Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bruce Bowen... Inspiring America's Youth.

Bruce Bowen is easily the dirtiest basketball player alive, I must have missed his edition of the Better Basketball videos, but apparently this little tyke hasn't. Playing around during a shoot for the new fan issue of EPSN Magazine, Kobe dribbles a soccer ball with the little guy, frustrated he can't get the ball from him, he throws a jab at his mamba, (check thee 50 second mark)!

Somewhere in a dark cave in San Antonio, Texas, Bowen is rubbing his hands and smiling with glee.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Complete And Utter Randomness Part 3.

Really no justification for this, and it has absolutely nothing to do with basketball. Maybe it was watching Villanueva (sans eyebrows), scorch the Raptors tonight. I just enjoyed it, so sue me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Think Pink: Nike Salutes Kay Yow.

Under the pressure of crazy deadlines, I'm reposting my man MaZe from Kix And The City's post on First Cuts about the loss of Kay Yow and the WBCA Cancer Think Pack.

The basketball world lost a legend over the weekend. North Carolina State's Kay Yow, a member of the Hall of Fame, died at age 66 on Saturday, succumbing to the breast cancer that she so valiantly fought against for over two decades.

Though many would consider cancer a curse, Yow instead looked at the disease as an opportunity to help women around the world with the same problem. Yow, with the help of the Jimmy V Foundation, established her own cancer fund, the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund, with the hopes of raising money to help find an answer to breast cancer.

Though she is no longer with us, she will always be remembered through the Kay Yow Court at N.C. State, in the basketball Hall of Fame, and in the hearts of those she touched. Prior to Yow's passing, Nike planned to release a Think Pink Pack of Nike Basketball sneakers to help support the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund and help raise breast cancer awareness. The Think Pink Pack features a Pink/White Nike Hyperdunk and a White/Pink Nike Blue Chip Low. Both sneakers feature the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund logo on the tongue. The release of the sneakers will coincide with several women's basketball teams wearing Pink versions of their uniform on the court this February.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Return Of The Running Man.

So yours truly did a little something for the folks over at AOL Sports Canada today, check it out. Since they wouldn't let me post YouTube videos and stuff about sneakers, I actually had to write something! I'm waxing poetic on the Toronto Raptors, Chris Bosh and his impending free agency. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Exhibition Of An Icon: The Air Force 1.

I used to be a crazy sneaker head, shopping, collecting, had to have, etc., now I'm just sneaker-selective. While my love affair with the Nike Air Force 1 was brief, there is something in that New York water that has those guys down there going nutty. Playmakers TV & Miss Info have the lowdown on what went on at the Air Force 1 Exhibition at Niketown NYC. Serious collectors, serious heat.

Peep my man Maze from Kix And The City in the clip.

Couldn't Have Happened To A Nicer Guy: Michael Redd Out For The Season.

On Sunday, tests revealed that Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd tore ligaments in both his ACL and MCL finishing his NBA season. "I'm deeply disappointed but everything in life happens for a reason and this is God's plan for me," Redd said in a statement issued by the team. "I have faith in my teammates and coaches to continue to work together to make our fans proud. I will be supporting them wholeheartedly from the sidelines and working equally hard to return to the court in the best condition possible for next season."

As Redd was injured previously during the season it comes as a major disappointment to him and the Bucks, who at present are in 8th place in the Eastern conference. I sat down with members of the USA Basketball team last summer for 6 AM interviews after they flew in from Las Vegas the night before, and Redd's kindness stood out like a bad Craig Sager suit. He was head and shoulders the nicest and classiest guy on the squad, especially considering the circumstances. He treated me like a long lost brother, and his sincerity came across in everything he said and did. Here's some of what he had to say.

Would the gold medal be a career highlight?

I think even if I do win an NBA championship it would still not supersede a gold medal since you’re representing your country.

What do you want to take back to the Bucks from this experience?

The mentality of not settling for just making the playoffs, not just settling to be just good, but wanting to be great. That’s our philosophy for the Olympic team and that’s what I want to translate to the Milwaukee Bucks this year

What can people expect from the in Bucks 2009?

Our goal is to win a championship, that’s the tone we want to set in the summer as far as winning. Not settling for not being in the playoffs anymore and not winning at all. I’m excited for next year, I’m sure there are still some more moves that are going to be made this summer, but we definitely want to get better.

On dealing withe trade rumours...
You don’t worry about it all, you can’t control it. All you can do is just continue to get better as an individual and if the trade does happen, you did the best you could with that team when you could, and then it’s on to a new chapter.

Here's to wishing Michael Redd a speedy recovery.

Photo courtesy of Craig Boyko for Peace Magazine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Delusions Of Grandeur.

Tonight the Toronto Raptors look to end their seven game losing skid.
Some people looking long range, beyond this this dark patch have some designs on the post-season. I think it's more important we take stock and look at what sits in front of us.

In the immortal words of Tony Montana, "Say hello to my little friend" (Jim Mora).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If You Go Into The Stands Today, You're Sure Of A Big Surprise.

After the Malice at the Palace in Detroit, starring Ron Artest, many fans re-evaluated how they interacted with NBA players when at games. Of course paying your hard earned money, or your company's money, allows you the right to sit, watch, enjoy or heckle whomever you wish... within reason. Nowadays players are very aware of the repercussions of entering the stands, it's pretty much a non-issue.

Conversely, fans know it's a no-no to venture on to the court, especially with the intentions of touching a player or maybe more. Like A) walking on to the basketball court to confront an official, or B) Attempting to apply a belly-to-belly suplex on a player that's trying to make a save on the ball... even if he is not a member of the team you're rooting for.

Note to NCAA, If you're not going to break off your student athletes with some of that TV money, the least you could do is insure there is adequate security for their safety. Just a thought.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Side Hustles: What's In Your NBA Player's Portfolio?

Lots of NBA players are entrepreneurs nowadays, forming businesses and partnerships to re-invest their finances. After all how many Maybach's can a man own? While some have done the record label thing, a few have gone the filmmaking route, Carmelo Anthony and Elton Brand included. One player who definitely has been known for his Hollywood friends, (Cash Warren & Jessica Alba), is Baron Davis, who recently started his own production company Verso Entertainment. Davis is one of the producers of a new documentary entitled Crips and Bloods: Made In America.

Crips and Bloods is directed by critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta (yes the same from Powell & Peralta if you're on your skate game), and narrated by Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker. The film description states:
Combining unprecedented access into the worlds of active gangs, Crips and Bloods offers a compelling, character-driven documentary narrative which chronicles the decades-long cycle of destruction and despair that defines modern gang culture.
Davis had this to say, “When sitting down with Stacy, I could see an erupting energy and passion to make a statement in life. We shared a vision of creating social change within our Los Angeles community. Through his filmmaking he has created a path of reason to engage all into helping one another, something that is most needed in our society.”

The film was an official selection at 6 different film festivals including Sundance and it's been shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. It will open in New York at the IFC Theater on January 23rd and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Sunset 5 on February 6th.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Want To Call Your Own Game? Now You Can.

Matt Devlin drives me nuts, but his Will Solomon call on this particular play is a gem.

When Raptors play-by-play man Chuck Swirsky left last season, I know you were thinking that you could do a better job, and this was your chance, but they hired Matt Devlin instead. While most of us aren't truly ever happy with how games are called and some analysts should be put out to pasture, (see Billy Packer), web 2.0 has made up for it. With the ability to Twitter games, or even discuss in chatrooms or a liveblog, we have all been able to put our own personal signature on sporting events.

Now, Yoostar, a software company that established itself enabling users to insert themselves into famous movie clips via camera, software and green screen, has now announced a deal with the NBA. They will be offering game footage from the final minutes of memorable games from NBA teams as well as select top picks from NBA Drafts.

Want to make the play-by-play call when Jordan shoves Byron Russell? No problem.
Want to announce Sam Bowie as the #1 draft pick overall, over Michael Jordan? No problem.

Of course you have to pay for the system, ($149.95 Suggested retail price US), and pay to download content, but as we have seen, technology has a crazy way of circumventing some of these things. Or you can just splice your audio to any video highlight you want, not like it hasn't been done before. If you're tired of hearing "Killer B's" on Raptors telecasts, here's your quick fix.

With thanks to Sports Rubbish for the lead.


So the NBA got all "interactive" this year with a fan vote for the last competitor in the NBA Slam Dunk contest. While the campaign was cute, I always questioned the highlights they used to showcase Fernandez, Joe Alexander and Russell Westbrook, really nothing spectacular. Granted they're all rookies, so their highlights may have been somewhat limited, (especially since Joe rarely gets burn).

However the clip above was seen by millions, and the newest Spaniard on the block will be competing in the Dunk Off this year, as voted by the people. If this wasn't a North American geo-targeted vote, the other guys were doomed from the start. I like Rudy, but I think his ability to dunk on people is his strong suit, and he won't have that luxury. Creativity is the key, not saying it's in question, but Dwight Howard has the market cornered right now, and he's my pick to take it, (again).

My vote was for Russell Westbrook, I like short guys not named Nate Robinson.

With compliments to The Oregonian.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Marion & Banks-for-O'Neal plus one more?

Well as everyone has discussed the rumoured Jermaine O'Neal for Shawn Marion trade, I've decided to throw my two cents in. Due to on court chemistry with Bargnani and Bosh the experiment isn't working and while I like what JO brings (when he's healthy), it comes at a costly expense. As the aforementioned duo are the Raptors future, something's got to give.

I like this proposed trade for Toronto. While I understand the Raptors' need for size, defense and toughness hence the move for O'Neal, I was a fan of the rumoured TJ Ford for Gerald Wallace trade in the offseason, as we also needed a slasher that can rebound and defend. Since we're not going to make the playoffs anyway, we don't need to worry about having some interior size and toughness. We can slide Jamario and Joey back to the bench where they are more effective, and Marion will likely lead the team in rebounding, and become our defensive stopper.

Now for the other parts of the trade; as Marcus Banks is one of two players on the Heat's books past the infamous 2010, Riley will want to get rid of the journeyman point guard. Banks is an improvement over Will Solomon, and I say that with confidence as anyone is an improvement over Will Solomon.

However, here's the kicker... we need to get Joel Anthony in the trade. Not only because he rebounds, blocks shots, bangs and he's Canadian, but we've given up our best big man and still need a presence to compliment Bosh & Bargnani. Jake Voskhul and Kris Humphries are not going to do it for us, it's really just that simple.

You're thinking, "Why would Miami give up their starting centre when they're picking up injury riddled Jermaine O'Neal?" Because they already have big bodies in Udonis Haslem, Jamaal Magloire, Mark Blount and are awaiting the return of the heart or kidney, of the franchise Alonzo Mourning. Plus, Anthony's contract is negligible ($711,517), and comes off of the books this season, so it's not like the Heat are holding it to clear space. Unfortunately, the same can be said for Magloire, as he has a similar situation in terms of years and contract, ($797.581), but far less attractive in the production department. I'm sure Riley would like to throw Magloire in as the boobie prize.

Regardless the trade may not even happen, but the conjecture is always fun.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

YouTube HD & The Air Jordan 2009.

Not trying to give the AJ 2009 super duper love, but came across this viral video for the new shoe. Personally, the shoe appears to look better in the video than the pics, but more importantly have you checked out YouTube HD? You actually have to watch it on YouTube itself, but the quality is dramatically different. I mean Vimeo has been doing HD for a minute now, but this is impressive.

I'm just sayin'.

Lucy Liu, The Lakers and Rookie Lies.

This isn't a new story, but it is new to me. It's more like a rookie prank, than rookie hazing. But when you start sounding off to the veterans on your team that Lucy Liu wants you. Don't expect people to sit by idly and indulge you.

The story goes like this...

In 2004-05, actress Lucy Liu was sitting in the front row at the Staples Center and Lakers rookie Tony Bobbitt fibbed to teammates that he knew Liu and she was looking his way.

Lakers veterans, spearheaded by Vlade Divac and Devean George, sprang into action. They had a ballboy bring a note to Bobbitt with a cell phone number that was said to be Liu's but really was Divac's.

A female Lakers employee recorded an outgoing message on Divac's phone. It wasn't long before Bobbitt was leaving voice and text messages for Liu.

Lakers players howled with laughter while reading Bobbitt's attempts at poetry. Messages were sent back that Bobbitt thought were from Liu.

"The whole team got involved," George said. "He said he went on a date with her, and we knew he didn't because it was Vlade's phone he was calling and texting." Soon, the veterans moved in for the kill. They sent a limousine to take Bobbitt to a restaurant, with Bobbitt thinking it had been sent by Liu for a meeting.

Hidden cameras recorded the entire episode. But while Bobbitt waited at a table with a bottle of champagne for his dream girl, Lakers teammates instead arrived.

"We jumped out, and he said, 'She's coming,' " George said. "We said, 'Quit lying.' It started as a small prank and grew since he had kept lying for three or four weeks. We got the whole thing on DVDs. When guys on other teams came through, they'd say, 'You got one of those DVDs?' We called it 'Bobbitt Gone Wild.' "

As it turned out, that was all Bobbitt was known for in his NBA career. He was waived in November 2004 after playing just two games and never was seen again.

This fine nugget of information was mined from the Rocky Mountain News.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kobe Bryant on a H-O-R-S-E.

The viral video. Sometimes they hit big, sometimes they flop hard. If this was 30 seconds shorter, it would have been classic. However, Kobe pedaling his ankle breaking insurance on an outdoor court... sitting atop a horse!?! Sorry, that's still jokes to me. It's somewhat ironic he's selling ankle insurance for such a low cut shoe, the Zoom Kobe IV, yet it's been a while since Kobe himself has broken anyone's ankles,(crash test dummy crossover victims excluded).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Sneakers Are Like Soda-Pop.

Remember when the diet craze happened with soda, (or pop, depending on which side of the border you lie on)? Everything was diet or sugar free, and there were like 10 different versions of Coca-Cola, each outdoing the first, Caffeine Free Coke, Diet Coke, Sugar Free Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke Plus, etc. It was like they were just frantically developing a new product, better than the one prior that you just had to have to help you lose that weight.

Now Nike continues to keep figuring out how to make the lightest shoe ever... again and again. Last year, it was the Hyperdunk, recently, it was the new Kobe Zoom IV, now it's the new Nike Hyperlite. it's the the lightest shoe ever... no really this time. Courtesy of your folks over at Kix and the City, is the lowdown and detailed looks on the new Nike Hyperlite.

Utilizing lighter Flywire panel material and a lower profile sole has allowed them to drop some ounces and they've also incorporated Zoom Air in the heel and Lunar foam in the forefoot, (like the Zoom Kobe IV). Obviously technology is key, as it hasn't taken them long to figure out how to reduce the weight yet again, the Hyperlite is slated for a late summer/fall release. I'm sure by Christmas they'll have a Nike Uberlite, in the quest to get quicker lighter and shed those extra ounces.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The All (Active) Ex-Raptors Team.

Watching the Spurs vs Magic game last night, I noticed that San Antonio has two former Raptors in their starting line-up, (Matt Bonner and Roger Mason Jr). Of course players move for a myriad of reasons, salaries, chemistry, redundancy, free agency, what have you. While we've all mused about all of the great players that have ever worn our favourtite team's uniform, how would a squad of current ex's fare against your squad's starting 5?

Here's a list of former Raptors players and their respective teams:

Lindsey Hunter, Chicago Bulls
Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets
Rafer Alston, Houston Rockets
Tracy Mcgrady, Houston Rockets
Maceo Baston, Indiana Pacers
TJ Ford, Indiana Pacers
Rasho Nesterovic, Indiana Pacers
Marcus Camby, LA Clippers
Brian Skinner, LA Clippers
Fred Jones, LA Clippers
Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks
Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
Sean Marks, New Orleans Hornets
Morris Peterson, New Orleans Hornets
Donyell Marshall, Philadelphia 76ers
Juan Dixon, Washington Wizards
Mike James, Washington Wizards

My choice for a starting 5 from the cast-offs?
Chauncey Billups - PG
Vince Carter - SG
Tracy Mcgrady - SG/SF
Marcus Camby - PF
Rasho Nesterovic - C

Personally, I like the ex's chances, especially at the PG/SG/SF positions. More importantly, wouldn't you love to have some of these guys on the Raptors bench right now?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just A Friendly Game Of Basketball: Featuring the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

If it's one thing North American basketball fans have learned, it's that fans on the other side of the Atlantic are ten times more passionate and ten times as loyal. Known to sing songs throughout the game, heckle and even throw foreign objects, the professional basketball environment in Turkey took passion to a whole new level earlier this week.

With the recent invasion of Gaza by the Israeli military, Turkish fans turned up to jeer and protest the visiting Israeli squad Bnei Hasharon. Their passion didn't lie solely in support of hometown team Turk Telecom, but also in support of the civilians of Gaza who are bearing the brunt of the military attacks.

The game never even got a chance to get underway as the fans in the arena sent a barrage of shoes and coins at the visiting team during warm-ups. If not for the awareness of the Turkish police, the scene could have been much uglier as over 2,000 fans tried to rush onto the court. As local authorities held back the crowd the Bnei Hasharon team rushed back to their dressing room post haste. Meir Tapiro, Bnei Hasharon’s captain, described it as a "hunting scene, they wanted to hurt us."

After 1,000 policemen had cleared the hall, in a dark twist of the spirit of sport, the referees wanted to restart the game. The visitors refused, which meant an automatic defeat for the Israelis. Tapiro then spoke to someone from the Israeli embassy, “They told us that we should leave the country as soon as possible.” I'm wondering if the embassy was referring to leaving Turkey or Palestine?

For another perspective from one of my favourite journalists check out Dave Zirin's Edge of Sports story.

The Air Jordan 2009.

So there was a big event in New York this week that I wasn't invited to. It was the launch of the new Jordan shoe, the Air Jordan 2009. This isn't another team shoe, this is the flagship of the Jordan line. The last one was the XX3 (23), for a fitting reason, Jordan Brand will name subsequent Jordan's under the year of release.

I haven't been moved by the new Jordans of late as I'm partial to J's I-V, however the '09's actually look like a half decent performance shoe. I spotted them on Joe Johnson over the holidays in Atlanta, but couldn't quite make out what they were. Truthfully, I'm more surprised at the fact that Jordan Brand have finally signed their first female athlete in their 10+ years of existence. Paralympian, April Holmes (above), is a track and field athlete and the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400-meter races, I guess once they dumped Warren Sapp they figured they had an extra space on the roster.

Back to the shoes, the AJ 2009 wasn't designed by Tinker Hatfield, but by Jordan Brand's Senior footwear designer Jason Mayden. This time the shoe employs another "new, innovative technology" called Articulated Propulsion Technology, which is the carbon fiber prosthetic running technology used by paralympians, which allows for explosive forward movements. This all ties into the inspiration of the shoe... the sport of Fencing, where quick attacks, parries and defensive movements are key, much like basketball.

However all of that means nothing for the majority of people who will be purchasing the shoe for casual wear, all will be happy with the AJ 2009's clean aesthetics, there will be an exclusive limited release of the AJ 2009 on January 31st, with a wide release to follow for All-Star weekend on February 14th.

For a thorough fix by someone who was at the event, check out Kix and the City's coverage.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dennis Rodman Sinks To New Depths.

Dennis Rodman is one the best rebounders in the history of basketball without question. Unfortunately he's also one of basketball's certified nutbars, which has been well documented. Tattoos and dyed hair aside, Rodman has been an excellent shock doctor in dire need of attention with his tell-all books, bouts with depression, excessive partying, painted nails, and wedding dresses. Conversely, how many people can say they've had their own reality show, wrestled alongside Hulk Hogan and messed around with Madonna and Carmen Electra?

Despite his 5 NBA Championship rings, 7 time NBA All-Defensive First Team and 2 NBA Defensive Player of the Year selections, 2 NBA All-Star appearances and 7 consecutive years as the NBA Rebounding Champion, he's still hasn't figured out that he was born to play ball and not be an actor. You only need look at his resume making completely forgettable films like Cutaway, Simon Sez and Double Team alongside Jean Claude Van Damme.

He's now figured out another way to waste two hours of your life. In a true stretch of his acting skills, he plays a basketball player on a team with 4 "vertically challenged" teammates in The Minis. Nuff said.

I'm amazed that people don't tire of The Worm's post basketball career, I certainly have.

No No Delfino.

With the recent reports of Bryan Colangelo exploring bringing back Carlos Delfino to fill the Raptors needs, maybe he read my post suggesting it last year? Well while it sounds like the ideal fix, apparently the likelihood of him leaving Russia for the balmy climes of Toronto are slim.

Apparently, Delfino isn't quite ready to jump ship yet. A top international scout and a person directly involved in NBA front-office dealings -- said Delfino is integral to Khimki BC's plans and loyal to its coach. Essentially, Delfino is committed to the team for the rest of the season and will re-evaluate his options afterward. I can think of one thing that would have the Argentinian set in staying aside from money, and that's playing time, one thing he wasn't getting consistently in Toronto.

I'm assuming that Colangelo isn't even interested in my second suggestion of Garbajosa, who can fill some rebounding needs and provide that energy and defense we lack, but one out of two ain't bad.

Thanks for CBS Sportsline for the info.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Raptors Post-Game Report: Doug Smith Channels His Inner LL Cool J.

I actually don't mind Doug Smith from The Star, so this is more clowning than hating. But for real, he licked his lips FOUR times in 60 seconds, I couldn't help but notice, so I counted. He could have possibly gone for a fifth if they didn't cut away to that stellar shot at the end of the ACC parking lot. Somebody get this man a drink.

Oh and kudos to the Raps for beating the Magic, one of the better teams in the east. Now they have to prove they can play at this level more consistently, (that means you Bargnani).

Delonte West Uncut... Unreal!

With 2009 only four days underway, I can confidently say you are about to see the best and most entertaining video you will see all year. As it's definitely old, back when Delonte was playing on the Celtics, I'm amazed I haven't seen this before. So I'm late to the party, but now I'm inviting all of my friends.

There are too many highlights for me to point out, but I'll share the one he ended the segment with:
Who would I be for one day? It got to be Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny is the smoothest dude I ever met. I mean I ain't meet him, but I did meet him once. But you wouldn't even believe me if I told you. I swe.. I swear, my mother be... when I told her the story she told me I was dreaming whatever but I met... that's another story. Bugs Bunny cause he be chillin’ like it just be a normal day and he... it be cold just like how it is in Boston and he just want to dive in the ground, pop up, he be like 'Oh man this ain’t Albuquerque.' ...That's got to be the tightest life you just hop underneath the ground and go. No traffic, no Mass pike, no tolls, no lights, no taking Yankee hats off, just underneath the ground. Bam. Carrots. Albuquerque. ...I want to be Bugs Bunny, I would pay to be Bugs Bunny for one day.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, so now that you've watched that, you can fully appreciate Delonte and hear that Adam Sandler Waterboy drawl as he breaks down his ideal Valentine's Day date for ESPN's Page 2.

I found this gem, courtesy of my new favourite blog Club Trillion. Titus for Secretary of Defense.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What's G?

My money says a new campaign for Gatorade. Not sure if I'm more amazed they have Lil Wayne doing the voice over or that they have Murs rapping in the viral spots. Meanwhile if my man Darren Rovell from CNBC Sportsbiz is correct, and he happens to know more than a thing or two about Gatorade, (he wrote a book on the story of the sports drink), then our friends at Pepsi may be taking a risky step.

And am I the only one that finds Dwayne Wade's incessant smiling a little unnerving?