JJ Redick – Reminiscing Over You

I want to talk to you today about a man who at the time was probably the most hated player in all of college basketball. A man who went to the most hated school in the history of college basketball. A man so hated that there wasn’t anything left for even Silky Johnston to hate on! And for as much as he was hated, and as much as people actually hate to admit, this man is without a doubt the greatest shooter ever in the history of college basketball. The man I’m speaking of is none other than Jonathan Clay Redick. You might know him as JJ.

Make no mistake, I am a card carrying member of the “Duck Fuke” club. But I’m a basketball player first, so game recognize game. There have been a few guys that came through Durham who in my opinion could really play. And out of those four, JJ is my favorite. Some people like guys with sick handles who can embarass anybody trying to guard them. Others like the high flyers who just love it when people try and jump with them. But for me, the most beautiful thing in basketball is watching a pure shooter go to work and making the opposing team just shake their heads. JJ Redick did that for four years. With perfect form every single time he made shots going to his left, going to his right, off the screen, off the dribble, mid-range or deep, wide open or with a hand in his face it didn’t matter. He was a sniper. Duke University’s very own hitman. Coach K’s “automatic weapon”.

When you’re that good at something the haters are going to come; that’s just the way life is. The things JJ went through in college prove just how good he really was. The fact that he went to Duke just made things worse; although eight miles and a lighter shade of blue could’ve easily turned the JJ Redick hate fest into a love affair. But no matter which school he attended on Tobacco Road, take a look at his numbers and you’ll see that there are only two words that can describe his college basketball career. Hater proof.



Marquise Walker – Too Much Too Soon

If you went to ESPN.com today, you probably saw a feature that they have posted called “Youtube Baby”. It’s an Outside The Lines report on Marquise Walker. He’s an 8yr old Chicago kid and he was once labeled as the best kindergartner in the nation. I knew about this kid way before ESPN got wind of him. He has videos all over Youtube and here in the Chi, just about everybody in the hoop circles know about him. Seeing this feature on ESPN though, I have to be honest I felt kind of sick watching it.

The first time I ever saw him on Youtube I thought it was pretty cool. There are a lot of videos out there with him and some well known players and there are some with him actually playing ball. Like most people who saw the vids, I thought the kid was pretty good. Anybody who saw him could tell that he had talent. But when I saw the whole  back story on why the videos were out there it really, really bothered me. The videos are essentially a marketing campaign to try and get him as much exposure possible. Now I’m not doubting the love that Marquise’s father has for his son, but it’s very easy to see that this kid is being exploited no matter how much they try to mask it as being something positive. Are we that sports crazy in the hood that we would stoop so low as to pimp out our own kids? The reporter asked the kid why he wanted to go to the NBA and he said: To be on the team and make money. I’m about the money, that’s me.”  I don’t know how you would feel about hearing something like that, but it ticked me off pretty good. You know that those are the adults talking, not an 8 year old.

My son is 3 years old and he loves basketball. I guess by 3 year old standards he’s pretty good, but then again I haven’t been around very many toddlers that hoop to have something to compare him to either. I know that his interest in the game comes from me and if he does end up playing at a high level then that’s great. But I’m certainly not pushing him in that direction either. I’m letting him be a kid first, and that’s how it should be. Check out the feature and the chat transcript with his father Chikosi.

Marquise Walker – Outside The Lines

Chikosi Walker – ESPN Chat Transcript

Brandon Jennings Signs With Under Armour

After announcing that it would outfit the University of Maryland men’s and women’s basketball teams, Under Armour has announced that Brandon Jennings will become it’s first major athlete endorser. Wow, I guess everybody else they asked said no…

Stephon Marbury – Waive Goodbye

It’s being reported that the New York Knicks are planning to part ways with Stephon Marbury by the end of the week. This should come as a great relief to Knick fans because now you guys might actually start winning some games and even make it to the Playoffs which is a real possibility in the Eastern Conference. Studies have shown that when Starbury leaves your team, it gets better immediately. Even though it’s going to cost the Knicks $20 million to buy him out of his contract, it’s still a classic case of addition by subtraction. It’s been reported that Steph has been working hard to come back from ankle surgery and that he looks healthy physically and he seems mentally ready for this upcoming season. But we all know the truth…he’s a head case and it’s only a matter of time before a meltdown or a blowup occurs. Word on the street is he may end up with the Miami Heat seeing as they’re in desperate need of a PG. If they were to pull the trigger on that, adding him would make them look really good on paper. You would have a starting 5 of Marbury, Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Michael Beasley and Udonis Haslem. But looking good on paper doesn’t win games. Just ask the Knicks, they looked great on paper and still stunk it up last season. So I guess if he does actually end up playing in south Florida this year, skin cancer won’t be the only kind of cancer the people of Miami will have to worry about.

In The News…Nike Hypermax

The Nike Hyperdunk came out with all the fanfare of any shoe in recent memory. You had Kobe jumping over European sportscars and a pool full of “poisonous” snakes, the hilarious commercials and the now infamous print ads that were pulled because to some they were considered to be “homo” in nature, not to mention that the shoe was pretty much all over the Olympic basketball court this summer. But the Hyperdunk is about to be old news…ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Nike Hypermax! Coming summer ’09…

Michael Beasley aka “Mr. Me Too”

The league fined Michael Beasley $50,000 after he admitted his involvement in the recent incident at the rookie symposium in New York that got Mario Chalmers and Darell Arthur kicked out and fined $20K for having marijuana and girls in a hotel room. He didn’t cooperate with the original investigation, but came clean after it ended which is why he received the higher fine. Basically he admitted to being in the room at some point during the night. Had he been caught in the room with Arthur and Chalmers he would’ve been sent home as well. The thing about this story that stands out to me — an admitted conspiracy theorist — is the part about him not cooperating with the original investigation. Exactly what does that mean? Why would the NBA have any reason to interview him at all about this particular incident in the first place? I’ll bet they knew he was there but because he’s the #2 pick in the draft and one of the up and coming “fresh faces” in the league they threw the other two guys under the bus and let him go and told him that they would deal with him later. It seems to me that they just waited for this story to die down and then put this out. I mean c’mon, “B-Easy” is from Baltimore…or is it D.C.? Who knows, he’s moved around so much but you know what I’m sayin’!! I don’t know one person from the hood who got away with something and then came clean about it later. Don’t believe the hype people, stuff like that just doesn’t happen…

Allen Iverson – Still Relevant

I’ve seen Allen Iverson play basketball in person twice in my life. Once from a luxury suite at the very top of the United Center where if you looked out onto the court you could barely see anything. So I had to watch the game via closed circuit broadcast on a 40 inch plasma screen instead. Not the most ideal situation, but the gourmet chef and the refrigerator full of Miller products made the situation bearable.

The second time I saw him was again at the United Center, but this time I was a lot closer, about 10 rows back from the floor. This made it more special than the first time because not only was it the very last time he would ever play in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, but for the first time in my life I could see that “physically”, there’s nothing really special about him. OK, so his arms might be long enough to sit in the back seat of my truck and open both doors at the same time…but outside of that, nothing. He’s just an average sized guy.

In the land of giants that is the NBA, his lack of size is what makes the things he’s done in his career so amazing. It’s also the reason why fans at home and on the road cheer so loudly for him. But it’s his style and his swagger that people love the most. If Michael Jordan can be credited with “styling” a whole generation of basketball players, then Allen Iverson has to be given credit for styling a whole generation of people

Before he rocked cornrows, players didn’t wear their hair braided. You didn’t even see people on the street with them. But when he started doing it, everybody started doing it. The tattoos…fughedaboudit! Yeah Dennis Rodman had a lot of them but he was such a weirdo that nobody was in a hurry to try and be like him. But when what started as a simple Bulldog and the words “The Answer” tattooed on his arm ballooned into what it is now, tattoo artists everywhere had AI to thank for all the people that ran to get ink. Some people went so far as to get his exact same tattoos (what up Tyson!).

Let’s also not forget his style on and off the court. You can’t watch a basketball game now without seeing somebody wearing a headband or a compression sleeve. Remember the “Ice Age”? Allen Iverson took wearing jewelry to another level while making Mitchell & Ness throwbacks, do-rags and New Era caps fly too. Not only did ordinary people copy everything he did, some of his fellow NBA brethren started doing the same. It got so out of hand that David Stern instituted a dress code to bring “professionalism” back and change the leagues perceived thug image.

He may not have been Madison Ave fashionable, but that wasn’t what he represented. That’s not who he is. AI represented the streets. AI represented the hip-hop generation; rebels that made individual self expression a way of life. And like the hip-hop generation he really didn’t care if you liked him or not; ever the non-conformist, he just wanted to make sure you respected his gangster. Many times in his life — just like on the court — people took shots at him and knocked him down, but it never stopped him. He got right back up and came even harder the next time…and the time after that too.  All heart, that’s what he is and that’s why so many people love him. For 13 years he had the courage to stand up in front of the whole world and be himself. For 13 years he influenced others to be just like him. 13 years later, this is what makes Allen Iverson relevant. Still…