The Ten Commandments of Pre-Season. In a word, calm down. Except for injuries, nothing much that happens at this time of year means all that much. Dave from Blazers Edge points out: "The classic example is the 1996 Indiana Pacers who, after going 52-30, winning their division, and losing the Eastern Conference finals in 7 the year before, showed up to a man a month early to train together. That year they played inconsistently, finished with the exact same record, and bowed out in the first round."
If you read really closely between the lines, you'll get the feeling that the people at Basketbawful question Dave Cowens' coaching ability. 5-29 in the WNBA isn't the best resume builder. Charley Rosen calls him the dirtiest player in NBA history (John Stockton, Kenyon Martin, and Ruben Patterson are some who made the list too.)
Aaron J. Lopez quotes Kenyon Martin: "I'm not making any promises on numbers, wins or how I'm going to perform," Martin said, "but I'm going to be a better player than I have been the previous two years." I sure hope he's right. When his game is on, it's really fun to watch.
Jose Calderon's rookie hazing, per Doug Smith: "...the other Raptors made Calderon tote around a Dora The Explorer backpack to signify his rookie status." I guess half the kids in my local pre-school must be Raptor rookies, too.
How about playing some basketball games outside?
Only 42% of those graduating from college are male. Maybe men are too obsessed with sports to study.
In this Rick Alonzo story, Stephon Marbury appears to be making the slightest attempt to mend some fences in Minnesota--years after he famously insisted on being traded away. It starts out OK. "Minnesota's good to me" he says. "The fans there are great." So far, so good. The Minnesota fans will like to hear that. "When I left, it wasn't for basketball reasons. It was for living reasons." OK, Steph, I get you, it's like it's not personal. It's not the place Minnesotans love to call home, the players, or the Minnesotans themselves, right? "I just felt like I didn't want to commit seven years of my life to living in Minnesota. It was really cold. There was a lot of snow." OK, see, that's where you lost them. Goodwill from Minnesota towards Stephon Marbury? Gone. And all he had to do was say Minnesota is great, tell a couple of Lena and Ole jokes, and then every little Gopher in town would want some Starbury's.
A lot of NBA people take their Tupac Shakur very seriously. He died ten years ago this week. Here is a collection of links to video of Shakur.
I'm super late to this, but Chuck Klosterman wants a dedicated, year-round national team. (Via Tas Melas)
I'll be honest, I kind of like the idea of Bonzi Wells in Houston. They have All-Stars in their prime but haven't put it together. It could be a cheap gamble, and if it works, you have someone to take the pressure off Yao Ming in the event Tracy McGrady's back is acting up. Wonder how Bonzi Wells ranks in Daryl Morey's supercomputer.
The reality show on Doug Christie and his wife Jackie will be on cable starting October 5 on BET's "J: Network. Jackie admits in the current Sports Illustrated that the cameras were rolling when she freaked out once in an airport. J.A. Adande has google evidence she is a controlling wife.
Homosexuality is a tough issue for the WNBA. By many accounts a fair percentage of the players and fans are gay. But they don't promote that fact, because if it's seen as "the lesbian league" there are families out there who don't feel like taking their kids, and there's the fear it will hurt ticket sales. So, unless Lisa Leslie has just come out of the closet, there's usually just about nothing ever said on the topic. (Of course, that silence inadvertantly sends the message that being gay is something to be ashamed of and is secretive and weird. Don't you wish there was some middle ground here?) Anyway, I'm on this topic because Sports Illustrated's Steve Rushin, who is married to the great player Rebecca Lobo, touches briefly on the issue with a column about being tall, which mentions the 6-7 Kara Wolters. It's a rare bit of evidence in mainstream media that, yes, indeed, some WNBA players have gone to gay bars (shock! horror!): "To be fair, she doesn't always get noticed. The one time Wolters visited a gay bar with some WNBA teammates, no heads turned. 'Everyone assumed I was a guy in drag,' she says."
Wow, look at Bob Huggins. Two super primo high-schoolers, Michael Beasley (story) and Bill Walker (story), who are both in the middle of soap operas about where they'll play, have reportedly orally committed to Kansas State.
Video of some scrimmaging in Portland (click on "Mike Barrett interview with Brandon Roy"). Brandon Roy says he can't find pickup games at that level in Seattle.
How are things going for Michael Olowokandi and his campaign to join the Phoenix Suns?
Little late, perhaps. Another fan sues for injuries sustained in the fracas at Auburn Hills. NBA Obsessed points out: "Ron Artest has moved on to the Sacramento Kings and Ben Wallace is now a Chicago Bull. Reggie Miller has retired and Larry Brown who was the Pistons coach at the time took on the Knciks coaching job and got fired from it a season later."
Tim Kawakami follows up his Golden State of Mind thoughts.
Sixers Photo of the Week.
John Hollinger isn't buying what Rod Thorn is selling: "It's not that Thorn's moves have been brazenly idiotic — we have the Knicks for that. It's just that there's something missing here. He's been great on the big-picture stuff — trading for Vince Carter and Jason Kidd, swinging the multi-player deal that brought in Richard Jefferson, and promoting a young hard-working assistant named Lawrence Frank. But on the little stuff, he's completely misfired. The Nets' big three is as good as any in basketball, but the team as a whole isn't. That's because the GM has failed to fill out the rest of the roster with quality players, instead displaying a debilitating weakness for 32-year-old veteran role players on their way out of the league."
They asked Jason Kidd and Gary Payton to name the first black All-Star. They couldn't. It's all in the online trailer for this documentary about Don Barksdale.