Archive | August, 2015

NYTimes Dawkins tribute NBA

28 Aug

Darryl Dawkins, Lovable N.B.A. Figure and Fierce Dunker, Dies at 58

Some of the many dunks of Darryl Dawkins, from left: as a Net against the Kings in 1984; for the Sixers against the Celtics’ Robert Parish in a playoff game in 1982; and as a Sixer in 1979. Over 15 seasons, he averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Credit Photographs left and right by Larry C. Morris/The New York Times; center, Associated Press
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Darryl Dawkins, who arrived in professional basketball as a gigantic teenager and became one of the game’s fiercest dunkers and most notoriously lovable characters, a backboard-smashing, referee-dissing, fun-loving manchild known to fans as Chocolate Thunder from Planet Lovetron, died on Thursday in Allentown, Pa. He was 58.

Tracey Sechler, a spokeswoman for Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, confirmed the death. Robert Tyler, a family friend, said the apparent cause was heart failure.

One of basketball’s larger-than-life figures — though at 6-foot-11 and more than 250 pounds he was pretty large to begin with — Dawkins made his mark on the sport’s history in a number of ways.

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Darryl Dawkins shattered two backboards in less than a month in 1979.Off the Glass: In the Distance, the Sound of ‘Chocolate Thunder’FEB. 4, 2007
Selected as an 18-year-old from Orlando, Fla., by the Philadelphia 76ers as the fifth overall choice in the 1975 National Basketball Association draft, he became the first player to make the leap directly from high school to the N.B.A. (He was not the first high schooler to turn pro. A year earlier, Moses Malone had jumped from high school in Virginia to the Utah Stars, a franchise in the American Basketball Association, which merged with the N.B.A. in 1976.)

Dawkins receiving an offer from the Sixers in 1975. Credit Associated Press
With a sculpted physique, inordinate strength and an unusually accurate jump shot for a man his size, Dawkins was expected to be a star in the league for years to come, drawing comparisons to Wilt Chamberlain. He was mischievous and flamboyant — he was known to wear an electric lime-green suit — and fond of rhyming and hyperbolic fantasy musings. (He invented the Planet Lovetron business when he was in high school.)

But immature, not technically adept around the basket and resistant to the entreaties of his coaches, Gene Shue and later Billy Cunningham — “I was uncoachable,” he admitted years later — he began his career in the shadows of other N.B.A. big men like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Lanier and Wesley Unseld.

Even so, by his fifth season he was averaging nearly 15 points and 9 rebounds a game. And his coaches loved him anyway.

“It was hard to be mad at Darryl Dawkins,” Cunningham recalled in an interview with ESPN in 2010. “I mean, he would drive you crazy, but then he was a little boy inside. A little boy.”

Besides, no one, not even Chamberlain, could dunk like Dawkins, and on a November night in 1979, with the Sixers playing in Kansas City against the Kings, Dawkins rose over Kings power forward Bill Robinzine and his powerful dunk literally brought down the basket, shattering the Plexiglas backboard and raining clear pellets onto the floor, and delaying the game by 90 minutes. He gave the dunk a name: “The If-You-Ain’t-Groovin’, Best-Get-Movin’, Chocolate-Thunder-Flyin’, Robinzine-Cryin’, Teeth-Shakin’, Glass-Breakin’, Rump-Roastin’, Bun-Toastin’, Glass-Still Flyin’, Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam.”

When Dawkins repeated the feat a few games later — “The-Chocolate-Thunder-Ain’t-Playin’, Get-Out-Of-the-Wayin,’ Backboard-Swayin’, Game-Delayin’ Super Spike,” he called that one — the N.B.A. responded by warning him that he’d be fined if he did it again, and later making it illegal to hang on the basket after a dunk, a dictum that became known as the Dawkins rule.


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“Everybody says a dunk is only two points, but it gets your team hyped, gets the crowd all excited and takes the starch out of other teams, especially when you dunk on somebody,” Dawkins said in an interview with The New York Times in 2004. “And I always dunked on somebody.”

Dawkins played a total of 14 seasons in the N.B.A. The first seven were with the Sixers, with whom he went to the league championship finals three times and lost each time. (In 1982-83, the season after he departed, Moses Malone replaced him at center and the Sixers won the title, which they have not done since.)

The backboard shattering after Dawkins’s dunk in 1979. Credit Associated Press
He also played for the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets), the Utah Jazz and the Detroit Pistons. For his career, he averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

More notably, he led the league three times in personal fouls, testimony to his ferocious inside play (and possibly because the refs were never crazy about him), and because he dunked so often and shot well from midrange, his career shooting percentage, .572, is the seventh highest in league history.

Darryl Dawkins was born in Orlando on Jan. 11, 1957. He was raised mostly by his mother, the former Harriet James, though Mr. Tyler, his friend, said he remained close to his father, Frank Dawkins. He led Maynard Evans High School in Orlando to the Florida state championship in 1975.

After his N.B.A. career ended, Dawkins played professionally in Italy and spent a year with the Harlem Globetrotters. In recent years he coached professional teams in Winnipeg and in Allentown, where he met Janice Hoderman, who became his fourth wife in 2001.

A gentle giant in his later years, Dawkins also coached the basketball team at Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pa., not far from Allentown, where he lived.

In addition to his wife, his survivors include their son, Nicholas, and daughter, Alexis; a stepdaughter, Tabitha; a daughter from a previous marriage, Dara; his mother; and several siblings.

A number of players, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James, followed Dawkins’s lead and entered the N.B.A. straight from high school.

Not long after Dawkins’s backboard-shattering spree, the league introduced the so-called breakaway rim, which yields to downward pressure and then snaps back to the horizontal, minimizing the potential for destruction.

“The first one was an accident, but I wanted to see if I could do it again when I got back to Philadelphia,” Dawkins recalled in the 2004 Times interview, referring to his most smashingly spectacular dunks. “All the fans were hollering, ‘You’ve got to do one for the home crowd,’ so I went ahead and brought it down.

“Everybody was in awe. Fans were running out grabbing the glass. People’s hands were bleeding. I felt like I was doing something no other human could do.”

Doug Post Cancer Columbus Dispatch

17 Aug

Pelotonia ride an emotional journey for cancer survivor



Bike riders head towards the 2015 Pelotonia starting line at the Columbus Commons.


By Theodore Decker

The Columbus Dispatch  •  Sunday August 9, 2015 12:40 PM

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A few weeks before he was to ride in last year’s Pelotonia, Doug Post went to his doctor with a nagging backache.

The pain gave him no inkling of what he was about to face and that he would emerge from the experience a year later as someone else entirely.

Still a cancer researcher, Post would become a cancer survivor.

“It’s been a real interesting journey, to say the least,” he said last week.

Post, 64, joined nearly 8,000 other riders on Saturday in Pelotonia 2015, the central Ohio bike tour that has raised millions for cancer research. Every rider-raised dollar goes to Ohio State University for research at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and other departments. This year’s riders are expected to push Pelotonia’s total fundraising since 2009 to more than $100 million.

Rafts of riders dispersed in waves from Downtown early Saturday, heading out on routes of various lengths. Some cyclists peddled 100 miles to Gambier, Ohio, and committed to another 80 miles today. Others opted for the 25-mile route that ended in Pickerington just a few hours after the ride began.

“Who told me this was all downhill?” one rider asked aloud just a few minutes in, as he climbed a slight hill from Marconi Boulevard to Front Street.

Thom Nelson, 47, rode 25 miles on his recumbent tricycle, which somewhat resembled a chaise lounge with wheels. He began using the trike to avoid “the rather uncomfortable effect of riding on a bicycle seat.”

He pedaled the 24 miles from his home in Lewis Center to the starting line. He was riding for his dad, who died of throat cancer. It was Nelson’s first Pelotonia.

“It’s a fantastic cause,” he said.

Out on the road, only scattered trouble was reported early on, including a woman who was treated by medics for breathing problems.

Among the cyclists were four young women who met at Ohio   State, their legs similarly marked with homemade tattoos honoring their mothers, who all had cancer.

“Everybody says you can do something to make a difference, and all I’m doing is riding a bicycle,” said Maddie Aballi, whose mom is a breast-cancer survivor. “But it really is making a difference.”

Post rode 25 miles from his peloton’s Downtown start to Pickerington. He has ridden in Pelotonia for years and always found himself moved by the   cancer survivors biking along with him. This year, he was one of them.

Saturday’s ride ultimately mirrored the ups and downs of Post’s past year: his friend and riding partner, Casey Flanagan, flipped over his handlebars in a crash near their 25-mile finish, breaking two ribs. Post wanted to stay with his friend and accompany him to the hospital. Flanagan wouldn’t hear of it.

“We went back and forth,” Post said. Flanagan won.

“He said, ‘You need to finish this.’”

So Post finished, and then went to the hospital with Flanagan’s wife and his own wife and daughter. The jokes were already beginning, and Flanagan  — a first-time Pelotonia rider — committed to getting back on   his bike next year.

“He’s just a really great guy,” Post said.

Even before the crash, the day was emotional for Post. He feared he would cry the whole way, but he said the vibe was so positive that he felt himself choke up only once or twice. His backache began last summer, a few weeks before Pelotonia 2014. With the help of physical therapy, massage and a few other lifestyle tweaks, Post rode that day.

“I felt good for the most part, until the last few miles,” he said.

The pain persisted after the ride, and within a few weeks it was bad enough to send him back to the doctor for more tests.

“The Friday before Labor Day, he called me and said that it looked bad and the diagnosis was multiple myeloma,” Post said. “I was pretty shocked, and I think he was, too.”

Multiple myeloma is diagnosed in an estimated 26,850 people in the U.S. every year.

“This is actually the most common form of cancer for which we do bone-marrow transplants,” said Dr. Don Benson, Post’s oncologist and an OSU associate professor of medicine. The cancer is considered treatable but incurable.

  After his diagnosis, Post began a regimen that included lifestyle changes; six months of chemotherapy; and, in April, stem-cell transplant surgery.

“I definitely had a few scary moments along the way, but now my cancer is in remission,” Post said. “All along, I tried to be really positive about this. It was pretty rough, but I got through it.”

  He pitched the idea of riding in this year’s Pelotonia to Benson   , wondering whether the oncologist would balk.

“He looked me straight in the face and said, ‘Absolutely,’” Post said.

“This was important to him to get back on the bike and back to life, and I think in some ways it’s a milestone,” Benson said. “I’m not going to stop him from living life.”

Benson knows how important those milestones can be for cancer patients. He views his relationship with them as partnerships. He spoke of another patient who is a farmer.

“Our treatment revolves around the fact that he’s going to be on a combine for 16 hours a day in the fall,” he said.

A third patient once told him, “I don’t suffer from my cancer; my cancer suffers from me.”

Post said he subscribes to that philosophy. His cancer forced him to reassess his life and what is important: His family. Friends such as Flanagan. Benson and his medical team. Pelotonia.

Post said he always has understood the need for continued, well-funded research.

Now, the need for research is much more personal. Ten years ago, Post’s life expectancy would have been two to three years, Benson said. Now, some patients live 10 years or more past the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.

“Your life is really related to the importance of cancer research and the quality of it,” Post said. “The meaning of it, for me, is just so different now. Research is so important and so valuable to people’s lives.”

Dispatch interim Editor Alan Miller contributed to this story.


Japan revisionists deny WW2 sex slave atrocities

4 Aug

Japan revisionists deny WW2 sex slave atrocities
By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
BBC News
3 August 2015
From the section Asia
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Former comfort woman Lee Ok Seon says she was “kidnapped”
Seventy years after the end of World War Two, the voices of revisionism in Japan are growing stronger and moving into the mainstream, particularly on the issue of comfort women, who were women forced to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the war.
One of the most eloquent voices of revisionism is Toshio Tamogami.
Mr Tamogami is well-educated, knowledgeable and, when I meet him, exquisitely polite. The former chief of staff of Japan’s air force believes in a version of Japanese history that is deeply at odds with much of the rest of the world.
But it is increasingly popular among young Japanese, tired of being told they must keep apologising to China and Korea.
Last year Mr Tamogami ran for governor of Tokyo. He came fourth, with 600,000 votes. Most strikingly, among young voters aged 20 to 30 he got nearly a quarter of the votes cast.
“As a defeated nation we only teach the history forced on us by the victors,” he says. “To be an independent nation again we must move away from the history imposed on us. We should take back our true history that we can be proud of.”
In this “true” history of the 20th Century that Mr Tamogami talks of, Japan was not the aggressor, but the liberator. Japanese soldiers fought valiantly to expel the hated white imperialists who had subjugated Asian peoples for 200 years.
It is a proud history, where Japan, alone in Asia, was capable of taking on and defeating the European oppressors. It is also a version of history that has no room for the Japanese committing atrocities against fellow Asians.
Mr Tamogami believes that Japan did not invade the Korean Peninsula, but rather “invested in Korea and also in Taiwan and Manchuria”.
I ask him about the invasion of China in 1937 and the massacre of civilians in the capital Nanjing. Surely that was naked aggression?
“I can declare that there was no Nanjing Massacre,” he says, claiming there were “no eyewitnesses” of Japanese soldiers slaughtering Chinese civilians.
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Former chief of Japan’s air forces, Toshio Tamogami, says that stories of atrocities such as the Nanjing massacre in the 1930s are “lies and fabrication”
It is when I ask him about the issue of Korean comfort women that Mr Tamogami’s denials are most indignant.
He declares it “another fabrication”, saying: “If this is true, how many soldiers had to be mobilised to forcibly drag those women away? And those Korean men were just watching their women taken away by force? Were Korean men all cowards?”
Although they may not say it as loudly and as bluntly as Mr Tamogami, this is a version of history that is widely believed by many of Japan’s nationalists.
Earlier this year at a joint session of the US Congress in Washington DC, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed deep sorrow for the suffering caused by Japan during WW2.
Mr Abe does not deny there were Korean women serving as comfort women near the frontlines in China and South East Asia.
But he has repeatedly said there is no evidence these women were coerced or that the Japanese military was involved in their recruitment and confinement. The implication is the women were prostitutes.
This is a very murky area. Girls from poor families have been sold in to prostitution in Japan, Korea and China for centuries, and the practice was certainly still going on in the 1930s and 1940s.
But that does not absolve the Japanese military from responsibility.
‘We were kidnapped’
In a quiet valley an hour’s drive from Seoul there is a small care home called the House of Sharing. This is where some of the last surviving comfort women are cared for in their old age. There are only ten left here now.
Lee Ok Seon is a tiny 88-year-old with thick white curly hair and badly-fitting false teeth. She chuckles as I try to cajole her to speak to me in Chinese.
Ms Lee spent 65 years in China, and only returned to South Korea 15 years ago.
She was born in the port city of Busan on the southern tip of modern day South Korea. Her family was poor and she was sent out to work at the age of 14.
“I had to start work as a housekeeper for another family at a young age. It was at that time I was out on the street one day… that’s how I got kidnapped,” she says.
She said two men grabbed her and put her on a train. “By the time we arrived I realised we had crossed the border into China. I was sent to a place where there were already several comfort women.
“I wonder why they called us comfort women. We didn’t go by our own accord, we were kidnapped. I was forced to have sex with many men each day.”
South Korean elderly women (yellow vests), who served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, hug the statue of a South Korean teenage girl in traditional costume called the ‘peace monument’ during the 1,000th weekly protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul on 14 December 2011.
A monument to comfort women was erected outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011
Ms Lee spent three years in the brothel close to a Japanese military camp in Manchuria. I ask her why she didn’t try to escape.
“Of course I tried to escape several times!” she says. “Each time I was taken back and I was beaten over and over.
The military police would ask me ‘Why are you trying to escape?’ I would tell them because I am cold and have no food. They would hit me again saying I talked too much.”
She says that she lost part of her hearing and some of her teeth from those assaults.
Revisionists like Mr Tamogami say women like Lee Ok Seon have been coached to embellish their stories; that they are tools of a South Korean government that is intent on humiliating Japan and squeezing it for more money
It is certainly true that the comfort women issue is used by the South Korean government for its own political ends. But there is plenty of other evidence that the Japanese military organised the comfort women system, not least from the men who served in the Japanese imperial army in China.
‘Ridiculous to deny’
Masayoshi Matsumoto is now 93 and lives with his daughter on the edge of Tokyo. He has a warm open face and the piercing eyes of a much younger man.
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Former Japanese soldier Masayoshi Matsumoto: “I call myself a war criminal”
As a 20-year-old he served as a medical orderly in northwest China. “There were six comfort women for our unit,” he tells me. “Once a month I would check them for sexually transmitted diseases.
“The Korean women were mainly for the officers,” he says. “So the ordinary soldiers attacked local villages screaming, ‘Are there any good girls here?’ Those soldiers robbed, raped, or killed those who did not listen to them.”
Those who were captured were taken to Mr Matsumoto’s unit to serve as comfort women.
After the war Mr Matsumoto became a priest to try and atone for his sins. For decades he said nothing of what he’d seen.
But then as the voices of denial grew stronger he was filled with righteous anger, and decided to speak out.
“It’s ridiculous… Mr Abe speaks as if this is something he witnessed, but he didn’t. I did,” says Mr Matsumoto.
“Someone told me this, ‘One who fails to look back and perceive the past will repeat their wrongdoing’. But Mr Abe thinks we should erase anything bad Japan had done in the past and pretend nothing happened. That is why I cannot forgive him,” he adds.
Mr Matsumoto sits back in his chair and chuckles.
“One day the right-wingers will come and get me for saying such things,” he says, drawing a finger across his throat.
That seems unlikely, but Mr Matsumoto and all the other survivors are now in their late 80s or 90s.
Soon they will all be gone – while the voices of denial grow louder and stronger.