Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

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!

I was curious to see how Greg Oden would handle his first steps in the League. Think about it : the guy was the top pick in the ’07 draft, and eventually missed his whole first season, due to an injured knee. He worked at double speed this summer so as to be ready for the season opener.

So tuesday was supposed to be the day Oden would tally his very first points of his career… well sadly it didn’t happen that way, far from it. So needless to say I felt sorry for the guy when I got wind Oden got injured once again last tuesday against L.A. in the 1st quarter. The down on his luck Oden only played 13 minutes before getting injured, and finished the game scoreless. Talk about tough luck!

This time, his foot is unjured and Oden is likely to miss 6 to 14 games. He’s gonna be sidelined between 2 to 4 weeks. I don’t think it’s gonna be an issue for the Portland Trail Blazers, because they’re sort of used to play without Oden, but I can’t help thinking Oden’s confidence must be at rock bottom right now. At this point, maybe he thinks he’s cursed or something like that. He’s injury prone and it’s always a tough experience for an athlete to deal with that mentally.

Luckily it ain’t a very serious injury, as a matter of fact he won’t sustain any surgery, which is a pretty good news for him. I hope for him he won’t be plagued with other injuries for the remainder of the season… he deserves it!

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 !

About Team USA… and this blog

Posted: September 29, 2008 in NBA, News, Random, Sports
Tags: , ,

Some of you may have noticed, It’s been a long time I didn’t write something on my blog. Truth be told, I think a one-month hiatus was more than necessary. Why? Well, the answer is multi-faceted.

Even if my blog encountered a great start (about 4.000 hits in 2 months, that went better than I expected!), I’d say very few stories are newsworthy during the off-season. Besides, there wasn’t any blockbuster trades this summer, ala Garnett.

Maybe you guys think I could’ve talked about the Olympics Games, and the great achievement of Team USA, the famous “Redeem team” (I hate that moniker…). I don’t know about you but honestly USA hegemony proved to be boring down the stretch. I mean sometimes it felt like we were back in ’92, when Team USA was overpowering and trashing all its opponents. Back in the days, I used to appreciate that kind of show (hey, I was just a kid at the time!) but as a grown person I think a basketball game is much more appealing when the score is tight, when both teams are close enough to provide a good game.

Except for the final game against a gallant Spanish Team (I gotta admit it was an awesome game, actually one of the greatest game I’ve ever seen!), the gap between Team USA and his opponents was way too huge throughout this tournament. As a result, following Team USA was tasteless, to say the least. If anything, you might say it was a chore!

But don’t get me wrong: I didn’t want Team USA to be beaten up, far from it! I was just eager to get a little more of suspenseful moments, one of those “money-time” situation only basketball can provide.

That being said, and I think you guys will agree with me when I say we gotta pay tribute to this Team, who learned from its past mistakes. The bold behavior displayed in the past just vanished (even if James was, well… kinda irritating) and above all they finally understood a critical thing in basketball: you gotta play as team if you wanna be triumphant in the end. Oh, of course the passing games wasn’t flawless, but at least the good will was obvious.

Anyway, with the training camps about to kick off in a week or so, it was a no-brainer for me to revive NBA KINGDOM, with a brand-new appearance! I remind you this blog is not meant to provide all the latest news surrounding the NBA, but rather a space where I can share with you all the things in the L that catch my attention, things that I think are relevant or that… ticks me off.

So stay tuned on NBA KINGDOM… I’ll catch up with you guys later!