Archive for NBA

When New York Teams Get Desperate

New York City is known as the city that never sleeps – and full of extremely harsh critics. So if you play for a professional team in the Big Apple, expect no pity from fans and the media alike. With the mentality of aiming to live up to the the expectations of others, New York teams have took drastic measures to bulk up their teams by adding players that either makes the group better – or worse. Let’s take a little closer look at some of the failed deals these past 5 years.

NY Yankees. The team recently traded for OF Vernon Wells, who’s an All-Star, about 5+ years ago. The team’s age average falls in the mid-30s and soon enough, these players will retire. A bad and desperate move on the Yankees part. Think A-Rod, the highest paid player who is currently on contract with the team, le sigh. But with the most money, they are constantly known as the evil empire.

NY Mets. This National League team hasn’t done amazing this past decade. They last made the World Series in 2000 when the Yankees beat them and haven’t made much impact since then. They’ve had Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Jose Reyes, etc – which played on an All-Star level, but not big enough to help the team garner another championship title.

NY Jets. Two words. Tim Tebow. Many people already knew this was a bad idea especially when they had Mark Sanchez and Tebow compete for the starting spot, and of course, Sanchez would take it for seniority reasons. Tebow played a few minutes, something he was not used to, causing a non-cohesive chemistry between teammates, coaches, and management. And they didn’t make the playoffs. It’s surprising to see that Rex Ryan is still the team’s head coach.

NY Knicks. This team has gone through a wild roller coaster for the past decade, and they are slowly regaining natural, competitive form. But remember when players such as Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Mike Bibby, Zach Randolph, etc. played for the Knicks at one point during those ten years? Sad to say, but their big bucks went to waste as the players did not perform up to superstar expectations. Let’s hope this does not happen again though.

NJ/Brooklyn Nets. They once the “team to beat,” but suddenly has lost that. With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson on the roster, many people thought they’d maintain that winning status. But rumors have circulate that D-Will’s constant bad behavior has caused strain with the coaches. Will they succumb to a curse?

Despite some flaws and little bumps along the way, these teams have had a fair share of successes. Every move made can be unpredictable and the result can differ with each team. It all takes a good bet and strategy for deals to play out the right way.

 

Meet Superstar Athletes & Their Equally Famous Other Half

To be married to a famous athlete is one thing, but to be equally famous as your half is a whole, different story. Athletes may have created a name for themselves through natural talent, hard work, and commitment, but what happens when the athletes mingle with celebrities of the same level of fame. The result is a dynamic duo, constantly bombarded with flocks of media and attention. Here are some notable pairs.

David Beckham & Victoria Adams. This international famous couple have been married for years – a significant feat rarely accomplished in their respective worlds. After almost two decades of marital bliss, having four children together, dodging tabloid rumors, and dealing with flocks of paparazzi, the twosome remain intact together and also continue to succeed in their respective careers.

David victoria beckham 300x199 Meet Superstar Athletes & Their Equally Famous Other Half

Tom Brady & Gisele BunchenThe QB always get the girl, and this couple is a true example of that common testament. The pair secretly dated and married in 2009, and have been going stronger since then. Together, they have two children and have been mainly living low-key in Brady’s city of Boston. Not going to lie, they make quite the beautiful couple.

Justin Verlander & Kate Upton. He’s the premier baseball pro. She’s the ‘It’ girl and model, of the moment. And together, they make a head-turning couple. Dating since 2012, the relatively new couple have kept it surprisingly quiet, in terms of flaunting their status as a couple. A humble duo tends to stay together in the long haul, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this couple does that. 

Gerard Pique & Shakira. Despite their ten year age difference (she’s 36, he’s 26), the soccer star and Latina songstress has showed time and time that age is nothing but a number. Dating for just a little over a year, Shakira recently gave birth to the couple’s first child and plan on getting married later this year. “Felicitaciones” are in order.

gerard pique shakira 300x201 Meet Superstar Athletes & Their Equally Famous Other Half

Mike Fisher & Carrie Underwood. The country star married her hockey hubby back in 2010 and have been going strong year by year. During an interview last year, she even shared that her husband is the epitome of a true gentleman, holding her purse when necessary. Lads, a gentleman always keeps a woman’s heart. Take notes.

Andy Roddick & Brooklyn Decker. After Mandy Moore, retired tennis player Andy asked his agent to track down Brooklyn’s phone number, and the rest was history. The two married in a quiet ceremony in Austin in 2009. Both have been supportive of each other’s careers, appearing on the sidelines. Her at Andy’s tennis matches and him at her runway shows. Support is a vital ingredient in a successful marriage and these two lovebirds exemplify
that quality in a relationship.

Lamar Odom & Khloe Kardashian. Less than a month of dating, these two tied the knot, and many people bet it wouldn’t last. But both proved everyone wrong. Married for more than two years, she has shown support of his basketball career and he has dealt with the madness and drama that comes with the Kardashian name. 

lamar odom khloe Meet Superstar Athletes & Their Equally Famous Other Half

Dunk Contest 2012 – NBA All-Star Weekend, A History

As promised, below is an article I wrote last year about the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest 2012. This is non-conclusive, and importantly does not include this year’s dunks. However, I firmly believe all these points should stand as is, making stronger my bottom line. KEEP IT SIMPLE, NAIL THE DUNK. Everyone is sick of bench players jumping over each other to hit the basket hard. We see that in games now — perhaps overdone at this point; players would rather jump over the defense then dribble around.

So, read what’s below. I think you’ll find it rather enlightening and extremely frustrating. Especially since I wrote this last year, and we are sans change.

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend Jeremy Evans, winner of the Slam Dunk Contest 2012. His dunk was cool and rather impressive. I don’t blame him for attempting to wow the crowd. But he was 3 props too many in my book.

pb 120225 evans cannon 300x211 Dunk Contest 2012   NBA All Star Weekend, A History

Jeremy Evans Slam Dunk - Video of the win, Slam Dunk Contest 2012

Props to the Dunk Without A Prop

 

Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin cleared the front hood of a car, with the support of an on-court gospel choir, to secure the win in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk contest.  To say the least, the performance was excessive and made a spectacle of Hollywood flair in the L.A. Staples Center.

This year’s All-Star extremities forces the question: what happened to the years when a spectacular Slam Dunk performance required only three essential props: a ball, the basket and the athlete.

On Saturday, Griffin took the NBA “No Rules” contest to new extremes.  The incorporation of a 2011 Kia Optima into his final dunk made it nearly impossible for runner-up JaVale McGee to win the votes of fans across the country.

“You bring a car out, you’re going to win any dunk contest,” Washington’s McGee told The Washington Post.  “It was smart by his part… nothing is going to beat a car unless I bring out a plane or something.”  True enough, with all the excitement, Griffin won with 68 percent of fan voting in the final round.

Blake Griffin Jumps Over Hood of Car 256x300 Dunk Contest 2012   NBA All Star Weekend, A History

However, McGee should not be excused from steering clear of Hollywood hype.  Just because he didn’t have the car, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have dunked it had he had the chance.

Seven-foot McGee opened the competition, receiving a perfect score of 50, after bringing out a second rim to sink two balls as part of a double-basket-dunk.  The basket might have been the one to take Larry Nance’s 1984 two-for-one special to the next level, until he performed his second dunk of the evening.

McGee’s mother, former WNBA player Pam McGee, delivered JaVale a red, white and blue money-ball from the stands in a glitter-encrusted box.  Pam kissed each of the judges on the cheek before JaVale juggled three basketballs for a “three-for-one” special dunk.

So, to pose the question again, what happened to good ol’ fashioned Slam Dunking?  You know, the days when an NBA All-Star qualified as Superman by flying from the free throw line for the winning dunk.

This year, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka was slighted when he did not advance to the final round after he dunked with his foot fully behind the foul line – a distance dunk that Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Michael Jordan never fully reached. Dr. J’s foot was just ahead of the foul line, and he still won the ABA Slam Dunk Contest in 1976.  Jordan scored a 50 on his dunk; he leaped from the foul line, for the 1988 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest win.

There were no props, no Superman capes (Dwight Howard, 2008), no Gospel ensembles and certainly no $19,000 cars.

Ibaka, also not to be excused from the fanfare of a prop-assisted performance attempted a more “showy” dunk for the second round.

Ibaka’s second dunk this year consisted of a contrived performance: a child actor ran onto the court, or stage rather, exclaiming he had lost his toy, and petitioned for Ibaka to retrieve it for him.  The stuffed animal sat on the rim of the basket.

However, Ibaka required two attempts to rescue the animal, as the trick was to grab it with his teeth upon the dunk.  The clock was stopped for two minutes in between the attempted dunks, in order for the court crew to re-set the toy onto the rim.

When it comes to the Slam Dunk contest, an All-Star competition created for the purpose of seeing an All-Star performance, how much is too much?  If a two-ball dunk can become a three-ball dunk, and a one-basket dunk can become a two-basket dunk, can talent be replaced by fireworks?

If in the first-ever 1984 NBA dunk contest, the winning dunk by Phoenix’s Larry Nance was a reverse one-handed windmill, what does that say about the crowd’s expectations today?

In 2008, Dunk champion Dwight Howard won the tournament after declaring himself Superman by tying a red cape around his neck – only for him to bring a telephone booth and second basket onto the court in 2009.  Upon his second superman transformation, Howard dunked into a rim heightened to 12 feet, and came out as runner-up.

Nate Robinson, three-time NBA dunking champion, made Howard his own prop and dunked over him for the winning performance in 2009.  Even Robinson’s skyscraper basket couldn’t make him a back-to-back dunk star.

Perhaps, in order to stabilize the spiraling All-Star dunk competition, the NBA should lower the rims to ten feet and lower the fans and judges’ expectations to that of Larry Nance, Dr. J and Michael Jordan.

Griffin’s elbow-hanging dunk was impressive, even though the move was reminiscent of All-Star Slam Dunk Champion Vince Carter in 2000.  Both champions hung from the rim by their elbow after the dunk, but Griffin added an alley oop.

The fact that Ibaka could not even advance to the next round after perfecting Dr. J’s own dunk, defines the line between a props-worthy dunk, and a dunk with too many props.

Jeremy Lin: Off-Court Coolness

This post on Jeremy Lin (you all know the guy) isn’t style-centric, but it definitely hits on what could be considered “social swag.” Look for the phrase on Urban Dictionary next week.

Anyone in the know, meaning reads at least some form of news or media at least once a day, has recognized the unusual number of racial slurs pointed at Lin. It’s an unusual situation, as Lin is the first American-Asian NBA player, to come from Harvard, to turn the world of basketball as we know it: upside-down. But, does this justify the somewhat humorous remarks towards Lin’s Asian-ness?

One Asian fan, interviewed after the Knicks-Lakers game, said: “See, Jeremy Lin proves that Asians can play basketball and Asians CAN drive!”

I found this chart on Barstool Sports:

Linflowchart Page 1 231x300 Jeremy Lin: Off Court Coolness

ESPN Editor Anthony Federico was FIRED the other day, for headlining “A Chink in the Armour” in reference to Lin. Federico claims this was an honest mistake, and says he has used this phrase in sports writing many times in the past. Anchor Max Bretos was suspended for the same indiscretion.

I’d like to commend Jeremy Lin however, for his off-court coolness. He has openly forgiven the two, and seems to take all these racial assaults in stride. Perhaps Asians have a better handle on their own stereotypes, but no other basketball player to my knowledge has let the fans and public play around with him to this extent. (Ron Artest World Peace anyone?)

Jeremy Lin seems to have his forgiving hand in everyone’s pockets. Sources note that Lin actually approached Kris Humphries in the locker room, and in so many words said, “I think it’s B.S. that everyone boo’s you on the court. I don’t understand why.” Nobody asked Lin to do that, and he certainly has no affiliation with the Kardashian Khaos Kollection.

So, who votes Jeremy Lin as the first NBA and professional athlete to embody Social Swag?(While we’re on it, Humphries certainly does not embody social swag. Anyone who says they get off on crowd anger and says, “There’s nothing better than sending 19,000 people home upset [Monday] night at the Garden,” has serious social swag inhibitions).

In future posts, I plan to pick up on Social Swag-ities. Stay in line, superstars. We’re judging you.

 

Jeremy Lin, the Knicks and the NBA: Absolute Linsanity!

This second post is just too easy. Jeremy Lin, you are killin’ it out there. When I first saw the headline in the New York Times on Monday, combining Ivy League and NBA, I scoffed. Typical Times, to make elitist plays off of American athletics. Clearly I was behind, and little did we all know of the LINSANITY to come.

Jeremy Lin, Harvard-grad, D-league alum was no more then Thanksgiving leftovers two days late. Cold potatoes and dry turkey on day-old rolls; a shadow of many, many delicious bites before that. So what happened? He was dropped, dropped again, and picked-up. Any Knicks fan, now I mean true Knicks fan, pre-Carmelo and pre-Amar’e, should be peeing their pants. With the Linsanity, has come chemistry. A much-needed anecdote to Superstar-itis.

Let’s talk about Lin style. American-born Chinese, first to play in the NBA and totally modest. What’s more humbling then $800,000 a year? Maybe if we cut all of the salaries… oh wait, that was tried. I love the fact that Lin knows he’s on a run, and he knows to take it slow. Game by game, play by play. Because once the big boys are back in, things are going to change. It’s important to keep a cool head.

Jeremy Lin Asia 103127079 620x350 Jeremy Lin, the Knicks and the NBA: Absolute Linsanity!

While the whole Linsanity phrase is a little lame, I am totally eating it up. I’ll be attending tonight’s Knicks vs. Lakers game, and I can’t wait to catch the vibe. Kobe dribbling the subhead, with Lin front page news? I’ll take it any day. There’s no style and swag like taking the spotlight from B-ball royalty, and not even flinching.

I want to know what my readers are thinking. Is Jeremy Lin a phase, or the real-deal? What will tonight prove, if he scores double-digits off King Kobe?