Tuesday, 31 August 2010


France's Mickael Gelabale (R) spins to elude Canada's defenders Joel Anthony (L) and Jermaine Bucknor (C) during the first half of their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Izmir August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

In the FIBA World Championships Tuesday it all got Nelly Furtado in a French/Canadian affair. France and Canada squared off with the French making sure Canada spoke their language with a 68-63 win. France who got beat bad by the USA in the preliminaries are now 3 and 0 in their group while their North American opponents are the complete opposite having dropped all three games cold. If France beat Lithuania tomorrow they will win Group D. Things are looking rocky for Canada however as they face elimination. France seem to be doing fine without their Point Guard legend Tony Parker but Canada could sure use some Steve Nash.

April 24, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Atlanta Hawks Jamal Crawford brings the ball up the court, Crawford had 11 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds to add to the Hawks bench tonight..Milwaukee Bucks won over the Atlanta Hawks 107-89, in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

The World Championships are sure catching a lot of headlines but that doesn't stop the turbulent NBA offseason from garnering some too. It looks like another star player is looking for greener pastures as the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford apparently wants out of ATL. The Hawks star was a brilliant, stabilizing, veteran presence on a young, dynamic Hawks team last season but now JC is looking to spread his wings according to reports on ESPN.com. Atlanta haven't come at Jamal with a contract extension so now he wants to fly. It's surprising that Crawford is now 30. It all seems like yesterday that Jamal was one of the brightest young stars in the L but now Crawf seems to be a star 'journeymen' of sorts. He logged four years for both the Bulls and the Knicks and has since played just one season for Golden State and Atlanta. It seems that Crawford has had difficulty finding a permanent home and now he is reported to be looking for security. Anyone offering this to Jamal will have a lock on one of the best players in this league.

Actors Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Adam Sandler (L-R) talk before Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, California June 3, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL ENTERTAINMENT)

In Adam Sandler's latest hilarious comedy 'Grown Ups' his character is part of a reunited school Basketball team which also features funnymen Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider. Well it seems like the die hard Knicks fan Adam is keeping the bball theme going with his next project. Sandler's next film 'Jack and Jill' will feature cameo's from all kinds of larger than life celebrities (including Al Pacino as himself) but another 'Big' star will be making an appearance. Can you guess who it is? Can you dig it? Yep, that's right star of 'Kazaam' Shaquille O'Neal will be getting in front of the camera again for the Colombia comedy. The story revolves around Sandler's character Jack's sister Jill (Played by Mrs. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes) spending a little bit longer than Thanksgiving (Now we all know that feeling). The details of Shaq's brief role ha vent been released but maybe Sandler needs to build a brick wall to keep his sister out.


Nathan Peavy (C) of Puerto Rico goes up to shoot past Wang Zhizhi (R) of China during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Ankara August 31, 2010.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


Russia 72, Cote d'Ivoire 66,
Puerto Rico 84, China 76,
Greece 65, Turkey 76,


New Zealand 108, Lebanon, 76,
France 68, Canada 63,
Spain 73, Lithuania 76,

Monday, 30 August 2010


Brazil's Leandro Barbosa (L) speaks with USA Chauncey Billups after the USA defeated Brazil during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

In the FIBA World Championships the USA kept their clean sheet of games going with a win over Brazil. USA however were lucky to escape with the win and critics are now wondering if this young team has what it takes to go all the way. To be fair Brazil are a brilliant side and it's more like the level of competition is real fierce. So any critics thinking this team is a bunch of pussycats without their 'doberman' or their 'king' can think again. This side are far from paupers. Sure they could have played better and technically they only won because Barbosa's shot didn't go down but the USA can still hold their heads high as they still outlasted the South American side. Just like Vin Diesel said in 'The Fast & The Furious', "It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winnings winning". So by a basket or a blowout the US should still take a positive from the W, but more importantly they should learn that they've got to give a little more to get more.

Team Canada's Joel Anthony (R) drives to the basket against Team France's Boris Diaw during the first half of their exhibition FIBA basketball game in Toronto August 12, 2010. The FIBA World Championship will take place in Turkey from August 28 to September 12. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Keeping it FIBA. The governing body behind these championships have conducted random drug tests since 1990, but 20 years later they are stepping it up. The governing body in Basketball will conduct drug tests on around 100 Players in this FIBA World Championship tournament. Thic clamp down will be the governing body's largest drug program ever. FIBA's secretary general, Patrick Baumann states that 48 players have been tested with two players from each team being among the ones tested. Before the tournament is out there will be an additional minimum of 60 tests. Patrick Baumann wants to "banish the myth that some teams are not tested," In additional news FIBA are looking to increase the number of teams in the world championship from 24 to 32 and the Olympic teams from 12 to 16. This will continue to expand the global growth of this worldwide sport. Now that sounds like good news that should be spread.

March 6, 2010: / West Virginia Mountaineers forward Da'Sean Butler (1) waiting to take the free throw during the NCAA Basketball game between the / West Virginia Mountaineers and the Villanova Wildcats at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mountaineers beat the Wildcats in overtime, 68-66.

Da'Sean Butler has signed with the Miami Heat, the former West Virginia star is now the 16th player on the Heat's roster this summer. Butler was taken 42nd in this years draft. Butler averaged 17.2 points last season for Virginia and was once thought to be a player who would be a lottery pick. Then however Butler tore both his ACL and his lottery ticket. Miami may have a steal on their hands however as Butler seems to have recovered and should be 100% ready for this season. Da'Sean is an incredible talent and will join a diverse and talented roster which also features three particular players you may be familiar with. Da'Sean's arriving late to the party but he's sure gonna be living a ballers dream life down in South Beach.


USA's Kevin Durant (R) drives past Brazil's Alex Garcia (L) in the first half of their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul, August 30, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


Jordan 69, Serbia, 112,
Australia 78, Germany, 43
Angola 70, Argentina 91,


Slovenia 91, Croatia 84,
Tunisia 58, Iran 71,
USA 70, Brazil 68,

Sunday, 29 August 2010


USA's players huddle after they defeated Slovenia in their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul August 29, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Group A

Angola 79, Jordan 65
Germany 82, Serbia 81 (2OT)
Argentina 74, Australia 72

Group B

USA 99, Slovenia 77
Croatia 75, Iran 54
Brazil 80, Tunisia 65

Group C

China 83, Ivory Coast 73
Greece 83, Puerto Rico 80
Turkey 65, Russia 56

Group D

Lithuania 70, Canada 68
France 86, Lebanon 59
Spain 101, New Zealand 84

Saturday, 28 August 2010


USA's Eric Gordon (C) goes up to shoot past Croatia Roko Ukic during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul August 28, 2010.     REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT SPORT BASKETBALL)


Australia 76, Jordan 75
Serbia 94, Angola 44
Argentina 78, Germany 74


Slovenia 80, Tunisia 56
USA 106, Croatia 78
Brazil 81, Iran 65


Greece 89, China 81
Russia 75, Puerto Rico 66
Turkey 86, Ivory Coast 47


Lithuania 92, New Zealand 79
Lebanon 81, Canada 71
France 72, Spain 66

Friday, 27 August 2010




Head coach Mike Krzyzewski (C) talks to members of the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team during practice in Tarrytown, New York August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

1995, It was all a dream. 15 years later it's time to wake up now. Y'all been sleeping? Sure Team USA isn't as infamous as past American teams. Coach K himself stated it wasn't a 'powerhouse'. The team doesn't have a Kobe, a LeBron, a Carmelo or even a Shaq but the team is still an incredible collection of some of the best talent the NBA has to offer. The unit boasts both players with youth and experience and players that are both versatile and specialist.

This USA roster may even be one of the better actual 'teams' this basketball nation has assembled in recent years. Put this team against the new Miami Heat and there would be no contest, it'd be an ownership. The city would always belong to the country. Now with respect to Rajon Rondo, (who should be there) let's breakdown 12 reasons why the development of this USA Basketball team looks as fresh and exciting as the growing, talented nations their facing.

1. Chauncey Billups: Guard, 6-3, 202, (Denver Nuggets).

Denver Nuggets' Chauncey Billups of the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team shoots after practice in Tarrytown, New York August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

This young American team needs an ‘old guy’. NBA veteran, NBA champion, Chauncey has helped successfully re-define two NBA franchises and now he's here to give definition to the USA squad. Billups was never given his full credit when he was the best point guard in the league, but Chauncey has always been a man who goes about his business quietly. This type of hard work will be to the USA's profit and everyone else’s loss. Billups is a seasoned veteran with a wealth of experience from his time with Boston, Minnesota, Detroit and Denver. You have to keep guard of a player like him. No matter how lucky you are, even though Chauncey has traded his 'bad boy' image for baby blue the former teammate of 'Da Kid' aint playing around.

2. Tyson Chandler: Center, 7-1, 235, (Dallas Mavericks).

The word 'beast' gets thrown around a lot in this sport, but the new Maverick is the type of guy that throws beasts around. How apt that Tyson is Chandler’s given name. It almost seems like a nickname. This guy is a veteran now but can still run, bang, board, dunk and ferociously finish fast breaks like he had an 'R' next to his name on the roster. Leave this guy open and BING! Chandler aint friends with you anymore.

3. Stephen Curry: Guard, 6-3, 185, (Golden State Warriors).

Baron Davis was once the man in Golden State but now ‘that dude’ is Monta Ellis. With that being said however Stephen Curry may now be battling with Ellis for the leader position. Warriors always play hard and even though Stephen can't curry championship favor in Southern California he can sure help make things Golden for the United States. Stephen's quick, tenacious, quick, dynamic and quick again. Did I catch you off guard? Well that's exactly what Curry does. He's too hot for you.

4. Kevin Durant: Guard, 6-9, 230, (Oklahoma City Thunder).

Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose (L) and Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant (R), finalists for the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team, take a break during practice in New York August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

The poster boy for this USA campaign. Can we believe in him? Well look at it this way. He's already a poster boy in this league, so young and so little removed from being a sophomore. Kevin Durant’s already playing like a senior, graduating above the rest of the dropouts and he's doing 'A good a** job' at it too. KD s redefining the forward position all whilst being a throwback to the classic Small Forwards in Basketball history all at the same time. Kevin is already putting up Kobe and Iverson in their prime scoring numbers. Durant is already creeping up on stars like Carmelo Anthony. He's claimed his place. He's already helped people forget that the Oklahoma Thunder is a dodgy Seattle Supersonic expansion hybrid. Now he's about to make people remember that sometimes dreams become nightmares. Can we believe in him? You know the answer is straight Obama.

5. Rudy Gay: Forward, 6-8, 230, (Memphis Grizzlies).

Los Angeles Clippers' Rudy Gay, finalist for the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team, looks up at his coach during practice in New York August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Tall but agile, strong but speedy. Gay was one of those young, up and comers back in the day. He may be a veteran now but he's one of the best in the league and he's still on the up. Maybe the locals are too busy looking for Elvis but it's hard to get noticed and become famous in Memphis, just ask the Gasol brothers. On the worlds stage however everyone will be able to see how good Gay is. A real team player who's happy to step up to the superstar role if needed. Gay was there at the start of the resurgence of big-time small forwards before guys like Kevin Durant. So don't be rude now. Recognize a grizzled vet when you see one.

6. Eric Gordon: Guard, 6-3, 222, (Los Angeles Clippers).

Gordon is one of those guards that can quietly score at will (case in point: his 18 against Greece) take rebounds off bigs and lock people down and he's still so young. Eric is still a raw talent in this league and boy when he gets fresh this Prince will be King. He's a 'revolution', a part of the 'new power generation'. Gordon may be small but he's built like a dump truck. He kind of looks like someone shrunk Charles Barkley some more and just like Chuck before him in '95 Eric may steal the show from the bigger names in these championships.

7. Danny Granger: Forward, 6-8, 228, (Indiana Pacers).

Things sure can get quiet in Indiana when Playoff games aren't being played in Madison Square Garden and beer isn’t getting thrown in Detroit. Without all this one player has still been making news, Danny Granger. Is he another 'most improved'? Not anymore, he's so much more. Just like in Memphis, stars in Indiana may not shimmer as bright as they once did but they still shine. Granger can score. His numbers are almost touching Kobe. As a player (if you don't know), he's not quite like LeBron James and he's not quite like Kevin Durant, he's somewhere in-between. Now you know.

8. Andre Iguodala: Guard/Forward, 6-6, 207, (Philadelphia 76ers).

U.S. national basketball team player Andre Iguodala gestures during a friendly game against Lithuania in Madrid, August 21, 2010. The U.S.A. basketball team is in Madrid to play two friendly games against Lithuania and Spain in preparation for the upcoming Basketball World Championships in Turkey later this month. REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

The legendary A.I. of Philly may have been 'the answer' but this A.I. just leaves you with questions. How does he dunk like that? Is he really that quick? Andre Igudola has strength, speed and finesse all at the same time. Want a scorer? You've got it. Want a rebounder? He's got it. Want speed? Just keep an eye on him if you can? Want energetic plays that spark plug the team to life? He's just shown you another one. In these championships Igudola will have a lot of the answers but blink and you'll miss him. Any more questions?

9. Kevin Love: Forward, 6-10, 260, (Minnesota Timberwolves).

As Kevin has endeared himself with the NBA he sometimes has faced 'No Love', but just like the Eminem and Lil' Wayne classic Kevin's excellent output has been his 'Recovery'. Kevin is one of Minnesota's best players and although that isn't necessary a hard thing Love has devoted a lot of hard work and energy in such a short space of time in the L. Maybe people doubted K. Love because his physique is more Luc Longley than Amare Stoudemire, but who cares? If it gets the job done who can hate on that?

10. Lamar Odom: Forward, 6-10, 230, (Los Angeles Lakers).

Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom of the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team smiles as he stretches after practice in Tarrytown, New York August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Lamar is a star in Los Angeles, he's smooth as silk and he's so good that all of Hollywood should be 'Keeping up with the Lakers', (with no disrespect to the Kardashians). Lamar may be a sixth man in LA, behind the other celebrities on court but he's a big reason the Lakers have won so much and he'll be a big reason behind the success of Team USA. It's Lamar's versatility that sets him apart from the rest. He's Magic (Johnson) in a forwards body. Lamar's a little bit like that infamous rug in 'The Big Lebowski', 'he really ties a team together' and if you’re confused by this, obviously your not a baller.

11. Derrick Rose: Guard, 6-3, 190, (Chicago Bulls).

Derrick has rose to prominence during his rookie and sophomore years in the NBA. Now the Chi-town native may arguably be the best Point Guard in the league, leading arguably the best nation in the World Championships. Derrick will have to carry more of the load in Rajon Rondo's absence but to be fair he was and is carrying the load of the very young Chicago Bulls with limited experience and exposure in the NBA. Derrick can shoot, dish, drive and finish above the rim. Rose should ensure that the US don't get pricked by speedy international guards, just like Carlos Arroyo did in the past.

12.Russell Westbrook: Guard, 6-3, 187, (Oklahoma City Thunder).

U.S. national basketball team player Russell Westbrook (L) drives for the basket as he is defended by Lithuania's Mantas Kalnietis during a friendly game in Madrid August 21, 2010. The U.S.A. basketball team is in Madrid to play two friendly games against Lithuania and Spain in preparation for the upcoming Basketball World Championships in Turkey later this month. REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Russell Westbrook suffers from that familiar Scottie Pippen disorder. Know much about him? Well that’s alright, he plays in the shadow of Kevin Durant in Oklahoma but take two of his dunks and call me in the morning and you may feel differently. Durant’s the man but when you see thunder, you get lightening too and sometimes that's just as potent. Forget what they say, lightening does strikes twice. Just like lightening fast speed and athleticism or lightening shocking dunks. Westbrook is a quiet storm and exactly what Oklahoma City and the USA need. A guy that can score and a guy that can strike energy into his team when the star player is striking or when the star player is having a rainy day. No matter what guys like Westbrook shine.

So these are 12 reasons why Team USA can achieve their one goal. Sure this isn't a dream team but the reality is this team has so much silver lining were about to see them glitter in all their gold.


Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony fouls out against the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter of the first round playoffs game two at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2010 in Denver. Utah beat Denver 114-111 to even the series at 1-1.  UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

You thought one high profile separation this off season was enough? Well it looks like were now definitely gonna have another breakup, with Carmelo Anthony playing Vince Vaughan and the Denver Nuggets playing Jennifer Aniston. With all these 'Hollywood Divorce's' this summer it really feels like some of the biggest stars are a bunch of 'Outkasts'. The rumors of 'melo's departure haven't been calm at all and now the smoke has become fire. Internet reports are rampant and Carmelo becomes a free agent after next season. If Denver wait until next year they will have an unhappy star on their hands this season and when they have him off their books in 2011 he'll likely leave the Nuggets with no gold. The plan of action now for Denver would be to trade Carmelo. The questions are, will they get a like for like? Will Anthony form the next super team with Chris Paul and Amare Stoudemire in New York? Will this break up be as bitter as LeBron's with Cleveland? Two things are evident though, these fellow draftees careers truly are following very similar paths and the tension in the high altitude air in Denver is getting real thick.

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 23:  (L-R) Jonathan Wallace #2, Patrick Ewing Jr. #33 and DaJuan Summers #3 of the Georgetown Hoyas come together to celebrate after a play against the Davidson Wildcats during the 2nd round of the East Regional of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at RBC Center on March 23, 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Wildcats defeated the Hoyas 74-70. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Speaking of New York with everyone breaking up these days how about a nice reconciliation story? Well it doesn't get much nicer than the Knicks signing Patrick Ewing Jr to a free agent contract. Terms of the deal where not disclosed but that hardly matters right now. What matters is the son of one of the greatest Knickerbocker legends of all time will again play on the same court his pops sweated on for all those years, watch your step young fella, you don't want to slip and be injured again. Like father, like son Ewing Jr had a great college career at Georgetown and now is a New York Knick. Patrick Jr's rise to the Mecca of Basketball hasn't been as smooth as his fathers though. He was taken with only the 43rd pick in the second round of the 2008 NBA draft. He has spent time in the NBA's Development league and he was injured last season. That's all in the past now however as the forward will be able to showcase his skill in front of some of the best fans in Basketball. Let's not get ahead of ourselves but imagine if this super team took off in NY? Ewing Jr. may just win the ring Ewing Sr. never did. Now that really would make dad proud.

LeBron James (L) of the Cleveland Cavaliers is welcomed on stage by Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown (C) and Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry (R) during a ceremony to present him with the NBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio May 2, 2010. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

(Happier Times: Danny Ferry with LeBron James & Mike Brown during their time at Cleveland, Looks like Danny got out at the right time.)

Speaking of dads, Danny Ferry may have looked more like one than a Basketball player but during his career he had great stints with Cleveland and San Antonio. Ferry was an incredible three point shooter and a legendary role player. Even late in his career Ferry was brought off the bench during quarter ends and oftentimes he'd hit game tempo altering three pointers. That was his bread and butter but now his playing career has been toast for many years he's far from making crumbs in a successful front office career. His front office career has mirrored his playing one. He was the General Manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers until this offseason and now he is reunited with Greg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs as he becomes the Texan teams vice president of basketball operations. Ferry left San An for Cleveland in 2005 but now he is back at the organisation he won a Championship with as a player. His experience was crucial then and it will be crucial now as the Spurs look to 'click' again in the Western Conference. Who knows if San Antone are ever down by two late in the fourth maybe Danny will be found at the corner of the court in his suit ready to hit the open jumper.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


July 18 2010: Liberty's guard Cappie Pondexter (23) drives to the basket in the first half for two of her 40 points during a WNBA basketball game between the New York Liberty and the  Indiana Fever at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Indiana Fever defeated New York Liberty in overtime 84-81.

Adam will have to wait to be allowed back in the Garden as it's Eve's turn to take a bite out of the Big Apple as tonight the 2010 WNBA Playoffs tip off at the 'worlds most famous arena'. Madison Square Garden will host the opening game of the first round featuring the Indiana Fever and the hometown New York Liberty. New York are the second seed in the Eastern Conference while Indiana are the 3rd. The match up between these two top-flight teams should make for some great basketball, as expected with this incredible league. Also in tonights women's double header the Phoenix Mercury host the San Antonio Silver Stars out West. Fiending to cure those summer Basketball blues? Than the WNBA Playoffs is the fix you need. Basketball hasn't gone anywhere.

U.S. national basketball team players (L-R) Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose take a break while warming up at Madrid's Caja Magica pavillion prior to a friendly game against Lithuania August 21, 2010. The U.S.A. basketball team is in Madrid to play two friendly games against Lithuania and Spain in preparation for the upcoming Basketball World Championships in Turkey later this month. REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Team USA didn't just warm up in their last exhibition game before the forthcoming World Championships, they turned up the heat. The heat rose to a 87-59 blowout against Greece. Defending Silver Medalist Greece slipped up against the USA who where led by the 18 points of Eric Gordon. The only joy the Greece fans could take from the game was seeing Khloe Kardashian in the crowd, but Lamar Odom's squad made sure that Greece's eyes should have been on the ball and not his wife. I know it's hard Greece, but c'mon guys! Kevin Love lead all USA players in rebounds with 13 and nearly had a double, double with 8 points. As this was the last game for the USA before the championship the team also finalized their roster for their campaign. The 12 man Squad includes the talent of, Kevin Durant, Lamar Odom, Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Chauncey Billups, Danny Granger, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala. The team looks very strong but they will be without the services of the Rajon Rondo, the best young Point Guard in the league. Rondo withdrew from the squad due to personal family matters. All the best to Rajon, and all the best to Team USA and all the competitors at the World Championships.

Scottie Pippen, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2010, sits onstage after receiving his Hall of Fame blazer at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts August 13, 2010.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Chicago Bull and NBA legend Scottie Pippen spent most of his career in the shadows of another chi-town basketball legend but now Scott's gonna have to get used to the limelight. The honors keep coming for Pip, first this past month he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame and now the Chicago Bulls will erect a statue of Pippen inside the United Center. Sure many tourists will be taking photo's with the other statue outside Chicago's stadium (MJ always comes first) but look at it this way, the Chrysler building still looks real nice next to the Empire State. Plain and simple in Chicago the heart of the city has nothing but love for Scottie Pippen. The man himself has nothing but love and gratitude right back. He told Bulls.com "Words really can’t express my feelings, It’s an unbelievable honor and truly amazing. It’s something you dream of as a kid growing up, but you can never foresee those childhood fantasies becoming reality." Pippen's statue will be bronze and Scottie recently took a post to serve as a Bulls ambassador. It's starting to feel like the mid-nineties again. These where 'Better Days' as Bruce Springsteen once said. Next thing you know Mike will be suiting up again for the Bobcats...steady now.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010



Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash celebrates his team's win over the Los Angeles Lakers during the final seconds of Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Arizona May 23, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Superstars come and go in this league. Most make their mark but some fall by the courtside. There are legends and then there are legends of the fall. Sometimes hype becomes humiliation. Sometimes great expectations become 'quantities of debt', word to Charles Dickens. Number one picks sometimes become zero's and starters become 'did not play-coaches decision'. Sometimes being the first one to enter the gym becomes being the last one to leave the club. Throughout all this however Steve Nash remains Steve Nash.

In a matter of weeks all the talented Basketball nations of the world will duke it out (What's up Coach K?) in order to be the FIBA World champions. Whether it is the old glory of the USA, the samba of Brazil, or 'dos celebración' for Spain (nice World Cup win) one thing will remain the same. The greatest Canadian player of all-time will be watching, waiting and working. Still on his grind at 36 years old. Still in the gym 14 years deep. Still the last one out.

Phoenix Suns Steve Nash (R) looks for an opening as San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker (L) moves in during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs at the US Airways Center, in Phoenix, AZ, May 5,2010. The Suns defeated the Spurs 110-102 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. UPI/Art Foxall Photo via Newscom

In a summer where LeBron forms a super group and other franchise guys play the groupie, one man will stay put. When Carmelo's and CP3's look for greener pastures lined with championship gold, one man will pull on a Phoenix Sun's jersey once again. One man will wear his jersey with pride even if numbers diminish and STAT's aren't present. Coaches will be hired and fired this season. There will be 10 day contracts and there will be waivers, blockbuster trades and famous busts. With all the movers and shakers this summer Steve Nash will stick around in Arizona where it all started and carry on wearing the 'Suns' logo with pride. Regardless of 'gain' or 'los' (typo intended, you know what it is).

This year the news in the NBA will be dominated somewhat by bad press and scandal. Referees may blow the whistle on certain allegations, books may be written. Players may brawl on court and some team-mates may take it to the locker rooms, but as some players bring it to pistols the only thing one player will be shooting is the lights out. As other guys try and look macho behind some b.s. behavior one number 13 will be making shot's that doubters didn't think he had in his arsenal. Unlucky for some Steve Nash aint playing...figuratively speaking.

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash hits a three-point shot in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Arizona May 23, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

The league may face a lockout this year but Steve Nash will still lock it down on the court, defensively, offensively and anything in-between and required. Some big egos will carry a chip on their shoulder but through all this one thing will remain constant. Steve Nash will carry nothing but his entire team on his skinny frame, 1 through 15. Believe that.

There will be draft picks making their mark in this league, players breaking out and superstars becoming celebrities. Players will have off nights and career nights. Throughout all this though Steve Nash will give his all. 100% for 82 plus. When others become MVP's, the former back to back 'Most Valuable' will play like this when critics are watching someone else. All whilst this team leader will graciously pass off the ball and the glory to someone else too.

When others go cold Steve will heat up on his teams request taking the scoring load if needed. When other players in this league have 'Player of the Night' games and reap all the glory Steve Nash will stay on defense and guard that best player. Taking the hits, taking the buckets and taking the loss if need be, because that's the seeds a dedicated worker must sow.

You've got to take the good with the bad. You have to be there, not only in the happy times but the sad ones as well. A true professional gives his all on either side of a blow-out whereas a bust just blows hot and cold. Highlight of the week players may make ESPN and flavor of the month players may make it on to some kid’s wall. Steve Nash however will make the Hall.

May 09, 2010 - San Antonio, TEXAS, UNITED STATES - epa02150799 George Hill of the San Antonio Spurs (C) congratulates Steve Nash (R) of the Phoenix Suns after the Suns defeated the Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, USA, 09 May 2010. Phoenix won the game 107-101 to advance to the Western Conference finals. Rear left is Spurs center Tim Duncan.

Teams will make the playoffs and teams will take lottery tickets. Teams will make the finals and teams will go fish. There will be a champion and there will be a first loser. Throughout all this Steve Nash will take the Suns as far as they can shine. Steve will remain hot in Arizona even if things on the floor get cold. First round, second round or more Nash will leave it all on the floor. Sweat soaked, Gatorade drunk, legs tired and ankles gone. He'll give his all. Even if his nose is bust by a San Antonio Spur. Even if a 'Where Amazing Happens' border becomes 'Where getting checked hard happens'.Even if he gets knocked down Steve will get back up. Down and blown out it won't be over for Steve until the final buzzer sings. A loss won't be a loss for Nash until it's recorded in the box score. Other plays may have a different opinion; these other players merely give in so give it up for Steve Nash.

May 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) in the first half of game one of a Western Conference Final Playoff basketball game at the Staples Center on Monday, May 17, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Give it up for a guy who keeps it 100 when others are thinking 99.999. Give it up for a guy that may look like a surfer but is all ball like a Kobe Bryant foul at Staples. Sure there are more who play like him, but there's no one quite like Steve Nash in this league. Sure others may dunk while he lays it in, and others may take all the glory while he hustles but name another player who works as hard as Steve does? At his age, at his position and with all the abuse he takes and has taken Steve still has nothing but love and dedication for this league.

This year some players will make magazine covers, highlight reels, YouTube footage, tweets and forum posts and then tomorrow who knows. This is the life for certain celebrities or stars, or most 'baller's and 'demigods'. Throughout all this however one thing again will remain the same. Nasty Nash will be in your area, about to cause mass hysteria because Steve Nash bridges the gap and it aint hard to tell, just ask Nas.


Former NBA player Antoine Walker (L) makes an initial appearance in District Court at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Nevada June 30, 2010. Walker's attorney Jonathan Powell is in the background. Walker is facing felony bad check charges for allegedly failing to meet obligations to repay some $900,000 in gambling debts and penalties to three Las Vegas casinos, according to local media. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/ Steve Marcus (SPORT BASKETBALL CRIME LAW)

Former NBA All-Star forward Antoine Walker is trying to shimmy his way back into the league. The streaky three point shooter is working on another comeback according to his agent. Walker has had troubles with conditioning and problems off court and hasn't played in the league for a few seasons now. Antoine is a solid scorer however and last won a ring with the Miami Heat. Back in the day 'toine was the Boston Celtics franchise player, he also formed one of the leagues most dynamic duos with Paul Pierce. Could we have a second reunion on our hands or will A. Walker just be seeing green every time he tunes into games on TV?

BEIJING, July 25, 2010 Chinese basketball star and Houston Rockets center Yao Ming addresses the charity gala for Yao Foundation Charity Tour in Beijing, capital of China, July 23, 2010. The Yao Foundation charity fund-raising tour was initiated by Yao Ming with the purpose of helping Chinese children. The Yao Ming Foundation was established in 2008 in the aftermath of the earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

One man who will be returning to the league is Chinese legend Yao Ming. Yao feared retirement but now has been cleared to play. He should make the Houston Rockets season opener against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The last time Yao saw prime time action he was refusing to leave the action of a crucial playoff game at Staples. Houston now have lift off and will be a much stronger contender with a healthy Yao. Yao's minutes however will be limited as he recovers and the Rockets will have to be careful this 7, 6 guy doesn't get injured again unless he wants to start sharing a nickname with Samuel L. Jackson's character in 'Unbreakable'. It's great new that the 'Yao Ming dynasty' will be able to continue it's legend. Yao is one of the best post periods ever...period. It's hoped that Yao will be ready to play in the Rockets forthcoming postseason games against the Nets in China. Otherwise there's gonna be a lot of angry Chinese fans with tickets to see Chuck Hayes (no offense Chuck).

LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 4: Jermaine O'Neal #7 of the Indiana Pacers drives against Kwame Brown #54 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center December 4, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

What's more awkward than bumping into your ex with her new better looking boyfriend, who's got a better car and is good at sports by the way? Well just maybe it's the reconciliation of Kwame Brown and Michael Jordan. Kwame has signed with the Charlotte Bobcats owned by 'his airness'. The former Lakers and Pistons forward/centre had a rocky relationship with Jordan when they both played for the Washington Wizards. MJ bet it all on Kwame drafting him with the number one pick in 2001 when he was still running things in Washington. Kwame has struggled in the league ever since and even though he had a good stint in LA and Detroit he has yet to fulfil his potential. Now is this a case of his potential and expectations being set to high, or a case of a player under-achieving? Kwame could still become a real decent player in this league because despite the deflation of hype he's still solid. Be sure as well that Jordan will let Kwame know where he's going wrong. Funnily enough now Browns a bit older the words of someone like Jordan may be exactly what he needs. Kwame never emancipated himself from MJ so how about a reconciliation? Browns one time worst enemy could be his best teacher. One things for sure though K. Brown aint no number one choice anymore and those Jordan Jumpman shorts he wore at the press conference didn't come with an endorsement contract.

Monday, 23 August 2010


U.S. national basketball team player Kevin Durant (L) drives for the basket as he is defended by Lithuania's Paulius Jankanus during a friendly game in Madrid August 21, 2010. The U.S.A. basketball team is in Madrid to play two friendly games against Lithuania and Spain in preparation for the upcoming Basketball World Championships in Turkey later this month.  REUTERS/Paul Hanna (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Kevin Durant,the poster boy for this years USA team delivered on Sunday as he lifted his nation past Spain. America just edged the talented Spanish side 86-85. Durant had two decisive blocks in the final seconds to claim the victory for the United States. Kevin's game changing plays came on both Spanish wonder kid Ricky Rubio and current disgruntled Portland star Rudy Fernandez. Although this game was merely a warm up for the World Championships the heat and intensity was turned on between two of the best international sides in the world. The USA not only had Kevin Durant to thank but Syracuse Coach Jim Boheim too. Team USA switched their defensive strategy to Coach Boheims trademark 'Orange' 2-3 Zone. This change was key to the success of America's defensive play. The hero on the court Kevin Durant had a terrific night with a double, double of 25 points and 10 Rebounds.

Apr. 07, 2010 - Toronto, ONTARIO, CANADA - epa02107868 Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon watches his team play the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in Toronto Canada on 07 April 2010. The Celtics defeated the Raptors 115-104.

To add injury to insult for Spain they have now lost their speedy guard Jose Calderon to injury. A torn muscle in his leg unfortunately will keep him out of the forthcoming World Championships. The Toronto Raptors guard injured himself in the last few minutes of Spain's loss against the USA. Spain now face another loss, in their speed, tenacity and passing. This Spanish side has plenty of talent however, guys like Gasol, Fernandez and Rubio will pick up the pace. Don't siesta on this side.

Mar. 27, 2010 - Toronto, CANADA - TORONTO (CANADA), 26/03/2010.- Toronto Raptors player Chris Bosh (R) tries to stop Nene (L) of Denver Nuggets during their NBA Basketball League game played in Toronto, Canada on 26 March 2010.

Keeping with the World Championships, but also unfortunately keeping the topic on injury, another NBA/international star will also miss the upcoming championships. Denver Nuggets and Brazil centre Nenê Hilário is suffering with inflammation in both his legs. Nenê had to be taken out of a friendly against France after just a quarters worth of Basketball. The big mans absence will be a big loss to Brazil. Nenê is not only so strong and a presence in the paint, he also has so much heart and is a presence in the lockeroom. This inspirational player will be replaced by João Paulo Batista who was part of last years Brazil side that won the gold medal in the FIBA Americas Championship in Puerto Rico. Nenê's loss is the second setback this talented Brazil side have had to endure regarding their post players as they also lost Cleveland Cavalier power forward/center Anderson Varejao to an ankle sprain. Ouch!

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Three reasons why the Lakers WILL three-peat.

By Tim David Harvey

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (L) has words with teammate Ron Artest in the first half during Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Arizona May 29, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Defence wins championships. Sure it's a boring notion but it's an accurate one as well. That's why the Boston Celtics have so many banners. That's why Ron Artest won Game 7 in this years NBA Finals and that's why Bill Russell is the real lord of the rings.

The Lakers are currently back to back champions. Historically they are known for their 'Showtime' offence and Kobe Bryant is one of the associations greatest ever players and offensive threats, but the Lakers are much more than prolific scorers. In defending their repeat championships LA will need to step up their defensive play once again.

You can't spell 'dominance' without a 'd' first and foremost. The Lakers have become a great defensive team and have learned from their 2008 Finals loss to Boston and their 2004 heartbreak in Detroit. They have learned that you can score on someone all you like, but if you can't stop them, it's over.

Now the Lake Show is stocked full of great stoppers. Gasol, Bynum and Odom are all good defenders in the post and as for the backcourts ability you can charge that to their warrior Derek Fisher. The Lakers bench may often be overlooked in favour for the Hollywood elite that sits behind them but these players certainly can take offence too.

Mar. 02, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, United States - epa02062958 Indiana Pacers Danny Granger (C) almost has the ball stolen by Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (L) as Ron Artest (R) defends during the first period of their NBA basketball match in Los Angeles, California, USA, 02 March 2010.

To win big games though you need difference makers. The Lakers have that on both ends of the floor but when it comes to defence the Lakers now have a three pronged attack that can lock down even the best in the league. Why do they have this? They have this because they've got three of the best perimeter defenders in the league, one of the first lines of defence in Basketball. They've got newly acquired free agent Matt Barnes. They got former Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest and they've got Kobe Byant, a Basketball legend on both ends of the floor.

So when you've got three of your best defenders in the L guarding your best player (or best two players for that matter), you've got trouble. The Lakers could play two of these guys at a time, with one guy tagging in off the bench or all three at once. Either way it's about to become real hard for any team to match up with the Lakers. No matter who you are. Even if you think you've got the luck of the Boston Irish. Even if your names LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. Any dream team will suffer a nightmare playing this three headed monster. No player wants to screw with this ménage a trois.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant points to teammate Ron Artest in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns during Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference final playoff series in Los Angeles, May 19, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It all begins with Kobe. The franchise player, the' go to guy'. He makes all the big plays, not every time (We see you Pau, Lamar, Derek and Ron) but 9 times out of ten. The clutch shots may be remembered and rotated on youtube for decades but his key steals and blocks ice games just as well. See Kobe suffers from the same thing all star players do. People focus on all the exciting things too much that the intangibles get overlooked. Lets take Basketball back to the basics. Kobe is a 'guard' after all, even if he is a 'shooting guard'.

Kobe may have made the NBA All-Defensive team year after year but his work on the 'other' end of the floor is still very much underrated. Put it this way, who do people talk about more, the Defensive Player of the year or the league MVP? Sure highlights are highlights but the 'little' things that are done and that don't show up on the stat sheet are just as important. As a matter of fact these aren't 'little' things anyway. Everything in Basketball is a big thing and the difference between achieving the 'W' or being left games behind.

Kobe doesn't just go at the opposing teams best player, he guards them too. Bryant has good wingspan, he's strong, he holds his own and most importantly, he's fearless. Kobe is so competitive and has a killer instinct that is matched by nobody in this league...nobody. Number 24 doesn't just want to beat you...he want's to stop you too.

A Black Mamba can kill you in more ways than one and the self dubbed 'Doberman' of the Beijing Olympics doesn't bark, he bites. Just like when he won a gold medal Bryant showed that he is just as dedicated to hounding someone on defence as he is at being chased on offence. Not only do the Lakers have one of the best all-round players guarding their house, they've also let two more hungry dogs off the leash.

May 19, 2010 - Los Angeles County, California, U.S. - Los Angeles Lakers' Ron Artest points to Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant after making a 3 point shot to finish the 1st quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19th, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

The Lakers may have lost some 'Showtime', when they gave up Trevor Ariza in the free agent period of 2009 but they picked up a real 'show stopper' when they acquired Ron Artest back off Houston. Ariza was a big reason the Lakers won in 2009 but Artest was an even bigger reason why the Lakers repeated in 2010. Sure when the Lakers lost Ariza's athleticism they lost a lot of speed but having Ron Artest slow things down on defence isn't exactly a bad thing. See a player who can see the game developing in a much slower way can master the court and therefore the game itself. A player like this see's plays before they happen. A player like this wins championships and becomes legendary. A player like this see's the game like Magic Johnson. This is no trick, great minds think alike and great players move in time.

Now Ron, Ron may not move with the quickness but what Artest doesn't have in speed he makes up for 100 times over in strength. He may not look like he could run track but he's built like he could play football. Imagine trying to get round a pick set by this guy. Or imagine exhaustedly managing to elude Kobe after being chased around the court only to be hit and bounced by Artest. Now even the strong body of LeBron James couldn't put up with much of this punishment. Any team in this league can throw anything they want at the Lakers because they have the players to counter. When the Lakers picked up Pau Gasol in 2008 Kobe remarked that he wasn't going to war with 'butter knives' anymore, well now he and his Lakers aren't lying in trenches either. Their standing in a fort.

Jan. 18, 2010 - LOS ANGELES, California, United States - Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) shakes hands with Ron Artest,right, before a basketball game against the Orlando Magic at the Staples Center on Monday, January 18, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Surely one controversial but tenacious defensive player is enough for the Lakers though right? Well Mitch Kupchak didn't seem to think so this Summer adding Matt Barnes to this emphatic mix. Sure these guys are volatile but the difference is their controlled by the Zen of Phil Jackson. There's nothing more potent or powerful than controlled aggression. These guys are much more than assistant coach slapping, hair dying eccentric brawlers. Their true competitors.

Barnes is quick like Kobe and wild like Ron. His passion, heart and dedication matches his two new team-mates to a tee and he is not only one of the most underrated defenders in the league, he's also one of the most undervalued players. As a matter of fact the acquisition of Matt Barnes may have been one of the most important free agent signings this summer. Sure this signing didn't come after a one hour television spot or with a rock star like entrance on stage but remember it's the little things.

Jul 27, 2010 - El Segundo, CA, USA - Los Angeles Lakers General Manager MITCH KUPCHAK (R) introduces the latest addition to the team MATT BARNES  at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.

Let's take nothing away from this brilliant new Miami team but with the pick up of Barnes, the Lakers can match them, outlast them and even challenge and defeat them. Think about it they match up piece for piece. Chris Bosh has Bynum, Gasol and Odom to deal with in the post while Kobe and LeBron will face off. This leaves Dwyane Wade, not open but closed off by both Barnes and Artest. Checkmate.

With all three defenders on the court at the same time the Lakers become the most powerful offensive and the most powerful defensive team in the league. Then, even when Kobe takes five (or more like two) on the bench, the Lakers still have two of the best players in the league disarming the opposing teams primary weapon. When Kobe is back on the court during crunch time he can focus more on the offence when he knows his first and second line of defence has his back.

The reason these guys excel in the lost art of defence is attributed to much more than 'just' their strength, their positioning or their undeniable, proven talent. The reason these guys are three of the top ten defenders in the league is because they share the same three attributes that every player needs to become a premier defender in this league. These attributes are courage, passion and competitiveness. Bryant, Artest and Barnes have the die hard bravery to risk anything and everything to win and they have the passion that goes beyond the 'I Love This Game' slogan. This is because they want to win and rule this game that they love. It's one thing loving something, it's another thing to actually 'want' the thing you love. Now as far as competitiveness is concerned we needn’t get into it...but we will.

Houston Rocket Ron Artest swings Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant's arm during Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 17, 2009. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 89-70 to win the best-of-seven series 3-2. (UPI Photo/Jon SooHoo) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

How competitive are these guys? Well look at it this way these guys may be team-mates now but before as opponents, there was no love lost. These guys where far from friends. We remember Ron in Kobe's face all series long as Houston and LA sparred in the 2009 Playoffs. Also how can we forget Barnes and Bryant getting into it last season during a Magic, Lakers game? Things got so heated that Barnes even faked throwing an inbounds pass right at Kobe's face! Bryant even one-upped Barnes however by not even flinching at this. Kobe just stared right through the ball and right through Matt owning the moment. Chris Rock knows this kind of humiliation.

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (R) drives by Phoenix Suns' Matt Barnes during second half action at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 10, 2008. The Lakers defeated the Suns 115-110. (UPI Photo/Jon SooHoo) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Kobe is without a doubt the most competitive player in this league. When Barnes and Artest showed they weren't fazed by this legend they earned more than just Kobe's frustration and attention. They earned his respect. It's almost like it was all written, just like KB was testing these two guys, but the fact is Kobe plays like this against everyone. The thing that separates Artest and Barnes from the rest was their willingness to see Kobe's competitiveness and up the ante. Now as team-mates what separates these two from the rest is their willingness to put this old rivalry aside in order to come together with the same passion for the same goal. That's what separates a Ron Artest and a Matt Barnes from a Raja Bell. This is what separates ordinary players from champions.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208459 Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (R) hugs teammate Ron Artest after defeating the Boston Celtics during game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th championships.

With three of the most competitive, passionate and aggressive players on the same page defensively the Lakers become as strong as any defensive minded team they've tried to overcome over the last ten years. Adding this element to an already championship calibre team gives the Lakers that extra dimension, that Championship x-factor. Los Angeles now on both ends of the floor has a team like no other. A team that is both dominant in the paint and on the perimeter. They may not have a 'Dream' team like in Miami but what they do have is a dynasty. Now that's real.

Saturday, 21 August 2010



"We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for" Allen Iverson-2006

January 27, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Philadelphia 76ers Allen Iverson brings the ball up the court with Milwaukee Bucks Charlie Bell in his face..Milwaukee Bucks won over the Philadelphia 76ers 91-88. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

In 2007 legendary DJ and producer DJ Jazzy Jeff released ‘The Return of the Magnificent’. On a track called ‘Practice’ featuring the lyrical skills of Hip-Hop artist J-Live, Jazzy Jeff used a vocal sample of Allen Iverson’s press conference rant in 2006 regarding the topic of practicing. You remember don’t you? ‘Were talking about practice’. The track is around three years old, the sound bite four but even listening to the classic album today Jazz brings Allen Iverson’s infamous practice rant back to life like he was back there sitting in the press conference with the rest of the reporters. As good as J-Live is lyrically on this song, just like he does his opponents A.I. owns this track and he does it without even stepping in the booth. David Stern won't be able to censor this hip-hop. 40 bars or not. This is Jeff's house and anyone telling him different will be shown the exit the same way he was shown in 'that' TV show he starred in alongside 'that' movie star. Besides Iverson’s words here aren’t gay-bashing...there practice bashing. Allen Iverson isn't down with practicing because his game and his passion are always ready to go at any given moment.


However as hot as this track is the sample is now years old, the track feels dated right? The two people surrounding this press conference are now not in a verbal war but have long since parted ways. Larry Brown has since taken the helm of many different teams. As for the other figure, well what once was the unimaginable is now NBA history. Iverson left Philly for another A.I. to lead the way with dunks not crossovers for the Sixers. This A.I. is now a free agent, believe it or not (if you’ve just woken up from a coma).

Iverson has since logged time in Denver, Detroit and Memphis. A.I. also made dreams come true by returning to the Sixers. We all remember how it started, Allen Kissing the Philly logo on the court, so much heart and so much passion but then, we all know how it ended, a little underwhelming right? Plus besides that 2006 press conference means nothing now right? Larry and Allen are friends again, helped by on court loyalty in Detroit and commitments to the world-wide game of basketball in the Olympics. The practice-bashing didn't amount to much more than comments causing reporters to write for maybe a week at best, right? WRONG!

Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to basket during the East's 136-132 loss to the West in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2004 Photo via Newscom

You see Jazzy Jeff isn't a fool. You don't win the first ever rap Grammy without having vision. A loyal Sixers fan like Jeff will always remember Allen Iverson's personal history right? Well yes but a hardcore Philly hoops fan like Jeff will understand what A.I. Is all about.

"But we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for"

They say practice makes perfect, but when what most practice and train for you love, then its not a case of practice, it’s a matter of what you live for. 'I love this game' is the slogan. Allen Iverson embodies this. You can't train for something that's always been in you, something that is still within you when most people clock out. This is not the millions, the mansions the cars, the revered hip-hop lifestyle or the job itself, not to Allen Iverson, this is his life. How can you possibly practice for something you've been doing since as early as the neighbors being woke up at 3am in the morning to the sound of a young Iverson palming the rock can remember?

"I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game,"

Forget the bowling alley accusations, which have nothing to do with what you love and watch A.I.'s every move on the court for. Oh he didn't finish college right? A dropout like Kanye, John Stockton went to college why not A.I.? However with no disrespect to the great Stock, the question is what the hell does a degree have to do with how 'The Answer' majors in playing the game. Why spend time critiquing Allen Iverson the NBA player, based on being arrested for carrying marijuana and a concealed weapon. His personal life belongs to him and unfortunately the press, how he plays basketball and his dedication to the game belongs to the court. Why procrastinate over the incident in 2002? We do not know the full story, so therefore we know nothing. However we do know that there are not many players in the NBA as committed as number 3 to giving their everything to a league that has rarely given him the same respect he deserves.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 13: Allen Iverson  attends the Reebok and Allen Iverson hosted party to celebrate their 13-year relationship and announce three new initiatives on February 13, 2009 in Scottsdale, AZ.  (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images for Reebok)

This dedication probably purely because the association that focuses too much on censoring players identities instead of focusing on their own internal problems, facilitates the game he loves on the highest level. Forget the needless back and forth with the NBA powers that be over matters ranging from cornrows, to tattoos, to hip-hop, to dress code, to the length of players game shorts. Hey we can't all be John Stockton can we? Forget these needless back and forth’s, accusations of selfishness and having no respect because this has nothing to do with how A.I. puts the ball in the hoop and earns his place in this competitive league year after year, 13 strong, hard fought years deep. You think Allen doesn't have any respect, name a player in the L who has more respect for the game then Allen Ezail Iverson? You think that even though his careers on ice right now he’s chilling? Nah if any team makes that call, A.I. is more than good to go. Other players may be hitting the lake fishing this summer but A.I.s hitting the gym, wetting jumpers and fishing only for a roster spot.

If you look deeper into Allen's game, you can see he isn’t playing, he's living to ball. Take a look back and see the way he worked through his early years with a team with good players but no real all-star support. That was B.I.G, 'Ready to Die' track 15. It’s unbelievable in its self to have seen NBA's B.I.G. Shaq carry a team on his 7ft 300 pound back…but he always had help. A.I. Carried a whole Philadelphia team on his small, barely 6ft, 165 pound frame. With no disrespect to Dikembe Mutombo, Aaron Mckie or Erick Snow, Allen took the whole city of brotherly love on his shoulders and to the NBA finals. He even managed to cut off one of the heads of the 2002 Playoff Sweep Laker monster. No other team could take a game from Los Angeles, but 'Team Iverson' took it to LA's heart and prevailed for at least a game. At the top of his game, with no player like him he claimed his place in the visiting locker room "They thought my s**** went sour".

Detroit Pistons Allen Iverson (1) drives towards the basket against Washington Wizards DeShawn Stevenson (2) in the first quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 9, 2008. (UPI Photo/Alexis C. Glenn) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Years later we saw him on the court in Denver surrounded by talent. Whether it was in the form of young potential stocked players, big power forwards, decent point guards or fellow superstar Carmelo Anthony, A.I. was still A.I. Sacrificing his body night in, night out. Hitting decks harder than David Blaine does. Taking charges. Taking hits. Doing it on both ends of the floor, and doing it and doing it and doing it well like LL Cool J. So there where no championships in Denver, there was lay offs in Detroit but no ‘Black Elvis’ in Memphis and there was not much redemption back on the streets of Philadelphia but Iverson still went hard. Iverson still gave his all, keeping it 100. He can still play, despite the minutes, despite the critics and despite the lack of uniform. The 'S****' still isn’t no where near approaching sour.

Commentating on a Nugget visit to Madison Square Garden back in 07. New York legend Walt Frazier (and this is the man who played alongside a warrior who left it all on the floor in Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe) was amazed that Iverson was still on the top of his game and showed no signs of slowing down approaching his 30's. The question remained how was that possible after all that time, especially on a body that is small and slight. The answer himself shows us that his heart and soul won't let him slow down, his passion and love for the game after all those years has kept him at the top of the NBA's elite. Now he’s in his 30’s is there a difference? Yeah sure a little, the body ages, skills diminish, certain things grow old and don’t work, but a warrior’s heart and soul still remains the same, still runs in fountains. While passive fans are blinkered by the next best thing. Iverson gives everybody hall of fame moments every game, expect more and for amazing to really happen if…no when he suits up again.

I'm just a writer though, what's my point you ask? What the hell do I know about Allen Iverson that nobody else already knows? The answer is nothing. We all think we know about individuals in the public eye but we have no clue. Especially with Allen Iverson, we know he is dedicated to the game, but we can't really see the degree to how much it means to him. The reason Allen Iverson is even in our public eye is due to how he plays the game that we love. Iverson loves this game too, but Allen will be Allen. What do we know? He does care about practice, just that particular week he wasn't feeling it. He loves the game he'll do anything for it. Still though some members of the press don't focus on this, they focus on his personal life.

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  (R-L) Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the third quarter as Allen Iverson #3 of the Denver Nuggets walks by in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 20, 2008 in Los Angeles, Lakers. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Let’s remind ourselves again this has nothing to do with what he brings to the game of basketball does it? Same applies for Kobe. Iverson carries all this on his shoulders but he does not bring his personal life to work. Like #24, 'The Answer' leaves everything on the floor of whatever court he's playing in. What he doesn't leave however is all the parts of his personality and life that the media scrutinize as closely as scientists. That mess doesn't even leave the locker room. So does a deviation from the dress code have something to do with how he plays the game...HELL NO!! Now does attending practice apply? Maybe so but you know what, there are some players that attend practice that wouldn't die for the game. Allen Iverson would.

"Not the game that I go out there and die for"

Iverson LIVES for this game!

Not in the magazine front cover, sneaker ad way, but the literal way. So instead of judging the man by all the other BS and hyping it up so much that were now using bad press saturated side-stories for hip-hop samples, we should cherish what he was bought to the NBA. As good as Jazzy Jeff's track is we should focus on the vocals of another hip-hop cut to determine what A.I. is all about. On the Reebok A6 commercial Jadakiss tells us "You seen him play hurt, coz his heart is huge". You want to sum up Allen Iverson’s dedication to the teams he's played for throughout his career, the league, the association, the game itself? There it is. The most competitive ball player we've seen these past two decades. He should be embraced not disgraced with character defamation's that have little to do with his commitment to this association we sought after on League pass. Think he can’t play no more? Just wait. Sure there’s LeBron, Melo and more young talent coming through in this league year after year but there hasn’t quite been a player as compelling as Allen Iverson that has entered this league for a long time now.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 13:  Judakiss performs at the Reebok and Allen Iverson hosted party to celebrate their 13-year relationship and announce three new initiatives on February 13, 2009 in Scottsdale, AZ.  (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images for Reebok)

(Jadakiss @ The Reebok & Allen Iverson Party, Scottsdale, AZ, 2009)

You begin to realize that Iverson’s comments on not attending practice all those years back are no disrespect to the game of basketball or the NBA. Whether it be his definition of the phrase 'die-hard' pursuit for that elusive ring, or playing ball back home with his closest searching for an opening (on the asphalt and back into the NBA), Allen Iverson is always playing like he has to prove to us that this game means everything to him even after all these years. You can be sure he will prove that he’s worth picking up on the market. He’s proved doubters wrong his whole career and over much worse issues to. This will just be a dribble in the park. I mean were talking about Allen Iverson and practice. Allen Iverson can miss the odd basketball practice or even the odd month in a season because basketball is his practice.

“This aint a hobby it’s a practice” J-Live.