Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting Away From It All?

So last week I was away on vacation visiting family in St. Kitts. For those that don't know St. Kitts is a small island in the Caribbean, suffice it to say I had plenty of sun, warm weather and relaxation. Ironically I was blogging more than usual down there... so much for vacation. I came prepared to ball and found numerous courts, but when I was ready to run, came up empty.

With the weather being what it is, I couldn't blame them. Basketball is St. Kitts' fastest growing sport, taking a back seat to cricket, and surprisingly beating out football/soccer, they've also had a few players go on to receive D-2 scholarships. I should have gone to the extent of setting something up, but that would have only led to me playing ball each and every day, not good considering I'm nursing an injury that is taking a while to heal.

I kind of regret it though, there's something to be said about playing on a court and looking to your right and seeing dormant volcanoes with clouds laying at their peak like pillows or looking to your left and seeing the serene Atlantic glow from the sun beaming down on it. Ah, just as well, it would definitely affect my concentration on the court.

Maybe next time...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cameo Appearance.

You know those times, when you put on a jacket or a pair of jeans and you find $10 in the pocket? Well I didn't feel like I found free money, but I completely forgot I was "interviewed" while waiting for my mom at the Raptors game last month. Court Surfing was on the scene at the ACC asking the people about LBJ. Find me if you can.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Nothing more need be said. But I will say it regardless, I HATE THE HYBRIDS. I remember when I was a kid, playing in the street and making concoctions. Mixing gravel, sand, water, grass and whatever elements I could find into a goopy mix. Then after I had my fun with it, I would dump it down the sewer. However, some Victor Frankenstein over at the Innovation Kitchen at Nike decided not to dump his machinations, but throw it on the shelves for everyone to consume this December.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Air Jordan 2.5. While trying to contain the vomit in my mouth as I witnessed the Air Force 1/Jordan hybrid series, Nike takes it one incestuous step further merging two of the best models of the Jordan line, (II & III). FUGLY. I'm not wishing ill on anyone, but we all know how the Frankenstein movie ended as one of the themes of Mary Shelley's original novel, was it's cautionary tale of man or science taking it one step too far and trying to play god. Personally, this is the sneaker equivalent... blasphemous!

Thanks to First Cuts for ruining my day.


I have intentionally abstained from the "Where Is Lebron James going?" conjecture, not for fear of personal safety, but at this point there are plenty of things that can happen, and too much free time to sit around and speculate on. To top it off, 2010 will likely see the strongest free agent class ever witnessed in the history of the NBA, another wrinkle to the situation.

So as I'm not really engaging in the dialogue, I'll mention that Darren Rovell from Sports Biz over at CNBC wrote a good piece examining the Nike factor, where there is a belief that Nike will pay more to have him in a major market like New York. The real point which Rovell briefly touches on in the story is, why are there talks of incentives for certain cities, after Beijing, I thought global domination was on everyone's agenda?

At least they have time to figure it all out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Charles Barkley Likes Old Dicks.

When is Sir Charles going to pick a decent opponent?

First he beats 67 year old NBA official Dick Bavetta in an on court sprint during All-Star Break last year... backpedaling! Now he's playing one-on-one against 69 year old ESPN college hoops guru Dick Vitale. Even though Sir Charles has become an even rounder mound of rebound he hasn't had any trouble with the challenges he's faced, so I'm calling him out.

You're a fake Barkley. Stop going up against these lightweights, stiffs that are 20 years your senior!

So for as much mouth as you have Mr. Barkley, I'm challenging you to the battle of your choosing, name the time the place the activity/sport, you can even bet on it... that you'll lose.

Dime Magazine, now look what you done did?

When Bloggers Attack.

The joy and pain of blogging is that while you are able to share your opinion with the world, there are a million other people out there likely doing the same thing. Unfortunately it provides a voice to some who probably don't deserve one.

Take for example MVN blogger Amir Panchmatia of the Cavalier Attitude fan blog, who literally wanted to go American History X on Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski ...literally.

"I wish I could meet Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

You want to know what I'd do? I would bust him in the jaw, throw him to the ground, force him to put his mouth on a curb, and smash the back of his head with my foot.

Yes, American History X style. And yes - I really, really would. Part of this disturbs me. Part of this depresses me because I'll probably never get the opportunity."

What did Wojnarowski do to invoke his wrath? Basically what thousands of other sports writers and bloggers do every day, speculate on Lebron James' numbered days as a Cleveland Cavalier. Hardly worthy of Panchmatia's twisted fantasy, oh and a little extreme? Yes. But what comes next is the best plot twist since Usual Suspects, Wojnarowski called Panchmatia on his post ...literally. He found his phone number, called him up, and offered to buy him a plane ticket so he could come try and kick his ass.
"You don't get to channel "your inner Ed Norton," —-- celebrating a neo-Nazi movie and that curb stomp scene —- and think that I'm sitting that one out. I don't know what this guy's deal is, but because he wrote that he worried he'd never get a chance to live out his fantasy of going all skinhead on me, I sure did offer him up a plane ticket so he could come and give it a shot. Listen, I have no issue with a blogger writing whatever he wants about my work. He can say anything. That's part of the deal. I understand. Hey, there are times the criticism has merit. But when someone is fired up over a neo-Nazi movie and openly dreams of putting his workboot through the back of my skull, well, I'm not laughing that one off."
Personally I don't think Wojnarowski crossed the line. Anytime we put something down in writing we're open to criticism, however this was taken too far. The aforementioned posts by Panchmatia are no longer active, and he's now likely back in his mother's basement acting out how his death duel would have went down with action figures.

Raptor Blog escorted me to the ring, and Deadspin gave me the play by play, who needs Don King?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fail. The Yao Ming Transformer.

Call me ignorant, but I can't for the life of me figure out how a toy manufacturer based in China, can't capture the likeness of one of their national icons, Yao Ming. The action figure is dope, a basketball (albeit not bounceable), that transforms into an autobot-styled-out Yao Ming.

But in the face? Eeek, he looks more like Michael Dukakis with McGrady's lazy eye than the Mingster. Shame on you, shame on all of you, you just took a well designed toy and made it into... They may have just been better off not letting the head pop up, so they could hide their embarrassment.

Thanks to FreshnessMag for my refills on Energon cubes.

Ron Artest Hates Tight Jeans.

The Tru Warier is video blogging.


With that being said, I'm a little concerned, not for what's about to be unleashed on the web. But after years of holding it down on the internets, as the best baller vlogging, my man Chris Bosh may not be able to even write the kind of things that comes out of this guys mouth, (smoke included).

I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner.

Thanks to Ball Don't Lie for enlightening me on the Anti Tight Jeans consortium

All I Want For Christmas.

What do you get for the man or woman who has everything? How about a pair of Kobe Bryant PE Hyperdunks in the McDonald's All-American colourway? Paying tribute to his Lower Merion High School days, this is probably one of the hottest colourway combos thus far, the patent leather toebox is slick, as well as the insole, which spells out All-American in french fries, and his old #33 is embroidered on the shoe. The colours are ill on this bad boy, and pretty flavourful as well, (no pun intended).

Finally something to put on my list.

Thanks to Jordan Hagerdon at Bounce, who just turned into Santa's Lil' Helper.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Meet The President.

One of the highlights for the winner of the NBA Finals, is a visit to the White House. Maybe I'm thinking from personal bias, but how excited do you think players are to meet Barack Obama and check out the basketball court he has installed?

I know I would be, I'm just saying.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gilbert Arenas Gets A Wax Statue @ Madame Tussauds... Now There Are TWO Stiffs In Washington.

Gilbert Arenas, what's not to like? He's the best blogger in the NBA, (even if he has a little help), but even a ghost blogger can't come up with a powerful and personal post like this. Easily one of the best scorers in the L, and of course just one of those fun, carefree, crazy personalities you just have to love - Esquire nailed it in a story they did on Agent Zero in 2006. Yes folks, Gilbert does have "phenomenal swag."

Yet while Madame Tussauds isn't the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it's pretty much the physical equivalent, or so I thought. When considering immortalizing someone for posterity isn't there a screening process or some type of qualification checklist? Gilbert's statue is going alongside Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Babe Ruth and he has only made it out of the first round of the playoffs once! As of right now, he's definitely not on my Hall of Fame inductee list, and I'm not even touching on the fact he's yet to play a game this season, and has only participated in 87 games over the last two years.

There's lots to love about Gilbert, and a great deal of it is his character and what he does off the court, but until he makes his teammates better, or wins some games, maybe that wax is better suited to make some candles, hold a vigil, say a prayer, and hope that Gilbert gets back to the man he used to be.

UPDATE: The only basketball players enshrined at Madame Tussauds are Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and there are plans for Yao Ming in Beijing. They're putting Gilbert in with some significant company.

X's & O's.

My man Dave, (who just had a baby by the way, congrats), just forwarded me practically the best thing ever! It's been kicking around on The New York Times site since February, but hey All Balls Don't Bounce wasn't around then, so pardon me if you've seen it.

It's an X's and O's look at how to contain Kobe in isolation, Paul Pierce off the screen, Nash & Amare's high pick & roll, neutralizing Yao Ming, and stopping the Suns fastbreak. While it all sounds pretty idealistic, the steps are broken down with an audio commentary by Jeff Van Gundy, one of this era's better defensive coaches.

Now I could go on with superlatives on how interesting this is, but the easiest way to understand it is to experience it and check it out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Nike Air Force 180.

One of my top 10 favourite sneakers is the Nike Air Force Max B, worn by Michigan's Fab Five when they re-invented basketball style in the early 90's, with the baggy shorts, black socks and black sneakers. They were also rocked by the man who put the "F" in force, Sir Charles Barkley. While it was one of his shoes of choice, Charles also put it down in the Nike Air Force 180's, most notably in the '92 Olympics with the Dream Team.

Now, the 180's are being retro'd in a new colourway, looking pretty darn snazzy!

Courtesy of Hypebeast.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Never Let Them See You...

I will admit, on the court, I'm a pretty profuse sweater. However, I always remember watching Patrick Ewing play when I was a kid, and marvelled how he had always looked like he stepped out of the shower with his uniform on, (during the first quarter no less). That was an era before DRI-Fit or any technologically advanced uniforms were developed, so nowadays, it shouldn't be as bad right?

Wrong. Players still sweat, but it's not as noticeable, that is unless they are posting you up. Which of course, if you play ball, you know all about that gross sharing of bodily fluids. Channing Frye of the Portland Trailblazers, who is a bit of a perspirer himself, was recently asked to name his 5 Sweatiest Players in the NBA. Here's his list from bottom to top: #6 because he just had to be included, Greg Oden, (Trailblazers), #5 Channing Frye, (Trailblazers), #4 Malik Rose (Kincks), #3 Zach Randolph (Knicks), #2 Shaquille O'Neal (Suns) and #1 drumroll Nick Collison (Thunder).

While he credits Collison with the number one spot as "he's just gross", Shaq gets the follow-up because it's like "a &#@!%*$ river coming off his head."

I don't know whether to laugh or cringe.

Thanks to Jason Quick with the drip drip at The Oregonian.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Aussies Have A Sick Handle.

Growing up in Canada in the 80's, if you wanted to get your basketball fix, your options were limited, and you were always forced to look to the American media whether it was radio, TV or print. A visit to the newsstand was like shopping at a record store, you had Hoop Magazine, who were the Young MC of the basketball mag world, and thankfully later came SLAM who were Public Enemy, "throwing it down your throat like Barkley." Other magazines followed, but of course we always looked down south as the home of hoops and our trusted source for basketball, (even though it was created by a Canadian).

Being North American-centric, it's unlikely that Australia would be one of the first places you would look for a solid hoops magazine, but you should, they've got handle. Fresh on the newsstands with their 20th issue, they're profiling the 30 most important players of the past 30 years, trust me as a contributor to this issue, there was MUCH debate over who should be considered. (I'm not going to tell you who is on the list, you can go pick it up and see for yourself). However, they don't take their title of "Australia's Premier Basketball Publication" very lightly, while they cover NBA, streetball, NCAA and international hoops, they also have their very own basketball league down under called the NBL, and do it all thoroughly.

handle has great editorial, solid content, fantastic design and a fresh perspective, the only drawback is that by the time it gets to newsstands on this side of the Atlantic, or Pacific, the mag is a little pricier than it's contemporaries. But times have changed now, it doesn't mean you should overlook them, it just means you should give them a look.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One-On-One Against Michael Jordan.

What would you do if you had a chance to play against Michael Jordan? 1-on-1, first one to three points wins. Would you go all out, or get caught up in the fact you were facing up against the greatest player to play the game? You know Mike wouldn't back down, aside from sullying his reputation, he hates to lose, he hates losing so much he would beat his grandmother in a game of Bridge.

Well John Rogers Jr. got that chance, Rogers is a mutual fund executive who paid big money to go to one of Air Jordan's Flight Camps where you play basketball with other rich aging ballers and learn from the great one himself. In 2003 while MJ was dispensing with the campers in one-on-one, mowing through them like a John Deere in a cornfield, and talking trash the whole time, Rogers had his dance with destiny.

I had first heard about this match-up on True Hoop, but of course never saw the footage, until now.

Many will argue that Jordan wasn't trying, but if you know anything about him, you know his competitive spirit, and there's no way he would want to have to endure the clowning like he received from Damon Wayans at the end of the video. Give thanks to the basketball gods that someone has this on tape, and it's no longer an old wives tale.

Thanks to J.E. Skeets at Ball Don't Lie for this video that can let the little guys walk proud for a day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Late Pass: Kevin Johnson Is The New Mayor of Sacramento.

In the wake and excitement of America's new president, I neglected to mention that Sacramento has their first African-American mayor, Kevin Johnson. Yes, the same Kevin Johnson who ran the point for the Phoenix Suns from the late 80's to the late 90's, and dunked on practically everyone!

However, he wasn't just a little man that was able to dunk as his career averages of 17 points and 9 assists illustrate. Now he has a bigger challenge running the point of his home town, I hope he fares well.

Gilbert Arenas Is A "Changed" Man.

Well Gilbert has a new tattoo, with this one he's paying tribute to President-Elect Barack Obama, and his campaign for change. Interestingly enough, months ago, Gilbert explained his Republican status and his rationale for not voting... to get out of jury duty. So I just found it odd that he decided to get an interpretation of Obama's slogan on his body, when he likely didn't even vote.

Awesome. I must admit, I like it better than his other one.

I believe Dan Hellie of NBC is scouring the streets of Washington looking for a manicurist for Agent Zero.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chemistry: The Missing Ingredient.

Chemistry is not something that's forged overnight. If you look at the best basketball show on TV, Inside the NBA on TNT, Ernie, Chuck & Kenny work masterfully off one another. The jokes, banter and commentary are all spot on, and down right entertaining. They also aren't scared to ask the questions, or give the real talk, that's necessary for great television.

As I posted previously, I'm pretty excited about the fact there is a true basketball show on Canadian television, (Court Surfing), and the fact that it's hosted by three black men, is pretty groundbreaking. Have to give props to The Score, without question, they've revamped their game a bit and continue to be the Canadian leader in sports, (if you want to view boring, staid, vanilla hoops commentary with questionable insight, watch TSN). As I missed the opening show, I tuned in last night to check it out, and of course watch some games. So here's my take, Court Surfing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good:
I like the 106 & Park/Much On Demand feel for the show, with the set, they have a DJ, and a live audience which is great, they also check out what's happening online. The sports desk isn't fully covered, so I can see what kicks the hosts are rocking. Of course it goes without saying they flip through NBA games, so you're not stuck watching OKC vs. Indiana. The segments are great, The 24 Second Shot Clock where the hosts go head to head on certain topics and have 24 seconds to state their piece, The CrossOver where they did a piece on Lebron James and the new LBJ 6 kicks, was cool as well.

The Bad:
The only guys who should be getting face time on Court Surfing are Sherman Hamilton, Mark Strong and Will Strickland. The Court Surfing bloggers are all over this show, but they really shouldn't be getting any PT. DJ and Randy aren't ready for this shine yet, listen, I am a blogger, I can write, that doesn't mean I turn into George Stroumboulopoulos when you put a camera in front of me.

Sherm and Strong need to work on their rapport, both are good in their own individual right, but they aren't really connecting. With Strong sometimes less is more, there doesn't need to be a joke or one liner out of everything, especially when it's not always funny, and Sherm falls into it as well, and he's supposed to be the straight man.

The Ugly:
They played the new Lebron 6 commercial straight off of the web, it looked like a 1981 porno on VHS. Couldn't someone have just called Wieden & Kennedy, or Nike Canada to get the TV spot? Also, the Top 5 dunks weren't that hot quality either, I'm not watching in HD, but the difference was noticeable.

I'm a hardcore hoops fan and I dissect media, I'm just not super engaged with all of the stuff beyond the game surfing... yet. It's not automatic like Stockton and Malone, or Sid & Tim on The Score Tonight or Inside the NBA. Maybe I'm being overly harsh, as it's only show #2, but it takes time to build that chemistry.

Jordan Farmar 1 - Luke Walton 0.

If you've watched or been around enough interviews, you know players are always pulling pranks, jokes or just clowning with each other. Strolling through the locker room. (presuambly looking for his basketball game), Luke Walton tries to get cute with Jordan Farmar, only to get SONNED.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Iverson & Billups Trade = Raptors 4-0.

If you haven't heard, it looks like The Answer is coming back to the Eastern Conference. In a trade that has been agreed to in principle, the Nuggets will be sending Allen Iverson to Detroit for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb. I will get into trade analysis later, but what this means for the Raptors is that we have a decent shot at 4-0.

Once this deal gets approved, I doubt Iverson will make it to Detroit, or Toronto for that matter in time for our match up on Wednesday. Thereby leaving the Pistons without their starting point guard, big man off the bench or Iverson. Call it what you will, but that's what good teams do, find ways to win. So while I'm not trying to celebrate too early, as long as the Raptors do what they're supposed to. We can keep our undefeated record intact.

From Braids to Fades.

Carmelo Anthony made his NBA debut on Saturday night, going 5-15 from the field, 0-4 from the free throw line, with 5 turnovers. Although he still managed 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, you can't help but wonder if his shedding of his trademark braids, is the equivalent to Samson losing his locks.

For the uninitiated, Samson & Delilah is a biblical story. Samson was granted tremendous strength to combat his enemies, and perform heroic feats unachievable by ordinary men. He fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who was bribed to find out the secret of his strength, (his hair). Having his hair cut while he slept he was imprisoned by his enemies and had his eyes burnt out... obviously not a love story.

Now in no way am I trying to insinuate that his wife LaLa is why he cut his cornrows, (although I thought it was weird when she reportedly refused, to pick him up from the police station after his arrest). But there's a direct correlation with the lack of hair and performance - albeit one game.

I think Melo chopped the hair as part of an image make-over. He's just coming off a 2 game suspension for a DUI charge in the off season, and the 5 year player has made some questionable decisions in the past. Could winning the gold in Beijing with all of those great players had a positive impact on him, who knows? But he looks like a totally different guy.

Adam Morrison did the same thing too, is Ben Wallace next?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Steve Nash Is Just Like You, But Ten Times Better.

For all they say about the "next generation" of NBA superstars, and how they're selfish, greedy, and don't care about the game. It's also breeding a lot of funny guys who aren't scared to laugh or make fun of themselves, I'd like to think that the digital age has had a hand in that. Our boy Steve Nash, is definitely one of those guys, he's got that deadpan, dry humour down, as you can see below, but he can also get silly with it too.