Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The casualties of (Civil) War

Some disconcerting news over the past week or so. It's funny how these stories pile up over the course of one week. I was only going to report on one of them, then one became two, which became three, then four...

Mark Cuban reported on Genarlow Wilson. After you read the gripping and infuriating ESPN article on Genarlow, written passionately by Wright Thompson, you'll definitely want to go sign the online petition. Sign one for each of all your family members, please.

We've written about James Love, Allen Iverson and Kevin Johnson, and the "Iraq at home" before, and Genarlow's hometown seems to similarly have a high crime index when compared to a big city like SF.

Things don't get any brighter with Richmond High hoops star Eli Holman forced to move away from the "Iraq at home" so he can attend Indiana University next year in one piece, in a story told by SF Chronicle's Chip Johnson.

And speaking of Iraq, guess what suffers from the zero-sum game of war financing, "a casualty of other wars" (from Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times)? Yep, the very war on drugs, of which our kids who love to hoop just like us are trying to avoid becoming innocent bystander victims.

In the SportsBusiness Journal this week Femi Shote reports that William C. Rhoden's book, Forty Million Dollar Slaves, whose title is a reference to a fan who heckled former UNLV and NBA star Larry Johnson as "nothing but a $40 million slave", is basically on point:
Rhoden demonstrates how reintegration [of the modern black athlete into white ownership structures and institutions] resembles a reckless mining operation when precious raw materials are extracted, leaving the environment, the cultures and the people of the area laid to waste. Reintegration extracts the labor of black athletes but leaves black institutions in ruin.
As an observer who is neither white or black, at first you wonder if the term "slave" attached to a $40 million NBA contract isn't disrespectful to those ancestors who were truly slaves, just as you wonder after watching the movie The Pianist if "ghetto" is an appropriate term for the modern-day "projects", but then you consider some of the environments that young blacks and perhaps other people stuck in similar class structures must grow up in, the James Loves, the Genarlow Wilsons, the Kevin Johnsons, the Eli Holmans...and you start to see their point of view.

It's as if there's an invisible Civil War going on.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I dunno, Colangelo, I just don't know

Jemele Hill of ESPN Page 2 just interviewed Jerry Colangelo. Here's some bread-and-butter of what he said about Team USA:
"When that game ended against Greece, in the locker room, I know how they all felt. We don't ever want to feel that way again as long as we're together. I think that's going to bond us even more...It had nothing to do with the player-personnel (or)...having the right talent. We did a poor job in preparation in defending the pick-and-roll against Greece. It's as simple as that. And a team beat us that shouldn't have. They deserved to win because we didn't get the job done. If we played them 10 times, we'd win nine out of 10."
Sounds a lot like our Dream League All-Star squad, which coming off a heartbreaking championship loss to the L.A. Tigers Blue in 2005, went down to Vegas for the 14th Annual LVI this past September 2006 and promptly got slapped in the face by Arizona Desert Jade. Two consecutive weeks of open gym run/practice (heh, it'd be a crime to call them practices!) for our guys leading up to the tournament proved to be a non-factor.

Read the rest of the story

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chris Mullin, way beyond "wet"

Something that dreamleaguers on both coasts (SF = Warriors, NYC = St. John's) can appreciate...

Published last Friday, John Crumpacker of the SF Chronicle interviewed Warriors equipment manager Eric Housen, who recalled the following about Chris Mullin:
"I saw him make 33 NBA threes in a row with a big ball at his brother's camp in Philadelphia," the equipment manager said. "It's double the size of a basketball. You can only make it with a perfect shot."

The other performance came a few years ago in a middle school gym in San Ramon late at night. With Housen counting ("I always count"), he said Mullin sank 397 consecutive free throws with something less than steely concentration. Mullin was there to enroll his son Christopher in the school and people came and went while engaging the sharpshooter in conversation as he took aim. Drat that 398th.
I think it was my college roommate Kelly Fong, who incidentally played high school ball with Lamond Murray, who recalled seeing Mully hit like 99 college treys in a row at some random gym.

Wonder what the kids on the playground who these days describe the hot hand as "wet" would call Mully? Anybody else remember any stories like this?

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Hey Cubes, EVERY WEEKEND is already Basketball Day!


Basketball Day, Mark? C'mon now.
Via TrueHoop via AOL's NBA Fanhouse via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, late last week we got wind that Mark Cuban thinks having a "Basketball Day" would be a cool idea:
"It would have to be a weekend, but we could have NBA, college and high school games all day long and market the heck out of it," Cuban said.
Yo, Cubes. In basketball, Mutombos do fall in the paint when you happen to not be there. Trust me, while Superman is saving Earth, Bizarro is surely dooming Htrae.

Translation: every Sunday, the Asian American community alone is running about 35 games here in the Bay Area within a 20-mile radius, which by its sheer size results in some perhaps made-for-TV happenings, such as Ryan Mateo's 48 points (details below) yesterday in only 36 minutes of dreamleague running-clock format. More notably, Mateo outscored his opponent's entire team total.

In the post-Wilt Chamberlain era, the only thing that comes close to this Bizarro world wonder is Kobe Bryant's 62 points in three quarters against Dallas on 12/20/2005, outscoring them 62-61 (no, Kobe's 81 on 46 attempts in 42 minutes played most certainly does NOT compare to this, and we will discuss this in detail below).

Read the rest of the story

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Texas Western (Extra)-Lite

[Thanks to Briflys for this...]

Excerpted from yesterday's San Jose Mercury in an article by David Kiefer:
On the wall above the main entrance is a mural, maybe 25 years old judging from the short shorts, of a long-haired blond boy competing in uniforms of various Matadors sports teams.

But the Monta Vista team that took the floor looked nothing like the caricature on the wall. In fact, Monta Vista is a rarity in boys high school basketball, a team with an all-Asian-American starting lineup.
Read the rest of the story

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Charles Barkley opens the door to the Iraq at home

Thanks to TrueHoop (and no thanks to TNT.tv or NBA.com which gave no indication there were NBA telecasts on Monday), Poor Man's Commish saw this...
Charles Barkley from TNT last night: “If (Dr. King) were still alive today, as a person who preached non-violence, would he be disturbed at all the violence we have going on in the black community? It does a great disservice to Dr. King with all this black on black crime going on in our communities.”
Remember, I wrote back in the first dreamBlogue entry that I would delve into the scariness of the numbers that our very own James Love fell victim to.

I've been waiting to find the right time to bring this up and thanks to Chuckie, now is the right time...

Read the rest of the story

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wat the Ute, not Yuta!!!

While looking for some blogs about whether or not people think the Golden State Warriors are, at this rate, going to get into the NBA playoffs (I personally don't think so -- to finish, say, 4 games above .500 and if they keep going barely above the Mendoza line on the road at .250 or so, they would have to finish 16-3 in their final 19 home games and there are at least 4 elite teams left to play at home), I ran across this post at The City blog:
"Notable players on [Warriors draft pick Patrick O'Bryant's NBDL Bakersfield Jam team] are Syracuse PG Gerry McNamara and Yuta Tabuse — the first Japanese player to play in the NBA."
Well, we know from A-Mac's history lesson about Wataru "Wat" Misaka, former Utah Ute national champion and New York Knickerbocker, that that's not true!...

Read the rest of the story

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Walt "Clyde" Frazier, my new hero

The SportsBusiness Journal (subscription needed) came out with a great interview with Walt "Clyde" Frazier today, with respect to his new book "Game Within The Game". He's pretty much on point with everything and the timing of this interview is impeccable given our blog entry on Saturday about the European vs. American system.

Here are some of the more profound excerpts and notes from which a lot of us can learn...
  • First off, he was the first player to sign a sneaker deal (with Puma in 1971) -- much respect, let us "ballaz" and "sneakerheads" alike tip our hat and listen to what he has to say...
Read the rest of the story

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

European vs American system

Sarunas Jasikevicius took an increasingly more common (better?) route to the NBA.
Among other blog entries and articles we've wanted to share with dreamleaguers, here's an interesting look at differences in the basketball "systems" between America and the rest of the world...

Three Basketball Powers (Russia, Serbia and Lithuania's relationship with basketball and how its most talented children get to the sport's biggest stage) by Michael Lee, Washington Post. Lee and fellow Post writers have some really good articles about the U.S. system as well, but you'll have to do a search on the Washington Post website to find them, as we can't quite recall all of them (blame it on the pet peeve apprehension to using browser bookmarks).

Can the U.S. sustain its present path?

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Wat's in a Name?

A little history lesson from A-Mac...

At last Sunday's game, one of the refs looked at my jersey and asked me about the gold lettering emblazoned upon the back that reads "What Would Wat Do?" I figure that was the sign for me to roll out an explanation of my team's name for my next blog entry. In essence, the name is a tribute to the first Asian American to play in the NBA, Wataru "Wat" Misaka.

Read the rest of the story (UPDATED 1/16/2007 AND 1/15/2007)

Also, check out the online oral history project about Japanese American basketball leagues in Chicago during the 1940s and 50s.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Greg Oden = Bill Russell and NBA TV fantasy funny

Oden: a young/old Bill Russell?
Here's some hoops-only funny stuff from a recent Bill Simmons chat:
Nate (New York): Is it just me, or does Greg Oden look like an old Bill Russell? What are the chances this kid is actually only 18 years old?
And for those in the know, doesn't Oden's quiet emotionless demeanor totally remind you of former dreamleague Bay Area and current dreamleague NYC big man, Brian Liang?!

Bizarro world Bill Russell tidbits:
  • Many dreamleaguers in the Bay Area still go up to the Sacramento Barons tournament, which is almost always held at Russell's alma mater, Elk Grove High School. There's a mural of him inside the gym.

  • NYC dreamleaguer Shawn Liao works with Russell through Liao's Shanghai Sharks ties.
Here's the other funny part from the chat transcript:
Mike (Clifton Park, N.Y.): Ever watch NBA TV's fantasy show at 1 in the morning? Where do they find these guys for that show? And shouldn't they add a second guy to it, I feel bad for the lone dude who has to kill 30 minutes of fantasy talk by himself.

Bill Simmons: I thought I was the only one who watched that show! Sometimes I want to call in just to throw him a bone for two minutes … I always feel like he's going to assume nobody is watching and just start saying crazy things into the camera like, "Guess what I did today? I touched my own poop. And it felt good. Anyway, back to the Grizzlies …"

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Wonder-trail of MJ DKYs Part III of IV

He could have owned TWO dynasties!
Continued from Part II...

Then if you Google "jonathan kovler bulls", you'll find courtesy of the NY Times that George Steinbrenner (of all people) once owned 10% of the Bulls, but his share was bought out by Jerry Reinsdorf in '85, prior to the Bulls' championship runs. Based on 2003 estimates in Rovell's article, Reinsdorf parlayed his $9.2 million investment twenty-fold into $184 million! When Steinbrenner sold, the Bulls were only worth a little over $16 million. Ten percent of that is only $1.6 million, so my guess is, Georgie's original investment was probably around $500,000 (maybe less). Had he held onto his share, theoretically he could have turned $500k into about $33 million!

Btw, according to 60 Minutes, MJ was worth $4 million (annually?), mostly in endorsements. He was worth a quarter of the Bulls value! Assuming that's a per-year basis, not even LeBron comes close to that (Nike: $90 mil over 7 years, Cavs: $80 mil over 5 years).

More to follow in Part IV someday in the near future.

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Wonder-trail of MJ DKYs Part II of III

As you'll recall from Part I, our brief TrueHoop-YouTube-Google excursion of Michael Jordan Did You Know's began with the 1986 60 Minutes interview where we read the fine print and saw that MJ's "love of the game" clause was addressed to one "Jonathan". If it was addressed to "Jerry", as in Reinsdorf or Krause, we would not have pressed forward.

A Google search on "jonathan bulls owner" reveals an ESPN article from 2003 called "Cashing in on the ultimate cash cow" by Darren Rovell describing how MJ impacted the wealth of other people, with Reinsdorf at the top of the list. Curiously absent from the list: William Wesley, the most important NBA insider no one's heard of, as unearthed by TrueHoop's Henry Abbott.

More in Part III to follow.

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

A-Mac gets a taste of Bizarro world

Welcome to my world, A-Mac!
[From Alec MacDonald ("A-Mac") in the Bay Area...]

I wanted to make sure I had a blog entry ready to go to start the new year, but I've been sort of light on ideas because it's been a while since my team [WWWD? in the Bay Area AAA-P division] last saw action. So I figured I'd turn to the pros and check out their blogs, since what they're writing about might relate to our experience as humble dreamleaguers. Turns out we're closer to the NBA than you thought — here's what I found...

Read the rest of the story

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