Lawrence : Bobcats Likely To Suffer Another 3-4 Years Of MJ’s Pseudo-Leadership

Posted in Basketball at 6:58 pm by

(above : Jordan’s decision to squander a no. 1 pick on “Workaholics” fixture Uncle Blazer is just one of his many personnel mistakes)

Along with advising the done-for-2012 Jeremy Lin to be more open with the media about his physical condition — “where does he think ‘Linsanity’ started, anyway?”  (I’d say Twitter) —  the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence reports Bobcats owner Michael Jordan recently instructed GM Rich Cho to prepare for “rebuilding,” with plans to bail on Charlotte in the not so distant future.

“I told Rich to make us better,” Jordan told one associate recently. “If that doesn’t work and I can’t make a profit in the next three to four years, then I’m selling.”

This is a change of plans for Jordan, who over almost the past year has been seeking a buyer to purchase half the team. The Bobcats lost $20 million last season and they’re headed for more big losses this season.

Jordan’s decision to give the assignment of rebuilding to Cho means that Rod Higgins, his long-time president of basketball operations who goes back to when he ran the Wizards, is on the outs. Jordan told Cho, the Thunder’s former assistant GM who arrived in Charlotte last June, to “follow the Oklahoma City model.” (good luck with that, because there was some major luck involved in Oklahoma City’s ascension to the top of the Western Conference).

Because Jordan has been such a failure as an owner — even drawing rare criticism recently from his best pal, Charles Barkley — there will be plenty of fans in Charlotte who hope this next rebuilding campaign is a flop. Just so that he sells and gets out of town.

The Mysterious Randy L. Of The Bronx Continues To Torment NYC Merchants & Service Providers

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, New York, New York, The Marketplace at 3:52 pm by

Stephon Marbury : (CBA) Champion

Posted in Basketball at 3:07 pm by

OK, in the overall scheme of things, Coney Island product Stephon Marbury winning his first title since high school might seem less impressive than say, actually winning an NBA playoff series.  But considering the marketing stunt-vibes many of us caught from Marbury’s recent seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association, who’d begrudge Marc Berman’s greatest source of material for what sounds like a happy ending?  Despite averaging 33.4 and 6 assists points for Beijing in the 5 game CBA finals defeat of Guangdong, Marbury was denied the playoff MVP trophy due to a rule that limits said award to Chinese players,  a circumstance Sheridan Hoops’ Guan Weijia claims fails to trouble Mike D’Antoni’s former nemesis.

“This is the league of Chinese, it was reasonable that they wanna to issue the MVP to Chinese players. I did not care for the MVP trophy, but did for the championship. That’s what I have dreamed about for years since my childhood,” the 35-year-old Marbury said.

“I was standing on the opposite side of the whole world,” Marbury said of his move to China three years ago. “There wasn’t anybody who believed in me in the U.S., they all said something just like: ‘He wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone on the court’, or ‘He wasn’t able to integrate into any team’. So I didn’t tell them that I had decided to play in China, because I know if they were informed of it, there shouldn’t be any positive report. They would say: “He just wants to sell his shoes in China.’ ”

But in China, Stephon was popular for his professional demeanor as he was for his two All-Star appearances. Said Li Ke, Marbury’s former teammate who is now a coach: “Many American players who have played in NBA were arrogant in China, they would have been absent on the training sessions for multiple reasons. But Stephon won’t, he will try his best every time.”

Marbury coined a nickname “Evil Genius” for his head coach, Min Lulei: “Because every time he said the training will last for 90 minutes, in fact it would be at least two hours.”


Non-Metallic K.O. Is Once Again, A Free Agent

Posted in non-sporting journalism, politics, Sports TV at 5:10 pm by

Former “SportsCenter” anchor Keith Olbermann has been relieved of his duties at Current TV, less than a year after he made his debut on the little-watched cable/satellite channel. Following a prior falling out at MSNBC, Olbermann’s termination at Current seems to center on his less-than-enthusiastic participation in the channel’s 2012 election coverage, though as you’d expect, Keith’s got his side of the story, too.

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.

Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.

Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain.

In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

Brad Pitt Won’t Star In The Movie : Former Dodgers Prospect Bene Busted For Karaoke Krimes

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 4:46 pm by

“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,” declared U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., though if we’re talking about a bootlegged karaoke version of Muse’s “Uprising”, pseudo-intellectual might be closer to the truth. The Contra-Costa Times reports former LA Dodgers first round pick Bill Bene plead guilty yesterday to charges of operating a counterfeit karaoke business, as well as evading taxes on the proceeds.

Bene, 44, of Pasadena signed an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two counts charging him with criminal copyright infringement and filing a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A date for the guilty plea to be heard is expected to be set April 30.

According to the agreement, Bene sold illegal karaoke jukeboxes between 2006 and 2010 and did not report more than $600,000 in sales to the Internal Revenue Service.

Bene further acknowledged that during those years, he illegally copied and sold karaoke songs on hard drives containing about 122,000 titles each, prosecutors said.

Bene also admitted that he did not tell the IRS about the business, even going so far as to ask the IRS in 2008 for relief from back taxes because he claimed that he could not afford to pay.

Martino : Mets Mulled Dumping Big Pelf

Posted in Baseball at 12:47 pm by

While the Mets’ 9-1 defeat of Houston last night marked the end of Livan Hernandez’ tenure with the Astros, New York starter Mike Pelfrey’s 6.1 IP of one-run baseball might either be his last solid showing in blue & orange, or perhaps a new lease on life. The New York Daily News’ Andy Martino reports the cost-conscious Mets have weighed waiving Pelfrey before the start of the 2012 season, though he’s quick to point out, “none of the uniformed staff was in favor of the idea.” So it’s good to know Terry Collins doesn’t attend such meetings in the nude.

One team official characterized the recent discussion about cutting Pelfrey as “just what you do in meetings, throwing (stuff) against the wall, and we throw a lot of (stuff) against the wall,” and went on to predict that Pelfrey would have a strong year for the Mets.

But still: The very consideration of releasing Pelfrey and replacing him in the starting rotation with Chris Schwinden strongly suggests that club brass is not enamored of the seventh-year Met, who might very well be in his final season with the team — if he remains in New York for that long.

As for the suggestion of releasing Pelfrey, part of the idea was the pitcher’s non-guaranteed contract. If the Mets cut him before Opening Day, they will owe him roughly $1 million of the $5.68 million he will be paid this season.

In the recent meeting, some in the front office wondered if that money would be better spent bolstering the Mets’ 2012 roster depth, with Schwinden in the rotation in place of Pelfrey. Schwinden remains in major-league camp, surviving another round of roster cuts on Thursday.

The Mysterious Randy L.’s Yelp Reign Of Terror Continues

Posted in Baseball, Food, Free Expression at 11:23 am by


Jim Rome’s Survival Depends On A New Breed Of Desperate Attention-Seekers

Posted in Sports TV at 11:50 pm by

Fuck off, Dan Shaughnessy! Take a hike, Roger Lodge!  Jim Rome’s new CBS Sports chat show debuts next Tuesday and the former ESPN fixture tells USA Today’s Michael Hiestand, “the challenge now is that it’s such a battle to be seen and heard these days.”  Well, yeah, especially when current and/or former sportwriters screaming at each other is considered a superior ratings draw.

“Guys are less and less inclined to say things. They’re more careful. The stakes are much higher,” he said. “The second something’s said, it’s viral. People want to protect their brand.”

That can be boring to watch. (ED. NOTE  – NO FUCKING SHIT) So rather than having regular interviews like on his old ESPN2 show, Rome’s Los Angeles area-based ROME will sometimes bring on bloggers — “No need to throw out an interview just to suck up five minutes each day” — who’ll presumably have more to gain by trying to grab attention. (Funny if one somehow taunted Rome into, a la Jim Everett, flipping over a table.)

Carl Pavano’s Mustache Just Demanded A Trade From His Face

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Law at 1:48 pm by

No one can accuse Twins SP Carl Pavano of having an uninteresting life.  The former Yankee underachiever who resurrected his career in the Twin Cities was allegedly the target of an extortion scheme engineered by a former high school classmate who threatened to reveal details of an “emotional and physical relationship” between the two. From The Record Journal’s Jesse Buchanan and Richie Rathsack :

In the affidavit, Pavano’s sister, Michelle DeGennaro, said Christian Bedard, 36, of Southington, was “attempting to extort monetary funds for his fabricated, false information” and that he believes he can hold the Pavano family “hostage” with the information.

“The only way your brother is getting out of this… is with a heart-felt apology and a navy Range Rover with tan leather,” Bedard said in one message to DeGennaro.

Police seized a laptop and a journal from Bedard’s Hunting Hill Drive home last Wednesday, but have not charged him with any crime. The warrant allowed police to seize documents naming Pavano and any computers used to send Facebook messages. It stated materials collected would constitute evidence in an investigation into second-degree harassment and first-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny.

Bedard told DeGennaro that he had a $1.2 million book deal. “That is my best offer, an apology and a Land Rover and I’ll kill the project,” Bedard wrote.

In a later message, Bedard said he rescinded the offer and said “the book is the best deal.” He also mentions his mother Elaine Bedard’s political connections and the fact that she is a local police commission member.

“What’s even better is my mom’s the police commissioner and there is an open file on you already,” Bedard said to DeGennaro in a Facebook message, according to the affidavit. Elaine Bedard, who is also Democratic town chairwoman, said Monday that she has nothing to do with the police investigation, which police confirmed.

The publisher of Bedard’s book has yet to be identified, but I’m a little skeptical there’s anyone out there willing to pay for a volume entitled “I Had Sex With Carl Pavano (And I’m A Man)”.   And when you’re done laughing at this case, please spare a thought for the real victim, who will have to spend far too much time explaining he never went to high school with Carl Pavano.

Lamar Odom is Totally Unbreakable (Unless You Dare to Boo Him or Criticize His Terrible Stats)

Posted in Basketball at 12:25 pm by

Let’s get the “pointing out the painfully obvious” portion of this whole thing out of the way first.  The Kardashians may very well be the seldom-awknowledged Eighth Seal that foretells the impending apocalypse.  And yes, I totally watch their shows.  I am part of the problem, not part of the solution.  While it’s a distinction similar to being called The Coolest Guy at a Creed Meet and Greet, Khloe Kardashian seems to be the most palatable of the klan. And, please forgive me for typing these words, Lamar Odom comes off as a genuinely likable guy on the show.  So why do I, like all Mavs fans, wish only a lifetime of dysentery on long haul international flights upon him?

Because he sold his soul for cheap, tacky reality TV show fame.  He took a reasonably respectable 12 year career in the NBA, wrapped it in a dirty sock and flung it into the murkiest river he could find.  I know it’s nearly impossible to believe this but this is the same guy who scored 30 points and had 12 rebounds in his NBA debut game.  Dude is, or was, skilled.  While he’s never made the All-Star team, his name is floated around every season.   He might even have a point when he says that he was snubbed in 2011.  Hey, at least he became the first Laker to win the Sixth Man of the Year award that year, right?

Then came reality TV.  No, he didn’t do the kind of reality TV where you eat bugs or sleep on a really uncomfortable mattress in a haunted house.  He did the worst kind.  He did the kind where everyone in the world sees you laying in bed, unwrapping and eating  an endless stream of mini Baby Ruths while your fameball wife talks to you in her baby voice.  Understandably, there’s been a Kardashian backlash as of late.  Apparently, people aren’t as into an unbridled celebration of all things vapid and foundation-caked as they used to be.  Or they ran out of “big ass” jokes.  So when it was announced that Odom was coming to Dallas, he was already a dead man walking.

And it wasn’t just the TV show stuff.  Mavs fans needn’t have a long memory to recall that Odom was ejected from Game 4 of the Mavs-Lakers playoff series for a flagrant foul on the beloved Dirk Nowitzki.  It got overshadowed by the much more flagrant-y foul Andrew Bynum committed on JJ Barea a few minutes later.  But Mavs fans remember that shit.  While Bynum’s foul was inexcusable, it was committed in the waning moments of the Lakers, the LA Fucking Lakers, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks.  To add insult to injury, Barea was lighting up the Lakers defense all while being barely tall enough to ride a roller coaster at Six Flags.  But Odom’s foul was just so Odom-esque.  It was a big, dumb, slow, whiney, pointless flagrant foul.

So to hear Lamar Odom say that it hurts when he’s boo’ed on his home court is frankly laughable.  You had the deck stacked against you, sure.  But you did the stacking.  You allowed yourself to become a laughing stock on television each week.  You allowed that show to prove that you didn’t train during the lockout.  The only option you had was to come to town and prove to the Lakers that they never should have let you go, just like teenage girl on a revenge diet after a break up.  And you did the furthest thing from that.  You whine constantly.  You put up one point, one rebound and one assist against your former team.  Which is actually better than your stats from Sunday’s game against Houston where you managed to pick up two fouls on your way to a breathtaking two rebounds and zero points.  You’ve shown nothing but apathy bordering on contempt for your new team.  You cry like a baby because you miss your LA buddies.  And you’re “confused and hurt” about why you’re getting boo’ed on your own court?

According to some, Kobe misses your scent (no really, you have a scent) and is trying to get the band back together.  I pray for your sake and the collective sake of all Dallas Mavs fans that this comes true.  Until then, just close your eyes and dream of all the candy beans you’ll be eating back on the West Coast with your besties.