Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach was uploaded to Flickr

not sure who won

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I took Shirts vs. Skins – Venice Beach on February 02, 2013 at 02:04PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on December 14, 2014 at 03:02PM

Ballin’ was uploaded to Flickr

Lincoln Avenue

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I took Ballin’ on January 11, 2014 at 06:33PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 13, 2014 at 03:10PM

Marv Albert interviews Barack Obama

Marv Albert interviewed President Barack Obama on the White House basketball court, including about the Arizona immigration law, and Los Suns:

Obama on sports figures and organization getting involved in political issues, such as the Phoenix Suns taking a stand against the Arizona immigration law: “I think that just because somebody’s a sports figure or you’ve got a sports team doesn’t mean that you’re not part of the community and you’re not part of our democracy. I think it’s terrific that the Suns, who obviously feel very strongly about their community, recognize that a big part of their community felt threatened by this new law. You know, when I was growing up, you had figures like Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell who routinely would talk about the world around them. You wouldn’t always agree with them, but that sense that people are engaged in the big issues of the day, I think, is a positive thing. I don’t think that either players or franchises need to always steer away from controversy. I happen to personally think that the Arizona Law is a bad idea, I’ve said so publically, and I see no reason why these guys can’t make the same statement.”

Obama on if he played against differently since becoming the President: “Well, it is true I usually have guys with guns around, so if somebody takes a real hard foul, they could get in trouble. Nobody ever lets me win because if you let me win, you’ll never hear the end of it. I’ll talk a little trash about you. I’ll make you feel bad about yourself if we beat you real bad.”

Obama on his improved bowling: “My bowling has greatly improved. So Marv, you’re touching on a slightly sensitive point. I’m not going to walk off the set here, but we do have a bowling alley here at the White House and I’ve gotten a lot better.” 

(click to continue reading Notes from TNT’s exclusive interview with President Obama.)

The entire interview (Flash), uncut:


Alien Hoopsters 6 on 6

Alien Hoopsters 6 on 6
Alien Hoopsters 6 on 6, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Sculpture found somewhere near Northwestern Hospital (aka Chicago Memorial, if you’ve ever seen the movie, The Fugitive). Flipped around in Photoshop because they wanted to play full court.
Note: aliens use multiple balls/goals, so their game is faster moving than the NBA. Sort of like 3-D chess as played on Star Trek.


from my archives, circa 2005

Starbury in China

Notorious locker-room cancer and intern-boinker Stephon Marbury, aka Starbury, has apparently accepted a contract to play for a basketball team in China, Taiyuan Shanxi Zhongyu, currently ranked 15th out of 17 teams.

Hoops from Yesteryear

Li Fei, a 21-year-old college student, said that with Mr. Marbury on the team “it injects more excitement into the game.”

“I’ve always been his fan.” Mr. Li said. “I know he’s a selfish player, and he doesn’t like to pass, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a great player. It’s beautiful to watch.”

It’s hard to say how this marriage will work out.

Taiyuan is the capital of China’s northern Shanxi province and the center of China’s coal-mining industry. The whole city is covered in a thin layer of coal dust, including Zhongyu’s Binhe Sports Stadium, which seats about 4,500 people. It has less than a fourth the capacity of New York’s Madison Square Garden where Mr. Marbury played from 2004 to 2008. Courtside seats in the arena, which run about $1,464 a season, are a collection of worn red sofas and lounge chairs.

The Binhe Stadium looks like an abandoned building in the daytime while the team is practicing, its gates held closed with bicycle locks. About two hours before each game, security guards set up temporary metal detectors in front of each entrance to the stadium.

[Click to continue reading NBA’s Marbury Takes His Game to China –]
[Non-WSJ subscribers use this link to read the full article]

For a guy who always thinks he is the best player in the league, despite contrary evidence, perhaps this will be a good experience. If he lasts the season…

Taiyuan is markedly less tourist-friendly, internationalized and cosmopolitan than bustling cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. It’s hard to find a bank ATM that will accept foreign credit cards.

“If he lasts 10 days, I’ll be amazed,” says Bruce O’Neil, president of the U.S. Basketball Academy, which trains young American players to be drafted by Chinese teams. “The culture shock is tremendous.”

Mr. Marbury, though, isn’t playing in China for the money. He’s here to promote his shoe and apparel brand, called “Starbury” after his nickname, featuring low-cost sneakers for $15. The market is potentially huge: The NBA estimates that 300 million people play basketball in China. Mr. Marbury has the Starbury logo tattooed on the side of his shaved head.

His new employer, Zhongyu-owner Wang Xingjiang, is an iron and steel magnate and basketball fanatic who made the Forbes “400 Richest Chinese” list in 2008. At the time, his net worth was estimated to be $260 million.

Reading Around on October 29th through October 30th

A few interesting links collected October 29th through October 30th:

  • Chief drug adviser David Nutt sacked over cannabis stance | Politics | The Guardian – Alan Johnson, the home secretary, has sacked Professor David Nutt as senior drugs adviser after the scientist renewed his criticism of the government's decision to toughen the law on cannabis.

    Johnson wrote to Nutt saying he no longer had confidence in him as chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and asking him to consider his position.

    Nutt had accused ministers of "devaluing and distorting" the scientific evidence over illicit drugs by their decision last year to reclassify cannabis from class C to class B against the advice of the ACMD

  • Think Again: Obama’s Commie Past Exposed Yet Again – Robert Fox, the millionaire brother-in-law of a GOP congressman, tried to prove the connection. He offered $10,000 to Dr. Peter Millican, an Oxford professor who had developed a computer program to make comparisons between texts. Times of London reported this on November 2, 2008. Millican told Fox that the initial findings made it “highly implausible” that the books shared authors. He also said that if further research was done, then the findings would be made public whether or not Ayers was proven to be the author. Fox withdrew his offer.
  • Excerpts From The Book The NBA Doesn't Want You To Read – Tim Donaghy – Deadspin – I'm still fucking bitter about this game six travesty
    :"If we give the benefit of the calls to the team that's down in the series, nobody's going to complain. The series will be even at three apiece, and then the better team can win Game 7," Bavetta stated.

    As history shows, Sacramento lost Game 6 in a wild come-from-behind thriller that saw the Lakers repeatedly sent to the foul line by the referees. For other NBA referees watching the game on television, it was a shameful performance by Bavetta's crew, one of the most poorly officiated games of all time."

Dwyane Wade buys Chicago townhouse

Summer Hoops - Lomo
[Summer Hoops, Rogers Park somewhere]

Sam Smith reports:

Has Dwyane Wade purchased his Chicago dream house as a prelude to signing a free agent contract with the Bulls next summer?
Or is Wade just a clever real estate speculator at a good time?

Prying eyes want to know. And at least basketball franchises in Chicago and Miami.’s real estate blog reported Monday that Wade has purchased a four story riverfront townhouse in Kinzie Park, which is just west of the Loop across the river from the East Bank Club. The price is said to be about $1.4 million, which hardly seems like what you’d pay for an occasional getaway place back in your hometown if you are planning to establish roots in Miami by signing a major extension.

[Click to continue reading Chicago Bulls Blog: Dwyane Wade buys $1.4 million Chicago townhouse]

Hey, DWade for Ben Gordon1 is definite upgrade; even though Dwyane Wade is injury-prone, he is certainly one of the top guards in the NBA.

Sam Smith still doesn’t believe in outgoing links, but Google is2 our friend:

The Kinzie Park townhouse is part of a development of former industrial parcels across the river from the East Bank Club that also includes high-rise condos. The townhouses have private yards fronting the river along a shared promenade. Wade bought a 3,900-square-foot unit with a two-car garage and a rooftop deck.

The property was on the market for almost a year, says the seller’s agent, Harold Blum, and it sat vacant for a while. “But then we furnished it and we got two offers,” says Blum, who would not reveal whether Wade’s offer was the higher of the two. Wade closed on the sale in late June, but information on the deal only surfaced recently at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

[Click to continue reading NBA and Olympic Star Buys in River North – Deal Estate – August 2009 – Chicago]

Coincidentally, Flickr-eeno phule and I were just walking past here a couple weeks ago, albeit on the other side of the river. It doesn’t look like I took any photos of this area, but then I didn’t see anything photo-worthy either. I’d like having DWade as a near-neighbor, not that I’m much of a celebrity stalker (well, except for the time Michelle Obama was eating across the street). The Chicago Bulls can dream, right?

  1. who signed with the Detroit Pistons over the off-season []
  2. usually []

The Modern Athlete

“The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy” (Bill Simmons)

Bill Simmons is nearly finished with his book on a subject near and dear to my heart, the NBA. Avi Zenilman of The New Yorker interviewed Simmons on the NBA Finals, and the topic of the modern athlete came up:

The lack of college experience also means that you probably have less of a chance to have a conversation with a Finals player about English lit or political science. For instance, if you’re a reporter, maybe you don’t ask for thoughts from modern players on the Gaza Strip or Abdul Nasser, or whether they read Chuck Pahlaniuk’s new book. These guys lead sheltered lives that really aren’t that interesting. Back in the seventies, you could go out to dinner with three of the Knicks—let’s say, Phil Jackson, Bill Bradley, and Walt Frazier—and actually have a fascinating night. Which three guys would you pick on the Magic or Lakers? I guess Fisher would be interesting, and I always heard Odom was surprisingly thoughtful. I can’t come up with a third. So I’d say that the effects are more in the “didn’t really have any experiences outside being a basketball player” sense.

I can’t wait to see what happens to KG, Kobe, T-Mac, Carmelo, Howard and others when they finish with basketball. These guys have been mini-corporations and basketball machines since the age of eighteen. What will they do? What will be important to them? When I was researching my book, one thing that blew me away was how brilliant the guys from the fifties and sixties were. Not as players, as people. Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain…these were thoughtful, well-rounded human beings who cared deeply about not just their sport, but about their place in society and (in the case of the black guys) their stature during such a tumultuous time. Everyone knows about Russell’s eleven rings, but did you know about everything he did to advance the cause of African-Americans? Everyone knows about Oscar’s triple doubles, but did you know that he filed the lawsuit that paved the way for a real players union and free agency? These were truly great men and the N.B.A. just wouldn’t be where it is if that wasn’t the case.

Nowadays, the mindset seems to be more, “What can I do to raise my profile? How can I become more famous? How can I make more money?” We need more David Robinsons and Steve Nashes and Ray Allens. The N.B.A. does a terrific job of getting their players into a community, but I wonder how many of those players actually understand why it’s important, or if it’s just something else on their schedule right between “Make a cameo on Kendra’s reality show” and “Meet with E.A. bigwigs about a possible N.B.A. Live cover.” Five decades ago, when Russell wanted to get his point across about something that was important to him, he would write a first-person account in Sports Illustrated. Today, Shaq gets his point across in a 140-character Twitter post. I don’t think this is progress.

[Click to read more of Studying The Finals: News Desk: Online Only: The New Yorker]

Amen to that.

Alien Hoopsters 6 on 6

Reading Around on June 10th through June 13th

A few interesting links collected June 10th through June 13th:

  • ESPN – OTL: Phil At Work – Jackson is not thinking about 10 rings. – He puts the players on alert with it. Trap now. Watch the double. Jump out on that screen-roll. See what the opponent is doing — read the floor. Its meaning shifts. It’s a text to be read, interpreted and acted upon.…His brother taught him the whistle when they were kids. Jackson used it to call his dog …when they were walking through the streets of his hometown of Williston, N.D. When he got to the NBA, and shouting stripped his voice, he turned to the whistle.”Now it’s the source of his power, in a way,” assistant coach Brian Shaw says. “If it were words he was shouting, you could hear them or not hear them, but with the whistle, he’s asking you to think, he’s putting it on you.”

    It’s equal parts advance and retreat, right? He commands attention, then backs off, maybe leans back in his courtside chair, even puts his hands in his lap. The whistle says he’s here and he has expectations, and at the same time it says he trusts you, believes you can do what needs doing.

  • Valassis Uses News America’s Own Clients Against in Trial; Feel the Wrath of Sara Lee! | BNET Advertising Blog | BNET – “Account reps for News America Marketing could face some uncomfortable meetings and phone calls with their clients over the next few weeks, because dozens of their clients’ names have been dragged into the ongoing Michigan state court trial in which the agency is accused of forcing its customers to take anti-competitive bundled deals on in-store promos and newspaper coupons.The News America clients named on just the first day of the trial were:

    Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Dial, S.C. Johnson, Georgia-Pacific, Campbells, Sara Lee, Pepsi, Church & Dwight, Johnson Family Co., Kraft, Coca-Cola, Conagra, Cadbury, Ocean Spray, Clorox, Novartis, Pfizer, Tropicana and Reckitt-Benckiser.”

  • Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive « alex.moskalyuk – Number 7 sounds like Apple’s iPhone 3GS and 3G pricing model:
    “A more expensive product makes the old version look like a value buy. An example here is a Williams-Sonoma bread maker. After an introduction of a newer, better, and pricier version, the sales of the old unit actually increased, as couples viewed the new item as “top of the line”, but old product was all of a sudden reasonably-priced, even though a bunch of features were missing”

Motivational Pulverization Realization from Leroy Smith

A little YouTubery humor from Charlie Murphy, last seen on the short-lived Chappelle Show.

Motivize! Pulverize! Realize! This is the unbelievable infomercial for Get Your Basketball On starring Leroy Smith, the man who motivated Michael Jordan.

“I’ll teach you the skills you need to dominate opponents the same way I dominated Mike…when we were in tenth grade.”


Reading Around on March 31st through April 1st

Chortle At Joker’s Boner
A few interesting links collected March 31st through April 1st:

  • ESPN – OTL: Gotham’s Savior – E-ticket – Then I ask whether he’s driven to build a new thing here that will prove Phoenix was no fluke, that will show everyone that his system really works, that will silence the naysayers once and for all, and he says that until he has won it all, they can say anything they want about him and he can’t say boo back.I say Yeah, but aren’t you burning to shut ’em up?

    He says it doesn’t consume him.

    I say I get that, but wouldn’t you relish it?

    And he leans forward in his chair and reaches across the desk to wipe up a little mess of popcorn kernels with his left hand.

    He cups the bits of shell in his right hand, then pours them casually into the nearby wastebasket, and looks up with a sly grin and says, “You’re asking if I’m human?”

    Wish Mike D’Antoni would have accepted the Bulls job, oh well.

  • AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We’re Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet – DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano’s toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn’t even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn’t, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

    AIGFP only had 377 employees. Those 400-odd folks received almost $3.5 billion in compensation in the last seven years…averages out to over $9 million of compensation per person.

  • One Killer Smoked Brisket Recipe | Meaten – Anyway, that is how I do it, I hope that it made sense, and let me know how yours turns out.Viva Meat!

    Image courtesy of swanksalot1


  1. is it so fracking hard to give proper credit?? Still disappointed that TreeHugger is such a corrupt website., which I imagine has a lot less traffic than TreeHugger figured out how to properly give credit to my photo. []

Wood Roasted Scallops are Yummy

President Obama’s fondness for Chicago’s Spiaggia has already been documented, but apparently fondness is too mild a word. Levy Restaunts flew Spiaggia’s chef to a Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls game and surprised the President.

Scallops and Pine Nuts

Levy Restaurants handles specialty catering for the Verizon Center and, it just so happens, owns Spiaggia. So when the company got the heads-up (with about 24 hours’ notice) that President Obama would be dining in the owners’ box Friday night, somebody got the bright idea to ship Mantuano out to make the president’s favorite dish. “I got on the plane the next morning,” Mantuano says. “And next thing you know, I’m riding up the private elevator.”

And what, pray tell, is the president’s favorite dish? “Wood-roasted scallops,” Mantuano says. “He always orders them. Because we run the Verizon, I knew we had a wood-burning oven there.

“When Obama walked out and saw me there, he did a classic double-take and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ It was hilarious. He called the photographer over and said, ‘Take a picture of me with my favorite chef.’

“He said favorite chef,” Mantuano says. “I’ve got witnesses.”

[From Obama’s favorite chef? Spiaggia chef says he got the word | The Stew – A taste of Chicago’s food, wine and dining scene]

Reading Around on January 27th through January 28th

A few interesting links collected January 27th through January 28th:

  • EveryBlock partners with New York Times to expand NYC site / The EveryBlock Blog – We're excited to announce a partnership with The New York Times and a new section on EveryBlock New York City: political news items.

    One of our goals at EveryBlock is to notify you when local news sites or blogs mention something in your neighborhood. This far, we've focused on specific addresses and places, which you can see in our "locations in the media" section. There, we catalog local news coverage to figure out which articles mention which particular places.

    Now, we're taking this philosophy further by applying it to local elected representatives. This new section, "political news items," notifies you whenever your local elected representatives — such as your city councilman or state assemblyman — are mentioned in The New York Times.

  • – Re: Dallas Covenant School girls basketball team lopsided 100-0 victory, the coach writes:

    "The game started like any other high school basketball game across the nation. …We started the game off with a full-court press. After 3 minutes into play, we had already reached a 25-0 lead. Like any rational thinking coach would do, I immediately stopped the full-court press, dropped into a 2-3 zone defense, and started subbing in my 3 bench players. This strategy continued for the rest of the game and allowed the Dallas Academy players to get the ball up the court for a chance to score. The second half started with a score of 59-0. Seeing that we would win by too wide of a margin, running down the clock was the only logical course of action left. Contrary to the articles, there were only a total of four 3-point baskets made; three in the first quarter, and only one in the third quarter. I continued to sub in bench players, play zone defense, and run the clock for the rest of the game"