Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Farewell to the Pope of College Basketball

The game of basketball lost a good man with the passing of Peter Francis "Pete" Newell yesterday morning.

Much has been said with Coach Newell’s advance age and failing health in recent years but sometimes—though not always—there are a few people that you wish could live forever because the world is a better place with them in it.

Coach Newell is one of them.

Big Man’s Camp

Since 1976 until the time of his death, Pete Newell has had a hand in developing the fundamental footwork and shooting of collegiate and professional forwards and centers without receiving any compensation in return. Newell shared, "I owe it to the game. I can never repay what the game has given me."

Newell’s Big Man Camp started with one player—Kermit Washington of the Los Angeles Lakers. In the book “The Punch: one night, two lives, and the fight that changed basketball forever,” author John Feinstein recounts that Newell’s work with Washington was so effective that his quickness, ball-handling, and jump shot improved to the point where his “inside game” became more efficient. Since then, annual Big Man’s Camps (since renamed to Pete Newell’s Big Man’s Camp) have been conducted in Honolulu, Hawaii and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Newell changed the way the game is played

Though I have not had the privilege of meeting Coach Pete, I have been fortunate enough to attend his son, Coach Tom’s camp here in Manila, Philippines during the summer of 2000.

It changed my life. My entire perspective of the game of basketball.

Coach Tom said that after our camp experience, we (the camp participants) would never see a basketball game for what it is—just a game.

And we never did.

Our eyes were opened, as there was a lot more analysis involved now. Putting the ball through the hoop was no longer as important as being fundamentally sound. Basic moves were scrutinized. Countermoves were put into practice. Reverse pivots became secondary. And so on…

All thanks to the teachings of Coach Tom Newell and in turn to his father Pete whose legacy was very much felt in that coaching program.

Now playing: Solu Music featuring Kimblee - Fade (Rewind Mix)
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 24, 2008

Introducing: Rudy “Da Boy” Fernández

With the 2008-2009 fast approaching, I thought it best to “let the proverbial cat out of the bag” and name my pick for 08’-09’ Rookie of the Year (ROY) – Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands native - Rodolfo "Rudy" Fernández Farrés of the Portland Trailblazers.

Fernández’ Beijing Olympics heroics in Gold Medal game as well as his Blazers’ pre-season display of aerial artistry, timely shooting, pinpoint passing, and instinctive defensive skills have certainly gotten my juices following for the upcoming regular and fantasy NBA seasons.

A lot is expected of the man that I have christened as “Da Boy.”

The evolution of a trade

It all started with a 6’7’’ Czech guard named Jiri Welsch.

Not a lot of people remember the former Mattoni League MVP who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers (16th overall) in 2002. Welsch never got an opportunity to play for the 76ers during his rookie season as his rights were immediately shipped to the Golden State Warriors. The following season, Welsch was again traded, this time to the Dallas Mavericks and then subsequently dealt to the Boston Celtics along with Chris Mills, Raef LaFrentz and a 04’ lottery-protected selection for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk (It seems like it happened yesterday).

Still with me?

Now this is where our story truly begins as less than two years later, the Celtics moved poor Welsch (this guy never caught a break) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a future first-round pick in 2007 that eventually became the 24th selection by virtue of the Cavs 2006 team standings.

In 2006, the Phoenix Suns drafted Kentucky point guard Rajon Rondo and then traded him along with “The Braided One” Brian Grant for the aforementioned Cavaliers selection and cash considerations.

The following year, the Suns used the Cavaliers pick, which the got from the Boston trade to draft Rudy Fernández.

In total, it took a series of trades involving four NBA teams over the course of two seasons and another year of continuous discussions and negotiations on the part of the Portland Trailblazers brain trust (General Manager Kevin Pritchard please stand up!) to pry Rudy away from his mother team of eight years—DKV Joventut of the Spanish ACB League.

It took awhile, but Rudy Fernández is finally in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

What it this “Da Boy” business?

The moniker “Da Boy” was something I had come up with. It was inspired by a conversation that Nate McMillan shared with the media during the Fernández’ press conference last September 22, 2008. McMillan recalled the time wherein the USA coaching staff and Kobe Bryant scouted the Spanish National Team game during one of their games in Beijing Olympics.

The 6’5’’ Rudy Fernández stood out in that contest, which prompted the observing Kobe Bryant to turn to McMillan and say, "He's your kid, huh? He's pretty good."

“Kid,” in my mind, equating youth or “Boy.”

While “Da” (pronounced Da-H) instead of “The” serves as homage to his namesake, the late Filipino actor Rudy “Daboy” Fernandez.

The statistics and other immeasurable intangibles

With the exception of the two games that “Da Boy” missed due to the ankle sprain he suffered last October 8, 2008 against the Golden State Warriors, Fernández has been truly impressive.

In the five games that he has played to date, Rudy has certainly lit up the stat sheet by averaging slightly more than 29 minutes, 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4 assists, 0.2 blocks, and an amazing 2.6 steals per contest. His shooting percentages (46% field goal and 100% free throw) are not that bad either with half his 10 field goal attempts coming from long distance (35% three point field goal percentage).

Looking at his game this early in the pre-season, Fernández has lived up to the high praises given by fellow Spaniard and current Toronto Raptors starting point guard Jose Manuel Calderon when he said, "I think he's (Fernández) a great player, he can score and he can do a lot of things. He's not just a scorer; he can do a little bit of everything. He's a great player.”

Sean Meagher of added, “while Rudy instantly garners your attention with his "flash-and-dash" style of offensive play, it's how he makes the team better that makes him so important. He creates, not only for himself, but more so for his teammates. He creates open shots for guys either cutting to the basket, trailing or standing in the open corner. He has the rare ability to feel things out before they happen, anticipation. Rudy has the ability to squeeze passes into a tight window most players wouldn't even think about. He's got a constant motor that's always running as long as he is on the court. Many of the tools he plays with, aren't taught. And just think about what he will be able to do when he really learns the NBA game and with a year or two of NBA coaching.”

Nice huh?

On my end, if there was any area that Rudy may need to work on, it would be his turnovers (averaging 3 miscues per game in the pre-season) as well as knowing when to put the reigns on his cerebral yet somewhat reckless (yet entertaining) game which has already left him open to injury this early in the season (e.g., ankle sprain).

It’s too early to tell if any of Rudy’s immediate success will carry over to the regular season.

But with talent, opportunity, and confidence.

Anything is possible.

Now playing: The Ting Tings - Great DJ (Calvin Harris Remix)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 20, 2008

What I Think Series: What Becometh Of The Phoenix Suns Draft Picks?

Annually, the NBA Draft brings together the best crop of collegiate and international talent into Madison Square Garden in New York City. Prior to this momentous occasion wherein young aspirants take their first step to earning millions of dollars, NBA teams spend months and sometimes years scouting and assessing talent across the United States, Europe, and even Asia.

Some teams have a knack for assessing good talent like the Golden State Warriors (Latrell Sprewell 24th pick in 92’; Gilbert Arenas 30th in the first round of 01’; and Monta Ellis 40th selection in 05’) and San Antonio Spurs (Manu Ginobili 57th 2nd round pick in 99’ and Tony Parker 29th selection in 01’).

Another team with what I would like to call, “a great draft sense” (along with superior scouting and assessment skills) is the Phoenix Suns. They were able to draft a number of solid NBA players over the last 20 years (“Thunder” Dan Majerle (1st rd; 14th overall in 88’); Steve Kerr (2nd rd; 50th overall in 88’); Former New Jersey Nets’ All-Star F/C Jayson Williams (1st rd; 21st overall in 90’); Cedric Ceballos (2nd round; 48th overall in 90’); Michael Finley (1st rd; 21st overall in 95’); 2-time MVP Stephen John Nash (1st rd; 15th overall in 96’); their lone choice the following year named Stephen Jackson (2nd rd; 42nd overall in 97’); Shawn Marion (1st rd; 9th overall in 99’); Amare Stoudemire (1st rd; 9th overall in 02’); traded for San Antonio Spurs draft choice Brazil’s Leandrino Barbosa (1st rd; 28th pick in 03’).

Not bad right?

Well, with “new” Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver’s mandate to tighten his squads spending, first round draft picks since 04’ were traded elsewhere in order to avoid paying them since 1st round picks are guaranteed a two-year rookie deal under the new NBA collective bargaining agreement.

From 2004-2007, there are the players that the Suns virtually gave away. Luol Deng (1st rd; 7th overall in 04’) was sent to the Chicago Bulls in a prearranged deal. Lil’ Nate Robinson (1st rd; 21st overall in 05’) was traded to the New York Knicks along with guard/forward Quentin Richardson for F/C Kurt Thomas and the rights to 2nd round pick Dijon Thompson (2nd rd; 54th overall in 05’).

2006 didn’t shine any brighter for the Suns who owned two 1st round draft selections (#21 & #27). The Suns drafted Rajon Rondo (1st rd; 21st overall in 06’) and traded him, along with a broken down Brian Grant to the Boston Celtics for their 2007 1st round draft (a picked conveyed to the C’s by the Cleveland Cavaliers who got guard Jiri Welsch in a prior deal) and cash considerations. With the 27th selection, the Suns drafted promising Spanish guard Sergio Rodriguez (1st rd; 27th overall in 06’) but traded his rights to the Portland Trailblazers for cash considerations.

The 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers 1st round selection turned out to be Spanish sensation Rudy Fernandez (1st rd; 24th overall in 07’) who was subsequently dealt again to the Portland Trailblazers along with shooting forward James Jones for cash.


Can you imagine if the Suns kept half those guys?

Can you fathom the team not signing Marcus Banks to a five-year $21 million dollar contract in 06’?

And how can we all forget the greatest crime of all?

Absorbing Shaquille “The Big Cactus” O’Neal’s $40 million dollar deal for the next two years.


So much for Sarver’s belt tightening mandate.

Now playing: The Whispers - Rock Steady
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cavaliers' Delonte West fights "mood disorder"

Breaking news over at the Cleavland Cavaliers training camp is that combo guard Delonte West has sought "help for depression and “a mood disorder” he has been battling his entire life."

AP sports writer Tom Withers' also quoted the 25-year old West as saying "I felt a feeling of anger and I just wanted to throw it all away and quit the team." A move (if actualized) which would have left the bulk of 3-year $12.6 million dollar contract (team option for the third year) that he signed with the Cavaliers this past off season on the table.

West also shared contrasting and extreme periods of elation (e.g., West had a number of puzzling remarks after going 2-of-12 from the floor (7 points; 28 minutes) during the Cavaliers pre-season loss to the Spurs last Thursday. West called the matchup as "the funnest game I've played in years" and that "being on the court felt like being on the playground as a child again.") as well as depression (e.g., “When everything is on the upside, I’m feeling the worst.")

While going through the article, my first impression was...

Bipolar Mood Disorder. gives a very concise description of this mental illness:

"Bipolar mood disorder is the new name for what was called manic depressive illness. The new name is used as it better describes the extreme mood swings - from depression and sadness to elation and excitement - that people with this illness experience.

People with bipolar mood disorder experience recurrent episodes of depressed and elated moods. Both can be mild to severe. The term ‘mania’ is used to describe the most severe state of extreme elation and overactivity. Some people with bipolar disorder do not experience depressive episodes-only the episodes of elation and excitement."

I have to give West a lot of credit. He didn't have to come forward and explain to the explain to the world...why he had spent almost two weeks away from the Cavaliers and missed three pre-season games this season. Both he and the Cavaliers simply could have given the generic response: absence due to "personal reasons" or "matters," while the Cavaliers report have reported, "did not disclose the reason for his absence."

But West felt he owed everyone an explanation and he has said all the right things. He mentioned his need "for help" following his behavior "toward a high school referee during a scrimmage at the Cavs’ training facility on October 3."

West also shared that he has begun to seek therapy and is taking regular medication.

West shares, “In a sense, you feel like a weaker man because you have to raise your hand and ask for help,” West said. “But I found out over the last week that it made me a stronger person. I came back focused, and with the help of some medicine and talking with people on a regular basis, I’m back in good spirits.

“I’m back here 100 percent.”

Now playing: The Ting Tings - Great DJ
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

El Segundo woman stalks Lakers' Luke Walton

Been really busy with work so I haven’t really had a chance to post anything over the course of almost two months (has it really been that long…)

Anyway, the 2008-2009 NBA season is upon us and despite not blogging, I’ve kept abreast with recent player and team developments—a necessity for annual NBA Yahoo! Fantasy players such as myself. (Speaking about that, any of you guys interested in forming a head-to-head league?)

One news report that caught my eye other than the ones watching everything and anything that Gilbert Arenas, Jr. does or the latest on the Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. divorce and having Bad Boys II star Gabrielle Union ever present at Heat games or if Steven John Nash turning 35 will make him even less of awesome player that he is, etc.

News of Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton brings me out of my hiatus—well at least for the next fifteen minutes, before I have to get ready for work.

Here is the story,’s Kevin Ding writes in his Lakers Blog about a chat he had recently with Walton about an El Segundo woman (identified later as 34 year-old Stacy Beshear) following him around wherever he goes. From real amateur tailing techniques to irrationally throwing unsigned basketballs to very real shooting gun hand gestures, Luke has every reason to be worried.

Ding quotes Walton below:

* “She seemed nice enough (when she first began appearing regularly outside the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility for autographs), and there are a lot of people who are out there all the time. I would sign stuff for them most of the time, but every once in a while you’re in a rush trying to get somwhere after practice. So one time I waved and said I had to be somewhere. And I saw her reach her pen out, and I didn’t think anything of it, and when I got to my house, I saw I had a big blue mark all down the side of my car from her Sharpie pen. So then I was like, ‘That’s messed up. I sign stuff for her all the time. Now she does that; I’m not going to sign anything for her anymore.’ That’s before I knew she was stalking me.”

* “A couple of days later, I was signing stuff, and she came up. And I just rolled up my window and drove off. And as I was driving off, she threw her basketball at my car. It didn’t hit the car, but I saw it was bouncing down Nash Street. And I was kind of laughing like, ‘She’s kind of lost it.’ But at the same time, it was like, she’s really starting to pick up what she’s doing.”

* “Once I moved out of the gated community, that’s when I started noticing. I’d come home, and the same car with tinted windows would be parked across the street all the time. One time, I was like, ‘I swear I see someone there.’ So I walked up and saw her, and she had a hat on, and I said, ‘I can’t believe this is the same chick from the practice site.’ And then for a while, everywhere I went, I’d see her park like a street down. As soon as I took off, she’d start following me.”

* “I’ll be going somewhere, and she’ll be following me everywhere I go. I’ll start really driving nuts, and she’s right behind me, staying with me. It sucks, because you figure you just go out and play basketball and you have your personal life, but then you have to start worrying about stuff like, ‘I don’t want to drive to my teammates’ houses if she’s following me, because I don’t want her to know where my teammates live.’”

* “It was more an annoyance than anything else until recently when she did that gun thing (gesturing at him with her hand as if shooting at him). And then I was like, ‘All right. Now she’s crossed the line.’ ”

* “I’m hoping she’s done. I hope the police finally scared her enough so that she’ll leave me alone.”

In a world where people simple just have an obscene amount of time to talk about other people’s lives or simply make it point to focus on what their obsession is doing...rather than focusing on themselves.

This is serious!

But sadly, they may not be thinking rationally at this point.

Now playing: Pearl Jam - Porch (Live on MTV)
via FoxyTunes

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ron Artest does what only Dennis Rodman could ever dream of doing

Throughout his career, Ronald William Artest, Jr. has emulated a number of NBA greats including the legendary Michael Jordan and eccentric rebounder Dennis Rodman by donning their jersey numbers (#23 and #91) during his stint with the Indiana Pacers.

By the time Ron-Ron was traded to the Sacramento Kings in late January 2006 for Peja Stojakovic he had a new number (#93) and an new lease on life until he ran himself out of Sacramento by forcing the Kings owners' the Maloof brothers and President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie to trade him to the Houston Rockets this offseason.

News has come out that he plans to wear jersey # 96. Dennis Rodman--who has donned his share of jersey numbers (e.g., #10, #91, #73, & #70)--always wanted to invert those numbers and use that particular jersey number but felt that NBA Commissioner David J. Stern would shoot that one down as well as the inferences to the number if he were to get #96.

That was over ten years ago.

Today, #96 has finally reached the NBA with Ron Artest—who according a Sports 1140 KHTK-AM interview last July, wants to now be referred to as "Bill" (taken from his second name, William)—symbolizing yet another fresh start.

Here’s to you "Bill" and to second chances, third chances, fourth chances…

Make the most of it!

Now playing: Jack Johnson - Losing Keys (Katalyst Remix)
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jason Kidd and Grant Hill Retrospective: Two Sides of Health


Jason Kidd.

With the second pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected California guard Jason Kidd to run their offense that featured Jimmy Jackson and Jamal Mashburn. Kidd, who signed a six-year $60 million dollar rookie contract (those were the days before the NBA collective bargaining agreement regulated rookie salaries), didn’t take long to impress as he helped the Mavs improve that year by 23 wins. By the end of his rookie year, J-Kidd averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.7 assists per contest, and led the NBA in triple doubles with 4.

Grant Hill.

Drafting third overall were the Detroit Pistons who over the last few years had seen their team fall from the NBA’s elite after winning back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. With Duke senior forward Grant Henry Hill, one of the most decorated collegiate players of his generation, the Pistons not only had a new cornerstone (who signed to a tune of eight-years, $45 million) to build under the guidance of veteran guard Joe Dumars, but also what was to become the “face of the NBA” for the next few years. Hill’s status was never more apparent than in that year’s NBA All-Star Game wherein he became the first rookie (in any of the four major sports—Basketball, Baseball, Football, and Hockey) to be the events top vote getter. Hill finished with averages of 19.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.77 steals per game. As for triple-doubles, G.Hill didn’t match Kidd’s total but was able to post one against the Orlando Magic on April 7, 1995.

With their individual accomplishments (I can’t really say “AND team accomplishments” since the Pistons only had an 8-game improvement will Hill that year), both Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were named NBA co-rookie of the year—only the second duo (until Chicago’s Elton Brand and Houston’s Steve “Franchise” Francis turned the trick in 99’-00’) to capture the award after the Celtics’ Dave Cowens and Blazers’ Geoff Petrie did it 24 years earlier.

In their own right, both Jason Kidd and Grant Hill have had successful and highly lucrative careers. Kidd is third all-time in triple-doubles (netting 100 to date), USA Basketball’s 2007 Male Athlete of the Year (going 44-0 lifetime when representing his country), and has reached the NBA Finals twice in 2001 and 2002. On the other hand, Hill had been named to numerous NBA All-Star teams (even making the squad during the 2001 season in which he only participated in four regular season games), is one of only three players (the others being Elgin Baylor and the late Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain) to lead his team in scoring, rebounds, and assists on at least three occasions, and is generally a nice guy (having won the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award (2004, 2008) and the Magic Johnson Award (2006)).

But in my eyes, arguably the defining point in their respective careers is the element of injury from which no player is immune.

The Good.

In March of 2000, the Phoenix Suns’ Jason Kidd broke a bone in his left ankle with 2/10th of a second left in the first half of their game against the Sacramento Kings. Surgery ensued, and five weeks later, Kidd was back on the court for the Suns’ playoff run. Four years later, Kidd had microfracture surgery on his left knee in July 1st and returned five months later without any ill effects—which says a lot because a number of players have either retired (e.g., Terrell Brandon, Allan Houston, Kerry Kittles, Karl Malone, Jamal Mashburn, Bryon Russell, guard Alvin Williams, and Chris Webber), are unemployed (e.g., Pat Garrity and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway), not really the same anymore (e.g., Matt Harping, Kenyon Martin (procedure on both knees in successive years), Eduardo Najera), or play like they never got hurt in the first place (e.g. the aforementioned Jason Kidd, Zach Randolph, Amare Stoudemire and the retired John Stockton). (The jury is still out on Portland Trailblazer rookie Greg Oden and $111 million dollar man Gilbert "Hibachi" Arenas, so we will have to wait and see.)

The Bad.

Grant Hill. Once the poster boy for endurance (averaging 38.93 minutes a game during his first six years in the NBA), Hill’s health deteriorated after severely injuring his ankle during the 2000 playoffs while playing for the Detroit Pistons. The following year, the Orlando Magic’s new free agent acquisition had season-ending surgery to repair a broken medial malleolus (inside bone of left ankle) on Jan. 3 2001. A similar season-ending procedure was done 11 months later (Dec. 19, 2001) and the following season (2002-2003), Hill also missed a majority it before having surgery again on his bothersome left ankle which involved re-fracturing and re-aligning the ankle by re-shaping the heal on March 18, 2003. shares that five days after the said procedure, “the unexpected happened: Hill developed a 104.5 °F (40.3 °C) fever and convulsions. He was immediately rushed to a hospital. Doctors removed the splint around his ankle and discovered that Hill had developed a staph infection, from which he nearly died. He was hospitalized for a week and had to take intravenous antibiotics for six months.”

Grant Hill then missed the entire 2003-2004 in order to rehabilitate his left ankle. Two years later, Hill’s ankle was fine but he still missed 61 games due to a sports hernia.

And the comparisons don't stop there.

Overall, I am happy that both players are currently healthy and with them being in the twilight of their careers, they may still give us a special moment.

Don’t blink.

Because it may just happen.

Now playing: Jars Of Clay - Headstrong
via FoxyTunes

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Dreaded ACL Injury

Detroit Shock’s forward Cheryl Ford is done for the rest of the WNBA season.

And it couldn’t have happened in a worst way.

She was a peacemaker.

While trying to restrain teammate Plenette Pierson during the confrontation against Candice Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, Ford’s right knee buckled as she tore her anterior cruciate ligament.

Here is the video of the aforementioned brawl.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the four major and stabilizing ligaments in our knees. Studies have found that this type of injuries is common among athletes—especially women—due to a variety of reasons: hormonal, balance, posture, and genes. An ACL can be torn by way of a “sudden dislocation, torsion, or hyperextension of the knee.”

Basically, these type of injury can happen at anytime and anywhere—even outside the arena of sports—as I heard a story awhile back wherein someone did tear their ACL after sitting down for a long time with their legs crossed.

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries have been out there for quite some time. Over the last twenty years, several prominent players like Bernard King, Patrick Ewing, and Ron Harper have been able to return from his injury despite surgical procedures still being in its infancy.

Other instances

Probably the worst possible ACL injury occurred in February last year when former Los Angeles Clippers guard Shaun Livingston tore three of the four major ligaments in his knee on a breakaway drive in the first quarter against the Charlotte Bobcats. While in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsey Harding, the first overall pick in the 2007 WNBA draft, suffered a torn ACL in her left knee during a seemingly harmless drive to the basket during the later part of her rookie season while playing against the Washington Mystics.

Just can’t get healthy

No player has suffered more ACL injuries than NBA forward Danny Manning. Manning was the top pick out of Kansas in 1988 who spent portions of his productive 15 year career with the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Detroit Pistons; suffered three ACL injuries: injuring his right knee during his rookie year in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks (1/4/89), another in the left knee during a team practice in Phoenix (2/7/95), and re-injuring his right knee again two years later in Sacramento (4/7/98).

While in the WNBA, Rebecca Lobo, one of the most decorated collegiate and Olympic female basketball players of this generation, was also not spared of his injury. In the New York Liberty season opener against the defunct Cleveland Rockers (6/10/99), Lobo tore her left ACL 42 seconds into the contest. Six months later, she reinjured the same leg during a rehab session (12/16/99).

Exceptions to the rule

For every injured player, there are also exceptions and two players come to mind, Karl Malone (Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers) and NBA Iron Man A.C. Green (Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Miami Heat). Playing in 1458 games in a career that spanned 19 years, Malone’s only significant injury came during his last and only year with the Los Angeles Lakers wherein he missed 39 games due to torn knee ligament. On the other hand, A.C. Green has never missed any significant time having played in 1192 consecutive games (an NBA record).

Now playing: Jack Johnson - Breakdown
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gift wrapped for Brooklyn: The 2008-2009 New Jersey Nets

I have always been resistant to change.

Even if I knew it was coming a mile away.

Last February, I got the opportunity to see the Nets at their best for what turned out to be their last time together against a major opponent.

And with the trade deadline looming, there were already some notable changes on their roster as the Nets shipped forward/center Jason Collins to Memphis for underachieving forward Stromile Swift. A few days later, team captain Jason Kidd followed suit when New Jersey sent him back to the very team that drafted him (Dallas Mavericks) for Devin Harris and other players.

Change was coming.

I just didn’t know how fast.

Nets Team President Rod Thorn and the rest of the Nets brain trust have been very busy this off-season. Having traded away their franchise’s second all-time leading scorer—Richard Jefferson to the Milwaukee Bucks for China’s Yi Jianlian and underachieving forward Bobby Simmons.

The Nets also did very well for themselves in the 2008 NBA Draft after they bagged Stanford’s 7’0’’ center Brook Lopez at #10, 6’10’’ forward Ryan Anderson at #21, and arguably the steal of the draft at #40—Memphis scoring guard-forward Chris “CDR” Douglas-Roberts.

Rod Thorn didn’t stop there as he also allowed forward Bostjan “Boki” Nachbar to sign with a Russian team and sent guard Marcus Williams to the Golden State Warriors for a future lottery-protected 1st round pick.

With that said, the only Nets left from last season’s roster are Darrell Armstrong, Josh Boone, Nenad Krstic, Sean Williams, Vincent Lamar Carter and his $61.8 million dollar extension. Of those five players, only Boone, Williams, and Carter are certain to make the final roster.

The New Jersey Nets have certainly positioned themselves well for the unrestricted free agent boon of 2010 that will feature the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr., Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Walter Ray Allen, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Manu Ginobili, Tracy McGrady, and for what it’s worth, Shaquille O’Neal. This list can further increase if players who hold Early Termination Options (ETO) in their existing contracts decide to exercise them. They are Amare Stoudemire, Michael Redd, Tyson Chandler, Richard Jefferson, Yao Ming, and Dirk Nowitzki.

If the Nets don’t land LeBron James in 2010.

They are not short on alternatives from the wealth of talent on that list.

Kudos to the Nets brain trust on their foresight.

Brooklyn may not only be getting a team two years from now.

But a solid contender.


- DeSagana Diop and the Dallas Mavericks agreed on a five-year, $31 million deal (the team’s full midlevel exception) last July 9, 2008. It will be Diop’s second stint with the Mavericks after being a part of the Jason Kidd-Devin Harris deal six months earlier

- What exactly did the Nets get in the Marcus Williams deal? Fred Kerber of shares that “if the Warriors are in the playoffs in 2011, the Nets get their first round pick. So it’s lottery-protected in 2011.

He adds “if the Nets are still waiting for the pick in 2012, they get G. State’s first rounder, as long as it’s not 1-through 11. If they’re still waiting in 2013, they get the first rounder as long as it’s not 1-through-10. But 2013 is the cutoff. If they haven’t gotten the pick by then they get two second rounders, in 2013 and 2015.”

Sounds as shady as Marcus Camby being dealt for a 2nd round pick, if you know what I mean.

- Lastly, at the age of 40, guard Darrell Armstrong won’t be back with the Nets for the upcoming 2008-2009 NBA season.

Now playing: Jack Johnson - Never Know
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Value of a Posey

And so it ends.

The last coveted unrestricted free agent is off the board with the signing of James Posey.

The winner?

Not the 2007-2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics (who were reported to be reluctant in offering Posey his desired full mid-level exemption four-year deal) but the up-and-coming New Orleans Hornets.

At 31, James Posey had every right to go out and look for some security, which he found in the Hornets $25 million offer. I honestly believe that the Celtics should have not scrimped on this one, as Posey is a true “glue guy.” The Cleveland Cavaliers will tell you. So will Miami Heat President Pat Riley.

Posey was the Celtics unsung hero in the NBA Finals a few short weeks ago. An intelligent weak side defensive helper who helped NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett on one end and supplied the C’s with timely three point bombs on the other. In fact, Celtics Captain Paul Pierce felt that Posey contributions were so "invaluable" that his squad wouldn’t lose anything if he were to sit down.

Who can argue with success?

After all, Posey has only won two NBA Championships in the last three years with the Heat in 06’ and the Celtics in 08’

Could Hornets in 09’ be a possibility?


Just don’t question the value of a Posey.

Now playing: Samantha James - Angel Love (Video Edit)
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Karma: Could the signing of Baron Davis been to the detriment of the Los Angeles Clippers?

Six days ago, Yardbarker blogger Baron “DB” Davis posted for the first time as a Los Angeles Clipper and 306 replies later—the public’s perception of him is…well…divided.

And that is putting it very lightly.

Much has been talked about Davis’ evoking his right to opt out of his current contract with the Golden State Warriors in the 11th hour (leaving a cool $17.8 million greenback on the table) as well as the resulting alleged collusion with fellow free agent Elton “EB” Brand and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Brand, fresh from watching the Boston Celtics capture their 17th World Championship, was said to have seen the logic in bringing together great and talented individuals who are willing to work towards a common goal—an NBA Championship.

But…things change.

The tune of $90 million dollars by way of Golden State (possible retribution for luring their franchise player Davis away?) and $82 million courtesy of some recent maneuverings by the Philadelphia 76ers has the potential to sway even the most idealistic minds.

So much for the “EB” and “BD” one-two punch combination.

What about the Clippers other unrestricted free agent and longest tenured player Corey Maggette?

Well, the Clippers can’t go down that road anymore with reports that he has agreed to accept a five-year contract worth around $50 million from the Golden State Warriors.

Fortunes once looked bright this uptown LA squad.

Karma anyone?

Now playing: Jack Johnson - Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gilbert Arenas reveals the true origins of "Hibachi" during his Adidas Philippine Tour 2008

The Washington Wizards new $111 million dollar man to be Gilbert Arenas, Jr. arrived in Manila, Philippines yesterday.

His lone itinerary for the evening--meeting with the Philippine press and answering some great questions fielded in by Philippine sports columnist, blog squad blogger, and broadcaster, Mr. Joaquin M. Henson.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Hibachi Grill to be honest

Gilbert Arenas, Jr. sheds some light as to the origins of his catchphrase, "Hibachi."

"Actually, it started with Brendan Haywood. You know, We got beat really bad and Kirk Hinrich…was, he scored about 30 something on us and Brendan Haywood was like, "Man he bring out the Hibachi Grill tonight!""

"So I was like, well, usually, I usually score 30 points. So I’m the Hibachi. And so from there I just took it."

I guess this means we can owe a debt of gratitude to Big Brendan and Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich's hot shooting night for Hibachi!

Gilbert also had some advice to young college players who are aspiring to make it big in the field of professional basketball:

"My junior high coach told me.
You know, I stick to it to this day...
You know believe in yourself.
You know when all things fail, its just you, its just you and your dream...
And you got to always believe"

Gilbert Arenas is visiting Manila from July 5-7, 2008 as part of his Adidas Asian Tour promoting his new line of footwear.

Now playing: Incognito - Freedom To Love
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Celtics Win #17: The World Bleeds Green Once Again

For the unprecedented 17th time.

The Boston Celtics are the NBA (National Basketball Association) Champions.

And they made it look easy this past week with a resounding 131-92 drubbing of their rivals—The Los Angeles Lakers—in game six of the 2007-2008 NBA Finals.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Longtime Boston Celtics beat writer Peter May shared that at the start of the 2007-2008 NBA season, Celtics’ Head Coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers urged his stalwarts—specifically team captain Paul Pierce and newly acquired NBA All-Stars Walter Ray Allen, Jr. and Kevin “KG” Garnett—of the importance of “seizing the moment” as “the can’t afford to wait” (since they are getting up their in age and opportunities to win a championship are few and far between). Rivers added that the talented trio need to play with a sense of urgency and liken their situation to being their “one and only chance to win.”

Rivers, 46, sold them on the concept of defense and Garnett was the first one to follow his lead—eventually ending the season as the league’s top defensive player—the first of his decorated career.

And that wasn’t all.

An exodus of more than half their players from the 2006-2007 NBA season in order to acquire Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Allen from the Seattle Supersonics posed to be yet another challenged to the 24-win club.

By the time the season started, the green and white has nine new faces on board—the aforementioned Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, free agents James Posey, Eddie House, Scot Pollard, rookies Glenn “Big Baby” Davis, Gabe Pruitt, and returnees Tony Allen, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, Brian Scalabrine (whom some sources have said, has the same basketball IQ as the legendary Michael Jordan), Rajon Rondo, and the Captain Paul Pierce. Before the close of the regular season, The “C’s” added two more faces, 15-year veteran P.J. Brown and guard Sam Cassell.

Cohesion and lack of bench strength were points brought up by critics all season long and despite a 66-16 season—successfully securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs and the NBA Finals. It was the largest single season turnaround in NBA history, yet the critics still kept on talking.

It didn’t help that their journey to the NBA Finals was a rocky one.

The young 8th seed Atlanta Hawks (37-45) brought the Celtics to 7 games in the first round. LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers (45-37) also pushed the Celtics to the distance in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals (and if it were not for Paul Pierce’s 41 points—who knows how that may have turned out). As for the Eastern Conference Finals, well, that series went six grueling games against the cohesive Detroit Pistons (59-23).

The Celtics went 10-1 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and 2-8 on the road for the duration of the playoffs. Doc Rivers put it best when he said, “that's why the regular season is so important. We fought for it all year” (Pertaining to home court advantage).

Onward to the NBA Finals.

After winning the first two games at home and stealing one of the next three at the Staples Center—The Boston Celtics were on the cusp of greatness—an unprecedented 17th World Championship.

By halftime of Game 6, the outcome had already been decided as the Lakers seemingly lost the fight in them.

58-35 at the end of two—A twenty three-point deficit.

The Celtics were running on all cylinders, led by their injured point guard Rajon Rondo, who finished with a stat line that Jason Kidd would be envious off (21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, six steals, and only a single turnover in just under 32 minutes of action).

Ray Allen also recovered from a first-half eye injury to finish with 26 points (7-9 from downtown). Associated Press Sports Writer Howard Ulman added that Allen also set a record “for most 3-pointers made in a finals series with 22. The previous mark of 17 was set by Dan Majerle with Phoenix in 1993 and matched by Derek Harper with New York in 1994. Allen’s seven 3-pointers also tied the finals record shared by Houston’s Kenny Smith and Chicago’s Scottie Pippen.”

The Celtics juggernaut didn’t end there as Kevin Garnett tied Allen for game high honors with 26 points and 14 rebounds. James Posey (whom Pierce considers “invaluable”) finished with 11 points (perfect from the field, including 3-3 from downtown) three steals, and a block. And who can forget the performance of Paul Pierce (17 points and 10 assists) thought the series.

In the end, it was only fitting that the Celtics Captain be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Finals as he had certainly endured a lot of heartaches over the last 10 years in a Celtics uniform.

With a title now safely under his belt, those days are certainly over.

17 banners. Jersey Numbers #1, #2, #3, #6, #10, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #31, #32, #33, #35 and #00 also hang from the rafters.

Could #34 be that far behind?


- The Celtics played an NBA record 26th post-season game when they stepped on the Red Auerbach Parquet Floor for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Associated Press Sports Writer Howard Ulman wrote:

- The Celtics’ 39-point margin in Tuesday night’s championship clinching win is the largest in a decisive NBA finals game.

- In fact, Boston now has four of the six biggest margins in games that clinched titles. The Lakers have the other two in championships won while they were in Minneapolis. The previous biggest winning margin in such games was 33 points by Boston on April 25, 1965, when it beat the Los Angeles Lakers 129-96.

- Boston’s 52 baskets from 3-point range erased the finals mark of 51 set by San Antonio in 2005.

- The Celtics also put on a record-setting defensive performance Tuesday with 18 steals, eclipsing the single-game finals mark set by Golden State against Washington in 1975.

- The Lakers put their own stamp on the record book, despite being crushed in the decisive game. League MVP Kobe Bryant’s 16 steals in the series tied the mark held by some pretty special players—Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade.

- And Boston broke its own NBA record for most championships with 17. The Lakers are second with 14.

Associated Press Sports Writer Jimmy Golen added:

- The Celtics joined the 1975 Golden State Warriors and the ‘77 Trail Blazers as the only teams to win it all a year after missing the playoffs.

The Champs on Letterman

The next night on The David Letterman Show, guests Walter Ray Allen, Jr. and Kevin Garnett shared:

“How you feeling, champ?” Ray Allen asked KG.

“I feel good,” Garnett replied. “How you feeling, champ?”

Said Allen, “Oh, I’m doing good.”

And with that, the world is right again…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

UFC Wired: Featuring Tyson Griffin vs. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar

Been wanting to post this for quite some time now.

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Wired over at the Balls network is one show that I really look forward to (in lieu of WWE, which is no longer carried by our cable service provider). Unlike its pay-per-view counterpart, UFC Wired focuses on highlights of three different fights from past UFC tournaments.

One evening, I caught the second match in UFC Wired (originally aired on UFC 67: All or Nothing) that featured a couple of unfamiliar yet unbeaten 155 lbs. fighters— Tyson Griffin (8-0 MMA record) and Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (UFC Debut).

The match was scheduled for three rounds and these guys were lightning quick—throwing one counter after another. By the third round, an Edgar kick lands where no man should be hit and Griffin goes down temporarily.

To make matter’s worse, referee Steve Mazzagatti seemed to be insensitive to Griffin’s plight and calls for the match to continue. With forty seconds remaining, Griffin catches a break and catches Edgar (who at this time is way ahead on points) with a kneebar!

It was awesome! The crowd was pumped! And I really thought that with the way Griffin was twisting and pulling Edgar’s knee in a direction it was never supposed to go…I thought he would concede and submit. But Edgar didn’t relent as he punched and gritted it out until the clock read 0:00.

Edgar could barely put any weight on his battered leg (which he fortunately didn’t dislocate or tear any major ligaments while under the pressure of the 40-second long kneebar) as the split decision was awarded to him at the conclusion of the match.

Wow huh?

Immediately after the match, I went online to try to find a video that I could post here over multiply. Alas, since the lightweight fighters were relative unknowns, there wasn’t any. This “blow-by-blow” report by JB Lederman is the closets I got.


411's UFC: Wired Report (03.30.08)

Posted by JB Lederman

UFC Wired, (aired 3/30/08)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of UFC: Wired Recap, wherein I review, repeat, and reiterate a recap show.

Joe Rogan welcomes us to the show. Rogan is incapable of letting his arms hang at his sides, have you noticed? Always flexing the biceps. On tap tonight are three exciting fights: Drew McFedries vs. Alessio Sakara, Tyson Griffin vs. Frankie Edgar, and Jon Fitch vs. Luigi Fioravanti.

Second fight (155 lbs): Tyson Griffin (8-0 MMA record) vs. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (and man with two first names.


Battle of the undefeated lightweights! If you asked "The Answer" what the fastest animal in the world is, he would say "the cheetah." Griffin looks really big for a '55 pounder, with a huge trunk. Rogan weirdly says that if Griffin were a girl, he'd have a "badunkadunk." Is that the right way to spell that? Edgar looks in great shape.

Round One:

Standup to start. Edgar stays in the pocket and moves well. Griffin looks a bit more clunky. In a neat move, Edgar fakes a shot, pulls up and lands a left uppercut. He catches a leg kick and takes Griffin down. Griffin tries a guillotine, but Edgar transitions to side control. Rogan notes that a guy would not tap out to a guillotine in side control "unless he really sucks." Griffin works to his feet and tries a double-leg on Edgar. Both men scramble and transition with neither getting the better of the other. Both back to their feet and they exchange again in the center of the ring. Interesting sequence when Edgar tries a Superman punch, Griffin counters with a knee, and Edgar is so fast that he grabs the leg and takes Griffin down again. Edgar is in Griffin's guard. Not much damage being done. Both men back to their feet. The previous Superman punch/knee sequence is repeated but without the takedown. The round ends with both men exchanging on their feet.

Round Two:

Griffin lands an uppercut that sends Edgar into the cage, though it was almost more of a push with a closed hand than a damaging strike. Edgar looking for a hip toss. He is warned for grabbing the fence. Both men on their feet as they separate. The speed of the fight is slowing from the torrid pace of the first round. Edgar catches a leg kick and turns it into a takedown. He is in Griffin's guard. Griffin is looking for a kimura. Edgar transitions to Griffin's back and is landing hammerfists. Both men stand up. Griffin tries three consecutive leg kicks. One lands, one is checked, and the third knocks Edgar off his feet! Edgar stands up. He catches another leg kick and takes Griffin down again. They scramble, and Griffin again looks for the kimura. Scramble again and Tyson now has Edgar's back. He tries a suplex but ends up dragging Edgar down instead. Edgar scrambles to the mounted position! He is landing some shots. Griffin gives up his back. The round ends with Edgar in Griffin's half guard, landing punches as the crown cheers.

Round Three:

Both men look exhausted. Griffin is now throwing arm punches with no real power. They accidentally butt heads, no damage done. The pace has slowed considerably. Edgar tries a knee and the top of his foot connects with Griffin's groin! He grimaces in pain as the insensitive jerk Mazzagatti says, "Fight on!" Does he not have man parts? Edgar now pressing and trying to take advantage! Griffin fights him off and seems to have recovered. The round is nearly over as Edgar lands a double-leg and takes Griffin's back. Griffin rolls through for a kneebar! It is sunk in deep. Edgar will not tap! Griffin traps his foot under the arm for even more leverage and cranks! Edgar still not tapping! He lands hammerfists to Griffin's thigh as the round ends. What a fight! Buffer announces the winner.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gilbert Arenas and the Agent Zero Manila Tour (July 5-8, 2008)

Saw a poster in Glorietta today promoting the upcoming July trip of former Golden State Warrior and current NBA free agent Gilbert Arenas, Jr. (Gil opted out of his current deal with the Washington Wizards last June 9, 2008).

Gil is slated for some appearances as well as promoting his new Adidas shoes called "The Black President" and "Hibachi."

Arenas leaves a cool $12.8 million on the table (his projected salary for the 2008-09 season) in hopes of a more lucrative six-year deal (that could net him as much as an estimated $106 to $114 million dollars).

Let's hope Gil’s knee (he has had multiple surgeries on his left knee) holds up and whomever he does end up signing up with get their money’s worth.

Now lets look forward to Agent Zero’s trip to Philippine soil.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The seemingly invincible Boston Celtics have shown a weakness

When you really think about it, the playoffs are truly the NBA’s second season.

Seeding really just equates to home court advantage, as all sixteen teams records are the same 0-0.

Some teams see it that way. Others just follow the proverbial script.

Enter the match up between the first seed Boston Celtics and the eighth seed Atlanta Hawks.

The Boston Celtics (66-16) are the NBA’s most prolific team this year—breezing through the regular season and finished as the top dog (along with the highly coveted home court advantage throughout the playoffs). Their match up with the Atlanta Hawks was projected to be a laugher—a sweep. But after the Hawks won all of their home games and clearly diverted from the “script,” the Celtics are in the fight of their lives and “adlibbing” from here on out.

If not for quirky NBA Eastern and Western Conference Playoff format, the Atlanta Hawks (37-45) really don’t have any business being in the NBA Playoffs (especially with a team like the Golden State Warriors that finished with a 48–34 record and still didn’t make the playoffs). But here they are and they are showing that they belong after sending the Celtics to their third loss in a week to even their best-of-seven first round series at three-a-piece.

What are these highflying Hawks doing right?

Well, they are attacking the basket strong on offense. Going for offensive rebounds. And most importantly, they are running.


The kink in the vaunted Boston Celtics defense has been exposed.

Don’t get me wrong, the Celtics play a great brand of basketball, but I believe that they haven’t been in enough of these situations wherein they play the same team over-and-over again. A team—these eighth seed Atlanta Hawks—that have had some medium of success over them.

I’ve always wondered if the bench of the Celtics would be good enough this year to lend a helping hand to “The Big Three” of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen.

So far, it’s been sketchy.

The Boston Celtics are 27-0 lifetime whenever they have lead 3-2 in a best-of-seven series.

The Atlanta Hawks have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Come game seven, their records will be 0-0.

Can these Hawks become only the fourth team since 1994 to upset a first seed?


It could happen.

Just ask Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.


•Only three eighth seeded teams have managed to win a series versus a first seed: These are the 1994 Denver Nuggets when they finished off the George Karl led Seattle SuperSonics in six games; the underdog New York Knicks that went on to the 1999 NBA Finals after they eliminated the Miami Heat (3-2) in the first round; and most recently, last year’s feel good team—the Golden State Warriors who trumpeted the Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in their 2007 First Round Western Conference match up.

•With their win over the 67-15 Dallas Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors also became the first eighth seed to beat a first seed in the best-of-seven format.

Now playing: ACDC - Back In Black
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jason Kidd: Triple-Double #100 and A Spice of Drama

April 16, 2008.

American Airlines Center. Dallas, Texas.

New Orleans Hornets versus Dallas Mavericks.

With playoff positioning on the line during the last day of the regular season (If the Dallas Mavericks lost to New Orleans Hornets that evening, they would be relegated to the eighth seed and have to face the very hot Los Angeles Lakers (#1 seed) instead of the Hornets (#2 seed)), the Mavericks goal was to win and secure the 7th seed.

And they did and more.

The more being Jason Kidd’s 100th triple-double.

In just under 37 minutes of play, Kidd was 5-8 from long distance and finished with 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

In all honesty, I didn’t think J-Kidd would be able to record his career-high 13th triple-double of the season following the mid-season trade that brought him to the Dallas Mavericks.

Among other things, Jason had to reacclimatize himself to the Dallas weather, familiarize himself with his new teammates, and internalize Head Coach Avery Johnson’s offensive and defensive schemes.

Plus, it seemed as if J-Kidd’s numbers somewhat dipped (which was expected following the trade)—he was rebounding less (more solid “bigs” to gobble up those rebounds) but the points and assists were still there.

So it was a matter time—with a lot of drama to boot—it came down to the last day of the regular season in what was arguably their biggest game of the season.

And it almost didn’t happen.

Kidd said that he didn’t expect to get it because he was just concentrating on staying in front of MVP candidate Chris Paul.

Mavericks’ teammate Jason Terry added that they were trying to help J-Kidd get triple-double #100 during their last two outings (prior to the New Orleans match up) but came up short.

Now here it is—triple-double #100. A feat that puts Kidd in the same category as Oscar “The Big O” Robertson (181) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson (138)—the only other players to record over 100 triple-doubles in their respective careers.

Kidd, is of course, already third all-time in this category.

But you knew that already.


• Jason Kidd recorded his thirteenth triple-double of the season, a feat that serves as his career high (his previous high was twelve that he set last season) as well as the total number of triple-doubles he amassed during his first stint (a little over two and a half seasons) with the Dallas Mavericks.

• Jason Kidd is only the third player to accumulate 100 triple-doubles after Robertson (181) and Johnson (138).

• With 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in their 104-92 Game One loss to the New Orleans Hornets the other day, Jason Kidd missed out on what could have been his 12th post-season triple-double. Currently Kidd is sandwiched between Hall of Famer’s Earvin “Magic” Johnson (30) and Larry Joe Bird (10) for 2nd place in NBA Playoff triple-doubles with 11.

Now playing: Ray J - Sexy Can I (Featuring Yung Berg)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 17, 2008

UFC Fight Night 13: One to remember…One for the books...

April 17, 2008.

It’s about six in the morning and I turn on the tube to the Balls channel over Sky Cable.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was on. And anything and everything that is UFC is good in my book as that is pretty much all I can watch these days with the exodus of the Solar Sports network (that carries most (if not all) of the NBA and WWE telecasts).

A replay of the recently concluded UFC Fight Night 13 that happened last April 2, 2008 at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado is on and about to “get it on” at that moment are James “The Sandman” Irvin and Houston "The Nebraskan Assassin" Alexander (Don’t you just love it when people give themselves monikers and just don’t seem to ever live up to the hype?).

Both competitors were highly touted by the announcers (they always are. And I wouldn't know them from Adam outside of Chuck "The Ice Man" Liddell, Ken "The Most Dangerous Man" Shamrock, Randy "The Natural" Couture, and Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz) and rightfully so.

At that point in the light heavyweight match up, Alexander (who debut in 2001) held a UFC career record of eight wins, two losses, and a one no contest, while Irvin (who entered in 2003 but has more career UFC fights) had a thirteen win, four loss, and one no contest record.

I turned to my computer as the opening bell rung.

Eight seconds went by.

And it was all over (click here to see the fight in its entirety).

Referee Steve Mazzagatti called the match a T.K.O. (punches) in favor of “The Sandman” who felled Alexander with what the commentators called “A Superman Punch” followed by three ground strikes.

Irvin went on to mimic “shooting a pistol” several times at Alexander who was tended to by referee Mazzagatti.

Eight seconds. (Tied a 12-year old record for the fastest knockout in UFC history when Frye knocked out Thomas Ramirez at UFC 8 on Feb. 16, 1996.)

That’s all it took to best a man who most likely trained for several months for this event…everyday…three times-a-day.

But those are the breaks of the game so to speak, as (they always say that) the safety of the fighters is paramount in such a physical sport and even for a brief moment Alexander was in no position to rationally protect himself.

Later on, Alexander said in a post-fight interview that his child “punches harder” and that of the number of blows that Irvin did or didn’t connect on—only the last one really was of any merit.

In the end, a win is a win.

James “The Sandman” Irvin has put yet another opponent to “sleep.”

Now playing: Mariah Carey - Heartbreaker (Featuring Jay-Z)
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Is your life Stranger Than Fiction? A Guitar and Playing Ball


Our lives usually begin and end with just an act.

But for Internal Revenue Service agent Harold Crick, it begins with the ticking of his (spruced up Hollywood) Timex T56371.

Stranger Than Fiction is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch.

But it’s more than that. It is potential a story about you as well.

A serious Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a meticulous, introverted, unconventional, obsessive-compulsive who goes about his monotonous way of life without much fanfare for the last twelve years.

Crick’s quirks are apparent from the onset of the film as author Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) recounts (in her very prominent British accent) a number of them ranging from the precise hour he snoozes his Timex T56371 in the morning to the diligent precision he takes when he gets dressed, brushes his teeth (76 times broken down into 38 vertical and 38 horizontal strokes), and promptness to make it to the bus stop for the 8:15 that he takes to work.

It’s a preferred albeit poignant existence that Crick has chosen to live in.

Redundancy. A life of solitude. Hey, the man eats alone. And sadly, doesn’t even have time stand up and go to the bathroom to take a leak. (I guess that is another way to utilize an empty plastic jar).

Could this be your life as well?

Well maybe not as eccentric as Harold Crick’s, but are there any similarities?

Usual routines. Frequenting familiar haunts. Or my personal favorite, “I just don’t have time to do that.”

More like, you chose NOT to make time for that activity.

So, do you make the most of your day? Better yet, are you willing to stretch yourself to do just that?

As for Harold Crick, he did just that when he experienced an epiphany when Eiffel alluded to his impending death.

Crick began to live his life. He began doing things that he had always been putting off because of one thing or another.

He learned to play the guitar, be more daring and open, and most of all—move away from his tedious existence.

On my end, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar—it’s been on my wall for the last 11 ½ years—so…all I just need to do is what I mentioned earlier—that is…to make time. The desire is there, all I need is time (I’m sure we have all heard that line at least once in our lives).

Time to act on it. And I think I’ve taken a right step in that direction.

On my way home this afternoon from work, I decided to swing by our village park. I hadn’t stepped foot there in quite some time but I had a lot of pent up energy and was looking for a friendly basketball game. And with some luck, I found one.

The 3-on-3 teams weren’t really spread out fairly and the odds didn’t look too good for my squad. I mentioned this once to my opponents but then I turned to my young teammates and told them—“don’t worry guys, we will win this one.”

This is coming from a guy who is in pretty good shape but not basketball shape. As you all know, there is a salient difference between the two mediums. In fact, it has been awhile since I’ve dribbled and shot a basketball in a game setting—so this truly was a challenge.

Our opponents were raring to go but I told them that I had to confer with my teammates first (both of whom, I had just met that afternoon). After watching the game that most of these guys played earlier, I was able to ascertain some of our opponents’ tendencies. I quickly shared my insights with my teammates and told them—“Play defense.” “Get your hands up when they shoot”. And “Cut, I’ll get you the ball.”

The advantage of youth. They are eager to learn and more importantly, willing to listen.

I wasn’t even dressed to play. Absolutely no gear. I sported a pair of jeans, had a pair of low-cut Jordan III’s rubber shoes, and I removed my short-sleeved polo in favor of a white shirt. That was about it.

Our opponents ran out of the games to start our match and at one point the score was 5-12 and we were playing till 20—two’s were considered a point while three’s counted as two points. Losers’ outs.

It would be an understatement to say that things certainly weren’t going our way. But we caught up and we did it as a team. With crisp passes as well as everyone helping out to find the open man brought us within striking distance—16-17.

My shot also started falling and I hit a three (two points) to make it 18-17. After some good defense, we got another possession and a chance for a potential game winner.

My teammates trusted me to take this shot (by this point in the game, I had hit about three long distance shots (6 points) and two drives to the basket (4 points)) and after signaling for a pick—I faked right, went left, and launched the game winner.

Game over! Final score 20-17.

My team had overcome adversity and I kept my promise to them. We had won. It was a great feeling.

One I haven’t had in quite awhile. And one that I really enjoyed after I exchanged pleasantries with both my teammates and opponents.

Much like Crick, I could have simply set aside any thought of deviating beyond my regular routine and headed home.

But today, I fought it.

And I feel I am a better person for it.

How about you guys?

Examine your lives today and take a chance.

Make that change! Even for a moment.

Believe me, it will be well worth it—whatever it is that you decide to do.

Now playing: Maroon 5 - If I Never See Your Face Again
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, March 22, 2008

James is Cavs scoring king. Surpasses Daugherty.

Cleveland, Ohio.

People knew it was going to happen.

It was just a matter of when.

It took LeBron James only 380 games and 7:50 to shatter the previous mark set by former Cavaliers big man and all-star Brad Daugherty with one of his signature drives to the hole against Rasho Nesterovic of the Toronto Raptors.

James is now King of scoring in Cleveland.

It took Brad Daugherty 548 games to amass 10,389 points while the NBA’s leading scorer (in his fifth pro season) duplicated the feat in just his 380th game.

After his teams 90-83 win, James had this to say about his outstanding achievement, ""These fans have watched me go from zero points to 10,000," he said. "They've seen me go from a young man to a man now. It's one of the best experiences I've had. To be the all-time leader is something that I never dreamed of. But now that it's here, it's an unbelievable feeling."

Newly acquired veteran forward Joe Smith added, "It took me 13 years to get 10,000 points. It goes to show what kind of talent he is. I know he has at least 30,000 more in him."

LeBron finished with 29 points (increasing his total to 10,414 career points) and has now put "every other Cav in the rearview mirror."

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Marcus Camby scores the fastest triple-double ever?

March 16, 2008.

A lot of happy Denver fans on this Sunday evening after their hometown Nuggets turned back the clock (literally going back to the 80's Doug Moe era) and obliterated the hapless Seattle Supersonics en route to a 168-116 win over Seattle on Sunday.

Everyone has already commented about this game--from the Nuggets balanced scoring (an NBA record 49 fast-break points) to the numbing 84 first-half Nuggets points.

But in my mind, the real story here is Marcus Camby.

After the first 12 minutes of play, Camby already had a 7 point, 9 rebound, and 3 assists.

14 minutes and 35 seconds worth of game time later (he approximately played 26.35 minutes), Camby recorded his second triple-double of the season with 13 points, 15 rebounds, and a career high 10 assists (throw in his 4 blocks for good measure). says this ties him as the fastest ever to amass a triple-double in 27 minutes.

With 26.35 minutes, he should rank first on that list.

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