Friday, March 30, 2007

Yao: Yi = Amare (what???)

Uhhhh, no Yao, no.
[From Stephen B. Snyde...]

Two things this past week on Yi Jianlian. Before we get to the atrocious, Wang Mang of Titan Sports was quoted in the Philadelphia Daily News by Phil Jasner as saying:
"People in China think he won't be as successful as Yao. They think he doesn't seem to have [the same] desire, that he's not as hungry as Yao...But Yi is really hungry, especially this year. When we got confirmation that he will come to the NBA, he's worked so hard."
Oh good, so the Chinese people are apparently aware that there are certain shortcomings of the Chinese basketball academies.

Btw, the article also said Yi will be endorsing McDonald's coming up.

Now, the atrocious. In the same story, Yao Ming says:
"[Yi] is very close to a player who is in the NBA like I would say Amare Stoudemire."
Duuuuude. Why'd ya hafta make such a PREPOSTEROUS comment in the midst of Poor Man's Commish's impassioned defense of Yi?

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Earth to Bill: basketball never had a crossroads

[From our new guest blogger, Stephen B. Snyde. Every Friday, we plan to have Stevie B. take us through the week that was in the hoop world. One blog post per thought. We'll still have our longer stories every now and then, but who wants to sit there and read 10,000 words from Bill Simmons to cap off the work week? Oh, what a coinkeydink. Stevie B.'s talking about Bill to lead off...]

ESPN.com's Bill Simmons was grossed out by O.J. Mayo's performance at the McDonald's All-America game the other night. He said that "basketball is headed for a crossroads", referencing the score-at-all-costs attitudes of today's star players, starting with Kobe Bryant's 50-point streak last week.

Hey Bill, I guess you missed that dossier called Sole Influence (Wetzel/Yaeger, Warner Books, 2000). Basketball isn't heading for a crossroads, it already had one almost 10 years ago, when adidas landed Kobe and Phil Knight vowed never again to let that happen to Nike. Only problem is, nobody had a choice of roads. Knight was so powerful, even he could not have imagined the dominoes that would later fall because of his decision. Three letters: A-A-U. It was like the Road Runner painting a fake alternate route for us Wile E. Coyotes.

Crossroads? Meep-meep!!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Is there a legit comparison to Kobe and MJ?

In light of Kobe's recent history-making outburst, this would be a good time to mention the nail that writer Scoop Jackson hit squarely on the head in the latest issue of Sole Collector that was passed out for free at the Jordan Brand Experience at Vegas All-Star Weekend last month.

In an interview by Anthony Gilbert, Scoop answers the question of a legit comparison to Kobe and MJ quite effectively:
Yeah, easy...like tracing paper. Xerox machine. KINKOS. As much as the replication looks, seems and feels like the original, it's not. There's always some resolution that gets lost in the process. But that's just in basketball...they are totally different as people. And that affects the outcome of their games. Kobe is not as personable and charming as Mike. It's not in his nature, that's just not who he is. Part of MJ's greatness was his ability to be cool with everyone, teammates, and victims. Dudes that played with [MJ] would kill for him, he was able to draw that much love from others. Kobe's never been able to do that and because of that I think he hasn't been able to reach MJ's level of brilliance. He has too many people around him that will never love him...It's like, imagine how differently Barry Sanders' career would have been if his offensive line hated him?...They would not block or fight as hard as they could for them to get those yards, which in the long run affect's Barry's...greatness."
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard today writes that Kobe's starting to "get it" (Insider subscription required), that he's finally maturing...
The sad thing is that if Kobe had "gotten it" years earlier, he might have left the game with more titles than MJ.
Can the right amount of maturity ever put Kobe on MJ's level? Scoop's theory seems to be the correct one, not Broussard's.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Jerry Rice likes dreamleaguer underdogs?

[No idea how we get these and what a football great might have anything to do with our dreamleague basketball world, but who knows, maybe there's a connection? This is probably more appropriate for Bay Area dreamleaguers...]

We just got this email from Banyan Productions, which is probably most famous for its Trading Spaces TV show (a show my wife loves)...
Jerry Rice is shooting an exciting new TV show and wants to film his first episode right here in his adopted hometown of San Francisco! Jerry is looking for dreamers...those who may be a bit down on their luck but who aim high. The "dreamers" can be people, families, teams, businesses or community organizations. With his dream team and inspirational wisdom, Jerry wants to help you turn the tables, overcome the obstacles and achieve the success you once thought impossible...Does one of your teams hold a large losing streak and could they benefit from some mentoring by one of sport's greatest legends?
I guess dreamleague itself might qualify. I'm sure A-Mac's 0-11 squad this past season, a team named "What Would Wat Do?", after Wat Misaka, would qualify. We'll inquire and update you on what happens, assuming something interesting does happen...

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Friday, March 23, 2007

NBA China = NBDL affiliate?

Surprisingly, no other blog or news outlet has followed up on this, but according to this week's SportsBusinessJournal (online access for subscribers only), the NBA is going to create a new "entity" based in China -- not another "office" like the three they already have -- complete with its own CEO, courting of "outside investors", and "possible creation of a league and arena development". The entity will be unveiled at the next NBA owners' meeting in New York City on April 20.

We'll have to wait another month for details and the most profound issue, the possible creation of a league, doesn't come without political complications involving the government-run existing CBA (Chinese Basketball Association). However, if you think about it, starting an NBDL-like league or affiliate in China would make a lot of sense.

This is the perfect time for the NBA to come in and partner with the CBA. My guess is that the CBA is losing money. This is all speculation, but with the NBA China Games II this October and the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, if there's ever a time of lower-than-usual political barriers and preparation for a "high tide that lifts all boats", this is it.

Btw, dreamleague will be at Beijing Olympics '08. More details coming soon...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

#1 GSW "shoulda woulda coulda"

If you check out the GSOM blog today, aside from a theoretical trade involving Adonal Foyle (among others) for Kevin Garnett, you'll see this reference to a blogpost from last June, perhaps the greatest "shoulda woulda coulda" ever made: Jordan-Pippen 2.0. In other words, the Warriors could have drafted Kobe Bryant in 1996 and Tracy McGrady in 1997.

dreamblogue did the due diligence for you. Only two other teams had draft picks earlier than the GSW in either year: Vancouver (now Memphis) and Philadelphia. In theory, either of those teams could've also drafted "Jordan-Pippen 2.0" as well, but at least Vancouver got Shareef Abdur-Rahim (who was eventually traded to Atlanta for, yes, Pau Gasol) and Antonio Daniels. Philly got Allen Iverson and Keith Van Horn.

Bear in mind, though, that Vancouver had the #3 and #4 picks those years while Philly had #1 and #2 -- back in those days, no way do you spend a top-five pick on a high schooler (which actually makes the Warriors picks stink even more). We all know how far AI took Philly and Pau took Memphis, so you can't really fault either of those teams. Meanwhile, the Warriors had picks #11 and #8 and chose Todd Fuller and Foyle. Obviously, no playoff appearances, let alone consistent starting contributions.

A quick glance at both drafts suggests that as a GM, you are best off drafting for basketball skill, not size. But then again stating the obvious is beyond the scope of dreamblogue. "Jordan-Pippen 2.0" is the best shoulda-woulda-coulda I've ever heard.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Letter from Mozambique: Hoop Dreams and Real Life

[Editor’s Note: In September 2006, Dream Leaguer Marshall Cho moved out to Africa, shortly after tying the knot. In the first of what hopefully will be a semi-regular feature here on the Dream League website, Cho shares the adventures he’s had in basketball, relationships, and life in general. Be careful, there’s some knowledge headed your way.]

...Let me start back with last September when we [Marshall and his wife] came out this way after getting married in August. Before coming out, I had contacted the folks at the NBA about volunteering for the Basketball Without Borders camp. I was fortunate to have a FIBA contact who referred me to the right person at the NBA and ended up working as a "junior" coach alongside Dikembe Mutombo and Manute Bol. The camp consisted of the top 100 prospects in Africa who were invited to participate in the week-long camp...

Read the rest of the story

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Lessons of colon cancer:
Life = Love + Care + Knowledge

Last week our NYC commish announced that he would participate in the 4-mile New York Colon Cancer Challenge, which occurred yesterday. He would be running in support of his best friend Ben Kim who, at the tender of age of 33 and otherwise healthy with no symptoms of anything, had been diagnosed with Stage II (very beatable) colon cancer only several weeks before.

These things always put life in perspective. All of a sudden, all the problems our NYC commish had on his plate seemed so trivial in comparison to what his buddy had to deal with. Appreciation for the gifts of our lives, the relationships we have, the very earth we walk on, became more apparent.

When an obstacle so ominous as cancer gets in the way, sometimes it's like Life is all about Love, Care, and Knowledge. Here are some starting points to Life -- be they through the doorway of Love, Care, or Knowledge -- with a heavy hoop flavor...

Read the rest of the story

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Watch racial stereotypes run rampant when Yi Jianlian gets drafted

I guess I'm kind of glad this happened, even though it knocked out a whole day's list of other to-do's. This stuff opens your eyes. It makes you wiser, stronger, more appreciative of each person's individuality. I'm glad I spent a whole day thinking about it.

Today, our otherwise-revered TrueHoop, written by Henry Abbott, made the following bullet-point post:
  • Footage of Yi Jianlian making a bunch of dunks that look to me like they would likely be blocked, or stolen on the way up, in the NBA.
For the 100+ teams and players of those teams currently playing in our SF Bay Area and New York Asian American leagues, you know the feeling already.

It's kind of like the hoops blogger (Bill Simmons? Chad Ford? Henry Abbott himself? Honestly, I can't remember where I read it) who said in response to the major uproar following the Vegas All-Star Weekend in which arrests and violence were referenced strongly with the African American and hip-hop community:
[Reminder: I'm paraphrasing by memory here.] "I couldn't tell you if an African American, with corn rows and baggy pants, approaching me on the street is really a gangsta or a student at UPenn..."
Read the rest of the story

UPDATED: See comments
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Rod Benson's still fillin' it up

Unlike last time when we compared Rod Benson's prose to that of Kevin Durant's hoop skills, we now have located a Yahoo Image of Rod.
[Aside: dreamleague now has its own Average Joe rendition of the trouble with public restrooms, courtesty of New Yorker Mike Owh.]
He is more than deserving of his own celebrity photo. His "blog shooting percentage" is incredible. That is to say, I haven't found another hoops blog in which the number of worthwhile posts is so high. TrueHoop led me to Benson, but Benson ranks higher than even TrueHoop.

Btw, TrueHoop recently got bought out by ESPN. I wouldn't be surprised if Benson was next. His stuff is that good.

Here are some more great tidbits off his last couple blogs, which curiously are not easily found on www.toomuchrodbenson.com and must be painfully dug up every now and then on his DraftExpress.com URL...
  • "Other than that it was a pretty uneventful evening aside from officially meeting one of the cooler guys in the league, Mateen Cleaves. I take back what I said about his head being big, with a hat on it looks proportional."

  • "A pretty good-looking girl I know has an away message that says 'So I met the owners of the Palms, they invited us to their party, where we met D-Wade and his crew who invited us to THEIR party!' I’m sitting there thinking 'Great. Now D-Wade has her in his ‘5’, I’m blown out of the water…I don’t even have T-Mobile.'"

  • "I tell 'Q' this story and he kind of nods and laughs a little. I'm thinking how can he not be more impressed? Then he pulls out a cigar that I guess costs more than a Playstation 3 and tells the story of how he got it. Dammit, it was wwayyy better than my stupid story."

  • "If Berkeley were really an ocean I’d be like Sebastian from 'The Little Mermaid' whereas if I was in Vegas I’d be closer to Nemo from 'Finding Nemo'."

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The forfeit factor of dumb-light savings time

The chances of your team forfeiting on Sunday have gone up exponentially this week.

Daylight savings time is lurking around the corner, this Sunday at 2:00am, to be exact. And yes, it's "spring forward", not "fall back", which means we all lose an hour of sleep. Sorry for those of you with a 10:00am tipoff.

On most dreamleaguers' list of priorities in life, simply making it to your Sunday weekend warrior basketball game probably ranks very high. The reasons for not having daylight savings time, or at least the two disturbances during the year when we have to deal with it, are too long for this post. So, suffice it to say that dreamleaguers don't need dumb American policies to mess up the hoop routine we live by.

Patrick May of the SJ Merc summed it up beautifully today:
Go ahead. Explain daylight-saving time. We dare you. Um, time springs forward, so it's lighter earlier. No, wait. It's lighter later. So if you normally get up in the dark, it'll be even darker? Or lighter? Exactly.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

One On One With Jeremy Lin

[From dreamleague NYC commish Brian Yang]

This Saturday, right here in New York City, a historical event is set to take place. Where will you be? All kinds of history is made in the Big Apple, but there has never been history of this kind. On Saturday at 7pm, at the Levien Gym on West 119th and Broadway, the Harvard Crimson will tip off against the Columbia Lions and the game will be the first time NYC (and possibly the 2nd time ever in the United States) sees two players of Asian descent square off against one another in a Division 1 college game.

KJ Matsui of Columbia and Jeremy Lin of Harvard will meet again for the second time in both team’s season finale. The first time they met? When these two faced each other earlier this season up in Cambridge (a Columbia 90-70 win). It was historic then too. But this is NYC folks, they’re on the main stage now.

Read the rest of the story

UPDATED: See comments (scroll down)

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