The newest issue of HOOP magazine has a great little tale about the Hawks having a team ping pong tournament. I was going to quote Al Horford -- who says he won every game against all-comers for months in advance -- describing how the whole organization cheered on Marvin Williams' improbable victory in the championship game. But then I found the really heavy part of the magazine, and the ping pong tournament seemed a little silly. Adonal Foyle reviews "Man's Search for Meaning," the gut-wrenching tale of Nazi concentration camp survivor Viktor E. Frankl, who witnessed the deaths of, among others, his pregnant wife, parents, and brother. The atrocities go on and on. It's heavy. But Foyle handles it deftly. He is the kind of guy you want in your book club. "It is so dreadful," writes Foyle, "and yet he is able find a morsel of hope and thus maintain his sanity against all odds. He shows you a window to his soul and he allows you to see his struggle. And I think when you find something that is that honest, you can't help but feel sad, angry, moved, see the world in a different light and love the human spirit all at the same time."
Thanks to Ben, who e-mailed to point out this odd note at the end of a Yankees write-up in The New York Times: "A report that the relocated Seattle SuperSonics of the N.B.A. will change their name to the Oklahoma City Thunder has inspired a promotion by the Yankees' Class AA affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. Any fan who shows up at the Waterfront Park box office wearing a Sonics cap, jersey or T-shirt will receive a ticket to a Trenton Thunder game. 'We just want to help ease the pain for Sonics fans worldwide,' Trenton General Manager Brad Taylor said in a news release." Here's the release. Weird deal, huh? Not sure this proves much of anything, other than that minor league teams will do just about anything to draw attention to themselves.
Elton Brown is a good story. He's from Allen Iverson's corner of Virginia, and as a too-short and too-wide big man he has never quite been able to make it to the NBA, despite good numbers and results in the D-League and Israel. Now he's a little slimmer and was a bull around the basket in summer league, where he averaged a double-double. I have heard from all kinds of people that Brown is now about to get his shot in the NBA.
Knick fans fantasize about the trades they'd like to make on Knickeblogger.net. Italian Stallion suggests: "Marbury and/or Zach for a buttered bagel and warm cup of coffee if we can get that much." Also, you'll notice a lot of people dreaming of Ramon Sessions in a Knick Jersey. This post also points out: the Knicks have never had the league's best player. With the big city, the basketball tradition, the local stars, and the deep pockets, it'd be natural for Knick fans to have a superiority complex. But in practice, that team has largely been mediocre, and Knick fans I know are generally humble.
Eat this cereal, and your opponent will start playing terrible defense.
Forgive me, as, after my vacation, I am still running across older stories that are new to me. But have you seen George Karl, among others, doing whatever is the opposite of giving NBA referees a vote of confidence? It's really quite shocking. The NBA continues to neither convince nor impress with their strategy of blanket denials whenever these kinds of allegations arise. People, I think, are inclined to believe the NBA. But the League has to give them a credible narrative to explain all this. Ripping into critics, laughing off accusations, and mocking the concept of transparency isn't getting it done.
UPDATE: Author Sherman Alexie, die-hard Sonics fan, e-mails: "I'm telling ya, unless OK City gets a real coach real soon, Durant is going to become Glenn Robinson 2.0."