Reading Around on March 12th

Some additional reading March 12th from 19:11 to 21:58:

  • Mad Dog Blog – NBA players with Accounts – “I had no idea what Twitter was and so I decided to do some research and really figure it out. As I was checking on it I found someone’s blog who pointed out that a bunch of NBA players have Twitter accounts. Then on my own I found some other NBA players with accounts. Some of the players are listed below.

    Chris Bosh
    Andrew bogut
    Danny Granger
    Steve Nash
    Charlie Villanueva
    Tyson Chandler
    Jalen Rose
    Dwight Howard

    maybe. Some of these seem fake, or near fake.

  • Fdic: Banks Didn’t Pay Into FDIC Coffers From 1996 To 2006 – For 10 years—including the boom times banks enjoyed in the first half of this decade—the FDIC was prevented from collecting fees from 95% of financial institutions, which it would have used to further build up its safety net in the event it would someday have to bail out a bunch of stupid losers…

    Cornelius Hurley, director of the Boston University law school’s Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law, [said] if the FDIC has to take over a large bank—say, Citibank—the funds that remain would be drained “in a flash.”
    “Typically you would build up a reserve during the halcyon days to protect yourselves during a recession,” he said, calling the decision to stop collecting most premiums “a political one” that was pushed by banks and not based on strict accounting principles.

    Of course the American Banking Association says it made no sense to pay into the FDIC during those 10 years because they had more than enough money. Congress, not surprisingly, agreed with them.

Reading Around on March 3rd through March 4th

A few interesting links collected March 3rd through March 4th:

  • Warnings: Going To The Doc? Be Sure You Don't Sign A Gag Order – " says it's planning on creating a "Wall of Shame" that will list all the doctors who are known to use the Medical Justice waivers—around 2,000 so far, according to Medical Justice.
    John Swapceinski, co-founder of, said that in recent months, six doctors have asked him to remove negative online comments based on patients' signed waivers. He has refused.

    "They're basically forcing the patients to choose between health care and their First Amendment rights, and I really find that repulsive," Swapceinski said."

  • Johnny "Red" Kerr: Man of pleasures and passions — – "This disclosure sparked a discussion about our shared love of music. When Red asked for some of my favorite artists, I mentioned acts as varied as Uncle Tupelo, the Clash and Alejandro Escovedo and didn't give it much more thought.

    About a week later, Red arrived at the United Center for a game with a stack of CDs in his hand.

    "Here," he said, handing them over. "I burned you a bunch of your favorite artists. I really like that Uncle Tupelo. Thanks for turning me onto them."

    He was 68 at the time."

Reading Around on February 27th through February 28th

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

  • Debunking the Clean Coal Myth : EcoLocalizer – “There is no such thing as “clean coal” in the U.S. today. Coal is responsible for 32% of CO2 emissions in this country and 83% of the CO2 emissions from producing our electricity. In theory, we could retrofit this nation’s coal plants to capture their pollution and store it. Here is my question: If every single coal plant needs to be revamped to be truly “clean,” why not just invest that time and money in truly clean, renewables?” [Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Seth Anderson]
  • April Winchell » Barack Obama is tired of your motherfucking shit – Ray, a fellow classmate of Obama’s, was also bi-racial, and also trying to define himself. But what set him apart was his colorful manner of self-expression. Ray cursed like a motherfucker.

    This would all be snickerworthy enough, but it turns out that Obama actually read the audiobook version of Dreams From My Father.

    And that means he read Ray’s quotes.

    And that means you’re about to hear the President of United States using language that would finish Cheney off once and for all.

  • Chicago Reader Blogs: Chicagoland Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all: The Chicago Journalism Town Hall – “In other words: journalism isn’t dying. (Journalists are dying, of course, but even I don’t blame the Huffington Post for that.) The institutions are dying. That’s it. We’ve isolated the problem!

    Journalists (I will irresponsibly use this as a synonym for “people who work in broadcast or print,” even though we’re all kind of journalists, which I will get to later) blame the bloggers (ditto, for people who work online). Bloggers blame the journalists. Everyone blames the economy, and management. Was it Ben Goldberger in the Blog with the Aggregator? Or was it Eric Zorn in the Newspaper with the Inverted Pyramid, or Sam Zell in the Boardroom with the ESOP?”

  • John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago | Mother Jones – “Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.”


  • BULLS: Sam Smith: He was always Stormin’ – “Chicago understood Norm because it is known as the Second City. It is in the flyover region. Norm couldn’t crack the big time and run with the big boys, not among the playing elite and not afterward. But he never accepted being less than them and always was sticking his foot in the door to remind them he wasn’t going away.

    Norm was like us. Never really appreciated despite working so hard at it and giving everything he had every time. Norm broadcast harder than some guys played the game, and he let them know it. Someone was speaking up for us, and we loved Norm for that. And he loved us because he understood, if not accepted, rejection.”

  • SLAM ONLINE | » First Person: Norm Van Lier – “It was my dad who helped me let go of my anger. Before he died in 1988, we watched “The Godfather” together. Afterward my dad asked me, “Why do you think the Bulls owe you anything?”

    I told him about this and that, slights and slams, stuff that had grown into huge obstacles in my mind.

    “Did they pay you on time?” Yes, sir. “Were their checks good?” Yes, sir.

    “Well, then they don’t owe you a thing. So get up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and go to work.”

    I swear, from that moment on, my attitude was completely different. I’ve not looked back since.”

  • The Sports Guy: Bill Simmons Welcome to the No Benjamins Association – ESPN Page 2 – Ru-oh.
    “For once, the league’s problems have nothing to do with talent, drugs, racial issues or how the sport is being played. With the country embroiled in its worst economic crisis in 80 years, the NBA is quietly bracing for its own little D-Day … only outsiders don’t fully realize or care. Clearly, we wouldn’t put this budding debacle on par with the Gulf War, the collapse of American car companies, the real estate quagmire, the implosion of Wall Street, the decline of the American dollar, the shaky footing of previously untouchable media institutions (newspapers, magazines, TV networks, movie studios and publishing companies), or even Vegas and the porn industry caving financially. “
  • Media Matters – Media Matters: In support of shunning – Will has made false claims about the Voting Rights Act and the New Deal. He made a claim about China drilling off the coast of Florida that was so wrong, even then-Vice President Cheney — who cited Will in repeating the claim — acknowledged it wasn’t true. When even Dick Cheney thinks you’ve gone too far in spouting pro-drilling falsehoods, you have a problem. But neither Will nor the Post corrected the error.

    Last year, Will claimed in his Newsweek column and on ABC that Social Security taxes are levied based on household income. Not true. He claimed that McCain won more votes from independents during the primaries than Obama did. Wrong. He claimed most minimum-wage earners are students or part-time employees. False. Will has even lied about Hillary Clinton’s Yankees fandom.

    Basically, George Will routinely makes false claims large and small, holds politicians to disparate standards, and engages in ethically dubious conduct on behalf of his preferred candidates.

  • The George Will Affair : CJR – Undeterred, on Tuesday, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth, and Media Matters for America sent a joint letter to the Post reiterating the call for some form of correction or clarification. It cited three key problems with Will’s column: that he misused data on global sea ice levels from the Arctic Climate Research Center; that he misrepresented the World Meteorological Organization’s position on global warming and climate trends; and that he “rehashed the discredited myth that in the 1970s, there was broad scientific consensus that the Earth faced an imminent global cooling threat.”

    “George Will is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts,” the letter concluded. “We respectfully ask that you immediately make your readers aware of the glaring misinformation in Will’s column.” But the Post’s position remains the same.

Reading Around on February 26th

Some additional reading February 26th from 17:50 to 18:48:

  • Chicago Reader | Norm Van Lier | Chicago Bulls – RIP – Awesome article from 1994 re the recently departed Stormin’ Norm Van Lier. A little bit of flash, 1970s beanbag bong hits, and some racism that still lingered twenty years (and fifteen years past that).”There was a time, not long before Michael Jordan, when Norm Van Lier was the best guard who’d ever played for the Bulls and was worshiped by basketball fans all over Chicago.”
  • Chicago Reader Blogs: News Bites – Quite interesting discussion of what newspapers might turn into, or not, and what might replace them, or not. Could one be a reporter for $41,000 a year, before taxes? Happily?

Reading Around on February 8th through February 9th

A few interesting links collected February 8th through February 9th:

  • The Kaplan Daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln – The Forensic Evidence – Numerous accounts have revealed that Lincoln underwent a noticeable change in his physical appearance beginning in January 1841 as a result of a grave emotional crisis {6}. This coincides with his reported failure to go through with his scheduled marriage to Mary Todd, leaving her literally waiting for him at the altar. (They were married the following year.) This emotional crisis, just one of a series of such episodes to plague him throughout his life, was the cause of Lincoln losing a considerable amount of weight
  • Breaking Down the 2009 Trade Deadline | Dabullz – Photo by swanksalot on Flickr

Reading Around on January 24th through January 25th

A few interesting links collected January 24th through January 25th:

  • Want to Know What Flickr Thinks Should be Censored, Public Art, Museum Paintings and Screenshots of the Flickr Blog When They’re Critical of Flickr | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection – Censorship and communication re: censorship is the consistently bad part of Flickr, ever since their beginnings, actually. Early on, Flickr marked my entire stream as “restricted”, but I never did find out why. “If you’d like to see if Flickr is censoring any of your images as well, go to the Flickr Organizer and click on “more options” under the search function and then tell the organizer to show you only “Restricted” content. You might just be surprised that Flickr has censored some of your images as well.”
  • Johnny Red Kerr – Peter Vecsey – “On that disheartening note, longtime Bulls broadcaster John “Red” Kerr is ailing with prostate cancer. After working the microphone for the first seven or eight games this season, the 33-year veteran and expansion team’s original coach (of the year, 1966-67, gaining entry to the playoffs) was forced to stay close to home.

    A ceremony honoring Kerr’s service to the franchise has been moved up from April to the second week of February. A statue in his likeness, sculpted by the same artist who carved Michael Jordan’s image, will be placed outside the United Center in the same vicinity as His Airness.

    Conspicuously absent from the Hall of Fame as a contributor, Kerr was a better-than-average center (13.8 points, 11. 2 rebounds) for 12 seasons with Syracuse, Philadelphia and Baltimore. His biggest achievement in my eyes, though, was recognizing the greatness of Julius Erving and George Gervin as GM of the ABA Virginia Squires long before anyone else.”

Sam Smith is Free

Sam Smith aka Squiggly Catchypants is free from the tyranny of being a newspaper sports writer, and it makes him giddy. Smith was the long time NBA columnist at the Tribune, and it did feel a bit weird to start a new NBA season without Smith’s two page overview. In response to a question from a reader1, Smith responds2:

Sam: Free at last. … I agree with you, though some of my colleagues, like my buddy Mike Imrem from the Herald, always are whining about my columns being too long. Though with the internet, they are not heavy no matter the length, which is what I keep reminding him. I believe this is the difference between a New York Times reader and a Sun Times or Tribune reader. I don’t understand what’s wrong with being more informed. I always say you can stop reading anytime you want. It seems to me the longest books are the classics. There’s not many Woody Allen essays in classic literature, though I read those we well and as Woody said you could begin to believe in a Supreme Being after thumbing through a Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

The newspaper business, to my horror, has been disappearing and there were growing limitations on what you could write, even on the internet since they often wanted to adapt it for the newspaper. I’m freed from that now. There’s so much that goes on in games that fans are unaware of-and aware of–I often feel I don’t even write enough. I’ve long thought the traditional newspaper business doesn’t have enough respect for readership in how little they give them and in such a simplistic form. I believe readers want more and want to know more, and I’m glad this format with gives me that opportunity. As Thabo would say, “Did you trade me today?”

[From BULLS: Ask Sam | 11.13.08]

As long as Smith is happy with his new pay and pension plan, seems like a win for fans of the NBA, although probably not Mark Cuban3. Also somewhat ironic, since Smith complained about bloggers a while ago, though probably before he really understood the totality of the range of blogs. There are crap writers4 and there are more thoughtful, well written blogs. Most bloggers don’t even work in their parents basement!

and somebody insisted upon this disclaimer:

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors.

  1. from Mat: It seems you write more long articles now than when you were working for the Chicago Tribune. Am I right? If yes, that’s a good point for your readers! []
  2. and I’ve left in the typos for your inner editor to spot []
  3. who famously did not appreciate some of Smith’s trade rumors and so forth []
  4. almost like your humble blogger, but I do have my moments of clarity, ahem []

FreeDarko presents The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac

“FreeDarko presents The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today’s Game” (Bethlehem Shoals, Dr. Lawyer IndianChief, Silverbird 5000, Brown Recluse Esq.)

Received my copy today. Looks like a lot of fun. Bloggers making good – the tome was written by Bethlehem Shoals (Author), Dr. Lawyer IndianChief (Author), Silverbird 5000 (Author), Brown Recluse Esq. (Author), Big Baby Belafonte (Illustrator). Excerpts are available if you want to dip your toe in FreeDarko waters. I jumped right in on the strength of their brand.

Mellos Nuts

The indispensible, amazingly illustrated companion to today’s NBA—a roundball Rosetta Stone that hilariously decodes the trends and tendencies of pro basketball.

The NBA of the moment is a league of hugely charismatic celebrities, crackling aesthetic intrigue, sociopolitical undercurrents, and raw humanity: every Kobe Bryant pump-fake or LeBron James dunk holds within it a Shaq-size load of meaning. The Macro-Phenomenal NBA Almanac is a one-of-a-kind guide to this tumultuous and exciting league. In a series of brilliantly illustrated chapters—from Master Builders like Tim Duncan to Destiny’s Kids like Amare Stoudemire to Lost Souls like Lamar Odom—the almanac breaks down the styles of the NBA’s most colorful characters, showing what each one reveals through his play and conduct, both on the court and off. Filled with some of the smartest, funniest sportswriting known to fankind, this book will cast an entirely new light on one of our favorite games.

Basketball Jones

From the book site:

The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac functions simultaneously as the ultimate basketball book for the ultimate NBA fan as well as the ideal sports book for the person with no interest in sports. This book will satiate the passionate sports fan’s desire to see athleticism legitimized as a cultural element extending beyond mere cro-magnon brawn.

Within the pages of this tome, NBA hoopery collides with Japanese noise-rock, municipal politics, experimental zoology, Belgian surrealism, and behavioral economics like never before. The mystical deities of this hallowed league of professional basketball are finally given the treatment they deserved, as they are scrutinized not as men, but as embodiments of our own core cultural values and insecurities.

Whereas past sports-literary endeavors have attempted to paint sports as a metaphor for life or life as a metaphor for sport, we depict the National Basketball Association as a universe unlike any that one would encounter in daily existence. The NBA is a sphere in which Indiana farmboys, housing project messiahs, African tribesmen, and escapees from war-torn Eastern Bloc countries, coalesce by the nature of their superhuman physicality. Free Darko was born to make sense of it all.

Awesome I say, awesome indeed.
One other point: the book is well designed, slick, with heavy paper stock, and brightly colored illustrations. Not a tri-fold manifesto published at night at a local copy shop, but a book that feels like it is something.

Charles Barkley for Governor!

Charley Barkley doesn’t need my financial support, obviously, nor would I ever consider moving to Alabama to vote for him, but I sincerely hope Mr. Barkley does run for Governor of Alabama in 2014. Alabama, and the nation, could use the Round Mound of Rebound.

Campbell Brown: Uh, do you think…do you think that John McCain, do you think the Republican Party has used race as an issue in this race?

Charles Barkley: Oh, no question, and they’ve used cold1 words like welfare and things like that. When people pick on welfare, first of all when they use the word welfare, that is really swaying, trying to use that as a minority thing, because people assume — if they really knew anything about the numbers. There seven times as many white people on welfare as black. Because there’s more white people in America. But when I see a story on welfare on television, they only show black people. But most white people don’t know that sometimes there’s as many whites on welfare as black people. And they just use cold2 words, they use the terrorist thing now. You know, they try to use the Muslims thing. Those are racial innuendos, of course, and I’ve said it from the beginning, the only way with the economy in the situation it is — we’ve had eight terrible years under the Bush’s administration, with the war in Iraq — I’ve said it from the beginning. The only way they can win this election is make it about race. That’s the only way they can win. I wrote a chapter in one of my books about what happens in a race, when things are going bad, everybody kind of goes with their own tribe and the only way the Republican party can make this thing work is they get their tribe to get together and of course they use racial innuendo.

[From Transcript: Charles Barkley tells Brown ‘racism is a cancer’ –]

and Barkley echoes a frequently made point about the Christian Taliban aka fake Christians:

Brown: You, there has been a lot of polarizing rhetoric on both sides, frankly throughout this campaign. You yourself have called the evangelical base of the GOP fake Christians.

Barkley: Well, because they are so judgmental. And you know what is really interesting about that? I was actually defending John McCain when I said that, because they were saying when he first got nominated that he is not part of the evangelicals. You got to respect Sen. McCain. What I meant by that and I still stick by it — my idea of religion is we are supposed to encourage people to love other people. I am a big pro-choice guy. I am a big gay marriage guy and they are so divisive and that is not my idea of religion. My idea of religion is we are supposed to bring people together. We are not supposed to judge other people.

Brown: But aren’t you judging them?

Barkley: They judge me. First of all the notion that you would vote for a president because he is against abortion or against gay marriage is absurd. I think politicians have three jobs.

No. 1 they should fix our public school system, they should make sure our neighborhoods are safe and they should give people economic opportunity. I don’t care who is gay, I don’t care who is pro-choice. I really think that is the only three jobs that our government and our elected officials should have and we obviously got to do something about the health care and this situation. But to elect a president and vote for a president just because he is against abortion and against gay marriage is absurd.

  1. obviously a typo: should be code []
  2. sic. s/b code []

Bulls Hire Del Negro

John Paxons Hand prints
[John Paxson’s Hand Prints, view large on black here]

Really? Vinny Del Negro? That’s the best coach the Bulls could get for coach number 17 in the franchise’s history?

Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, even Doc Rivers … they all had to start somewhere. The Bulls are hoping that Vinny Del Negro can start his coaching career and finish a Chicago rebuilding project that has hit a roadblock.

The team introduced their new coach on Wednesday. Del Negro had been the Phoenix Suns assistant general manager, but he has no coaching experience. He admitted that fact might be a challenge.

“I think that’s fair,” Del Negro said. “I haven’t coached before. … Winning builds confidence and there’s a young team here that needs a confidence boost, I think. I’m not a magician. I just can’t create things all of a sudden. It’s going to be a daily process. Those are fair questions, I don’t have a problem with that.”

The Bulls missed out on former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni, who chose the New York Knicks over Chicago, and Doug Collins, the ex-Bulls coach who threw his name into the ring and then pulled out.

Coming off the courtship of two experienced coaches, the hiring of someone who hasn’t roamed the sidelines has created a stir in Chicago, but general manager John Paxson isn’t concerned.

[From ESPN – Bulls give Del Negro first coaching job on Wednesday – NBA]

I’m glad the Bulls didn’t hire Larry Brown, glad they didn’t hire Rick Carlisle, glad that Doug Collins decided to stay a middle-of-the-road television analyst spouting platitudes and not become a middle-of-the-road coach screaming platitudes. Avery Johnson would have been an interesting choice, D’Antoni would have been amusing (regular season victories are fun to watch too), Flip Saunders and his face-grimace might have helped the Bulls to the playoffs, and even to the second round. There were others out there with coaching credits, Terry Porter seems like he knows some things of use, but Vinny Del Negro? Really? We’ll see. If the Bulls don’t win 45 games, I wouldn’t be surprised if John Paxson got the boot.

Paul Pierce is a Tough Hombre

Rock Art Kells

Bill Simmons, Boston sports fan that he is, was amused by

the way the L.A. fans reacted to Paul Pierce, booing him for four quarters, shouting “faker!” at him and even carrying signs like, “Hey, Pierce, this is the Finals. Not the Oscars!” I’m starting to wonder if KneeGate is going to follow him for the rest of his career. Before it does, allow me to make two points in his defense since I have followed him for 10 years:

1. Before the 2000-01 season, Pierce was stabbed 11 times at a Boston nightclub, suffered a collapsed lung and nearly bled to death while staggering to the hospital. Less than two weeks later, he played in Boston’s first exhibition game. If the same thing had happened to Vince Carter, he would still be on the injured list seven years later.

2. During the 2002-03 season, Pierce got slammed face-first to the floor by Amare Stoudemire, breaking his two front teeth. Thirty minutes later, he was back playing with a mouthpiece. The following day, he underwent emergency dental surgery for seven hours. The day after that, he played against Portland with a mouthpiece and ended up hitting the game-winner.

In my opinion, he’s not only one of the toughest Celtics ever, he’s one of the toughest Boston athletes ever. Not counting Tankapalooza 2007 (when the team shelved Pierce with a knee injury for half the season even when he probably could have played), Pierce missed just 21 games in nine seasons and played through a variety of injuries and ailments for mostly horrendous teams. So for anyone to insinuate that he is either (A) weak or (B) someone who would milk an injury, is just insane. On top of that, for the Lakers’ fans to have the gall to question any other NBA star’s character is three times as insane. In retrospect, Pierce’s only mistake was not diffusing the Lakers fans before Game 3 by settling with his right knee out of court and buying it a $4 million diamond ring.

[From ESPN Page 2 – Simmons: You want answers? I think you’re entitled]

Before the playoffs had started, I predicted a Lakers-Celtics Finals (even as a Bulls/Spurs fan), and speculated if this could be a Lakers team I could root for, a first since the Showtime Lakers of the 80s. Ummm, no. Go Celtics!

By this stage of a playoff matchup in any sport, often one’s favorite team is out of the running, and to make the game(s) more interesting, one team gets selected as the team to root for, based on a myriad of minor factors, and not necessarily logic. I’ve never been a Celtic fan previously, and even though I don’t think much of Doc Rivers as a coach, enough of the Celtics have outsized personalities (KG, Pierce, Eddie House, Ray Allen, Poe, even Scott Pollard in a suit) that I am hoping for a Boston championship by Game 6. We’ll see.

Oh, and the rest of Bill Simmons article about Game 3 (and previous) is worth reading, I chuckled a few times, and so can you…

Precaution Hombres

Jury Decides Against Knicks

During the trial, testimony by witnesses made the inner workings of the Garden, which like the Knicks is owned by Cablevision, appear dysfunctional, hostile and lewd. The Knick’s star guard, Stephon Marbury, testified that he had sex with a team intern in the trunk of his car after a group outing to a strip club in 2005.

[From Jury Decides Against Thomas and Knicks Owner – New York Times]

What kind of tricked-out trunk does Mr. Marbury have anyway? Is there a bed in it? a futon? I’m curious.

update: ooops. As we presumed, just a funny typo.

An earlier version of this article misstated the location of a 2005 sexual encounter between Stephon Marbury of the Knicks and a team intern. Mr. Marbury testified that it took place in his truck, not in the trunk of his car.

Marbury Trunk

Fake Franchise

Hoops the Gym

There is actually a long line of fake franchise players – players conceited enough to think that because teams are foolish enough to over-pay for their services, somehow they are franchise players.

Peter Vecsey, everyone’s favorite acrid commentator, writes:

Bottom line: Kobe has evolved into a fake franchise player . . . same as Chris Webber and Tracy McGrady and now Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal. They’re not conceited; they’re convinced they’re bad to the bone, all commanding max money – a lot more in K.G.’s (grandfathered) case.

All of ’em repeatedly failed to carry their respective teams to the Finals sans another superstar; McGrady can’t even get out of the first round with Yao Ming, as opposed to Allen Iverson and LeBron James, who reached the Supreme Court surrounded by role players.

Right. A year ago we made a list of the All Overpaid Team (high contracts, no playoff success). Who would be on it in 2007?

Lets see, off the top of my head (salary data from hoopshype):

Kobe Bryant ($19.4 Million)
Jermaine O’Neal ($19.7 M)
Kevin Garnett ($22 M)
Allen Iverson ($20.1 M)
Stephon Marbury ($20.1 M)
Shaquille O’Neal ($20 M)
Tracy McGrady ($19 M)
Steve Francis ($16.4 M)
Antawn Jamison ($16.3 M)
Paul Pierce ($16.3 M)
Ray Allen ($16 M)
Michael Redd ($14.5 M)
Pau Gasol ($13.7M)
Joe Johnson ($13.5 M)
Mike Bibby ($13.5 M)
Zach Randolph ($13.3 M)
Lamar Odom ($13.5 M)
Rashard Lewis ($15.6 – not sure if this is his new contract. Still he was second highest paid member of a horrible team, the Seattle/Oklahoma Sonics)

plus as reserves:
Jason Kidd ($19.7 M – though Kidd might be worth max money, if only he could make a jump shot)
Dirk Nowitzki ($16.3 M)

Some of these fellas did make the 2007 playoffs true (8 of these 20, but none got further than the first round. Strangely enough, these are among the highest salaries in the league (20 out of the top 30 salaries). Wonder if having a more flexible payroll would have helped their respective teams?

The question is moot /Rev. Jesse Jackson voice, as you go to the playoffs with the team you got, not the team you wish you had /fake Donald Rumsfeld voice

Nowitzki might get a pass, Dallas is a good, balanced team, and probably would have advanced against any team besides Golden State. But on the other hand, Michael Finley got a ring with Spurs coming off the bench as the second highest paid player on the league, courtesy of Mark Cuban’s largess.

Oh, and I guess Flip Saunders gets to coach, even though he made it to the conference finals. George Karl gets to be his assistant, and Pat Riley ball boy.

Michael Jordan shaved head look

I’m watching a classic 1988 Bulls vs. Pistons game (first aired on April 3, 1988) on NBA-TV, and I figured out why Jordan shaved his head the following summer. In this game, Jordan still has his normal hair, but is rapidly thinning in front. Somewhere buried on the Bulls bench (and playing a few minutes in 1st Q/2nd Q) is a center Granville Waiters, who had an advanced state of male pattern baldness, as much as Bozo the Clown in fact.

I’m sure a young Jordan, razzing Waiters one day in practice suddenly realized that he might be next, and decided to shave his remaining hair off to avoid the embarrassment. Perfectly logical.

update, rewound the TiVo, and Waiters definitely was the guy that started the trend. See this photo. Nuff said…

Granville Waiters

Granville Waiters as a Rocket

Jordan’s Hair Trigger, as it were. Ahem