Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

golden state

Warriors, come out to plaaa-aay!

While it wasn’t necessary that I include the famous movie line in the sentence above, I couldn’t help myself. The Golden State Warriors are making a strong case for greatness. Listed below is a few points that support this argument.

  • They’ve kicked in the door and disrupted NBA’s party of the usual suspects (LeBron, D-Wade, Tim Duncan, etc.) as recent NBA champs…putting the league on notice that they’re a force to be reckoned with, hence their 2015 NBA title.
  • They’ve easily SUPPLANTED the Lakers & Clippers as the state of California’s best NBA team. With a state with FOUR NBA franchises–including one with a legendary pedigree (Lakers)–that’s pretty impressive in itself.
  • The Warriors have a star in Steph Curry that has not only made his case as the league’s Most Valuable Player last year, but he’s also well on his way to becoming a repeat MVP in 2016, if he can maintain (or build upon) his season averages of 32 points, 6 dimes, and and an always impressive three-point percentage to put the exclamation on his stat line.
  • As of the time I write this, the defending champion Warriors team is currently on an NBA-record 16-0 win streak to start the season…which is the best start in league history.

So, it’s best that I go ahead now and declare that the Golden State Warriors will do what only one other team has done, and that’s get to the NBA’s mountaintop by winning 70 games this season. In addition to winning 70+ games, they’ll be in prime position to repeat as NBA champions again this season. Will they beat the all-time record of 72 wins? Time will tell. Until then, sit back, enjoy the show that the Warriors are putting on this year, and watch history unfold.

Champions_League

Do you love the sport of basketball in general, yet hate the ongoing 82-game (not including playoffs and preseason) grind that is the NBA? Are you one of those disgruntled fans who’ve contributed to the rumblings over recent years that you only watch the NBA after the All-Star break and into the Playoffs? Well, you might be in luck, because this is where the Champions League comes in.

The Champions League, according to various sources, isn’t affiliated with the NBA. However, many alumni from “The League” have signed up to compete in the new league of teams. Notables such as Rasheed Wallace, Josh Howard, Al Harrington, and Brandon Roy will be suiting up for action. The Champions League will feature 30-games per season, and 16-teams will be in the mix just in time for the summer of 2016.

The markets that will house The Champions League are Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Philly, Miami, D.C., and Cleveland. 250 players are required for the league to run smoothly.

As mentioned before, there are quite a few sports fans (not Yours Truly) who are understandably disgruntled with the current state of the NBA…you know, the “I can’t stand the overstacked teams”, “They play too many games. I’ll wait till the Playoffs to watch”, “Certain players don’t play anymore, so basketball isn’t the same” crowd who feels this way because they are simply fed up with the current state of the game.

Another cool thing about the Champions League is that it gives another alternative for older NBA players who can still play the game, yet have possibly been pushed aside because of the league’s current youth movement. It has also been reported that the league will eventually become a place for ballers to put in work in the event that they choose not to play overseas. It also ensures that the players stay fresher and are able to withstand the entirety of the season without dragging across the finish line of the postseason.

If you’re still a basketball fan at heart, regardless of the generational shift of the game, or you’re just looking for more basketball to satisfy your hoops cravings during the offseason, the Champions League might be worth looking into.

Check out this video of the press conference announcing the launch of the Champions League.

Follow this link for more on the story surrounding the Champions League.

JordanRodmanPippen

It’s already been 20 years.

Was it the fact that the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team had three Hall-Of-Famers on the team? Was it because of their then Sixth Man Of The Year sharpshooting southpaw from Croatia? Maybe it was due to the Bulls’ head coach at the time, who would go on to lead teams to 7 more NBA titles after 1996?

By this time, we’re quite sure that many basketball fans (and sports fans in general) have used every complementary adjective imaginable to describe the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Da Bullsas they’ve been affectionately referred to by diehard fans in the Chicagoland area, “caught an unsuspecting NBA slippin” and smacked the league in its mouth by piling up an NBA record 72 wins–a feat which many teams have tried and failed to accomplish in the past 20 years.

This NBA season (2015-16) marks the 20th anniversary of that historic Bulls team. While everyone always heaps well-deserved praise upon that team, one thing that must be mentioned is that there very well could’ve been no Bulls team (as we remember them now) at all.

In the summer of 1995, the NBA’s owners were involved in a testy labor dispute with the players, which caused the league to be placed in a lockout for a couple of months. Jordan and the Bulls were fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Shaq/Penny/Horace Grant Orlando Magic in the second round of the 1995 Eastern Conference playoffs, despite all of the hoopla surrounding Jordan’s return to the team after a 17-month retirement.

What many people also forget is that Jordan had many doubters going into the ’95 offseason. People had even questioned whether he’d be the same player that he once was from 1984-93, which were the years that built the foundation for MJ’s years as a Bull.

Dennis Rodman, the colorful power forward who left an indelible mark on pop culture as much as he did on the b-ball court, was traded from the Spurs to the Bulls for center Will Perdue. Even that took Jordan and Pippen’s approval before the deal was made, because of the bad blood between the Bulls and Rodman’s “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons of the late ’80s/early ’90s.

There was much talk during that time that the league had moved on, because of its infusion of young talent. With fresh new stars like Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, and Chris Webber, the league felt that it was something it had to do in order to come down from the Chicago Bulls/MJ “high” that it had been experiencing for several years. This isn’t even including the fact that the Houston Rockets had won back-to-back titles in 1995–the only team to win a title at that point since Jordan’s ’93 retirement.

Since 1996, that Bulls team has become the gold standard for which NBA squads of future years would measure their regular season success. So again, we have to ask ourselves: What was it about the ’96 Bulls that was so special (besides winning 72 games and winning the title)? Was it the combination of talent and toughness? The ’97 and ’98 Bulls title teams had pretty much the same team. Was it the shoes? Given that appearances alone don’t translate to results on the basketball court, we highly doubt that. But then again, let the young’uns of today tell it, maybe so.

101331_2488_lg

More than any other professional team sport in America, the NBA has maintained a symbiotic relationship with its stars. The NBA–or “The League”, as it’s known by many–has been widely recognized as a star-driven league.

Whether you’re a fan of the NBA, or just a casual observer, you can’t help but to identify the National Basketball Association with some of the greatest and entertaining players to ever have earned an NBA paycheck.  Just in case you’re wondering about how long this star-driven system has been in place, we have to re-visit the early days of the pro basketball league.

I’m sure you’ve heard of an NBA franchise by the name of the Los Angeles Lakersright? Well, they haven’t always resided in Southern California, nor was their first championship won there either. Before the Lakers relocated to L.A. in 1960, they won an impressive five championships in their former home, Minneapolis. As expected, most great sports teams have that “anchor” on their team; that one person who is the heart and soul of their campaign to become champions in their respective league/sport. The then-Minneapolis Lakers had that type of player, and his name was George Mikan.

Mikan made a brief comback as a Minneapolis Laker in this 1995 ESPN Sportscenter commercial.

After an illustrious college career at DePaul University in Chicago, the 6’10” Mikan was known for his dominance as a Laker, yet he first signed with the Chicago American Gears of the NBL (National Basketball League), which eventually became the NBA. It was two years after his signing with the Gears in 1946, that he would join the Lakers for the 1947-48 season. When it came to dominant players at that time, no one in the league was on Mikan’s level of play. Like players such as Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in latter years, it was Mikan’s dominance that forced the NBA to change some of its rules to even the playing field for other players to have the opportunity to compete.

Long before the regularity of the NBA’s marketing of a celebrated few players handpicked every year to be the faces of the league, George Mikan was that guy to do so by himself.  If Mikan’s star power were ever in question, then any doubts would be refuted in the following story: On December 14, 1949, his teammates arrived at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and were met with a surprise.

On the marquee (sign outside of the building) they had ‘George Mikan vs. the Knicks,” recalled the NBA legend, whose teammates ribbed him by refusing to dress for the game. “They were all just sitting around. They said, ‘Alright big guy, if you’re going to play them, go play them.

With the NBA still crawling through its years of infancy at the time, such a sight was unheard of, yet it appeared that the marketing team of Madison Square Garden understood what a larger-than-life figure George Mikan had become back then. Needless to say, Mikan went on to play until 1956, ending a career that saw him become a hall-of-famer, one of the NBA’s “50 Greatest” players (as of 1996), and the reputation of being the “that dude” on his team. If Mikan were a star today, let’s just say that his jersey would be on sale, and he’d possibly even have his own sneaker.

Now that’s star power.

childrens book

I want everyone to be on the lookout for something that I consider a labor of love from Yours Truly, BC.

Because of my love of the game of basketball, in addition to society’s obligation to educate and empower young children to properly equip them with the tools they’ll need to survive in life, I’ve decided to do my part by creating a project that not only will the kids love, but you as parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors will appreciate as well.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be featuring updates on the progress of the project, so I want everyone to be on the lookout for this awesome treat. Yes, the project will heavily involve the game of basketball, and it will be used as a way to empower our youth.

In the meantime, I need everyone to subscribe to this awesome page so that you’ll be kept in the loop on this great surprise that I have in store for the kids.

Stay tuned!!

summertime_basketball

We’re smack dab in the middle of July, which means we’re still months removed from the official start of basketball season. However, summertime doesn’t stop many from getting their hoopin’ fix. Just for the mere sake of the seasonal climate during this time of year, the outdoor courts are frequented more, and the local gyms see an increase in people looking to test their skills against other players. See a few examples of people, places, and movements which highlight just how big summertime basketball has been–and is becoming

1. Sonny Hill, and the Baker League

Few individuals have been able to use the game of basketball to make such a remarkable impact upon their local communities like Sonny Hill. Mr. Hill, who is known as “The Mayor of Basketball” in Philadelphia, co-founded the Charles Baker League in 1960. Because of his tremendous contributions to the game of basketball in Philadelphia and beyond, he was inducted in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of FameThe league has witnessed a countless flow of ballers from Philly who have cut their teeth in this legendary bastion of basketball.

2. Rucker Park

Perhaps the most well-known and most popular locale for summertime hoops, the EBC Rucker Park–or “Rucker Park” as many call it–has been graced by the presence of basketball legends on every level, from Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland, to Kevin “Easy Money Sniper” Durant.

3. The Goodman League

Located in the nation’s capital, The Goodman League has been around for 40 years as of this year, and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

4. The Drew League

While most of the country relishes in the opportunity to enjoy the summer season, Los Angeles is spoiled by warm and abundant sunshine throughout the year, which is probably one of the reasons why there’s no real need for the top-flight players of the Drew League to want to play outside. The league that boasts itself to be “The Most Elite Summer League In The World” has opened its doors to L.A. natives and legends alike, such as rapper The Game, and NBA hoopers such as Nick Young, James Harden, and DeMar DeRozan

5. Quai 54

Now this is where summertime basketball goes global! Held in the City of Lights, this tournament hosts 16 international teams, and 200+ amateur and pro players, according to its website.

6. NBA Summer League

The true to its reputation and business model, the NBA has taken its own summer league to a whole ‘nother level. With this year’s newest draftees and young players aspiring to prove their place in “The League”, be on the lookout for future legends to be made in this annual midsummer basketball proving ground in Las Vegas.

As you can see from the examples above, people, events, and leagues have shattered the notion that basketball is a winter sport. In fact, summertime is when many serious players get better at their craft. Legends are made in the summer. Now, let’s hoop.

ballup

Summer. That one lady who shows up for at least three months out of every year (4-5 depending on what part of the country you live in. Global warming, anyone?). For those of us who consider ourselves basketball heads, Ms. Summer’s arrival marks the official end of “The League“, and the beginning of cookouts, abundant sunshine, and…baseball.

Just from reading the paragraph above, one would be lead to believe that waiting until late October/early November to get their hoops fix will suffice. However, this is where we have been proven wrong, fortunately. There’s a hoops movement sweeping the nation during the summer months around the world. The name of the movement, you ask? BALLUP. Just ask Demetrius Spencer, the Founder & CEO of the world’s largest streetball circuit. “Our tour takes us all across the country, where we open the door for anybody with great basketball talent to have the opportunity to come and try out.”, he says in a recent interview with Omaha.com. Opened in 2009, this tour has seen players such as Grayson “The Professor” Boucher and Taurian “Mr. 720” Fontenette join the BALLUP tour as it hits cities all over the world.

This year, the tour features an opportunity that ballers (and non-ballers alike) would both jump at. Such contests as the Million Dollar Summer Champion are guaranteed to bring the best out of would-be members of the Ballup tour. The contest itself gives players the chance to battle it out to not only become hoops kings of their cities, but also to receive national recognition and the chance to play in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 30 to claim the crown as national champion of the challenge.

If you are like many in basketball land, and you are missing your hoops fix this summer, there’s no longer a need to wait until next year’s basketball season to start. BALLUP will be sure to not only fill that void, but it will also make you a fan…if you aren’t a fan already, that is.

lebron_james_2015

In this new age of unlimited access to information, there isn’t much we don’t know about LeBron James‘s accomplishments during his career in the NBA. However, what many of us are looking over, is a steadily unfolding career that is worthy of not only securing a spot in the Hall in Springfield, but also him carving out his own spot on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA greats.

Although I was nowhere near LeBron hater status like many of his detractors, I’ll admit, for a few years in the early stages of LeBron’s career, I was skeptical of the ‘hype’ surrounding him and his emergence onto the NBA scene. Kobe was (and still is) my favorite player in the league. I was skeptical that a kid straight out of high school could resurrect an NBA franchise singlehandedly. I was skeptical of the buzz he had surrounding him, thanks to the Nike and Sprite commercials that we’d see upon his arrival to the league…But despite what I or anyone else had to say or think about the on-court resume he was building, King James definitely lived up to his nickname–and then some.

Everyone knows about the Oscar Robertson-like triple doubles he’s amassed, the otherworldly athleticism, and the one-name recognition that only a few individuals such as Beyonce and Pele have earned. However, do we know about how dangerously close he is in passing Jordan in regular season MVPs? Do we realize that he’s ALREADY in his 12th NBA season (at the time that I’m writing this), and seems to be virtually impervious to season ending and debilitating injuries that even the greatest of the greats in league history have been plagued with at some point in their careers?

I attest much of our overlooking of LeBron’s ever-growing legacy to the fact that we live in a microwave society. Nowadays, the NBA–like many other leagues in the sports industry–are so fixated with finding the “next big thing”, that we often lose sight of the ones who are making history now. The irony of the matter is that at one time in the not-so-distant past, LeBron himself was considered one of the new jacks of the league who were the “next big thing”.

It’s a safe bet to now conclude that LeBron–at the prime age of 30–has entered the NBA’s venerable circle of grizzled veteran champions, such as Kobe, Duncan, KG, and his former teammate, D-Wade. Now, let’s just sit back and watch history continue to unfold.

People in the NBA world were stunned by the recent loss of three former great players.

People in the NBA world were stunned by the recent loss of three former great players.

The NBA world suffered three consecutive losses within an extremely short time span when Jerome Kersey (February 18), Earl Lloyd (February 26), and Anthony Mason (February 28)  passed away last month.

Kersey, the athletic forward who participated in some of the league’s storied Slam Dunk Contest of the 1980s, also served as a member of the Portland Trailblazers team that made appearances in 1990 and 1992.

Earl Lloyd gained his claim to fame by becoming the NBA’s first Black player in 1950. He played for 10 years with the Washington Capitols, winning an NBA Championship with the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers), and the Detroit Pistons.

Anthony Mason, whose physical style of play endeared him to New York basketball fans during his days as a Knick, played 13 NBA seasons, finishing his career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2003.

nbaallstar2k15

Here we are. We’ve arrived at yet another NBA All-Star Weekend, which is held in New York City this year, and the league’s 30 teams will be represented in some capacity during the weekend-long extravaganza which includes highly entertaining events such as the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, Three-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest…and let’s not forget about the actual game itself, which will be played tomorrow at Madison Square Garden.

Below is a video that features the highlights of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, which means that this post has been updated for your viewing pleasure.

For hoops enthusiasts such as myself, and many others around the globe, NBA All-Star Weekend marks the true beginning of basketball season. You’re probably assuming that basketball season starts in late October/early November (It does on paper), but the sports world doesn’t focus the majority of its attention on the sport until February. With the Super Bowl marking the official end of football season, Major League Baseball still several weeks from starting training camps, combined with both high school and collegiate basketball jockeying for position in their postseason tournaments, it’s a safe bet to note that February is the true beginning of basketball season.

With the exception of soccer, there are no other team sports as popular–and widely played–as basketball. The sport exudes an electricity and suspense that none of the other team sports do. NBA All-Star Weekend shows why this is true.

The other day, a good friend of mine asked me who would win between any of the NBA All-Star teams, and the USA Olympic hoops squads, and I’d have to go with the All-Star teams every time. From top to bottom, the All-Star teams feature battle tested newbies and vets who have put in the time to prove themselves worthy of NBA All-Stardom, and the Olympic basketball teams sometimes allow the college standout player (who at the time hasn’t logged one minute in NBA play)  to sneak in to claim a spot on the team. This isn’t meant to put down the youngsters who have the opportunity to compete internationally, but I’m just giving my two cents.

From February until June, sports fans are bombarded with exciting basketball. This includes All Star Weekend, March Madness, your local high school basketball tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and the NBA Finals.

I’ll be like the millions of other hoops junkies around the world, kicking back and enjoying the events of All-Star Weekend in addition to watching the competition heat up over the next several months as basketball teams on every level fight to claim the right to be called CHAMPION.