Showing posts with label Professional Basketball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Professional Basketball. Show all posts

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.

    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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    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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    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    The Wizards Take the Number One Spot in the Draft

    Washington Wizards logo

    There's almost no chance they'll blow it and draft another Kwame Brown:

    With his championship ring on her hand and her late husband’s dreams of another on her mind, Irene Pollin stood in shock as the Washington Wizards won the draft lottery.
    Towering over her to the side, Mikhail Prokhorov watched the New Jersey Nets lose yet again.
    The Wizards won the draft lottery Tuesday night, moving up from the No. 5 spot to earn the top pick in next month’s draft, when it will likely choose between Kentucky freshman John Wall and national player of the year Evan Turner of Ohio State.
    The Wizards might want to think about trading down, and getting some proven talent. Drafting at number one is a crap shoot, and this is not a franchise that can afford crap shoots.
    Speaking of Kwame Brown...
    2009-10 StatisticsFG3PTFTReboundsMisc

    That's what four million dollars will buy in the NBA now? Forty-eight games and an average of less than 14 minutes a game?

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    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Give it a rest, Gilbert

    If you had it in your mind that you were some kind of a role model, why would you own hundreds of guns and then brandish one in the locker room?
    Suspended Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas's biggest regret about the locker room gun showdown and its aftermath is how he let down children.

    In an op-ed piece posted on the Washington Post's Web site Monday afternoon, Arenas wrote:

    I am trying hard to right my wrongs. The one that will be hardest to make right is the effect my actions have had on kids who see NBA players as role models.

    In the op-ed, a step toward reshaping his public image, Arenas expressed remorse and wrote about the importance of gun responsibility.

    I understand the importance of teaching nonviolence to kids in today's world. Guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters -- a lesson that's been brought home to me over the past few weeks.

    Arenas said he acknowledged his mistakes in a letter to D.C. Public Schools students last week.

    He pledged to help spread the word about the importance of nonviolence.

    That's all well and good. Now, demonstrate through your actions that this isn't a joke, or a stunt, or something your lawyer told you to write.

    Really, it's not that hard. Just do the right thing from now on. Preferably, far from where I live, though. I have no problem with Gilbert Arenas the man, or the basketball player. I have a problem with Gilbert Arenas the reckless owner of hundreds of guns.

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    A Starbury No More

    I had no idea things had gotten this bad for Stephon Marbury:
    His New York fans may have deserted him, but Stephon Marbury is already winning new friends in this grimy coal city in northern China.

    "Ma Bu Li," as he is now known, on Wednesday began an unlikely career with the Taiyuan Shanxi Zhongyu Professional Basketball Club, one of the worst teams in the league. He is the biggest National Basketball Association star ever to have played professional basketball in China.

    Back home, Mr. Marbury's run-ins with coaches and teammates at the New York Knicks and other teams battered his reputation. After terminating his contract in New York early last year, Mr. Marbury played briefly for the Boston Celtics, and according to Zhongyu, he accepted an offer to move to China after he didn't get a satisfactory offer in the NBA.

    But his falling out with the Knicks was not publicized as much in China as it has been in the U.S. Though die-hard Chinese fans say they are aware he has had less playing time in recent years, Mr. Marbury's reputation as a top-notch point guard is still relatively untarnished here.

    The 32-year-old posted a greeting to Chinese fans on his blog Tuesday, attracting more than 4,000 subscribers within hours. One user posting under the name JohnLee7125 wrote a response to Mr. Marbury that said: "I think you can do better in China, because we love you."

    Mr. Marbury is hardly a China hand. "I really didn't know that much about China other than what I've seen on TV" about Chinese NBA star Yao Ming, Mr. Marbury told reporters Tuesday night when he arrived at his hotel. "I thought this was the right place to be."

    Once Marbury gets himself situated, he should be fine. All he has to do is pass and remember to praise his teammates and everything will be gravy for him. The rest of the world will move on, and I highly doubt whether he will ever play in the NBA again.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Cowboy Up, Big Baby

    Glen "Big Baby" Davis had an altercation with a fan in Detroit last night:
    A jeering fan called Glen "Big Baby" Davis a "fat boy" and told him to lose some weight. Davis responded with an expletive. "We know what happened, and that's unacceptable," Rivers said. "It's tough when the fans are yelling that stuff at you, but you have to be stronger than that."
    Had Davis gone into the stands, it would have been all over the news. Fortunately, he's a little smarter than that, but cursing at fans is nothing new. When you're on the road, and your nickname is "Big Baby," I don't see an upside to bickering with fans.

    It does prove the point that NBA players are simply not allowed to be fat. It's a cardinal sin to be fat in the National Hockey League. Everywhere else? Eh, as long as you can play, who cares?

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Really? You'll Part With Half?

    I suppose this is generous enough:
    Shaquille O'Neal has a plan to save the NBA's All-Star dunk contest: Bring back the superstars and do it for devastated Haiti.

    Following Tuesday night's win over Toronto, O'Neal was asked if he would like to see teammate LeBron James participate in this year's event. That's when he offered his idea. He would like to see former dunk champion Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and others take part along with James.

    "As his manager, I will only allow 'Bron to do the dunk contest if Vince Carter comes back out," O'Neal said. "If Kobe comes back out and if another big name comes back out. If we could get a big prize and have half of the money go to the people of Haiti and the other half to the winner.

    "The guys that are in it, no disrespect to them, but there won't really be any competition for LeBron. I want to see Kobe. I want to see Vince and I will allow my client to enter."

    Are you sure you're ready to give up half? Maybe you ought to dial that back a little, and only give a third or a quarter to the people of Haiti. I hear they're irresponsible and they're just going to blow it anyway.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    The NBA Age Rule Doesn't Really Work

    You can find lots of things here to agree with:
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan entered some of the most contentious debates in college sports on Thursday when, in a speech at the N.C.A.A. convention, he called for stricter consequences for college teams that do not graduate their athletes and said the N.B.A.’s age-minimum policy sets up young athletes for failure.

    “Why do we allow the N.C.A.A, why do we allow universities, why do we allow sports to be tainted when the vast majority of coaches and athletic directors are striving to instill the right values?” said Duncan, who was a co-captain of his Harvard basketball team and played in an Australian professional league from 1987 until 1991.

    He said his time as a college athlete was one of the most valuable periods of his life, but feared the N.B.A.’s age rule, which requires that a player be at least 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school before entering the league, does a disservice to athletes.

    “They are simply passing through your institutions on their way to something else,” he told the audience of university presidents, athletic officials and N.C.A.A. officials. “Some of them make it, some of them wash out very, very quickly.”

    In remarks after his speech, Duncan spoke in even franker terms, calling the N.B.A. rule a “farce” and “intellectually dishonest.”

    Well, a prime example of this would be Gilbert Arenas, who was drafted when he was (about?) 19 years of age. He's just one example, of course, but here's my point--nothing Duncan is saying would have prevented a Gilbert Arenas from being too immature to join the NBA at 23 as opposed to 19. Nothing establishes "maturity" except for the conduct of the person in question. There are, no doubt, 19 and 20 year-olds who could do well in the NBA, but that would be based on their individual character. One man's screw up is another man's thankfulness for being in the NBA.

    Really, it does come down to an intangible. Is this young man mature enough to handle it? If so, let him play. If not, do NOT let him play.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Another Scandal for Commentator Mike Smith

    Ralph Lawler, left and Mike Smith, right

    Back in November, I noted the ridiculous announcing actions of one Mike Smith of the Los Angeles Clippers, when he repeatedly made off-color ethnic jokes at the expense of an Iranian NBA player.

    Smith is in hot water for being a crook, too:

    Los Angeles Clippers commentator Michael Smith is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Orange County Superior Court on charges of stealing $735,000 from a retired schoolteacher in a development deal gone bad, authorities said.

    Smith, 44, and Bruce Howard Furst, 57, both of Laguna Beach, are charged with grand theft in connection with the Dana Point project, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

    Smith persuaded the former teacher, who has an inoperable brain tumor, to use his paid-off Dana Point home as collateral for the $735,000 loan on the project, according to prosecutors.

    Smith and Furst are accused of promising the victim that his loan was guaranteed. The project never materialized, prosecutors said.

    Mr. Smith has some ethical and moral blind spots, I see.

    You wouldn't know this from looking at the website for the Clippers--on their main website, they have an ad feature of news stories that hasn't been updated in about six weeks.

    How can you have a website and, during your season, have a feature in plain site that doesn't update for six weeks? What an organization.

    Banned For Five Years?

    I can't quite make the leap to a "lifetime ban" for Gilbert Arenas, and I can't quite accept a "rest of this season" or a one year ban. I think five years would suffice:
    Gilbert Arenas' suspension came as new details emerged about the locker-room confrontation between Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, a Wizards teammate, on Dec. 21 that suggest a potentially far more volatile incident than was originally reported by Arenas to team officials. The two players had been arguing during a card game on the Wizards' flight back from Phoenix Dec. 19, and the dispute spilled into the team locker room at Verizon Center before practice two days later. Arenas has acknowledged bringing his handguns to the arena and displaying them in the locker room that morning in what he maintained was a playful gesture aimed at his teammate. According to two first-hand accounts of the confrontation, Crittenton responded to Arenas's action -- which included laying the four unloaded weapons in Crittenton's cubicle with a note that read, "Pick One" -- by brandishing his own firearm, loading the gun and chambering a round.

    Crittenton should get a lifetime ban, starting right now. Arenas should face a similar penalty, and probably just get the same thing. Crittenton being a bit player and Arenas being a hundred million dollar player really shouldn't matter, but, in reality, it does matter. It matters to the franchise. I think that the NBA should void the contract Arenas is playing under, remove him from the league for an extended period, and review his case. I think the act of actually chambering a round indicates an escalation on the part of Crittenton that demonstrates criminal intent. Yes, you can argue that Arenas also had some sort of criminal intent to intimidate. Leaving four guns out like that is intimidation. The old joke about how it isn't armed robbery if the gun isn't loaded doesn't apply here--both players are head cases with severe problems. I just can't quite bring myself to make them equals, though.

    Crittenton should never suit up again. Arenas should be given a second chance only if he can demonstrate substantive change in his lifestyle and attitude.
    The NBA did try to hide the photo you see above--why? Wouldn't the existence of this photo serve as evidence that Arenas should legitimately be suspended and his contract should be voided? Or is the Public Relations fallout just too negative?

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Now THAT'S Talking Smack

    Is there anyone more candid than Rasheed Wallace?
    The way Rasheed Wallace sees it, his latest technical foul call was a flop.

    The Boston Celtics big man said Friday night that Raptors forward Hedo Turkoglu duped the referees into giving Wallace his fifth technical of the season by flopping.

    “They’ve got to know that he’s a (darn) flopper. That’s all Turkododo do,” Wallace said after the Celtics beat the Raptors 116-103. “Flopping shouldn’t get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him.

    “That’s not basketball, man. That’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”

    Commissioner David Stern has complained about flopping because it’s a way to fool the officials, but the league has been unable to find a way to punish or prevent it.

    Wallace is the NBA’s career leader with 296 technicals and 29 ejections, according to STATS LLC. But he said some of it is because of his reputation and lack of status in the league.

    “Let the Golden Child (LeBron James) do that, or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy,” he said.

    “This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping. They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing, but it’s a tech.”

    Cue the phony outrage of a thousand bad sports writers who will write about how Wallace is a cancer and a bad, bad player.

    Actually, Rasheed Wallace has just spoken more truth about the National Basketball Association than any player has in ten years. The game is watered down. The game is corporate-oriented towards international players at the expense of the roots of the game. And it is not worth watching. I haven't watched more than a handful of games, and the bad shooting and dogging it on defense made me abandon several games, none of which even involved the Knicks.