Last Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets named the greatest Canadian basketball player of all-time, Steve Nash, to be their new head coach. Nash logged 20 years as one of the best point guards in NBA history. The question, of course, is “Does that translate to success in being an NBA coach in the nation’s largest market?”
The selection of Nash to succeed Kenny Atkinson, who was dismissed by the Nets in March, was a complete surprise because his name never came up as a potential head coach in the NBA the way, say Mark Jackson, Tyronn Lue and Tom Thibodeau always seemed to.
At his introductory press conference Nash acknowledged his good relationship with Kevin Durant when they were both working for the Golden State Warriors a couple of years ago which was probably a key to getting the job.
Nets general manager Sean Marks is well aware the NBA is a players’ league and team superstars call the shots. The Nets will be relying on two stars next year, the aforementioned Durant and Kyrie Irving, and both have acquired reputations for being high maintenance. Marks is hoping Nash’s Hall of Fame stats and easygoing personality will bring success.
Nash scored points for candor when he admitted he jumped the line over many others with far deeper coaching resumes. Like Jason Kidd before him, Nash went from retired player to head coach without logging any time as an assistant coach.
Speaking of assistant coaches, Jacque Vaughn, who served as the interim head coach of the Nets after Atkinson got axed, did a terrific job to get the Nets into the playoffs down in the Orlando bubble. The fact his undermanned Nets squad was swept in four straight by the vastly superior Toronto Raptors is irrelevant. Marks acknowledged his fine work and said Vaughn will be returning as Nash’s lead assistant.
The Jets predictably started the season by losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-17. The final score was misleading. The Jets were never in the game as they were down in the first half 21-0 and arguably it should have been a far worse score.
Jets QB Sam Darnold is in his third season but still hasn’t learned to throw the football away instead of taking a sack or tossing an ill-advised pass that often winds up as an interception. Darnold’s clock management skills still leave a lot to be desired. CBS announcer Andrew Catalon rightfully criticized him for not getting a play off before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter with the Jets down by 17.
Most worrisome for Gang Green’s skimpy offense, however, is running back Le’Veon Bell’s hamstring injury.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
One of the silver linings of Jets losses has been hearing Ray Lucas, who was once a QB for them, tear them apart on the SNY postgame show. That has always been great therapy for frustrated fans.
Unfortunately, Lucas and SNY have parted ways as the two sides could not come to an agreement on a new contract.
Naomi Osaka took a giant step in taking over the reins as the face of women’s tennis from Serena Williams by winning the 2020 US Open women’s title, the third Grand Slam championship of her career.
For the first time since 2004, a men’s US Open Final did not feature any of the big three — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. It was Dominic Thiem who took advantage of their absences by winning the 2020 US Open men’s title. Thiem did it in dramatic fashion as he rallied from two sets down to win a fifth set tie-breaker over Alexander Zverev. It’s to be seen whether Thiem will be a dominant force in the tennis world or if the stars simply lined up right for him this past Sunday at Flushing Meadows.
One thing which hasn’t changed during this strange year of 2020 is the futility of American men at the US Open. As has long been the case, the last male American player standing was eliminated by Labor Day. In this case it was Frances Tiafoe, who still shows signs of promise. It may be time for perennial also-rans such as Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison, Jack Sock and John Isner to call it a day.
Life and Style
The death of Ronald Bell last week at age 68 did not receive the coverage his passing deserved. Bell was the founder of the 1970s and ’80s hit-making group Kool & The Gang. With so many famous songs such as “Ladies Night,” “Too Hot,” “Fresh,” “Take My Heart (You Can Have It if You Want It),” “Cherish” and, of course, “Celebration,” this band should have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame years ago yet they have been snubbed. It’s time for this musical injustice to be remedied.
Staying with 1970s music, Helen Reddy, who was dubbed “the queen of housewife rock” back then, is the subject of a new film bio titled “I Am Woman.” The title is derived from her 1972 No. 1 hit, which quickly became the anthem for the burgeoning feminist movement.
Australian actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey does a terrific job portraying Reddy but the real scene stealer is American actor Evan Peters, who portrays Reddy’s cocaine-addicted street hustling manager and husband, Jeff Wald.
“I Am Woman” is a fast-paced two hours that features a lot of Reddy’s hits, sung by Australian pop singer Chelsea Cullen, though it appears in the film as if Cobham-Hervey is doing the vocalizing.
My sole criticism of this biopic is its failure to address why Reddy stopped performing altogether in the mid-1980s.
NBC News correspondent Kasie Hunt has given up her Sunday evening MSNBC political show, “Kasie DC,” in order to launch a weekday hour-long 5 a.m. show that will lead into the network’s popular “Morning Joe.”
It would be a nice touch if MSNBC executives asked Chris Matthews to come back and take over the Sunday 7 to 9 p.m. slot. We could use some “Hardball” again.