since, there’s been just one professional basketball championship won in this town.Some of you weren’t even alive in 1968 when the Pittsburgh Pipers of the American Basketball Association defeated the New Orleans Buccaneers in a decisive Game 7, on the evening of May 4, sending the 11,457 in attendance at Civic Arena into jubilation.This coming Friday, May 4, 50 years to the day, many of the players from that championship team will be here in Pittsburgh, where history was made.My organization, Achieving Greatness Inc., is presenting the 1968 Pittsburgh Pipers ABA World Champions 50-year Anniversary Reunion. This Friday, May 4, players from the team will congregate at Savoy Restaurant, 2623 Penn Ave. in the Strip District, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. The evening of Saturday, May 5 will be the Recognition and Awards Banquet, at the Marriott City Center, 112 Washington Pl.CONNIE HAWKINS was, yes, that high above the rim. He arguably was the greatest player in the NBA or ABA during the Pipers’ 1968 ABA championship run.It will be the first time that this 1968 championship-winning team will be reunited since the night they won the title 50 years ago. Confirmed players attending the two-day celebration include Tom Kerwin, Steve Vacendak, Herschell Turner, Jim Jarvis, Barry Leibowitz, Ira Harge, Arvesta Kelly, Leroy Wright, Charlie Williams, Calvin Graham, and Dexter Abu Muhammad Westbrook.Unfortunately, I believe that the 1968 Pipers never received their proper recognition in Pittsburgh upon winning the title. Here’s why it’s important to care about this team and their accomplishments.It was, in fact, 1968, shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated that Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins led the Pipers to the ABA title. The only professional basketball title in Pittsburgh.To put this in perspective for you, that was the heart and soul of the NBA and ABA battle to the death for the greatest basketball talent on the planet. When the 1967-68 Pipers defeated the Buccaneers for the title, they were, in fact, one of the greatest teams in the world, capable of beating any—I repeat—any team anywhere. Hawkins led both his team and the league in scoring and was named MVP of both, thus making him one of the greatest players in the world at the time.So that you won’t think I am exaggerating my point at all, allow me to share with you my moments in time. Like the time Connie, Kenny Durrett and I all rode to Cleveland for the NBA All-Star game. We had tickets, but not very good seats to be sure. Well, that didn’t last long after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar noticed Connie and pulled us down to center court. While there, no less than Kareem, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Bob Lanier, Pete Maravich and Bill Russell, just to name a few, came over to shake Connie’s hand. Sure, Connie may have played in the ABA, but he was definitely treated like the legend he was.Or the time, after years of asking, that I made the trip to New York City with Connie. The streets of Brooklyn, the Harlem Rucker League…Simply put it was like walking next to a god! The legend of Connie Hawkins is real, folks, and it was made crystal clear by the constant outpouring of love, yells, shoutouts, photos and the need to touch “The Hawk.”Yes, we reunite these guys for their 50-year anniversary and are glad to do so. “Longevity has its place.” And yet we want these forgotten champions to be remembered for their talent, hard work and sacrifices forever more. These players were involved in our community. They were visible at local supermarkets, they had numerous autograph sessions, they lived right here with us.Years ago, “Dr. J” himself, Julius Erving, the basketball great, stood before our sold-out Willie Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Awards banquet crowd and proclaimed that “If there had not been a Connie Hawkins, there may not have ever been a Dr. J. That man was my hero!”If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does.Connie Hawkins later played in the NBA and was a four-time NBA All-Star. Hawkins died, Oct. 6, 2017, at the age of 75.This weekend, we’re calling to arms the history, the culture, the very fabric and spirit that has set Pittsburgh apart from all other cities in America.The City League, the WPIAL, it’s that Donora, Clairton, Aliquippa deep-rooted, never-say-die attitude. The Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, Tony Dorsett, Chuck Sanders, Kenny Durrett and Schenley versus Dick Divinzio and Ambridge…Man, can you feel me?It’s the Fifth Avenue and Sam Clancy against B.B. Flenory and Valley. That Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh something that we have that reminds us of our historic championship roots—that shouts loud and proud—we will never be forgotten!And throughout all the history that this city has when it comes to championship sports, always remember this…for a moment in time, the Pittsburgh Pipers were a part of that fabric and rich tradition.(For information on purchasing tickets to the May 5 event at the Marriott City Center, call 412-628-4856.) Like us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlFollow @NewPghCourier on Twitter  https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierlast_img read more

Finals race heats up with vital wins

first_imgBy Hayley Wildes WGCA DISTRICT AND SUB-DISTRICT DIVISION REVIEW – ROUND 12 (DAY TWO) DISTRICT Cranbourne Meadows suffered its first defeat of the…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Road is ready

first_imgBy Alana Mitchelson THE State Government has announced that the final stage of the $12.6 million Cardinia Road duplication project…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

New snow could spell trouble in West Kootenay backcountry

first_imgThe risk of avalanche at alpine in the West Kootenay backcountry will rise to considerable on Wednesday and Thursday as forecasted new snow is expected to fall on a very weak surface, according to the Canadian Avalanche Centre. “Several persistent weaknesses are being tracked by the professional crowd,” said CAC’s James Floyer. “Triggering one of these deeper weaknesses could yield a large avalanche.” That means “touchy” wind slabs will likely develop in exposed lee areas, he added in his avalanche report for this week (http://www.avalanche.ca/cac). Although forecast winds at the tree line elevations are presently light, if the wind blows harder than expected, or new snow amounts come in higher than forecast, bump up the danger ratings by one for the tree line. There was a rider-triggered avalanche on Saturday on Mt. Plewman near Rossland. Weather forecast Tuesday: Flurries during the day, light snow starting late in the day. Moderate westerly winds. Wednesday: Snow amounts of 10-15 centimetres, freezing levels staying at valley bottom. Light westerly winds. Thursday: A further 10 cm. or so of snow. Freezing levels rising to around 1,000 metres. Moderate to strong westerly winds. Terrain to watch • Wind-loaded slopes around ridgelines, the tops of bowls and on convex rolls in exposed terrain • Steep, alpine terrain where the lower crust exists, especially in thinner snowpack areas. • Terrain traps that increase the consequence of a small avalanche   Travel advice • Look for signs of wind slab, such as drifting snow, cracking of the upper snowpack as you ride over it or denser snow under your sled or skis. If you see these signs, back off onto shallower terrain. • Try to anticipate where thin spots on the slope may be. The crest of convex rolls are a good bet, as are slopes where you can see rocky outcrops. Stay well away from these thin spot • As always, group up well away from avalanche terrain, even if it obscures your view of other riders a little. One at a time on the slope.   Snowpack The alpine has been hammered by the wind and highly variable wind-affected surfaces now exist. A surface hoar layer lies buried under around 25 cm. of snow in more sheltered locations at tree line. A rain crust lies 30-40 cm. below the surface and was reported from Kootenay Pass and the Rossland area. Around 90 cm. of snow now sits on the (Dec-08) surface hoar/crust interface; this interface appears to have bonded. Snow depths are variable but average around 150 cm. at tree line.last_img read more

Fowler: No easier without Rory

first_imgThe world No 14 returns to the Middle East for the Desert Swing opener, which McIlroy has been forced to withdraw from after picking up a rib injuryduring last week’s BMW SA Open.Fowler makes his first start since finishing tied-third at last month’s Hero World Challenge and although he was relishing the chance to play alongside McIlroy this week, he fully understands the world No 2 not taking part.”It’s a bummer that Rory is not going to be able to play this week,” Fowler told a pre-tournament press conference. “It was fun to have him in contention with me last year here.”But the biggest thing is for him to take care of himself and make sure he’s healthy. So hopefully he’s able to get back quickly. He’s definitely a fan favourite, and I love playing against him.”Does that make me look at the tournament any differently? No. It’s one less top player in the world I’m going to have to beat.”The field here is one of the best fields on The European Tour, and still has a lot of the top players in the world. Three of the major champions from last year are here and it’s not going to be any easier to win.”Fowler tees off alongside Martin Kaymer and Alex Noren for the opening two rounds, while top seed Dustin Johnson has been grouped with Henrik Stenson and Danny Willett.The defending champion claimed a one-shot win over Thomas Pieters in last year’s event but hasn’t registered a worldwide win since, seeing the American drop out of the world’s top 10.”I had a few good tournaments after this last year, but individually I didn’t play as well as I would have liked to,” Fowler added.”It was definitely nice to get the win here to kick off the year. It would have been nice to kind of continue that form, but 2016 was still a great year.”last_img read more

Splashing cash not enough for PSG to deliver

first_imgParis St Germain’s early exit from the Champions League again showed the club’s inability to deliver on the biggest stage despite their expensively assembled team.PSG were knocked out in the last 16 by Real Madrid 5-2 on aggregate, losing 2-1 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, never threatening a comeback following their 3-1 defeat in the first leg in Spain.Without Neymar, who is recovering from ankle surgery, Unai Emery’s side failed to create space against the defending champions.“All that for this,” wrote French sports daily L’Equipe on their front page.“PSG disappeared without leaving a trace,” the paper wrote in a column.Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) took over in 2011, PSG have never reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, being eliminated in the last 16 twice in a row after four consecutive quarter-final exits.Spending 400 million euros ($497 million) on Neymar and France international Kylian Mbappe did not help as the Brazilian played poorly in the first leg and his striking partner was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday.In Ligue 1, PSG lead the standings by a massive 14 points after 28 games and it could be said that they lack the competitiveness of a bigger league to prepare them for the Champions League knockout stage.Former AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi, however, believes the club founded in 1970 have to build their identity.“PSG is just a group of players,” he told Italian TV.“You cannot buy ideas. The club should always come first. I thought I would see players with the bit between their teeth. I think PSG need to become an institution.”PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi said he was “disappointed by a few players,” among which should feature midfielder Marco Verratti, who picked up a second yellow card for arguing with referee Felix Brych.It was Verratti’s third dismissal in the Champions League, and it appeared to seal his team’s fate as they already were 1-0 down after Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener.Al-Khelaifi, however, is convinced the club’s method is the right one.“I don’t think it’s a mindset problem. The players believed in it and we were ready,” he said.“We will not change our investment strategy. We will continue with our project notably with those two players (Neymar and Mbappe) because they are the future of the club.”last_img read more

Power means…

first_img…never having to say you’re sorryBack in the day, there was a schmaltzy movie, “Love Story”, with the tag line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” precipitating cascades of tears at the young heroine’s death. The phrase has inevitably been mocked, since it’s just so wrooong!! Just because you’re in love you can get away with any dumbass move? What’s right is when the phrase is linked to power! Can’t imagine Hitler telling the Jews he’s sorry, can you??When folks get power, they automatically assume others are all yelling, “Do wha’ yuh want wid me!!” We see that all the time in Guyana with those whom we’ve elected to office, don’t we?? Yes, WE give them the POWER to do whatever they want – without ever having to say, “Sorry”. Just go back to those twenty-one promises APNU/AFC were supposed to fulfil within 100 days. Have you heard any “sorries” about, say, Constitutional Change — still not implemented? Or that Code of Conduct?Now, you government workers, don’t even TALK about getting that 20% raise! That 100% raise of your eyebrows at THEIR 50% raise your Ministers got right after the elections should be enough for you!! Drugs have been short in all the public health facilities for the past two years. Has anyone said “sorry”, even though folks are dying? Don’t hold your breath; YOU might just croak, since they don’t have any oxygen to resuscitate anyone!! And that’s why they fly to Ireland for treatment!But this latest refusal by Keith Scott to say ‘sorry” to our Indigenous peoples takes the cake – if for no other reason than it’s soooo gratuitous! Now Scott isn’t just ANYBODY. He’s a Minister and a one-man coalition member of APNU!! And in Parliament – where it’s all on record in Hansard – he claimed Indigenous peoples are “greedy” for asking that the original 1976 agreement granting them 24% of Guyana’s land be implemented, when African Guyanese aren’t getting 18% of Guyana.Now this, of course, is ACDA’s position, as adumbrated by Eric Philips. So it appears that’s now the official Government position, since Scott was speaking on behalf of the Government against a PPP motion to scrap the ill-advised CoI. So here it is, Scott shows up before the National Toshaos Council this week and refuses to apologise, since he claims there is nothing for his to apologise for!!He’s therefore maintaining (on behalf of the Government) that the Indigenous peoples are “greedy”! But where exactly are these folks getting their spunks from?Could it be they’re emboldened by Pressie refusing to say “sorry” for saying his “perception” of the Constitution trumps the Judiciary’s?…the law applies to othersYour Eyewitness just saw the new hit movie, “The Hit Man’s Bodyguard”. It was a very, very funny movie on a pretty serious subject – a despotic ruler of an ex-Soviet Republic in front of the International Criminal Court for war crimes. But then, what else can you expect from Ryan Reynolds teaming up with Samuel Jackson? A friend wondered why an American movie didn’t even have the US as a jump-off spot for the plot. Your Eyewitness didn’t have the heart to tell him it was most likely because the US has REFUSED TO BECOME a signatory to the ICC’s jurisdiction!But it’s true. The country that’s at the forefront for putting away rogue leaders for doing bad things has refused to join the ICC in fear that one of its citizens might have to appear in front of it!! What’s fair for the goose is NOT fair for the gander.But then, if they’d signed on, George W. might just have found himself on the docks for Iraq!!…no difference between million and billionThis Minister Patterson continues to put his size 12s into his mouth. His latest blooper was claiming Exxon would be extracting only half a million barrels of oil initially from Liza.Oooops! He meant half a billion!!last_img read more

Independence celebrations similar in Guyana and India

first_imgDear Editor,I was invited for ceremonies marking India’s 71st Independence in New Delhi, and what an experience it was, with a lot of similarities to independence celebrations in Guyana and America (among the Guyanese or Indian diaspora in the New York area).As in America and Guyana, there was pomp, glittering shows, huge fervour and enthusiasm among the people marking the day. And as in Guyana, there was also revelry in the schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the days leading up to the holiday. Similar to Guyana, it was a day of national pride, patriotism, nationalism, processions, parades, flag hoisting, speeches by politicians, greetings, kite flying, and other fun-filled activities at public places.As in the US, Indians displayed flags in front of their homes, and waved flags in their hands similar to what they do in the US or similar to Guyanese waving their country’s flags in America on May 26th and American flags on July 4.India Independence Day is an annual observance, celebrated every year on 15th of August since 1947 – a day when India got freedom from British colonial rule after long years of slave-like subjugation. It was a freedom that would pave the way for independence of colonial territories worldwide, including Guyana’s freedom on May 26th, 1966. As in Guyana and the US, and for all countries, Independence Day is a national holiday (almost all businesses completely close down, except for restaurants, late shopping, public transport, and street fast foods). As in the US and Guyana, the national, state (regional) and local governments independently commemorate the independence of the country with their own activities, following that of the national ceremonies that took place early in the morning. The day is used to pay tribute and remember the many freedom fighters who contributed to the struggle for the independence of India, and to laud the country’s achievements as well as to address socio-economic concerns.Not much different from Guyana, when the President addresses the nation at midnight, before independence at a public park on Independence Day. It is the custom for the Indian Prime Minister to address the nation at the ramparts (on top) of the iconic Red Fort early morning. As in Guyana, it is a highly patriotic speech, paying tribute to the freedom fighters and leaders of the Indian independence movement, who had sacrificed their lives. Similar to Guyana, where thousands show up at the park, in India, hundreds of thousands usually gather in front of the fort to listen to the PM. As in Guyana, the PM (President, in Guyana) hoists the national flag. The national anthem is sung, followed by a twenty-one-gun salute in a very solemn occasion. The prime minister usually highlights all the achievements of the past year, important social issues and solutions, further development in the country, educational matters, etc, during his speech on the Independence Day. And as in Guyana, a grand march past of the armed forces and paramilitary forces takes place.India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, made his fourth appearance since becoming the PM (2014) delivering a well-received speech. He invoked the Quit India Movement (paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and others who led the freedom struggle), and urged the nation to use the same spirit as the freedom fighters to eliminate problems like corruption, communalism, terrorism, casteism, poverty, and other evils from the country by 2022. He appealed to Indians “to take a pledge to root out these evils from the country, and create a New India”. Modi-ji condemned the use of violence. The PM said: “India is about shanti (peace), ekta (unity) and sadbhavana (harmony). Casteism and communalism will not help the country. Our cultural heritage cannot be lost. Earlier, it was Quit India, now it is Unite India. Everybody should be taken along.”The celebration of Independence Day continues with diverse cultural traditions, where Chief Ministers of individual states hoist the national flag followed by marches of state troops and local police or militias. The speeches of State Chief Ministers focused on eradicating poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, and to help make India a more powerful nation. This is followed by various cultural activities by the participants. And later in the afternoon, the President of India hosts a reception at his official home in the rose garden – only the cream of society are invited.Around New Delhi, the capital, people were seen wearing their trademark cap worn by Pandit Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi and others during the struggle. Millions were dressed in colourful garb representing the colours of the national flag.There were colourful marches of soldiers, police, and guards all over the national capital and each state capital as well, as shown on TV. And on the streets, school children marched dressed in colours of the national flag and spelling of Bharat, the ancient Hindi name of India.As in Guyana, there were (live) broadcasting and webcasting of the celebrations. And as in Guyana or America, Independence Day in India is used for family get-togethers in the afternoons or evenings — dinner, picnic, mall shopping, cinema, kite flying, and other forms of entertainment.Yours faithfully,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

‘Rule of Law Critical to Building a Vibrant Democracy’

first_imgVice President Joseph Boakai has said that the rule of law is crucial to the building of a vibrant democratic society in which the rights of all citizens are guaranteed.“There is no way a country can go on without the rule of law,” the VP said, when he visited with authorities of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Voinjama City, Lofa County, during his week-long post-Ebola tour. He visited the Court in order to acquaint himself with activities there.He further stated that the provision of logistics for the courts to do their work is critical to the legal process and promised that government will make sure that courts are properly empowered to do their work to ensure the rule of law in the country. The lack of these basic logistics has contributed to the slow pace of the dispensing of justice in the country, he said.He noted that Judge Nancy Finda Sammy, who was not present, had acquainted him with the challenges facing the court, including conveying prisoner(s) from other parts of the county and lack of transportation for the court’s operations.He praised her for restoring dignity to the court.The Tenth Judicial Circuit of Lofa County presented a document listing the critical needs and priorities of the court to the Vice President. The VP said he would consult with judicial authorities in Monrovia for proper redress.One of the requests that Mr. Foday A. Konneh, Coordinator, Lofa County Branch, National Association of Trial Judges, presented to the VP was that there be two pre-trial detention centers for holding accused persons until their conviction. They must be transferred to the Voinjama Central Prison. “One of these pre-trial detention centers should be located in Zorzor City to serve Zorzor and Salayea Districts. Another should be built in Kolahun City to serve Kolahun, Vahun and Foya Districts.”“As earlier discussed with you by Judge Sammy,” Konneh further stated, “we also wish to remind you of the dire need for vehicles to help transfer accused persons and convicts from various magisterial Courts as had been done by UNMIL.”Earlier, the Vice President toured the Voinjama Market where a new market building under the auspices of the Sirleaf Market Women Fund is being constructed. He also visited the Lofa County Community College to acquaint himself with the situation there.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more