It turned out to be a very interesting Saturday morning for me last week.
An old friend, radio talk show host Teddy Perena invited me to join him and his co-hosts DJ George Boone and sportscaster Bob Novales on their year-old show Boomer’s Banquet aired and shown via Streamyard on YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook.
Hard to turn it down as I was busy doing nothing that day and the guests were Meralco Bolts’ coach Norman Black, whom I have featured in sports magazines in the early 80s, when he signed up with Tefilin in the PBA, while the other guest was Wilson Ball’s Almond Capeje. Subject matter was NBA’s turning 75, but the truth was we talked about a lot of things, including the PBA, of course.
Norman was his usual gentleman self, willing to answer any question thrown at him. So among others, I asked him if he could reveal the time he lost his cool in a game, the first and last time.
He then referred to his not-so-friendly encounter with one of the PBA’s feared enforcers then, Vic “Rambo” Sanchez, who took off where defensive guard Padim Israel, his teammate in Tanduay then, left off in his guarding chore of stopping Norman.
This was the time Norman referred to as the “No Blood No Foul” time in the PBA, something he learned fast in the league. Fortunately that time, he failed to catch up with Vic, who ran away from a furious Norman.
But since the subject was supposed to be more on the NBA, we also asked one another on each of our “fearful” predictions in the ongoing NBA season. I picked the Warriors to win, maybe against the Heat, Norman liked the Brooklyn Nets, citing the fact that the team is doing well even without Kyrie Irving.
But then I reminded him Golden State was still waiting for shooter Klay Thompson and yet the team is in the top spot currently with only one loss. That made Norman rethink a little.
We also tackled the never-ending argument on who is the Greatest of All Time. This time, Norman and I agreed it is Michael Jordan, Teddy picked LeBron James, while George’s choice was Julius Erving. The other host had to leave early so we did not get a chance to ask him.
We agreed that people will always have their own way of ranking players based mostly on their own generation’s time, which explains why present fans are more enamoured with the current superstars of the league and not familiar with the legends of before.
This also explains why the selection of the Top 75 players by the league has also resulted in heated discussions as to who should have been in and who should have been out. A common name among many is that of Dwight Howard, but as Norman pointed out, the character of Dwight had its effect on his chances.
Taking advantage of my comfortability with Norman, who even came to my birthday celebration in Mandaluyong, so many pounds and black hair ago, I asked him on the opinion of some fans that the current generation of NBA players seem soft.
And I liked his reply. He disagreed with the observation, saying heavy fines and suspensions are deterring players from being too physical on defense, not that they do not want to be physical though, but yes, he also wished that the game become more like it was during the 1980s.
Teddy posed a question to me and Norman, asking why there is no active PBA Players’ Union presently. Again Norman’s response was the same with mine as we both pointed out the lack of a leader among the players, and without one, things will not move.
Norman added, however, that if ever the players’ group is revived, it has to learn how to work hand in hand with the team owners and the league, and not take a confrontational stance, adding that a player-leader should have the respect of both the players and the league, floating the name of L.A. Tenorio as someone who can fit the bill.
I really thought the two-hour session was too long, but in the end, we all felt we could have tackled other subject matters on both the NBA and the PBA.
By the way, just to correct my mea culpa last week, Reli de Leon’s assistant is Ronald Corpus, okay?