So I generally don't like doing these year in review things. Plus, with ADBD being about half a year old, that wouldn't make much sense would it now? So I was on AOL Canada and they had a photo thread on Sports Photos of the Year. Tons of great stuff there from every sport imaginable and some fantastic photography. There was over 230 AP images, approximately 20 of them were basketball related, including the pics of Jack Nicholson and Sam Cassell getting out of a chair, I decided to share 3 of the best.
2008 NBA Finals, my how the league can milk a rivalry.
DJ Augustin getting his Little Miss Giggles on as part of rookie hazing at the Charlotte Bobcats training camp.
Phoenix Suns point guard and Canadian hoops icon Steve Nash sat down with Graham Bensinger from NBC Sports recently. Call me ignorant, but I had no idea who Bensinger was until today, and didn't even think he interviewed athletes until I checked out his site. The segment where he asks Nash about all of his drunken adventures was painful and pointless. I also like how he asks Nash about the prospect of "going home" and playing for the New York Knicks. Doesn't going home constitute returning to the place of your upbringing? Bensinger should have just flat out said he didn't know where Victoria was.
Enough about the interviewer, Nash touched on the changes in Phoenix, being a point guard, his foundation, his drive and potential destinations once his contract is up, all in his signature laid back, earnest and honest style.
I think I would have just wanted to hear more out of Steve Nash than what said interviewer delivered, there is so much to this guy, but I guess I'll just save it for the ABDB interview.
The Toronto Raptors incited an uproar when they sold 25 of their regular season games off to The Sports Network, (TSN). TSN in turn packaged the games onto their new digital satellite channel TSN 2, the kicker being that TSN 2 wasn't being picked up by practically every Canadian's cable provider, Rogers. Of course this wasn't in the public consciousness until just prior to the kick off of the season, making it a pain for many to change up their complete cable game. Meanwhile there are claims to resolve this situation with nothing really forthcoming.
So what has the alternative been to watching the games you just can't see on TV? Streaming them online. This is basically piracy though, many like myself would deem otherwise. The NBA definitely sides with the latter, and according to The New York Times is getting together with other sports leagues around the world to do something about it. An interesting article where they feel unlike the music industry, it doesn't make sense to sue the individuals that are streaming the bootleg games, but shutting down the sites and working with the local governments is the solution.
While I can understand the necessity for foreign countries that don't have the access to North American sports as we do, as well as the need to shut it down, a Rockets and Mavericks game last season streamed to over 1.1 million, (mainly in China). Can they really explain the bonehead moves made by local corporations to cash in on a deal and leave their fans and consumers hanging in the balance? Can they?
Vancouver is one of my favourite Canadian cities, but for basketball? Not so much. The Vancouver Grizzlies joined the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in 1995, yet both franchises took decidedly different paths. If a team's destiny can be predicted by their initial draft picks you need only look at Damon Stoudamire, the eventual Rookie of the Year, and Bryant Reeves, who's career was cut short due to injury after 6 seasons. It's no secret the Griz packed up and left town for Memphis in 2001, there were a number of reasons between bad management and by virtue weak personnel, shady ownership and poor attendance. Meanwhile at GM Place, Vancouver hockey fans continue to wait 38 years for the Canucks to win their first Stanley Cup.
The Vancouver Courier's Rick Hasiuk laments, that part of the reason they are gone is that the NBA is a "ghetto gutter." (Oh no he didn't). Now before you go off on his asinine quasi-racist comments, please keep in mind his only other claim to fame is winning the Courier's first annual beard-growing contest. I'm not going to call out and comment on what he has said, many have done so already. I'm just extending an invitation to Mr. Hasiuk to articulate or possibly even take both feet out of his mouth, I'd love to give you a forum and speak with you on what you were trying to say, or just tell you how wrong you are. Seriously and in all honesty, hit me up.
In other breaking news Steve Francis was traded to the team that drafted him 10 years ago, as the Memphis Grizzlies acquired the injury riddled guard from the Houston Rockets for a draft pick and a box of cheesey poofs. While it's not quite Vancouver, the team he refused to play for after being drafted by them first overall, it's an ironic and fitting twist (or end), to his underwhelming career. Somewhere on Robson Street someone is lighting something up in celebration.
Yeah, we all know Jordan is supposed to be getting married again, this time to Yvette Prieto, (hopefully Mike remembers a pre-nup this time. I'm not sure what Greg Oden is doing in this picture... Oh wait that's Charles Oakley, my bad. I'm not mad at the grey, although he does look like he's getting his Red Foxx on.
Amare has picked up the Chris Bosh Viral Video book on lobbying for the All Star Game, but I don't think he read the chapter on creativity. Based on STAT's words and behaviour this season, this could very well be a true-life video as opposed to a parody. Unfortunately, it's just not terribly entertaining, he'll likely make it though, the game is in Phoenix this year.
It's not much to go by really, but you know those times when a face is vaguely familiar, but you just can't place it?
Well the story goes like this... Heading south for the holidays, I did the cost effective drive to Buffalo to fly out to Atlanta. Landing in the ATL terminal the gentleman in question disembarked and was being chatted up by a couple of dudes, he then posed for a picture and was on his way. I knew he wasn't a rapper, a notable producer, or a recognizable actor, and he wasn't much bigger than me, so I ruled out athlete. By the D&G denim and hoodie I pegged him as an R&B artist, and as my contemporary R&B game is real weak, it's likely I may not know his identity. so I left it at that.
Moments later, bored as we waited for our baggage to come up, I was trying to figure if some clue would tip me off, then one of the man-fans stepped up beside me. "Yo man, who was that dude you took that picture with?" I asked. "That's Will Solomon", he replied. "Will Solomon from the Raptors?" I said, amazed at myself for not recognizing him. I almost laughed out loud as one of my home team players had me stumped.
Two things surprised me: One, I clown Solomon every chance I get due to his ineffectiveness as a back up point guard and his penchant to shoot first and ask questions later. However he's never really on the court for more than 11 minutes a game which is why I probably didn't recognize him out of uniform. Secondly, why is an NBA player who makes over $700,000 a year doing the hour long drive from the T-Dot to the armpit of America at 7:00 AM? I mean I understand being fiscally responsible, but why not pay the extra $200 to fly out of Toronto? Unless maybe he's trying to duck haters like myself in Toronto.
Well in the spirit of the holidays, I didn't hate, just gave him a head nod and went about my merry way.
Today yours truly was a guest on the online radio show The NBA Breakdown, alongside my favourite hoopshead with three first names Peter Robert Casey. For the uninitiated, The NBA Breakdown is a weekly radio show on Blog Talk Radio hosted by Audley Stephenson and Dave Mendonca.
Kicking off in September of this year, it hasn't taken long for Audley and Dave to develop chemistry like Stockton and Malone and a playful and insightful rapport akin to Marv Albert and Mike Fratello. The vision for the show is a fun, high energy call-in basketball talk show which focuses on fantasy players, historical NBA moments and news from around the league through lively discussion. Today's episode didn't disappoint as it was effervescent, lively and a meeting of like minded basketball minds engaging on current issues and topics surrounding the league. There's no need for me to get into it, when you can just stream it online, but I will just let you know that a certain someone was victorious in the trivia challenge against Mendonca and Casey, *displays championship belt*.
The show has had a good panel of guests with former NBA players John Starks and Tracy Murray, SLAM Magazine Editor-In-Chief Ben Osborne, handle magazine Editor Brad Graham and former NBA guard and current Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson among others on the show. Definitely check it out, not only as I was on the show, but despite their jokester nature, they're highly knowledgeable in their basketball and have quite plainly and simply developed a great show that fulfills their mantra "It's hoops talk, the way it should be"
Do you have enough confidence to play for the kicks on your feet? Well it's only a Nike commercial but some Air Yeezy's, Kobe Zoom IV's, Penny's, and Air Force II Espo's plus a few more are up for grabs in a show no mercy game of Horse.
Sometimes I wonder how wild I would get if I fell into some money, not just some money, but NBA-superstar-money. We've all seen MTV Cribs, we know how the better half are living, but I'm not necessarily curious to see if I would change, but just doing weird/vain things with my home like my man Dwayne Wade.
I'm not sure if it makes it better, but D-Wade sold the house in 2007, I'm sure the current inhabitants must take time out each day and wonder why this man has a sketch bust of himself on the wall...
The other side of the game is Derrick Coleman, a former #1 draft pick and NBA stud. Coleman had the pro game, but possessed a YMCA attitude. Never realizing his potential, and never really seeming to care, despite his gifts, he was an All-Star once in his 15 season career. Ironically the same amount of appearances he made on you-know-your-career-is-over TV show Pros vs Joes.
Now it seems that Coleman has fallen on tough times, liquidators are selling off his assets at 75% off. Sherwood has been selected to handle the liquidation of the entire house of furniture and accessories from basketball star Derrick Coleman. All contents are in excellent condition and displayed at our warehouse for unbelievable savings.While I hardly have any insight on Coleman's finances, it always makes me wonder when I see NBA player's excess, cars, exorbitant homes, etc. The kind of stuff that takes some players from rags to riches and back again.
When I first saw the clip of George Bush under fire from an Iraqi journalists shoes, I couldn't stop laughing. I wanted to post it here, but it had no relevance to hoops, I mean they weren't even basketball sneakers.
But now that the Emmy Award winning crew at Inside the NBA decided to re-enact the global incident and it's even funnier. What's more is Charles and his real life aversion to hard bottom shoes, (he's known to wear sneakers with his suits behind the desk). Witness below.
So it would appear I'm on a mini promotional tour of sorts. You know how Tom Cruise is promoting his latest movie Valkyrie, and he's everywhere, TV shows, magazines, Bar Mitzvahs? Well I have the lite version of that, as by some scheduling happenstance, I'm doing television (Casino Rama Grill Room) and radio (The NBA Breakdown), within 4 days of each other, hardly a whirlwind tour, but lots of fun. What pray tell is it that I'm promoting? Nothing but my own humble opinion which I do each and every day right here.
Today was The Grill Room, alongside Gareth Wheeler, (the host), it was Glen Shiller from The Score, Sherman Hamilton from Raptors TV and myself. We talked a lot about the Raps, (Bosh and Bargs), as well as Tiger Woods and Brett Favre. I had a lot of fun, it was basically like talking sports with your friends, although no one is talking over you, and throw in some lights and cameras. I was a little nervous, but got a little better as it progressed, although I think I flubbed my money shot.
The topic came up about Kevin Mchale and his statement that bloggers have influence over general managers leading to a lot of coaches getting fired this season, (I'm paraphrasing, but I will get into this in it's own post, believe me). So as they posed the question to the resident blogger, I said it was pretty ridiculous, but if we did have that influence as I turned and looked into the camera, I said "Bryan Colangelo you have to make some trades." The only thing is, I turned and looked into the wrong camera. Insert the don't-quit-your-day-job jokes here.
Oh well, it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out, expect a follow-up post with video, where you can throw darts, knives and comedic comments. The irony is that I've been in television studios countless times, but it's a completely different experience in front of the camera.
The Casino Rama Grill room is on tonight at 11pm on Sun TV (EST). Next up radio...
I really have nothing good to say about the Toronto Raptors newest acquisition Jake Voskuhl. Actually, it's not really Jake's fault, he was likely sitting in a truckstop somewhere in middle America when Bryan Colangelo called him to offer a gig. Yet it's somewhat like Who Want's to be a Millionaire? When you make that lifeline call, it should definitely be to someone who can assist, not the person who is going to say, "Hmm, you're right, that is a tough question." The answer may lie in the You Tube clip below entitled Shawn Marion uses Jake Voskuhl as a toilet paper.
One of Colangelo's first brilliant moves when he came to Toronto was ridding ourselves of Rafael Araujo. With Voskuhl's arrival it's almost as bad as bringing Araujo him back.
Wilt Chamberlain's achievement of scoring 100 points in a game, will likely never be duplicated. But your bloggers favourite basketball blog has achieved a mini-milestone of sorts, as today is the 100th post on All Balls Don't Bounce. Really the genesis of this blog was some therapeutic self serving way to flex my hoops knowledge, not to get props or get on radio or TV shows, or in magazines. So to all of those that have commented or showed your support in any way, it has been greatly appreciated.
Sincerely, every time I want to just log out of my gmail and go to bed, I know that somebody, somewhere is actually curious about what I will write next.
Maybe it's because of his competitive spirit, his confidence that comes off as arrogance, or his all-consuming desire to be the best, but the world has a love-hate relationship with Kobe Bryant. With the launch of the new Zoom Kobe IV this week, many have felt that Bryant and Nike have read too many of their own press clippings by introducing a low cut signature basketball shoe.
But lest we forget that Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash have been rocking lows for some time now, and they're hardly lower tier players. Kobe is driven, I can see him in the Nike boardroom demanding "Everyone is wearing the Hyperdunk. I want my shoes to be the lightest sneaker you've ever made." He doesn't care about the aesthetic, as we've seen from his prior sneakers. He just wants to be the best, and any way he can get an on court advantage he will take it, the Zoom Kobe IV weighs 11.6 ounces.
Now they aren't horrid shoes, but I hardly think kids will be giving up their Jordans to rock these with their denim. According to analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource, fashion basketball is a $2 billion business, while performance basketball is a $500 million business. Furthermore, Nike owns 98% of the fashion market space, which Jordan Brand dominates at 87%, Nike is at 10% and Converse is at 1%.
While the Air Jordan campaign begged "Is it the shoes?" Kobe guarantees the IV will improve your performance. "The shoe will make you run faster, and jump higher because it doesn't weigh that much. It's simple math." Nike employs the Flywire technology that was used in the Hyperdunk with a Zoom Air unit in the heel and Lunarlite in the forefoot. If the Kobe IV is going to perform like a smaller and lighter Hyperdunk, expect it to be a popular pick amongst serious ballers. China will get first dibs on the Kobe IV on January 1st, with North America and Europe to follow in February 6th. There are going to be a number of exclusives and colourways, but he will be wearing them on the court for the first time this Tuesday against Miami.
Many make comparisons to Kobe's drive to win and that of Michael Jordan. While it's a worthwhile debate, the Air Jordan sneaker legacy versus any other shoe is not. But as often is the case with Kobe, he just really just wants the best sneaker to help him be the best, he doesn't really care about winning any popularity contests.
A co-worker walked up to my desk today, (*shakes fist at the open concept office*), and asked me "Howard, Ruffin or a D-Leaguer?" As I knew he was referring to the Toronto Raptors shortlist for stopgap interior options, my response was "No, no and no!" Why the hell are we even considering these guys? They will make zero impact on the squad and will be a complete waste of a roster spot. We already have borderline NBA players on our team, see Will Solomon and Hassan Adams.
The Raptors need players that will contribute and make a difference. Ironically, two players we severed ties with last season would fill gaping holes and fit the Raptors Euro-aesthetic. But would Colangelo swallow his pride and bring back Jorge Garbajosa and Carlos Delfino?
Garbajosa provides a bigger body that can rebound and defend, while Delfino is the slashing wing that we lack and also has the ability to handle some of the PG responsibilities. Because of the infamous World Championship incident, where Garbo insisted on playing for Spain before he was fully recovered and missed the season, Colangelo soured on the versatile bigman. While the prospect of going into the luxury tax and lack of consistent minutes is what allowed Delfino to go overseas. Ironically they're both playing for BC Khimiki in Russia, (along with former Raps Milt Palacio and Jerome Moiso), and getting paid handsomely. Regardless based on their history, we know what they can contribute to the team.
The Raptors have the roster space, and they know that having both of these guys on their roster is a marked improvement over having Solomon and Adams. I'm not one to call for it often, but this one of those times where it's better to have euros than greenbacks in the line-up. With little or no trade material, just pick these two guys up and take the luxury tax hit. Apparently the Knicks are already looking at Delfino, who does have an out in his contract.
After falling under criticism of late (particularly here), this is a move for Bryan Colangelo that can make his team better without sacrificing anything except some $$$.
Kobe Bryant never one to accept anything less than perfection, defied conventional basketball wisdom when he unveiled the new Zoom Kobe IV today at Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California. Basically throwing all traditional basketball performance thinking out the window, his new signature sneaker is a low cut shoe.
Check out the sketch and photo below and expect a full story shortly.
This video doesn't really need any words, but I'll just take the words straight out of the You Tube description. "Chris reveals his man crush and sexual fantasies for his favorite basketball player, Gilbert Arenas."
Nineteen games into the 2008-2009 NBA season, we have already seen 4 NBA coaches relieved of their duties, and while there are likely several mitigating factors, poor performance is the bottom line. PJ Carlessimo, Eddie Jordan, Sam Mitchell and Randy Wittman all get to work on their golf form early. Likely to be joined soon by a couple of their colleagues as Memphis, Philadelphia, Sacramento and the Clippers are all off to shaky starts. What's more, there are a number of viable candidates still seeking employment with Avery Johnson, Flip Saunders, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Fratello on the open market.
What I find interesting in the NBA (and professional sports for that matter), is how the same coaches continue to get hired again and again. Almost like there is a big blue recycling bin of coaches, dispense with one and just close your eyes and reach back in to find another familiar face. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes a coach's dismissal is based on circumstance; a GM fielding a poor team, injuries to superstars or unachievable expectations. However, if the simple fact that the coach is inept or unable to communiate to their players, or just incapable of devising strategy then they should be fired and cast out of the recycling box. Plain and simple.
While there are some great veteran coaches in the ranks, there has to be room for the Eric Spoelstra's of the world (Miami). Riley gets kudos for stepping down, (even though he did Stan Van Gundy dirty by forcing him out so he could coach again). I'm just tired of seeing longtime coaches like Larry Brown getting another look in Charlotte. Particularly after the bronze medal squad at the Olympics and his Knicks debacle, I don't necessarily think he has the ear of the younger players. Not that Sam Vincent was an improvement either, but is it that difficult to find quality coaches for the NBA, or are GM's going to have to continue to keep taking in others trash?
Remember those entrepreneurial kids with the lemonade stand, confident, assertive and clever? That's Damon Weaver. The 10 year old KC local reporter has made an appeal to president-elect Barack Obama for an interview. Weaver has already interviewed Joe Biden, and is now looking to make Obama his homeboy as well.
Taking into account that basketball is Barack's favourite sport, he has tried to recruit Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion to provide an assist. The only condition is that they have to lose a game of one-on-one, so that Weaver can get his interview in Washington.
Well Sam Mitchell is no longer coaching the Raptors and longtime assistant, and fellow Canadian Jay Triano will be the interim coach. Personally, I think that more than just a coaching change is in order to get the Raptors past the first round but...
Well the good people from firesammitchell.com have a new focus of interest. Check out www.firejaytriano.com.
Today is the introduction of a new section to ABDB, it's called The 20 Second Timeout. It's basically a word association exercise game where you say the first thing that comes to mind, with some this-or-that selections thrown in to mix it up.
Basketball - Life Point guard - Leader Oak Hill – Basketball school Rome - Pasta Role Model - Allen Iverson New York – Bright lights NBA – A dream come true Terrence (Brandon's little brother) – The future Family - Everything
First Sneakers - Air Jordans
Gucci or Louis Vuitton? - Gucci Pistol Pete or Larry Bird? - Pistol Pasta or Burgers? - Pasta Lebron or Kobe? - Kobe Pass or shoot? - Pass X-Box 360 or PS3? - X-Box 360 Chris Paul or Deron Williams? - Chris Paul Zone or man-to-man? - Man-to-man Hightop fade or Gumby? - Hightopfade
On Friday December 19th #24, The Black Mamba, Kobe "Jellybean" Bryant will be dropping the new Zoom Kobe 4's against the Miami Heat. If you google hard enough you can see find some pics on the web, but your bloggers favourite blogger is going to be part of a media event on the 11th.
In 1994 the documentary Hoop Dreams came out and easily became the best hoops documentary ever made, to some it was the best documentary period. It told the story of two Chicago high school basketball players, Arthur Agee and William Gates, pursuing their dream to make it to the NBA. If you haven't seen it (shame on you), or if your memory is rusty, here's the trailer, there is also a Criterion version on DVD.
As a young man with fantasies of being a professional baller, it definitely hit home, but it touched many with the personal story of these two young men, their families, their desire and their struggle. The filmmakers did an excellent job of letting the story tell itself.
Prior to tip off last night I was chatting with my man Chris O'Leary from SLAM Online, while we went off about our business watching the game and other things, we would intermittently get our Statler and Waldorf on, quasi live blogging the game.
me:so how do you think we're going to do?
Chris:i could be totally wrong
but this game has a feel to it that the one VC had in LA against the Lakers like 5 years ago
kind of his coming out party
or part of it
me: yeah, if jose can pick up his shooting, i think we can do ok
Chris: i think they'll lose without JO
me: i have no idea who this guy is going around masquerading as joey graham though
Chris: whoever he is, keep bad joey locked up in the broom closet at the ACC
me:so far so good though, (at the end of the 1st quarter 32-29 Lakers)
Chris:bargnani seems better this year
all around better
me:agreed, more aggressive, bigger and confident
wow jamario dunked its been a while
Chris:better defensively too
lots of blocked shots lately
me: joey graham is back
Chris: old bad joey?
me:i'd rather have steven graham right about now
me:lol, superstar billy graham
Chris:hahaha, i love the wrestling references
Chris:this is not good
in any way
me:this score does not reflect what happened tonight
Chris:it reflects that the Lakers just waited until the fourth to put them away
I would say those were the highlights, but as I said it was here and there, however I did find some time to stop by the liveblog at Raptors Republic too and was entertained.
The Raps didn't give up and stayed in it trailing 90-81 through the first three quarters, every time they would make a run, the Lakers would bitchslap them and remind them they're the best team in the league. Which is exactly what they did in the fourth quarter and ended the game early. The Lakers are in another zone right now, Ariza and Bynum are the difference along with Kobe's continued confidence in his teammates, they killed the Raps on the fast break tonight.
Looking to the positives, I liked the fact Jose didn't do the usual soft Euro player back down when Fisher tried to get at him tonight. Everyone played well, they just didn't play good enough really. When the game was long over even Hassan Adams got some PT and a bucket, but the end of the Raps bench made the last 4 minutes of the game horrible to watch, almost as horrible as watching this.
The million dollar question is, where is Chris Bosh in the big games? He is playing like the Most Valuable Player of the league so far this season, but he's been conspicuously absent in the games against last years NBA finalists. If the Raptors don't have him through 82 games and some solid support from his teammates, it's going to be another first round exit, and maybe even an exit in 2010.