Author Archives: Gethin

Celtics agree on four-year deal with Paul Pierce

Celtics have a greed with unrestricted free agent on a four-year deal with three years fully guaranteed, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reports. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Celtics have a greed with unrestricted free agent on a four-year deal with three years fully guaranteed, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reports. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

BOSTON – Paul Pierce has agreed with the Boston Celtics on a four-year deal with three years fully guaranteed, Steve Bulpett of The Boston herald is reporting.

The contract cannot be officially signed until July 8th and the terms of the deal have not yet been made official.

However, FOX Sports is reporting that the deal is worth $61 million, meaning that Pierce will receive less than the $21.5 million he was scheduled to make in the final year of his current contract, which he opted out of on Tuesday.

Pierce’s pay cut will allow the Celtics cap room to work with as they attempt to re-sign Ray Allen and add veteran talent.

Now that both head coach Doc Rivers and Pierce are back, the Celtics continue to move closer to reassembling their championship-caliber roster.

The next step is to bring back Ray Allen. After that, rumors have indicated that the Celtics are interested in signing free agent center Brad Miller.

Miller would be brought in to play in place of injured center Kendrick Perkins, who is expected to be out until next February.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coolbaugh: 2010 NBA free agency predictions

LeBron James may be the top prize in the 2010 NBA free agent class, but there are many other proven veterans on the market. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

LeBron James may be the top prize in the 2010 NBA free agent class, but there are many other proven veterans on the market. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

Starting today, we know one thing, and that’s that we essentially know nothing.

When the clock struck 12:01 on Thursday morning, the most anticipated offseason in NBA history began.

The likes of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson may be suiting up for different teams come October.

Or they might return to their team with a lucrative deal and a new found sense of determination.

Trying to predict the madness that will ensue is almost as easy as explaining the origins of mankind.

But, that’s not stopping me from giving my best guess at where some of the top free agents in this market will wind up.

And we’ll start, of course, with the man that the entire free agent market revolves around.

LeBron James hasn't been able to win a title in Cleveland, but he's not ready to call it a failure just yet. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

LeBron James hasn't been able to win a title in Cleveland, but he's not ready to call it a failure just yet. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

LeBron James

We’ve already established that LeBron is a freak of nature. He is arguably the best player of the decade and may be the best player in the modern era before his career is over. The only thing separating James’ legacy from that of Michael Jordan is winning a championship.

Over the past few months, we’ve heard rumors coming every which way about what team King James will wind up playing for. At the moment, the Chicago Bulls appear to be the front-runner in the LeBron sweepstakes. And if LeBron wants to win as much as he says he does, the Bulls have the best supporting cast for James and offer him the best chance at winning a title.

But I’m here to tell you that LeBron James will not wind up in the city of Chicago (except when he’s playing against the Bulls). And for the record, he wont wind up with the Knicks, Nets or Clippers.

Rest east Akron, because LeBron’s coming back to Cleveland. The city of Cleveland means everything to James. Growing up in Ohio, James was the state’s most prized sports possession. They treated him like a King and elevated him to his current superstar status.

LeBron may have not ben able to reach his goal of winning a ring with the Cavs just yet, but I’m willing to bet that he’s not ready to give up yet. Even though offers from Chicago and New York are tempting, LeBron’s heart lies in Akron. And if he is able to bring the city of Cleveland just one championship title, he will go down as the player with the most impact on a city. James knows that, and that’s why he’ll be dawning No. 6 in Cleveland next season and for years to come.

DESTINATION: Cleveland Cavaliers

PLAN B: Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles Clippers

Dwayne Wade is the number two to LeBron's number one in the 2010 free agent market. (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

Dwayne Wade is the number two to LeBron's number one in the 2010 free agent market. (Elise Amendola/AP Photo)

Dwayne Wade

Unlike LeBron, Wade has already reached the ultimate goal of winning a championship. And Wade did it relatively early in his career. But that doesn’t mean that Wade doesn’t want to win again.

With that in mind, there is only one team that can offer Wade a chance of a lifetime. And that team is his very own Miami Heat.

The Heat only have one player on the payroll and have nearly $50 million to spend on free agents this season, meaning that they could potentially bring in three top-tier superstars.

Wade  is obviously Miami’s top priority, as eam president Pat Riley assured in a message to season ticket holders at the season’s end.

After resigning Wade, the heat could add another star player and then surround Wade with talented veterans and create on of the league’s best teams.

If Wade does go back to Miami, you can bet that he will be part of the team that makes the decisions on who the team signs.

All signs point to Wade going back to Miami, and as a result, to the Heat being a major player in the 2010-2011 season.

DESTINATION: Miami Heat

PLAN B: New York, Chicago, Dallas

Chris Bosh made a name for himself in Toronto, but now the superstar forward wants a new challenge. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chris Bosh made a name for himself in Toronto, but now the superstar forward wants a new challenge. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chris Bosh

Here’s were things get interesting. I believe that both James and Wade will stay put, but it’s common knowledge that Bosh will not be returning to the Toronto Raptors.

Bosh is within the top three best power forwards in this year’s free agent market. If Nowitzki and Stoudemire hadn’t opt-ed out of their deals, then Bosh would have been the top forward on the market.

Nevertheless, he’s no small prize.

With Bosh’s power and athleticism, he can help out almost any team looking for a big. So the question becomes, where does he want to play.

After Bosh launched an ad campaign to obtain all-star votes two seasons ago, it’s clear that he wants to be in a big market. There are only two teams that fit Bosh’s desire for a big market team with cap space to work with: New York and Chicago.

Both would be suitable destinations for Bosh’s needs, but as of now, the Bulls offer Bosh a better chance of winning.

With Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Bulls are just one piece away from becoming contenders. And Bosh could be that piece.

My money’s on Bosh landing in Chicago, but I wouldn’t be hocked if he called the Big Apple his home come the fall.

DESTINATION: Chicago Bulls

PLAN B: New York, Miami

Here are a few other quick thoughts on a few of the offseason’s other big names.

Joe Johnson – Johnson has asserted his dominance as one of the league’s best shooting guards. He has been rumored to be interested in the Knicks. If New York can land Johnson, they’ll have an easier time recruiting another big name to sign in the Big Apple. DESTINATION: New York Knicks

Dirk Nowitzki - The German Wunderkind is the top power forward on the free agent market (yes, better than Bosh), and no one questions his skill set or will to win. That being said, Dallas has not been able to deliver Dirk a ring. However, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is willing to open up his vast wallet in effort to keep Dirk in Dallas. DESTINATION: Dallas Mavericks.

Amar’e Stoudemire – Throughout his career with the Suns, Stoudemire had made it known that he enjoyed playing in Phoenix and wanted to stay. But that was when Phoenix was a perennial title contender. A few years later, the Suns have lost a little bit of their luster. Stoudemire wants to win, and my guess is that Amar’e has put his time in Phoenix behind him and is ready to move to a more fruitful environment. And what city offers a better chance to win than New York with Joe Johnson and company? DESTINATION: New York.

Carlos Boozer – Boozer’s name is sometimes lost in the sea of talented superstars on the market. But don’t be fooled, he is one of this offseason’s top 10 available players. He wasn’t able to get a ring in Utah, and will most likely want to seek out a fresh start. This one’s really a toss up, as I could see him going to a number of teams. But I’ll take a guess and say that he winds up with Flash in Miami. DESTINATION: Miami Heat.

Paul Pierce – The captain has devoted his entire 12-year career to the Boston Celtics. Through the good and bad, Pierce has given his all for this team, and it’s time that they return the favor for the final time. Pierce opted out of the final year of his contract, meaning that he can receive a max deal from the Celtics of $96 million over four years. Expect for Danny Ainge to reward The Truth with the last big contract of his career. I couldn’t image Pierce playing for any other team but the 17-time NBA champion Celtics. DESTINATION: Boston Celtics.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Doc Rivers to return as Celtics coach next season

Celtics coach Doc Rivers will return to coach the team next season, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers will return to coach the team next season, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

BOSTON - After weeks of speculation following the Celtics’ emotional Game 7 loss in the NBA Finals, coach Doc Rivers has made a decision about his future with the team.

He’s staying, at least for one more year.

Rivers has decided not to take a sabbatical from coaching to spend more time with his family and will honor the final year of his contract with the Celtics, as reported by Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.

“With the blessing of my family, I want to try one more time with this group,” Rivers said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.

Upon making his decision to return, Rivers was awarded a raise. Entering the final year of his contract, Rivers was owed $5.5 million.

Rivers’ decision to return indicates that the Celtics are looking to make one final run with the Big Three in an effort to lock down a second championship in four seasons.

Boston came within a game of winning its second title in three seasons, but lost to the arch rival Lakers in a thrilling seven game series in the NBA Finals.

Rivers spent the first five years of his coaching career from 1999-2004 as the coach of the Orlando Magic. He won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in his first season with the Magic, guiding them to the playoffs after a terrible start.

After being fired only 11 games into the 2003-04 season, Rivers was hired to coach the Celtics the following year.

He guided Boston to a 45-27 finish in the 2004-05 campaign and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division.

Times would worsen for Rivers over the next two seasons, as Boston went a combined 57-107. At that point, rumors began to circulate that Rivers would soon be fired by the team.

However, Rivers’ was salvaged by General Manager Danny Ainge’s acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen prior to the 2007-08 season.

Rivers led the Celtics to a 66-16 regular season record, the best in basketball, and restored the city of Boston to its rightful place as NBA Champions.

The following year, the Celtics were plauged by injuries but still managed to post an impressive 62-20 record and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before losing to Orlando in seven games.

Last year, Boston stumbled through the regular season with a record of 50-32 before flipping the switch and coasting to the NBA Finals.

Rivers decision to return could impact Paul Pierce’s decision to re-sign with the team. Pierce opted out of the final year of his contract last night, allowing him to sign a maximum deal worth $96 million over four years.

Now that Rivers is officially back at the helm, Pierce will most likely want to join him for one final hurrah.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Celtics captain Paul Pierce will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent

Celtics captain Paul Pierce has opted out of the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Celtics captain Paul Pierce has opted out of the final year of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

BOSTON – ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that Celtics captain Paul Pierce will opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

Pierce will join the likes of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki as one of the biggest names on the market in the most anticipated offseason in NBA history.

By opting out, Pierce will not receive the final $21.5 million he is owed under his current deal. However, his decision to opt out makes it possible for Pierce to sign a maximum deal with the Celtics of up to four years and $96 million.

The most that Pierce can receive from any other team is $93 million over four years.

Stein’s sources indicated that Pierce will begin negotiations with the Celtics once free agency begins on Thursday. The sources also stated that Pierce will field offers from other teams.

In an interview with WEEI, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge said that he didn’t know if the team would be able to bring Pierce back because other teams may offer him a better deal.

By the league’s rules, the Celtics can offer Pierce a better deal than any other team, but that doesn’t mean that Ainge is willing to give the 32-year-old a maximum deal.

In 12 seasons with the Celtics, Pierce has amassed 19,899 points, 5,417 rebounds, 3,401 assists, 1,349 steals and has a lifetime field goal percentage of 44.5%.

In addition, Pierce has averaged 22.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 884 career games. Another impressive fact is that Pierce has only ever come off the bench three times, starting 881 games.

Celtics fans should not be panicking, as Pierce has stated numerous times that he wants to remain in a Celtics uniform for the remainder of his career.

But Pierce did say that, if head coach Doc Rivers decides to retire or if the Celtics begin a rebuilding stage, he would consider playing elsewhere in an attempt to win more championships.

One possible destination for Pierce should he sign elsewhere is the Los Angeles Clippers.

Pierce grew up in Inglewood, California and was a childhood Lakers fan. While the Clippers are not on the same tier as the Lakers, they are in need of a proven veteran and would offer Pierce a chance to play in his hometown.

Free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday morning, and we will keep you updated on Pierce’s negotiations with the Celtics and any other teams as they occur.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

World Cup: Ghana 2, United States 1: Gyan’s goal in extra time wins it for Ghana, eliminates USA

Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal for Ghana in its 2-1 win over the United States on Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. The loss eliminated the USA from the 2010 World Cup. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Asamoah Gyan celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal for Ghana in its 2-1 win over the United States on Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. The loss eliminated the USA from the 2010 World Cup. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

RUSTENBURG, South Africa – The miracle run is over for the United States soccer team.

Asamoah Gyan scored a goal in the third minute of extra time to send Ghana to a 2-1 victory over the United States on Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

With the win, Ghana becomes the third African nation in history to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals and will face Uruguay, which eliminated South Korea with a 2-1 win earlier today to advance, on Friday in Soccer City.

Kevin-Prince Boateng scored right off the bat in the fifth minute to give Ghana a 1-0 advantage, which it would take into halftime.

However, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan scored on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute to knot the score at 1-1.

This marks the second time in two consecutive World Cups that Ghana has eliminated the United States. Prior to Saturday’s 2-1 victory, Ghana eliminated the USA with, ironically, a 2-1 win in Group play back on June 22, 2006.

The U.S. finished its 2010 World Cup stint with a 1-2-1 record. In a highly anticipated Group C match, the United States tied England 1-1 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in the first match for both countries. USA then tied Slovenia 2-2 on Friday, June 18th at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

USA won its first and only match of the World Cup on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Algeria on Donovan’s miraculous goal in the 91st minute in its Group C finale at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

Now the United States and coach Bob Bradley have four years to regroup and make a run at the 2014 World Cup.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bruins Notebook: Bruins take center Tyler Seguin with second overall pick in NHL Draft

Tyler Seguin was selected second overall in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins. Seguin, along with Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall, has been proclaimed as one of the top two players in this year's draft class. (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)

Tyler Seguin was selected second overall in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins. Seguin, along with Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall, has been proclaimed as one of the top two players in this year's draft class. (Reed Saxon/AP Photo)

By Boston Sports U18 News Service

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Bruins selected 19-year-old center Tyler Seguin of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers with the second overall pick in the Friday night’s NHL Draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Seguin was drafted ninth overall in the OHL draft by the Plymouth Whalers in 2008, where he played the past two seasons.

In 63 regular season games, Seguin amassed a league-leading 48 goals and 58 assists for 106 points. In the process, Seguin became the 15th player in franchise history to record a 100 point season.

Seguin played in nine postseason games this season with the Whalers, totaling five goals and five assists for 10 points and had eight penalty minutes.

He was named the OHL’s recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s Most Outstanding Player and as named the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospect.

Seguin was proclaimed one of the two best players in this year’s draft class along with Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall, who was selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers.

After losing four straight against the Philadelphia Flyers after taking a 3-0 series lead in this year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bruins’ selection of Seguin is the next big step towards the ultimate redemption of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since the 1971-72 season.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Celtics Journal: C’s pick Texas guard Avery Bradley, Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody in NBA Draft

Boston addressed its need for a back up point guard with the 19th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft, selecting Texas guard Avery Bradley. (BleacherReport.com Photo)

Boston addressed its need for a back up point guard with the 19th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft, selecting Texas guard Avery Bradley. (BleacherReport.com Photo)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

NEW YORK CITY – After falling one game short of an NBA title, the Boston Celtics have begun the rebuilding process.

Boston, which had two picks in last night’s NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden, selected Texas guard Avery Bradley with the 19th overall pick and later drafted Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody with the 52nd pick.

“I just think it was a God-given gift,’’ Bradley told Boston.com’s Julian Benbow. “I’ve been the best defender on every team I’ve played on since first grade. I feel like you can always have an off offensive game, but my whole thing is I’ll never have an off defensive game.’

Bradley was atop the Celtics’ draft board entering the night, but General Manager Danny Ainge didn’t think he would be available by the time the Celtics were on the clock.

Rivers said, “When we finished (watching Bradley’s tape), he said, ‘I don’t think he’s going to be there [at No. 19.] Someone’s going to take him in front of us.’ Fortunately, there were a couple of trades made right in front of us that really helped us.’’

Bradley, a 6′ 2″, 180 pound point guard, played just one season at the University of Texas, averaging 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals in 34 games.

The Longhorns had a brief stint ranked as the nation’s number one team, and Bradley was a contributing factor.

His best game came in Texas’ 103-86 win over Colorado. In the game, Bradley scored 29 points and had nine rebounds and three assists.

Avery’s selection at No. 19 shows that finding Celtics star Rajon Rondo a back up was Ainge’s top priority. With Bradley’s versatility and scoring ability, he will be a valuable asset off the bench and will allow Rondo to rest without suffocating the offense.

With their only other pick in the draft. the Celtics selected Notre Dame power forward Luke Harangody at No. 52. (Joe Raymond/AP Photo)

With their only other pick in the draft. the Celtics selected Notre Dame power forward Luke Harangody at No. 52. (Joe Raymond/AP Photo)

As for Harangody, a 6′ 8″, 246 pound power forward out of Notre Dame, the Celtics addressed a need created when reserve Rasheed Wallace announced his retirement late Thursday.

At No. 52, Harangody is a definite steal. In four seasons with the Irish, Harangody never averaged less than 11.2 points, and that was in his freshman year.

Last year, Harangody averaged a career-high 21.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in 30 games and was the major proponent behind Notre Dame’s success.

With both Glen Davis and Harangody on the bench, Boston can check the need for a back up power forward off its offseason to-do list.

Avery’s addition almost certainly means that Nate Robinson, who Ainge traded for at the midway point of the regular season, will not be returning.

Now that the draft is in the rear view mirror, the Celtics turn their attention to the impending free agency period that begins on July 1st.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

*Quotes from this article were used from Julian Benbow of Boston.com’s story, which can be read by clicking this link.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Coolbaugh: Bol a special blessing to NBA, world

Former NBA center and humanitarian Manute Bol passed away at age 47 on Saturday. Bol was a true sports hero in ever sense of the word. (AP Photo)

Former NBA center and humanitarian Manute Bol passed away at age 47 on Saturday. Bol was a true sports hero in ever sense of the word. (AP Photo)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

We all grew up idolizing athletes.

From Ted Williams and Johnny Damon to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, generations of sports fans have idolized sports’ brightest stars ever since their childhood.

But there was one athlete who made all the accomplishments of Williams, Damon, Jordan and Bryant seem like nothing.

That man was Manute Bol.

Bol, who passed away at the age of 47 at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville on Saturday after a battle with kidney disease and a painful skin condition, played 10 seasons in the NBA and was revered as one of the league’s best shot blockers.

Standing a towering 7′ 6″ tall, Bol was the tallest player ever to play in the NBA until Gheorghe Muresan (7′ 7″) made his debut in 1993. In 624 games, Bol averaged 3.3 blocks per game and amassed 2,086 career blocks.

He was drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1985 at the age of 23 and averaged an unprecedented five blocks per game in his rookie campaign.

Bol only averaged 18.7 minutes and 2.6 points in his career. With 1,599 points, Bol retired as the only player in league history to have more blocks than points.

In eight out of ten seasons, Bol led the league in block percentage. When he retired in 1995, he had a career block percentage of 10.2%, which remains the best career percentage in league history.

But Bol’s impact stemmed far beyond the basketball court. In fact, his time in the NBA was almost irrelevant.

Throughout his career, Bol was a well-known humanitarian and activist that aided his native Sudan.

Born on October 16, 1962 in Turalie or Gogrial in Sudan, Bol was the son of a Dinka tribal chief and was a slave for three years from age nine. His father bestowed him with the name Manute, which means “special blessing.”

During his 10 years in the NBA, Bol made an estimated $5,887,500 according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Of that money, Bol donated most of his career earnings to the Ring True Foundation, which is a charity that Bol founded to raise funds for Sudanese refugees.

Bol often visited refugee camps in Sudan and was even offered the position of minister of sport in Sudan in 2001. A devout Christian, he turned down the position because it required a conversion to Islam.

Bol was eventually restricted from leaving Sudan after he was accused of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, who were Christian rebels led by the Dinkas.

The government demanded that he provide them more money, or else they would not grant him a visa. A combination of American supporters and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman helped Bol raise enough money to provide him with plane tickets to Cairo.

Manute Bol is seen here playing for the Washington Bullets.

Manute Bol was drafted by Washington in 1985 and played for the Bullets for four seasons.

Following a half-year negotiation between U.S. consulate members and the Sudanese government regarding Bol’s refugee status, he was allowed to return to the United States along with his family.

Upon his return, Bol took part in several celebrity events in order to raise money for his charities.

In 2002, Bol made a deal with FOX to broadcast the telephone number for the Ring True Foundation if he would appear on a celebrity boxing show.

Prior to the match, the referee told Bol that “if you guys don’t box, you won’t get paid.”

With that in mind, Bol defeated former NFL star William Perry in three rounds.

Later that year, Bol signed a one-day contract with the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League.

While Bol couldn’t skate, the hype created by the event helped raise money for Sudanese children.

Bol was also an intricate part of the Sudan Freedom Walk in April of 2006 where supporters marched from the United Nations headquarters in New York to Washington, D.C. over a three-week period. The walk, which was organized by Bol’s lifelong friend and Sudanese swimming champion Simon Deng, was mainly held in effort to stop the genocide in Darfur.

While in Cairo, Bol started a basketball school where he taught a fellow Sudanese refugee named Luol Deng, who currently plays for the Chicago Bulls.

The list of Bol’s selfless acts could be turned into a book.

While we often idolize players like Albert Pujols or Tiger Woods who excel in the world of sports, we don’t often remember those who dedicated their lives to the betterment of society.

After all, we have to remember that professional sports are nothing more than a glorified game.

The accomplishments of the likes of Pujols or Woods are incredible in their own right, but they aren’t  helping our fellow humans in need.

Sure, they can write a big check, which absolutely does help charities worldwide, but very few of them would give up their superstar status to return to their troubled homeland to make a difference.

That is what made Bol special. He played basketball to help others, not to help himself. He’s a true hero in the world of sports.

So the next time your kids come up to you and say that a certain athlete is their hero, remind them of what being a hero really means.

Remind them of Manute Bol.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Coolbaugh: Poor fan reaction to Manny’s return

Former Red Sox legend Manny Ramirez made his return to Fenway Park as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. The fan reaction, however, was not one of reverence. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez made his return to Fenway Park as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. The fan reaction, however, was not one of reverence. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

When Nomar Garciaparra made his much-anticipated return to Fenway Park as a member of the Oakland Athletics, he was given a heartwarming ovation.

But when Manny Ramirez made his return to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, he was served a smattering of cheers and boos.

What gives Red Sox Nation?

Ramirez, who went 1-for-5 with a run and two strikeouts in his return to Fenway Park in Boston’s 10-6 victory, contributed far more to the Red Sox than Garciaparra did.

The least Boston fans could do was offer Ramirez a return for the ages.

In eight seasons with the Red Sox from 2001-2008, Ramirez played in 1,083 games, hit 274 home runs, drove in 868 runs and had a batting average of .312.

More importantly, he was an intricate part of the 2004 and 2007 World Series championship teams.

Ramirez was 7-for-17 with one home run, four RBI and a .412 batting average in four games against the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series and was named the World Series MVP.

In Boston’s magical postseason run that year, Ramirez was a combined 21-for-60 for a .350 batting average and had two home runs and seven RBI in 14 games.

Manny was less of a factor in the 2007 World Series, but he wasn’t a no-show. Ramirez went 4-for-16 with two RBI and a .250 batting average in Boston’s four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

But to find Manny’s real impact on this team, you’d have to look at his regular season numbers.

During his time in a Red Sox uniform, Ramirez was considered one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the game.

Manny burst onto the Fenway scene in 2001, his inaugural season in Boston, hitting 41 long balls while driving in 125 runs. His batting average/OBP/SLG/OPS that year? .306/.405/.609/1.014.

Between 2001 and 2006, Ramirez never hit less than 33 home runs, drove in less than 102 runs or hit for less than a .292 average.

His regular season numbers in Boston were dynamic, and you could count on close to the same year in and year out. That’s more than you can say about 95% of the hitters in the league today.

But not only was Manny a tremendous producer in Boston, he was a lovable character. Ramirez was the joker in the clubhouse and he always had fun playing the game he loved.

Management might not have appreciated his demeanor in his later years with the team, including the infamous sign he held in the dugout during a game that read “I’m going to Green Bay for Favre Straight Up!”

It was simply Manny being Manny.

And in the end, it was bearable because of what Ramirez did for this city on the field.

So to the fans at Fenway Park on Friday night that gave Manny a halfhearted cheer, or even booed him, what on Earth were you thinking?

Would you boo Ted Williams? Carl Yastrzemski? Bobby Orr? Larry Bird or Bill Russell?

Manny Ramirez embraced former teammate David Ortiz before Friday night's game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez embraced former teammate David Ortiz before Friday night's game. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ramirez was a major part of breaking the infamous 86 year Curse of the Bambino.

To be fair, he was not the only reason the Red Sox won World Series titles in 2004 and in 2007.

But don’t be mistaken, the Red Sox would not have enjoyed the same success without him.

To have some fans outright boo Ramirez upon his return is downright disrespectful and ignorant.

The main reasons that Boston fans will give for booing Ramirez are his alleged use of steroids and the fact that he essentially punched his own ticket out of town.

It may very well be true that Ramirez used performance enhancing drugs, and it was proven that he used a banned substance. That in itself is an offense worthy of booing, but not if fans are going to be two-faced about it.

By the way, Red Sox Nation, you have a steroid user on your roster right now by the name of David Ortiz. Interestingly enough, I don’t see you booing him on a consistent basis.

Ortiz’ offense is no worse than Ramirez’, so if you are going to boo Manny, please boo David too. I do every time I go to a Red Sox game and number 34 steps up to the plate.

And as for Ramirez abandoning the Red Sox, it’s a valid point until you realize that the game of baseball is a business. If a player isn’t happy with a team anymore, he has a right to be disgruntled.

Now, Manny’s action were a bit over the top, and he absolutely could have handled it better seeing that he was still under contract with the team.

Yet in the end, it’s still a business, and these situations are going to occur.

Even with those negatives, Manny’s impact on the Red Sox franchise and the city of Boston clearly outweigh the bad.

And for all of you who booed Ramirez or gave him just a hollow cheer, you should be ashamed.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

NBA Finals: Los Angeles 83, Boston 79: Lakers set shooting woes aside and win 16th NBA championship

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (center) celebrates with his teammates after wining the 2010 NBA Championship title with an 83-79 win in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center on Thursday night. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (center) celebrates with his teammates after winning the 2010 NBA Championship title with an 83-79 win in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center on Thursday night. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

By Gethin Coolbaugh

LOS ANGELES – We knew that a champion would be crowned following 48 minutes of basketball last night.

But what we didn’t know is who wanted it more.

The answer, was the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 23 points and Ron Artest added 20 points as Los Angeles defeated Boston 83-79 to clinch its 16th NBA championship title in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center on Thursday night.

“It wasn’t well done, but it was done,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “And we did it with perseverance.”

Bryant, who made 11-of-15 shots and also had 15 rebounds, was awarded the Bill Russell Finals Most Valuable Player award. The most chilling moment of all came when Russell himself gave Bryant the trophy, then shook his hand.

Boston led 23-14 after the first quarter but Los Angeles outscored the Celtics 20-17 in the second quarter to cut the halftime deficit to 57-51.

The Lakers controlled the second half, outscoring the Celtics 19-17 in the third quarter and 30-22 in the final period to seal the championship.

Pau Gasol scored 19 points and amassed 18 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end.Derek Fisher totaled 10 points and Andrew Bynum totaled two points and had six rebounds in 18 and a half minutes.

Lamar Odom led the Lakers bench in scoring with seven points and Sasha Vujacic scored two points.

However, Vujacic’s points came at a big moment of the game on two crucial free throws late in the game to give Los Angeles a five-point cushion.

All five starters scored in double-digits for the Celtics. Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting and also had 10 rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 17 points and three rebounds and Rajon Rondo amassed 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Ray Allen added 13 points and Rasheed Wallace, who started in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins, had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Glen Davis was the only Celtic to score off the bench, scoring six points and grabbing nine rebounds.

The story of the night was poor shooting on both sides. The Celtics made only 29-of-71 shots to shoot 40.8% while the Lakers connected on 27-of-83 shots to shoot 32.5%. Boston hit 6-of-16 three pointers (37.5%) while the Lakers made 4-of-20 shots from beyond the arch (20%).

Bryant made only 6-of-24 field goals, Artest made 7-of-18 and Gasol hit 6-of-16 shots.

The Lakers held a 53-40 advantage in rebounds, but the Celtics held an advantage in assists, 18-11, turnovers, 14-11, and blocks, 7-3. Los Angeles had a 7-6 advantage in steals.

Fouls once again plagued the Celtics as they had 25 compared to the Lakers’ 19. Wallace fouled out with six fouls, Garnett had five fouls and both Pierce and Allen had four fouls.

Pierce had three fouls, Rondo had two and Tony Allen (0 points) had one.

As for Los Angeles, Bryant was the only player to have four fouls.

If it’s any consolation for Celtics fans, Ray Allen couldn’t imagine seeing this group breaking up anytime soon.

“I couldn’t image playing in any other combination,” Allen said.

The Celtics finished their season with an overall record of 66-41 after posting a regular season record of 50-32 and a postseason mark of 16-9.

No doubt that the loss hurts for Celtics players and fans alike, but they really should be proud of what this team accomplished.

They put up a fight for the ages, and if anything, the fuel is on the fire for a possible championship run next season.

Gethin Coolbaugh is the Associate Editor of Boston Sports U18. He can be reached at 774-279-1995 or at gethin.coolbaugh@bostonsportsu18.com. You can also visit Gethin Coolbaugh’s official website and follow Gethin Coolbaugh on Twitter.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
Page: 2 of 25 1 2 3 4 ... 25