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Friday, December 12, 2014

"Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story" Makes its ESPN Classic Debut Tonight!

"Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story" will air on ESPN Classic tonight starting at 10:30 p.m. Producer Ted Green's labor of love--a film about a great basketball player who triumphed despite being deprived of the opportunity to play pro ball during a significant portion of his prime years--is gripping, heartwarming and heartbreaking. It should be appointment viewing for any serious basketball fan.

"Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story" made its Dayton, Ohio debut in August, 2013. Dayton, my hometown, is where Roger Brown played freshman ball for the University of Dayton and where he excelled for several years on the AAU circuit before signing with the ABA's Indiana Pacers. Brown's spectacular clutch shooting helped the Pacers win three ABA titles and earned him the respect of several of the greatest players of all-time: Julius Erving, George Gervin and Rick Barry spoke very highly of Brown when I interviewed them more than a decade ago and asked if they thought that Brown deserved to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Brown's long overdue Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement took place in 2013.  Brown did not live long enough to enjoy that honor but his name and his accomplishments are inextricably interwoven with the history of the Pacers, the ABA and pro basketball as a whole.

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posted by David Friedman @ 2:28 AM



At Monday, December 15, 2014 1:44:00 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Dramatically underrated player. One of the truly great scorers to ever play the game, and arguably the best player to never play in the NBA.

At Monday, December 15, 2014 5:32:00 PM, Blogger Nathan Wright said...

Off topic: since you pointed out the weird bias of mainstream sports writers criticizing Kobe Bryant for "inefficiency" while praising James Harden, who in fact has a similar efficiency this season while being 10 years younger and not coming off an Achilles injury ... I thought you might appreciate this.

Grantland today has an article today that derides Kobe as a "remnant of a more inefficient age", and then one sentence later mentions James Harden as "putting up MVP numbers". For the record, as of today Kobe is shooting 39% while Harden is at 42%. Maybe 3% really is the difference between a paragon of inefficiency and an MVP -- but more likely is that these clowns are so immersed in their groupthink bubble that they can't see glaring biases right under their those.

That article must be the reductio ad absurdum of "stat guru" faux-clever stupidity.

At Monday, December 15, 2014 10:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harden doesn't have the overall impact, athleticism, or skillset as Kobe for sure, but he's been a big-time player for 3 straight years in Houston now. Harden has been inefficient by his standards this year, but not by much and he's slowly picking up lately. His TS% is .578 this year, which Kobe has only surpassed once in his entire career, and is higher than Jordan's and Kobe's career TS%.

However, you're right about the double standard regarding Kobe. At this point, it's a lost cause. Someone will always find something negative to say about him, no matter how great he plays. Kobe's arguably the greatest player ever. Harden's a current great player, but still finding his way. He's a feel good story, and feel good stories often win MVPs, unfortunately. If his shooting picks up though, he's at least in the conversation.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 11:35:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Nick F:

I completely agree on all three counts.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 11:37:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I prefer to keep each comment section focused on the given article at hand but you are correct that it is easy to find many examples of "faux-clever stupidity" being stated and/or written by "stat gurus."

At Friday, December 19, 2014 11:40:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


James Harden plays no defense and his offensive game is stunningly limited; he shoots three pointers and he throws himself into opposing players after driving into the lane, begging for a foul call. This works to some extent during the regular season, at least in terms of scoring 25-plus ppg with a low field goal percentage but it has yet to yield any dividends in postseason play against upper echelon teams.

Bryant has been vastly underrated during his career and he continues to be underrated as an aging player who still retains an impressive skill set.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 2:05:00 PM, Blogger Nick said...

I agree that Harden's tremendously overrated and the MVP buzz he's getting is ridiculous, but fair is fair: his defense this year, while far from great, is miles better than it was last year. He also seems to have a slightly better feel for when to shoot vs. pass in terms of team rhythm and chemistry.

That said, I still don't think he's a top 5 guard in this league, let alone an MVP candidate.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 2:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True to some extent. However, several of the top players in the league play no or very little defense, unfair to blame harden on this account alone. Harden actually played relatively decent defense in OKC, then nothing for 2 years in Houston, but now is playing some defense again this year. Remember that defense has a lot to do with who your coach is. Mchale is greatly lacking in this regard, while Brooks wasn't.

Harden is somewhat limited, but even so, it's remarkable how well he performs given his limitations. Harden drives extremely well, either finishing or drawing fouls a large % of these drives, and shoots 3's very well. Not much of a post game or midrange. But, even now, lebron/durant do very little in the post as well. And harden is his own playmaker, similar to kobe. Lebron, westbrook, and durant all play with at least one other good/great playmaker.

A little unfair to blame him for postseason so far. First year with Howard last year, and they tied for 5th in nba in wins. Their 1st round opp was another contender. They would've been 1st/2nd seed in the east. This year might be another matter; however, the west will have 8 50 win teams again. Paul has never made it out of the 2nd round. Mcgrady never made it out of the 1st round. Even Iverson only made it out of the 2nd round once, and that's while playing in the weak east for most of his career. I find it quite confusing how much weaker the east has been and still is than the west, and this has been going on for years now. Iverson only 1-8 in playoffs in Denver with Melo. If they played in east, probably make it to ECF at least once.

Lebron gets too much credit for 07 playoffs. He did play great for 3 rounds, and then awful in finals. However, the east was still a joke that year. The cavs wouldn't been 6th seed at best in the west that year, and likely losing in 1st round.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 7:43:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I prefer to focus on Roger Brown in this comment section. His story really deserves to stand on its own. The universal praise showered on Brown from all-time great players (including Doc, Ice and the Big O) in "Undefeated" speaks volumes and emphasizes what a disgrace it is that the Basketball Hall of Fame waited so long to give Brown his proper due.

During my holiday break from school I plan to post about Kobe Bryant and, probably, about James Harden, so discussion of those players can take place in the comment sections following those articles.

At Friday, December 19, 2014 10:26:00 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Fair enough. As an apology for my part in derailing, here's some of the (very little online available) awesome footage from Roger's time in Indiana:


At Saturday, December 20, 2014 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just want to say I really enjoy your articles. I found them a month ago, roughly. Growing up, at a very early age, I found myself playing basketball in the playground, in the urban streets. Then I started playing competitively for my jr high and high school, which ended quick due to some bad decision making.

As a person who enjoys the sport of basketball, and it's competitive side, rather than the entertainment aspect, I really enjoy reading your articles.

I love to play the game, and I want to finish college by playing, and maybe someday I will, but either way, I am glad I found your website. I have quit watching ESPN a long time ago, maybe about a year now. I never thought I'd find someone will some quality analysis.

Just know, if it means anything, and I'm sure you already know, people that enjoy the sport itself, will really appreciate what you do. I will spread the word on you as much as possible.

I look forward to reading your future writings, and going back and reading all the content you already posted.

At Sunday, December 21, 2014 1:27:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Nick F:

Thank you for posting that video. Some of the footage is included in "Undefeated" as well.

At Sunday, December 21, 2014 1:28:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate all of my loyal readers. Producing this website has truly been a labor of love for nearly a decade and I will continue posting articles here as often as possible.


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