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.
"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.
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]
"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]
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.
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]
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]
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.
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.
ESPN NBA blog The Hardwood Paroxysm has released a 2012-2013 Season Preview Guide [PDF] full of clever, opinionated (or sometimes data-driven) previews of each team and star player. [more inside]
In the 1950s, Maurice Stokes was a superstar basketball player for the Rochester (later Cincinnati) Royals. Stokes was Rookie of the Year and an NBA All-Star in each of his three seasons, trailing only Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson in scoring. But at age 24, a brain injury sustained in the last game of the 1958 season left him almost completely paralyzed. With his teammate alone in an unfamiliar city, Jack Twyman became his guardian and advocate. Stokes died in 1970, after years of care and friendship with the Twyman family; Jack Twyman [NYT] died yesterday. [more inside]
Grandpa Was A Baller The weird, wonderful tales of an early NBA player, who happens to be my grandfather.
Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
"Ever wondered why there are only 5 positions in basketball or how a player’s position is determined?" Maybe not. But analytics are becoming more and more important in basketball, to the point where some are questioning some fundamental 'facts' about the game. After the MIT Sloan Sports conference this year specifically addressed the role of analytics in basketball, there has been a bit of a backlash against the practice among commentators, coaches and fans. Yet the projects just keep coming, including this recently updated web project using some amazing mapping analysis: Courtvision [more inside]
One song was synonymous with NBA Basketball throughout the 1990s: Roundball Rock by John Tesh [more inside]
We have zillions of security plans for the Palace, for all kinds of things. But none included a player going up in the stands
Anticipating a season long lockout, several NBA players signed contracts with teams in the Chinese Basketball Association. Now that a labor deal has been reached, leaving for the NBA won't be easy.
With five NBA championships and seven rebounding titles won during his career, the oft-times colorful and flamboyant Dennis Rodman has earned a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His heartfelt and emotional speech at his induction last night in Springfield, Massachusetts displays a very different Rodman.
The unlevel playing field - "Contrary to popular perception, poverty and broken homes are underrepresented in the NBA, not overrepresented. ... We believe that skills always trump circumstances. But that's a myth."
There are precious few 7-footers that can turn into a jump hook while chewing gum at the same time, much less make a living out of it on the pro level. Yet, there Yao was. And he would have been there, even if he was 6 inches shorter than his 7-6 frame. Maybe if it weren't for those extra 6 inches, he and his Rockets would have played into the conference finals last spring. Yao Ming Retires from the NBA. [more inside]
From 1967 to 1976, the American Basketball Association delivered wild, raw, above-the-rim hoops that few ever saw (lacking TV broadcasts). They introduced the 3-point shot and slam-dunk contests (along with a red, white and blue ball, short shorts and big afros), brought pro ball to the American South, and launched the careers of Connie (the Hawk) Hawkins, Bob Costas, George Gervin, Fly Williams, David Thompson and a guy named Julius Erving. You know, Doctor J. [more inside]
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