Archive for the ‘life’ Category

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 ;-)

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!

Unbelievable stories pop up every now and then. But this one involving Magic Johnson’s health is far from being laughable. Actually, I kinda went off the deep end when I read about it.

First of all, here are the names of the 2 infamous culprits: Chris Baker and Langdon Perry of KTLK radio in Minneapolis.

Those two morons just queried Magic’s health, saying his AIDS was faked all along. Just have a glance at the transcript:

Perry, “Like Magic with his faked AIDS. Magic faked AIDS.”

Baker said, “You think Magic faked AIDS for sympathy?”

Perry replied, “I’m convinced that Magic faked AIDS, because he’s the very first man to have recovered from AIDS.”

“Me too,” Baker said.

I think it’s pretty unsettling to read such foolishness. There’s no way in hell Magic faked his disease. I mean how in the world can you distrust a man who claims he’s having AIDS? And why would Magic have lied anyway? What’s the point? He was only 32 at the time and his career was ongoing.

Johnson reacted later and said he was baffled to hear a such thing, adding: “I poured my life into it and a lot of other people have poured their life into it, into getting out the right information so people can protect themselves and know what HIV and AIDS is all about.”

AIDS is a very serious issue and it’s an understatement to say those dudes aren’t the smartest tool in the shed. I assume they wanted to draw folk’s attention but it certainly wasn’t a very smart move to do.

I’ve been following J.J. Redick’s career ever since he played in College (Duke). At the time, he was downright a superstar over there. Think about it : the guy finished all-time leading scorer in Duke and the ACC, and even breaking the NCAA record for career 3 points made. He was typically a white basketball player: not very athletic, but very smart on the court with a great shooting skill… and without any tatooes! Plus, he stayed at the Uni until he was 22, and graduated suma cum laude. There’s a great deal of uneducated gangsta rappers-hiphop-oriented inhabiting the NCAA and the NBA, so it was kind of refreshing to see that.

Anyway, Redick subsequently got drafted by Orlando in ’06 (11th overall pick!) but his first two NBA seasons in the League turned out to be a tough experience. Saying he didn’t live up to the expectations is an understatement.

Two years ago, just before the draft I kept thinking his skinny frame and his lack of athletism  would be a major concern for his upcoming NBA career. Transitionning from College to the NBA isn’t an easy task so if you don’t beef up your body, you’re asking for trouble. That’s just the way it is.

You can’t only rely on your shooting skills forever : if it’s more than enough in College, being physically gifted is a mandatory condition to succeed in NBA. I remember reading press clippings dealing with how much Orlando staff kept warning him about that issue but he never really paid attention to it, probably thinking his shooting abilities will eventually do the trick, like it always did.

Redick was proved wrong and obviously he started to take the bull by the horn this summer, well aware his NBA career might be in jeopardy. By all accounts, he showed up much more sturdy at the Orlando Magic media day this week. I was stunned to learn that. Everybody noticed his frame was much more heavy. It’s about time! Redick finally added muscles to his slender frame. The guy seems more aware of what being an NBA player really takes.

He’s about to start his third year in the League, so I guess it’s probably one of his latest shots to make it. That being said if being physically more strong will be helpful, for some reason it won’t be enough.

Time has passed since College and after spending 2 years with a tiny playing time, he’s probably lost some confidence in his game. He needs to retrieve some sensations on the court. Plus, Orlando roster is overloaded at the guard position: rookie Courtney Lee is expected to have an impact quite quickly, Mike Pietrus will bring his energy and his tough defense, and Keith Bogans still sticks around. He’d be better off in a team that really needs him, and the best thing for him would be to be traded, but Orlando staff is reluctant to do that. But a season is quite long, and he’ll get an opportunity. He’ll just have to be ready at the right moment.

Anyway I’m eager to see how Redick is gonna cope with that. He was a superstar in College. He underachieved so far. Now is the time for him to have a breakout season, maybe his final shot… How is he gonna handle the pressure? I’m lookin’ forward to it, be sure I’m gonna keep a close eye on his plight !

Like I said in a previous post 2 weeks ago, Shawn Kemp is seriously contemplating a return on the court in Italy. It was all but a joke, besides Kemp himself confirmed it to Slam.

Here’s a video of “The Reignman” talkin’ about all those rumors surrounding his future, but also about all the other issues that have been disturbing his life so far.

Kemp, whose head is now totally shaved, looks reliable, and well… not stoned for once! (Just kiddin’ Shawn!)

The game between the L.A. Sparks and Detroit Shock was almost over last night when things just took a turn for the worse. Candace Parker and Cheryl Ford got into a brawl. 

That’s the kind of thing I don’t like to see on a sports ground, but… when a game gets tough physically, well that’s the way the cookie crumbles!

Here’s the video, but be aware it ain’t for the faint-hearted!