Wednesday Bullets

  • LeBron James reportedly haggles for consumer electronics in Shanghai.

  • The Las Vegas Review Journal talks about working out with trainer Joe Abunassar in Las Vegas. They also include some details that make my inner entrepreneur want to get out a pen and paper and start scribbling. 50 NBA clients at 25k each for a year's instruction is $1.25 million. Sounds like a lot, right? But he has a massive, air-conditioned, state-of-the-art gym in Las Vegas. It even has a glass-enclosed chamber to mimic high altitude. I'm telling you, that facility costs multi-millions to purchase and outfit. And some of those costs (like keeping the place up to date with the latest equipment, and air conditioning away the desert) don't go away. Then you tack on whatever crazy liability insurance comes with having multimillionaire athletes do dangerous things every day on the premises. Then you start adding in all the nutritionists, assistant coaches, receptionists, and the like. Then there's whatever it costs -- a lot I'm guessing -- to court this hard-to-reach clientele. And I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty. My point is: 25k may sound like a lot, but it's not easy money for Abunassar, I'd wager. I bet the success of that business depends a lot on what you can do to drive revenue in that facility during the regular season, when NBA players aren't there.

  • When I first skimmed this China Daily article by Zhao Rui, I thought I was reading some goofy quote from some goofy fan. (But even then it didn't make all that much sense.) Then I read again, and realized this quote was attributed to Nike's CEO, Mark Parker: "Nike has even sponsored the LBJ Museum in Shanghai, a display dedicated to all things LeBron. The opening ceremony of the museum on Monday, attended by James and Nike CEO Mark Parker, attracted some 2,000 fans eager to catch a glimpse of the basketball phenomenon. 'I'm proud of watching him play. I'm mad about him,' he said. 'I think he is more than an individual. He has started a new craze across the world. I will support him like I'll cry for China at the Olympic Games.'"Cry for China? Is this a translation thing?

  • TrueHoop reader Mike: "I'm watching the Bulls/Wizards game and Stacey King just compared Oleksiy Pecherov to Family Guy's Stewie Griffin."

  • Dave from BlazersEdge emails: "We were talking about Stephon's track record with the 'Wolves, Suns, and Knicks and have decided that he's had such a profound effect he deserves his own verb. I'm not sure if this has been thought of before. It seems too good not to have been. But just in case it hasn't I propose that what's wrong with the Knicks can be summed up in three words: They've been Marburied."

  • John Hollinger, the New York Sun, with some strategies for the Knicks to get Kobe Bryant. Try as I might, though, I can't see post-microfracture, non-winner Zach Randolph starring in such a deal.

  • Racism was codified as law not that long ago in the U.S. We have reversed the laws, but haven't done much of anything concrete to bring together those races who were once so clearly at odds. Nonetheless, every time someone smells a whiff of racial tension, there's someone else at the ready to say it couldn't possibly be so. Yesterday I linked to a Cosellout blog post that discussed many facets of Steve Nash, including how fantastic he is, and how he might benefit from being white. Today there's a Hardwood Paroxysm post saying, essentially, that race couldn't possibly be part of the reason mostly white writers gave white Nash nearly four times as many first-place MVP votes as LeBron James.

  • Also, a thoughtful article from a couple of years ago pointing out that the racial melting pot of the NBA is not so melted, (making it, I guess, more of a chunky stew). Daniel Greenstone, writing on PopPolitics.com, discusses the oft-noted reality that commentators tend to compare players of the same race. Good white players are may more likely to be the "next Larry Bird" for instance. (He has great examples of Keith Van Horn or Jason Williams.) Greenstone concludes: "Contemporary ethnographic studies have confirmed, speaking generally, that blacks and whites still have different values about athletics and performance. One study that was detailed in Thomas Kochman's Black and White Styles in Conflict (University of Chicago, 1981) found that when first graders were asked to relate a story to their classmates, white students were literal, obedient and modest, placing great value on uniformity. Black students, meanwhile, emphasized individuality and vitality. That these different values have tended to produce different modes of playing basketball should surprise us no more than the idea that black and white ministers have different styles of oratory. Of course, in the post civil rights era, it should hardly be a shock to find white players playing 'black' and black players playing 'white.' So what are we to make of the fact that, even now, so few people in the world of basketball seem capable of seeing past skin color to the qualities possessed by individual players? The idea that race retains a powerful hold in the minds of the basketball community should not, I think, detract from the progress that the NBA has made. Rather, the persistence of racial stereotypes, even in the face of clear examples, like Van Horn and Williams, who do not fit the mold, may suggest just how difficult it is for even well intentioned Americans to think outside of racial categories. It may, too, suggest how far American society has to go before it can truly be considered colorblind."

  • The Swiss Mister can dunk. (Watch the in-game self-pass alley-oop. Was that intentional?)

  • Nothing to do with basketball (I'm trying to think of some gambling/cheating/Tim Donaghy angle) but this tale of cheating at poker is fascinating.

  • Graphing the points of a turnaround in the moods of Portland fans.

  • Everyone is crazy about Marco Belinelli, right? He made a great first impression in summer league, that's for sure. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress is a little more measured in his praise, shall we say, in an interview on Golden State of Mind. After pointing out that Belinelli is a super streaky shooter (his percentages were poor in Europe last year) Givony gets to talking defense: "Belinelli was once considered an excellent defender, but as his role offensively grew, along with his status in Italy (and thus, his ego)--his defense fell off a cliff. Most European coaches I talked to called him a liability at the Euroleague level, even if he does have potential here due to his length and quickness as noted. The problem is the NBA is a lot more physical than Europe, and Beli isn't the strongest guy in the world as you probably noticed." Givony then goe
    s on to say that he doesn't think Belinelli can play point guard either, because he's more of a gunner and finisher than creator, and he's too soft to make things happen in the lane.

  • This scuffle between the Kings and the Mavericks ... watching on video, don't you get the feeling it all started with Brad Miller just getting confused, and shoving the wrong dude? Devin Harris was not the guy he had been tangling with.

  • Kenyon Martin's first game in roughly a thousand years: 11 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes. Carmelo Anthony is sold.

  • Too many kind-of-good big men in Seattle creates a paradox: a shortage of talent, and a logjam.

  • Again, not really basketball, but excellent: the New Yorker on "the Wire."

  • Dwight Howard had 31 and 14 as the Magic win in Shanghai against the Cavaliers.

  • Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal: "LeBron James again played pretty well, scoring 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He's acting like a superstar, no doubt. I must say, though, that LeBron's defense continues to be suspect at times. He's had his moments, as he did with Team USA over the summer, but he still gets beat often. No big deal in the grand scheme, but I think it deserves to be pointed out."

  • Sports get no respect on campus.

  • Competition for ESPN's John Hollinger from Jazz owner Larry Miller, who has a super hokey statistical formula of his own.

  • The Bulls are saying to themselves this morning: There's somebody in the NBA called Dom McGuire? And he blocked six of our shots last night?

  • Remember we talked about Al Thornton dunking over a 6-11 guy? Watch.

  • Halloween for an NBA rookie, as described by Mike Barrett on Blazers.com: "The first player I ran into on Monday morning was Jarrett Jack, who was asking for advice about what costumes to dress the rookies in for Halloween. I reminded Jarrett that we'll be in New Orleans on Halloween night this year, but that didn't seem to matter. I asked if the rookies will be given a choice on what costumes they'll be asked to wear, and he just gave me a strange look and said, 'heck no.' So, we've got that to look forward to."

  • A real NBA reporter wants you real people to help manage his fantasy NBA team.

  • The new Dirk Nowitzki site cracks me up, the way his big mug directs you around the site. Funny. (Via Ball in Europe)

  • David Stern is in China, talking.

  • Rome, through the eyes of Rajon Rondo on his Yardbarker blog: "Me and E. House clowned around a lot...we took these pictures dressed up like gladiators...we were wildn. We spent most of our time over there eating and playing cards though. KG likes to play this game called booray (if that's how you spell it)..I don't mess with that game though...you can lose all your money too quick."