Friday, October 31, 2008

First! Nike CB4 Hyperdunk.

At least somebody was on the ACC hardwood wearing their Chris Bosh Hyperdunks at the Raptors home opener, (yours truly). No, I didn't drop 31 and 9 and lead my team to an overtime victory, but with the Raptors wearing the black is the new red uniforms, CB4 was rocking those hot little black and blood-laced player exclusives that will never see the light of day at retail. If anyone with pull is reading, can I get a hook up pretty please? We wear the same size.

As the pics are all over the web, you're likely well aware that Nike Canada has launched an exclusive Hyperdunk and signature CB4 apparel line. With hoodies, shorts and T-shirts, even you, you, you (insert echo effect here), can look like an Olympian and NBA All-Star. The shorts are dope with the CB4 logo and the tops have a cool flywiresque silhouette of Bosh, which looks good, (except in the metallic print). So what is it with Nike righting the wrongs and saving these Raptors franchise players anyways?

Rewind to 1998: Vince Carter, the highly touted North Carolina player is drafted 5th overall by the Golden State Warriors, who promptly trade him to the Toronto Raptors. Vince goes on to impress and amaze in his Puma Vindicators? *Insert sound of record scratching to a halt here* I don't think any NBA players have endorsed Puma since Ralph Sampson and Clyde Drexler, (the latter retired 10 years ago), but Vince went on to win Rookie of the Year in 1999. Carter then tried to get out of his contract and wore various shoes throughout the season, won the Slam Dunk contest in AND 1's, but eventually signed with Nike and started doing things like this.

Fast Forward to 2003: Chris Bosh is drafted 4th overall by the Raptors out of Georgia Tech. The rail thin kid from Texas goes on to make the NBA All-Rookie First Team in his Converse Icons, as part of the clever "Freshman Class" campaign including Dwayne Wade, Kirk Hinrich, Michael Sweetney, and Troy Bell. Rumoured reasons from lack of apparel to lack of profile from Converse, made way for him to graduate to the big brother company Nike. The Swoosh didn't make him a better player, as Bosh has steadily improved his game and stats year over year, but of course he gets his first Olympic gold medal with the Redeem Team this past summer in the Hyperdunk. Yet more importantly, they have now given him the opportunity to have his own signature line, north of the 49th parallel.

Am I Nike biased? Yes, but I can be bought! There's enough room on the blog for everyone, but until someone even attempts to sway me from the company that has been with me from Day 1, I like Nike.

Home Again.

The NBA season has finally started, and I can't believe that basketball is going to be played at the Air Canada Centre again. I'm not trying to gloat, but yours truly, was fortunate enough to get a pair of courtside seats for tonight's home opener against the Golden State Warriors. I didn't have to do anything illegal or incriminating to get them, and despite not winning them on Raptors, the basketball gods still smiled upon me.

So definitely expect a post on the game, although I won't have all the behind-the-scenes in depth locker room reports like some sites. Hopefully it will be equally, or more interesting than my last courtside experience.

Here's to 2-0.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chalk Another One Up For Lebron.

I'm not sure if you've picked up on this as yet, but I LOVE commercials. I'm sure the majority of videos I've watched on You Tube are no longer than 30 seconds, and of course I have an affinity for basketball commercials, as I can relate to them and they're pretty darn creative.

While I'm not overly impressed with the aesthetics of the Lebron 6 sneaker thus far, (the Lebron 1 still stands as the best performing shoe of his signature line), the proverbial shoe is about to drop. The commercial is brilliant if you get it, and if you don't, you're probably scratching your head mumbling "WTF?" I'll just paraphrase Redman here, "laugh now, and figure the rest of it out when you get home."

By the way, the fact Lil Wayne is in the spot has nothing to do with how great it is.

Charles Barkley for Governor 2014.

On Monday, Charles Barkley sat down with CNN's Campbell Brown, and laid it all out with absolute candor discussing the upcoming U.S. election. While we tend to keep politics to a minimum around here, (although ABDB has publicly endorsed Barack Obama), whenever The Round Mound of Rebound opens his mouth, something interesting is bound to happen. In this interview he talks about The Bradley Effect, racism in America, Barack Obama as a role model, and his plans to run for Governor of Alabama in 2014, (yes you read that right).

His desire to run for Governor is something that the Hall of Famer has discussed for some time, it would now appear that he has put a firm deadline on his goal. While many never thought that Charles Barkley would ever have a shot of becoming Governor, there are probably ten times as many who never thought the U.S. would have a black man running for presidency of the United States. Kevin Garnett put it quite simply after the Celtics won their championship last year when he screamed "Anything is possible!"

...and just for nostalgia's sake.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Evolution Will Be Televised: Court Surfing on The Score.

I live in Canada, and I'm very proud to say that. However, if you live here, and your favourite sport is basketball, you've just been demoted to about 4th or 5th on the sports totem pole. So growing up, (pre-Raptors, pre-digital TV and pre-internet), you were relegated to just boxscores in the paper, or maybe a highlight on the evening news if something crazy happened. While the sports networks have all improved their hoops coverage, none have done so better than The Score. When watching, it's evident they're fans of the sport, and you can feel their passion, as opposed to their degree of skill reading from a teleprompter.

Now, The Score has taken one of their basketball programs and gone 2.0 on it. Court Surfing, which relaunches next Tuesday @ 7:30 pm EST, will be a weekly 2 1/2 hour dose of interactive basketball opulence. Not only covering the NBA throughout the season, but the culture of basketball and all things that surround it. Envision The Best Damn Sports Show meets, Pardon The Interruption meets, BET 106 & Park meets, NBA on TNT. Court Surfing's new hosts are Mark Strong (NBA XL), Sherman Hamilton (Raptors TV), and Will Strickland (all-around basketball aficionado), who have hoops in their DNA, and the ability to enlighten and entertain, (and post you up if need be).

If I sound excited, it's because I am, we haven't had our own show like this before, and it would appear that hoops has it's new home. But you'll be able to judge for yourself, check out the promo below, or better yet tune in next Tuesday night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All Balls Don't Bounce Trivia.

What basketball player was on the cover of EA's NBA LIVE '99 video game, but only played in 46 games last season, and hasn't incurred any signifcant injuries?

Last year he averaged 8.o points per game, far below his career average of 17.5 ppg, and will likely see about the same court time, (or less), this year?

Hint: It's not Joe Smith.

For the answer click here.

Post in the comments if you got it right without looking it up.

Heads Up!

While I don't consider myself a "Jordanhead", I have the utmost love and respect for Air Jordans I thru V. The Air Jordan III is my favourite shoe of all time, hands down. So when the good people at Jordan Brand came out with the Jordan Elephant Beanie, I was pleasantly surprised.

Living in Toronto, cold weather is a harsh reality you come to acccept, and beanies, hats or "toques" (as we call them up here), become a necessity. More importantly, you can't wear sneakers year round, so if I can pay tribute to my favourite sneaker wearing the elpehant AKA crackle print, it makes the world a better, and much warmer place.

This is supposed to be the place where I tell you where you can find it, but the sneakerhead within won't let me. Good thing we have Google.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Artist.

Artist, Mark "Kurupt" Stoddart, has just opened his latest exhibit in Toronto, Homage: Celebrating The Journey. The works are inspired by some of the photos he came across after stumbling into The SPORT Gallery, if you remember SPORT Magazine from back in the day, you can imagine that Stoddart had free rein of over 200,000 sports photos in their archives. The brilliant collection is comprised of "black iconic athletes who broke colour barriers and came to stand as symbols of American and Canadian culture." Included, are Canadian pitcher and Cy Young winner, Fergie Jenkins, football player Jim Brown, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith, and basketball legends Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

His paintings always embody his passion, with a spirit of social activism and a commitment to “educate, empower and unite”, and Homage holds true to that vein. The collection will be on display at the Sport Gallery until November 26th. Look for an interview with Stoddart later in the coming weeks.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ball Control.

When it comes to basketball, I'm somewhat of a traditionalist. I was a fan of the AND 1 Mix-Tape in it's heyday, I love the flash, and it's definitely entertaining. But if you can accomplish the same result without the extra sauce, personally I feel, just get the job done. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about Hoosier style hoops, I can still appreciate the skill and showmanship of the freestyler or streetballer.

Check out A2W from Streetball Extreme out of the UK, doing some things with a basketball that I have never even conceived, dreamt or knew was possible.

Bounce Magazine, is the source, and as always, still has the playground on lock.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Digital Twin.

Have you ever googled yourself?

Just to see what the interwebs have on you? Or to see how high you rate in the search results? Well I googled All Balls Don't Bounce, the other day and was somewhat surprised with what turned up.

For your edification, "All Balls Don't Bounce" is a mid 90's hip-hop song and album title from rapper Aceyalone of Freestyle Fellowship, now you have to be a relatively hardcore hip-hop head to know that. So after sifting through all of the rap references, I came across this blog by yours truly of course, yet was a little surprised when I discovered another All Balls Don't Bounce blog (on Word Press).

Billed as "Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head", the ABDB doppelganger is thorough on her sports, with heavy coverage on football or "soccer", that would make my man Safari proud, baseball, NFL and tennis. While she's an avowed Lakers fan, "Hiphopmama", doesn't have that much coverage on basketball, which is likely a good thing. Making it a fine cosmic balance in the world, with enough room in the blogosphere for the both of us.

Thankfully so, because if there were two basketball blogs with the same name, we would just have to do it old school and rap battle for the title.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bring Back Damon.

Watching the Toronto Raptors in the pre-season, their most glaring weakness is their depth, particularly at the point guard position. While Roko Ukic isn't quite ready yet, and Will Solomon has apparently been spending more time collecting sneakers than assists during his time in Toronto.

I'm lobbying for a return of the Raptors first ever lottery pick, Damon Stoudamire. We don't need him to average 19.5 points a game like he did for us 10 years ago, we just need some solid minutes off the bench in support of Jose Calderon. Damon could be that savvy vet, who can initiate the offence and isn't looking for his own shot all the time, (like some people).

It's that simple. We can send Roko to the D-League to get some minutes, because he can play, The Stampede need a point guard as well, with Randy Livingston retiring and becoming an Assistant Coach this season.

Damon wanted to play for a championship, but I'm sure more importantly he still wants to play, which is something he isn't doing right now. Returning to where he got his start, he'll be getting some minutes, the Raptors will compete (remember, they play in the Eastern Conference), and he finally can end the smattering of boos he gets whenever he sets foot on the ACC hardwood.

Problem solved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shirts Versus Skins.

Out of all the sports that have had athletes "come out" and declare their sexual orientation, basketball is one of the few that has had players do so and continue to actively compete. The long line of notable athletes like tennis players Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova, swimmer Greg Louganis, Olympic boxer, Marc Leduc, ice skater Brian Orser, football players Dave Kopay and Jerry Smith, all came out after their pro careers were over.

While WNBA players Latasha Byears, Michele Van Gorp and superstar Sheryl Swoopes all came out publicly while still playing, not much can be said for the men aside from John Amaechi's declaration of being gay after his NBA retirement. I'm hardly saying it's an easy task, as I believe the world of professional basketball isn't really ready to accept a gay player, particularly corporate America.

However, there are a number of openly gay men playing basketball, most notably the San Francisco Rockdogs who are being profiled in the new reality show Shirts & Skins on Logo, a subsidary network of MTV. The show follows "the true-life story of the San Francisco Rockdogs, a young all-star basketball team who must reunite to uphold their city's three-generation legacy of international gay games gold medal, and national tournament wins."

Is this a big deal? Yes.
Are they playing in the NBA? No.

Now gay men are comfortable playing basketball and being open about it, in a sport with it's fair share of homophobia. Although when Rockdog DeMarco Majors came out when he was playing in the ABA, some in the league weren't all too comfortable.

I'm curious to know what people think, peep the show, there are episodes online.
How would you feel playing with/against a gay baller?
What if one of the NBA's elite was a homosexual?
It's 2008, is the world ready?
Feel free to comment, (and you can do so anonymously).

By the way, UK footballer Justin Fashanu, rugby player Ian Roberts and baseball player Glenn Burke, all came out during their careers, wanted to point that out before the fact checkers started blowing me up.

UPDATE: My man Will Strickland wanted to include this attachment in his comment, but since it wouldn't allow, I uploaded it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Adidas' Brotherhood Bounces Back.

So Adidas has launched their new campaign for Basketball is a Brotherhood, definitely stepping it up from last year, they got T-Mac, KG, Chauncey, Timmy, J-Smoove, Dwight Howard, Jordan Farmar, and Bassy going at it on the court. While the squad isn't as stacked as Nike's, the non-playing footage is just as good, with Dwight Howard suggesting that KG call him "Superman".

What happened to McGrady though? He used to be the crown jewel of the 3 stripes, he's barely noticeable in this spot. Maybe they're waiting for him to get out of the first round of the play-offs before he gets shine?

Aside from what I've seen in the spot, the kicks look alright, however, if the good folks at Adidas want to send me a pair, I'd be more than happy to provide a review.

Chris @ SLAM Online, hipped me to the run, enjoy the Raps game in E-Town my man.

I Heart Candace Parker Part II.

Candace Parker, what can't she do? If I could draft her on my fantasy basketball team, I would. After making it to the conference finals with the LA Sparks in her first year, playing alongside Lisa Leslie, not only was she named WNBA Rookie of the Year, but also won WNBA MVP honors.

This is the first time a WNBA player has won both awards in one season, and it's only happened twice ever in the NBA, when Wes Unseld did it 1968-69 and Wilt Chamberlain did it in 1959-60.

Averaging 18.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds, (leading the league), 2.3 blocks per game (2nd in the league), and leading the league in double-doubles, the other CP3 didn't fall short of the hype she had coming into the season. After a storied collegiate career at Tennessee, winning the national championship, and player of the year, she also snagged an Olympic gold at Beijing this summer, with the U.S. Women's Basketball Team. While she didn't win a WNBA Championship within that year falling short of some cosmic triple crown. She has already proven she can dominate on the next level, and lest we forget was the first woman to throw it down in a game. Oh, and was she was of course named to the All-WNBA First Team, and All-WNBA Rookie First Team, and did you know that Tiffany & Co. design the MVP trophy? I didn't.

Since the MVP photo is so cheese, I'm including another pic of the league MVP. Hey, it's my crush, and my blog, I can post as many pics as I want!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Complete and Utter Randomness Part 2.

Scene: The Mavericks bench in the closing seconds of an overtime match against the San Antonio Spurs.

Eric Dampier: "Hey Josh, look at this great knot I made with these towels... Oh snap, here comes coach."

Avery Johnson then proceeds to accidentally bag Josh Howard, (likely in advance for his admission to smoking weed, or hating on the national anthem) don't worry, you can watch it in slo-mo, right here.

I can always count on Basketbawful to keep male genitalia in check.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back in the U.S.S.R. ...@ the ACC.

Unlike many people, I like going to pre-season basketball games. It provides an opportunity to check out the new talent and see if the bench players have improved, or give me some tips on fantasy hoops. You see, just because players post great summer league stats for three seasons, doesn't mean that they've turned the corner, case in point, Joey Graham.

So when a good friend offered a pair of tickets to the Raptors vs CSKA Moscow last night, I was more than delighted to take in my first game of the season. The Raptors play an international club every year, and this year host the current Euroleague Champs. Now I'm not going to give a detailed game analysis, for that you can go here or here. But CSKA are the best club outside of the Association, and boast ex NBA players Zoran Plannic, Viktor Khryapa and Trajan Langdon. Whom were more than enough for the Raps second unit, as the home team didn't lead until the fourth quarter. Yes, we won, but Bosh and Calderon played 35 and 33 minutes respectively, a lot for two guys who played in the gold medal match at the Summer Olympics.

JO looked OK, but settled for too many jumpers, Barganni looks like he gained 15 pounds of muscle, and was more aggressive than I've ever seen him. CB4 and Jose were their usual superstar selves, and aside from Kapono, (who should be starting, and I speculate is tanning between games), and Humphries, there was nothing else of note. Well aside from the new LED display system, I read about it, but man the resolution from the "Black Package" LED screens is a noticeable improvement, particularly from my seats. Oh and everyone wearing Nikes on either team were rocking the Nike Hyperdunks, even Chirs Bosh with his special make-ups, it's been a while that I've seen a pair of shoes so prevalent throughout the league.

So what did I take from my first pre-season game? Not enough to base the season on, but it was great to be back at the ACC, and all things are positive. Barring injuries, we're going to be competitive this year, but we're definitely thin in terms of depth, the dance pack still sucks, and Joey Graham is still around... but hey, there's still time for change.

If a tree falls in the woods... Will someone videotape it?

It's 2008, and believe that if you're an NBA player, if you do something... anything, someone will capture it on cell phone, digital camera or a Flip. So when London Streetball legend Stuart Tanner challenged Devin Harris to one-on-one in London, anyone hip to the scenario was well aware they would be getting over a million hits on You Tube if they just held the camera steady.

Devin Harris on the other hand, just got got.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Best Blogger Alive?

On "Let The Beat Build", our man Weezey, confidently claims he's "the best rapper alive", I'm now wondering if he's gunning for another title as I was shocked to discover Mr. Carter is now blogging for ESPN The Magazine. Displaying he's pretty in tune with NFL, MLB, fantasy football and his appreciation for college sports, it seems that he's a bonafide sports fan. Citing North Carolina as his favourite college squad dating back to the days of MJ, and how Chris Paul reached out to him wondering why he hasn't been mentioned in the blog yet are all interesting.

I find it fascinating with the whole celebrity blogging phenomena, everyone wants to read what they say, I won't lie, I'm definitely curious too. And while I likely may come off sounding like those journalists who don't think bloggers deserve the recognition or accreditation they deserve, I personally don't think Wayne sat down and typed these entries. I'm not saying these aren't his words, or he doesn't appreciate sports, but I find it very hard to believe that he sat in front of his laptop with his styrofoam cup and knocked out those long insightful entries.

I'm not accusing him of having a ghost blogger, I just think he likely dictated his posts to someone. It's not cheating, but most bloggers don't have the luxury of talking to someone and leaving it for them to finish. We have to come up with our ideas, articulate our thoughts, write them, edit them, deliver them, pretty much like a rapper does. So my point is, Mr. Carter, that you will never be the best blogger alive, if you don't build your blogs from the top to the bottom.

Now that's how you let the blog build b****!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The NBA Dream Starts Here.

On Monday, the open try-outs for the D-League's Idaho Stampede wrapped up at Humber College, in Toronto. The two-day affair, attratced over 70 hopefuls vying to get a spot on the Raptors and Trailblazers developmental squad. Surprisingly, about two thirds of the players came up from the U.S. for the try-outs, even travelling from as far as Los Angeles, California.

I was on assignment doing a story on the affair for Replay, and actually considered trying out myself, for a different perspective on the story, but decided against it. Ryan from Hoops Addict, actually did suit up, but came up with a "phantom" injury 30 minutes into Day 1, (yes I'm calling you out Ryan. Anytime you want to go one-on-one for a battle of the blogs just holler, lol). All jokes aside, some of the Toronto Raptors brass came out, Jim Kelly, Senior Director, Player Personnel , and Maurizio Gherardini Senior VP of Basketball Operations, Canadian Men's Basketball Team Head Coach Leo Rautins also took in the action. Management and coaches from the Halifax Rainmen were also in attendance definitely making it the place to showcase your talent.

By the second day, the pool was narrowed down to 16, and then down to the 5 players the coaching staff liked. While not fully guaranteed a spot on the roster the players came one step closer to the big stage, and with the top notch coaching staff of the Stampede, will definitely improve their skills as basketball players.


Now I'm not trying to get my TMZ on, but I was digging through Google Images yesterday, and I came across this old pic of Sacramento Kings great, and current head coach Reggie Theus. Aside from the obvious "WTF" reaction, it reminded me of a story I was told personally 6 years ago, by a Grammy nominated singer/songwriter/producer who is a loyal Kings fan. Now the story had laid dormant in my memory banks until now, largely as I didn't really give much credence to it, but this pic screams Blue Oyster Bar to me.

It basically went along the lines that they both happened to be dining at the same restaurant, and after meeting and exchanging mutual admiration, Theus had offered to orally pleasure, said artist. When he asked to make sure of what he had heard, it was reaffirmed and was then told it would be "really good." He didn't take him up on his alleged invitation and told me how disappointed and repulsed he was.

I wonder how he feels now that Theus is the man behind the bench in Sacramento?