Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hoops, Ball and Life: The Ricky Berry Story.

Growing up, practically everyone collected, played or dealt trading cards. As Canadians, it was pretty much hockey and not much else, so when Hoops exclusively came out with NBA cards in 1989/90, it was on. I can truly look back to that point, and say that first taste, set off my unquenchable thirst for basketball knowledge. Not only soaking up the stats and info on NBA superstar-to-be David Robinson's rookie card, but also lesser known newcomers like Sam Mitchell of the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves. One coveted, hard-to-find card was that of an NBA rookie who I wasn't too familiar with, by the name of Ricky Berry.

Ricky Alan Berry was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1964. He was an honorable mention All-American at San Jose State University and was drafted with the 18th pick overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 1988 NBA Draft. The 6'8", 205 lb forward played in 64 games for the Kings and started in 21, averaging 11 points per game, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Quite respectable numbers, and solid stats to build on from his rookie campaign, unfortunately Berry wouldn't get that chance, as he committed suicide on August 14, 1989.

The Associated Press story reads; Berry, shot himself in the head today and died at his suburban home after a quarrel with his wife, authorities said. Valerie Berry found her husband's body in the family room of their new house, the gun and a suicide note were found at the scene. Berry, 24 years old, had quarreled with his wife on Sunday and she spent the night elsewhere. At a brief news conference, the Kings' coach, Jerry Reynolds, was overcome by emotion and could not read a prepared statement. Reading from Reynolds' notes after the coach left, Greg Van Dusen, vice president of the Arco Sports Complex, where the Kings play, said there had been no indication that Berry ''had any sort of depression or anything like that.'' Berry's father, Bill, coached him in college and is a scout for the Kings.

To this day, 19 years later, no one has an idea why. There was never an indication of financial or drug problems, and no apparent issues of depression. No true indication of why he may have pulled the trigger on the pistol he kept at the family home. Those that knew him said he was "a great person", "a flesh and bones superhero", and "a charming young man with a smile that could knock your socks off", all were shocked by the tragedy. Berry was also close to another Lansing, Michigan basketball legend, by the name of Magic Johnson. In an interesting twist of ironies, the day Berry took his life was Johnson's birthday.

Only a handful of people know what was in the suicide note, at least his family has the solace of whatever was written. The rest of the world is left to sit and wonder about the infamous legacy of the Ricky Berry rookie card.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Paging Jamaal Magloire... Your career is on the line."

As a Toronto native, Jamaal Magloire turned the corner playing in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, but since leaving the Hornets, Bucks, Blazers, Nets and Mavericks, he may have in fact jumped the shark. I saw Jamaal play garbage time in Dallas last season while the Mavericks were blowing out the Sonics. Yes he got his, but he didn't look anything like the player that averaged 13 points, 10 boards, and a block per game four years ago.

I've always discussed with my friends (pre-J.O. trade), that the Raptors should try and get Magloire. My logic was that he had something to prove, and possibly a new change of scenery and some West Indian home cooking would be the remedy. He would be a solid interior presence alongside Chris Bosh, and could provide that toughness that we have been longing for. He's a better defender than Rasho Nasterovic, (please disregard diagram to the right), and he could easily challenge for starter minutes, and would be available on the cheap. Unfortunately, for my aspirations, and likely the reason that Bryan Colangelo is the VP & GM, it never happened.

Now, the Miami Heat have come to terms with the free agent and he will be manning the pivot with Mark Blount, fellow Canadian Joel Anthony and Alonzo Mourning when he returns. Coming off of a league worst 15-67 season record last year, the Heat have only way to go this season. He won't be expected to score much, just rebound alongside some other capable boarders, (Haslem, Marion, Beasley), man the middle and play defence.

Personally, I feel this is a great opportunity for him to shine and really want this guy to make a comeback.

The real question is, does he?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Real recognize real.

Wow. As we all know, NBA 2K has been serving up NBA Live for the last little while.
But, they are taking capturing player likenesses to a whole - notha - level .
See what they did for Tracy McGrady, feast your eyes on this, (sorry, couldn't resist).

NBA 2K9 hits the streets October 7th, better get your game up.

Good looking out to the optometrists at Slam Online.

Barack Obama nails another one!

You've likely seen this footage of Obama knocking down the trey, and for those that saw his speech last night in Denver at the Democratic Convention, he basically did the equivalent of going for 81 points. If you didn't see it search it on You Tube.

Not because he is African American, (heck I don't care, I'm Canadian, I can't vote), but Obama really is about change and has a platform to make it happen. We all know you guys down there can use some.

Besides, who can be mad at a candidate who has said if elected, he will replace the bowling alley in the White House with a basketball court?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh, and just in case you've been living under a rock...

The Men's and Women's USA Basketball Team, won the GOLD in Beijing.

Definitely one of the best games I've seen in a while, Spain did not lay down against these guys. Can't believe Jose Calderon had the nerve to talk about the officiating? (How's your Spanish?)

For real, he said, "I think we would have won playing under FIBA rules." Ummm, no way Jose. The Spaniards have an awesome team, but not that awesome.

Thanks to HoopsHype for keeping me up on my espanol.

Road Trip: Chicago

Just got back from Chicago, not a lot of stories to tell, but definitely have one. Caught the shoot for the Jordan Heads documentary as they were shooting the final scene in front of the United Center.

Stay tuned for the full deal...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Did I set the internets aflame?

So last Friday I posted this, granted I discovered the video on Dime, but I'm wondering if I put the ball in play with this hoops and homosexuality dialogue that's been going on over the past few days.

Arguably my favourite basketball site, Slam, ran a news piece about out-of-the-closet and former NBA player John Amaechi. Amaechi is in Beijing covering Olympic basketball for the BBC, and ran into members of the USA Basketball team to an apparent "cold" reception. Marcel Mutoni's bad taste joke withstanding, the story sparked a lot of dialogue, and over 200 comments showing how enlightening, although more so how ignorant hoops fans can get.

Today, I log on to Dime, only to see Olympic swimming god Michael Phelps' cover of SI, and the headline was "Someone has to ask the question". Well if they're talking about a swimmer on a basketball site, it must be something. I thought possibly he was rumoured to be on a performance enhancing drugs or the like... No, they link to another site, speculating on the fact that he must be a "douche".

Are you serious? Now let's just say he may be... WHO THE HELL CARES!!!
Honestly, checking my calendar it's 2008, and I am still in awe of the rampant homophobia that still exists. It would be really interesting if hypothetically Lebron James, came out and said he was gay, would people like him any less, would he be any less of a great player? Bottom line, it's that person's business.

Truth be told, I'm a little disappointed in people, I'm a lot disappointed in Dime, and still can't get over how hot of a topic this still is. Let's just stick to basketball.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2009 Rookie of the Year Picks.

With Summer League officially over, that means the NBA season is just around the corner. With the draft behind us and the new kids having shown off their goods, ABDB checked in to see who the pros have pegged for Rookie of the Year.

Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets: Greg Oden.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks: I have to go with Greg Oden, he’s a rookie and a fellow Ohio State Buckeye.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz: Greg Oden would be a good choice, Michael Beasley is a good pick as well.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons: Greg Oden is considered a rookie, so he’s going to be up there. Michael Beasley is up there. The talent is so good, it's going to be a toss-up. Obviously with Oden being eligible its going to be interesting.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: I’m going to go with Derrick Rose.

While we're hardly pros, All Balls Don't Bounce is picking Michael Beasley for Rookie of the Year. He has the heart, attitude and skills, and likely will be getting the minutes on a rebuilding Heat squad. With Dwayne Wade getting back to form and Shawn Marion, he won't have to carry the squad, but is a deadly third option.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Deshawn Stevenson is sweet. "No Homo".

I always had a problem with that expression. Having to qualify any and every comment you make about another male, just so you don't come off as being "gay", is just homophobic. Ironically, myself and my good friend Studley always had issues with two men singing an R&B love song together. I mean really, it somewhat strikes me odd when two men are serenading each other.

So when Deshawn Stevenson, and his homeboy Richard Millsap decided to put their lip synch moves on You Tube, it was hard to fathom why grown-ass men would do this. Isn't this the stuff that 13 year old girls do in their bedroom? Fortunately, someone smarter decided to pull their blazing rendition of Ginuwine's "So Anxious", so you're only left with Usher's "Love In The Club". Enjoy.

Good thing the folks at Dime are always on the look out for bedroom superstars.