LeBron James Has No Class

Chicago beating Cleveland 71 - 0
Chicago beating Cleveland 71 – 0

Matt Moore posted this bit of frippery:

On Tuesday, the blog Cleveland Frowns posted an interview with a server at XO, a Cleveland steakhouse regarding LeBron James. It described his eating behaviors, including the infamous stories about his tipping habits, among other things. There’s the usual stuff about James acting like one of the most pampered people on earth, because, well, he’s a guy who has “Chosen One” on his back, makes $16 million a year and calls himself King. You kind of have to prepare yourself for some stuff.

But this? I was not prepared for this (emphasis mine):   (S)he also told us that LeBron liked to drink apple martinis, which comes as no surprise because apple martinis are delicious, and if you had a job where you could take a four-hour nap every day to sleep off the sugar hangover, you would drink them, too. Relatedly, LeBron would ask his servers to have his steak (well done) already cut up for him, which corroborates a report by a (former?) server at Johnny’s who once told Grzegorek that LeBron would order his spaghetti cut up as well, and also of course enhances the credibility of our source. via “LeBron liked me because I didn’t put up with his crap” — Exclusive Interview with Former XO Steakhouse Server Who Frequently Waited on the NBA Superstar.

Wait, what?

Look, I can forgive the appletinis (easy on the tini). I’m not expecting everyone to drink whiskey, scotch or gin (I suppose technically you could make a gin appletini, but I don’t consider that real gin). It’s a little ridiculous, but the man dunks on Kevin Garnett, I’m willing to let that slide.

But well-done?

Cut up for him?

I’m sorry, that’s where I draw the line.

And listen, a bunch of stats-loving geeks are going to try and talk to you about food poisoning statistics and eating efficiency. But anyon who’s ever actually eaten a steak at the professional level knows that’s all nonsense. Real steak-eaters don’t think of things like that. And they know that if you’re ordering anything above medium-rare, you’re essentially saying “please burn all the flavor out of this $35 piece of meat.”

(click here to continue reading LeBron James and a question of taste – CBSSports.com.)

Dry aged New York Strip Steak

LeBron James is 27 years old, according to his birth certificate, and still wants someone to cut his steak for him? I can almost empathize with ordering a steak well done in hostile environments – though not really – but if you are unable to cut a steak yourself, perhaps you should stick to easier foods, like tater tots and chicken nuggets. Or Gerber’s baby foods. Yeesh.

Oh, and that LBJ is a poor tipper on the order of a measly $10 tip on an $800 bill, seems par for the course. The man practically exudes a smell of entitlement, hubris and unlikeability.

NBA Trade Rumors

Dunking on the Sears Tower
Dunking on the Sears Tower

Sam Smith, the Chicago Bulls beat writer  1 answers a question I’ve long wondered about: namely, who comes up the wacky trade rumors, most of which have no basis in reality? Who benefits?

I always wondered how trade “rumors” begin. Are 99% of what we hear really started at the water cooler or some bored journalist? Do pro-ball teams have a representative that reports to the media every time they are considering a deal? How can all these “reports” out there even get out in the first place? For example, “Lakers are said to offer Lamar Odom to the Timberwolves for the No. 2 pick.” – How would this info get out? Do GM’s have a private line or access to every other GM in the league or a yellow pages of sort where just they have access, call them up and talk shop? Are their phones tapped? Someone under the desk listening with a notepad? Are any offers emailed through today to other GM’s? I’ve been caught up in draft day, free agency periods the last 30 years and I am finally just too damn curious how this entire process works. If anyone can explain this the right way to us all, it’s got to be you.

Josh Ryan

Sam: You have come to the right place. I even had an owner ask me this a few days ago when one of his players was mentioned in a deal and he said no one on his staff discussed it with anyone. There are some that start badly as you say, with a couple of guys talking and “what if” becomes “I hear.” That’s tremendously irresponsible, but there are some major web sites these days which basically have a policy never to admit a mistake and just publish denials, as if that covers them. Plus, it has become a bit of a game to report something with the idea that this is just entertainment reporting and for discussion so what’s the harm? There are two ways most rumors begin and one problem is the pressure many media people are under for these internet scoops with the constant refresh button issue. Often a team will call another and propose something, like Odom for Love and No. 2. The other team laughs and says how about Kobe and Pau for Darko. And that’s that. But then some scout who heard it in their office tells someone “can you believe the Lakers asked for this?” And technically it is true that is was “discussed.”

For some media people to get “hits” in this era that’s enough as it is true that it was “talked about.”

The evil underside is agents. That’s where much of the ugly stuff comes from. What some of these guys do is leak stuff to reporters in an attempt to embarrass a competitor. So then they pursue their client and tell him that if he changes agents things will be better. Though, after all, it is just discussion. And by now, really, most players and fans have come to understand often it just good talk and talk radio type discussion. The truth also is teams routinely ask other teams about basically everyone on their roster to try to determine the worth of their own players. I have no doubt, for example, the Bulls have mentioned to other teams everyone but Rose to get an idea what the player’s value might be. That goes on all year, and what the reporting really shows is how few of these talks ever really get out as opposed to you thinking so many do.

(click here to continue reading Ask Sam | Sam Smith opens his mailbag | 06.24.11 | Bulls.)


  1. and former Chicago Tribune star []

Luol Deng of the Dinka Tribe

Hoops facade

Steve Aschburner reports on why Luol Deng is in all probability the most interesting NBA player still playing in this years playoffs. Joakim Noah has an interesting backstory too, but not as deep a tale as Luol Deng’s:

A member of the Dinka tribe, Deng was born in the Republic of Sudan as one of nine children. He remains devoted to his homeland through his Luol Deng Foundation, which focuses on charitable work in Chicago, in London and back home. He is especially active in the Lost Boys of Sudan efforts to help.

• His father, Aldo, served in the Sudanese parliament and was the country’s Minister of Transportation before sending his family to Cairo, Egypt, to avoid Sudan’s civil war.

• While in Egypt, Deng received basketball instruction from former NBA center Manute Bol, another Dinka tribesman.

• When Deng was 8 years old, his father was granted political asylum in England. That explains his participation in international competition with the Great Britain national team, with an eye on the London Games in 2012.

• He came to New Jersey at age 14, sent with his older sister Arek. They enrolled at Blair Academy, a prep school in Blairstown, which promptly became a serious basketball threat. Arek went on to play at Delaware, their brother Ajou played at Fairfield and Connecticut and Deng spent the 2003-04 season at Duke.

He averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Blue Devils and became the seventh pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. (Phoenix traded his rights to Chicago for Jackson Vroman and a 2005 first-round pick that became Nate Robinson.)

In January, Deng was cheered by fellow relocated Sudanese at a makeshift polling station on the city’s North Side when he voted on a historic independence referendum for that country. At one point, he draped the Southern Sudan flag around him. The effort was successful and in July, the southern state will officially secede and Deng’s proud father Aldo will be there.

“It’s OK for people to take basketball seriously,” Deng told a New Jersey reporter after practice Monday. “It’s not something to resent or lecture them about, ‘Oh, you take all this for granted.’ … But I know how good I have it. Sometimes people struggle, even here in Chicago, and it’s no more than bad luck.” •

Oh yeah, we almost forgot: Deng is President Obama’s favorite NBA player.

(click here to continue reading Chicago’s Deng in position to add to already-lengthy resume | NBA.com.)

Tom Thibodeau as New NBA Zen Master


Sam Smith, perhaps the sports writer closest to Phil Jackson, the soon-to-be-retiring Zen Master for the Los Angeles Lakers, dubbs Thibs, the first year Chicago Bulls coach, as the new Zen Master. Intriguing, and even plausible.

There always has been a Zen Master in the NBA. Red Auerbach was perhaps the first, which may be why he and Phil Jackson were so at odds, because they really were so alike. Red was a teacher, as all the great coaches truly are, and one whose mantra of sacrifice and teamwork transcended the individual. Phil Jackson most popularized this Zen appellation, but it perhaps is best represented now by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who Sunday accepted the award for the 2010-11 NBA Coach of the Year, the Red Auerbach trophy.

Tom Thibodeau really is the NBA’s Zen Master.

I was awakened to this notion in discussions with a friend of mine, Erv Ruhl, a retired psychology professor from Fresno State. Erv had been struck by a comment Kyle Korver made after the Bulls clinched the Pacers series. Someone asked about the Bulls looking ahead and Korver interrupted with a quip about whether the questioner knew the Bulls coach, a guy named Tom Thibodeau, whom we know chants the “one game at a time” mantra. But more than that, as Erv pointed out, Thibodeau has raised basketball teaching to an existential level. Bulls players now universally see the season and the playoffs only as far as the next practice, the next play, the next game.

It’s all they talk about, less rhetoric than lifestyle.

It’s something of the ultimate for a coach and teacher. Players routinely offer doltish clichés about one at a time. The Bulls believe it and live it like few teams I’ve ever been around because of Thibodeau.

Thibodeau doesn’t say it that way. But Bulls players have embraced the journey. They know now instinctively a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, that the jug fills only drop by drop.

Yes, classic Eastern philosophy.

And then there’s Thibs’:

“When you get a team that truly commits and everyone puts everything they have into it every day you don’t have to worry about anything else,” Thibodeau said at his press conference at the Berto Center Sunday. “You’ve done all that you can do. And that’s how I measure success. We know if we are doing the right thing every day, good will come.”

It’s one thing to promulgate those views, but then another to issue the imperative that resonates with the group. It’s the ultimate hope of the teacher. It is the Thibodeau liturgy repeated. Not championships or awards or matchups but doing your job hour by hour, day by day and being satisfied knowing you are prepared and taught the correct way that you will achieve what you are due to achieve.

The teacher opens the door, but you enter by yourself.

(click here to continue reading Thibs is Coach of Year and Zen Master | Blogs.Bulls.com.)

I will say that this year’s Bulls have been the most fun Bulls team to watch in a long, long time. Besides the rapid, explosive growth of Derrick Rose into super-stardom, there isn’t anyone else on the team who is a stellar, transcendent talent, and yet they won the most games of anyone in the league this year. Will they win a championship? I’d like to say yes, because I want them to succeed, but I’d be surprised if they did. But that’s looking too far ahead. Better just to watch each game and then go from there. You know, Thibs-like.

The Tribune Bulls beat writer, K.C. Johnson, adds about the Coach of the Year award:

The ritual became a game among the Bulls, no matter the player, no matter the hour.

Enter the Berto Center for a workout and glance up at the office window on the far north side of the building to see if Tom Thibodeau’s light was on.

“I don’t know if he gets here at 5 or 6 a.m.,” Luol Deng said. “But he’s here early. And he’s the last to leave.”

Joakim Noah put it more colorfully earlier this season.

“It’s kind of annoying,” he said playfully. “He lives at the gym. You can’t get away from him.”

Thibodeau’s tireless work ethic has led to success.

Capping his history-making rookie season, Thibodeau ran away with NBA Coach of the Year honors on Sunday, earning 76 first-place votes and landing on 113 of 119 ballots to post 475 points, far surpassing former Bulls and current 76ers coach Doug Collins. The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and Nuggets’ George Karl rounded out the top four.

Thibodeau, who tied Paul Westphal’s NBA record for most victories by a first-year coach at 62-20, joins Phil Jackson, Dick Motta and Johnny “Red” Kerr as franchise winners of Coach of the Year. He’s also the seventh first-year coach in NBA history to win the award, joining a list that includes Kerr and Thibodeau’s former boss in Boston, Doc Rivers, who texted him congratulations.

(click here to continue reading Chicago Bulls: Tom Thibodeau NBA’s Coach of the Year – chicagotribune.com.)

Chicago Bulls 2011 Expectations

Hoops from Yesteryear

I agree with Matt McHale’s assessment of the 2011 Chicago Bulls. I’ve watched more Bulls games this year for whatever reason, not every single game, but some or all of 60 or more out of the 82 regular season games, and there weren’t many victories that the Bulls destroyed their opponents. They out-worked, out-hustled, out-coached, and then let Derrick Rose win the game for them. The 2011 Bulls are an enjoyable team to root for because they aren’t the most star-studded roster – not the most talented, but willing to expend effort to compensate for their lack of South Beach-esque talent and hype.

No, what they did was not “storming” so much as it was grinding out win after gritty win. As the season wore on and other teams struggled with injuries, boredom, or a general pulling back of the throttle to reserve energy (both mental and physical) for the playoffs, the Bulls came out with the same level of focus and desire to win every game every night.

The Bulls were the league’s best regular season team not because they are the most talented group of players but because they wanted it more. Because their focus and intensity was more consistent than any other team in the Association.

And so now there’s been a major shift in perception. Remember: The Bulls were not expected to lead the East in regular season wins. Many people figured they would finish behind the Celtics, Heat and Magic at a bare minimum. Maybe the Hawks, too. And, as I’ve mentioned, there were people who genuinely believed that the Milwaukee Bucks might win the Central Division.

With great power comes great responsibility, right? Well, with 62 wins comes increased expectations. When the Bulls were grinding out win after regular season win, they were exceeding the expectations that had been set for them prior to the season. But now, because they were the league’s best team for 82 games, there are new expectations. Namely, that they should be steamrolling their opponents, especially lesser teams like the Pacers.

Look, I’m not trying to demean the players on this team, because they’re great guys. That said, the Bulls’ success this season has caused many people to overrate the team’s talent. I think this has happened for two reasons. First, because the Bulls have been so successful, people need to reframe the situation to better understand it. “Oh,” they decide, “these guys must be a lot better than I gave them credit for.”

Second, in the rush to argue against Rose’s MVP candidacy, it became a popular notion to suggest that his teammates were actually better (or even much better) than previously assumed. “Hey,” they pointed out, “check out those plus-minus numbers. The Bulls aren’t just Rose. They have a lot of really good players.”

I’m not sure that’s actually the case, though. If the Bulls truly had a lot of really good players, they wouldn’t have to start Bogans. No, what Chicago has are a lot of solid NBA contributors who bought into a concept (defense and teamwork) and played their butts off for six months.

I mean, let’s face facts. Carlos Boozer was a major free agent last summer, but he was definitely on the second tier of the most sought-after acquisitions. Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer might have been on the fourth tier. As far as I could tell, there were no bidding wars or trade battles for the services of C.J. Watson. Kurt Thomas is ancient. And everyone realizes that Omer Asik is a rookie with almost no offensive game to speak of and even less upper body strength, right?

Oh, for the record, I’m not saying any of this to boost Rose’s MVP resume. I just think that it’s worth reevaluating the updated perception of the Bulls. The 62-20 record looks overpowering, but this was not an overpowering team. The Bulls might be number one in terms of wins and losses, but in terms of pure talent, they might not be in the top five. They are very well coached, they play exceptionally hard and they believe in each other. Oh, and they have Rose to clean up any messes.

(click here to continue reading Game 2 Recap: Bulls 96, Pacers 90 » By The Horns.)


links for 2011-01-19

  • In 1964, Lyndon Johnson needed pants, so he called the Haggar clothing company and asked for some. The call was recorded (like all White House calls at the time), and has since become the stuff of legend. Johnson’s anatomically specific directions to Mr. Haggar are some of the most intimate words we’ve ever heard from the mouth of a President.

    We at Put This On took the historic original audio and gave it to animator Tawd Dorenfeld, who created this majestic fantasia of bungholiana.

    (tags: youtube LBJ humor)
  • In “The Soul of A Man,” director Wim Wenders looks at the dramatic tension in the blues between the sacred and the profane by exploring the music and lives of three of his favorite blues artists: Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir. Part history, part personal pilgrimage, the film tells the story of these lives in music through an extended fictional film sequence (recreations of ’20s and ’30s events – shot in silent-film, hand-crank style), rare archival footage, present-day documentary scenes and covers of their songs by contemporary musicians such as Shemekia Copeland, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Garland Jeffreys, Chris Thomas King, Cassandra Wilson, Nick Cave, Los Lobos, Eagle Eye Cherry, Vernon Reid, James “Blood” Ulmer, Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Marc Ribot, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Lucinda Williams and T-Bone Burnett.
  • Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr tweeted on Thursday that he is planning to write an autobiography. According to Marr, no deal has been made but he has been approached with a serious offer to pen a tell-all about his time in the Smiths.
    (tags: music_history)
  • How’s this for true grit? Famously combative, alcoholic, and drug-addled filmmaker Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs) is, as Chevy Chase might joke, “still dead” (he passed away in 1984 at the age of 59) — but that doesn’t mean Bloody Sam can’t make a comeback. Vulture has learned exclusively that producer Al Ruddy (The Godfather, Million Dollar Baby) recently unearthed a script for a Western called The Texans that Peckinpah wrote in 1980 but never got around to making.
    (tags: film)
  • Antonio McDyess is the chillest chill bro in the Association. He’s Serge Gainsbourg, stubbled, disheveled, and in love. McDyess is the serpentine rise of smoke from Tom Waits’ cigarette. He’s Chet Baker’s My Funny Valentine—the especially long version that forgets you’re listening. Antonio McDyess is all these things and a Quitman smile.
    Inky Lautman of the Philadelphia SPHAs, circa 1939-40
  • Orson Welles and I were talking one time about the relative merits of John Ford and Howard Hawks at their best, and finally Welles summed it up: “Hawks is great prose; Ford is poetry.” There haven’t really been very many poets in pictures, but the one pretty much everybody agrees about now is the Frenchman Jean Renoir. He was also Orson’s favorite director—as he is mine—and Ford was so impressed by Renoir’s Grand Illusion (l937) that he wanted to remake it in English. Luckily, studio-head Darryl Zanuck told him to forget it; he would “just fuck it up.”
    (tags: film_history film)

Scottie Pippen honored by Chicago Mayor’s Office

Michael Jordan Dunking on Dvorak Park

Chicago Bulls icon, Scottie Pippen, not pictured above, was feted by Mayor Daley and the City Council today

Bulls legend Scottie Pippen received formal recognition from the Chicago Mayor’s Office during Wednesday’s city council meeting at City Hall.

The council honored Pippen for his 17-year NBA career, and more recently, for being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and rejoining the Bulls as Team Ambassador.

“It was a historic moment for me personally to be among so many of the Chicago’s powerful politicians,” said Pippen. “Mayor Daley so many others who work at City Hall have done a tremendous job for the City of Chicago. For them to take a break from what I’m sure are 24-hour jobs running the city and providing so many of the things we enjoy meant a lot to me.”

As the legislative body of the city, the City Council usually meets once every month to exercise general and specific powers delegated by state statute. Mayor Richard M. Daley led the proceedings in which a resolution was read citing some of Pippen’s most prominent accomplishments.

Several moments were recalled by various aldermen who supported the proclamation, from Pippen’s dunk over the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing in the Chicago Stadium’s final game during the 1994 NBA Playoffs to carrying a sick and slumped Michael Jordan off the court during the 1997 NBA Finals in Utah.

Hoops the Gym

and I love this:

Alderman Patrick J. O’Connor of the 40th Ward echoed that sentiment, noting how often times the Bulls of the 1990s helped keep the city’s politics out of the headlines.

“I have a theory about politics in Chicago,” O’Connor told Pippen. “We love our sports teams so much that we only turn to politics when our sports teams aren’t doing real well. And you and the Bulls kept the city of Chicago politics off the front page for so long.”

“Thank you!” interjected Mayor Daley as the council erupted in laughter.


(click to continue reading Scottie Pippen honored by Chicago Mayor’s Office | Bulls.)

RIP, Maurice Lucas

Charles Pierce remembers Portland Trailblazer legend, Maurice Lucas, in a reminiscence that begins:

Thirty-nine years ago this fall, I moved into the 11th floor of a 12-story dormitory at the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was a freshman at Marquette University. (The dorm, McCormick Hall, is round and shaped like a beer can, which is remarkably appropriate in more than the metaphorical sense, and the building has been rumored for almost 40 years to be sinking into middle Earth.) Not long after I moved in, I found myself intrigued by the music coming out from under the door of the room next to mine — music which I now know to have been “Eurydice,” the closing track from Weather Report’s astounding debut album. (Mmmmmm. Wayne Shorter!) As I was listening, an extremely large man came out of the room and introduced himself. “Pretty cool, isn’t it?’ he said.

And that was how I met Maurice Lucas.

For the next couple of years, we talked about music, at least as much as Luke talked to anyone, him being what you call your campus celebrity and all during the glory days of Warrior basketball and the high-sun period of Al McGuire Era. Whatever I know about any jazz recorded after the big band records to which my father listened — Mmmmmmm. Basie! — I learned from Luke, with whom I don’t believe I ever exchanged four words about basketball.

(click to continue reading RIP, Maurice Lucas – Charles Pierce Blog – Boston sports news – Boston.com.)

Mo Lucas always seemed like an interesting cat, and obviously someone that Bill Walton accorded immense respect to, which is also worth something…

The NYT has a more conventional obit

Reading Around on July 28th through July 29th

A few interesting links collected July 28th through July 29th:

  • George Bush’s Book Will Shape the 2010 Campaign – The Daily Beast – Still, that has not stopped some Republicans, traumatized over the last two election cycles, from fearing the worst. “Monumentally bad timing” was the reaction of one former Bush aide who learned of the book release date. Another prominent conservative compared the Bushies’ public-relations savvy to LeBron James. “Selfish and stupid” was another noted right-wing columnist’s reaction. Democrats, meanwhile, are gleeful.
  • Hail, Hail, Rock’n’Roll | Laura Barton – Walk around the streets near my home in east London and the area’s past will soon rise up to meet you – carved above door-frames, etched into glass and painted on awnings and the sides of buildings are the ghost-signs of former industries: shop-fronts and faded adverts for Blooms Pianos and Gillette Razors; fountain pens, glass, stoves and whisky; Strongs Meat and Donovan Brothers’ Paper Bags. This was once an area famed for furniture and shoemakers, matches and model-makers, but as the industry moved elsewhere many of the names drifted into obscurity, too: Lesney, Bailey & Sloper, Bespoke Shoes, Berger, Jenson & Nicholson, Batey & Co, F Puckeridge & Nephew. As the area reinvents itself with luxury flats and new train lines, galleries and delicatessens, the few names that remain serve as faded, barely noticed reminders of the vibrant history of this part of the city.
  • Apple – Safari – Safari Extensions Gallery – Extensions are a great way for you to add new features to Safari 5.0.1. Built by developers, Safari Extensions use the latest HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript web technologies. And they’re digitally signed and sandboxed for improved security. You can install extensions with one click — no need to restart Safari.
  • New Documentary Explores History Of Jews and Basketball : NPR – todays Golden State Warriors were the Philadelphia Warriors. They started from the Philadelphia Sphas, the South Philadelphia Hebrew All-Stars. That team was founded by Eddie Gottlieb in the 1920s at the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. He formed a league as a kid and the team as a kid. And that team went on to become an NBA team, in essence. And he was one of the original NBA owners.

Reading Around on July 8th through July 15th

A few interesting links collected July 8th through July 15th:

  • CAFE MPG Standards and Driving – How CAFE rules will change the way we drive – Popular Mechanics – (Photo by swanksalot) The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations were recently stiffened by the largest degree in over two decades. Also, fuel-economy targets will be based on the car’s footprint—the area defined by multiplying the vehicle’s wheelbase by the track width—and every model must improve. It’s estimated that these changes will increase new-car fuel economy by about 24 percent by 2016. Here’s what automakers will do to get there.
  • Yellow Smart Car

  • LeBron James Is A Cocksucker – It doesn’t matter where he opts to go. If he goes to Chicago, he’s a cocksucker. If he goes to Miami, he’s a cocksucker. Even if he goes back to Cleveland, he’s a goddamn cocksucker. He’s a self-aggrandizing sack of shit, and ESPN is a bunch of pussy-whipped enablers for giving him a free hour of airtime
  • Kagan got “Nasty” – Elana Kagan filed an amicus brief arguing that 2 Live Crew’s album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, which had been banned by a federal judge because of its sexual content, wasn’t obscene in part because no one could possibly be aroused by it. “Nasty does not physically excite anyone who hears it,” Kagan wrote, “much less arouse a shameful and morbid sexual response.” A higher court ultimately overturned the ban.

See Ya Later Kirk Hinrich

Kirk Hinrich
Kirk Hinrich, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

with a pool of blood (or Chicago skyline screen)

see ya later Kirk

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has traded guard Kirk Hinrich, the draft rights to forward Kevin Seraphin and cash considerations to the Washington Wizards in exchange to the draft rights to forward Vladimir Veremeenko.

“During this free agency period, we wanted to aggressively position ourselves to explore every avenue possible to improve our team. That said, it was not an easy decision for us trade Kirk, but one that we felt was necessary in order to make the Chicago Bulls a better basketball team,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “Since Kirk joined us back in 2003, he came to play every time he stepped on the court and he always gave 100 percent. We will miss Kirk and wish him the best of luck.”

Hinrich leaves the Bulls ranking first in team history in three-point field goals made (812), first in three-point field goals attempted (2,144), fourth in assists (3,004), fourth in steals (655), fifth in turnovers (1,116), sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.379), sixth in disqualifications (30), seventh in minutes played (17,502), eighth in points (6,902) and 10th in field goals made (2,510).

Reading Around on July 8th

Some additional reading July 8th from 07:55 to 15:00:

  • BULLS: What would Michael do? Not this! – Michael Jordan probably hurt himself and his teams, at times, by refusing, as he said, to be “a show pony.” Jordan sold a lot of products and I probably got him in trouble some when I noted his joking remark that Republicans buy sneakers, too. Michael was not a political guy. And the way it has gone perhaps he was right. But Jordan always understood you don’t denigrate the game to enhance yourself, which is what James has done.
  • Lebron James: The Uncool | The Nation – Right now Lebron is acting less cool than Al Gore on Soul Train. He should be treating this remarkable free agent process like the Fonz. Instead the King is being pure Potsie. What would Fonzie do? Let’s remember 1995 when Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls after a season and a half playing minor league baseball. Jordan sent a fax to the media that said simply, “I’m back.” We had another Fonzie moment just yesterday when 21 year old NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant quietly re-upped for five more years with his thrilling, small market squad of infinite promise, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Blago Jogging on May Street

  • Yahoo! Respuestas blog » Archivo del Blog » La guía de Respuestas para: Correr – Las imágenes de esta entrada son de swanksalot y de Josiah Mackenzie, quienes comparten su trabajo en Flickr.

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 NBA.com: Notes from TNT’s exclusive interview with President Obama.)

The entire interview (Flash), uncut:


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.

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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 November 11th through November 12th

A few interesting links collected November 11th through November 12th:

  • Joakim Noah is the spice in Rick Morrissey’s salsa escapade – TrueHoop Blog – ESPN – “When Noah was drafted, [Rick ] Morrissey wrote a column called “You Must Be Joakim” predicting Noah would be a bust, and promising to eat his column, with salsa, if Noah turned into a good NBA player.

    When I finally saw the video, one thing stands out: Joakim Noah is not only there watching, but he’s up out of his chair, cheering and dancing!

    After Morrissey’s droning preamble, in which he doesn’t really admit he was wrong, but instead asks Noah about how he got so dramatically better (as if nobody could have possibly foreseen this two-time NCAA champion succeeding — let the record reflect that when Noah was selected, David Thorpe said the Bulls would win a championship with Noah), it gets to eating time.

    Noah claps his hands together, shouting “NOW WE’RE EATING THE SALSA! NOW THE GOOD PART!”

    Indeed, because of Noah’s energy, this is the good part. ”

  • Letters of Note: Please – no preferential treatment – Asimov was a mensch
  • allmusic – Alone Again Or – Written by second guitarist Bryan MacLean in the early ’60s in musical tribute to his mother, a flamenco dancer, “Alone Again Or” is lushly beautiful, but also achingly sad, thanks both to MacLean’s distressed lost-love lyrics and Lee’s high-register vocals, which give the song an off-kilter quality due to the fact (also revealed in the reissue’s liner notes) that Lee’s vocals were originally meant to be simply a high harmony to MacLean’s gruffer lead, but Lee pushed his own vocals front and center, mixing MacLean out almost entirely, during the album’s final mix. In both respects, then, it fits perfectly as the start of Forever Changes, a jaundiced “no thank you” to the supposed sunshine and good vibes of the Summer of Love as well as Arthur Lee’s own Pet Sounds, the album he intended as his personal artistic summation.