Tom Brokaw, during (of all things) XM Radio coverage of the Masters, on his Knick season tickets, as reported by Newsday's Neil Best: "I was in the front row for a while and then three rows back but not next year. I just think that they have failed their obligation to the city. I think that we have great sports franchises in New York. I think Fred Wilpon of the Mets and George Steinbrenner of the Yankees measure up and they bring to the community winning teams as best they can and make real statements about being supportive of the community. I don't think that the Dolans have done that and I think the Garden has lost a lot of its luster as a result of their ownership and this is the first time that I have really said that out loud. But I feel very strongly about it and I think that it's the least we can expect. They get these huge prices for people to sit in those seats, all kinds of tax advantages to owning the Garden and yet they operate as if they were a sovereign country and want to play only by their own rules. So I'm not very happy about that." (Via FAN IQ)
I have heard, and I can't confirm it's true, that there are people out there whose responsibility it is to paint over the logos on jetliners after they crash. It's bad for branding, you see, for everyone watching TV to see an airline's logo on a plane that is broken to bits. Wonder if it has crossed anyone's mind at Federal Express, after years of bad play and now a safety mishap, to have those same people paint over their name on the stadium in Memphis.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal urges NBA owners not to approve the SuperSonics' move to Oklahoma City: "So why should anyone in Memphis care about this little drama on the far side of the country? Simply put, it could happen to us some day. The SuperSonics have a lease with the city of Seattle, just as the Memphis Grizzlies franchise has a lease at the FedExForum with Memphis and Shelby County government. The SuperSonics' lease doesn't expire until 2010, but team representatives are headed to federal court in June in an attempt to wriggle out of it early. Here's what should concern the NBA's Board of Governors: If the board approves the relocation plans, it could be, in effect, encouraging one of its member franchises to break a legally binding contract. The NBA has been very aggressive in urging franchise cities and would-be franchise cities to build shiny new facilities to accommodate the league's teams. Some cities choose to do so, presumably, because they have confidence that the NBA's teams will honor their lease commitments. And if the NBA condones breaking a lease in one city -- a city that supported a franchise for more than four decades, no less -- why couldn't the same thing happen in other cities? The issue here isn't whether Oklahoma City should get a franchise or not. No doubt many of the city's residents are as eager to get a team as some Memphians were seven years ago. But there's a right way and a wrong way for that to happen. Approving the relocation before the lawsuit between Seattle and the SuperSonics has been resolved is the wrong way."
What's so great about starting? Why not bring a star off the bench?
David Berri of the Wages of Wins on Raymond Felton: "Felton's performance is especially interesting. His WP48 his rookie season was 0.092, which is quite close to average. Last year his WP48 declined to 0.072. This year it is 0.050. In sum, Felton is gradually offering less and less."
Some questions here about the proposed increased NBA age limit that ought to be addressed.
TrueHoop reader Dennis: "Remember that terrible call Bob Delaney had in the last ten seconds of the Lakers-Warriors game (offensive foul on Ellis when Fisher clearly was pulling him down)? Isn't it incredible how much that one call may end up influencing the season this year? For example, it looks more and more like that call likely affected the number 1 seed in the West as well as the last spot in the playoffs in the West. The MVP vote, since many columnists (some, presumably, with a vote) have stated that their vote hinges on the best record in the Western Conference. It also probably affects Coach of the Year vote for the exact same reasoning (although it most likely won't be given to Phil Jackson). Granted, the game was tied, and there was no guarantee that the Warriors would have won ..."
Tanker's delight: handicapping the race for lottery balls.
BlazersEdge continues talking to Blazer Director of Player Programs Chris Bowles, about how the Blazers relate to the media, The Wire, race in basketball, what if the Fab Five had gone to a historically black college, and a lot more interesting stuff.
Shuffling into the playoffs, heads held not too high: the Toronto Raptors. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "It will take leaving all recent history behind and trying to recapture performances that came more than a quarter of a season ago. Can they? They think they can, but not by playing the way they did yesterday in a 91-84 loss to the Detroit Pistons. 'I think that no matter who we play in the playoffs we are just going to have to change the mentality and the focus to the game,' said Rasho Nesterovic."
I find myself wondering lately: are the Spurs playing "possum" with some of these late season losses? I hardly think we've seen their best. Kurt from Forum Blue and Gold: "I'm not in the camp of 'The Spurs Are Done' but the more I see them lately the more I think they will not win the title this year. The reason isn't the big three - Duncan, Parker and Ginobli have played well all season and that has really continued of late (the spurs are 8-2 in their last 10). In the last 10 all three are averaging at least 16.6 points per game. (That said, Parker is shooting 45.9% and is not hitting his threes, he is someone to lay back on right now). Also, the Spurs have been getting solid play from Finley of late. And it is not the Spurs defense, which is still the third best in the league for the season. It's been even better of late, opposing teams are shooting just 44.6% (eFG%) in the last 10. To me, that defense is what keeps them in contention. But they don
't get the play off the bench that they used to, and I think that will be their downfall in the playoffs. Ime Udoka has had good stretches, same with Kurt Thomas and Brent Barry. But the fact of the matter, you have to have solid group of role players to win a title, and I think the big three in San Antonio no longer have the supporting cast to get them another ring."
From the Sacramento Bee: "The Kings will be the first team to send a season-ticket holder as its official representative to the NBA draft lottery. The winner of the team's "luckiest season ticket holder" contest will accompany Kings co-owner Phil Maloof to Secaucus, N.J., for the May 20 lottery, to be televised by ESPN. First-class air and hotel accommodations are part of the package."
Ron Morris of The State: "The way [Knick Assistant Coach George] Glymph sees it, [Renaldo] Balkman can continue to be a role player the next two years of his contract. But if he does not develop a mid-range jump shot, he likely will end up playing in Europe. With a jump shot, Balkman could begin to see the money available to the top players in the league, in the $10 million-a-year range."
Brian Kamenetzky of SportsHubLA interviews Mike Dunleavy about the the state of the Clippers:"I realize every offseason there's a certain amount of uncertainty, but is there more now? You guys could have a full team, or nobody under contract. Our biggest concern right now is Shaun. His progress has been really good and solid. There's no reason to think otherwise, but the fact is that he's not back yet. At some point in time, we've got to see him play and perform. If he's able to do that this summer for next season, I think we're really good. So to me that's our biggest question mark right now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has asked this, and I'll probably ask again myself. But are there any worries about planning for the offseason when you're unsure about Elton and Corey? I really don't worry about them that much, because of the whole landscape, and the fact is that we want them. Obviously nothing is for certain, but I think (with) percentages, if you said to me I had to place a bet today, I'd place the bet saying they'd both be back."
Chris Paul's shot is off, and the Hornets are stumbling at the wrong time.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy looked like a prize fighter as he popped out of the visiting team's dressing room before the game Sunday against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. He was sporting a black left eye, a souvenir from a playful wrestling match Saturday with his son, Mike Van Gundy, seventh-grader. 'I wish I had a better story to tell you how I got it. [Assistant coach] Brendan [Malone] said I ought to make up something,' Van Gundy said. 'But I was fooling around with my son and he reared his head back.'" Let me tell you, based on experience, that can really happen.
A case that baseball is somehow perfect, and better than all other sports. I like baseball, and appreciate the sports reverence of this argument. But I can't agree. (This is baseball.) But in a swanky Boston Review conversation, who speaks for basketball? At the moment, mainly cricket is promoted in the comments, prompting commenter Ken to reply: "Bless the English little heart. Cricket. It seems impossible for an intelligent English person to enter a discussion about baseball and discuss baseball." (via Kottke)
UPDATE: I'm pretty sure that, on FreeDarko, John Krolik has invented a new genre: NBA current events re-imagined as film noir.
UPDATE: Near the end of part ten of the online video, here's Nets' coach Lawrence Frank (or someone who looks just like him) giving ten thousand dollars to Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars" autism fundraiser.
UPDATE: On this page you can listen to Sonic fans screaming "Save Our Sonics" in unison, again and again and again and again ...