NBA news is slowing to a trickle. We had to get creative this week.
The US Men's Basketball Team Is All Like, "Road Trip!!!!!!"
Sometimes life isn't peaches and cream. Sometimes we come home from work, tired and deflated. Sometimes we just don't want to read 10,000 word articles on the literary merits of A View From Above: The Autobiography of Wilt Chamberlain. Sometimes we want to laugh at dumb shit, and via Instagram and Twitter (what, LBJ isn't on Pinterest yet?). The USA Men's Basketball team has provided plenty of dumb shit. BuzzFeed writer Kevin Lincoln nails it on all accounts, unleashing from me the giggles that he intended.
- FMTrueHoop TV: Harrison Barnes
A few weeks ago, I had a beer with Ben and Carolyn, two friends from college. Ben introduced me to his friend Peter, a teacher in Seattle, and an NBA fan in his own right. He and Ben had gone to high school with Harrison Barnes, the former tar-heel standout who was recently drafted seventh overall by my Golden State Warriors. Both Peter and Ben stated that in high school, Harrison Barnes was like the perfect guy. He was smart, friendly, athletic, and humble as hell. Based upon this interview conducted by TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz, this seems to be a fairly on-point assertion. Barnes effortlessly discusses branding, identity-formation and franchise rebirth in this short interview, and sounds like a scholar all the while. Given his big brain, as well as his slick-ass performance in the Vegas Summer League last week, Harrison Barnes is showing all the signs of becoming my favorite player in the not-too-distant future.
Reporter in the Eye of a Twitter Storm
Poynter Review Project (ESPN)
The Poynter Review Project expanded the role of ESPN's ombudsman; a unique position where an individual (or a group) offers objective analysis about a given organization's professional, ethical and humanistic performances from within the organization itself. In many ways, the ombudsman acts as a watchdog, who ensures that an organization behaves with integrity and professionalism. The old ombudsman, Le Ann Schreiber, used to write the most engrossing articles on ESPN.com Her pointed analysis and critical eye for ESPN's penchant for making a cheap buck instead of offering high quality journalism made her articles seem almost scandalous. While the Poynter Review Project (PRP) doesn't have the same depth as Schreiber, it has still offered unique perspectives into the day-to-day business of running a 24/7 information resource in the digital age. In this article, the author looks closely at a day in the life of Chris Broussard, one of ESPN's senior NBA analysts, and a featured columnist on both ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Broussard was widely criticized for "breaking" news stories from Twitter posts that were seen by most everyone, including rival outlets. The PRP author, Jason Fry, discusses the effect that Twitter and social media has had on journalism, where the glory comes in breaking a story first, not providing the fullest, most in-depth account. He calls out Broussard and ESPN for not taking more care in gathering pertinent details and offering original analyses; troubling habits that support the notion that ESPN steals scoops. This is a really interesting read, and anyone who has had issues with ESPN's lack of journalistic integrity when it comes to breaking and reporting stories, will find welcome content in the PRP blog, as well as the archives of ESPN's past ombudsmen.
The Maloofs Trapped Sacramento, and the Path Out is Unclear
I haven't checked in with the arena situation in Sacramento in a little while. Tom Ziller reports that it's not a particularly pretty picture. At this point, the arena deal is all but dead, and Mayor Kevin Johnson has begun focusing his efforts on bringing Major League Baseball to California's capitol city. Ziller laments this change in direction, and offers scathing opinions about the Maloofs, who he argues has misled Sacramento's leadership, citizenry, and Kings fans. Ziller points out that the Maloofs had championed the idea of putting an arena in the Railyards area of downtown Sacramento, an underdeveloped area that is important to Sacramento's economic future, regardless of whether the Kings stay or not. Additionally, they offered to put up a lot of money to ensure that work would begin on an arena there; money that has since been taken off the table. With pressure on Mayor KJ to do something with the Railyards, and the Maloofs digging in their heels, preparing to wage war against Sacramento in a lose-lose battle for either a publicly funded-arena or a Kings team in Anaheim or Seattle, Ziller grimly suggests that the only way out for the city is for the Maloofs to sell the team to an in-town buyer. Otherwise, it's up to David Stern and the Board of Governors to reject the Maloofs bid to relocate the team to a different city. This is a sad situation playing out in Central California.
How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance
This piece has nothing to do with basketball. It's just one of the best things I've read in recent memory. The author, a current English professor, offers an autobiographical essay that discusses race, guns, violence and blackness in America. The piece focuses on the four times the author either saw, brandished, or was threatened by a gun throughout his life. These instances, though not immediately connected, are linked together through a wonderful prose that makes your breaths feel heavy, and your throat feel thick. It's a great piece of writing, read in a time where the roles of guns and gun-related violence are under a microscope, without much of an analysis that takes into account the role race -- in particular, blackness -- has in the process of buying, owning, and potentially using a firearm. This piece is brash and unapologetic; a must-read in a time where innocents are being gunned down by white men with badges, and without, while race goes completely unnoticed and unanalyzed. Many thanks to Todd Anderson for posting this on Facebook, and introducing me to Kiese Laymon. I will likely purchase his upcoming book.