Friday, January 30, 2009

ON The Parquet . . . Oh Yeah, There Was A Basketball Game, Too

A Moose Track

Your boy Moose had the experience of a lifetime yesterday. Like, take-your-breath-away, shiver-just-to-think-about-it, jaw-dropping type of experience. I don't mean to brag or anything. I don't mean to welcome hate or anything, but . . .

I was on the famous parquet floor last night at the TD Banknorth Garden. Yes, my first Celtics' game brought extreme good luck and incredible payoff. OK, here's the deal: The people who we bought the tickets from have season tickets, and if you have season tickets, you can request a spot or two to be at the "High Five Kids Tunnel".

Soak that in for a second. OK, I learned that I was going to do this not soon before we arrived at the Garden, it was a total surprise. And a total shock. The High Five Kids Tunnel are a buncha kids who line up next to the tunnel where the players come out, and they go down the lines out onto the court. So, I was a High Five Tunnel Kid. And yes, that is me with my complimentary "High Five Kid Tunnel" shirt.

We had orientation-type stuff first; they told us what we were doing, took some pictures, you know. Then, the woman who was working there, said, "OK, it's time to go out onto the court." My knees could barely hold my own weight, lemme tell you, I was excited, man. They led us in a line, and, we walked out onto the NBA court. You know how a lot of people say, "My jaw was dropped," And whatever? And sometimes it's just a figure of speech and stuff?

My jaw was really dropped. My mouth was hanging open. We walked out onto the court, the famous parquet floor, and we walked right across it. I walked very slow and all of that, the people had to keep telling me to walk, I was so awestruck. The free throw line, the three point line--it was all there. And real. Here are a few notes about the court itself.

You see the NBA court on TV, and it looks huge. I know it's silly that I think that and all, but in real life, it's just a basketball court. I mean, it seemed so special. It was so cool. But the size, nothing new. It was so cool to be on there, lemme tell you. Another thing: the rims were thick. I guess that's so that when Perk decides he wants to drop a thunderous dunk on somebody it won't break. But it looked hard to sink a hoop on those hoops. I walked back behind the three-point line, and it's pretty long. It was so cool to see that what we saw on TV, they were actually just real jumpers. I know it sounds silly to say that, but it was so human. And inhuman at the same time.

They had us line up for when the players were to come out, and I was still shivering and awestruck. On the other side of the court I saw Tom Heinsohn and Mike Gorman doing their stuff on TV, and I was just like, "This is the real deal," I spot Scot Pollard in a suit on the sideline talking to Michael Holley (local sportscaster here) and I get all excited and point him out to the kid next to me, who looked like he didn't give a damn. And, even from across the court, Pollard is TALL. The guy was the heaviest on the C's last year, it was just crazy.

Here are the lines that we were standing in. You can see me on the end facing the camera, I'm third to the end, looking at the JumboTron:

We stand in our lines anxiously, while getting some JumboTron love. Here's me on the big screen:

When I knew I was on-screen, I busted out the MJ moves. Gotta get famous one way: struttin' your stuff to a lotta people. Anyways, aside from my dancing expedition on the JumboTron (which was a joke, if you didn't catch it). By the way, you probably already knew this, but I'm the one with the mad scientist look.

OK, so while I'm crapping my pants seven times over in the middle of the court in anticipation and nervousness, they show something that takes the breath right outta my lungs on the JumboTron: The Celts getting all pumped up in the tunnel. I saw them standing there, jumping up and down, and I thought, "They're coming out here." And then they showed something up there that almost made me cackle like a maniac: They showed them running out. I was waiting for them to come, and I saw this on the screen:

I think you can kind of see what kind of emotion I was feeling. It was so nerve-wracking, so exciting, so suspenseful, so EVERYTHING to see them running out. And then, at the head of the line, I saw Ray Allen. He was running towards us, towards me, with the ball, as I had seen him do hundreds of times on TV. Nervous breakdown? Very close to it. It was incredible. All of the guys followed afterwards, and my jaw was hanging down to the ground. They didn't all high five us, but I made sure I hit their elbows or whatever for every one of them. They were intense, man. It was crazy. Video footage here.

You can see where I am; I'm in the same spot. OK, so after that thrilling experience, they let us hang around for layup lines for about five minutes. Here's everything that went through my mind on "paper" (Hursty with the tip for that one). First thing's first, I turn to my left and I see Mike Gorman, the Celtics' broadcaster along with Tommy, and I lean in and I say, "Mr. Gorman!" And he acknowledges me, and I say, "I watch you on TV every day there's a game, and I think you do a great job." He just smiled at me and said, "Thanks, buddy," While he extended a hand, which I took, and shook (rhyme!).

On to the players. First observation: Patrick O'Bryant is inhumanely large. O'Bryant is the sole 7-footer on the Celts, and he was just the biggest man I had ever seen in real life. Another thing: Big Baby is big. And I would know; I was close enough to see his Sheed bald spot. I was close enough to touch his bald spot. I didn't though, for fear of getting annihilated by his Big Baby-ness. And, Paul Pierce, the Captain? Humongous. Leon Powe? Ginormous. It was crazy to see all of these guys up close and personal. And, Bill Walker dunked right in front of my face. Crazy stuff. ******This is the part where questions are very welcome, and where I can answer them very clearly. Actually, questions are welcome very much throughout the whole thing. Please ask them.******

They had us circle the floor, and one of the guys working there started up a conversation about the NBA right now; he told me that he thought it'd come down to Cleveland and Boston. I testified that Orlando might have something to say about that, but I agreed with him. We talked for a few minutes after that as well. Nice guy.

We passed by the Kings warming up, and I swear, Shelden Williams really looks like that. Kevin Martin really has that weird release on his jumper. John Salmons' facial hair is not fake. Spencer Hawes is huge. It was crazy, to see all of those guys just come to life. It was amazing. We were escorted back through the tunnel to where we started. Wyc Grousbeck (CEO/Owner) walked right by me, and I was going to say something, but he was talking to someone. I joined my father to go up to our real seats, which were in the upper deck somewhere. I marveled at how awesome it was as well settled in, and player introductions began. Here's a video taken by yours truly of the sick ritual announcements and such.

After showing a montage of Boston beating the Lakers last year (sorry, B) including Pierce getting taken off, hitting back-to-back threes in game 2 (goosebumps) along with great music and all of that. Pierce crying. It was just great stuff, awesome to re-live. Great stuff. After the intros and all of that, it was time to go.

Garnett did his routine. He banged his head against the hoop while tying his shorts. He took the powder. He pumped his arms to the crowd. It was unreal. First time in the Garden. It was just amazing stuff. Here are some Garden shots that I took (with Zoom In on full scale):

Ahh, it was so much fun to be there among fellow Celtics' fans. It was great, something that I had never experienced before. Compared to the American Airlines Arena, it was very different. There was more of a buzz at the Garden, even for a game against the lowly Kings. It was awesome.

Another thing: There wasn't that much music. At the Heat games, they blared hip-hop all over the place, at the Garden they barely played any. Of course, there were a great deal of "De-fense" chants started up by the loudspeakers, and people were enthusiastic about following that. It was much more corporate in Miami, as if they were trying to attract fans with the venue rather than the game.

What a great transition! The game! OK, I don't remember a whole lot of it, but here's what I do remember. This is more of an I-want-to-share-my-experiences piece than a Game Notes piece. Salmons kept hitting the threes. RayRay got hot early. Pierce barely played. And Garnett . . . he has such a court presence live, you can just feel it. And it's true: He never stops talking. Who knows what he's saying? I'd do anything to mic him during a game.

OK, on to the rest of the game. Perkins is apparently colorblind. My guy got stopped up after an in-bounds pass, he turns around to pass it to a white shirt, and . . . a Celtic isn't in sight. The ref is. Bounces right off of him. Nice one, Perk. Perkins finished with 4 boards and 2 blocks, one of them was just sick.

Rondo begins to dominate. Yeah, Rajon! The dude should've been an all-star. Well, maybe not, but next year he will be, don't deny all of that. He finished with 24, 9 and 3, with a sick alley-oop Garnett tip-in. Garnett finished with 14, 8, 5, 1 and 1, pretty much what he's been doing lately.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis . . . is more athletic than you think. The dude can play! He looks like he couldn't, but he's quick and can really play basketball. It's more evident than if you watch it on TV. OK, sick play. Rondo, back door to Big Baby, Baby with a sick slam, hangs the rim for about three, four seconds . . . crowd gets all fired up . . . technical foul. Well, it was a great play anyways. Glen had a good game, finishing with 14 points, 3 boards, a block and a steal.

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! 8-9 from long range. The dude was on fire. He just couldn't miss a shot. Yeeeay, House! 28 points, career high, he just knew he could make every single shot, and that's all it took. The dude was just raining them all night, in 20 minutes spread out. I've loved having him on the Ceatles more and more since the season started.

For the Kings. Players who impressed me: John Salmons, Jason Thompson, Kevin Martin. First Salmons. He was hitting them from everywhere. Hand in his face, swish. The dude was on fire. The whole Kings' team was playing very, very well at the beginning, just sinking every jumper. Salmons was no exception. He finished with 22 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, a block and a steal.

Jason Thompson is a good rookie. Really all there is to it. The dude is athletic, not afraid to go up against the big boys full-fledged (he posted up on Garnett all night), and he was successful: 21 points, 11 boards, 4 assists. Do that for your whole career and you are Garnett, little buddy. The dude looked great.

And, Martin. The dude can shoot! His release is awkward, but he still has great backspin, still makes it. It's great to watch. I'd rather watch RayRay shoot, though, as most of us would. Martin finished with 18 points, 4 boards and 2 assists. He looked nice.

The arena was energetic all game. Oh yeah, there was this funny little thing on the JumboTron: They had pre-recorded themselves asking Rajon, Scallie and Sugar Ray how many of the Jackson Five they could name, and they had a fan guess which one of them would know it. They played the video of Scalabrine, and he only had 3/5. The dude was funny with it, too. Scallie is great. RayRay was next, he knew 4/5. Then they asked the dude who they were talking to how many he knew, and he knew them all, so that means he won, I guess. It was funny.

The game was great. The crowd was electric. I went on the court. I can't stop playing this night back in my head over and over again. Thanks for listening, everybody. Out for now . . . Oh yeah, one more thing . . . HIBACHI 2.0 DUDES, I WOULD LIKE THIS TO BE READ BY EVERYONE, PLEASE GET IT SOME GOOD SCREEN TIME. Thank you.


Time for battle! Thunder stealing good words by BETCATS!!!!

"Eventually, I imagine that DP, then BET will undergo the same pressure that I am experiencing right now- as RV and Money Bill Williams already have."
-My main man Hursty

As i speak, Ms Piggy is unbuttoning her blouse, i am about to pluck that pork so lets make this quick. I too will have to make that announcement of a Hursty like sensation, but not for a long long long B.Long ass time.

Until then i have my own announcement to make: BETCATS would like to introduce you to his newest altered ego- Ultra BETCAT!!! UBCS as she will be called, will break the news in place of BETCATS.

To make some sence out of all that bullshit, i will now start writting news stories on the regular. Hooray! Big ups to Collin for telling me it would be a good idea. Whoever the hell he is, i like his ideas.

Also, since we are on the subject of ideas and the issue of liking them, i would like to take one Hursty to task. "I will still moderate BET's spelling/grammar before he publishes- you would NOT want to see the punctuation that young man uses if it weren't for me ;) "

Well wasnt that cute? A day that will live in infamy just occured to my ego. If yall couldnt tell, i have been trying my best to keep the words in a logical order/well spelled as of late. When people come in here and say they do it for me, its like slapping my face and calling me 'Nana Sue' or some shit. Disrespectful.

So Hursty, retract your claim and i will retract mine.

What is my claim?

HURSTY HAD SEX WITH A SHEMALE AT THE HIBACHI FAMILY PARTY!!!! It was his date, he was pretty drunk before he came. Me and Moose were all like 'Damm thats a man, look at that fuckin full beard its sporting' but Hursty wouldnt listen.


Ms. Piggy is getting fiesty, i need to go handle that now.


An Extended Leave of Absence

I apologise for having to write this. I really do.
After a long, long time of deliberating, I've decided to leave Hibachi for an extended period of time.
Let me explain.
I WILL be frequenting the site regularly and leaving comments in the process, but my extnded blog posts will cease to exist for the next several months as I turn my attention to the final year of High School here in Sydney.
This is not an easy option for me, as I know that it will mean that other blogmates will have to (unfortunately) write more to maintain the standards of the site- which are already very high.
Rest assured that I will be back when school finishes (mid to late November depending on HSC Exam scheduling) with a vengeance.
I hope to maintain a presense of the site with short posts on interesting articles, but unfortunately, school has become more intense and pressure packed over the last week and has forced my hand. You may have noticed that my comments on slamonline have diminished significantly over the last two or three weeks- this is the reason why.
Eventually, I imagine that DP, then BET will undergo the same pressure that I am experiencing right now- as RV and Money Bill Williams already have.
I wish you all the best in whatever pieces you do and however you choose to produce them.
Until November... When I'll come back from the wilderness and return to you all. I'll be Aragorn- And it'll be called the Return of the King.
Peace, Hursty.
PS- I will still moderate BET's spelling/grammar before he publishes- you would NOT want to see the punctuation that young man uses if it weren't for me ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Homeless To Hardwood: The Leon Powe Story **Redux**

*****OK, everyone. I did this back in October; it was posted on Halloween, and I think that it's one of the best stories that I've written and definitely the best story I've been able to tell. Only Hursty, Roy, Baconator and BET read it, so now that we have more readers I'd love the other guys to check this out. Kind of like a re-feature. And since I am going to my first Celtics game tonight (!!!) it also acts somewhat as a good luck charm. Maybe. I hope to see Bill Walker tonight. And Powe. There will be game notes later. On to this piece.*****

A Moose Track

When you watch the Boston Celtics take the floor for a basketball game, you see many things. You see a seemingly maniacal power forward with length who has the ability to dominate in the post and shoot the midrange jumper, Kevin Garnett. You see a clutch swingman with a jerky game that is somehow better than most everybody else's, even the league MVP's, Paul Pierce. You see a cool two guard who might be the best shooter in the league that can take it to the hole as well as he can shoot the three ball, Ray Allen. You see a speedy young point guard who can't shoot a lick but can drive to the hoop and pass pretty well, Rajon Rondo. You also see a slow, a little undersized center who can play defense, grab boards and block shots as well as the next guy, Kendrick Perkins.

But to the casual basketball fan, in this game Leon Powe is not seen.

Suddenly, Leon Powe the player is revealed, put on display for all to see; Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals. He explodes for 21 points in 15 minutes, shooting more free throws than the whole Lakers team in his short play. This disgusts Lakers coach Phil Jackson, as he identified after the game in the press conference, mentioning his disappointment at the triumph of this Leon "Pow". Powe caps off this incredible finals showing with back-to-back earth-shattering dunks (one of them pictured above). On this day, he is realized, put on the NBA radar as an elite bench energyman (if there is such thing as an elite bench energyman. But if there is such thing, Powe is one of them). Powe kept up his work throughout the rest of the finals, overlooked by fans and players alike no more. Powe was fully exposed as a basketball player this spring.

But the real Leon Powe is not seen by many, and almost certainly not by the casual fan.

Leon Powe Jr. was born on January 22, 1984 in inner-city Oakland, California. When Powe was at the tender age of two years old, his father bolted from the family, leaving his mother, Connie Landry, to care for Leon and his six siblings. After he left she had make the little money that the family had by selling toys and trinkets at a flea market, enough to keep Leon and his six little brothers and sisters from going hungry. When young Leon was seven years old, he arrived home from school one day to find his house in ashes, burnt to the ground, with many fireman at the scene. His little brother Tim was apparently playing with an errant match, and the Powe family found themselves nomads overnight.

They were still in one of the toughest inner-city environments in America, and they settled where they could, be it a run-down motel, an abandoned car or a street corner, and over the six years that they spent doing this they moved to a different location over 20 times. Food wasn't always available, and with his mother fighting drug addictions and working a job that barely pays, Leon would sometimes have to miss school in order to care for his young brothers and sisters; he was the oldest of all seven. In the end, the burden of having so many kids, and so little money overpowered Connie Landry, and she gave into her drug addictions. When Powe was ten years old she was caught stealing groceries, and she got sentenced to 90 days in jail. During her stay in prison, they discovered her drug addiction, and the Child Protective Services took custody over Leon and his siblings and they were placed in foster care.

"My situation was different." Said Powe, "I had to learn everything off the streets. My mom could only teach me so much." And at another time he also said, "That shaped my character real fast. I had to grow up as a little kid quickly, and I did that." Given Leon's case, you would almost expect him to go to the lifestyle of the nearby gangs. But Bernard Ward, the older brother of Leon's then-best friend, Shamare Freeman, was determined to not let that happen. Freeman was constantly flirting with trouble, and Leon walked away from Shamare a few hours before he was caught stealing a bike (Shamare was put in jail), and Powe decided that he would discontinue the friendship, what with Shamare's legal record that included stealing and skipping school. Bernard took Leon under his wing, saying, "I took it upon myself. I said to Leon, 'I lost my other little brother to the system, and I'm going to help change your life so that you don't go that way.'" Playing hoops, street ball in particular, kept Powe out of trouble in middle school.

For high school, still in foster care, he attended Oakland Technical High School, which has an enrollment of over 1,500. In his junior year, Powe led his team to the state championship, him being the marquee player for Oakland Technical High. But Leon Powe is not known for his good luck. Four days before the game, his mother tragically died from a heart attack. Powe reflected on the incident, "(My world) crashed down when she died. All of it." His mother's death at the young age of 41 had a massive impact on Leon, and he seriously considered not playing in the state championship. He finally decided that he would play, thinking that that is what his mother would have wanted, her being one who loved to watch her son play basketball. Powe scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the championship loss.

Shortly thereafter, to add insult to injury (or injury to insult, really) Powe tore his ACL in his left knee while going in for a dunk in an AAU tournament in Houston. It healed somewhat, but it never had any formal rehab, and that would come back to haunt Leon when he got to college. But he came back strong in his senior year in 2003, averaging 27.4 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game, leading his high school to the state finals again. This season ultimately put Powe on the radar as an elite player, earning a spot in the prestigous McDonald's All-American game, winning Gatorade California Player of the Year honors, and was also named First Team Parade All America. He also became the only Oakland Tech athlete to have his number retired by the high school.

With all of the significant events happening on the court, Powe had to keep his grades up, and spent many weekend hours studying for the SAT. He had a tutor, Jonas Zuckerman, hired by Ward, who had taught Powe in elementary school. Leon always went to class and never had to be told, towards the end of his high school stay he realized how important school is. As a senior he had a 3.2 GPA, a great improvement on his earlier 1.8. In the beginning, he didn't care about his academic performance. "I didn't care about school, sitting in class, doing homework. I didn't think I was going to college. I heard you have to have all these A's and B's. And I said, 'I'm not doing it.'" But Powe did get up to the "A's and B's" range; a 3.2 GPA is a B+ average. He took the SATs four times in order to obtain the necessary scores for admission into college, with a fifth just in case.

"I must have run around the house a couple times." Said Powe of the day he got the test results, "I told everybody and got on the phone and said, 'I qualified!'" Powe decided to attend California, where he shined early. In his freshman season he averaged over fifteen points per game, and he also averaged a conference-leading nine rebounds as well. He was awarded Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and All-Conference honors. But he was playing through excruciating pain; this being the hardest that he had worked his knee. He needed an operation, and he had a bone graft done in spring 2004 to ease the pain and had reconstructive surgery in the fall. Many people doubted that he would return, and the average one among us would have given up; it was a hopeless case for Powe, after all the knee failures. But Leon is not the kind to quit.

"In my family, we don't give up, especially when it gets tough." Powe reflects, "If you give up, where you gonna go? And I wanted to go the top." Powe clearly displayed his persistence by walking back on the basketball court after 16 months of rehabbing his knee. He redshirted in 2006 as a junior, averaging 20.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while Cal went on to a 20-11 record and an NCAA tournament berth. Again, he was selected to the All Pac-10 Team. After this second year of stellar college ball, Powe decided to enter his name in the 2006 NBA draft.

Leon was selected with the 49th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets, and he was subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics, where he became the fourth-string F-C behind Kendrick Perkins, Michael Olowakandi and (my favorite player in the league) Brian Scalabrine. He barely got any playing time in that 06-07 season, averaging 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. Powe did not reach the required sum of 14 in points, rebounds and assists in order to guarantee the next year of his contract, but Powe was retained when the Celtics didn't waive him by the deadline (July 1, 2007).

Last year, Leon Powe got more of a chance to showcase his game. Still not getting top minutes during the regular season at 14.4 per game, Powe improved on the year before, averaging 7.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Powe had a career game against the Miami Heat on January 29th, scoring 25 points and bringing down 11 boards in the Celtics' blowout victory. His performance in game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers (mentioned earlier) was the most notable matchup of his career, where in 15 minutes of play he scored 21 points in front of a crowd chanting his name, re-energizing the C's, winning 108-102 over the Kobe-powered Lakers. He played well the rest of the series, en route to Boston winning their 17th banner in Celtics history.

As a player, Powe is listed at 6'8", yet he is really about 6'7", rather undersized for a player of his position. Luckily, to make the first fact slightly irrelevant, he has extraordinarily long arms, with a 7 foot wing span. Powe has a great deal of muscle, allowing him to claw his way to baskets and pick up fouls along the way, along with an old-school box-out style. A great feature of his game is his thunderous slam dunks, firing up himself, teammates and fans alike (as was seen in Game 2). Powe has proven himself to become one of the most trusted players on the Celtics' decent bench, and is now one of the first to come on the floor along with the potential-laden swingman, Tony Allen. His averages will jump this year with this well-deserved opportunity. Can he help fill the void left by James Posey? We don't know, but he'll definitely help. The 24 year old continues to improve, and he will only draw more attention as the year progresses. When you see Leon Powe play basketball, you see all this. His game demands your attention.

But his life demands your respect.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Of War

This is truly an amazing video. I can't watch this enough times. I get goosebumps at many different times in this video, it's just great. The song is awesome too, "Requiem Of A Dream (Remix)" by Clint Mansell. At least I think that's what it is. It just pumps me up every time I see it. Very good chance that everyone's seen it already, I just wanted to post it. And is there anyone else who thinks the fact that they added Spud Webb getting stuffed was cruel?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The NBA At Mid-Season In Haikus

A Moose Track

**********I'm going to get my Russ Bengtson on and do a mid-season report in one haiku for each time. Enjoy. 'Bachi Boys, I would like this to stay up through Monday. On Tuesday, have at it all you want.**********

LeBron and the Cavs
Looking good as advertised
Bron is MVP

Rajon Rondo looks
Like a great Celtics point guard
Better than last year?

Magic surprising
Howard wins DPOY?
Shooting threes all day

Joe Johnson all-star
Or at least he better be
Hawks are improving

Allen Iverson
Doing his stuff for Detroit
Rip isn't happy

Dwyane Wade is sick
All there is to it, really
Cook's underrated

Elton's been injured
Dalembert's killed fantasy
Sixers get a "meh"

Redd out for the year
It won't hurt them anyways
They won't make playoffs

Yi gets all-star votes
Devin Harris MIP?
He might deserve it

DJ Augustin
Is a poised rookie point guard
Who deserves to start

David Lee is great
And everyone sees it now
Nate Rob's doin' it

Rose needs ROY
Lifting the Windy City
Still not playoff, though

What's wrong with Raptors?
Bosh is doing his stuff, though
Legit superstar

Granger for all-stars!
Popularity contest
Good coaches vote bench

The Wiz are hurtin'
Like everyone expected
When's Gil gonna play?

LA has talent
Serious talent
And it's festering

Spurs are always there
Old? No, just experienced
Lil' Roger Mason!

Chauncey revived them!
Three cheers for some good defense!
Billups for all-stars!

Paul for MVP?
If NOLA can pick it up
Where are you, Tyson?

Get past the first round
With a semi-healthy team
Then we'll talk, Houston

Young 'n talented!
Rudy Fernandez!
Brandon Roy is sick

Nowitzki can play
Just like his MVP years
Will he ever stop?

The Mini-Mailman
Making people forget the
Betrayal Skull Dude

Shaq is playing great!
Even with some extra weight
All of Barnes' tattoos

Just 10th in the West!
Big Al just scores profusely
Lil' Bassy Telfair

Andris Biedrins
And J-Creezy in GS
Doesn't grow wins

Rudy frickin' Gay
And Orange Juice Mayonnaise
Kid brother Gasol

LA Clippers tied
With cross-state rival, SacTown
They are neck-and-neck!

The Kings are tryin'
To beat them Clippers!

OKC Thunder
It's really so sad
Clay Bennett should leave

I hope that did the league so far this year justice.


Australia vs. China Mens Gold Medal Game

Australia vs. China Men’s Gold Medal Game

Australian Starters:

Aldridge 4- PG Greenwood 5- SG Drmic- 7-SF Rowley-14-PF Trist- 15- C


Shi- 4- PG Shan- 6-SG Ju- 10- SF Li- 15- C

China jumps out to an early 4 point lead after a good offensive set and break-away layup by Shi. Drmic gets banged on the way to the cup but scores anyway. 3 point play. Australia on the board.

China has three early fouls and I strongly disagree with two of them.

Greenwood gets caught in the air, but throws in a make anyway. China lead 6-5. Shi has 7 early points. 2 lay-ups and a transition 3. Aussies need to step up with their transition game defensively.

China leads 9-5. Good hands by Greenwood to stop an easy two. He gives up the foul, but that’s probably a better option than letting a 7’1 guy tear the ring down on an otherwise uncontested dunk.

Rowley makes a tough reverse. China lead 10-9. China’s man to man D is much improved from 2 days ago. There’s more communication, they’re sliding their feet and playing better all round in general. Aldridge hits the open 3 but Shi gets another transition lay-up- this time off a made basket.

Zhu finishes with a dunk for China and its 14 apiece with 2 minutes left in the 1st. Australia traps off two made freebies by Aldridge, but Gao has either an ally-oop option or a 3. He drains the 3. China leads 17-16 with 1:15 remaining.

A filthy in-your-grill fade away from the right block by Ju and a 3pt play by Gao open the lead to 4. 7 hits two freethrows and China find themselves up 6.

China calls time-out with 2 seconds left in the quarter and Shi hits a running jumper from five feet outside the 3pt line as time expires. China lead 28-19.

This is a totally different Chinese team to what spectators saw 2 days ago. They’re aggressive to the basket, executing their offense and creating mismatches down low. Hongfei Shi is also playing out of his mind. He has 12 already.

Double foul called on Hussey and Zhu as the intensity goes up. The Australian crowd is finally awake too. China leads’ 32-25 after Hussey is called for his 3rd.

Shi tries to go all Dwyane Wade with the dribble penetration. Fail. Offensive foul.

Drmic ends a series of botched possessions by both teams with an And1. China’s lead is cut to 3 after a 6-0 Aussie run.

Gao weaves his way to the bucket and switches hands for a stylish deuce. Greenwood answers with a three. Gao drills a heavily contested 3 but again Greenwood is the one to answer for Australia.

China leads 37-35 with free-throws coming up for Gao. He misses both. The Chinese support contingent groans collectively. Shi nails an open 3 and China lead by 3. The Chinese are matching the Australian physicality tonight- something they didn’t earlier. Good game-to-game adjustment by Coach Wang.

Gao knocks down both freebies to open up a 5 point buffer. Shi rips Hadziomerovic and feeds Gao for a lay-up. He gets fouled. Make. He misses the second freebie, but Shi (the smallest player on the court by a good 4 inches gets an offensive board and feeds Ju for a deuce.

Shi gets another offensive board and this time gets Zhu involved for 2. China is up 9 52-43.

Shi drills another 3. He’s got 18 and been almost lights-out tonight.

Greenwood hits an 18ft jumper. He has 19 for the Aussies. Next highest scorer is Drmic with 8. For China it was the Shi and Gao show. The basketball version of Jackie and Jet? Maybe.

2nd half:

Gao hits a crazy stepping lay-up in transition. The Asian Manu perhaps? China pushes the lead to 9 49-58. The crowd is ‘officially’ 1941, but it’s a good 200 more than that. At least.

There are kids starting to fill the baseline, sitting next to the floor sweepers. Shi for 3. Money. He’s got 21. China is up 10. Aldridge knocks down a 3 and it’s suddenly a 3 point game after some made free-throws and a fast break bucket to Trist.

Zhu lands awkwardly and Hussey runs right over the top of him. Both teams take offense to the play in general and start jawing at each-other.

The refs are happy to tell em to just ‘cool it’ but as the players try to get at each-other the refs are again forced to intervene and a foul is called on Zhu.

Hussey draws a charge and again it’s a 3 point game. He’s fired up and so is the crowd. It’s weird that the crowd isn’t just noisy all the time. It takes something to spark them into cheering. There’s around 200 Chinese supporters here (as well as the women’s team) and they make more noise than everyone else. Easily.

Aldridge (pictured above) is jawing at Li- who’s a good foot taller than him. Foul on Aldridge though. If I’m 6 foot, I’m probably not getting into it with a dude whose 7’1. Nice fire inside him though.

Hussey throws down a two-hander on the other end and it’s a 1 point game. Aldridge steals the rock and he’s fouled. He’s at the line for 2. Good, short. Game tied at 61, 3 minutes remaining. Ju scores to break the dead-lock.

Ju blocks Odigie on an iso, then goes to work down low on Hussey. The Dirk like fall-away is net. There are at least 2200 people here now. There is absolutely no seating available. People are watching from the along both baselines- definite safety hazard.

Drmic hits 2 freebies and China’s lead is 2 with 2 to go. China traps and forces the turnover. Rowley grabs an offensive rebound and finishes with the reverse right handed. Game tied at 65. Australia leads for the first time after a Hussey tip-in on the buzzer.

The Chinese big guys had much less of an impact this quarter. China scored 28 points to Australia’s 30 but the four and 5 spots only had 8 total.

Shi drains an NBA range 3 pointer and Greenwood answers with a runner in the lane.

Australia up 1. Greenwood hits and Australia is up 4 with 7:20 left. Rowley to the line: good, short.

Corbin Wroe powers down the lane, gets hit-no call. He makes it anyway. Australia up 75-68 and it looks like China is running out of gas with 6 minutes left in the game.

Ju hits out of the time-out. Greenwood answers and he’s got 23.

Ju hits the exact same shot. He’s got 14. It’s 5 point game and China has two free-throws coming up. Good, good. Now it’s a 3 point game.

Wang muscles his way in for two off an offensive board. Aldridge hits a 3 as the shot clock goes off and Drmic is fouled under the basket. It turns into a 4 point play for the Aussies. The refs don’t even check to see if the 3 was in time, and since the bench can’t tell them it was late, it turns into a made 3 (when everyone in press row thinks it wasn’t released in time).

Drmic hits the free-throw, and it’s a massive momentum swing in favor of the Australians.

Greenwood streaks away for a lay-up and the lead is 10. Aldridge has 2 free-throws coming up. Cash, cash. 15 for Jacko.

Australia breaks the Chinese trap and now it’s a 14 point game with 2:25 remaining. Ju answers with a 3. Aldridge hits both at the line and it’s a 13 point game. Two Australians knock each-other over on a defensive switch and Shi hammers home a corner 3. 10 point game.

Aldridge knocks down 2 more free-throws. Cold blooded. After some more jawing, missed Chinese 3 pointers and Aldridge and Hussey free-throws, it’s all over and Australia has won gold in the Men’s game 98-82.
So, after a ridiculously entertaining game Australia ends up 16 point victors. The final score doesn’t do justice to the competitiveness of the two teams throughout. Although tempers boiled over on several occasions tonight, overall, it was a good, friendly atmosphere.
Both teams wanted to win so badly it was no surprise that physicality became a big part of deciding the winner.
David Hussey was particularly aggressive tonight, and it’s part of his game to play the enforcer-he performed that to perfection tonight, backing away from conflict if his participation was unnecessary, while also rushing to aid and back-up his team-mates if they looked over-matched. He finished with 10 points tonight, but set the tone with his passion and fire early on.

Aldridge finished with 20,6 and 2 and shot 90% from the FT line including 6/6 from the line in the last 7 minutes of the 4th quarter. Clutch. Clutch. Clutch.

Hugh Greenwood was the high point man for Australia tonight. He had 27. Every time China looked dangerous or made a run, Greenwood would get into the lane and create plays for others, usually as the shot clock wound down. He hit shot after shot tonight. He had 8 4th quarter points to help with the final push home.
Shi finished with 27 points on 10-24 shooting, including 7 three pointers. He had 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Gao had 21 points on 7-11 shooting as well as 6 rebounds. Ju had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal. China finishes with 41% shooting from the floor, 29% from 3 point land and 63% from the FT line. They had 33 rebounds, 11 assists, 16 turnovers, 7 steals and 9 blocks.
For the victors, Greenwood had 27 points (on 12-20 shooting) and 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Aldridge (listed above) was the next highest scorer. Drmic had 12 points, a game high 9 rebounds and a game high 6 six assists. Rowley finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds and Hussey had 10.

Peace, Hursty.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flash Bang: Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson has had lovers before. Girls who stayed for a while before leaving him- thinking they'd gotten all they could. He's had passionate relationships and emotionless ones. Some break-ups hurt more than others, we all know this.

There was this one time, a few years back, where he was happy and some thought he was even in love. He'd moved in with her. Her name was Phoebe. Phoebe liked to ride this beautiful silver Lexus. It could go from 0-60 in a matter of seconds- for a while, it was the fastest ride going around and everyone wanted a piece of it. People bought imposter cars just to look like Phoebe.

Joe and Phoebe were hooked, he was the quiet, sharpshooting athlete. She was the flirtatious girl who everyone liked, but could tell that it probably wouldn't last.

Joe did his best to make ends meet. He worked for hours on end, trying to nurture the love.

They got engaged eventually and planned a multi-million dollar wedding.

Everything seemed perfect until this girl called Ashley came along. Ash was the kind of girl who didn't have the sex appeal of Phoebe, but had the internal charisma and fortitude that made her attractive. She was kinda of a tomboy. Ash didn't wear make-up or straighten her hair. Oh, and she was homeless. She wore raggedy clothes and ill-fitting plastic jewelery. She had been loved and cared for once-upon-a-time. But that was an age ago.

Joe quickly ended his relationship with Phoebe and moved in with Ashley. He cared for her more, put in even more effort into making it work. They started off on a rocky, unstable platform- a relationship built on interest, but not passion- over time Ashley made it work for Joe. She introduced him to her old school friend Josh. Then Marvin and Al moved in across the road. Finally, Mike moved in next door. Joe liked them all. They were nice dudes who kept their words. They worked hard in the gym and competed night in- night out. They couldn't always finish their sessions, but kept working at getting better and stronger.

Fast forward through the smoke and mirrors. Joe Johnson is still going out with Ashley, and unlike with Phoebe, they're taking it slow. They've decided to still be outgoing and compulsive, but they have boundaries. She knows his needs, and he can fulfill hers. Everyone knows them in the neighbourhood- they're the talk of the town- how they seem so perfect for each-other.

Ashley? She's grown her hair longer, she wears make-up again and even looks hot in a dress. She exudes a self-confidence that reflects her personality in even the worst of bubble pucked mirrors. Oh, and did I mention that she's learning a second language? And likes foreign places. Joe says that Chile is nice in late June.

Hopefully I don't need to explain myself because you understand the metaphor.

You might wonder just how a guy, an All-Star, can be so 'slept on'. I do as well. Honestly? I don't even know the answer. Slam Magazine asked the same question. They couldn't answer it fully either.

Who is Joe Johnson? What does he represent? And most importantly- Will this love last?

PS- Shout out to DP for the story idea.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fly society Public Service Announcement????

Collin(good buddy of mine): "Hey dude, I saw your blog the other day while I was surfing the net."

Me: "Oh for real?" That's what's up, um, did you like it?

Collin: Yeah man it was pretty gucci(brief pause, like he is wondering if he should have said that) yeah it was all gravy it's just that I don't see enough of you.

Me: What you mean man? I'm always on hibachi! Haven't you seen Fly society and everything I rep.

Collin: Yeah, like two months ago. Some dude named moose is taking your shine bro. and hursty. and even some dude with the name BET. I hope he is not trying to represent the network or the team, both are slaw.

Me: Dang homie, I didn't know you felt like that. I would post more often, it's just that I've been bogged down with homework, basketball, act stuff for college, and me tryin to get ole girl from chile.

Collin: (interrupts) Oh, you talking about Judy jetson?(I don't use real names, google is a motha)

Me: Yeah, haha, judy. But like I was saying...

Collin:(not caring about my views) Yeah dude, she is fine as hell! Wow, I'm glad see doesn't see the garbage you put on your blog or she would probably come to me!

Me: Alright, you are getting a little too happy bro. My blog...I mean my team's blog is doing just fine and I will be posting on there pretty soon.

Collin: yeah, yeah, yeah. You guys don't have anything on SKO!

Me: Do you like stalk my comments on Slamonline or something? How do you know anything about SKO?

Collin: I hear things.

Me: You are creeping me out dude. You don't even have a computer. How have you been reading my blog?

Collin: Don't worry about that bro. Just know that those old timers over there got things on lock like Barack does my parents taxes. just know that bro.

Me: Okay, that's cool but let me ask you this, what does hibachi need to make the site more enjoyable for you.

Collin: Get that dude BET to tell the news. I swear he is the next Peter Jennings.

Me: Okay what else?

Collin: Get that moose kid to keep putting posts on the regular, he is a good read. And he is only thirteen? Geez that dude is ballin.

Me: Anything else dog?

Collin: Yeah, tell hursty to blog more about his sport teams out in Aussie. I'm talking to this girl from there and see says she likes hursty more than me!

Me: What?

Collin: She gets on facebook a lot dog...don't ask me.

Me: Okay....

Collin: Oh yeah, tell RV keep putting heat out about the rockets and how T-mac will always struggle to succeed in anything basketball.

Me: Well, you got all my crew but what about me?

Collin: Oh, yeah, you....haha. fly society I guess...

Me: You don't sound excited as you did for everyone else..

Collin: That's because you post once a lunar eclipse dog. People want to know who is in the Fly society and you are never around to drop that knowledge. I'm not going to lie man, I want to see more Fly society! I want it! I need it! I crave! I love it!!!!! I love you man!

Me: What the hell?

Collin: No homo, vontae, I swear. Just do one thing and hibachi 2.0 will be on point.

Me: Yeah?

Collin: Put out a Fly society post at least once a week!!!! I'm feein like jodeci over here!

Me: Aite bro, I'm going to type the conversation we just had right now and make it into a post about how this is sort of a fly society pubic service announcement.

Collin: You do that man. I'm proud of you. Fly society is back! So you going to give out some new names for it?

Me: yeah, I'm on it right now. Thinking of the possibilities.

Collin: Aite vontae, I'm glad you are back blogging, but I got to go. I see my girlfriend over here constantly looking at hursty's pictures!!! Hey, ask that dude if he is trying to take my girl okay? I like him and all but I don't know dude like that.

Me: Um, I don't think Hursty knows who you...

Collin: (interuppts) Just ask him vontae!

Me: Haha, whatever dude. you are paranoid. I'll holla at you later.

Collin: Yeah man, peace. and remember, SKO is y'all daddies!!!!

Me: Haha of course.

You can believe what you want, but that was a conversation between me and one of my good friends.. I just wanted to get back into the mix since everyone is doing there thing and hit you guys with my Fly society selections for the week. these will be coming every week from now on, so hold on to your seatbelts.

-Rodney Stuckey
-Danny Granger( I swear he is in here but I'm not sure)
-Jameer Nelson
-Andrew Bynum

Only a couple of nominations a week, so y'all fill me in and let me know who you have for consideration into this most prestigious of all clubs.

and special shout outs to judy jetson....haha.


Hello everybody, and I'm walking on air.

I sent the story that I wrote, "An Open Letter To The NBA" to Ben Osborne, SLAM editor. He said that I'd have to crack the 2,200 word essay down to about 700 words, so here's what I plan to do if all goes well and Mr. Osborne is OK with it. As you see, I'm trying to get Hibachi in there, if it's all right. Here's what I plan on. If anybody wants to bring to the table a certain paragraph that they would like to see in there or one that should be cut out, please say so.

I am a 13 year old who has hopes of becoming a sports journalist when I get older, and, hopefully to be found in this magazine in the future. I recently wrote a piece for my blog entitled, "An Open Letter To The NBA" and I'd love to share this excerpt from the essay (it can be found in it's entirety here:

To the storied National Basketball Association,

I have been an avid basketball and NBA fan since before I could remember, and I have supported the league and it's players during the good days and the bad ones. You could undoubtedly call me a diehard fan, and I have followed and will follow this fabled Association for years to come.

And for the joy in competition and loyalty that I have gotten out of the National Basketball Association, I would like to say thank you.

Thank you for Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a player who was never short on excitement in his 5-championship career. At 6'9", Magic had the skill to play every position on the basketball court, as he showed in his rookie season of 1980 in the NBA Finals: When teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was down with an injury, Magic stood in his place at center--and throughout the match, he played every position--posting 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. I hope, among many, that Johnson's HIV experience will not further.

Thank you for Larry Joe Bird, the greatest shooter to ever put on an NBA uniform. Bird could shoot the lights out from every place on the court, living proof that if you practiced enough, you'd be able to play better than every other man on the floor, even if you couldn't jump higher than them, run faster than them or move quicker than them. As his three championships say for themselves, his Celtics, led by him along with mainstays Robert Parish and Kevin Mchale, were a constant force during the Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 80's.

Thank you for Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time in the National Basketball Association. The hardest working player in the league during the late 80's and 90's dominated early, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1985 for the struggling Chicago Bulls. His Airness was named aptly; the smooth slam dunks that were delivered in-game and in dunk contests were constant acts of wonder to fans (although 'Nique should've won in '88). The six championships explain Money's legacy, with such a great player as Scottie Pippen to act as sidekick, 'chips rained in like his turnaround J.

Thank you for Kevin Garnett, a madman in the sense that everything he does is competitive, and he WILL win. Garnett brings an air to the game that there's somebody who needs a victory on that court, and he will show it--by way of scream, chest-thump or taunt.

Thank you for Allen Iverson, a man who, whether you like it or not, brought the street basketball culture to the before slightly sheltered Association along with a devastating game. Iverson brought freezers full of ice to the press conferences, but his game overshadowed the frowned-upon culture that was imminent in this popular establishment.

Thank you for players like Nate Robinson and Spudd Webb, men at least five inches shorter than the next who will dunk on (or block) any 7 foot plus big men. Thank you for players like Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace, men who run their mouths without care, leaving us puzzled, laughing or crying. Often all at the same time.

Thank you for players like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller, three point assassins who you can't figure out how to stop once they get hot. Thank you for players like Rodney Stuckey and Leon Powe, scrappy men who give it their all every time they step on the court, earning minutes and respect. Thank you for players like Kwame Brown and Sam Bowie, hyped-up guys who are drafted high and don't live up to it. And, especially, thank you for the ones who do.

Thank you for the thrilling past years and for the presumably great ones to come.

So that's what you'll be seeing in the magazine from me, most likely.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"I'm back to my old self"

In an interview earlier this week, T-Mac claims to be back to his "old self". Trainer claims a "miracle" has happened. I claim BULLSHIT. Maybe he has been training, maybe he has improved, but I don't believe it is because he put in a gazillion hours of training. I think he lost it mentally and needed to gauge his progress with something he was used to, as in his offseason regimen. Once he realized his knee wasn't going to break he put his fears aside and trainer like he usually would. I still he thinks he needs a new trainer because he's swinging around the weights in that video, although he's working out for speed and now strength, he still needs to use proper form, which includes no bending his back and not lifting his shoulders when he's doing curls.....
Here's the link. It's about 13 mins long...he basically talks about his critics, what he's been doing, and his also trainer speaks toward the end as well.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Death of Life, the Life of Death. A auto tone sung autobiography of a win streak,

(this 'article' is not about Obama, however i would like to use this area right before the start of it to say: YES WE DID! It was a emotinal day in the household and tears were shed inside, SNOW FELL outside shutting everything down. Now please clear your mind as i educate you about what a win streak means to me.)

Hello Hello

Enough salutations.

type this the
Bobcats prepare for epic
Battle with the Spurs of San Antonio

(note: WE FAILED)

We are on a role.
3 Strait wins. Just great!!!!

First the Boston Sell-Tics were beat.
It was great.
Then we loose 2 strait games.
Not so great.


Victim 1: The Washington Wizards.
The Score: 92-89
The Hero: Shannon Brown!!!! With a crazy shot!
The Video:

Victim 2: The Detroit Pistons
The Score: 80-78
The Hero: RAYMOND FELTON! We did not lead until the last shot, which was his. He is having a great year. I wish we didnt draft DJ but i am glad we didnt trade him.
The Video:

Victim 3: The Portland Trail Blazers
The Score: 102-97 (OT)
The Hero: GeRaLd WaLlAcE



The Score: 84-86

THE ULTRA EMBARRISING DUNK: OKAFOR ON DUNCAN (he rubbed his nuts on Duncan's head while dunking on him)

In conclusion i am happy. 3-1 is good. All win streaks come to a end and hopefully we have many many more in us.


I am not sure.

But until i am sure i will address this question to Mr. Mora

An Open Letter To The NBA

By Moose

To the storied National Basketball Association,

I have been an avid basketball and NBA fan since before I could remember, and I have supported the league and it's players during the good days and the bad ones. You could call me a diehard fan, you could call me a hardcore fan, you could call me a serious fan or you could call me any other word that has a meaning similar to "great fan of the league".

I have loved, respected, hated, worshipped and resented many players throughout the Association. I have loved, respected, hated, worshipped and resented many teams throughout the Association. I have loved, respected, hated, worshipped and resented coaches, executives and GMs throughout the Association. And I have loved doing so no matter what I feel at the time.

The NBA has been a place where I can take out my anger on the opposition, or show the loyalty that I have to my teams by dressing in their colors. Every day I wake up and look at the box scores in the paper, hoping that the teams that I support were victorious if I had not the chance to watch the game on TV.

The NBA has been like a small microcosm of life to me; with trades, competition and personalities affecting every situation within it. Players manipulate others, players push others around, players play dirty. Elements of the real world is collected into this small basketball league, where legends compete as feverishly or as lazily as they want to win the game that is as legendary as their star-studded reputations.

And for the joy in competition and loyalty that I have gotten out of the National Basketball Association, I would like to say thank you.

Thank you for the original New York Knickerbockers, who, in 1946, were recognized as the first NBA team ever. Thank you for the 50's dynasty that was the Boston Celtics, a team led by a dominant center and a distinguished point guard, later dubbed "The Houdini of the Hardwood".

Thank you for the ABA v.s. NBA feud of the 1970's, where an exciting, three-point-shooting, above-the-rim-playing basketball league with a red-white-and-blue basketball tried to keep up with the strategic and Boston-dominated NBA. Thank you for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry in the 1980's, where two of the most talent-filled teams in the distinguished league seemed to meet annually in the Finals.

Thank you for the Bulls', Lakers' and Spurs' domination of the late 90's and early 2000's; with one of those three teams winning seemingly every year. And, of course, whichever team happened to have Shaquille O'Neal at the time, along with the aforementioned clubs.

Thank you for Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. While these two men ruled their domain which was the basketball court for what seemed like eternity, they stayed humble and won quietly with humility. Thank you for Red Auerbach, the championship-winning, color-barrier breaking legendary coach will forever be in our hearts. Rest in peace, Arnold.

Thank you for George Mikan, the first real big man to be seen in the league, manning the Minneapolis Lakers' frontcourt wearing number 99 for many fruitful years. Thank you for the American Basketball Association, for I believe that a league as quirky and interesting as the ABA would not have existed if not for the truly professional basketball that was the NBA.

Thank you for Julius Erving, a pioneer in his above-the-rim play, the first exciting and crowd-pleasing high flyer. Thank you for Rick Barry and his art of the free throw, for George Gervin and his finger roll, for Pistol Pete Maravich and his jump shot, for Wes Unseld and Artis Gilmore for their 'fro's and for Walt Frazier and his style.

Thank you for the wisest man in the sport, John Wooden. The legendary teacher of the beautiful game has ten National Championships to his credit, Wooden's role undoubtedly a large one in every single one of these college wonders. Here's hoping that Mr. Wooden stays in good health and continues to live his great life to his heart's content.

Thank you for Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a player who was never short on excitement in his 5-championship career. A (for lack of a better term) giant for his position of point guard at 6'9", Magic had the skill to play every position on the basketball court, as he showed in his rookie season of 1980 in the NBA Finals: When teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was down with an injury, Magic stood in his place at center--and throughout the match, he played every position--posting 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. I hope, among many, that Johnson's HIV experience will not further. The leader of the fabled "Showtime" Lakers never failed to astonish with flashy passes, seemingly impossible jumpers or moves quicker than the time it takes you to say "layup".

Thank you for Larry Joe Bird, the greatest shooter to ever put on an NBA uniform. Bird could shoot the lights out from every place on the court, living proof that if you practiced enough, you'd be able to play better than every other man on the floor, even if you couldn't jump higher than them, run faster than them or move quicker than them. As his three championships say for themselves, his Celtics, led by him along with mainstays Robert Parish and Kevin Mchale, were a constant force during the Celtics-Lakers rivalry of the 80's. But his counterpart (Magic) would be the last to rip Bird, saying, "Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird."

Thank you for Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time in the National Basketball Association. The hardest working player in the league during the late 80's and 90's dominated early, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1985 for the struggling Chicago Bulls. His Airness was named aptly; the smooth slam dunks that were delivered in-game and in dunk contests were constant acts of wonder to fans (although 'Nique should've won in '88). The six championships explain Money's legacy, with such a great player as Scottie Pippen to act as sidekick, 'chips rained in like his turnaround J. Committed to sweat-breaking play on both ends of the court, Michael is the greatest ever and there will never be another.

Thank you for Charles Barkley, a man that's legacy will go beyond his interesting play. As a bulky power forward listed at 6'6" but really more like 6'4", Sir Charles could jump out of the gym, shoot the lights out or outsmart his opponent to get into good position for a rebound, becoming one of the best players to not win a championship in the competitive Association. Charles said what was on his mind and didn't care what you thought, leaving you outraged, happy, hysterical or head-shaking when you heard the words come from his mouth. His mouth got him in trouble, but whether rushing on his way to an "acquaintance's" house or running for Governor of Alabama, Barkley's intentions were known throughout America.

Thank you for the John Stockton-Karl Malone tandem of the 90's for the so-close-yet-so-far Utah Jazz who were never short of dazzling. They were living proof that old fashioned pick-and-rolls, give-and-go's and other plays of the sort are as effective as ever, and if pulled off correctly, they are unbeatable. Both were close to the best at their respective positions, and remain near the top of this mark today. They lost to an Eastern Conference power in the NBA Finals each year that they were set to dominate, leaving a "Close, but no cigar," label on the legends' careers.

Thank you for the dominating set of 90's big men, headlined by current or future Hall Of Famers David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and the start of Shaquille O'Neal. These centers dominated games and played the game at their own pace, the rest of the league being forced to go with what they chose. These men blocked bucketloads of wannabe layups, jumpers and floaters, with many smaller and bigger players alike afraid to challenge them in post play.

Thank you for Kobe Bryant, a man who truly has left and is leaving a large mark on the NBA. Number 8-turned-24 does not fail to amaze every time he steps onto a basketball court. The man that they call The Black Mamba has won three championships as yet, all of them while he has taken (willingly or unwillingly) a role of second option in the early 2000's Lakers playing alongside the legendary Shaquille O'Neal; and he has not won a championship without this team-aiding big man on his side. Hate him, as many have, or love him, as perhaps more have, but Kobe Bryant will go down in NBA history as one of the best shooting guards to play the game of basketball.

Thank you for LeBron James, a young wonder who is quickly taking over the league as the most skilled, athletic and valuable player in the Association. LeBron plays with such an old-school passion and fire that feeds off on others; with the ability to take over basketball games and make his teammates better. James has broken countless franchise records playing for the Cavaliers, and there are more to come--this young court wizard is only 24 years old. I look forward to many championships, MVP awards and highlight reels from this young man, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you for Chris Paul and Deron Williams, two young point guards who will undoubtedly go down in history as the best court leaders of their generation. Who is better will always be in question before championships are won, but these two young warriors will never stop their great play.

Thank you for Kevin Garnett, a madman in the sense that everything he does is competitive, and he WILL win. Garnett brings an air to the game that there's somebody who needs a victory on that court, and he will show it--by way of scream, chest-thump or taunt. KG is one of the most prolific trash-talkers since Gary Payton, and it becomes hell for the offense and joy for the defense. He brings all he's got to every game, and this insane enforcer is one of the most fun to watch because of it.

Thank you for Allen Iverson, a man who, whether you like it or not, brought the street basketball culture to the before slightly sheltered Association. This man, a sub-6 footer, had and has the ability to cut through the lane like a hot knife through butter, scoring seemingly at will against every top-tier defender in the league. Iverson brought freezers full of ice to the press conferences, but his game overshadowed the frowned-upon culture that was imminent in this popular establishment.

Thank you for players like Anthony Johnson and Mike James, men who got traded frequently and filled their roles on their respective clubs. Thank you for the big name superstars and their moments; when Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony get the ball down the stretch in the fourth quarter in a close game. Thank you for players like Dikembe Mutombo and David Robinson, reject-machines that seem to always be in the way of an open shot.

Thank you for players like Josh Smith and Gerald Wallace, guys who have so much talent they don't know how to control and contain it. Thank you for players like Nate Robinson and Spudd Webb, guys at least five inches shorter than the next who will dunk on (or block) any 7 foot plus big men. Thank you for players like Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace, men who run their mouths without care, leaving us puzzled, laughing or crying. Often all at the same time.

Thank you for players like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller, three point assassins who you can't figure out how to stop once they get hot. Thank you for players like Rodney Stuckey and Leon Powe, scrappy men who give it their all every time they step on the court, earning minutes and respect. Thank you for players like Kwame Brown and Sam Bowie, hyped-up guys who are drafted high and don't live up to the hype. And, especially, thank you for the ones who do.

Thank you for all of the big games and playoffs that you have brought us and will bring us, which bring to the table excitement, suspense and other things similar to it. Thank you for hyped matchups; Kobe v.s. LeBron and Celtics v.s. Lakers will always be games to mark our calendars with. Thank you for all of the teams in the NBA; especially the Baltimore Bullets and Seattle SuperSonics.

Thank you for the players like Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard, men who will never fail to make you laugh. Thank you for the players who graduated college, and thank you for the players that came straight out of high school. Thank you for the thoughtful, unthoughtful and funny players alike in the league. Thank you for the young phenoms, washed-up veterans and in-prime all-stars. Thank you for being the National Basketball Association as I've known it.

I am thankful for the NBA.


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Jeez. I leave the site for like a week and everybody on here has posts coming out of the wahzoo. jeez. alright this is a short post so I will keep it sweet and simple. who on here has xbox live? and if you do, do you have nba 2k9? if you do, I need you to leave your gamertag name in the comments section and tell me when you would like to schedule your butt whooping. any day is good but I prefer kicking it between tuesday and thursday from 6-8. if you are interested to playing yo boy you know what to do. play wit it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Its Settled: The Verdict

So, a 'week' ago I said that I would come up with a slamonline all-star/dream team. That week has turned almost into a month. Apologies for the lateness.

From the comments I recieved this was (imo) the strongest line-up we could assemble for both teams. I took into account: experience, height, ability and geographical location in making these decisions (not really). for me, this was done in an exremely professional manner, taking almost 1 hour to look at all the comments and decided rostering.

1st Team:

PG- Money Bill Williams- Cos we aint got no point guard except him. Oh, and DP likes to come off the bench to kill second units. I do worry about having a 6'2 PG though. Especially from what I saw when we played.

SG-Izzo. For various reasons. 1)- He almost played for Ireland- in the alchohol Olympics- word! 2) Every team has a Allen Iverson try-hard. 3. Every team has a European in it nowadays- except Boston.

SF-Me! Cos I'm the author! And 3 is my natural position right now.

PF-Eboyyyy- because every roster always has an old person that looks funny. See, Celtics- Cassell, Rockets, Mutumbo. And because he almost played college ball.

C- Cub. Do we really have to discuss this?

6th Man: Justin Walsh. Walshy seems like a dude who can play 2 or 3 positions so versatility is important, especially coming off the bench.

2nd Team:

PG-RV - perimeter stopper. Solid with the ball. Enough said. And it takes 5 to win a ball game.

SG- DP- he loves to kill the 2nd unit. This team needed scoring and assists. Badly.

SF-B.Long- I don't think I could handle him gloating over being the shooting guard. Sheesh.

PF-BET- No-one else plays the 4, and besides, every team needs an Artest or Bowen on it. Even if it is just for kicks.

C-Tariq- Izzo says he's tall. And he adds International Flavour.

6th Man: Moose. Apart from his age, height and position, he's just so frickin' awesome that I couldn't resist giving him the insanely large responsibility as 12th man. In two years he'll be better than everyone, so you guys should watch out for lil' Moosie!

Utility: The Baconator. Why? Because he's a utility duh.

Head Coach:
Mr. Eboy. Sir!

Why? Because he was dumb enough to volunteer for the job of coaching a bunch of smart-ass pr*cks like us.

Assistant Coach:
Me. Because I coach a girls rep team that has won 64 straight games against girls who are all 2-3 years older than them. Oh, and I get to talk to coache's all the time working for the Spirit and at the Youth Olympics. And nothing could give me greater pleasure than to turture Eboy on the sidelines.

Statistician: Roy. If it weren't for injuries, he'd be starting for the 2nd team, with RV or DP coming off the bench as the 6th man for the 1st team.

Of course, I'm expecting some heated responses and even a death threat or 2. But I got this for you all 'And you know what they say- When you great, it's not murder- its assassinate'. Truth.
PS- It'd be great if you could read the game notes I wrote below. I get that because it's not about the USA, the majority of you immediately loose interest. I did put a lot of effort in though and just a 'thanks' would be awesome. Thanks guys. Besides, you might be 'witnessing' the birth of a future college or WNBA/NBA star.
Peace, Hursty.

Womens Gold Medal Game: Australia vs. Japan

Cole looking for Allen off the seal
Brown was a force down low...

Tippett working the High>Low

Winners are grinners! :P Kerryn Harrington is front row, brown hair.

Gold Medal Game: Australia vs. Japan

Australian starters:
Harrington- PG no. 6
Cole- SG no. 4
Karaitiana- SF no.10,
Tippett- PF no.11
Payne- C no.15

Japanese Starters:

Katsura- no.4
Chiku no.5
Tsurimi no.7
Nagoaka no.11
Chikahira no. 14

Once again, Tippett gets the scoring going. Surprise? No really. Tippett gets 2 offensive rebounds for another bucket. 5-2 Australia lead early.
Tipett gets another offensive rebound, kicks it out to 10 from the free-throw line. Good. 7-4 Aus. Um, Tippett isn’t that big or strong either. She just knows how to play the game like a veteran. She doesn’t get any plays run for her either. It’s uncanny the way she does stuff.
12-5 Aus after 5 minutes.

Carrie Graff is here. Graff coaches’ perennial power-house Canberra in the WNBL, and she’s recently become the head coach of the Australian women’s team, the Opals.
Rachael Sporne is here with her as well. Sporne captained the silver medal winning Opals at the 2000 Olympics, and is not the Ahmad Rashard of WNBL side-line reporting ( I forget the name of the woman who does it for ESPN nowadays).
Australia is taller at every position over the Japanese by a good inch or two. They’re dominating the rebound count (mainly Tippett) but the other girls are doing the fundamentals well. They box out from the weak side and they have active hands.
Australia has gone on an extended 15-4 run to lead by 16 at the end of the 1st 25-9. Allyson Brown has 7 points; Tippett and Cole both have 4. Naho Miyoshi leads Japan with 4.
10 banks it in for Aus and the lead is 21. 34-13 Australia lead with 6:20 to go. Another 3, this time from 4 makes it 37-13.

2 consecutive air balls for Japan isn’t helping their cause….Tippett gets a steal, but Brown decides to run with the ball. Yes you travelled girlie. Even ‘Bron ‘Bron couldn’t get away with that one… Australia still lead by 30 though- with 4 minutes remaining in the SECOND quarter.
This is like watching the Knicks play the Celtics last year- It’s an absolute massacre. It’s 51-18 at half-time.
For Australia:

Cole has 13,4 (rebounds) and 3 (assists.
Brown has 9 and 3 boards.
Tippett has 8,3,2 a steal and a block.
The Aussies are shooting 61% from the floor and have 22 rebounds, 12 assists and 9 turnovers.
Myoshi has 6 points. Nobody else has more than 4.
22% shooting won’t win you any games….sorry Japan. They’ve attempted 11 three pointers and haven’t hit one. They’ve got 10 rebounds and 1 assist. Surprisingly though, they’ve only turned it over twice more than the Australians.
Coach Graff says that Tippett will play the 3 Internationally (even though she spends her time at the 4/5 here) and that she reminds her of Lauren Jackson and Sporne- high praise for a 15 year old from a national coach.
Point Guard Kerryn Harrington has been extremely solid all game, and if she doesn’t play for a high grade College program like UCONN, UNC, Tennessee etc. I will be highly disappointed.

2nd Half:

Japan starts off with a basket!
2 in a row! They’re on fire! Mike Miller must be in disguise right now.
Tippett sets a pick as hard as Robert Horry ever did and just lays the Japanese point guard out. It’s worth mentioning that Tippett has two brothers, both of whom play AFL. So being naturally aggressive must run in the family it seems…
Japan scores again.
53-25 Australia lead. But Coach Nicole Ireland is very unimpressed. Time-Out Aus.
Katsura hits both from the line to make it a, ah, 28 point game. 6:30 remaining.
Tippett runs the floor and is rewarded. She’s got 10.
Allen grabs her own missed shot and has a chance for a 3 point play. She misses, but Aus get the rebound anyways, after some sloppy play, they get a lay-up. It’s been that kind of night for Australia. They lead 63-27 after another fast-break lay-up.

Harrington is extremely aggressive tonight, much more so that in previous games. She’s getting to the basket and creating plays for others, rather than playing as the set-up point guard tonight. It doesn’t show it on the box score, but she’s been really solid tonight.

Tippett just killed Katsura with a vicious back pick. This one was even harder than her previous one, Katsura is trying to laugh about it (but failing horribly), but she got elbows to the neck and back of the head. Ouch.
Harrington hits a 3 to bail out the Aussies as the shot-clock buzzer. Its 71-32 at the end of the 3rd.


Tippett gets two easy buckets. She’s got 14. Cole gets an easy one and she’s the high scorer with 17. Japan is playing much better in the second half but it’s still 77-38. 6:50 remains in the 4th.
Allen steals the ball off the baseline inbounds and finishes with a lefty reverse. Nice play- great hands.
Tsurumi goes coast to coast with a CP-like finish. She’s probably the fastest girl in the competition- with and without the ball.
It’s 86-45 with 3 minutes remaining.
Komeda finishes strong at the hoop, harm and all. Free-throw is off though.
Japan isn’t a bad team at all, it’s just that they have no height at the 4 and 5 spots. Their starting centre is shorter than the starting PF (Tippett) for Australia.
The game is over and Australia dribbles out the clock to record a resounding 91-54 victory.
Throughout the tournament, it was obvious that the Aussie girls were the best team out there every single time they stepped on the floor. The 37 point win wasn't a fluke. No way.

Post Game:
Australia- Shooting % : 54%, 25%, 50%
Rebecca Cole had 17, 6 and 5.
Gretel Tippett had 16, 8, 4, 4 (steals) and 2 (blocks).
Allyson Brown: 14, 5 rebounds.
Rebecca Allen: 12 pts, 15 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block.
Aussies finished with 54 rebounds, 20 assists, 24 TO's, 9 steals and 8 blocks.

Japan:- Shooting%: 28%, 5%, 56%
Naho Myoshi had 10pts, 2 rebounds and a steal.
Aya Tsurimi had 10pts, 3rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals.
Rina Hayakawa had 6pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.
Japan had 24 rebounds, 4 assists, 19 turnovers, 10 steals, 3 blocks.

Nobody from Japan really stood out for me unfortunately. Tsurimi is very quick handling the ball, but Japan was just too small at every position to match up with the bigger, stronger Australian girls.
I don't want you to get the impression that all the Aussie girls look like Courtney Paris-none of them do. They all have lean, athletic bodies and can get up and down the court easily.

Tippett will be a force for the next 20 years as a player- she's only 15 and she's 6'2. Almost 6'3. I stood next to her and we're about the same height. She blocks shots, hustles, rebounds, she's very athletic ( she says she can dunk it- I don't doubt that at all) and runs the floor well. She can shoot the ball well from 15ft inwards, although since she could get to the basket (and finish with either hand with ease) that part of her game wasn't fully on display. She hits FT's too.

Harrington will be an extremely good point guard for many years to come. She's excellent defensively both on and off the ball, solid offensively, has a nice jumper and she has a quick first step and the ability to dribble drive....Yeh, she was my personal player of the game, even though it doesn't appear on the box score. The boxscore says she had 6 points and 1 assist- and 5 turovers. Ignore it. She controlled the tempo extremely well and is very comfortable handling the ball at the point. She also played the 2 occassionally and she became more aggressive off the ball, looking for her shots more and not being so much of a facilitator. She was very, very good all tournament.

Peace, Hursty.

Pictures courtesy of Basketball Australia and Bill Baxter.
PS- Thanks Bill for getting me the accreditation and seating- it was very much appreciated. Hopefully I can do something helpful for you down the line. You were really good about everything. Much love and respect to you for helping a rookie Journo off the ground and into the air.
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