So can I get excited about the new Albany Patroons team?

Like most Capital Region basketball fans, I grew up with the Albany Patroons.  Two CBA championships, five regular season league titles, more htan two dozen players and coaches who have graduated from the gold and kelly green at the Armory (and sometimes at the old Knickerbocker Arena) to the NBA.

And when I heard news that the Patroons would return to the Washington Avenue Armory as one of the inaugural teams of the new North American Premier Basketball League, I was thrilled.

This should be lots of fun.

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If you can vote … vote for Albany Phoenix

Here’s the deal.  The new Albany arena football team needs a name, and four name choices have sprouted up.  They’re here at this link.  You can pick from the Albany Fire, the Albany Machine, the Albany Phoenix or the Albany Empire.

Of the four names on the list … only one makes total sense.

Here’s why you should vote for Albany Phoenix.

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Oh no, not the Yakima Sun Kings…

As a long-time Albany Patroons fan, I supported the gold and kelly green for many, many years – through two championships and five regular season titles.  And in supporting the team, i also rallied against their opponents and rivals.  In the early 1980’s, the Patroons’ closest rivals were teams like the Lancaster (Pa.) Lightning and the Bay State (Mass.) Bombardiers.  Near the late 1980’s, it was squads like the Quad City Thunder and the Pensacola Tornados.

But there was one team that always seemed to get the Albany Patroons’ goat.  Every time the Pats looked as if they would march their way to a championship, this team came out of nowhere and derailed our plans.  They did it in the early 1990’s, and they did it in 2006.

They were the Yakima Sun Kings.

Let me explain.

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The Return of the Albany Patroons, Version 3.0

Once upon a time, there was a minor league basketball team that played its games in the Washington Avenue Armory.  Waay back in 1982.  And from 1982 to 1993, the Albany Patroons won two CBA championships and five regular season titles.  Phil Jackson and Bill Musselman both guided the Pats to CBA playoff titles.  George Karl helped the team garner a 50-6 regular season record, at that time the most dominant winning percentage in pro basketball.

And the Patroons’ strongest contribution to the game?  Over two dozen players and coaches for the Pats went on to play and coach in the NBA.  You certainly know Phil Jackson made it to the Association, but so too did NBA head coaches Bill Musselman, George Karl, Rick Carlisle, Scott Brooks, Sidney Lowe and Michael Curry.  And players?  Mario Elie.  Vincent Askew.  Larry Spriggs.  Chris McNealy.  Frankie J. Sanders.  Lowes Moore.  Snoop Graham.  Derrick Rowland.  David Magley.  On and on and on.

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“And here comes Mugshots Bro from out of nowhere!!”

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I want to test out a lens I haven’t used in a while – my super-telephoto Soviet cadiatrophic lens, the MC MTO-11, an 1100mm f/16 piece of glass that can pick up images half a mile away.

My plan – stand at one end of the half-mile oval at Saratoga Harness (yeah, I know, it’s officially “Saratoga Casino and Hotel”, I don’t care, I’ve always known it as Saratoga Harness, deal with it), and try to capture the horses as they make the final turn toward the finish line.

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A new adventure for a former Albany Patroon

For the past six seasons, I’ve operated as the statistician with the National Basketball League of Canada.  For the last four of those seasons, I’ve worked in one capacity or another with David Magley, a member of the 1983-84 Albany Patroons championship squad.  Two of those years were when Magley coached the Brampton (Ontario) A’s, then two years were when Magley operated as commissioner of the NBL.

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