What a letdown! After a promising homestand at the Oracle Arena against 2 top-teams like Miami and Orlando (Golden State defeated Miami after being trailed by 17 in the 3rd quarter and hold their own against the Magic, losing only down to the wire), the Warriors tackled last night the 1st game of their road trip in Charlotte. So needless to say, considering the weakness of the Bobcats, that the expectations were high for Warriors’ fans! Actually, those hopes came to an abrupt end: the game turned out to be a real disaster for the team who, to put it mildly, got trashed. Down by 13 after the 1st quarter and down by 20 at halftime… and a final loss 112 – 100.

First and foremost, how can you expect to win a B-ball game when you let your opponent score 38 pts (yeah, 38 pts!) in the 1st quarter? When you don’t defend like that, you walk into a buzz saw and you just screw everything up. 112 pts for the Bobcats at the end of the game, not bad for a team who didn’t score in triple figure since 6 games, but luckily for them, the GSW came into town last night.

Second issue for the Warriors: Monta Ellis had an awful night, converting only 6 shoots outta 26 attempts. Maybe Monta’s worst game ever in his life? It sure looks like it! Bad shooting nights can happen to any player, but when his shot is off, Ellis doesn’t seem to be able to adapt his game and concentrate on other things that could help his team on the court: assists, rebounds, steals, positive attitude, strong defense, draw some fouls by driving to the basket instead of always trying to hit the mid-jumper or a 3 pt shot with 2 defenders stuck in his sneakers… I don’t know but there’s got to be a way not to be harmful for your own team when you are gifted with huge athletic skills like Ellis. No, he just kept shooting the ball and never tried to involve his teammates. When you hit your shots, it’s okay to play individually, but if you struggle on the offensive end, you got to figure out another way to help your team. For instance, you can defend like a leech, which he obviously forgot to do because his direct opponent, Kemba Walker, tallied 23 pts, his career record! Definitely a demoralizing night.

To wrap this article up, I’d like to point something out. Not that it really matters, but since the season kicked off, I’ve noticed coach Jackson always has his hands in his pockets… not a very inspiring attitude for his players in my opinion. I don’t know what message it can send to his players, but not a tough one, that’s for sure! When you’re a coach, you got to show some toughness and body language is truly fundamental.

Today, the team heads to Detroit to take on the Pistons who have also been struggling so far, so let’s hope GS can wipe the slate clean and come up with something good defensively-wise. As a general rule, wins can only stem from a strong defense, so that’d be a good start.

And please make sure the game isn’t already over at half-time… that’d be greatly appreciated!

Yo! I’m sure you’re all like: “whaaaaaat he’s talkin’ ’bout Rambo on his basketball blog?! What’s gotten into him?!

Yeah, for a change I’m not gonna talk about basketball today. I mean, come on, there’s a life outside basketball! I’m sure y’all agree with that. And to tell you the truth, in the near future it’s highly likely that I’ll keep writing about different stuff on my blog… I feel like I’ve said a lof of things about basketball so far, so maybe it’s time to move on and to talk about something else… I’m mulling that over in my mind.

So today I just wanted to talk about… a cartoon. Yeah, a cartoon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a guy into cartoons, actually I didn’t watch any since I was a kid, which at 31 yo is quite reassuring regarding my sanity. That being said, I’ve just discovered a hell of a cartoon lately: Rambo, the Force of Freedom, released in 1986 and which was of course a spin-off of the action-packed Rambos movies.

C’mon don’t poke fun at me, I just happen to be a die-hard Stallone fan, so when I was a teenager I was rooting for Rambo and I was utterly psyched up 3 years ago when Stallone finally made the fourth and last installment of the Rambo series, almost 20 years after Rambo 3 was shot.

But oddly enough, I was never aware there was a Rambo cartoon. I guess leaving far away from the United States wasn’t the best way to get accustomed with this cartoon and to top it all I think it was never broadcasted in France, where I still live.

So the other day, as I was randomly surfing on youtube half-bored/half-asleep, I was totally dumfounded when I bumped into this cartoon: Rambo, The Force Of Freedom. 25 years after its official release, I finally realized that a Rambo cartoon was existing. Better late than never!

As a Rambo fan, I was hooked right from the get-go! So much so that a few hours later I was on ebay buying all the 6 “Force Of Freedom” DVDs. I can’t wait to get ‘em in my mailbox, it’s gonna be a huge relief when I open the boxes.

Regarding the cartoon itself, of course you can see that it’s 25 years old, however lemme tell ya it still kicks ass! Rambo: the Force of Freedom definitely stands the test of time.

Right from the start, you can notice that contrary to the movies, Rambo is not fighting alone here. We were used to see Rambo banging up his opponents, destroying all by himself entire armies armed to the teeth! In the cartoon, Rambo teams up with Colonel Trautman, Turbo and Cat. Even if Rambo is still the top dog and most often saves the day, Turbo and Cat turn out to be very useful in the battlefield for Rambo. Coming right out of the movie, Colonel Trautman is rarely seen in action but is still a great military advisor for Rambo.

On the upside, it’s also great to see that the movies’ scores have been reused: it truly helps set the right mood and those scores are still pretty efficient.

The voiceover is great, every single actor is doing a hell of a job. I particularly appreciate the man playing Colonel Trautman. It’s funny to notice that Turbo’s voice is performed by James Avery, famous for his lead role in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as Will Smith’s father.

The infamous General Warhawk and his henchmen (off the top of my head you have Gripper, Nomad and I have the other one on the tip of my tongue but my memory plays tricks on me right now…) play the bad guys and basically all their attempts to take over the world are ruined by Rambo. He keeps thwarting all their efforts no matter what. Besides, it may seem a little repetitive sometimes, I mean every once in a while it’d be quite refreshing to discover some new opponents.

Unlike the movies, Rambo never kills anyone in the cartoon, even though there’s lots of fire exchange and a bunch of explosions. You’ll never see a single drop of blood, given that it was intended for the kids aged between 5 and 10 years.

Wow time goes by quite fast today, so I’m gonna have to leave you guys for now and maybe I’ll talk again about this cartoon later. Duty calls!

Hi all! It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here… I’d be a liar if I was saying I was pretty busy lately… I guess I was just outta inspiration.

Anyway, it just dawned on me that I’ve never explained how Basketball became a real passion. Quite awkward when you write a basketball blog, ain’t it?

I live in France and I’m fortunate enough to dwell in a city (Limoges) that hosts a famous basketball team: Limoges CSP. It’s been almost 35 years now that this organization enlightens the city. For my part, I’ve been hooked since my teenage years, so more than 15 years ago. When you live in Limoges, being a BB fan is almost unavoidable, so I guess I just jumped on the bandwagon.

All the city supports its team… and during the games, the atmosphere is just electric in the arena, which can contain about 6.000 fans. Everybody in the arena root for the local team, howl, scream or booh the opponent, including the old ladies.  It was, and it still is, a nightmare for the opponents to play in this arena!

Rumor has it that back in the day, some old gray-haired man, seated near the court,  were even surreptitiously putting their walking sticks in the opponents’ legs! I wasn’t attending the games at the time, so I can’t confirm nor deny it, but it’s just a funny legend that I think was worth sharing…

Limoges won several titles, but I won’t go into details (it’d be way too long), just be advised Limoges won the European championship in 1993, which I think kind of sets the tone!

Oh yeah, I know when it comes to talking about basketball, you guys often think about the NBA… and you’re right on the money, since the NBA is undoubtedly the best basketball league in the world: the top dogs play over there (but not the best coaches IMHO) the game is more physical, more spectacular and whatnot. There’s no point in denying it.

That being said, it’d be a shame to ignore that some pretty good basketball is played in Europe. The latest international competitions over the last decade have showed us that some pretty good basketball can be played overseas… and even beat the Americans!

So my point is you sure as hell can find some pretty good and exciting BB players in Europe. Besides, mind-blowing players have played in Europe, including a bucketload of former famous NBA players. For the record, back in the 90′s Limoges called up Billy Knight, Trevor Ruffin, Kelly Tripucka, Tim Legler, Rolando Blackman, Vern Fleming, Chris Smith and a great deal of others NBA players… damn, I just can’t remember the others, my memory plays tricks on me right now…

Among all those players, a few of them were some real NBA stars and maybe in a future post I’ll talk about their adaptation (more often than not difficult) to the European game.

Be aware from the get-go that being a former NBA superstar didn’t mean you’d outclass your opponents in Europe, far from it! Some have been quite surprised to see how tough the game was in Europe.

But like I said, that’ll be another story for another day…

Stay tuned and keep enjoying the game ;-)

About time! Last tuesday, Marbury and the NY Knicks finally ended their feud and reached an agreement to part ways. And yesterday, Marbury signed with Boston for the remainder of the season. Just for the record, he played his very first game last night against the Pacers and tallied 8 points in about 13 minutes.

To be honest, this situation was more and more ludicrous over the weeks. As far as I can remember, any NBA player from my lifetime have had such a hard time to put an end to his contract. Both parts were adament on their own conditions.

Amazingly, I was mulling over Marbury’s plight the other day, and in my mind it was crystal clear Marbury wouldn’t play this season. Basically because the ongoing season was nearing so I felt entitled to think it was kind of unlikely that an agreement would be reached before the ending of the season.

Well, I guess I was dead wrong on this one, but you gotta admit nobody saw it coming! 

Anyway, now you got a title contender who is hugely reinforced by a former All-Star. Okay, the guy took a leave of absence for more than a year, didn’t play a single game in this timeline, but Marbury being – supposedly – out of shape doesn’t really matter right now. Boston will need all his basketball skills next spring, you know when the playoffs will be in full swing, so it leaves plenty of time for “Starbury” to get to know his teammates and recover all his physical stengths from there.

He’ll probably be coming off the bench throughout his first games, but I’m quite certain he’ll quickly be assigned at the point-guard position in a couple of weeks. Rajon Rando will have to ward off Marbury. Bur I’m sure Rando will do his best to prevent that from happening, besides if I’m not mistaken he matched his career-high with 17 assists last night!

Here we are again. Once again, a former player intends to make a comeback. This trend just ticks me off!

This time, it’s the former Utah Jazz player Russell who seeks to step-back on an NBA court. I don’t know what you guys think about it, but in my view it’s just ludicrous. I mean at 38 and after 3 years of retirement how can you possibly contemplate a come-back in a league where you know you’re bound to suffer physically against younger opponents? And for how much time anyway? 6 or 8 months? At best, it’s gonna be a short period of time. Don’t get me wrong, everybody is entitled to have their own wishful thinking, but in this case it just doesn’t make any sense.

Bryon Russell embodies a new trend. Being back in the game has been one the most sought-after activities for many former players over the last few years. Besides I’m fairly certain that next fall, a guy like Alonzo Mourning will try to come-back, mark my words!

Off the top of my head, a great deal of former players tried their hands at coming back or at least contemplated a return in the NBA : Charles Oakley (!), Allan Houston, Reggie Miller, Tim Hardaway, Karl Malone, Anfernee Hardaway… well I’m afraid my memory plays tricks on me so I’m gonna stop this short list here. Feel free to complete it if you want, as for me I’ll jog my memory later!

Talking about A. Hardaway, he managed to get a new gig last season (with Miami if I’m not mistaken), and well it ended up badly : he was waived in the middle of the season.

It’s worth mentionning that most of the players who seeks a come-back have always the same profile : they ended their career due to a career-threatening injury, at about 35 years.

I mean at about 35, injury or not you know your career is on the verge of being over anyway. So what’s the point of not accepting your fate? Okay they left the game in a way that was not supposed to happen, and you can bet for sure they wanted to leave the court on their own terms, but hey when you’re done, you’re done. You gotta to move on with your life, and get to grips with this new life!

More often than not, they explain this by “the love of the game”. Cute, ain’t it? Well, be sure that in backstage, the main reason is quite different and much more troublesome. “Love of the game”, my ass! Actually, just the tip of the iceberg.

It may seems hard to believe, but most of this guys have a great deal of difficulty not to loose their money once their career is over. I don’t remember precisely the numbers, but last year an official study revealed that about 60% of the former NBA players end up broke 4 to 5 years after their retirement. Yeah, I know what you guys think : its just pitiful and you gotta be quite uneducated to go belly-up. I wish I had the link of this study, but I don’t have it any more, so keep in mind Google is your best friend on the net!

Sometimes, it can be different. About 2 years ago, when Charles Oakley was seeking a comeback (at 45, yo!), some wisely suggested it was just for increasing sales of his brand-new book, which at the time was about to be released in the bookstores. How convenient! I’m sure Oakley didn’t intend to come-back all along, he just wanted his name to be heard in the medias again so that his book can take advantage of his new fame!

Hi all! It’s been a long time, huh?! I’m far from being a youtube addict, but while I was surfing aimlessly on this site yesterday I found one of the most amazing video I’ve ever seen!

Youngsters have probably never heard of Craig Hodges, a former player who made a name for himself in the early 90′s with his outstanding knack to hit 3 pts shots. And boy, saying that is what you might call an understatement!

Actually he was a run-of-the-mill kind of player but his amazing skill helped him getting a gig for 10 years in the league. He built up his whole career with this skill, which was definitely his trademark.

So far, I never had a chance to see this shooting machine but thanks to youtube the catching up is done. And I’m totally flabbergasted by what I’ve seen.

Here is the bloody amazing video of the 3 pts shootout contest of the ’91 NBA All-Star game, held in Charlotte. That day Hodges just delivered. Think about it : the guy hit 19 shots in a row, breaking the previous record, which was held by Larry Bird!

He ended up the contest with 24 pts, one point shy of the ultimate record : 25 pts established by… Hodges himself several years ago.

A little bird tells me this record ain’t ready to be broken! Current NBA players are not enough eager to work their shooting skills : they just want to work their physical condition, beef up their body and tirelessly drive to the basket. Getting more tatoos is also a very sought-after activity…

I don’t wanna sound like a geezer or something like that, but in the 80′s and 90′s hitting shots was the heart and sould of Basketball! And once and for all, that’s the way basketball must be played!

D-League

Don’t know if you guys have ever noticed that before, but the fact is you can can watch all D-League games for free, including live and past games. Ain’t that great?

If anything, it’s kind of similar to the famous and upscale “NBA League Pass”, except that D-league games are utterly free of charge. It’s a great way to promote this league which is by and large belittled by a lot of people. Of course, the games level is far from being amazing, still I’m convinced a great deal of players are worth seeing and some of ‘em will eventually make it in NBA.

Like I said before, the upside of this offer is you can watch it at anytime at no cost. The choice of games is quite huge. Last but not least, the quality of image and sound is very satisfying.

The negative side would be the lack of commentators, which added to the usual reduced attendance in the arena, gives a drab aspect to the whole thing. Still, it’s great to know I can watch ball games whenever I feel like it, so do like me and enjoy the show!