I'm in Minnesota visiting family and recovering from a wicked hangover at my college reunion. My god, it still hurts. Original postings are a few days late as a result. So until I'm able to hold down water, and can maybe choke down some tomato soup, here's some NBA-related internet postings from some real basketball intellects, and conveniently annotated for your pooping pleasure. Now, someone get me some tea.
Why Can't Chester and Soccer Get Along?
Philadelphia Daily News
Politicians and city leaders, sports executives and businessmen, all coming together to crackle in glee as they sell another city on an unrealistic dream. Sound familiar? It certainly does to the residents of Chester, Pennsylvania, who were promised a state-of-the-art soccer stadium along with a revitalized riverwalk in 2008. Five years later all they have is a soccer stadium, millions of dollars in unpaid money and a bunch of gravel lots. Could this be a cautionary tale to all the Seattles of the basketball world, desperate for their own NBA team, but unknowing of the cost? The last couple sentences in the article sum up virtually all examples of publicly funded stadiums: "The city's struggling financially. But soccer is not the problem in Chester. But it's not the solution, either."
In this piece written by The Nation's Dave Zirin, the author asks his readers to rethink the "Good versus Evil" narrative that has typecasted the Thunder as heroes, and the Heat as villains. Zirin chooses to see the Thunder as the "bad guys" in this analysis because of Clay Bennett, their owner. What follows is a well-written piece which chronicles Bennett's brazen purchase of the Sonics, and the despicable things he did while he broke Sonics fans hearts. While this analysis fails to take into account that the players are not the culprits in the Sonics unfortunate departure from the Pacific Northwest, it provides a useful summary of the purchase of the franchise by Clay Bennett, and the reasons why David Stern (a New York liberal Jew) and Clay Bennett (an Oklahoma republican and born-again Christian) are able to see eye to eye: tax referendums and profit margins.
Big Lead Sports
Howard Beck, the New York Times' lead NBA columnist, is one of the most respected voices in sports journalism. McIntyre conducts a wonderful interview for Big Lead Sports which emphasizes how thoughtful, talented and intelligent Beck is not just as a sportswriter, but as a journalist in general. The interview discusses the expansion of social media, as well as its integration into print media, and a number of other topics, which include the beginning of his career, the villification of LeBron James, and the affect of the lockout on the NBA.
One of the most controversial rules in the past two collective bargaining agreements has been what is known as "The One-and-Done Rule", which requires all players intending on declaring for the NBA draft to be 19 years old. This generally means the player must attend one year of college (or professional basketball overseas). In this short article on Grantland, Curtis muses about these one-and-done players like Kevin Durant, who is also an alum of the University of Texas. He asks if players like Durant ever really were college players, considering their brief stint at the school and lack of impact in the long run. Curtis argues that we think of these players not as dropouts, but rather individuals who discovered how to use college "hyperefficiently" and become integrated more quickly into lucrative positions in the private sector. Seeing Durant compared to other one-and-doners like Walter Cronkite and Bill Gates is provocative. This is a good read.
In this piece, Hanner recasts the NBA finals in the lens of college basketball rather than professional basketball, and shows us how the finals help to redefine the long-term legacies of these players. Hanner points out the "unhearalded" players who perform in these games, and shows us how this moment in their careers represent either an unlikely pinnacle, or a predestined result, based upon their college careers. Hanner compares the fortunes of Jeremy Lin, college star, and Norris Cole, who posted similar numbers at smaller Cleveland State, to show how impressive it is that a player gets minutes in the NBA at all, let alone the finals. It is a unique perspective and important to consider as we enter the Lin era.