On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 16, 2016 #593 Up next…”MVP-MVP-MVP”

After further review…”Unanimous” was the word from the NBA selection committee, which announced as its 2015-16 MVP point guard Steph Curry of the current world champion Golden State Warriors. No surprise there; this season, he eclipsed his own regular season 3-point-made record by launching 402 of his “Wait-for-it” missiles (that’s his trademark utterance upon release of the ball). His T*E*A*M, due in large measure to Curry’s contributions, won 73 games for the first time in NBA history. Further, his record streak for consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer is still growing as the NBA playoffs move to the Western Conference finals this week.

What is startling is that 6’ 3” Curry is the first player in the NBA’s 61-year history to receive all 131 first place votes! LeBron James in 2013 and Shaquille O’Neil in 2000, as singularly dominant as they were in those years, each fell one vote shy of unanimity. Curry now is in a class by himself. Well done, Steph! Yet hold your applause, since not everyone believes the vote is justified. Tracy McGrady (“T-Mac”), formerly of the Houston Rockets and now an NBA commentator, couldn’t resist demeaning Curry’s accomplishments. McGrady said Curry’s success was performed in a “watered down” NBA. McGrady, who once scored 41 points for the Rockets, said that NBA greats in days gone by “really played against top-notch competition.” Nonsense. Sports records need to be evaluated within the scope of the playing conditions that produced them, not throughout history.

Consider that in game four of the first round vs. Houston, Curry slipped while playing defense and damaged the MCL in his right knee, putting him on injured reserve for four weeks. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr held Curry out until midway through the first quarter of game four in the next round with the Portland Trailblazers. Kerr intended to play him only 18 minutes, since Curry was not at peak conditioning. However, with the game tied at 100 and going into overtime, Curry played 36 minutes, including all five OT minutes, during which he scored 17 points to set another NBA record. All this occurred after the MVP voting had been completed! Following that OT performance TNT commentator and former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, who could comment on ducks racing in a pond, was speechless. Fans can thank Curry for silencing a voice that rarely quiets on its own.

What impresses the TunneySide is not just the “touch” of Curry’s shooting hand, but also his daily disciplined practice, his ball-handling, his alert passing to teammates, and getting everyone on the Warriors to play together as a T*E*A*M. It’s the age-old adage: It matters not who scores, but that everyone is involved! Curry’s T*E*A*M effort stands out!

Will you be inclusive when working with others to make success a T*E*A*M effort?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

“Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” is now available! Price is $20, and includes tax, shipping, and an autograph, if requested. These TunneySides take current issues from sports and transform them into positive messages for productive living. Email or send to P.O. Box 1440 Pebble Beach, Ca. 93953 :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ub8mJo-r0



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On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 9, 2016 #592 Up next…Tinker-Evers-Chance

After further review…Highlights of spectacular plays are frequent features on TV sports reports, e.g. the shot from “downtown,” the walk-off home run, or the one-handed catch for a touchdown. These special plays are repeated ad nauseam—sports fans can’t seem to get enough of them. One of those roar-of-the-crowd plays happened last week, and the TunneySide thought you’d like to know a little more about it.

The Miami Marlins were playing at Milwaukee Brewers Stadium. With men on first and second and no outs, the Marlins batter hit a sharp ground ball (note: sharp is the key) to third baseman Aaron Hill, who quickly scooped it up, stepped on the bag, then fired it to second baseman Yadier Rivera, who shot it just as rapidly to first baseman Chris Carter for a—get this—triple play! This was the first triple play this 2016 MLB season. In recorded MLB history there have been only 704 of these events. Rare indeed!

This brings to mind the double (not triple) play combo that I learned as a kid: The famous Chicago Cub trio of (Joe) Tinker, (Johnny) Evers, and (Frank) Chance. Those three were made famous in a poem written by Franklin Adams, a New York Evening Mail columnist who was born in Chicago and remained an avid Cubs fan. They were the undisputed best in the MLB at turning the play during that era, as the Cubs won the National League pennant in the years ’06-‘10, and the World Series in ’07 and ’08! Oops, did I fail to mention that was in the 20th century—the 1900s? Adams wrote:

“These are the saddest of possible words:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Ruthless pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double—

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

‘Tinker to Evers to Chance.’”

But back to that Marlins vs. Brewers game. What most impressed the TunneySide was that Brewers third baseman Hill, who started that exquisitely timed, inning-over triple play, just trotted into his dugout. He didn’t throw his glove in the air; didn’t pound his chest with his fist; did not indulge in dancing around or shooting an imaginary gun. He just did his job (rare as it was) and took his place in the Brewers’ dugout! I know Aaron Hill personally and know that’s who he is: the consummate professional. I applaud you Mr. Hill, for showing all of us how a true professional behaves on the field!

Will you strive to match Aaron Hill’s example of professional poise?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Be sure to get “Another Best of TunneySide of Sports” now at only $20. includes tax and shipping. These articles, also written in the Monterey Herald, take issues from the world of sports and transforms them into positive messages for productive living. :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ub8mJo-r0




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Change for the Best?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 2, 2016 #591 Up next…Change for the best?

After further review…Having long employed the expression: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change” in my speaking career, I am aware that it can raise doubts. Yet in helping people grow to be the best they can be, I often say “In order to grow, you must change; yet not all change is growth!” More on that topic another time. But today’s “growth” in the game of basketball is of concern.

I enjoyed a high and college basketball career during which, as a collegian, I played all four years for a wonderful coach. Coach Bill was one of the finest gentleman who ever crossed my path either on and off the athletic courts and fields. Coach Bill used a plain-spoken go-to halftime speech that while true, left a lot to be desired in the motivational arena. Surrounded by his T*E*A*M in the locker room before the second half got underway, Coach would proclaim, in his soft but sincere voice, “Men, we gotta make more baskets!” Sometimes he would say “buckets.” It almost sounded like Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball some 125 years ago, would say. My college playing career was followed by a four-year stint as a high school basketball coach and a 26-year career in officiating that sport, both at the high school and college levels. I love the game. However…

Watching today’s basketball, especially at the professional level, where travelling, carrying-the-ball, (aka “palming”) violations have become almost non-existent, along with defenders holding offensive players, or the variations in the interpretation of the charging-blocking rules –- well, it has me scratching my head. But what caught my attention recently was a comment during a game by ABC’s NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy when he said, “That’s a foul. But I like it. You gotta lay some wood out there. You just can’t play their [your opponent’s] kind of basketball.” The word “wood” was a euphemism for the human form, and thus he was encouraging physical contact with the opponent.

Van Gundy was a high school and college coach, and subsequently coached in the NBA for the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets. He had developed a substantial history in the game before taking the job as a network analyst. My question to him would be “Hey coach, how many of your players did you ever want to see on the floor or injured?” These days, hardly a drive down the court occurs without a player getting knocked down. Of course the NBA game, with players even bigger than their NFL brothers, is going to have contact on that 94 x 50-foot floor; there is little room for those behemoths to move around freely.

The TunneySide’s thinking is that basketball is a game of finesse, with ball and player movement forming its skillful nucleus. The teams that do that well will win more than their opponents!         . And oh yeah, “Ya gotta make more buckets!”

Will you log-in on with your thoughts about today’s game of basketball?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Interesting and fun readings in the “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” – a new book by Dr. Jim Tunney. It takes current issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages — available for $20. includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ub8mJo-r0 Thank You!


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