Tuesday, August 23, 2011
First Cup: Tuesday
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: "Kevin Durant on the silver screen? Uh, let me think about that one. The Thunder superstar is finalizing a deal to star in a major Warner Brothers film, according to our man Darnell Mayberry. I've got to say, I didn't see that coming. Popular across the globe – get the Chinese subtitles ready – a Durant movie probably will sell. But my question for Hollywood is, what exactly do you do with Durant in a movie? ... I hope he doesn't play himself or someone like himself. That's no fun. Like Michael Jordan in 'Space Jam.' Both Siskel and Ebert gave 'Space Jam' thumbs up, but remember, they worked in Chicago, and this was 1996. Not exactly the time to be ripping Michael Jordan. ... Something off the Durantula theme would be cool. A basketball player who also is a Superhero. Part Spiderman, part Mr. Incredible, part anything you want him to be. Torn between two devotions: 1) truth, justice and the American way, and 2) leading his ballteam, preferably based in the good ol' OKC, to the championship. Some arch-villain threatens society during the playoff stretch run. Oh the tangled web. Fans would flock to the theaters in Oklahoma. In Beijing, too."
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "While the NBA lockout threatens the Miami Heat's Nov. 2 nationally televised season opener against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Chris Bosh has guaranteed himself television time this fall. NBC announced Monday that the Heat power forward will be featured on a Sept. 28 episode of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,' an episode that also will feature Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, 'True Blood' actor Mehcad Brooks, rapper Heavy D and veteran actor Dan Luria, who is best known for his role as the father on 'The Wonder Years' and who has starred in Broadway's 'Lombardi.' ... 'Looking forward to it!' Bosh posted Monday on his Twitter account. He appeared on an episode of HBO's 'Entourage' last year."
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "With hopes that an earlier meeting will expedite the process in organizing an exhibition game in Los Angeles on Sept. 10 between the Drew League and Goodman League, Drew League officials plan to meet with Kobe Bryant's representatives at an undetermined location in Los Angeles at 1 p.m. Tuesday to discuss a possible appearance. 'I think he wants to play because he’s hungry like that,' Drew League Commissioner Oris 'Dino' Smiley said of Bryant late Monday evening in a phone interview. 'We have some real solid basketball and it’s well organized. I think he wants to be a part of it.' The Times originally reported Monday afternoon that Drew League officials planned to meet with Bryant's representatives on Wednesday. That was accurate at the time, but, as first reported by Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick via Twitter, the meeting was pushed up to Tuesday -- on Bryant's 33rd birthday no less -- in hopes the extra day would help secure Bryant and the event itself."
- Geoff Calkins of The Commercial-Appeal: "The video is hilarious. OK, maybe not if you're Mike Heisley, who just signed Zach Randolph to new four-year, $66 million deal. And maybe not if you're a particularly fretful Grizzlies fan. But otherwise, it's hilarious. There's James Beasley, wearing a massive bandage over his eye, complaining to Portland's News Channel 8 that he was smacked with a pool cue while selling marijuana at Z-Bo's house. Like, can't a guy sell dope in peace these days? 'On my way out the door, um, he snatched the weed out of my hand,' Beasley said. 'He snatched it like basically saying I'm taking your weed.' Then came the pool cues. Beasley said Randolph's buddies thought his price was too high. NBA owners aren't the only ones who don't like to overpay, evidently. But instead of a lockout, Beasley was on the wrong end of an old-fashioned beat-down. And, yes, I know, Randolph is not the target of any investigation. But isn't it wearying to have to keep telling yourself that? Any one of us can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. But how often is the wrong place your car or your house? ... Randolph may or may not have wielded a pool cue, but in the mind of the public, that's the fine print. You are what your history says you are. Where there's smoke there's, well, you know the rest. Is it fair? Let's just say this: You don't get to complain about the way you're painted when you supply both the paint and the brush."
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "David Stern is a very smart (and rich) man. The NBA commissioner is well aware what the NBA lockout is doing to his sport. Tuesday marks the 54th day of the lockout. With the NFL back in action and Major League Baseball heading into some exciting pennant races, fans have moved on. If you think the majority of the fans are clamoring for the NBA, you're really out of tune. ... Watching the development of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson was going to be exciting. But the lockout might take care of that. People are going to move on with their lives. In many NBA cities, including Cleveland, there are many other things to do. Once high school and college football starts, do you think anyone will be talking about who will be playing shooting guard for the Cavaliers? Heck no. Most fans whom I've spoken with aren't even upset about the lockout. They just don't care. They are apathetic. The NBA could go the route of indoor soccer in Cleveland, and many fans would not care."
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "John Wall smiled late Saturday night as he explained the relentless, aggressive, high-leaping, trash-talking model of himself that has been popping up on YouTube videos all summer. It was all over the floor at Trinity University — where Wall scored 28 points and helped the local Goodman League defeat the Los Angeles-based Drew League, 135-134, in an East-West summer league showcase for bragging rights. 'I’m back. I’m back, man. I’m back to myself,' Wall said after an electrifying performance. 'Now I feel I can do whatever I want to do again, blow past people, get to the basket. I think those things that I started the season with last year, I got that back. It’s coming back. You’re going to see some stuff this year, it’s just whenever — hopefully the season starts as soon as possible. The main thing is just working on my game.' ... There were times last season when Wall admittedly lost track of who he was, with a left foot injury and later a bone bruise in his right knee limiting what he could accomplish on the court for the Washington Wizards."
- Jason Smith of The Commercial-Appeal: "And within minutes of the news Monday that Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton was joining Josh Pastner's staff as an assistant until the NBA lockout ends, the national media was weighing in. 'I really like the Walton move after talking to Pastner today,' ESPN's Andy Katz tweeted. 'Why not go for this gamble during lockout?' 'Interesting,' Sporting News college basketball writer Michael DeCourcy tweeted. 'New twist to NBA lockout,' tweeted USA Today's Tim Gardner. Yet as much of a national splash as the news of Pastner's hiring a current NBA player to join his staff made, Pastner insisted Monday that his motives were simple: The addition of Walton, 31, an eight-year NBA veteran, will make the Tigers better, Pastner said. ... Walton, who has two years and $11.5 million remaining on his contract with the Lakers, will coach Memphis' post players. Pastner said Walton, who played at Arizona from 1999 to 2003, will also be involved in recruiting for as long as he's with the Tigers."
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Sacramento guard Jimmer Fredette said Monday that he will host two exhibition games during September in the Utah area that will feature NBA rookies. Fredette expects that Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Isaiah Thomas (Kings) and Tyler Honeycutt (Kings) will participate in the contests, which will be played under the banner of Jimmer's All-Stars. The games will be held Sept. 21 at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City and Sept. 22 at the Marriott Center in Provo. The Provo contest will mark Fredette's official return to Brigham Young University, and will occur before he has played a professional game for Sacramento. The NBA has been in a lockout since July 1. 'I’m really looking forward to making my debut as a professional in front of the fans who have so passionately supported me during my time at BYU,' Fredette said. 'This will be fun opportunity to bring some other NBA draftees to Utah for the chance to play competitive basketball. I hope the community gets as excited for these games as I am.' "
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Lockout be damned, 'Coach B' is at it again. That’s Matt Bonner, of course, aka Coach B, wacky purveyor of basketball tips and life lessons. Bonner’s latest video efforts center around promos for a benefit basketball game in Toronto, scheduled for Sept. 10. Bonner is recruiting teams to play in the event. The idea is to raise money for Athletes for Africa and the St. Albans Boys and Girls Clubs. Cost to enter a team is $500, but teams are being encouraged to raise additional money. The payoff: The top money-raising teams get the right to draft some celebrity players. These include Bonner and Nick Collison, of the Thunder. The real draw, though, is Arcade Fire front man Win Butler, who is both very tall and a bona fide indie rock star. He also happens to count Bonner a good friend."
- Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune: "MJ is coming to the Magnificent Mile. Michael Jordan's Steak House Chicago will make its debut Tuesday in the InterContinental Chicago hotel (505 N. Michigan Ave. 312-321-8823), taking over that property's sprawling, architecturally fascinating second-floor dining space (which accommodates 160, plus a couple of 20-seat private spaces). The restaurant also is taking over the hotel's lobby-level bar space, which will be expanded to hold 90. 'It's an upgrade, to say the least,' says executive chef James O'Donnell. The restaurant marks a curious kind of comeback for the NBA hall of famer, as it's the first Chicago restaurant to bear Jordan's name since Michael Jordan's Restaurant closed, unlamented, many years ago. (Of course, one sixtyblue, in which Jordan is a major partner, has been humming along the whole time.)"
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: "The NBA lockout at least served one good purpose for Mike D'Antoni, as the Knicks coach reconnected in a big way with his alma mater, Marshall University. Today, D'Antoni is in Charleston, S.C., to lunch with alumni at yet another fundraising event. Earlier this summer, D'Antoni and ex-Jets quarterback Chad Pennington were named co-chairmen of the fundraising committee raising money for a $30 million Marshall indoor athletic facility and soccer stadium. On Sept. 10, before a Marshall-Southern Miss football game, D'Antoni will have his No. 10 basketball jersey retired. Knicks assistant coach Dan D'Antoni, Mike's brother -- who also wore No. 10 at Marshall -- will be the presenter. 'Marshall's been great to me and I'm anxious to do it,' Mike D'Antoni told The Post yesterday regarding his new fundraising gig. 'Being on the same side of the country, I can do more for Marshall. It was tougher on the West Coast [in Phoenix].' "