Lousy news, potentially, for the Cavs, too, considering the mooted deal below is all about Jersey/Brooklyn acquiring expiring pacts in order to make a run at LeBron James. The Bergen Record’s Al Iannazonne is reporting the Nets are about to trade Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee in exchange for C Yi Jianlian (above) and F Bobby Simmons.
The move would give the Nets flexibility in 2010 when the free-agent class headed by LeBron James hit the market. Simmons™ contract expires that summer whereas Jefferson is signed through the 2010-2011 season.
According to one report, the Nets were in talks with Memphis to move up to five, but Thorn said the Grizzlies were talking to many teams and that nothing was close.
My basketball career has gone precipitously downhill since eighth grade. Back then, my pre/pubescing self earned the nickname “Paxson” (as in John; I think it was a compliment to my jumper, but it might’ve referred to my haircut) and was actually pretty good. Since then, disuse and liver abuse have worn my game down to a downcast shadow of its former self. But one of the few places in New York where I’ve played multiple basketball games is Sara D. Roosevelt Park, on the Lower East Side, at Houston and Chrystie Streets. Sara Roosevelt, for those who don’t know (like me before I looked her up on Wikipedia), was the mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was her only son, much as my only legitimately decent full-game basketball performance since college came in the park bearing her name. Even then, the comparisons I got from friends after the game were to Robert Horry. No one’s ever dared compare me to Tyrone Nesby; I can only dream of appearing in the same sentence as Kevin Edwards. Except for just now, when I did it. Anyway, I guess maybe “The Kevin Edwards of CSTB Guest-Bloggers” isn’t totally unfair. What I’m saying is, I have some experience with this park.
But even including my glorious performances at the park (i.e. the time I scored five times in a game to 11) (once), what went down there earlier this evening was kind of a new thing. In a little-promoted but very well-attended game that benefited the charitable foundations of participants Claudio Reyna and Steve Nash, Sara Roosevelt Park hosted an 8-on-8 soccer game between an assemblage of MLS and European stars, NBA players and, uh, ESPN writer Marc Stein (who modestly failed to mention his presence in the game while writing it up at ESPN.com). Much of the large crowd — which climbed mold-like, up the park’s chain link fences and into some fragile-looking nearby trees, and stood nearby on the sidewalk and on benches — seemed to be there as much for the soccer stars as for the basketball players. All of us, though, came together in a couple of ways.
Foremost among those was a gentle, generally good-natured heckling of Baron Davis, who showed up for the event wearing Harry Caray-frame glasses, a baseball cap featuring an upside down Dodgers-style LA, and garish, mid-calf-length ancient-school Reebok Pumps. He, like all the other players, was outfitted with a t-shirt and khaki shorts. Unlike the rest of them, he refused to tighten the belt on those shorts enough that his undergarments weren’t always constantly at least kind of showing. Unlike Nash, who scored a pair of goals and is clearly a very good soccer player, Davis obviously had little experience with the game. He did have a sense of humor, though — highlighted by a belly-flop onto prone Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler, who (amusingly) feigned injury after a clumsy-ish Davis tackle — and also managed to score a goal off a nice feed from Jason Kidd. Yeah, Kidd also played. He was actually pretty good, and assisted on two goals. Also, if I even need to mention this, he’s freaking yooge: as big across as Claudio Reyna is up and down, give or take a few inches.
In all, the NBA delegation included Kidd, Nash, Davis, Leandrinho Barbosa (who’s good) and Raja Bell (who’s less good, but didn’t injure anyone); the soccer side of things was highlighted by Fowler (good, but short), Reyna (according to his bio, two inches shorter and a few pounds heavier than me, somehow), Henry (um, more to come here) and a few others who’ve played in Europe and the MLS. All told, considering that the game was played on a patch of Astroturf laid over a scraggly stretch of asphalt much smaller than the average soccer pitch (see what I did there? the terminology? right, I don’t really know what it means, but I heard Andy Gray say it once), it was pretty awesome. Actually, even if you/one don’t/doesn’t consider that, it was pretty fucking amazing. (If you’d like to read a higher-paid non-freelancer writing this, check out Joshua Robinson’s recap in today’s New York Times)
Goals — especially Davis’, but also lights-out penalty kicks from Henry and Reyna and a pair by Chelsea FC’s Solomon Kalou and Henry — were applauded robustly, but for the most part, the crowd was weirdly quiet. The only sound I heard, outside of nearby conversations, for much of the second half was the bassline and backbeat to various classic rock songs bumping from a nearby minivan, overlaid with the repeating jingle from a nearby ice cream truck. It was surprisingly catchy. The silence wasn’t a result of boredom, at least not on the Forsyth St. side of things (fucking Chrystie St is another story; I hate those guys); the reason, I’m pretty sure, was that the crowd was legitimately rapt before the combination of celebrity and virtuosity on display.
At the risk of losing your attention — raptness/rapture is more than I can hope for, except when I’m weighing in on the reallyimportantshit — I’ll mention a couple of things. (If you’d rather just look at pictures, check this guy’s flickr feed for shots of the game) First of which is this: if they ever choose to do an And1 Tour for soccer, and Thierry Henry is somehow otherwise unemployed (and he won’t be), you should go see it if he’s participating. While all the big-time soccer dudes showed (unsurprisingly, yet still surprisingly) ridiculous skills, Henry is absolutely the most exuberant and brilliant soccer player I’ve ever seen.
I thought as much during the few instances in which I’ve watched him on TV — and I haven’t watched nearly as much soccer as GC has, or as you probably have — but seeing him from 10 or so feet away was astonishing. The control of the ball, and the aplomb with which he utilized it — juggling it past defenders, lobbing a pass to himself over the head of Jason Kidd (who was even more overmatched by Henry than he was by Chris Paul), trapping the ball between his nose and forehead and running seven or so strides with it there — was amazing. The weather was bathwater-warm for the entire game, but while all the players broke a sweat to various degrees (Stein, a ringer for Patton Oswalt but not terrible at soccer, was sweating before he entered the game; Davis seemed barely to sweat), Henry was well-soaked by the end of the game. He gave the crowd a show, and the crowd gave him a sort of benign, buzzingly impromptu New York respect: a buzz gathered when he got the ball, and a sort of unspoken shout rose from the greater surrounding city din whenever Henry passed or uncorked a (half-speed: the goalies were unknowns, and playing with Baron Davis’ bespectacled goofery as their last line of defense) shot on goal. To say he was the best player out there is, obviously, obvious. It’s also unfair to him. It was a different type of greatness, and getting to see it up close was the sort of good fortune few Americans will have until he signs with the LA Galaxy in five years or something.
When the game was over — I think the yellow team (Henry and Nash’s) defeated the blue (Barbosa, Reyna and Kaloud’s) by a couple of goals — the players posed for a few photos and made their way into the LES. Henry was surrounded by a surprisingly modest mob, signed a few autographs, and climbed into a black SUV. Fowler left through the same gate, ran a block or two, realized he wasn’t being followed, and slowed down, about a block ahead of where me and my friends were walking to a bar in the neighborhood. I was half surprised when we didn’t find him there, slouched and sweating over a pint of Newcastle. My calves hurt from standing on tiptoe for an hour and a half, trying to see what was going on. His probably were sore from doing amazing soccer-related things (I can only imagine how his nostrils felt). Within a couple of blocks, we were both New Yorkers, soaking up what was good and (and this is cliched, and a self-satisfied cliche, but in this case…) unique about the city on our way to somewhere else. There were other things to do (I met my girlfriend for dinner, if you must know), but this was a pretty good one to do, all things considered.
In a moment of music / blogging serendipity, the emergence of Deadspin-inspired comment spam-bombing at CSTB (I’ve got the IP addresses, folks, and Peter Abraham has nothing to do with this) just happened to coincide with the debut of the new Black Nasty track, “Howz My Shit Taste?” While I don’t think this particular clip is nearly as groundbreaking as B.N.’s recent “Juno” homage, I’m pretty sure this collaboration with sis Pink Nasty is destined to outsell anything Ozzie and Lou lay down in the future.
Of Miami’s big decision whether or not to select alleged problem child / K-State F Michael Beasley at no. 2 overall Thursday night, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith declared, “Kids do childish things, and maybe Michael Beasley has learned the error of his ways. Granted, I don’t mind Miami being concerned because South Beach is an addiction. Trust me. It is an addiction.”
I hate to quibble with Smith, but South Beach isn’t an addiction. It’s a location.You can say there’s temptations galore, perhaps a way of life that’s somewhat addictive. But a geographic location cannot be addictive.
Mainstream sports media types have summarily dismissed blogs for quite some time now. Some of the dismissing has been on point; the lack of ethics in these fools™ so-called writings, in particular. But at the very same time the mainstream is brushing these people off – people who know little about sports and less about the socio-cultural aspects of the games they watch and the leagues they follow – guess who it is mainstream editor-types run to hire when they™re looking for new blood?
Why, they hire those same pap-writing, half-naked women posting, rumor-mongering, 250-word posting hacks they pretend to hate so! Will Leitch, Tom Florio, and the rest of those elite members of the white frat boy sports blogosphere are the most feted of all the bitches out there.
What does that tell you about mainstream sports journalism?
Oh, and while I™m on the subject, the whole contrivance of a œsports blogosphere is idiot savant genius. Rather than fashion themselves as œindependent media as did their political Internet counterparts, these frat boys maintain that they are bloggers so as to be absolved from sin when they get busted for their racist, misogynist, rumor-mongering ways. See, œindy media is way too serious a label for these miscreants. Then, even their œhumor would have to be somewhat intelligent. But blogger? Then they can be as dumb as they want.
Yet they™re still the first fuckers checked off the mainstream™s list.
Yeah, well, it would appear a University Of Illinois journalism degree is worth the paper it’s printed on after all. Given the tenuous state of traditional media, I’m not sure the odd hiring here or represents a triumph for the frat dudes as much as it reflects the particular circumstances….of an established old (white) boy network. Would Wilson be a more interesting voice at ESPN.com, Yahoo, Fox Sports.com or —- drum roll — Gawker Media than many of the persons currently ensconced? I’d like to think so, but for the time being, I’m grateful he’s interrupting family vacations to shit all over the medium’s established franchises.
“There’s certainly some stuff I can think of for one of the greatest infielders I’ve ever seen,” says the Yankees’ ever gracious Hank Steinbrenner of deposed Mets manager Willie Randolph (as quoted by the New York Post’s Mike Puma). And who am I to suggest Steinbrenner is delusional if he believes Randolph would sooner work for him than continue to collect his Mets money while watching TV?
Hank Steinbrenner made it clear that he considers Randolph a Yankee and holds no ill-will toward him for leaving the organization to manage the Mets, who fired him last week.
“If he had left to take over the Red Sox maybe I would have had a problem with that,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s a Yankee. He’ll always be a Yankee. Even the Mets never completely accepted him because they thought he was a Yankee.”
Steinbrenner said he didn’t want to comment on the manner in which Randolph was fired because he’s not “one of those talk-radio types” who spews on subjects he knows little about.
Still, Steinbrenner couldn’t resist one jab at the Mets.
“They probably could have handled it a little differently than 3 o’clock in the morning,” Steinbrenner said, referring to the timing of the press release announcing Randolph’s firing.
Indeed, I’m pretty sure Hank’s Dad managed to fuck over fire Dick Howser and Mike Ferraro during the daylight.
(Spartak Moscow’s Roman Pavlyuchenko, reveling in all the good publicity he’s getting in England)
After Germany’s 3-2 defeat of Turkey in the Euro 2008 semis this afternoon, there’s only two matches that matter remaining in a competition the Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone “wishes would go on forever”. Having developed a big crush on the Russian national side, Hattenstone writes, “forget La Liga and the Premier League, it’s about time our sports channels signed a big fat contract with Russia’s premier league and beamed pure quality into our lives.”
As with the best dramas, once you get to grips with the plot you find yourself returning to the beginning to fully appreciate the nuances of character and narrative. So it’s only now that I understand how far they have come by looking back to how woeful they were in the first game, only now that I realise just how significant the loss of the play-maker Andrei Arshavin was in the first couple of games; only now can I share Roman Pavlyuchenko’s joy in his goals having revisited his inept earlier misses.
In the last two games Russia’s team play has been outstanding – look at the series of instant passes and Arshavin’s sliding shot into the corner of the net against Sweden or Pavlyuchenko’s near-post volley against Holland. Russia have been a wonderful discovery for most of us – and, as they have improved, possibly for themselves. There’s Denis Kolodin, the defender who looks like Frank Skinner and shoots like Bruce Rioch, Yuri Zhirkov with his audacious volleys and free-kicks, and of course there’s Arshavin.
The man who pulls silly faces, has a dirty-joke name and guided Zenit St Petersburg to last season’s Russian title is a footballing genius; the only man I’ve seen on a football pitch who can dribble, pout and chat at the same time.
Yahoo.com’s Adrian Wojanarowski is reporting Indy is trading Jermaine O’Neal to Toronto for oft-injured PG T.J. Ford and the 17th pick in Thursday’s draft, along with Rasho Nesterovic for cap purposes. The Pacers are now sitting on the 11th and 17th picks in the first round, that is, unless you believe Larry Bird, who has already denied the deal is happening.
The Contra-Costa Times’ Geoff Lepper hints a Baron Davis for Rasheed Wallace & Chauncey Billups exchange might occur between Golden State and Detroit, while colleague Tim Kawakami sneers, “none of this trade talk is official until one of the NY papers has traded Baron + Brandan Wright to the Knicks for Mardy Collins and the rights to James Dolan™s limo driver.” That’s how far Renaldo Balkman’s stock has fallen folks, he can’t even figure into an obvious cheap shot.
Adam Dunn (above) was asked about whether he spoke to Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi about disparaging comments Ricciardi made about Dunn on Ricciardi’s radio show last week.”I talked to him [Dunn] on Saturday,” Ricciardi said before last night’s game. “He called me back. I don’t know if he accepted my apology. But I did apologize.”
Except Dunn told MLB.com that he didn’t speak to Ricciardi.
“Not true,” Dunn said of Ricciardi’s pregame comment. “One million per cent.”
Ricciardi was livid when Dunn’s comment was relayed to him. He took the call on Saturday night, he said, while he was in Pittsburgh. Sitting next to him were director of security Ron Sandelli and assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos.
“If it’s not him, then it’s some prank,” Ricciardi said. “But I don’t know how the person would get my cellular phone number. I mean, I don’t even give it out to you guys [the press].”
So is this a Dunn deal or what?
“I’m so sick and tired of this, foremost, but the real truth is, no, I have not talked to him,” Dunn said after the game, clearly exasperated. “Again, I’m not going to go out of my way to get an apology from a guy I don’t even know. No, it didn’t happen and I hope this is the last time I have to talk about it. I’m sick and tired of it.”
But about that phone call ¦
“No,” Dunn said, “I mean, no. I didn’t. I mean, if he said he talked to me, it was a lie ¦ it’s stupid. I don’t get it. I got more important things to worry about than some guy I don’t know.”
Coming to a future edition of the Globe & Mail : J.P. explains to Christopher Cross there’s no guided tours of the Rogers Centre during Jays games.