Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NBA. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Remember to Thank LeBron James

You can count me among those grateful that LeBron James has decided that he will participate in our society in a positive way. There are many who believe that sports figures should "shut up and dribble" and then there are some who believe that they are the only ones who can save us from ourselves.

In any event, I am grateful for this effort. I am sorely disappointed that there isn't already a plan in place to ensure this happens, but what can you do? Many of our fine states are run by ratfucking Republican governors who don't want you to vote.
A group of athletes led by NBA star LeBron James will roll out a multimillion-dollar program in the next few weeks to recruit poll workers in heavily Black electoral districts for November’s election, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday.
More Than a Vote, a group of prominent athletes fighting voter suppression, will collaborate with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on the program in a dozen states, including battlegrounds such as Georgia, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin, where disenfranchisement affects Black voters, the source said.

The New York Times first reported the effort, which will recruit young people as poll workers and include a paid advertising program and corporate partnership to encourage employees to volunteer as poll workers.
A shortage of poll workers to staff in-person voting sites amid worries about the coronavirus pandemic has led to dramatically fewer polling locations in some states that held primaries earlier this year, including Georgia and Wisconsin. That led to long lines, hours-long waits and widespread confusion, particularly in hard-hit African-American communities that felt the brunt of the cutbacks.
The open disenfranchisement of African-American voters is just one aspect of our current national shame. The fact that the Supreme Court enabled it and there aren't more Democrats raising holy hell about it is another part of it.

But, really, we need to encourage our fellow citizens to vote this time. And then vote in the 2022 midterms because that is where the GOP will stage their post-Trump comeback and convince people that they are the party of responsible governance and fiscal responsibility (yeah, right).

We need to make voting easier and more accessible to citizens. I am hoping that a blue tsunami in November will create a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish sane voting laws.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

China is at War With the NBA

The National Basketball Association is now at war with the nation/state of China, and the economic future of the league is, somehow, in serious jeopardy:

As the fallout from the controversy between the NBA and China continues, commissioner Adam Silver addressed how the Chinese government responded to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet.

"We were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with in government and business. We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him," Silver said at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday.

He added: "We wanted to make an absolutely clear statement that the values of the NBA, these American values—we are an American business—travel with us wherever we go. And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression."

On Oct. 4, Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protestors. His tweet included a photo of protestors with the caption, "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." The Nets and Lakers traveled to China to play in two exhibition games one week later. 

However, a pair of NBA Cares events in Shanghai were canceled as the fallout from Morey's tweet continued. China's state-run TV network, CCTV, suspended its NBA programming due to the controversy. The Chinese basketball federation also canceled upcoming G League exhibition games between teams affiliated with the Rockets and Mavericks.

“We are an American business” is something that should resonate here, but it won’t. For the NBA to put itself into a position where losing revenue from China because of a statement made by someone in the league means that they are heavily leveraged and have no real plan to get out of this mess.

If the NBA figures this out, it will mean that their deals with China will likely not be of the size and scope that their withdrawal could cripple the NBA. Other sports leagues should pay attention. China is headed for a more repressive future, and for more surveillance of what people say and do in the public square. One person’s statements should not cause this level of consternation, but here we are.

And LeBron James should be ashamed of himself.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Look What Bigotry Cost North Carolina

Check out Governor Pat McCrory's freakout below:

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will move from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of that state's controversial transgender bathroom law, the league announced Thursday.

The league said it would make an announcement about where the February game would be played in the coming weeks.

    The NBA also said it hopes to hold the 2019 game in Charlotte "provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter."

    Gov. Pat McCrory slammed the decision.

    "The sports and entertainment elite, (N.C.) Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present," the governor said. "Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children."

    The National Basketball Association is a billion-dollar money-making enterprise, not a "left wing special interest group." If you are going to tell these entities that your bigoted state is open for business, don't be shocked then they protect their own business interests and reject the offer to be associated with intolerance and hatred.

    In a decent America, this would lead the citizens of North Carolina to conclude that their legislature and their governor do not accurately reflect their values. This is no longer a decent America; this will allow everyone to double down and claim victimhood. But, hey--the market has spoken.

    Monday, April 11, 2016

    Will They Accept the Warriors?

    When a team breaks a record like this, you can be well assured that there's going to be controversy:

    The Golden State Warriors tied the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record with the most wins in a season in their 72nd victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. The Warriors’ 92-86 win also ended the Spur’s 39-game winning streak at home, making Golden State the first team to win in San Antonio all season. Stephen Curry led the team with another all-star performance, ending the game with 35 points. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points for the Spurs while Kawhi Leonard added 20 and 13 boards.

    The most compelling reason for refusing to give the Golden State Warriors their due is that no one really plays defense anymore. Long gone are the days when players were physical enough to prevent players from taking shots from a distance. 

    Plenty of players from the team holding the record have been very gracious, something that should give pause to anyone who says that this doesn't count.


    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Hating on Jeremy Lin

    Much of what you read in this article has been overtaken by events. Jason Kidd's personal life has imploded, this time probably in a way that will put him out of the NBA for an entire season, possibly for good, and I would be surprised to see him play at all this year. Do you make an effort to keep Lin or do you go with a 39 year-old head case who has had about as much trouble as possible in the NBA?

    What you see above, from the likes of J.R. Smith (no NBA titles, couldn't even lead his team in China to a championship) and Carmelo Anthony (more DUI and marijuana busts than NBA titles), is pure player hating. They hate Lin for being good, for getting a lot of attention, and for making an impact during the first part of last season. They hate Lin because he shows up and works his ass off. This is because, during the first 30 or 40 games in an NBA season, nobody plays hard and nobody tries. Jeremy Lin showed how exciting the game could be simply by showing up and actually playing hard. Smith and Anthony would prefer to play on a team where no one can show them up.

    And, really. Do you want crazy and old or do you want a young guy who has Michael Jordan's work ethic? Because, quite frankly, nobody in the NBA really has much of a work ethic anymore, except for Jeremy Lin.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    Bleeding Dennis Rodman Dry

    If it was "all about the kids," Dennis Rodman wouldn't be where he is now. If it was all about his kids, her kids, those kids, some kids--Dennis Rodman would have taken a moment ten years ago and he would have figured out how to take care of his family obligations.

    Instead, he has partied away millions and his health and now he is on the verge of having nothing. This does not excuse the fact that the women who are claiming child support are pursuing amounts well in excess of what is needed to raise a child. Their lifestyle choices mirror Rodman's. You cannot sustain the same lifestyle forever because professional sports careers do not last forever.

    What is destroying former players like Rodman is not so much mismanagement but a delusional kind of thinking. At age 35, Rodman was making millions; at age 51, he is not making millions. It would stand to reason that reality has to take hold. A man making next to nothing is not going to be able to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support.

    If Rodman had set aside a few million dollars in a kind of protected trust, and then arranged for it to kick in and pay a reasonable stipend for his children each month, that fund would probably last for twenty years or more. It would eventually become depleted, but it would have created security and stability for his kids. Instead, he cashed out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar and left himself with nothing to give his kids.

    It should be mandatory for professional athletes to create funds to pay out a kind of secondary pension in this manner. A portion of their income should be diverted into a kind of protected trust that can pay out a living wage or a child support payment or even money for a rainy day. Why it isn't is something I'll never understand.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Dennis Rodman is Broke and Suffering From Illness

    Dennis Rodman's life is spinning out of control. After appearing in court, and avoiding jail time for his failure to make child support payments, Rodman's "advisors" are trying to help him restructure his life.

    This speaks to a need to create an annuity program (also mentioned by Atrios) for professional athletes. It is simply impossible to understand how anyone payed tens of millions of dollars could possibly be broke, but that is becoming the normal situation for professional athletes from all walks of life. Setting aside a portion of contract salary for an annuity makes total sense, provided the annuity cannot be sold off.

    What is hurting Rodman is the fact that he had to cash out his NBA retirement for pennies on the dollar; what should be keeping him afloat right now is, essentially, gone. He didn't do that because of greed. He did it because he was behind in his taxes. And taxes are what is hurting Rodman in the cash flow department. Poor management has left him with a string of unpaid tax bills. That sort of thing can undermine any effort to make good on obligations.

    Couple all of that with Rodman's alcohol problems and you can see where this sad story is headed.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Charles Barkley Is Going to Want to Take This Back

    I think that there is a lot of frustration behind what Barkley is saying here. And that frustration has probably landed him in a bit of trouble.

    His frustration is with the ignorant fans who shout some really horrible things at NBA games. Don't condemn what he's saying if you've never been to an NBA game. It's amazing what people will actually say to players and what they will say about players. And here's a man who's been working at games in the modern era and playing games since whenever. Attacking his credibility just isn't possible right now.

    Will this spell doom for Charles Barkley? You know, it very well could. But there's a lot behind what he's saying that people just do not understand.
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    Monday, February 20, 2012

    The Worldwide Leader Needs a New Headline Writer

    Here's what I think of all of this.

    First, the inherent racism in the National Basketball Association is evident simply because a player who is not an African-American is now doing exceptionally well and is helping his team win, which is not what anyone really does during this part of the NBA season.

    Second, I really do think that whoever wrote that headline had no idea what they were doing when they used the phrase "chink in the armor." I think that ESPN hires some exceptionally stupid people who do not understand history, culture, or society.

    Third, Sports Illustrated is always the go-to place for a story about something ESPN did wrong.
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    Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    The End of the Shaquille O'Neal Era in the NBA Has Arrived

    I figured we'd be hearing this news soon:

    I’m going to miss having Shaquille O’Neal around the NBA.
    It’s the end of an era — Kyrie Irving, the top pick in this coming draft, was born the year Shaq entered the league. But it feels like more than that.
    I’ll miss him in part because he was a reminder that this is a game and we should all be having fun with it — players, fans and media alike.
    What I will remember is actually seeing him play in 1999 during the year that the Lakers lost to the Spurs in the playoffs. This was before Shaq had any rings but was still a very dominant player.  Shaq was better for the NBA than anyone now realizes.
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    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    The End of the Lakers As We Know Them?

    Every once in a while, an NBA dynasty gets blown up. The Los Angeles Lakers are the victims of the persistence of a certain Mark Cuban who finally has a team that can threaten to do something in the post season.

    Tonight, the Lakers went down in four games, swept by a Dallas Mavericks team that held Kobe Bryant to 17 points. Phil Jackson tried to work the refs and, apparently, if failed.  The big story of the game has to be Jason Terry hitting 9 of 10 three pointers and garnering 32 points in what had to be a statement victory. Beating the Lakers 122-86 MEANS SOMETHING in the NBA. It means Los Angeles goes away and has to figure out what to do next.

    I think it means Los Angeles parts ways with Phil Jackson, for good, this time, and that a new team will have to be built around Kobe Bryant. If not, expect more struggles, I would imagine. Dallas now has bragging rights that cannot be ignored.

    Anything less than the NBA Finals and we're talking a major failure on the part of the Dallas Mavericks, however. Getting past Los Angeles is a big deal; failing to accomplish everything that has to be done after getting past the Lakers is what will cause Mr. Cuban to go blow up his own team as well.

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    LeBron Bails on Cleveland

    At least he didn't choose New York, right?

    LeBron James just took his career south, literally and figuratively. He is signing with Pat Riley'sMiami Heat, and no, it was not the best option on the free-agent board.
    If he was going to leave Cleveland -- and leave it LeBron James did in a staggering prime-time way -- the New York Knicks always made the most sense.
    He would've won a couple of championships here with Amare Stoudemire and the third major piece the Knicks would've landed with LeBron in the fold, that piece arriving in the form ofCarmelo Anthony or Tony Parker between now and next July.
    Those titles would've ended a Knicks drought of biblical proportions, and they would've belonged to the King and the King alone, just like the 1994 Stanley Cup was Mark Messier's for keeps.
    First of all, no one thinks of the 1994 Stanley Cup as "Mark Messier's" cup because that championship was won in New York by a team, not a man. That's just bad sports writing right there, and the hoary image of an exited Messier hoisting the cup belies the reality that the entire '94 team was much beloved in New York, not just Messier. Hockey isn't about that. In Hockey, teams win cups, not players.
    Second of all, this is just the sour grapes of a New York media market mentality that would have started tearing LeBron down the moment he landed. The Knicks franchise is a basket case, even today, and there's no questioning the fact that playing for a dysfunctional franchise is no way to win a championship. How, for example, does anyone really know how Amare Stoudamire would have handled playing second banana to LeBron James?
    Third, if James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade win a championship, it'll belong to the three of them. Wade has a ring; James does not. Combining them is what the NBA does when it comes to championships. You need two or three superstar players to make a serious run at the title; Miami has that now. New York has Amare Stoudamire, and that's it right now.
    Fourth, Pat Riley is not the devil. Pat Riley has a bunch of championships. No one in Cleveland or New York has what Riley has. Small wonder that that's what LeBron James gravitated towards.

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    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Lebron James Should Sign With the Lakers

    Seeing as how this was a total bust...

    I'm not sure how to calculate the "league minimum salary" of the NBA. For LeBron James, I'm guessing it would be about a million dollars in salary for one year.

    What he should do, is this: sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for one season, and accept the league minimum.


    Lakers coach Phil Jackson will return next season, putting off retirement for at least another year to chase his 12th NBA championship.
    Jackson made the announcement Thursday with a news release. The two-time defending champions’ coach said last week he was leaning toward retirement after another long season, but he changed his mind after getting a week to rest up at his offseason home in Montana.
    “Count me in,” Jackson said. “After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one.”

    Yes. If you were to put LeBron James next to Kobe Bryant, and back them up with the team structure and system that the Lakers already have, you could almost guarantee another championship.

    But, hey. I just come up with these things. I have no idea if it would work or not.
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    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Don't Do It, LeBron

    Given that the New York Knicks are a terrible franchise, why would anyone want to play for them?

    Forget cities and towns and arenas. Is the franchise worth a damn? If not, move on. Don't take their money to play for coaches who are routinely fired or undermined and don't play with second-rate overpaid free agents who are there to sit with phony injuries so that they don't "damage" their next payday by putting up terrible numbers in front of the country's biggest media market. You see, when a player goes to New York, they put up decent numbers, figure out how hard it really is, and then they sit. They coast on the swell numbers they put up elsewhere.

    Rarely do you see anyone "step up" and do what they are supposed to do when they sign with a team in New York. So, let's say Le Bron shows up and signs a lucrative contract. Anyone who comes in to play for New York--or is already there--instantly knows that the media focus will be on LeBron and not them. So why show up and play? Why put up numbers that suck in New York when it would be safer to dog it in Washington or Portland and maybe be the number one or two guy on the team?

    LeBron James will suit up every day and play hard. He will give the fans in New York what they want. But the likelihood that the other players on the team will fold up and look at the rafters is too great. This is the same franchise that bet on Starbury, and couldn't figure out how to solve that problem. The stain of Stephon Marbury taints the New York Knicks even to this day. That's their history. And it's a history of free agent debacles and lousy performances.

    This is the problem with the NBA. No matter where LeBron goes, he will have to coax others to play at his level. The risks of failing will drive many players to Atlanta, Dallas, or Phoenix just to avoid that sort of scenario. And it's too bad. Five motivated players can go out and win it all every year. In the player-oriented, contract-ruined NBA, that can only happen once or twice, if that, and even then it takes a team like San Antonio or Los Angeles to pull it off. And how do they do it? Everyone shows up to play, no matter who the number one guy is. For every Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant, there are other players who can and will play at the level necessary to win. Boston might still have that, but they're getting long in the tooth. How many seasons does Kevin Garnett have left? Does he play three more? Or two more? Or can he play for longer than that and keep Paul Pierce and Boston's new phenom Rajon Rondo with him?

    Can that happen for LeBron in New York? History says otherwise.
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    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Kobe Don't Need You

    Kobe Bryant seals his legacy:

    Purple and gold confetti raining down upon him, Kobe Bryant hopped up on the scorer’s table, shook his fists and extended five fingers.

    When he hopped down, Boston’s legendary Hall of Fame center Bill Russell was waiting to shake his hand.

    A Game 7 classic — and this time, it finally went the Lakers’ way.

    Bryant, the finals MVP, scored 23 points despite 6-of-24 shooting, and the Lakers won their 16th NBA championship Thursday night, dramatically rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Celtics 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA finals.

    Bryant earned his fifth title with the Lakers, who repeated as NBA champions for the first time since winning three straight from 2000-02. Coach Phil Jackson added his 11th, matching Russell’s total and possibly putting a cap on his remarkable career if he decides to leave the Lakers.

    I think this is the end for Jackson. The wheels haven't quite come off the bus in Los Angeles, but they're damned well coming off as everyone ages. Wasn't it ten years ago the Lakers started on this improbable run? With the departure of Shaquille O'Neal, the on-again, off-again personal relationship between Jackson and Bryant, and a league that seems to value nothing but the wrong aspects of the sport, the Lakers have another title. I think this was the toughest one yet, to be honest with you and the real story is not so much the greatness of the Lakers but the collapse of a Boston Celtics franchise that should have won this outright.

    Kobe? Kobe Bryant doesn't need anybody. He has his legacy. He has his championships. He has everything.
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    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Tom Izzo tells the Cleveland Cavaliers to Keep Their Filthy Lucre

    I would read this to mean that LeBron James is on his way to the Knicks:

    Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps LeBron James.

    "I knew at the beginning that whatever decision I made would be a decision for life," Izzo said during a news conference on campus.

    "I am going to be a lifer. This is what I'm going to be, and I'm damn proud of it."

    For the past nine days, Izzo has been trying to decide whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million -- doubling his salary -- and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.

    "Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home," Izzo said in a statement released by the school.

    If by home he means that King James is headed to the New York media market, or perhaps Chicago, then yes. He's headed home. Cleveland isn't home, and Tom Izzo was smart enough to figure that out this week.

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    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Where Will Tom Izzo Land?

    Tom Izzo is dancing around the subject:
    Tom Izzo wouldn't even tell one of his young campers if he wants to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or stay at Michigan State.

    Izzo was at his basketball camp Monday when a boy tried to get the scoop, inquiring about the coach's interest in jumping to the NBA.

    "Bad question," Izzo said. "Those guys up there want to know that."
    A pack of reporters, six TV cameras and two photographers were given limited access to the camp as Izzo addressed hundreds of boys and many of their parents at the Breslin Center, where Michigan State's championship and Final Four banners are in the rafters.

    The money must not be right yet. That's the only thing that I can think of.

    No, wait. There's also the minor subject of LeBron James and whether or not he's going to be there next season. Izzo probably won't commit to anything unless he knows that King James is going to be there. If Izzo takes the job anyway, knowing his star player won't be there, then he's taking the job for the money and for the money only.

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    The NBA Really Isn't the Revenge League Anymore

    The problem with this piece of sports writing is that it lacks a command of history:

    The Boston Celtics would probably prefer you not refer to the 2010 NBA Finals as a rubber match. After all, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Magic in last year's title round; Orlando simply topped Boston along the way.
    Sure, the Celtics beat the Lakers in 2008 and Los Angeles rebounded to win a crown of its own in 2009. But as the teams prepare to meet in this year's championship series, it would seem the only team eager to settle the score is the Lakers.
    After Saturday's Game 6 triumph over the Suns to secure the Western Conference crown, Los Angeles players immediately tried to squash the revenge talk, but it's hard to buy what they're selling.
    "The challenge is to win the championship," Kobe Bryant said. "The Celtics are in the way. They feel the same way about us."
    True, both teams probably couldn't care less how they end up with the Larry O'Brien trophy. But both sides are sure to be amped because of the rivalry between the teams.
    But Los Angeles can't possibly suggest that it won't have extra motivation given the way the 2008 Finals unfolded.
    As's J.A. Adande wrote in Sunday's Daily Dime, the one thing Bryant hasn't done in his decorated Lakers career is top the rival Celtics on the league's biggest stage. His Lakers legacy could forever be tainted as "the guy who couldn't beat the Celtics."
    First of all, who cares? I mean, really.
    Do you think there is a "rivalry" between these two clubs? They're both stocked with free agents who haven't played with their respective teams for more than a handful of seasons. Bryant and Paul Pierce have history with their franchises. Most of the other players, not so much. So, this is nothing like the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
    Second, many of these players never had their rivalry start at the college level. Bryant and Kevin Garnett--no college. That's lame, but I had to slip in something here at number two.
    Third, the NBA has driven commentary and trash talking and the things that make great rivalries out of the game. It's true that a $10,000 fine for talking about the officials can really nail a guy making $12 million a season in shorts, and really cause him to curtail his criticisms. But if someone like, I don't know, Rasheed Wallace, were to go in front of the cameras and say "I'm going to make Gasol scream and cry like the manchild that he is, and when I dunk on him, his world will shatter to pieces and he may--he may--urinate all over himself with mortal fear," they'd suspend him.
    That's what makes a rivalry--the trash talking. The smack talking, if I may extend the metaphor.
    And that's exactly what the NBA has squeezed out of the game.
    So, there's no "rivalry" here. There are just two teams trying to win in the playoffs. These players will show up and play hard if it is within their grasp. But they're not going to go where they need to go to start a real rivalry with another team. Many of these players don't plan on playing where they're playing right now in a couple of years--why offend a future teammate, coach, or franchise?

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