Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ten years ago, Jason Williams entered the NBA, and it didn't take long for him to impress and amaze everyone with his passing, ballhandling skills and showmanship. He was so good, that people believed that there was a black baller trapped in this white man's body, so they called him "White Chocolate". Yes there was The Pistol, but he never played with the style, flavour and showmanship that J-Will had. He was a player created for the You Tube age.
Beyond all the highlight plays, he toned down his game to become more of a floor general while in Memphis, and got his championship ring in Miami. But J-Will has been hampered with injuries as his career progressed and recently left the Heat during the summer to play with the Clippers, backing up Baron Davis. Then out of nowhere to the surprise of everyone, including his agent, he decided to call it quits, retiring after a fruitful career.
Jason Williams brought streetball to the NBA before there was streetball. He made unbelievable plays that captured our imaginations, and had us trying to duplicate them out on the court moments after a few rewinds on the VCR, he was smooth, he was sweet, he was white chocolate.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
In 2005, SLAMOnline linked to this story, which literally had me laughing out loud when I read it. Yao Ming's parents opened their restaurant in Houston some time ago, and here's a great first person account at the restaurant with Yao, Diekembe Mutumbo and Patrick Ewing chowing down. Click on the link for the whole read, but I'll leave you with a couple of quick bites.
Ewing (on the food) "I know Chinese. But what kind of Chinese? Snake? 'Cuz I don't eat snake."
Mutumbo [Sipping a virgin strawberry daiquiri] "I like your restaurant, Yao. It's made for 7-footers and guys like Patrick Ewing, who is really 6'9".
Monday, September 22, 2008
In 2003-'04 where the Toronto Raptors endured another losing season, the franchise changed up their game and added the alternate red uniforms. Definitely a "good look", as they say in the streets, and pulled the squad another step away from the Dino/Barney Dynasty. While I can safely assume that merchandise sales saw a significant spike with the new unis, they were also markedly patriotic with the crimson red, and maple leaf additions. So now, with the reds becoming the official road threads, Maple Leaf Sports needed to get another alternate revenue stream... err sorry, another alternate jersey. Word on the streets is, Bosh and the boys will be wearing black this year. Well you know what they say... "real men wear black", or does this mean Raptors is the new black?
Regardless, we've come a long way from this eh?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Well the game that everyone has been waiting for has shown it's hand. NBA 2K9 comes out October 7th, and Kevin Garnett is on the cover. Fortunately the 2K series hasn't developed the NBA Live curse where the poster boy succumbs to injury, (knock on wood). Watching the trailer I honestly felt some points were actual NBA footage, but hey, you decide.
Friday, September 19, 2008
At the time, I was a 17 year old kid, down south for Georgia Tech's summer basketball camp. I was shooting hoops at a neighbourhood blocko, when an unassuming guy rolls up. Now this was a time before fantasy basketball, or the internet, where I know who every scrub in the league is, so when he told me that he played in the NBA, I refused to believe him.
I mean come on, what's an NBA player doing shooting hoops in a driveway with me? He told me he's playing on the new expansion team, the Minnesota Timberwolves and his name was Sam Mitchell. Well I figured I'd know an NBA player when I saw one after just watching Kenny Anderson, Mark Price, Dennis Scott and John Salley playing down at Tech, so I challenged him to a game of one-on-one.
While I don't remember all of the details of the game, I knew I used a combination of drives, pump fakes and tenacious defence to soundly beat him. "How can you be going to the NBA if you can't even beat me?" I said. "Sure you're playing for the Timberwolves, now go get me some punch." That part I clearly recall. Oddly enough I passed Sam in the mall today, and I forgot how tall he actually is, (he's 6'6"), and I thought to myself, I must have been what, 6'1" at the time tops? Likely weighing 165 lbs, (depending on how many hot dogs I ate). How the hell did I smash this guy in a game?
It wasn't that hard to figure out really, he let me win.
I've been telling this story for almost 10 years, which wasn't really a big deal until he came to coach the Raptors, as many people didn't know him as a player. Maybe he saw how badly I wanted to win, and how hard I worked at each possession that he just gave it to me.
Regardless, I still have my victory, but if you'd like to get a rematch Sam, you know where to find me.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The internets have been abuzz about the More Than A Game documentary featuring Lebron James and his high school friends. I missed the gala at the Toronto International Festival, but I was able to catch the following screening last week.
Much like everything you have heard, it's a fantastic glimpse into 5 boys and their coach coming of age. Personally, I think this is the best basketball documentary ever made, and I encourage everyone to see it. It's just a great story and a personal one, it's not a Lebron James story, it's all of their stories, more importantly, it's a story for everyone.
Lebron sat down with my man George S. from The Hour, and got more out of the "Chosen One", than the boxed standard answers he has known to deliver.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Well a funny thing happened on the way to the forum... everyone bailed. From team captain, to team all-stars, it just started disintegrating for no apparent reason. I was a little disappointed at first, but realized I can't stress things I have no control over. Now I'm back on board with a team I won the championships with in another division last season, (YES, I play a lot of ball), and I'm ready like spaghetti to step it up this year. I have a tendency sometimes to play my role, and never really step out like I can sometimes. I think I defer to the other guys on my squad to do the work, but before it's all said and done, I intend to contribute and make an impact this season.
Oops, guess since I put keystrokes to screen I have to live by my words. Damn those interenets!
Oh and in case you were wondering, yes those are Chris Bosh PE's, (player editions), and yes, I do play in them.
Super-crazy-ill photography by Stanley PKA Craig Boyko.
Monday, September 15, 2008
As a former Raptors season ticket holder during the height of Vinsanity, I make it good practice to keep in contact with my old sales rep Mike. Four years ago in November, he called me and offered a pair of complimentary courtside seats against the Seattle Supersonics, (RIP). Not courtside, where you're 4 rows deep, I'm talking, Beyonce & Jay-Z centre-court courtside, I'm talking, Rafael Araujo please run past, so I can Larry David you courtside.
Getting the call the day of, I invited my buddy Dudley since his birthday was right around the corner, and off we went. Now for those who have never sat courtside, you're watching the game from an entirely different perspective; you can hear plays being called, and all the on court trash talk, yet more importantly you really get an appreciation for how big these guys are. Oh, and people tend to notice you as you're sitting there, thinking you're someone special, especially when they put you up on the big screen for doing nothing but eating popcorn.
Now I like to heckle players, something I usually do when I'm at a game, however this was a whole new experience... I was so much closer. So at some point during the game, Danny Fortson checks in. Now Danny, is on his fifth team in eight NBA seasons and is far from the man he used to be. His role now is to come in, clean up some boards and put a body on people, he's also 6'8" and 260 pounds, which seemingly played no factor in what I did next. After a hard Fortson foul, "You're a goon Fortson, why don't you just play some defence?", "That's a flagrant ref", "Come on ref, someone is going to get hurt the way he's playing", and then something interesting happened, he began to hear me. So of course I just unloaded more, any chance I got, even when he's on the bench.
What's more, my buddy Dudley, who is bigger than me, started getting uncomfortable, "Hey, if he comes over here and starts stomping you with those size 16 shoes, you're on your own." I disregard his uneasiness as Fortson inbounded a ball, mere metres from our seats, "You're a bum Fortson. You don't got no game", I yelled. Then he gave me one of those icy death glares, you know the part in Menace II Society when the shopkeeper says "I feel sorry for your mother", and then O-dog goes off? It was kinda like that moment, but instead of shooting me in the face, he just ran up the court.
So at that point, I just cooled off and enjoyed the view and the rest of the game, only to get home and watch the hoops highlights and discover that same night, Ron Artest went up in the stands to punch a fan out. Well, that fan wasn't really sitting courtside, he was like 4 rows up, he wasn't Beyonce & Jay-Z close...
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I remember the first time I saw this commercial, I was in complete and utter awe.
Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Mchale, Mark Aguirre, Bernard King, and Larry Bird, rapping? Arguably poorly, but it was a nod to hip-hop back in the day, and an attempt to be cool at the same time. It also galvanized the shoe game in my mind, all of these great players wearing the same shoe, I figured it must have some something special, if they're all wearing it. Of course I bought a pair, only to find out that it was like playing ball in a pair of cement boots, but that's another story...
But here in these 30 seconds, this was one of the first times I really saw players, the best at the time, doing something together, (All-Star Game doesn't count), but going beyond the lines of the court. At the time it was like the greatest thing to me since Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder recording "Ebony and Ivory".
It's the collaboration, the spirit of working together in a joint intellectual effort, that made it dope. With that being said, we've joined forces with Canada's best sports network, The Score, and one of the best shows on the tube and the Internet Branded, (sorry Cabbie), for a little information exchange.
Check it out.
Mad shout outs to Sharpie and Schneider at Branded.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I must say that I love the fact you're a basketball enthusiast like myself, and you play whenever you have free time from campaigning for presidency. Granted, you're older than me, so our on court styles may differ. However, after reading some of the comments on Free Darko, where some people have said what I have been thinking for some time, coupled with all of the pics of you on the hardwood, I have to ask the question...
What is up with the tucked in shirt?
I mean, honestly Barack, you're dressing like my dad, and he's in his 60's! It's a mean tuck too, you're not allowing any overflow, it's almost like you're wearing a one piece jumper. Now I'm going to let the track pants slide, but the only people who tuck in their tops to play basketball are NBA players, (because they have to), and old people. You're not that old, and the fact you play, and have a little game, makes you hip. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see you stepping out with some over sized saggy shorts, but you're playing pick-up, a free flowing sport, don't restrict yourself.
If I saw you step on the court, I would figure, hmm, maybe I should take it easy on this old guy? But you should want people to go at you, so you can shut them down, since you say your game is like Tayshaun Prince's. If you want people to take you seriously on the court, or as the president, take that damn shirt out of your pants.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
With an easy to use Google mapping system, you just type in your zip code (yes, it blows for everyone else internationally), populating the map with all nearby courts. If a court you know of isn't listed, you can easily add it to the database. What's more, you can get/give feedback on the quality of the court, competition, etc. and challenge other users to games.
Really a great idea, and it would appear an effective one, but using the Google Earth satellite system, it would only make sense for their database to be more inclusive. No Fouls is exciting, however the network will only be as good as how active people are updating and maintaining information, which of course remains to be seen. It makes the entire streetball experience easier, but it eliminates the excitement of discovering a court for the first time, and taking the locals to school on their home turf.
Thanks to Safari, for having a nose for the action.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I can see it now...
Chalmers: "Yo D, we won the national championships and all, but this is the NBA. We really need to make a name for ourselves."
Arthur: "That's what I'm sayin' Super Mario. Tim Duncan is the best power forward in the game, but I don't see them talking about him on YBF or Perez Hilton."
Chalmers: "For real, we need to do something to shake up the blogosphere!"
Arthur: "Yeah, so people will know who we are, before we even step foot on the court."
Chalmers and Arthur proceed to high five each other and do the secret KU handshake.
If you haven't heard by now, Kansas University Jayhawks and NCAA Champions Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were busted at the NBA's rookie transition program today for violating program rules. Apparently they were caught in their hotel room with marijuana and women... awesome.
Now for those that aren't aware, the rookie transition program, is a four day seminar, where all rookies are brought in to hear coaches, referees and former players speak and help them get acclimated to NBA life. Read: please don't try and choke the coach or get him fired, don't talk back or hit the refs, and don't waste your money on rims, weed and wome... Hmm, guess they didn't get a chance to hear that one, as they got sent home before the seminar even started today.
Oh wait, it gets better. They're also likely to get fined $20,000 each and may face a suspension at the start of the season. Please believe Stern is going to suspend them for this. The clincher is, they will have to take the seminar again next summer. That's like the equivalent of failing gym class. Actually at least for that, you have to show some effort, for this all you have to do is show up, shut up, and listen.
UPDATE: Chris Broussard from ESPN has the lowdown.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Calvan Fowler is the Director of the upcoming movie Jordan Heads, a documentary about Air Jordans & the people that love them.
To check out ABDB's behind the scenes video of the last shot for the film, click here.
Size 22 shout outs to Chris from Sole Searching at Slam Online for linking me over there.