Holidays are always a time for family, and a staple of any family gathering is a grandma of a grandpa saying the same proverbs over and over again. Fortune favors the bold. Don’t judge a book by its covers — that sort of stuff.
As you get older, you find yourself becoming more and more like that, seeing that patterns indeed do repeat and saying these proverbs that used to annoy you. I guess history does repeat itself (meaning it’s not life’s teacher).
Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s one of the most important ones in basketball history. Steve Kerr is the brilliant mind that created the small ball Warriors, the lineup of death. What was Mark Jackon thinking? Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Putting a guy that came into the league as a small forward, who is more of a power forward to play at center. How did Kerr come up with that?
Well, David Lee got injured, and he had to figure it out on the fly. Next thing you know, the Warriors were born. He “invented” through necessity. Why the quotation marks? He didn’t invent it. Let me take you back to May 16th, 1980.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Lakers vs. 76ers. The Lakers were led by MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabar and 6’9 rookie Magic Johnson playing at point guard. The 76ers had Dr.J and Mo Cheeks. A clash of the Titans. The series was at 3 – 2 for the Lakers, but they were not in good shape. They won Game 5, but Kareem injured his ankle and played on it in the 4th quarter. He had 40 in the game, 14 in the last quarter on a bad ankle and was out for Game 6.
The Lakers were playing a fast-paced offense, a true Showtime kind of style under coach Paul Westhead. He was hired as an assistant, but when head coach Jack McKinney had a severe bicycle injury, he took over as the interim coach and started implementing his fast-paced style. Lakers began racking up wins, and he remained as head coach.
The day after Jack’s accident it was a shootaround, we had a game that night and I was the only one there. So it was either the janitor or the trainer. I became the acting coach.
Back to Game 6. The Lakers found out Kareem was out and they needed a solution. So out of necessity, he invented. Magic at the five. Truth be told, he started at the five but played all five positions throughout the game. The 76ers were confused and couldn’t adjust to this unorthodox style of play.
The 6’9 rookie point guard played one of the best games in his life. 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, a block, and a Finals MVP later, the Lakers won the Championship.
So an injury at center leads a coach to a decision that will create a matchup problem. Guess history truly does repeat itself.