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athletes Athletics Basketball NBA photography sport Steph Curry

Magician at Large: Steph Curry.

The inimitable magic of Steph Curry, which for him is a mere bagatelle. Curry is without a doubt one of the greatest long range shooters ever, possesses magical ball handling skills, is an electric passer, and is a potent scorer from anywhere on the court. The 2 time league MVP holds a number of NBA records, including highest free throw percentage for a career, most points in an overtime period, most 3 point shots made in a season…the list goes on. Steph is the only player ever to lead the league in scoring while achieving the 50-40-90 shooting trifecta. The 6’3β€³ guard has revolutionized the way the game is played, and is a joy to watch.

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athletes Athletics Basketball NBA photography sport Wilt Chamberlain

A Giant Talent: Wilt Chamberlain.

Wilt Chamberlain accomplished seemingly impossible feats. 100 points in a game; a 50.4 scoring average in a season; 55 rebounds in a game; seven consecutive scoring titles to begin his career. And on and on. As a Harlem Globetrotter, he hurled Meadowlark Lemon around in one skit as if he weighed 210 ounces, rather than 210 pounds. Lemon called Chamberlain the strongest athlete who ever lived. He was certainly one of the greatest.

Wilt won his 2nd and most satisfying NBA championship in 1972 with the Lakers, who set a then-league record with 69 wins, including a stunning 33 in a row. His role had changed, and he showed he could dominate by defending (though he was already a great shot-blocker), rebounding and fuelling the team’s lethal fast-break. There was nothing the great man couldn’t do…including win.

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athletes Athletics Basketball NBA photography sport

Purvis Short: Elite Bucket Accumulator and Top-Tier Rainbow Shooter.

One of the premier pure shooters we’ve ever encountered, Purvis Short was quite capable of finding creative ways to score, as well. He averaged a healthy 28.0 ppg in 1984-85. It always seemed so easy, almost casual. A vastly undervalued star. And, as far as sheer beauty is concerned, his silky-smooth, high-arcing jumper is at or near the top of the heap.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Dominic Thiem: A Major Force to be Reckoned With.

26 year old Dominic Thiem has finally arrived on the world tennis stage. Having defeated Alexander Zverev in the 2020 Australian Open semifinals, employing his usual barrage of blistering drives smacked relentlessly into every corner, as well as great defensive skills, guile, boldness, and purpose, he now faces a formidable task: conquering 16-time major champion Novak Djokovic in the finals. However: the Austrian has gotten the better of the Serbian in four of their last five meetings, including two at Roland Garros, and one at the World Tour finals.

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athletes Athletics photography Roger Federer sport tennis

A Retrospective: Roger Federer.

What with Roger Federer‘s departure from the 2020 Australian Open, let us look back at some of the Swiss maestro’s finer moments from earlier AO’s, when his unparallelled feline movement {coupled with his trademark magical racket head control} was unhampered, allowing him to dictate or defend, as few {if any} have ever done. Federer had an uncanny ability to defang even opponents with the most lethal of arsenals, as he would glide along {or above} the court, using his exquisite timing, imagination, and power to assume command of the point, and strike winner after unbelievable winner. Almost always he seemed to be playing offense, controlling play. Against Novak Djokovic, an aging and injured Fed soldiered on, with “maybe a 3% chance” {his words}. But according to his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, “When he’s 100 percent, he’s playing in another league. It’s impossible to stop him.”

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

An Epic Quarterfinal: Thiem vs. Nadal.

Dominic Thiem produced utterly brilliant tennis when it mattered most to edge the great Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Australian Open. This match featured unreal shotmaking, fierce competitive spirit, and admirable boldness/aggression from both players. Titanic exchanges were the norm, and each man was hitting rockets. Also noteworthy: Nadal’s extreme graciousness in defeat, giving Thiem full credit. The Austrian, too, was humble and thoughtful in victory; obviously, a great deal of mutual respect was present.

Thiem, who not only punished the ball relentlessly, but also showed outstanding defensive skills, deserved this massive win, ousting the immortal Rafa by the slimmest of margins, with seemingly endless blistering drives to both corners, and great heart.

(Now featuring bonus footage of the Nadal-Thiem 2018 US Open match.)

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

An Enigma Inspired: Nick Kyrgios.

A talent of otherworldly proportions, Nick Kyrgios has thusfar in his career been held in check only by his mentality, which is perhaps of an unfathomable nature. His apparently never-ending drama of the psyche notwithstanding, the Aussie’s awesome power coupled with exquisite touch, when clicking on all cylinders, is thrilling, and seems unbeatable. And, as of the current moment, in the 2020 Australian Open, his oft-quirky {and sometimes downright bizarre} mindset seems focused and solid, more or less. What will the future hold for Mr. Kyrgios?

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athletes Athletics photography Roger Federer sport tennis

Roger Federer: Legend.

Make no mistake: at age 38, Federer, the greatest shotmaker, and arguably the greatest period, in the annals of tennis history, remains very much a threat to capture the Australian Open 2020 title. His game is still impeccable, and his ceiling is still higher than that of any other living player.

Note: for more on this great man, see earlier post on this site here.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Prodigy: Coco Gauff.

Gauff, at the age of 15, is making waves in women’s tennis. She shows tremendous poise, court sense, competitive toughness, and confidence already. Plus, her backhand is otherworldly.

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athletes Athletics photography sport tennis

Already a Champion: Naomi Osaka.

The 22 year old Osaka is blessed with a wondrous all-court game, and no shortage of power. She covers the court extremely well, and is a fierce competitor, as she demonstrated during the 2018 US Open final, under difficult circumstances. Already a 2-time grand slam event champion, Naomi ought to be at or near the highest echelons of tennis for years to come.