Posts Tagged ‘hoops’

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.

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.

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.

hoopsreading

For years, the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program has sought to promote literacy among its young fans by implementing various educational initiatives and incentives. For us adults, the importance of reading is no less.  If you’re reading this, or some of my other work here on this page, then you’ve already realized the fact that reading is important.

Despite the need for us all to be able to possess basic literary skills, reading can be made fun in the process. Because of my love for the game of basketball, I have included several b-ball themed books that are personal favorites of mine that I’m quite sure that you’ll love as well.  Reading is FUNdamental!!

Tales From the Cleveland Cavaliers: The Rookie Season of LeBron James by Roger Gordon

Magic: by Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Richard Levin

Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America’s Youth by Dan Wetzel and Don Yaeger

Best Seat in the House: A Basketball Memoir by Spike Lee

I have included a few vintage commercials where NBA stars encourage the kiddos to read. Take a look:

photo

What is it about me that you guys don’t know?

This is what Michael Jordan asked the crowd in attendance at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on a special evening in September of 2009. After hearing those words uttered by His Airness, you almost got the impression that even he’d be surprised by the fact that some of us had never even heard of him.

Due to the immense amount of scrutiny that he underwent over the years, it’s hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t at least have a clue who he was.To be honest, I’m not quite sure if there isn’t anything we don’t know about him. Perhaps one of the most famous human beings who have ever lived, it’s safe to mention that the life of Michael Jeffrey Jordan has been one devoid of boredom and predictability.

Thirty.

I’m not referring to MJ’s career regular season scoring average, nor am I referring to the age that Michael was whenever he and his Chicago Bulls won their third straight NBA title against the Phoenix Suns in 1993. While both of the aforementioned references were cool facts to know, the “thirty” that I’m referring to is the amount of years ago that he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984. To the average person under the age of 25 who represent the demographic of youth who wear his famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) line of Nike sneakers, chances are high that they’ve never had the opportunity to watch him lace up the sneakers to actually play in them in during a live action NBA game. What made Jordan so unique was that his era–affectionately known as the Jordan Era–started almost immediately, in contrast to many NBA stars who entered the league after he did.

It’s hard to believe that MJ was drafted into the NBA over three decades ago, but it also makes sense because if you’re under the age of 50 and you have watched a considerable amount of basketball for a great deal of your life, then you felt as if Jordan was someone you grew up with, someone who should be enshrined not only into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but into our memory banks as well. All basketball fans have had a “Jordan experience”, and I’m no different. It was Jordan’s electric style of play, coupled with his undeniable marketability, and you have one extremely impressed 9-year-old boy who, during the fall of ’92, made a decision that basketball was his favorite sport, which would eventually become my passion to play the game of basketball, watch the game of basketball as a fan, and ultimately….write about the game of basketball.

In closing,  there isn’t much that we don’t know about the megastar. Thousands of publications, TV analysts, and barbershop regulars have proven that. I’ll keep this one simple because if you’re a lover of the game of basketball like I am, then you’ll realize we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the era that not only changed the sport, but reshaped pop culture at large.

My interview with Brandon King, April 2014

My interview with Brandon King, April 2014

Basketball and sneaker culture go hand-in-hand.  From Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s suede Pumas, to the iconic Air Jordan sneaker line worn, endorsed, and named after the one and only Michael Jordan himself, there is an unbreakable marriage between the sneaker industry and the sport of basketball. Over the past decade, the popularity of sneakers have exploded and progressed to the level of a subculture. Although I myself have had an affinity for sneakers for as long as I can remember, there are some individuals like Brandon King who have decided to turn his love for kicks into an online experience that will be guaranteed to be enjoyable for sneaker enthusiasts like him.

I won’t carry on much longer, but please check out the material posted below that I’ve written along with the audio of my interview with sneaker guru, artist, and entrepreneur, Mr. Brandon King from earlier this year. Enjoy!

(Interview and story originally posted by B.C. on April 27, 2014)

This past week, I had the honor of catching up with Brandon King, who is an expert and authority on all things sneakers, especially when it comes to basketball. His lifelong love of the game of basketball also happened to translate over to a love of sneakers as well, which eventually lead him to create his own YouTube channel that’s dedicated to reviews of some of the most iconic and innovative sneakers that we’ve ever seen. On his YouTube channel titled “airjordanxiv” (named after the 14th edition Air Jordan, which is his all-time favorite), he provides elaborate and very informative reviews and commentary on many of the sneakers that are worn on the basketball courts all across the country. I personally find his YouTube page to be very resourceful for those of you who are diehard “hoopers” who are in the market for new basketball shoes, but want to do their homework before shelling out your hard-earned money for a pair you know nothing about.

Not only does Mr. King discuss his love of sneakers, he also sheds light on the “sneaker buying craze” that has understandably created major criticism from people outside of the “sneaker head community”.  We also discuss his partnership with sneaker reference site SneakerTube.TV, where he has been a regular contributor for the past couple years. His partnership with the sneaker site has inspired him to create his own site, which is currently under construction, and will be launching at a later date.

In addition to his commentary on sneakers and sports, King talks about his lifelong passion for art, and we switch gears to a much more serious matter, where Mr. King speaks on the need for everyone to have legal representation. He is also a representative of LegalShield, where he is licensed to handle your need for legal representation.

Due to his expertise on all things sneakers, sports, art, and legal matters, Brandon has quite the following here on the Internet. To see what he’s up to outside of our interview on YouTube, go to any of the links that I have provided here:

Brandon King is a well-rounded young man who speaks in full-detail on his passions and endeavors. He, like many other enterprising and innovative young men and women in my generation, have taken the reins from their predecessors, and seek to propel society to greater heights by carving out their own unique niche on this planet. I want everyone who reads this to watch the video that is posted below, and please comment, like, and subscribe for upcoming video interviews with more interesting and great people  from Yours Truly. Peace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pxH9g5ECds

High school basketball in my hometown was very competitive and extremely fun to watch as a kid growing up in Dalton, GA. The school logos are mentioned in a clockwise rotation: the Indians of Murray County High School, the Bruins of Northwest Whitfield High School, the alma mater of yours truly, the Raiders of Southeast Whitfield High School, and the Catamounts of Dalton High School.

As a high school student growing up in Northwest Georgia, high school basketball in my hometown was very competitive and extremely fun to watch as a kid. The school logos are mentioned in a clockwise rotation: the Indians of Murray County High School, the Bruins of Northwest Whitfield High School, the alma mater of yours truly–the Raiders of Southeast Whitfield High School, and the Catamounts of Dalton High School.

Back in the days when I was young/I’m not a kid anymore/but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again

~Ahmad

Most–if not all–basketball fans hold a special place in their hoop-filled hearts for high school basketball. In spite of the increasing loss of innocence of the bastion that is high school hoops due to the voracious appetite for college hoops’s need for the “next best thing”, high school basketball invokes feelings of nostalgia, community, and a sense of “connectedness” (Excuse my wordplay), because when we watch high school basketball, we watch our friends, relatives, and students lace up the sneakers to do battle on the hardwood for 32 minutes to give their schools bragging rights, but they also play to represent for the communities that they live in.

In my neck of the woods, high school basketball was played at an extremely competitive, yet entertaining level from the early ’90s until the early ’00s. In my local community, there were four high schools that would (and still) battle for bragging rights every basketball season. These four schools were Dalton High School, Southeast Whitfield High School, Northwest Whitfield High School, and Murray County High School. From Murray County, I had a chance to witness the likes of Chris Bishop and his brother Eric, who could jump over the moon, and eventually tried out as a Track and Field athlete for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Next up on the list of one of the most memorable high school basketball programs in my hometown/area was Northwest Whitfield High School, home of the Bruins. Northwest had a colorful collection of hoopers. For example, you combine the blend of athleticism and power of a guy named “Pokey”, the playmaking abilities and defensive prowess of a cat named “Redd” (who evolved from being primarily a defensive stopper in high school to becoming a deadly  scoring machine years after his h.s. graduation), and a sharp shooter named Tommy (Thompson). You were guaranteed to get your money’s worth if you decided to buy a ticket to see the orange and blue-clad bruins get busy during the golden era of basketball in North Georgia.

I’d be too modest if I failed to mentioned my alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School. When I first graced the halls of Southeast as a freshman in the fall of 1998, the big men on campus at the time were Lance “Chief” Minor, Brandon Bonds, Tracy, “Tre Boy” Harris, Marcus “Coop” Cooper, and Rashad “Shad” Curtis, to name a few. Over the course of my high school years, my school’s fan section–affectionately known as the “Dog Pound” by us Southeast Raiders–would hoot, holler, and cheer on the Raiders boys team all of the way to the coveted spot of #1 in the state of Georgia during the 2000-01 basketball season. Back in the 90s/Early 00s, the maroon and silver were NO JOKE.

The last local school that  I’d like to mention is none other than the Evil Empir–I mean the Dalton High School Catamounts. While some of you who read this may want to discount my writing ability because of my omission of some of the great players over the years who donned the white, black, and red of DHS, I’ll just state that there were simply TOO MANY GREAT PLAYERS TO NAME who came out of the Dalton High School basketball program, and this includes the boys and girls b-ball teams. I will give honorable mention to players like Brendan Plavich, Mike Banks, the Westmoreland brothers, T.J. Blackwell, Brandon “Feezy” Fields, Derrick Tinson, Eddie Jackson, & Frank Pinson, while Sabrina Beavers held it down for the ladies. I had to jokingly refer to Dalton High’s team as the “Evil Empire”, because they were like the New York Yankees of North Georgia. You either loved them, or you hated them. You rooted for them, or you booed them whenever they stepped foot on your school’s basketball court. Not only were they the biggest school in my hometown in both sheer size and student population, but they always boasted a DEEP roster of incredible athletes…in ALL sports.

While I have no intention of belittling the numerous accomplishments of the younger generations of basketball talent in my area that came along later–like 2004 or later–the players and teams that I mentioned were a memorable part of my youth, so of course I’m going to be slightly more partial to them! No matter how much basketball that I write about, discuss, or play for that matter, I’ll never forget that golden era of hoops during my high school years. I apologize if I forgot to mention any more of you from my hometown who read this, and was a part of a great time period for basketball in Whitfield and Murray County. However, I’m optimistic that we’ll have the opportunity to see another great generation of basketball spring forward from my home town of Dalton, GA, and the neighboring Chatsworth (Murray County).

 

 

 

The 1996 NBA draft was for lack of a better word, LOADED.

The 1996 NBA draft was for lack of a better word, LOADED.

Yes, I said it. The 1996 NBA Draft produced the best overall draft class ever. When you look at the overall impact that many of the draftees of ’96 made on the League, then surely you’ll agree with my statement.

To my fellow NBA historians, it probably comes off as seeming almost blasphemous that I’d make the statement that ’96 was the greatest draft class ever,  considering that it’s more p.c. to give supreme reverence to the draft classes of 1984 and 2003 respectively. When the discussion of the best NBA draft classes come up, ’84 and ’03 are almost exclusively mentioned. I feel that the ’84 draft gets the nod as the best draft class because of the #3 pick that year (If you don’t know who was picked 3rd in the ’84 Draft, then look it up). No disrespect to anyone who was drafted on those years, but the ’96 draft class was a cut above the rest.

Think about it for a second. This draft class was LOADED. Some of the names who were products of this draft were guys like Iverson, Kobe, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash…and those were just the household names. Let’s not forget that the ’96 NBA Draft also saw the likes of Antoine Walker, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Marcus Camby, and Stephon Marbury enter the league as well. Rounding out the list were soon-to-be NBA veterans such as Derek Fisher, Peja Stojakovic, Erick Dampier, and Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. I don’t think it hurts that the 1996 NBA Draft occurred on the same year as the League’s 50th anniversary, for all of my extra sentimental folks out there.

From here on out, when you visit your local barbershop, and some of the fellas want to engage in heated debates about whose NBA Draft class was the deepest, hit them with a curveball, and throw the class of ’96 into the mix. You’ll rest your case.

Mitch Richmond is one of the greatest shooting guards--and overall scorers--who ever graced the hardwood.

Mitch Richmond is one of the greatest shooting guards–and overall scorers–who ever graced the hardwood.

One of my first memories of Mitch Richmond was during my middle school years. Like many young American teenagers, I was a video game fanatic who also happened to fall in love with the game of basketball in 1995 as a 12-year-old. Fast forward a year later, and “NBA Live ’97” was released on all of those classic 16-bit gaming consoles that many of us grew to love back in the ’90s. At the time, I was very aware of the Shaqs, Jordans, and Barkleys of the basketball world, but I had no clue who this guy wearing the number 2 with a Sacramento Kings jersey on the cover of “Live ’97” was. To be totally honest, as a young kid growing up in Georgia, I didn’t even know who the Sacramento Kings were, for that matter. To make things even worse for Mr. Richmond’s case, his Kings teams of the 90s weren’t exactly making weekly appearances on NBC to bask in the warmth of the national television spotlight either.

Despite everything that you’ve just read, there’s glory to Mitch Richmond’s story. Drafted 5th overall in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, he was nicknamed “The Rock” because of his overwhelming strength as a guard. He also represented one-third of the Warriors’ famed trio nicknamed “Run-TMC”, which comprised of Tim Hardaway (father of the Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr., for all of you youngsters), Mitch, and Chris Mullin. Although he could resort to a more physically aggressive style of play, he would cement his legacy as a player with his deadly accuracy from the perimeter, shooting nearly 40% from beyond the 3-point arc.

To me, Mitch Richmond was one of the greatest shooting guards in the 90’s not named Jordan. Since we’re going to take it there, most people are quick to reference Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler, or Joe Dumars as the premier two-guards during that era, and they’d have a very legitimate argument, mostly because of their respective teams’ success….but Richmond gave the same output that his NBA contemporaries would, but received far less accolades, perhaps due to his time in Sacramento. One of my favorite Mitch Richmond moments would have to be him winning his first and only NBA championship in 2002 as a Laker, which was in my eyes, the crowning achievement to a brilliant career for him.

Fast forward to August 2014, and Richmond gets inducted into the Basketball Hall 0f Fame. After years of flying under the radar despite his basketball brilliance, his induction gives his career the validation that was needed to secure his place in the company of basketball greats.