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]
Whose tradition counts on the basketball courts? The Tall Blacks, New Zealand's basketball team did their new Haka before games with their Turkish opponents turning their backs and the American players looking just confused. Marc Hinton dares to suggest that the Haka, a New Zealand sports tradition for over a century, might not work internationally. The Haka is a Maori chant and dance given before battle to intimidate and challenge your opponents or as a way to mark important occasions. (Also, it's just plain awesome.)
Wyoming Indian High is located in Ethete, a tiny town of about 1,500 residents, in central Wyoming. The school itself is composed of approximately 200 students, mainly from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Reservation. Given the hoops mania, though, the gym is the largest in the state, capable of holding 3,000-plus rabid fans. That’s right. A bunch of Native American kids from the rez are the basketball kings of Wyoming. If you haven’t heard of this dominant team, you might know the area itself—the subject of consistently negative, reductive and often false representation(s) in the media, where life on the reservation is depicted as nothing but a sad, grim blight; and has served to reinforce all of the old prejudices about Native Americans."
Red Klotz, who led basketball’s biggest losers, the Washington Generals, dies at 93. In his time with the Generals, Mr. Klotz lost at least 14,000 games, or 15,000, or, according to some estimates, more than 20,000. “That sounds about right,” Mr. Klotz would shrug whenever someone tried to calculate the number. “I don’t count the losses,” he told the Washington City Paper in 2007. “It’s easier to keep track of the wins.” Mr. Klotz won six games, his biographer concluded. Or maybe it was four. Possibly just two. But definitely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, his team won one game for sure.
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...
The NCAA On Demand You Tube Channel features the NCAA Vault, which houses the complete game broadcasts of dozens of NCAA tournament games from as far back as 1976 up through 2011. Jimmy V's NC State team defeats Phi Slamma Jamma, some freshman named Michael Jordan sinks the game winner, Bird vs. Magic, Christian Laettner steps all over Kentucky, etc., etc. Lots of shining moments in there.
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]
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.
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.
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.
"Stevenson High's star player Jalen Brunson was in the process of scoring a Illinois state semifinal record 56 points when he sank what would have been a three-point shot. The basket was waived off as a foul. Brunson raised his hands in protest. Photographers captured the moment." But what really happened? [more inside]
Coach Dean Smith once led the Carolina Tarheels to a record number of victories. Now, at age 83, dementia has robbed him of the memories of the victories his teams won and the players and families who he so greatly impacted. Tommy Tomlinson pens a thoughtful and elegiac article that's as much about dementia as it is about the Tarheels and the winningest coach in men's basketball* *at time of retirement.
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.
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]
There's some confusion surrounding Dennis Rodman's most recent visit to North Korea and his espoused 'Basketball Diplomacy' mission. He sung Happy Birthday (potential auto-play sound) and bowed deeply to 'Dear Leader', before his team of ex-NBA players scored 39 points to 47 against the NK team. Rodman played only in the first half and then sat next to Kim during the second half. [more inside]
Kurtis Blow's "Basketball", 30 years later. A cagey look back at the hardest of hard odes to roundball.
Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
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]
It's the ultimate gamble. If the young man is successful, he comes home a hero, and becomes important. His life has meaning and purpose. But in order to succeed, he must first completely open up his soul to the consequences of failure, knowing there may be no way back out. This, above all else, is the hardest thing to do. 20 Minutes at Rucker Park.
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]
Before Jason Collins, there was her. "Owning The Middle: Brittney Griner wears bow ties, dates women and dunks with abandon. Call her names if you like -- she is done hiding from haters."
Is Your (U.S) State's Highest-Paid Employee A (Football) Coach? and why they deserve it. [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.
The Hershberger Award In March of 1973, the National Association of College Basketball Writers awarded The Hershberger Award to the top 15 rookies in the nation. It was never awarded again, and now we know why.
Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach After Video Goes Public: [New York Times] Rutgers fired Mike Rice, the coach of its men’s basketball team, on Wednesday, a day after a video [ESPN] surfaced showing him berating his players during practices, throwing balls at them, kicking them and taunting them with slurs.
"Our brackets have culled out all of the superfluous information and reduced the [NCAA] tournament to what matters most: colors and logos."
Last week, Robert Mays of Grantland put together a Best Alley-Oops of All Time mini-post (1/4 down the page), as a response to THIS. Today he had to redo his list because of THIS.
Len Bias has been dead for longer than he has been alive. For ESPN Michael Weinreb examines how the tragic death due to a cocaine overdose of this young, up and coming basketball star affected both the sport and American drug policy. Meanwhile at Deadspin, Tommy Craigs explains how twentytwo years after his death Len Bias still makes everyone crazy.
"I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is a game, that we are only as a good as our opponents, and whether you win or lose, to always give 100 percent." - Sue Wicks. When the Coronado High School Thunderbirds basketball team entered their last game of the season, Coach Peter Morales had more than winning on his mind.
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.
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.