Mission Accomplished!! Team USA Wins Gold

When I first heard that the gold medal game between the United states and Spain was going to be shown at 1am this morning I had no intentions of watching it. I just figured that I would hear about who won the game the next morning just like everybody else. But it just so happened that I woke up about 2 minutes into the game and I decided to stay up and watch. And I’m glad I did! If you didn’t see this game you missed a classic. The best Olympic final ever!

The game was called very, very tightly in the first half by the crappy international refs. Within the first 3 minutes of the first quarter, LeBron James (14pts, 6 boards & 3 steals) and Kobe Bryant (20pts and 6 dimes) both picked up two fouls and Spain actually led for most of it. But Dwyane Wade (27 pts and 4 stls) came in off the bench and had the game of his life. He hit his first 7 shots – including four 3’s – and also made his presence felt on the defensive end picking up key steals as he’s done the entire Olympic tournament. But Spain was able to counter everything the US did. Portland Trailblazers guard Rudy Fernandez (22 pts), former Memphis Grizzlies PG Juan Carlos Navarro (18 pts) and Pau Gasol (21 pts and 6 boards) all played very well and kept the game from getting out of hand. Fernandez was able to make big shots and Navarro was not only able to get to the line, but he easily broke down whoever was guarding him and kept getting into the lane and putting up floater after floater. Every time the US got out to a lead and threatened to put the game away, Spain was able to fight back and keep it close. After the first half, Team USA only led by 8 pts.

In the second half, the game was still tight and even though the refs still made some questionable calls (and no calls), it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first half. At one point in the fourth quarter, Spain even cut the lead to two. But when you have a close game like that and you have the Black Mamba on your squad, there really is no need for worry. Kobe took over and showed why he is the best player in the world on the day after his 30th birthday. He had his hands in just about every play that kept Team USA in the lead including a big 4pt play to foul out Rudy Fernandez – who was killing the US – and giving the finger to the lips “shhhhsh” sign to the Spanish fans. Team USA couldn’t really relax until the very end when 17 year old Spanish PG Ricky Rubio was called for a foul on Chris Paul (13 pts and 5 dimes) and then picked up a technical foul in protest giving the USA four FT’s and the ball.

The days of the Dream Team blowouts are long gone. The world has caught up to us. Even though this USA squad won by an average margin of victory of 30 pts in their first 7 games (including a 37pt blowout of this same Spanish team), they never really had control of this one and had to fight just to get the win. And in the end, that’s what made this victory so sweet. Nothing was given, they went out there and took it! The gold is back home where it belongs. See you in London in 2012 baby!!

Basketball Commercials – Part IV (Adidas)

The commercials were a lot better when Adidas had Kobe…

 

 

Ben Gordon Out In Chicago?

Ben Gordon said that he believes his playing days with the Chicago Bulls are over. He has led the team in scoring 3 of his 4 years in Chicago and for that he feels that he should be the teams highest paid player. The problem with that logic is Luol Deng just signed a $71 million dollar deal with incentives that could push it to $80 million. The most the Bulls could offer Gordon without going into luxury tax territory is a 6 year deal worth around $58-$60 million. That’s what the market value is for guards right now (check the contracts of Baron Davis, Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette) and in my opinion that’s still too much to pay for an undersized shooting guard who to his credit, can score but is more sixth man than starting guard and can’t guard anybody.

The other problem that Gordon has is his options are extremely limited right now. Because he is a restricted FA and the Bulls can match any offer he receives from another team, and the only way out of town for him at this point is to find a team willing to pay more money that what the Bulls can offer and get a sign and trade done. That scenario seems highly unlikely. The only thing he can do now is have an amazing first half of the season and hope the Bulls can find a team willing to make a trade for him. The funny thing is that he is turning down almost the exact same amount that the team offered him last year. Last year the Bulls were willing to pay him $50 million over 5 years. Had he taken it, this problem would’ve been Luol Deng’s and not his. If he really is dead set against playing here next year, the only thing he can do at this point is go to Europe. He did bring that up as a possibility a few weeks ago but to date, I haven’t heard of any European squads that have extended offers to him. Ben, personally…I think you need a new agent.

Basketball Commercials – Part III (And 1)

6 Player Deal Lands Mo Williams In Cleveland

After being talked about through the media outlets the trigger was finally pulled on the trade that sent Mo Williams from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs desperately needed a scoring threat to take some of the pressure off LeBron James and they get that in Williams who last year averaged 17pts and 6 dimes. With the core of the Boston Celtics still intact and coming off a championship run, the Philadelphia 76ers signing Elton Brand and just resigning Andre Iguodala, Jermaine O’Neal teaming up with Chris Bosh in Toronto and with Dwyane Wade looking really good for Team USA which bodes well for the Miami Heat who also have Shawn Marion and Michael Beasley, Cleveland had to make a move to be competitive in the “new and improved” Eastern conference. The Milwaukee Bucks on the other hand just got worse in a hurry. First they trade Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian for Richard Jefferson and now they get rid of Williams and all they get in return isLuke Ridnour and Adrian Griffin?! I’m not really sure what’s going on up there in “Brew Town” but it doesn’t look like they’re trying to put together a winner. If I’m Michael Redd I’m on the phone with my agent right now. Congrats Peanut, you deserve to play on a winning squad…and not for Scott Skiles!

The State of Mississippi (HS Basketball) – Part 3

So this past Friday I’m in SuccezZ; its a high end clothing and sneaker boutique on Michigan Ave that’s co-owned by Lavelle “V-Dot” Sykes (fashion connoisseur and Chi-Town sneaker shop king) & Bobby Simmons of the New Jersey Nets. I was going out with them and some guys from the store to a Nike Dunk release party that night and I was in there picking up my invitation. So I’m talking to my guy who is the store manager and my phone rings. Now normally, I never answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize but that day I did and guess who it is? None other than the man himself…Omhar Carter. 99% of the people who read my blog have no clue as to who I am, but the things that I’ve written about Mr. Carter and basketball in Jackson made it very easy for him to know who I was. That being said, It’s not like I was trying to hide my identity from him or anything like that. I knew at some point in time all of the stuff that I wrote would get back to him and I’m really surprised that it took as long as it did. I also knew that once he found out he and I would have to talk about it, I just figured it would’ve happened the next time I was in Jackson…oh well. Me and Omhar talked for about 40 minutes on the phone that day and even though he didn’t come right out and say it, he basically called me a liar and a hater. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a liar and I’m certainly not a hater. I don’t have anything to gain or lose by doing what I’m doing, but if that’s how he feels then that’s fine.

The first thing that he asked me was what was up with the blog and why was I writing things that were untrue. He also said that he couldn’t believe that it was me doing it because as far as he knew he and I hadn’t had a falling out. I told him that I didn’t have a problem with him personally – which I don’t – and what I’m doing is more for the kids and their parents than anything else. So I asked him what it was that I wrote that he felt was inaccurate or untrue because I would have no problem fixing it. He mentioned what I said about the parent who called me after the USM encounter (he said it didn’t happen like that) and the stuff I wrote about him not having a basketball resume. If I ever write anything that is incorrect and/or untrue then I have no problem correcting it. Let me say this, much of what I wrote about him came from my own recollection of events. So if I left something out or said something that was wrong, it’s not that I was trying to be malicious in any way…I just forgot. But let’s deal with these “inaccuracies” because after all I told him that I would fix it and…it’s also the responsible thing to do.

First off, I said that Omhar was supposed to go and play for Alcorn but he never did. He said that the reason he never played for them was because they were on probation at that particular time. In 1994, the NCAA placed Alcorn State University on probation, banning the basketball program from post-season competition for 2 years and stripping them of scholarships. I do remember having a conversation about this with Omhar back in the day. He said that coach Davey Whitney wanted him but couldn’t offer him a scholarship because of the probation. So in order for him to play there he would’ve had to pay out of pocket. Know this…if a coach really wants you to play for him, he will make a way for you to play for him. One down.

Secondly, I said that Omhar never played for Mississippi College. He said that he did play for MC and that he had rings. After doing some research, I found that I was wrong on that one too. In ’98-’99 Omhar apparently was a member of the Choctaws squad and that year they did win the American Southwest Conference championship. However, if you played for coach Mike Jones (who?), whether you  contributed or not you were on a winning team. So theoretically, if Omhar played the entire season then he does have a ring. You can check out his stats here. Two down.

Finally, Omhar told me that he played for Fargo-Moorhead Beez of the IBA (the team and the league are both defunct now). When I was writing the last post, I did find thistransaction log dated October of ’00 saying that he signed with the team but quite honestly, I didn’t think it was the same Omhar Carter. I even called people to see if they knew anything about it and nobody did. But apparently it was…and so is this. I also found this site which lists all of the Beez ex-players and if you click on Omhar’s name it lists Alcorn as the college he attended and not MC. I wonder why that is since we’ve already established that he never played there? Anyway, I don’t know if me writing any of this makes me a hater…but it certainly doesn’t make me a liar and to me that’s more important. This all reminds me of the lyrics to this old Jay-Z song. Ironically, the title of it is called “Where I’m From”:

Your word was everything and everything you said you do…you did it.

Couldn’t talk about it if you aint live it.

To Be Continued…

Hyperdunk Testimonial – Todd

That aint right…