Who's Funding Kevin Johnson's Secret Government? — Deadspin's detailed report on a developing scandal involving Sacramento, California mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson's alleged misuse of the power of his office to benefit for-profit charter schools. [more inside]
One of the most influential sports figures you've never heard of, Darryl Dawkins has passed at the age of 58. Dawkins was an NBA star in the flashy, no-defense, pre-Michael Jordan days, an early Nike-splashed icon, with multiple self-styled nicknames, although "Chocolate Thunder," was bestowed on him by Stevie Wonder. Think of the image of a basketball player shattering the backboard glass. You're thinking of Dawkins.
Since LeBron James has made his film debut, it is now possible to link every player in NBA history to nearly every actor in film history through him in an expanded version of the Kevin Bacon Game. Sure, Kareem and Shaq, among others, might have bridged this particular media gap already, but they didn't have a web app making it easy to figure out how Russell Westbrook connects to Clint Eastwood or Dolph Schayes to Dolph Lundgren. (previously: Erdős-Bacon numbers and Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath numbers) [more inside]
"11 books, including memoir, history, detective fiction and juvenile novels; magazine articles published in everything from the socialist Jacobin to the resolutely Main Street Rotarian; a gig commenting on current events for TIME following a run as a pop culture columnist for The Huffington Post; two films about his life, including HBO’s forthcoming Kareem: A Minority of One; and appearances on shows such as Meet the Press, where he’ll pose questions such as, 'Why must peaceful Muslims like myself answer for violent perversions of that religion while their counterparts in other faiths get a pass?' After years of trying to break back into the NBA as a full-time assistant coach, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 68, has found both comfort and a calling as a man of letters and a public intellectual."
Being a teenager can be tough, even if you’re just an average kid dealing with everyday issues and trying to blend in at high school. Being a teenager who is constantly under the microscope and has a ridiculous amount of money, fame and temptations can be quite the experience – good and bad – as well.
Salaries, attendance figures, social media footprints, and other data from 17 pro sports leagues worldwide. Ever wondered who earns more, NBA athletes who went to college in Ohio or players in the Scottish Premier League? Or who has a higher payroll, the Minnesota Wild or the Kolkata Knight Riders? Or who has more twitter followers, Aston Villa or the Hiroshima Toyo Carp? Wonder no more.
TEN YEARS TO MIDNIGHT. Jon Bois (previously) follows up on last year's agonizing, slow death of the NBA with its perfect, beautiful opposite. [more inside]
An oral history of the 2009-10 Kentucky basketball season. Before those guys, the narrative on "one-and-done" basketball players was almost always the same. The kids were selfish and egotistical, using college only as a place to pad their stats before inevitably departing for the NBA. They didn't care about their team or their school, or class at all; heck, the commonly held belief was that most kids stopped attending classes after the first semester (if they went at all). As it turned out, one-and-done players could come to a school, play hard, work as a team, go to class and win big.
Anthony Mason, iconic Knicks player, dead at 48. Daily Beast: Soul of the 90's. Where are they now in Sports? video interview.
The Philadelphia 76ers are currently the worst team in basketball, but in terms of expected value, they are crushing. [more inside]
A Life On The Line: For four decades, other gamblers have tried to be Billy Walters while investigators have tried to bring him down. And for four decades, the world's most successful sports bettor has outrun them all.
For 38-year-old Rubalcada, being at the M is a pleasing trip down memory lane, a visit to his primary workplace throughout 2010 and 2011. Back then, he had nearly $1 million in his account at the M. Dressed in slacks and a sport coat, he would saunter in and bet six figures a week on NFL and college games. He was, M Resort staffers say, one of the sportsbook's "bigger guys" -- a high roller who could afford to bet very, very big.[more inside]
But he wasn't that at all.
In fact, Rubalcada was a faceless grunt in the most successful gambling enterprise of all time.
"Great athletes sometimes find themselves in these clarifying final acts. Shaq retired in a cloud of chummy nonchalance. Jordan went out on a play that completed the perfection of his all-important legacy (and then came back to screw it up, in a move that told us just as much about what drove him). Most of the time, though, careers wind down in ways that mean nothing except that time is passing. Remember Karl Malone in Los Angeles? This season is the distillation of the go-it-alone challenge Kobe set for himself back when O’Neal and Phil Jackson left L.A., or even sooner — Kobe, remember, is the star player who invited none of his teammates to his wedding. (It’s a wonder he invited his wife.) He can’t win, a fact that has no apparent bearing on the fury with which he is trying. We’re seeing Kobe stripped of everything except the will to succeed, a will that persists despite being hopeless. We’re seeing him face his doom with a fearlessness that is ludicrous, profane, and maybe slightly inspiring. We’re seeing the existential Kobe Bryant." Grantland's Brian Phillips on Kobe Bryant. [more inside]
There will be several NBA games on TV this Christmas day. But they just don't make the basketball like they used to, do they? Perhaps you would be more interested in that Old Timey Basketball instead. For that we have the NBA On Youtube Google Doc. [more inside]
Just in time for the new season, it's The NBA Fan’s Guide to Talking Trash During Pickup Basketball
When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist … how is he an owner of an NBA team? My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care. As players, we’re not supposed to really care about anything but basketball. We’re just supposed to perform. To be honest, I didn’t ever really think about bringing up Sterling’s past. What was I supposed to do? Just picture me at the press conference my rookie year. “Uh … hey, guys, before we talk about today’s game, did you happen to see that investigative report on my owner?” -- The Boss. An Essay about working for the NBA, by Blake Griffin. [more inside]
After weeks of speculation, angst, and predictions from odd places, the world's best basketball player has announced he is returning to the team he started with, in the state where he grew up. The reactions, and bits, have just started to roll in. Meanwhile, in Cleveland...
Grantland's longform piece on former Philadelphia high school basketball superstar Eddie Griffin, whose brief career and life ended in 2007 when he crashed his SUV into a train. [more inside]
Ever felt as though the ups and downs of the NBA playoffs and the chase for a ring is like an epic tale? Game of Thrones, NBA edition, part 1. [YouTube, 2:03] & Game of Thrones, NBA edition, part 2. [YouTube, 2:11]
Why Isn't Delonte West in the NBA? David Haglund takes a detailed look at the treatment and perception of mental illness and "crazy" behavior in the NBA and in the sports world at large. [more inside]
The Los Angeles Clippers will be sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The sale -- forced by the NBA's kicking out current owner (and racist slumlord) Donald Sterling -- will be formally conducted by the Sterling Family Trust, which technically owns the team. The Trust is currently controlled solely by Sterling's wife Shelly, who had her husband declared mentally incompetent after a month of him declaring that he would never sell and that Magic Johnson is a bad role model. [more inside]
Amos Barshad of Grantland talks to Darcy Frey and the basketball players featured in the classic book The Last Shot 20 years after the book's release.
The idea of a Bull's thigh muscle so freaks the other young ladies at the table that one of Miss Johnson's shrimps falls out of its cocktail sauce and Miss Mendoza holds her hand over her own mouth and screams. "This muscle right here," says Miss Boyd. "Right above the knee. My God! That's my downfall."
Hack-a-Shaq, inconsistent officiating, poisoned room service, and the road to the last NBA three-peat: Grantland's oral history of the 2002 Western Conference finals. [more inside]
The Return of Beeftank Football legend Clarence Beeftank gives basketball a try.
Bill Simmons, Grantland boss and 30 for 30 executive producer, went from a little known Boston blogger to one of the most successful sports writers in the history of American media. Rolling Stone's Rob Tannenbaum took a deeper look at Simmons.
Donald Sterling (previously), owner of the Clippers, recently had a conversation with his girlfriend, where he complained about the photo she posted to Instagram of her with a black man, who happened to be Magic Johnson. Reaction from players, former players, and coaches has been strong. From the owners? Not so much. The league? They want to wait and see. [more inside]
The NBA season has ended, and the playoffs have begun, causing a figurative ton of internet ink to be spilled on predictions and power rankings. But one word in particular seems to keep popping up in articles to describe white players like Steve Novak, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Andrew Bogut, and Josh McRoberts: "Dorky." And the writers that use it are inevitably white. Triangle Offense's Khalid Saalam (previously) thinks they should probably cut that out.
It's been over a month since our last Jon Bois post, and longer then that since the end of Breaking Madden, so feast your eyeballs on his newest series, NBA Y2K. In this first installment, he aspires to take the Philadelphia '76ers to an 0-82 season.
Inspired by video games such as NBA 2K14, SBNation's sports blogger Jon Bois decided to create a sports video game of his very own. It went terribly.
"What you’re about to see are hundreds of men across two sports not merely tolerating a gay player because he’s a peer in their league, but actually accepting him because he’s their friend." Former NFL linebacker, current sports analyst, and long-time equal rights proponent Scott Fujita writes about 'Michael Sam, Jason Collins paving the way for a better workplace, world'.
He played last night in a 108-102 win against the LA Lakers. After a 10 month hiatus from playing in the NBA, Collins became the first openly gay athlete to compete in any of the US's 4 major team sports. [more inside]
Shaqzine. What is Shaqzine? A zine about Shaq. A weird, supernatural, timely, informative zine full of truthiness. [more inside]
Databall. With an ocean of new statistical information available, the NBA could be on the verge of understanding the value of every single movement on the court.
Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
After a weekend in which tight end Rob Gronkowski and safety Tyrann Mathieu both sustained season-ending tears to their anterior cruciate ligaments, many NFL fans are wondering why there seem to be more such injuries this season than in seasons past. Grantland looks at the dreaded ACL tear and tries to solve the puzzle. [more inside]
Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
"I’ve been waiting 10 years for someone to ask about his life, not his death". The amazing life — and mysterious death — of former NBA player Bison Dele.
As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, the last year of the reign of Commissioner David Stern, Sports Business Journal takes an in-depth look at his successor, New Media enthusiast, marathon runner, and fan of competitive balance, Adam Silver. [more inside]
The Charlotte Hornets are back! This may signal a return to the iconic teal and purple color scheme made so popular by Starter jackets.
Whatever you think about Sampson...may say more about you than about him. The Washington Post's Kathy Orton tracks the rise and fade of Basketball Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson. [more inside]
Jason Collins, a veteran NBA center currently playing for the Washington Wizards, is now the first active player in major league American sports to openly declare he is gay.
Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building. Wright Thompson of ESPN: The Magazine profiles Michael Jordan as he turns 50 and finds himself in a world where his body may age, but his obsessive drive to compete never goes away.
Sheed and Stack in the Big Apple is a new piece by Grantland's Jonathan Abrams about the NBA veterans Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse
In the 1990's, Michael Doret was tasked with creating a new logo for the New York Knicks. Here is the story of how his ideas were scaled back to create the logo the team uses to this day.
Royce White is a professional American basketball player who suffers from general anxiety disorder. Though he was considered one of the best talents in last year's NBA draft, he was not selected until the 16th pick, due to concerns over his mental health and his avowed reluctance to fly. Although the NBA season is only a couple of weeks old, White and his team, the Houston Rockets, are already having difficulty determining how to manage his health while meeting the professional demands of the NBA. LINKS: Documentary highlighting White's anxiety // Highlights of White while at Iowa State // White's Twitter account (where he is currently tweeting about his situation)