Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

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!

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!

 

I haven’t sticked around lately, and I thank you guys for being faithful to my blog. Anyway, I’d like to draw your attention on a new book who hit bookstores a couple weeks ago.

You guys are probably aware that Magic has just released his latest book. It’s entitled “32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business” and it looks like a page-turner. Back in the days, I read “My life” who I think was his very first book, and even if it wasn’t a mind-boggling book, it still was worth-reading.

I still didn’t get a chance to purchase his latest book, but I’m looking forward to doing so. I won’t read it on the spot, because actually I got a bunch of books awaiting to be read on my bookshelf (mainly some techno-thriller stuff…).

Maybe I’m dead wrong and this book is a crap one, I can’t say. But it’s not my point. My point is to underline how thriving Magic has been since leaving the NBA in ’96. If anything, you might state he’s as successful off the court nowadays than he was on the court back in the 80’s. And by sayin’ that, it speaks volumes about his current success!

Most of the former players don’t do half of what Magic did so far. They just settle for an easy life, doing basically nothing, apart from spending their money and playing golf.

Magic not only turned out to be an awesome businessman, but also did a great deal of things for his own community over the years. Off the top of my head, I think he hired something like 40.000 blacks people in his own business! For black people, who still remain in dire straits in the US, it’s kind of a blessing.

Of course it won’t change black folks’ plight in the US, especially when you think that former black athletes taking care of their own community are few and far between, but Earvin is definitely a rare and special person!