July 2005 - Posts
ESPN.com is reporting that Phoenix will do a sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Joe Johnson. The trade will give Johnson a $70 million, five-year contract, which is great for Joe, I guess, but it appears that his agent forgot to tell him that it would mean having to play for Atlanta. Johnson apparently asked Phoenix management not to match Atlanta's offer, saying: "It's a lot of things. How things were handled [with Johnson's contract] last summer, how things have been handled this summer. There's been some things going on that aren't great."
While it sucks not being given the respect one thinks he deserves, it's hard to imagine that such respect can't be bought for $70+ million dollars and playing for a team with a great fanbase and realistic chance at winning it all next year. No, instead Joe is taking his ego to Atlanta, where, I'm sure, the seven fans that show up each night will cheer him on with all their hearts and, with Joe's shooting and ball handling skills, might push this Hawks team to to win more than 13 games.
So, for Joe, it appears that winning isn't priority #1; money ain't there either, because Phoenix could have matched Atlanta's offer (perhaps). Instead, it's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and Joe thinks that can be found in Georgia. I don't get it - if it isn't all about the money why not take a lighter payday for a team as strong/well-known as Phoenix was last year?
Good luck, Joe, 'cause I'm afraid that after next season 95% of the NBA fans will be saying, “Joe who?” Crazy.
A while back ESPN.com ran a Top 20 Sports Movies of All Time piece where they asked 15 sports writers to rank the best sports movies. It seemed a bit of a travishamockery seeing as Bull Durham ranked #1, but whatcha gonna do?
What got me thinking about this was a recent visit from my brother who still, to this day, drops White Men Can't Jump quotes. White Men was a very entertaining basketball movie, armed with witful quips and well-filmed basketball scenes. In fact, it made ESPN.com's Top 20 list, coming in at #15.
While White Men is probably one of the top basketball movies for folks in my generation (late 20s/early 30s), if you go back a few years further you'll reach probably the best basketball movie - Hoosiers. My only complaint against Hoosiers was the romantic subplot between Coach Dale and Myra, which was not only unnecessarily tacked on, but also extremely awkward. No, I don't need to see two bumbling over-the-hill people strike up a love interest, the basketball alone will do, thanks. That love subplot really added nothing to the movie, whereas the other non-basketball related subplots - Shooter's 'antics' while on the bottle, for example - did help fuel the drama that the movie attempted to imbue.
What was even cooler about Hoosiers was that it was 'based on a true story.' There did exist an Indiana basketball team from the 50s that had the sort of miraculous run shown on film, although the screenwriter for Hoosiers admittedly used a great deal of fictualization "because their lives were not dramatic enough... The guys were too nice, the team had no real conflict." Check out http://www.sportshollywood.com/hoosiers.html for the complete low-down on the real Hoosiers and their run toward a state championship.
For more basketball movies surf on over to http://www.sandlotshrink.com/moviebkb.htm, although the list is pretty liberal (it lists Teen Wolf as a 'basketball' movie, for cripes sake). I've seen so few, sadly. What's your favorite basketball movie of all time?
Last offseason we saw a number of big trades and free agent signings - Nash to Phoenix, McGrady and Stevie Franchise swapping places, Payton to Boston, Shaq to Miami, and so on. As usual, columnist Bill Simmons provides his ranking of the NBA's top players, those who teams would only give up in an insane, blockbuster-level trade. Topping off Bill's list are:
3. Dwyane Wade
2. Amare Stoudemire
1. Tim Duncan
LeBron James ranks in at #4, and Bill has some interesting commentary about that:
[LeBron] should be the No. 1 guy on this list. ... In LeBron's case, he's the best young player in the history of the league – both statistically and aesthetically – as well as someone destined to become the biggest superstar in any professional sport (maybe ever). He's going to accomplish things that we didn't think were possible anymore – averaging a triple double for an entire season, leading the league in scoring and assists, stuff like that. Eventually, he's going to start "making big-money movies" (translation: play for one of the league's marquee franchises, either the Knicks or the Lakers), if only because it's in the best financial interest of everyone involved (and I mean, everyone). That's his destiny, and that's how this will play out. There's no other way.
I think LeBron will be a force both on the court and in the marketplace, but I think Bill might be dipping his toes in Lake Hyperbole a bit here. Will LeBron be the - gasp - next Michael Jordan, both economically and in the game? I don't know, but I know we've seen a lot of phenoms pass through who people pinned hopes on becoming the next big thing - Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Kobe, Garnett, and so on - and while many of those players are great atheletes who have made ass-loads of money over the years for themselves and those around them, none have lived up to the Jordan standard.
Will LeBron? Maybe, I honestly think he has a better chance than any of those other players listed, but we've seen so little of LeBron. Prior to 2004 would you have thought Kobe Bryant would have been arrested and taken to court on rape charges? I'm just saying that a lot of things can happen and the face an athelete/performer puts forward when the cameras are on can be very different than their actual personality, which typically has a way to weild its ugly head eventually.