The expectations have been raised, perhaps higher than they've been in a decade. The roster has been bolstered, with the additions of aging superstar Paul Pierce and blue-collar power forward DeJuan Blair. Are the Washington Wizards for real, or was last season just a nasty tease for the team's long-suffering fans?
When Gary Coleman Jr. learned that his uncle, Marvin Matthews, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Aug. 17, Coleman thought he would have to keep up the former Dunbar and Morgan State wrestler's spirits. He quickly found out that wasn't going to be the case.
On Friday he is to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a greying icon of a long-gone professional league that introduced the tri-colored ball and the 3-point shot. That's where Bob "Slick" Leonard won acclaim.
In some ways, Prince George's is to Washington, D.C., as Brooklyn is to Manhattan when it comes to basketball. While the District has produced hoop legends such as Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing, Prince George's has several of its own, such as Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson, currently in the NBA. Laurel, which also includes parts of Anne Arundel and Howard County, also has its own share of basketball standouts.
Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams will all be guaranteed a spot on the 2012 Olympic roster. This leaves five players vying for three open spots: Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, James Harden and Baltimore native Rudy Gay.