Archive for May, 2007

Memorial Day.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2007 by maxairington

This ‘aint over.

He’s never been a sympathetic figure. But many of the things he’s done have been in pursuit of becoming the best basketball player he could be, the best basketball player ever. He feels as though it’s his turn, it’s his destiny.

Kobe Bryant is going to get what he wants. He just doesn’t know where yet. Half-hearted ultimatums and retractions aside, his 48 hour media blitzkrieg effectively granted the Lakers a two year amnesty. Chip or bust. Get down or lay down. Three years after his free agency loomed over the franchise, he’s proven he’s still in control and now everyone knows it. Which is why it’s time to trade him before it’s too late.

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Dave Revsine Named Lead Big Ten Network Studio Host

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2007 by mizzo

*This is a press release sent to me by Tom Wyrot of Michigan’s athletic department.

revsine_dave_m.jpgNorthwestern grad, ESPN veteran to lead network’s talent lineup.

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Big Ten Network today announced its first on-air hire, signing ESPN college sports expert Dave Revsine to be its lead studio host. The network launches in August with a programming lineup unparalleled in college sports television today, including between 350 and 400 live events as well as the nightly studio show Revsine will host. Events include football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and a full slate of conference championship contests across all sports. The network also will produce more original HD programming than any new network in television history.

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Not Exactly a Love-fest, But…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 30, 2007 by jweiler

In a variety of ways, members of The Starting Five collective have suggested that the coverage of Barry Bonds is, at least to some extent, driven by something other than the man’s character (and, it’s noteworthy how much more highly his peers appear to think of Bonds than does the public at large). And, the coverage of Bonds, it seems to me, was almost uniformly personal and negative as he approached Babe Ruth’s mark in 2006. Perhaps that coverage was driven by the fact that the highly publicized Game of Shadows had just come out, which focused attention on Bonds’ misdeeds, his temper and ill-treatment of others and general unpleasantness as a human being.

But, as Bonds approaches the all-time home run record itself in 2007, there appears to be a somewhat different tenor to the discussion surrounding Bonds, steroid use and the sanctity of one of sports’ most hallowed records. Bonds has not become Mr. Popularity. But, a wide range of commentary over the past ten days or so has de-emphasized Bonds’ alleged cheating, and focused on the bigger picture: that, even if Bonds did cheat, he’s far from alone in having done so. And, given that fact, condemning him personally and unequivocally for the sins of, perhaps, an entire generation fo baseball players and executives, is more than a bit churlish and myopic. It may be that one reason why, according to the article linked to above, only 34% of baseball fans will recognize Bonds as the greatest homerun hitter ever after he hits No. 756, nearly three quarters of baseball players would hold him in such regard.

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Interview with Dan Le Batard

Posted in Adam "Pacman" Jones, Al Sharpton, Blogroll, Miami Heat, NFL, Pop Warner on May 29, 2007 by mizzo

lebatard12.jpgHere’s another head banger in our series of journalism interviews. Dan has been there, seen it all and talked to the best. He full well knows his place in the field and for the most part, I for one agree with him. There are two points of contention–the Luther Campbell and Tim Hardaway stories. I wanted to give him a chance to explain himself at length. He does just that and keeps his cool even when I try to back him into a corner regarding said incidents. Simply put, he’s one of the best who tries to keep a balanced head when he writes. Judge for yourself. I’m sure you’ll find this quite interesting.

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The Shape of the River

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28, 2007 by jweiler

Last week, Leave the Man Alone (LMA) had an interesting post about the under-representation of Blacks in the sports blogosphere. LMA pointed out that Spike Lee  had ponied up $1 million dollars to his alma mater, Morehouse college, to develop a sports journalism program that would encourage more African Americans to enter the field. As quoted by LMA, Spike Lee articulated the following reasons for endowing such a program:

I’m not going to make excuses for the Pacmans of the world, Tank Johnson and those guys.

I just think, historically, the black athlete has been demonized. If we can get our graduates into these positions with newspapers, magazines and television stations … hopefully we’ll get a more balanced view.”

LMA pointed out the low numbers of Black sports journalists:

Blacks hold only 6.2 percent of the sports writing jobs. Out of more than 300 newspapers, just five have a black sports editor. By contrast, nine out of 10 sports editors were white males, as were 84 percent of sports columnists. Still, those dire statistics don’t tell the whole story about the pipeline. For example, no insight on attrition, what types of publications Black sportswriters work at, what sports they cover and whether said writers are on track for columnist, editor or management positions.

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Deja Vu

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2007 by maxairington

We just saw what we already knew.


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Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2007 by jweiler

The Daily News’ Bob Raissman goes hard after Mike and the Mad Dog today. Yesterday, the WFN duo dismissed as unimportant a Daily News backpage headline that Jason Giambi had failed a test for amphetamines, necessitating additional testing by the embattled slugger.

Raissman called them on that:

… on the heels of Daily News investigative reporter T.J. Quinn revealing that Giambi tested positive for amphetamines, there is a new defense for his chemical transgressions.

It’s called the No Big Deal defense.

Yesterday, it was articulated on WFAN by Chris (Mad Dog) Russo and Mike Francesa. To hear them talk, the Daily News should have ignored Giambi’s positive test.

“Can the Daily News stop patting themselves on the back with Jason Giambi drug-testing scenarios on the back page,” Russo said. “Nobody that I know cares a hoot – and this includes even high school kids – about Giambi with amphetamines. It’s one thing if it’s steroids. The amphetamines thing is the biggest waste of newspaper space known to man.”

Fortunately, no editor here will ever kill a story because “no one” Russo knows will give a “hoot” about it. This isn’t the first time Dog has used his “nobody cares” line. What Russo meant to say is he doesn’t care. Nonetheless, his bold statement about “high school” kids not giving a “hoot” is an original.

Has Russo been spending his spare time lurking in high school cafeterias?

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Twenty Three Years Later…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2007 by maxairington

The last time the Portland Trailblazers passed on a college phenom because the respective position was filled, they missed out on Michael Jordan.

Lets hope it doesn’t happen again.

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Unindicted Co-Conspirator

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2007 by jweiler

The Jason Giambi comments have gotten a lot of attention. Here’s the account of his comments to USA Today last Wednesday:

“I was wrong for doing that stuff,” Giambi told USA TODAY on Wednesday before playing the Chicago White Sox. “What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: ‘We made a mistake.’

“We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. … Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.”

While much attention has revolved around the Yankees’ potential interest in voiding the remainder of his contract (which now only has a year and a half left), Giambi’s comments about the game are noteworthy: baseball had a widespread problem and everyone, including upper management and the commissioner’s office, knew it.

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Pistons-Cavs (LeBrons) Conference Finals Preview

Posted in Detroit Pistons on May 21, 2007 by youngvito


Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the miseducation of LeBron James, this is chapter two in possibly a four or five-part series. But wait a minute, is it that or is this the revenge of the Detroit Pistons, who’ve let the Larry O’Brien trophy go to two unworthy contenders, in their minds.

This is the closest James has been to the NBA Finals in his four-year career, but it must be pointed out that this is his second postseason and unless your name is Buck (Magic) Johnson, lessons must be learned in deliberate, painful and in a stair-step manner.

Once again, the Pistons stand in the way of a young to-be champion on his rise to greatness. Michael took his knocks and emerged to become a real winner, battle scars and all.

“It’s not about going out there and scoring 35 points,” James said. “It’s all about winning. I’m a winner. I’ve got winners behind me.”

Sorry King, but it takes more than beating the fragile and fragmented Washington Wizards twice and the heartless likes of Vince Carter’sNew Jersey (Brooklyn) Nets to become a winner. And no, a few state championships don’t count here. LeBron is not a winner, yet. He may soon become one, but he is not a winner.

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Podoloff’s Box Part II: The 1990’s

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2007 by Dax-Devlon Ross



Without question the 90’s NBA MVP Award belonged to Michael Jordan. Out of a possible 10, he won 4. So dominant was his presence on and off the hardwood that even after playing only 17 games in 1995 he received 12 votes, placing him 11th in that year’s balloting. In 1990, 1993 and 1997 – each year other than the 1995 season in which he was eligible for the award — he finished in the top three. In what was the decade’s closest race, Karl Malone edged out Air by a mere 29 total points (11 first place) to take home the 1997 trophy. As payback, Jordan’s Bulls outwrestled Malone’s Jazz in six games en route to their second of three straight late-90s titles.

As much as Michael Jordan dominated the decade, he alone did not define it. The NBA in the ‘90s was led by a generation of stars who, remarkably enough, were all roughly the same age. Dream Teamers Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Chris Mullin were all born the same year—1963. Hakeem Olajuwon and Joe Dumars were also born in ‘63. Meanwhile Scottie Pippen and David Robinson were only two years younger while non-Dream Teamers Dominique Wilkins and Isiah Thomas only two years older. These players guided the consistent excellence that we came expect not just from teams like Boston and Los Angeles, but Utah, Houston, Detroit, San Antonio and, of course, Chicago—all of which remain contenders to this day in part because of their success in the 1990s. Year after year the teams that these signature stars played for stood at the top of the standings come season’s end, and quite often three or four them owned 60-win records while three or four more stood just below that threshold with 55 or 57 or even 59 wins.

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Spirit vs. Letter

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2007 by jweiler

This is belated, especially since Game Five has already been played in the Suns-Spurs series. And, I am not going to run through all of the voluminous coverage and commentary about the suspensions. But, there are a couple of threads of interest. So, I’ll follow those and we’ll see where they lead.

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Deadspin Editor Will Leitch

Posted in Adam "Pacman" Jones, Al Sharpton, Blogroll, NFL, Roger Goodell on May 16, 2007 by mizzo

will-leitch.jpgWill Leitch, editor of Deadspin, heads the most popular sports blog on the web. There are other blogs, but there is only one Deadspin. He’s published two books, Catch and Life of a Loser (a memoir) and is currently working on two more to be published next year. He writes occasionally for the New York Times when he’s not busy being–in his words–the stupid guy typing all day. He’s unapologetic and straight up honest when describing the cynicism of Deadspin and has been a force on the web since 1998. Like he says many times in the interview, we all have a different place on the web to make our objectives known the best we can. We have drastically different views on subjects but also share a commonality regarding others. I let Will speak without espousing my personal views for the most part with the objectives of TSF in mind. Any interview we conduct on The Starting Five will hopefully spur a candid but healthy debate. This conversation is no different. People, you know how we do here, so I hope you enjoy.

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The Promise Land Awaits: Why Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert Must Stay in School

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2007 by Dax-Devlon Ross

Over the last decade plus we’ve grown accustomed to the top college basketball prospects leaving school early for the NBA. In the process, we’ve bought into several tried and true rationales for their early departures:

1. The Economic Hardship rationale: How can we blame an inner-city kid for wanting to help his family escape the ‘hood.

2. The What’s the Point of College rationale: We go to college to create a career so we can survive in the world, therefore if a guy has the opportunity to bypass school for the sake of his career, he should do so.

3. The You Never Know rationale: What if next year’s draft is deeper? What if you get seriously injured? What if your stock drops?

4. Lastly, the Get Paid rationale, which, though linked to the Economic Hardship rationale, is distinguishable nonetheless: The pursuit of the almighty dollar is always justifiable, can never be questioned, and should always trump all other considerations. Witness, for example, the Greg Oden/Kevin Durrant saga this past spring. Both players expressed a desire to stay in school, said they were enjoying being college kids – something they’ll never have the chance to be again – and yet we all knew their declarations were a foregone conclusion. There is too much money at stake for either of them to “waste” another season in the amateur ranks.

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Posted in Uncategorized on May 15, 2007 by jweiler

In today’ s LA Times, Bill Plaschke picks up the baton of baseball’s problem with alcohol first carried last week by the New York Times’ Murray Chass. What’s interesting is the comparison both veteran baseball writers make between drunk driving and steroids.

Plaschke writes:

“Major League Baseball tolerates drunk driving,” said Chuck Hurley, chief executive of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who want their boys to become baseball players.

Start substituting six-packs for juice boxes.

“From what we’ve seen, Major League Baseball thinks drunk driving is no big deal,” Hurley said.

Major League Baseball is admittedly, at times, an institution only a mother could love.

Now, after the drunk-driving death of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, the sport has lost even that constituency.

“Major League Baseball is well short of the American public in its behavior toward alcohol,” Hurley said last week in a phone interview from MADD’s Dallas office. “If it’s going to be America’s pastime, then it should get more in line with the American public.”

Yeah, MADD is mad, and I don’t blame it.

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Spoken Word: Spencer Haywood

Posted in Blogroll, Detroit Pistons, Gilbert Arenas, LA Lakers on May 12, 2007 by mizzo

Haywood jersey retirement ceremony

Jazzy turnaround jumpers with Common like words that he would eventually sing to a beautiful Somalian paradise bird. Fought the power fantastic in a case that many would deem futile and drastic. Celebrated with Black fists and bare feet on Olympic ringed Mexican soil that made most of the nation’s blood boil. Iverson, Magic, Bird, Flash and King James lives will never be the same without the fame that he gave as he courageously broke the historic NBA Supreme Court Case power chain. Scotty beamed and socialite dreams that seemed to crown Wood king to his Iman queen. Paranoid days that blurred into nights until the Father said son, get up and fight! Four daughters later says the good Lord was right. Heaven watchin’ Mississippi burnin’ reminiscent bare soles ironically took their toll on a devilish role and helped Wood reclaim his God fearing soul…

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Barkley Busts Out

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2007 by jweiler

My buddy Brian just emailed me an interview that Charles Barkley did with the New Republic (TNR). For those of you who don’t know, TNR is a somewhat schizophrenic politically oriented periodical. Generally identified as left-of-center despite having a right-wing publisher, it has been critical of the Bush administration in recent years, but initially supported the invasion of Iraq. It has set itself up as a critic, among other things, of what it views as more extreme forms of liberalism, viewing itself as a more moderate, reasoned voice within our political discourse and seeming, at times, to be more offended by left-wing, populist rantings than by Republican misdeeds. Well, someone forgot to send the memo about moderation to Charles Barkley. I can’t access the whole on-line version (it’s for subscribers only), but let’s just say that those long-standing rumors about Chuck running for governor of Alabama as a Republican – I don’t think so.

Some excerpts:

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Podoloff’s Box? Part I.

Posted in Chicago Bulls, Isiah Thomas on May 11, 2007 by maxairington

val·u·a·ble [val-yoo-uh-buhl]–adjective
1. having considerable monetary worth; costing or bringing a high price: a valuable painting; a valuable crop.
2. having qualities worthy of respect, admiration, or esteem: a valuable friend.
3. of considerable use, service, or importance: a valuable player.
4. apparently not Jerry West. (But he got the logo, so it’s all good.)

NBA greats are a unique breed in the sporting pantheon. No athlete can impose pure will on his respective sport like a basketball player. There’s no disconnect between offense and defense, which gives a player more influence over his teammates on both sides of the ball. They’re the only athletes who can make a play for the crucial score and inasplitsecond make a stop that seals the win. In fact, most times they are expected to. Basketball players carry a heavier burden than their contemporaries. This is what makes the NBA’s Most Valuable Player so special. A Podoloff Trophy is the mark of greatness.

How is greatness measured? By the media. Every year, 125 pen, pad and agenda carrying sportswriters and broadcasters-with legends to build and stories to sell-decide upon whom to bestow the game’s crowning individual achievement. Truth is, if you locked those guys in a room a until they could decide upon a criterion for the award, they’d die in there. The MVP is a popularity contest, an award for modern marvels and sentimental favorites. Analysis of voting totals over the past twenty plus years reveal neither rhyme nor reason. There are numerous instances of both personal and team improvement having been in vain, while post and perimeter players are alternately fawned over and ignored. Players in contention are expected to take their teams to the postseason, yet postseason play doesn’t factor in the award? Practically every year reflects a different rhetoric.

So what is the formula? Carpe diem. Since 1984 there have been a dozen different Podoloff winners. Three men laced ’em up and forged their own destines. Others labored to receive their due recognition. There were a couple guys you couldn’t help but love, and a few just got fucked over. Using the playoffs as a litmus test, let’s reminisce….

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The Dave Zirin Interview

Posted in Adam "Pacman" Jones, NFL on May 10, 2007 by dwil

zirin.jpgDave Zirin is a lightning rod for trouble. He is a white man who boldly stepped into the arena of sports and race and politics – and took the side of the underdog. He has been attacked by writers like me (dwil) who questioned his conviction, his purpose, and his motives; questioned why a white man would chance the comfort of his skin color’s privilege to champion female athletes and athletes of color. He is still attacked by the other side who question his politics, mistaking his beyond progressive politics for the overly simplistic label of liberal-leftist.

By withstanding these attacks through plainly facing his critics, Zirin stands even taller than most allegedly insightful sports writing peers. What separates him from them is the depth of his understanding of the intersection of race and sports and politics, and society.

Now, he is feared by shallow members of the sports media, respected by thinkers who too see beyond the games into the dark morass of the corporate fray; into the fear-based sickness on which rests the pillars of institutional racism and sexism.

Dave Zirin is one sports writer who is unafraid to place his beliefs before the glare of the sun’s harsh light and unafraid to search moonless nights for hidden truths. In the following interview we explore these beliefs and these truths with him.


dwil, mizzo


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Tidbits – May 9

Posted in Uncategorized on May 9, 2007 by jweiler

A few interesting items to cover from the past few days.

1) When Selena Roberts nails it, she really nails it. Case in point: her Sunday column in the New York Times, titled “The Many Perils of Unqualified Hypocrisy.”

I’ll quote it here at some length:

From the N.F.L.’s Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson to the N.B.A.’s Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Jackson, pro players have been endlessly lectured on being accountable for their inner circle of sycophants, cousins and sidekicks.

Don’t employ buddies as bodyguards. Don’t let uncles manage your money. Don’t pay friends to be friends. Don’t risk millions on nepotism.

In pro management’s twist on “Entourage,” few hold general managers, coaches or owners responsible for hiring a clubby collection of pals with suspect résumés or mysterious backgrounds or performance issues to watch over the welfare of players worth millions to the organization.

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Suns-Spurs Game 1 notes/observations

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2007 by youngvito

bloodynose.jpgDuring game one of the Phoenix-San Antonio series yesterday, I decided to take notes on the game. Some random stuff, some observations. Here’s what I “saw”:

Everybody’s talking about the contrasting styles of Phoenix and San Antonio, but the most ignored aspect of this series could be its most crucial: Can Phoenix play enough defense when they go through the inevitable playoff scoring drought to stay close and can the Spurs’ offense be efficient and methodical enough to keep this from turning into a run-n-gun affair? We’ll see.

Early match-ups: Michael Finley playing Steve Nash and Shawn Marion playing Tony Parker. Bet SA’s saving Bruce Bowen for Nash later in the second half.

I didn’t know statistically, Amare Stoudamire fouls that much. He’s second to Andris Biedrins of Golden State. With his athleticism, if he played position defense, he could be phenomenal. But somehow, I don’t reckon Mike D’Antoni stresses the other side of the ball. Both Nash and are playing well. But Parker’s getting easy jumpers. They’re playing well off him and his perimeter shooting has improved through the years. He’ll have to continuously prove it in this seven-gamer.

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The Real Pistons-Bulls Rivalry set straight

Posted in Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Isiah Thomas on May 7, 2007 by youngvito


Before we crack open this new installation of the classic Detroit Pistons-Chicago Bulls rivalry from the late 80’s-early 90’s, it’s time to set the record straight. To get a few things off my chest. To let everyone know the real behind the fake.

Ever heard the saying, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see?” Well, this applies because the 1987-91 Pistons are the most disrespected and underrated NBA team of all time and the Michael Jordan-led Bulls are obviously the most decorated, but gets more credit than they’re due.

Let’s get to the heart of this. Isiah Thomas, not only the greatest pure point guard of his era but one of the top-15 players of all time, didn’t get along with 23, as everyone knows. Dude was vilified beyond belief by those who watched the rivalry grow from competition to contention, hatred and personal vendettas.

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Referee Bias Coverage

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2007 by jweiler

Last Wednesday, when I first followed up Dwil’s comments about the study that suggested a racial bias among NBA referees, I wrote:

There are a couple of things about this study that may pose obstacles for a clear-minded discussion of it, however. The first is that the sports commentariat is not well-versed in the language of statistical analysis, generally speaking. This lack of facility with that language is what is likely going to allow David Stern to get away with trumpeting the league’s own study (which shows no bias), notwithstanding the obvious fact that the league’s study, which includes no statistical controls for alternative hypotheses, is obviously a joke. The second, as I’ve written about before, is the commentariat’s ongoing difficulty in seeing racism in anything other than Black and White terms. In other words, it’s hard for people to acknowledge the subtler forms of racism (or prejudice more generally). Either somebody goes Imus or John Rocker or Tim Hardaway, in which case their prejudices are obvious, or to raise the issue of race is to “play the race card” and to label something prejudiced is to be divisive or shrill, or whatever.

Having spent the last few days sampling some of the coverage, I am here to tell you that I dramatically understated just how obtuse the sports commentariart could be. Not everyone got it wrong, but the commentariat’s tendencies toward anti-intellectualism and laziness were on full, painful display.

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Suns v. Spurs Preview.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2007 by maxairington

What To Look For:
So wait, now Steve Nash got screwed and a 61 win team-with homecourt advantage are underdogs? What the hell is going on here? This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen. One of these teams was supposed to stumble out of this series only to be trampled by the rested Mavericks, while the other found themselves one step closer to euthanization. Instead, Phoenix and San Antonio will now face each other in the Conference Semis as the top two favorites for not only the West, but the whole thing. It should be expected that they’ll play accordingly. Both may be facing their last legitimate shot at a championship, as their stars age by the day. That urgency will show in the follow through of every J and the intensity of every rebound. After a dismantling of the Nuggets fast break with their defensive fortitude, many expect the Spurs to continue their success by frustrating the Suns in a similar fashion. Tony Parker was the standout player of the season series, attacking with 28 ppg, including a 35 point performance (4/5) in which he frustrated the reigning MVP into foul trouble and the Suns were held to 38% How will Nash respond? This series should also prove to be another epic battle of post positioning between Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire. The NBA Finals are happening in May this year, and they’re gonna be great.

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Mayweather-De La Hoya: Don’t Let the Flurries Fool You

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2007 by Dax-Devlon Ross

If last night’s super welterweight fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya had been judged solely by crowd reaction or by how active each boxer’s fists were, then the outcome would have been different. I’d even go so far as to say the sport’s popularity among lay audiences would go through the roof if those were the deciding factors in a fight. After all, campy crapola like “American Idol” has managed to remain disturbingly popular not because of the talent on the show or even because of Simon’s antics. It’s remained popular because people can call in and vote and see their perspective reflected in who stays and who goes. Imagine what text message voting would do for boxing? Then imagine what it would do to boxing. Then thank God there are judges who, for the most part, know what they are doing.

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Pistons v. Bulls Preview.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 5, 2007 by maxairington

What to look for: Youth versus experience. While Detroit is considered a narrow favorite, Chicago’s 3-1 season series advantage has some thinking that their fresh legs and athleticism will triumph over the battle tested Pistons. The Bulls collected their first playoff series of the post-Jordan era at the expense of the defending champs and are looking for more. The danger of a team with nothing to lose has been made readily apparent, and Chicago owned the season series on the boards, including last month’s 106-88 stampede without center Ben Wallace. This has all the makings of another upset.

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Jeff Pearlman Interview

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4, 2007 by jweiler

We’ve had lots of good interview material here lately, so I’ve been holding off a little bit on posting this, but here’s the interview I did with Jeff Pearlman. Pearlman now writes for ESPN’s Page Two, after several years with Sports Illustrated. Two weeks ago, I wrote a critical post about an article that Pearlman had recently written for Page Two, about Barry Bonds (Pearlman, of course, has written a book about Bonds). Pearlman was gracious in his response to that post (he weighed in in the comments section), and Michael Tillery suggested to me that I try to track Jeff down for an interview. Pearlman’s a busy guy who responded as if he had all the time time in the world to answer my questions. OK, that’s the gripping backstory. Here’s the interview:

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Only on a Street Corner in New York

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4, 2007 by Dax-Devlon Ross

Last night I watched the Dallas-Golden State game through the window of a trendy Manhattan sports bar beside a guy named Mike. I hadn’t intended to watch the game that way, but after I got to talking to Mike I figured it was as good a place as any to watch the Warriors work out on the Mavericks. Mike was fresh off of a three-day stint in jail after being picked up for a warrant on Monday. In the process he’d lost his job and what little bit of money he had to his name. Mike’s last two bucks in the world had gone to buy the 40 oz. he was sipping on. As a gesture of kindness, he offered to share it with me; I declined. It’s been nearly a decade since I tasted my last 40 oz. of Crazy Horse, but my taste buds still haven’t entirely recovered.  

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And I’m still waiting for my flying car, yo.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 3, 2007 by stopmikelupica

The Sixth Man: SML will on occasion sub-in for one of the starting five, give them a quick breather.

“Yo SML, kick that ol’ robotic, futuristic, George Jetson crazy joint”
-Craig Mack

I generally try to confine my posts to the weekend, when no one cares anyway, leaving the weekday posts to the big dawgs with the big words and big ideas.  But with the recent conversations about NBA referees handing out technicals, referee bias, and the typical complaining about refs that happens during the NBA playoffs, I just had some crazy visions.  The focus of this website is to discuss race, sports and the press.  The Starting Five does a terrific job at that, and the work they are doing here in that regard is of the utmost importance.  If there is one thing they do beyond posting about race and sports, it is to inspire discussions.  And so I feel like inspiring a discussion, too.

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Some Additional Thoughts on the Referee Bias Study (Updated Below)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2007 by jweiler

Dwil was all over the New York Times story by Alan Schwarz this morning on a study that appears to show a racial bias in NBA officiating. I’ll be curious to see what kind of coverage the study gets (Dwil notes that, as of this morning, it was far down the list on’s main page) and will track it in the next few days. There are a couple of things about this study that may pose obstacles for a clear-minded discussion of it, however. The first is that the sports commentariat is not well-versed in the language of statistical analysis, generally speaking. This lack of facility with that language is what is likely going to allow David Stern to get away with trumpeting the league’s own study (which shows no bias), notwithstanding the obvious fact that the league’s study, which includes no statistical controls for alternative hypotheses, is obviously a joke. The second, as I’ve written about before, is the commentariat’s ongoing difficulty in seeing racism in anything other than Black and White terms. In other words, it’s hard for people to acknowledge the subtler forms of racism (or prejudice more generally). Either somebody goes Imus or John Rocker or Tim Hardaway, in which case their prejudices are obvious, or to raise the issue of race is to “play the race card” and to label something prejudiced is to be divisive or shrill, or whatever. The officiating bias study, if it gets a proper hearing may, one hopes, contribute to a more humbled understanding of how racism works even when we’re not fully conscious of own motives, feelings, etc.

Schwarz’ report last night reminded me of one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on race and the NBA. It was a law-review article about the league’s response to the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl in November 2004, written by the late Jeffrey Williams, a promising young attorney who died last Fall at the age of twenty six. Williams was, in his spare time, a contributor to the great Sports Law blog and, back in November, I wrote a reader’s digest version of his article.
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