Venice Beach, CA Street Basketball Players

Thoughts on a College Basketball Sports Painting

What kind of interests me, as an artist is what happens to all the college basketball players after their final seasons.   I thought of this as I finished watching the Michigan and Villanova win in their NCAA “final-four” games and their move on to the Championship game.  This is when these two teams are at their peak -  Why? - Because Michigan was the team with hot games at the end of the season and Villanova being the best team at the end of the season.  What happens to the all the players who did not achieve the ultimate college basketball goal?

Venice Beach Basketball Players 

This black and white sports art painting of a couple of Venice Beach, Ca. players ended up in the Amway Sports Arena in Orlando Florida where the NBA Orlando Magic play their home games.  The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on canvas.
These years spent playing will probably be the highlight of their lives – they certainly have achieved more in a shorter time then I will ever have over my entire lifetime.  But where do all those players go?   The reason I say this is that that the basketball painting you see here on this page is of basketball players that play on the Venice Beach, Ca. street basketball courts.  Most of the players on the main court are ex, really good high school and college players.  Occasionally some ex-pros show up on the courts for a pick up a game.  These are the courts where the movie “White Men Can’t Jump” was filmed.   Think of all those great college players that did not go on to play in the pros.  Where are they and what do they do?  What do they think about the past – and the future. 

Why Paint Sports Art Figures

 Me,  I don’t have much of a past and I certainly don’t have much of a future.  I don’t have “ past glory’s – just a mundane life – or as the joke goes, “living a life of quiet desperation.”   So, all in all, that is probably why I have ended up painting sports figures as I can live vicariously through the paintings, like a rabid sports fan that roots for his favorite player or team.  It’s an enjoyable pastime of beauty and inspiration. 


This black and white sports art painting of a couple of Venice Beach, Ca. players ended up in the Amway Sports Arena in Orlando Florida where the NBA Orlando Magic play their home games.  The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on canvas.



Hall of Fame Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves Basebll Art

Chipper Jones Hall of Fame 

He is in! Chipper Jones MLB baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Congratulations! Here’s my baseball painting of Chipper Jones art located in the Delta Sky Club in the new SunTrust Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The sports art painting is 15 feet by 8 feet and purchased by the stadium in 2017.
For those who are not familiar with Chipper Jones he played third base and played his whole career with Atlanta Braves for 19 years.

 Chipper Jones Statistics 

Jones had a relatively easy time getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame as he got named on 97.2% of the ballots.  His statistics shows his record of eight-time All-Star and the 1999 National League MVP, Jones had a career batting average of .303 with 468 home runs.  Any baseball fan can see why Chipper was selected with numbers that show a combination batting average of over .300 average, .400 on-base %, 500 slugging % and 400 home runs.  Those number show why Chipper Jones crashed into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility. 

Chipper Jones Quotes 


Here is a Chipper quote that sums up his statistics and how he played the game.  Jones said, "We can bunt guys over. But we're built on power. That's American baseball.”  But in contrast to that statement he also said that he felt his proudest accomplishments was  that he had more walks than strikeouts.  About his percentage numbers?  “I was always of the belief that if you go up there and you’re the toughest out possible every single time you walk up to the plate, the numbers are going to take care of themselves,’’ he said.  About entering the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame?  “This is day that’s going to change my life forever. We have a handful of those during our lifetime, transcendent moments that just change your life forever. Today was certainly one of them.’’

To follow my sports art work like my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/anartistlife/

Acme Packers Sports Painting Green Bay Packers Art

About the Acme Packers Art

 The painting of an Acme Packer (later to become the Green Bay Packers) was created by sports artist John Robertson for the remodel of the suites area of Lambeau Field, the football stadium for the Green Bay Packers.  The new remodel of the suites and club level using art was installed in Green Bay.  The rest of my artwork (eight pieces) is displayed on the suite and club levels of Lambeau Field, which means it is not available to other fans on a regular basis.
July, 2017.   The painting is approximately 4 feet by 7 feet, acrylic on stretched canvas.  Although the Acme Packers never played a game in the snow it seemed appropriate to the player in the snow because of the well known winters of

 About the Acme Packer football team

 The Acme Packers was one of the Packers name before they became the Green Bay Packers.  In 1919 and 1920 there was a packing company where Curly Lambeau was working named Indian Packing. Curly was a player and coach and first coach of the, soon to become, Green Bay Packers professional football team.   The Indian Packing company was bought out by a Chicago packing company called Acme Packing and the two companies became one.  The Indian Packers had the football team and Acme changed the name to the Acme Packers.  As the team was not actually owned by Acme Packing but by a couple of the executives of the packing company.  Through a variety of financial changes the team was eventually (in a couple of years) named the Green Bay Packers and became part of the NFL.  Curly Lambeau was the head coach of the Packers from 1920 to 1949.

Original sports paintings are available from my studio or on commission.


Sports painting of baseball great Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees Portrait

Baseball Art: Joe DiMaggio Painting Portrait

Baseball painting portrait of Joe DiMaggio  is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas by sports artist John Robertson

As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship.  We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed.  (What? No TV?  Nope.  Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper" and was what we all wanted to grow up to be - American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees.  Dreams.  Boyhood dreams.

Kevin Costner about Joe DiMaggio

Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special.  Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”

I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy.  And no they are not in good condition.  Who knew then.  I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)

For me this is where Joe DiMaggio went

I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed.  But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game.  I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967.  The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate”  a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc.  And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.”  The classic lines in the lyrics:

”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey”

At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult.  I had dropped out of high school - did my stint in the Navy,  tried college a number of times  and struggled to find direction.  Somehow the movie helped.  I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”

Joe" DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.  At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.  ---- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quotes about Joe DiMaggio

This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:

(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." - Ted Williams


"Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century." - Mickey Mantle

Baseball art Painting of Catcher Ramon Hernandez


Ramon Hernandez Portraint painting 
by sports artist John Robertson
50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas

A Catcher is a Backstop With a Good Arm

Catcher Ramon Hernandez MLB Teams

I painted Ramon Hernandez, an excellent catcher (and could play first base) because he was such a great workhorse for any team he played for – and he did play for a number of them.  Ramon with the Oakland Athletics (1999–2003), San Diego Padres (2004–2005), Baltimore Orioles (2006–2008), Cincinnati Reds (2009–2011), Colorado Rockies (2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2013.  He moved around a lot but was always a great contributor to whichever team he played for.  He has an interesting position to play.

 About Catchers 

Here’s a funny story about Joe Torre who, among a number of great achievements was a great catcher.  He was once asked why he became a catcher.  “When I was 16 years old, my brother Frank said, 'You'd better become a catcher, because you're too big and fat to do anything else.' Well, I took his advice. It was a quick way to get to the big leagues, and I've never regretted it.”  Now Hernandez never made the choice because he was six feet tall and weighed in at around one ninety.  That’s not big and fat.  Also he was a good hitter with a two-sixty-three hitting average over his long career. 

Ramon Hernandez, like most catchers was the defensive leader on the field. He called the pitches and positioned players on the field and had a pragmatic view of baseball. The great pitcher Bob Feller said, "If you believe your catcher is intelligent and you know that he has considerable experience, it is a good thing to leave the game almost entirely in his hands."


Ramon had psychological insights and had a list of behaviors for each player approaching the batting box. His eyes were continuing to move across the field of play and his mind running the different offensive scenarios in his head. All of this going on with a baseball bat menacingly inches from his head.  That is what good catchers did.

Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line


"Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line"

 Sports paintings by artist John Robertson
48" x 84" (4 feet by 7 1/2 feet) acrylic on unstretched canvas


Catching a throw-out from a fielder is easy – but a baseball catch on a line drive down the third base line is hard. But it looks easy from the stands - and artistic with the baseball player’s body laid nearly parallel with the ground and across the infield. Most batters think that when they hit a line drive it is good for a base and sometimes two.  But a good third baseman will break the batter’s heart with a great catch.

A couple of interesting baseball rules about catching a ball.


Here is an interesting rule in baseball which has to do with catching a baseball.  Players can only catch the ball with their hand, or their mitt. You can’t use your hat or your shirt or anything that’s not your bare hand or the mitt. If the ball is caught, or even touched intentionally, by a player with anything other than their bare hand or glove, on their hand, all runners, including the batter, get to advance a base.   Now I did see once a play where the infielder was catching a high fly ball behind a base but in play.  The ball his glove and bounced out but he caught it between his forearm and bicep.  It was ruled a hit and the batter took first base.

Tied into the above rule is one of my favorites, An infield fly is when a ball stays in the infield that isn't a bunt or line drive.  When there are runners on first and second or first, second, and third and less than two outs the umpire can make the judgment that an infielder, catcher, or pitcher could catch it with ordinary effort (whatever that means) the batter is out, even if no one caught it, even if they did catch it and then dropped it. The ball is still in play so any base runners who began to advance can still continue and the normal rules apply to them.  Confusing but fair because if they let it drop there is a good possibility for a double play on the players who hold their base with anticipation of the ball being caught.  If it is dropped then they are stuck on the base and when advancing can be easily thrown out.   This is where the expression “Hung out to dry” is sometimes used when the player is hung out on the base line waiting for the bsll to be either csught or dropped.  As an aside the expression comes is  based on the practice of hanging an animal that has been killed in a tree so its meat can dry.  Nice metaphor for a base runner. 

Purple People Eaters Minnesota Vikings US Bank Stadium

Purple People Eaters Painting

 One of my pieces (artist John Robertson) In the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is The "Purple People Eaters" which shows the legendary linemen Carl Eller, Allen Page, Gary Larson and Jim Marshall.   The painting you see in the photograph is eight feet by twelve feet, acrylic on canvas.  The "Purple People Eaters' painting
is in the Gold Suites lobby to Norsemen's suites.  This is a private area for the suite owners but the doors are sometimes left opened so one can see them from the public area. 

What was fun about the opening is meeting Carl Eller and Jim Marshall who autographed the photograph art book featuring the stadium's artists.  We also had a chance to meet the great Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant. 

Minnesota Vikings Stadium


We went to the art collection opening at the new  U.S. Bank Stadium where the NFL Minnesota Vikings will be playing their football games starting this 2016 2017 football season.  The stadium has a museum-quality art collection.  Both my wife and I have pieces of art in this collection.

U.S. Bank Stadium has some unique features in comparison to other NFL stadiums, It has the largest transparent roof in the nation and five 95-feet high pivoting glass doors that will open to a nearly three-acre plaza and the Minneapolis downtown skyline. While the stadium’s roof will be fixed, the transparent 200,000 square feet of glass throughout the building will give fans an outdoor feel in a climate-controlled environment. The stadium seats are just 41 feet from the sideline. Seven levels in the stadium and it has two of the largest and highest-quality HD video boards in the NFL that are located in both the east and west end zones.

About the US Bank Minnesota Vikings Stadium Art Collection


To see a short video of some of the collection you can go to : http://www.usbankstadium.com/about-the-stadium/art-collection/  You will see two of my paintings in the video.  What is an interesting side comment is that my name is not listed on the collection artist's list although my paintings are in the stadium. 

One of my large scale football paintings on the jumbotron at the new Minnesota Vikings' US Bank Stadium where several pieces of my work are installed
stadium.  My understanding is that only a couple of artists that were not from Minnesota were included in the collection - me being one of them.  This was intentional as the other artists not from Minnesota were also left off the list.  My wife, Lynn Hanson was included (see photograph above with our paintings shown together in the Gold Lobby to the Norsemen suites) as she is from Minnesota and her sister lives about an hour from downtown Minneapolis

Baseball slide rule change image

New Baseball Slide Rule

 Under the new baseball slide rule into second, "both baseball players have to wear a dress."  At least, that is what one of the Major League baseball managers was quoted as saying.  His point being that the MLB was taking all of the "sport" out baseball.   If the baseball player can't go into second base
with "spikes up and wide" in an attempt to break up the double play, then where is the excitement and risk of the game?  One of the new rules state: "A runner sliding into second has to make "a bona fide attempt" not just to slide into the base, but also to "remain on the base."   In other words,  "no interference".  In the case of this baseball painting the base runner is trying to interfere with the shortstop.

 Keep Baseball Entertaining

 It seems to me, part of the reason to slide into second base, during the possibility of a double play, is to interfere with the play.   Another way to break up the double play is to run the base path so the baseman can't throw straight to first base.  So, instead of taking the danger of the play out with the baseball slide rule they should put a rule in to make it a greater risk for the base runner to run the bases.  And that would be that the base runner has to run the bases in a straight line between the bases.  But, with the new rule, the  baseman may throw the ball at the base runner, but the base runner is not allowed to duck.  That kind of evens out the whole "fairness" of a need for a slide rule.  Let's make sure both basemen and base runners are, "at risk"  and keep the game as entertaining as ever.  Maybe, even more entertaining.

If the League thinks it is protecting baseball players, it is eliminating not the most dangerous aspects of the game.  The most dangerous?  - getting hit by a pitch.  The next change is coming:  protect the batter by putting him into a batting cage. 

Sports Art Baseball Painting by artist John Robertson is 11" x 14", ink and acrylic on drafting film. Available.  

New York Yankees Derek Jeter

Couple of Derek Jeter Quotes


Some of what Derek Jeter says can be directly applied to being an artist.  .  For example Jeter said, " There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do - and I believe that." 
I am a perfect example of that thought.  Although there are a lot of great artists out there - a lot of them do not make a living as a painter.  I am fortunate - and lucky - and I work very hard at what I do.  I am in my studio every day painting or finding a way to sell a painting. 

Of course, the problem with that work ethic is that I tend to forget to feed the cat, or water the flowers, or make the bed in the morning.  Now, that was okay when I wasn't married.  I mean, who cares?  Nobody was coming into my studio to check and see if the bed was made.  And the cat could find it's own food - and the flowers?  What flowers?  They were dead long ago.  But now that I am married things have changed.  I will make the bed and sometimes even change the sheets.  As Derek Jeter says, " I have feelings. I'm not emotionally stunted."  But as my wife says,  "Who would know?  You're in the studio all day painting and thinking about yourself."

A little About Derek Jeter


Derek says it again. " I don't really see myself getting a Twitter account..."  You want me out there emoting?  When Derek Jeter was playing do you think he had time for expressing his feelings?  No.  He was busy.  Hw was born on June 26, 1974, in Pequannock, New Jersey and grew up playing baseball.  He enrolled at the University of Michigan, but his time on campus was brief as he rapidly ascended the ranks of the Yankees' farm system. After batting .344 with 50 stolen bases in 1994, he was selected as "Minor League Player of the Year" by several publications, including The Sporting News and Baseball America.

  He was drafted by the Yankees in 1992. During 1996, his first full season in the majors, his performance helped the Yankees win the World Series against the Braves. Since then, he's seen four more Yankees World Series wins in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Jeter is the all-time Yankees hit leader and was named team captain in 2003. When he officially retired in 2014, he ranked sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits."  Thank you for the information from http://www.biography.com/people/derek-jeter-189311


And when it was all over Jeter could start living a normal life, one away from the "bright lights, city lights"   He told NBC that starting a family and raising kids was one of his reasons for retiring from baseball. "I want to have a family," Jeter said. "Who knows when it's gonna' be? But I look forward to it."

Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball

Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball
John Robertson Sports Art Basketball Painting LA Lakers
 Dribbling Basketball  is 10 inches by 10 inches ink and acrylic on old
 news clippings of LA Lakers.
I am one of those typical Los Angeles fans who like the Lakers when they are winning and do not pay much attention top them when they are losing.  I try and only root for teams that are winning.  I'm a fair weather friend.  You're not feeling well?  Sorry to hear that.  Please pass the salt. 

As far as the Lakers are concerned, at least they have somewhere to go and that is up.  Maybe.  Here is the "no brainer" comment.  "They have to re-build."  What does that mean?  I don't know what that means.  I don't know much about basketball.  I can't even build my own life properly much less tell someone how to rebuild their lousy basketball team.  But I know there are plenty of people out there quite willing to tell anyone how to do anything.

I know. How about picking in the draft or getting a couple top-level free agents to "elevate" the team.  I think they know that too.  All I know is how to "elevate" on the escalator to the third floor level of the Century Mall to find Fatburgers  for a Kobe Bryant XXL Cheeseburger with fries. I find I need to put on more weight with the remote possibility that I can float better in the "Y" pool.


But what I do know is this:  Please, Lakers, no more wins this season.  Don't do anything that may jeopardize your critical draft position.  We want to win - so you need to lose.

Golf Art Golfer Bubba Watson painting

Bubba Watson is currently ranked 3rd in the World Golf Rankings.  The painting is approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

My current interest in golf is limited to watching a few holes of golf on TV on a Sunday afternoon.  I shouldn't really say I watch the golf - I use it as a way of relaxing after working hard in the yard.  My wife thinks that I like golf - that I watch it to keep current on a category of sports for my work.  As you probably already know, I'm a sports artist and have been making a living at it for quite a number of years.  It is important to know what is going on with different sports - but golf?  It is hard for me to keep track of the players.  It doesn't help that I usually fall asleep on the couch when I should be paying more attention to the game.

My history with golf is somewhat short.  I managed  a golf driving range when I was in college,  I never played the game,  and my ex- father-in-law was a scratch golf player who played (at the time) the longest golf game in history.  Now, what does that mean, "the longest golf game in history."

 When he was in college and on the USC golf team an opportunity became available for him to do a publicity stunt - of sorts.  I never knew why or for what reason but somehow he got connected with "Riply's Believe it Or Not"  to play the longest golf game.  My understanding is that he went out to the LA Country Club, (a bit prestigious)  and where his dad was a member and played the first hole.  He then was driven to the LA airport (LAX) and flew to Phoenix, Arizona to another country club and played the second hole.  From there on he took flights to different parts of the US working his way across the country playing proceeding holes until he had played eighteen and reached New York.
Ripley's Believe it or Not.  Here is a link to Bubba's facebpook page https://www.facebook.com/BubbaWatsonGolf 

Basketball Painting Brooklyn Nets NBA Art

The Brooklyn Nets painting is 36" x 48" acrylic and ink on a gallery wrapped frame. 

A number of years ago when the NBA Brooklyn Nets were playing under the name of the New Jersey Nets I had painted a group of basketball and hockey paintings for the Prudential Sports Arena in New Jersey.  I did three basketball paintings for them.  Someone recently saw the NHL Red Devils  paintings at the arena but I have no idea if the basketball paintings were moved to the new Barclays Stadium in Brooklyn where the Brooklyn Nets now play.  If anyone has seen the paintings I would appreciate any information about them.

I think the painting is of Kris Humphries when he played for the New Jersey Nets.  I am not absolutely sure.  What do you think?  Certainly there is enough photos of Kris to make the comparison - on and off the court. 

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold, including this one.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.

Hockey Painting of LA Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty #8 art

Hockey Painting of LA Kings Defenseman DrewDoughty is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film, I had a great opportunity last season to go to the first game of the Stanley Cup  in Los Angeles.  As my son-in-law says  "Drew Doughty is a superstar defenseman."    He is an integral part of the well-oiled machine that is the LA Kings.  One of the nicest things a teammate can say about another is what teammate Justin Williams says,  "Doughty gets better as the season progresses.  The great thing about him is he doesn't know how great he really is."

Drew tells an interesting story about how he started playing as a defenseman.  "Back when I was a kid in London I was a forward all the way until major bantam hockey.  Then one day we were short some defenseman at camp so they asked if I would play back on defense for a couple games.  I had been on the team for a while and I had kind of established myself so I tried it out and it and I played well.  So my coach asked if I minded switching to defense and I was happy to and it worked out."

When anyone asks about his ability to play his supporters tell you all Doughty needs to do is go out and play his game. “Drew is a very simple kid – what you see is what you get,” veteran Sean O’Donnell says. “He doesn’t over think things. Whether he makes a good play or a bad play, he moves on. He’s got a short memory.”

Once again, it all goes back to his mindset. “On the ice I’m not worried about making a mistake,” Doughty says. “I’m never thinking, ‘If I make this play, what can go wrong?’ I’m thinking, ‘When I make this play, it’s going to happen the proper way and I’m going to make it.’ That helps me. I don’t get down on myself. Of course I’m angry for a little bit, but I get over it pretty quickly. I go back out there and I’ll make that same play again.”

Hockey Painting of LA Kings Goalie Jonathan Quick #32 art

Hockey Painting of Jonathan Quick #32, Goalie for the LA Kings blocking a shot art is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film

Because of the quality of play Jonathan Quick, who is considered one of the best hockey goalies in the NHL, it surprised me to find out that he was picked 72nd overall in the 2005 draft.  72nd?   With the LA Kings he had won two Stanly Cups, 2012 and 2014, and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable player of the 2012 Stanly Cup playoffs.

In an article by Lisa Dillman, Dustin Brown was talking about the line between confidence and arrogance, and described how Jonathan Quick sets the tone for the veteran-heavy Kings by trending toward the first quality.
"It's more of the same with Quickie," Brown said. "It's just the type of confidence he exudes, really. It's a trickle-down effect. When you have a goalie who is not arrogant but very confident, it goes a long way in the demeanor of the whole team.
"Quickie's quiet. He'll make a glove save and he won't do the big 'I-saved the puck' [flourish]. I guess that's the only way I can explain it. He'll make a save that he has no business making and he'll act like it's a routine save."
Including what was considered by many to be the save of the season, on Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on March 29. Quick was down, on his belly, and raised his leg to make an incredible kick save.
"The Scorpion Kick or whatever they call it," Brown said. "It's like that. Saves like that he shouldn't make. He doesn't make a big deal about it. But if you're looking from the other team, you're like: 'Did he really just make that?

 My son-in-law, who first got me interested in hockey and especially the LA Kings, plays in a hockey league.  His team is named the "Ice Holes" and he is the most penalized player on the team.  I will write about that some other time.  The interesting part is their goalie - who is a woman.  I did not realize this until after watching a number of his games.  With her pads, gloves, chest/arm protectors, pants, etc., she stands well over six feet with her skates on.   One would never know she was hidden under all that gear.  I have seen her do an incredible butterfly save and pop back up in a second. In front of the goal she can move side to side like the fabled cat.  To grab a puck on the ice I have seen her crawl on her belly like a reptile.  As the saying goes, she "controls the space."   A puck coming in at 8o+ miles per hour as a good hard (amateur) slap shot to the body is not always  painless.  Getting knocked down is close combat can lead to other pain.  Yet she takes the pain better than a man.  No whining.  She has been through childbirth.  Try that for pain Mr. Hockey Player.   So when it is time for teams in my son-in-law's league to choose players they - "pick the girl"

Golf Painting Phil Mickelson PGA Champion art

Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

As I had never painted a golfer before and have shown little interest in golf, some of my friends asked why I painted the great PGA champion golfer, Phil Mickelson.  They know I am a sports fan but didn't think I had any connection with golf.

In my early twenties - twenty, to be exact, I was just out of the service and I needed a job.  To paraphrase William Makepeace Thayer, I wanted to become wealthy, influential, virtuous and a honored man.    The mother of the girl I was seeing was dating a man who owned a golf driving range.  It was on Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, Ca and only a few blocks from UCLA.  Originally I was hired to drive the picker - an old, opened army jeep with a wire mesh cage around the driver's area.  Behind it dragged the picker, which scoured the earth for golf balls and rolled them up into a bin.  I was on my way to great success.

When driving the picker the people practicing on the driving range found great sport in trying to hit the moving target - me in the jeep.  When the golf balls hit their target they bounced off the cage with a loud bang the scared the crap out of me.  The golf balls could never penetrate the cage but sometimes they embedded themselves in the wire mesh. I never got used to the balls ricocheting off the wire and jeep.

After picking up the balls they were then brought into the golf shack and dumped into a big, upright, wringer washing machine and cleaned.  Then they were pulled out onto huge drying trays.  And now I was able to make my own, very important decisions - sort the golf balls by quality.  Uncut golf balls went into the premium basket, slightly cut went into a good basket and the badly cut golf balls went into a third, really crappy basket of golf balls.  Each was then put out front for the golfers to choose the price and  quality of golf balls they wanted to hit.

I drove the picker and sorted balls for about three months, and then the manager quit.  The owner promoted me (with a raise in salary)  and I became "The Manager."  Greater success was coming faster than I had anticipated.   I think I made about $1.45 an hour.  Yes, it was a long time ago.  Minimum wage was $1.25 an hour.  My responsibility, as manager, was to stand behind the counter and hand out golf balls.  "Premium or cut?" I would ask.  It was better than working at Uncle John's Pancake House but not as fun as working at the Wilshire Gas Station (where premium gas sold for 29.9 cents.  Yes. 30 cents a gallon. 

The fun part of the job was watching a golf hustler, who hung out at the driving range, hustling customers with his trick shots.  He was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and had to be over two hundred pounds.  He wore crazy colored golf shorts and was as hairy as a fat, brown bear.  I found a mentor.

I saw him outdrive people with a shovel and a rake.  I saw him make a bet with a guy that he could stand on one picnic bench, tee up a golf ball on another picnic bench (he put the tee between the crack between the two strip of wood on the bench) and with his favorite garden rake, drive the ball off the bench over 175 yards and hit the target out on the range.  I saw him stand on one side of the golf shack and with a garden hoe, pitch the ball blindly over the shack and come within ten feet of the 75 yard target. I saw him pocket a lot of money.  The owner said when he came around, chase him off.  But the owner was seldom there and I was mentored and entertained.  Also, as the saying goes, "don't poke the bear."


The golf range land was leased from the Federal Government and after about a year of working there the government cancelled the range owner's lease,  (something to do with not paying his rent) took back the land and eventually built a whole Federal Government Complex in Westwood - the Wilshire Federal Building.  And there went my interest and success in a golfing career.  

Football paintings Jim Thorpe Football Baseball and Olympic athlete art

I have no idea when Jim Thorpe showed up in my conscientiousness.  But he seemed to always be there.  I am sure it had to do with my step-father who loved football. In my youth we used to go to the old LA Rams games at the LA Coliseum in 1952 -53 to see quarterback Bob Waterfield, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsh, and my favorite of all nicknames for a football player, Dick “Night Train” Lane.  

 I am sure my step-dad told me the stories that most people heard about Jim Thorpe  - winning the gold medal in the pentathlon in 1912 Olympics, crowned by the King of Sweden as “the greatest athlete in the world.  In which Thorpe said, “thanks King.”   This is what Thorpe said about track and field;   "...Track and field, because it was something I could do by myself, one-on-one, me against everybody else." And then my step-dad would go one about Thorpe’s college football career at Carlisle and becoming an All American in 1912 and 1913.  He played professional football for seven different teams and signed with the New York Giants baseball team in 1913.  He had different feelings about playing college football and professional football.   Thorpe said, "[T]he college game...brings out that something which is lacking in the pro game--I guess you could call it spirit. The college player...will willingly sacrifice his leg to gain the necessary yards that spell victory for his team. That's spirit. The professional gridder will play it safe, because he wants to be in condition to earn more money in his next game. That's business."  There were years he played in both pro sports of football and baseball at the same time.  And then the bad news came that he had played sports for money during the Olympic years and was stripped of his medals.  As Thorpe said about it, " "I went to play baseball in North Carolina for a couple of summers and paid for it the rest of my life."

As I loved to play sports, particularity football I knew his story well. We always thought of Jim Thorpe as the great football player from his success at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  (as an aside:  The link is to the Wikipedia information about Carlisle and very interesting - about early turn-of-the-century college football and Indian affairs)   I, like a lot of boys wanted to be a football player.  This was long before there was any real organized football for children.  (We were called children then, not youth.)  So we got shoulder pads and helmets with Ram colors and insignia and banged into each other on the grass and sidewalks in front of our houses.  In those days the helmets had one single bar in front of the face so it was easy to catch an elbow or knee into the face.  Sixty years have not erased some of the scars. 

Jim Thorpe was eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1963 in the inaugural class of 17 athletes.  Grantland Rice, a legendary sportswriter said that Thorpe was the greatest football player ever.  It wasn’t because he was the best at any particular aspect of the game, passing, running, tackling but that he was really good in all of them making for a great, all around football player.


  Here is a good place for a lot more information about Jim Thorpe "The World's Greatest Athlete"

Boxing paintings Floyd Mayweather Jr boxing art

I had painted this image of Floyd Mayweather Jr. a couple of years ago and it probably is posted on this blog - but I thought  I would post it again because of his unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana in their WBC welterweight championship  fight a little bit ago.  At thirty-seven Mayweather is still going strong.  He remains unbeaten in 47 fights.  Tough to argue that he is not one of the great fighters.  The boxing art image of Floyd Mayweather Jr. is 4 feet by 5 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

I’m not sure why I never really understood what boxing means.  The loneliness of the fighter in the ring, the sweat and smell of the fighters, the grunting and groaning, the grappling and the punching just inches away from each other.  It is about as basic as it can get.  Primitive.

When I was a boy with my little baby face, I watched The Pabst Blue Ribbon bouts on Wednesday, Gillette Friday Night Fights and Saturday night fights with my father on a black and white TV.  We watched a lot of fights – some of the great ones.   There was the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson,Rocky Marciano, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore (my favorite but hated his fight with Ali), Ezzard Charles, Joe Louis and Floyd Patterson.  Some of these guys lasted into the 60’s.

At the time, all I could see was that two men trying to hurt each other for no reason that I knew of.   I didn’t know about the money, the power over someone else, or that the pure love of fighting were reasons to fight.  I didn't see the discipline and control.   I didn’t understand what it meant to a fighter who was blasted into the ropes, knocked there by a combination of devastating jabs and cross hooks. And as he crumbles to the canvas how his great goal was coming to an end.   As Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

And what else I learned is what is so contrary to our basic, primitive instincts - that to be successful as a fighter you have to step into it.  Maybe that is why I found it so captivating – the ability of a fighter who may be under a barrage of punches to the face, to lean in, to step in, instead of backing away from the assault.  Because that is the life lesson I take from watching all those fights with my father.  You have to stick your face out there. 

Floyd Mayweather Jr. quote which should apply to everything we do: “I approach every fight like it’s my last fight.”

Floyd Mayweather Jr.  is currently undefeated as a professional and is a five-division world champion.  Super featherweight, Lightweight, Light welterweight, Welterweight, and Light middleweight.  He has won ten world titles in the four different weight classes. EPSY has awarded Mayweather Best Fighter ESPY Award in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Mayweather is a two-time Ring magazine Fighter of the Year (winning the award in 1998 and 2007); he also won the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007.  Nicknames: Pretty Boy

Money,TBE (The Best Ever).  Height 5 ft. 8 in.  Reach 72 inches.  47 wins – no losses.  Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996) received a Bronze Medal as a featherweight.   Information from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  

Baseball painting Andre Ethier MLB outfielder for Los Angeles Dodgers art

 The baseball painting is of Los Angeles Dodger outfielder, Andre Ethier sliding into home plate as the catcher tries to protect the plate and tag Either out.   32” x 39”  ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the MLB and image of LA Dodgers.  Newsprint attached to 1” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Andre Ethier is a MLB left-handed outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He’s a he’s a 2-time All-Star with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in his history.   Andre does have an interesting ritual before every game—ever since he was in the minors—he eats a peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread and two spoonfuls of tuna.  One of the interesting things Ethier has said about himself is, “I wasn't an all-American, and I wasn't drafted until the second round. I wasn't that guy everybody said to watch out for the next couple of years because I was going to make a big impact. I guess that lights a little fire under you and makes you want to show what you can do.”

Ethier has played his whole major league baseball with the LA Dodgers.  He did start in the Oakland farm system but he’s never did play in the Major League with Oakland and started with the Dodgers in 2006. 

There is something valuable in a player that has only played for one team. They seem more real, not a rent-a-player, moving from one team to another.  They care more about their own team.  In his eight years with the Dodgers he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly – the success in October and the failures that can start in the July’s - and the seasons with the injuries.  

Because he has been able to perform under pressure he was given the nickname “Captain Clutch”.  In one season he had six walk-off hits which included four walk-off home runs that tied the Major League record for most in a season.  When asked about it in a Sporting News interview he said, “It’s one of those funny things. People understand that I’m pretty intense when I go up there, pretty focused and locked in; I can have that tight, whiteknuckled- grip look to me. I wasn’t that good in those situations early in my career; I was awful in those big, game-changing at-bats. I think I established that you can learn to become good at that but it takes a certain easiness and calmness to do it. There’s nothing better than having a feeling going up there: I want to be in that situation; I can’t wait to get that at-bat. Then you hit the ball and you look as you run around the bases—you just ended a game like that with one swing. It’s a great feeling. You’ve got to want to be in that situation because a lot of times you’re going to fail. But it’s what you look for. If anything, I’ve shown that I’m able to handle that situation and come through.”  A couple of his accomplishments:  He broke the Dodger record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit. He’s the only Dodger to have more than 30 doubles in six consecutive seasons.

As Don Mattingly, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers said, “It’s like you’d rather have Andre up with the game on the line in the ninth…”   Mattingly continued, “That’s kind of the thinking there. You save for the biggest at-bat in the ninth.”  This gives the Los Angeles Dodger fans those great “Captain Clutch” late-inning heroics. 

There has been some question about Ethier batting against left-handers.  In a GQ article Andre addressed a the question asked by Nathaniel Penn :  “Against right-handed pitchers, your numbers are spectacular. Against left-handed pitchers, you've struggled throughout your career. This spring your manager, Don Mattingly, had to defend you and affirm that he's not going to platoon you this season—i.e., bench you when the Dodgers are facing a left-handed starting pitcher. At this point in your career, how do you go about improving your ability to hit lefties?

[This area] is one where I think more than anything this spring we—I mean me and [Dodgers hitting coach] Mark McGwire—have been working really hard. Nothing mechanical, just more the mental side: visualizing and making ourselves better and really figuring out a way to just be confident in all situations.

Sometimes as a baseball player or just an athlete in general you stick to the things you do well and you keep practicing those things. Those areas where you have issues you try to fix 'em but at the same time you try to limit your exposure to those. But in baseball you gotta go up there and face everyone in every situation. I think it's a thing where now lefties are coming out of the bullpen earlier in the game to face left-handed hitters. There's maybe two lefties in the bullpen that are there every day just to try to get you out when those big at-bats are coming. You gotta learn those guys; it's just how the game's really been evolving.”
  
Although he is not having his best offensive season he does have a good perspective on his play.  Andre said, “I just want to take advantage of every day that I'm in the lineup.”

Football painting, Deon Sanders Star Cornerback Dallas Cowboys San Francisco 49ers

Deon Sanders painting  12" x 16" ink and acrylic.  The background is newsprint (from old Sporting News, newspaper about baseball) attached to the canvas board.  The paper is then distressed to give it a old and beat-up, used look.  To view paintings for sale please visit:
John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005.  Sanders Played for a variety of NFL football teams and used both # 21 and #37.   He was sometimes called "Neon Dion" because of his flashy style on the field and in his personal dress code. Sanders once said, "I never wear the same shoe twice." As a continuation of his thoughts about being flashy he said, "“If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.” 

Sanders played football primarily at cornerback, but also as a kick returner, punt returner and occasionally as a running back or wide receiver.  Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back and Sanders' teammate from 1995-99 said about him,  "You don't get to this level by not performing. A lot of guys play the game, but when you start looking at his performance and what he's been able to accomplish in the period of time that he played, you know he shut down one side of the football field. That says a lot about an athlete and a player.

He played for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens, winning the Super Bowl with both the 49ers and the Cowboys.  Sanders was a perennial All-Pro and one of the most feared pass defenders to ever play the game.   While at Dallas - Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager said of Deon Sanders,  "I think he could be, and you can make a good argument, the best to have played the position. I think it's noteworthy of the impact he made. At one time he had the most touchdowns per touching the ball of anybody in the National Football League. When he got his hands on it, if anybody could, he could take it to the house. I think that's pretty interesting and that's why we made him a receiver when he was here. That's why we started using him on punt returns when he was here as well, just because of his entire career."

Here is what I think is the best part of Deon Sanders'  Hall of Fame enshrinement speech of Aug 7, 2011.   Deon Sanders was a star cornerback who played 14 NFL seasons from 1989-2005:

"This game, this game, this game. And I went at this game and attacked this game because I made a promise that I needed this game to fulfill.

I made a promise when I was seven years old to this young woman at the age of 27. She was working two jobs just to see if ends could see one another because they never met. And she was slaving over pots and pans on that precise day. I can remember, it was a little high chair right by the kitchen. In the kitchen there was a high chair right by the stove that she was cooking.

And I said, mama, because I was tired of seeing her go to work and come home all tired. I said I'm going to be rich one day. Mama, “I'm going to make a lot of money, and you will never have to work another day of your life.” My mama said “that's fine, but until then you get that lawnmower and go out there and cut that grass.”

14 years later, that's why you can't give up on your dream, your promise, because 14 years later, this dream, this promise came. That I was able to allow my mama to go into a job and say I'm not doing it anymore. My son has blessed me.

But there is something inside of me, mama, that I never told you. That I never could admit, and I'm going to share it with all of you, because now we're family. I played for a youth team called the Fort Myers Rebels and they blessed me. They took me all over the country to expose me to things, to expose you to things.

Everybody on their team, their parents owned something. Their parents were doctors or lawyers or the chief of police. It was that type of organization. Me and one of my friends were the only African American kids on that team. It was a very affluent team, and I was ashamed of my mama because my mama worked in the hospital. She cleaned up the hospital, and I was ashamed of my mama who sacrificed, who loved me, who protected me, who gave me everything. I want to make sure I was best dressed in school and I had everything that was laid that came out. I had it first.

I was ashamed of my mama because one of my friends in high school, he saw her in a hospital one night pushing a cart, and he came back and he clowned me, he ridiculed me and he mocked me because of my mama.

So I made a pledge to myself that I don't care what it takes, I don't care what it may take, I'm not going to do anything illegal, but my mama would never have to work another day of her life."