Posts Tagged ‘Hoopin’

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.

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.

michaeljordan

Since everyone’s enjoying the weekend break between Games 1 & 2 of the NBA Finals, I figured I’d share with you my personal story of an NBA champion who all of us are quite familiar with.

Michael Jordan once said that one of his motivating factors for consistently performing at a high level on the basketball court was his cognizance of that one fan (or fans) who were able to see him play live and in person that one particular time who may never have the opportunity to watch him play in person again. Well, I was one of those folks he referred to, and as a young kid at the time of attending my first Jordan game, I must say that he did indeed put on a show that night.

MJ pulled off this vintage under the layup Dr. J-like reverse in a way that only he could at that time....Oh yeah, and it was a three-point play as well.

MJ pulled off this vintage under the layup Dr. J-like reverse in a way that only he could at that time….Oh yeah, and it was a three-point play as well.

The time and date of the game, you ask? Friday, March 27, 1998 at 7:30pm in Atlanta, GA against the Dikembe Mutombo/Steve Smith/Mookie Blaylock-era Hawks. At the time, both teams had much in common, as they were both Central Division rivals (the re-shaping of the NBA’s landscape in 2004 saw the Hawks move to the newly formed Southeast Division) who had faced each other in the previous season’s playoffs. Both teams were in a transitional period. Jordan’s Bulls were uncertain about his playing status beyond that season because of the team’s decision to severe ties with Phil Jackson at the end of that season. The Hawks on the other hand, were literally without a permanent home, as they played their last game in The Omni the previous season, and they took temporary residence in the Georgia Dome and Georgia Tech’s Alexander Memorial Coliseum until the Phillips Arena was completed in time for the 1999-00 season.

Upon my attending the game, I knew that this game would be big in terms of its significance. The Jordan Factor by itself was monumental, but the Bulls-who would go on to win their sixth and last NBA championship later that season–played through an entire season which was nicknamed “The Last Dance” by coach Phil Jackson, so it seemed as if EVERYONE wanted to be there. My gut feeling wouldn’t let me down, as the game itself set an NBA attendance record for a single game of 62,046. True to his reputation, Jordan wouldn’t disappoint, as he scored 34 points to lead his team to an 89-74 victory.

It was cool being a part of history, as I received this memoir which commemorated the NBA's single-game attendance record.

It was cool being a part of history, as I received this memoir which commemorated the NBA’s single-game attendance record.

The program directory for the Bulls/Hawks matchup that night.

The program directory for the Bulls/Hawks matchup that night.

My ticket stub for the game.

My ticket stub for the game.

Needless to say, I had a blast watching the greatest player of all time and his Chicago Bulls go toe-to-toe with a very respectable team in the Atlanta Hawks. I want to give a shout-out to a YouTube user by the name of 79maestro who actually put in the time to go into the archives and upload Jordan’s highlights from this game in the video below. If you appreciate classic NBA highlights, and you’d like to see rare Jordan highlights, subscribe to 79maestro’s channel.

My second “Like Mike” experience took place over three and-a-half years later, on Thursday, November 1, 2001…Same time, new arena (Phillips).

After emerging from retirement for a second time, Jordan decided to take on his biggest on-court opponent yet, Father Time. At 38 years of age, despite mixed feelings from fans about his last go-round in the NBA, Jordan laced up the Nikes yet again to test his basketball might against the young whippersnappers at the time, such as Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Tracy McGrady.

Although he aligned himself with new cohorts (the Washington Wizards), Jordan’s game against the Hawks resulted in the same way that it did during the last time he faced the Hawks: another ‘W’. The 38-year-old scored 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in only his second regular season game back. Not bad for an “old man”, huh? Another YouTube uploader, by the name of Swove2204.

Oh yeah, I’ve included a couple of artifacts from this game as well.

My ticket to witness Jordan's first game back against the Hawks, this time as a Washington Wizard.

My ticket to witness Jordan’s first game back against the Hawks, this time as a Washington Wizard.

Program Directory to the Hawks vs, Wizards matchup of November 1, 2001.

Program Directory to the Hawks vs, Wizards matchup of November 1, 2001.

After reading this, you’re probably wondering, “How in the world was B.C. ‘Just Like Mike’? The answer is, we were both in the same building on 3/27/98 & 11/1/01! You didn’t think I was gonna tell you that I could take off from the free throw line, did ya?

Dunking is arguably one of the biggest--and entertaining--ways to send a message to an opposing player.

Dunking is arguably one of the biggest–and entertaining–ways to send a message to an opposing player.

Anyone remember playing NBA Jam back in the early 90’s? If you do, then you’ll remember the players flying through the air to attempt one of their humanly impossible, yet entertaining monster dunks. The video game’s announcer would punctuate the players’ dunks by yelling that one catch phrase that seemed to be an oft-used in pop culture jargon during that time period:

“BOOMSHAKALAKA!!”

When you heard that catch phrase, then you knew that you had pulled off one of the highlights of the game, if not the highlight of the game. It was almost as if the announcer had to verbalize the non-verbal statement that the players in the game made after their superhuman dunks that could only be done in a virtual world. To no one’s surprise, however, those non-verbal b-ball statements are made in the world of flesh, blood, leather, and rubber as well as the pixelated world of those classic 16-Bit video games. By now, everyone’s quite sure of the basketball statements that I’m referring to, and there are a few, in my humble opinion.

1. The Dunk

Perhaps the most beloved–and the most feared method–to make a statement on the basketball court, this high wire act ALWAYS brings the fans to their feet immediately. Dunks have been known to not only humiliate the poor defender on the receiving end of a demoralizing crushing dunk, but it has also been known to change the momentum of ball games. When it comes to dunks, think about Vince Carter’s video game-like dunk over Team France’s Frederic Weis. Take that, basketball purists!

2. The Crossover Dribble/Shake & Bake

Another way to make a basketball-related statement during a game would be to leave your defender dancing and looking like their auditioning for the sequel of Roll Bounce on a greasy floor…that’s right, make ’em look THAT silly. While Tim Hardaway was the Godfather of the wicked Crossover Dribble, Allen Iverson took it to an entirely different level in terms of how destructive the Crossover Dribble could be to defenders if the right person does it.

3. The Blocked Shot

I’m fully aware that defense is the name of the game, but it’s a shame that it’s not too fan-friendly for the most part when it comes to selling out areas and gyms. There is hope. Spice up your team’s defense-first philosophy by knocking the opposing player’s shot (Just try not to pick up a foul in the process of doing so) into the 10th row! Basketball purists cringe at the thought of a defender swatting a player’s shot out of bounds, because it automatically gives the other team possession of the ball, but sometimes you gotta strike the fear of God into the other team by doing this. Outside of Bill Russell’s heyday as an elite shot blocker, Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace were two of the most beloved shot blockers of the past two decades.

I had to write this post in response to a question that came to my mind this weekend. The question was, “Outside of the obvious politically correct answer(s) of ‘Win the game’ and ‘Play defense’, what are some of the most effective ways to make a statement in a basketball game as a player? If you have other opinions on how to make a statement in a game, please feel free to answer in the poll below.