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Bob's Corner: NBA Finals? Not just now...

BOB'S CORNER: A WNBA anniversary, news on the USA women's team for the Tokyo Olympics and another anniversary which Boston Celtics NBA fans are never likely to forget ... Our US correspondent BOB CRAVEN is on the ball with all your weekend read needs.

THE WNBA is celebrating its 25th season this year and last month staged a special game, billed as "The '97 Game". 

It featured the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks, which was played almost 24 years to the day after the very first WNBA game, between those same teams in June of 1997.

The Liberty beat LA back then in Inglewood, CA, and they also won "The 97 Game", also played in SoCal.

Check out the pic below from that very first match-up, with two of the game's all-time greats.
THE US announced its women's Olympic team to contest the basketball gold medal in Tokyo next month, with three members from our first-placed Seattle Storm - Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Lloyd. 

Bird is a four-time Olympian, while Stewart will play for the second time.  Lloyd will be making her first trip to the Games.

Bird, at 40, and Diana Taurasi (at 39) will be trying to be the first players ever to win five Olympic gold medals in basketball. 

Since 1984, the US team has won seven of the eight gold medals contested, including six in a row, starting with the '96 Games. 

The US ladies are 66-3 all-time at the Olympics. 

This year during the extended Olympic training camp to pick the team, the squad went 17-1 in total official games played, including 5-1 against the top US college teams and 12-0 against international teams in games sanctioned by FIBA.

The one game they lost was almost two years ago to the then No.1 ranked U. of Oregon Ducks in what was generally considered a significant upset, as the Olympic team had all of their big guns playing and a lot more experience than the young college outfit.

Two other members of the Storm will also be playing in the Olympics, making it five (actually six - see below) of their 12-member traveling squad. 

Ezi Magbegor and Steph Talbot arein the Aussie Olympic team.  No wonder they're in first place in the WNBA standings.

The US 3-on-3 team will be picked this coming week, but the US has already qualified for the Games. 

Two of the four team members who played and won that qualifying tourney have local connections here in Seattle.  Katie Lou Samuelson is a member of the Storm, and Kelsey Plum, currently with the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA, played four years for the University of Washington and was an All-American. 

She ended her university career a couple of years ago as the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women's basketball history.

CANNOT let the 35th anniversary of a milestone event for those of us who follow US college basketball go unmentioned, even though it was last month.

June 19, 1986, was the day the basketball music died for a lot of us college hoops fans, but especially for the University of Maryland and the Boston Celtics. 

Two days prior, the Celtics selected the very talented 203cm forward from the U. of Maryland, Len Bias, with the second pick in the draft.

On the 19th, he was working out and scrimmaging when he collapsed and died from a heart attack that was determined to have been induced by his cocaine usage.

This was a stunner to all of us and was the first instance that I can recall of an athlete of that calibre dying from drug use - even before his pro career even got started. 

The effects of this bombshell stayed with many of us for a long time as a lesson to all of the dangers of hard drug use.

PS In case you were wondering, the Phoenix Suns will battle the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2021 NBA Championship. 

Jul 3

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.