Thursday, July 19, 2007

Not much gained for Yi playing with Team China

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There's nothing like studying top draft picks in decent competition from the 2nd row at midcourt. You just can't witness naunces from a TV screen -- or worse, a laptop monitor -- like you can this close to the players. I went to Vegas last week to catch two games live of Yi Jianlian and the Chinese National Team. ESPN.com's Chad Ford had Yi ranked right behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant for the 2007 NBA Draft, and Yi looked pretty good as a mobile 7-footer with skills in pre-draft workouts.

After watching a multitude of various summer league 7-footers, of which Spencer Hawes was probably the most skilled, you could see from the ESPN pre-draft workout clip that Yi really does have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the Chinese National Team is doing almost nothing to tap that potential...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And that's why they're Adiduhs

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If you've read the book Sole Influence by Dan Wetzel and Don Yaeger, you know that the entire "how-we-got-here" of modern-day basketball hinges on two things: a fledgling Nike's signing of a young Michael Jordan and Phil Knight's declaration of war after Adidas signed Kobe Bryant.

Thus, if you want to study the history of athletic apparel and sit on the market's throne for a long, long time, you must look out for the next Jordan, Kobe, or LeBron James. There's little doubt that Kevin Durant fits that "savior" mold.

So why the heck did Adidas not offer Durant a much-respect offer such as $90 million or something at least nearby what Nike offered LeBron a few years back? Instead, they offered only $70 million to a guy that has been wearing Nikes ever since hitting the AAU scene. After all, it's been reported in the SportsBusiness Journal that Nike spends over $2 billion dollars on athlete endorsements -- and you'd have to figure that Adidas is at a level at least half of that.

Reality check. What's another $20 million? It's only 2 percent of $1 billion. If Adidas is spending $2 billion like Nike on endorsements, then we're talking one more measly percent to get Durant. It's practically Monopoly money at those levels.

Or maybe Adidas is actually smarter than we know; they have resigned to the fact they cannot beat Nike in the war of pop culture, and this whole Durant thing was a PR charade to show the world that they tried, while not rattling the endorsement market out of whack.

But here's the bottom line: despite the potential of Adidas, I'll be sticking loyally to my Nikes, at least until the next Durant comes along.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Make up your mind, Milwaukee

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[From Stephen B. Snyde...]

Does this epitomize the Yi Jianlian situation in Milwaukee or what? A few days ago, Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed out...
"In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the small Chinese community has set up a website welcoming Yi to Milwaukee. The site is at www.yifansclub.com."
First off, as of this writing, the "Schedule" link on the site goes directly to the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team calendar. I guess we won't be finding any local rallies to drum up support or anything.

Secondly, the "News" link goes directly to a blogpost entitled "We Don't Want Yi in Milwaukee". I suppose an angry dissident found the time and the wherewithal to post something that would automatically get displayed prominently on the frontpage as well as the News page of the website. The post is not all that friendly, either...
"Yi embodies everything that is wrong with professional sports [followed by a long paragraph]...Is Yi the next step in the evolution of the spoiled athlete? [followed by another long paragraph]...[and ending with] I hope you can find a better use of your time than maintaining this website"
Can you say oops?!!!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Belinelli, Belinelli, Belinelli!!!

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First off, I just wanted to thank Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE for allowing me contribute to Golden State of Mind the best that I can bring about my 48-hour experience at NBA Summer League in Vegas to fans of the Warriors -- and, as it were, of the Kings, Wizards, Mavericks, Nuggets, Spurs, Knicks, 76ers, Team China, and the NBA itself! If you've never met Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE, hope that you will someday soon. They are two of the nicest guys around.

Intro

I'll be focusing this write-up on the Warriors-Spurs summer league game, then the other 4-and-a-quarter games I caught last night. I'll tell you right off the bat, I really don't like to write, although you'll see that I'm quite verbose because I'd rather give you more than less. If you can't wait (because of you-know-who, I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to skip to the Warriors section first), here are the sections of this post -- you're lucky I'm pretty good at HTML...

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