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!

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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!

 

Okay guys the title of the topic is misleading, but I know for a fact a guy named Pat Ewing will be on the Knicks’ roster next season.

It’s obvious I’m not talkin’ about the soon-to-be Hall of Famer. Besides, he has already a gig, namely assistant-coach in Orlando. I’m talking about his son, Patrick Ewing Jr, who got drafted by Sacramento with 43rd pick last june and was subsequently traded with Ron Artest to the Houston Rockets in August.

And guess what, Ewing Jr was once again traded last friday! The guy didn’t play a single minute in NBA so far, and his rights have already been owned by 3 differents teams…

Anyway this time he winds up in New York, the very same place where his storied daddy pulled off so many feats throughout 15 of his 17 NBA seasons. 

I think it’s pretty cool for New York fans to have the opportunity to root for the son of a guy who was a key contributor for the Knicks for so many years! Old fans must be happy about it. But it could be a real letdown… there’s no way to see Ewing Jr as productive as his father used to be. His NCAA career was very inconspicuous, and at best he’ll be a role-player in the L.

Starting off his career in NY is certainly not the easiest way for Ewing Jr. I guess he’ll permanently be liken to his dad. In the long run, it could turn out to be a burden way too heavy to bear. The shadow of his father will stick around anytime he steps on the floor. I hope for him he’ll be able to handle the incoming pressure, otherwise things could get ugly down the stretch.

And I really do hope Knicks’ fans won’t expect him to be a decisive player! People need to understand he’ll never be a superstar.

I was stunned when I heard this breaking news! Titular point guard of the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker was supposed not to play with his national team this summer. Even though the player was eager to play with France, his team and above all his coach Greg Poppovich were known to be reluctant to that idea, so much so they banned him from doing so. They were said to be adamant on it. The main raison was because their player needed some rest, after several grueling seasons.

That’s what everybody thought until last night, just before Parker unexpectedly announced he’ll eventually play with the French National team from today until the end of september. Talk about an about-face!

Given that he didn’t play since early june, the Spurs changed their mind, deeming Parker got enough rest. Plus, TP kind of coerced his team, asking them several times if he could join his National team. San Antonio finally agreed to release their player.

So far, Parker was training with Chip Engelland in L.A., and admitted that watching the Olympics on TV was a hardship he couldn’t take any more. France didn’t qualify for the Olympics last year, and now is faced with a difficult task : a qualifying tournament in September, and Parker will do his best to help his team qualify for the next European Championship which will be held in Poland next year. After missing the Olympics, France can’t miss this event, otherwise they’ll be doomed to an unknown future.

So I guess Parker felt the urge to help his team getting back in the limelight. He said : “I gotta be with my teammates right now.” Somehow, I think it’s a win-win situation for everybody. It’s an understatement to say that France is gonna need Parker’s skills to cope with the incoming tournament, and hopefully San Antonio will get a player in great shape when their training camp will kick off next fall.