Monday, February 24, 2003
Remember last week, when I said that I'd take Kevin Garnett as my top choice in an NBA dispersal draft. Yeah, I was wrong. Kobe Bryant is the new, unquestioned top choice in my fictional draft, thanks to the historic run he's on.
He's scored at least 40 points in nine straight games, matching Michael Jordan's career high and putting him behind only Wilt Chamberlain. When you're talking about scoring (the basketball kind, not Wilt's other famous kind), and you're in a three-some (again, figurative) with Wilt and MJ, you're doing something special (no, not that! Get your mind out of the gutter!).
Kobe is making an MVP push and pushing the LA Lakers into the playoff picture at the same time, but that's not what he's playing for. He's playing for his place in history. For the past three years, Kobe has played Scottie Pippen to Shaq's Michael Jordan, and, on a greater scale, he's been Isaiah Thomas to the dream team of T-Mac, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and the NBA's other high-flying superstars. Sure, Kobe had the rings, but he had Shaq to help him.
Now, with Shaq hurting and Kobe dominating, it's obvious who the biggest star in the league is, and he's playing better than he ever has, and it's enthralling to watch.
Plus, those white Laker jerseys just look so damn good.
• OK, I am insanely sick of Dick Vitale, and I want him to go away. I watched the Duke-Maryland game last week and he just said insane things non-stop. Some specifics focused on him constantly praising Duke, even when they clearly aren't a championship contender this year. He loves Duke and it's obvious and it's sickening.
• Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue came out last week, which means that my favorite issue is coming up soon. That's right: the one with all the letters complaining about the swimsuit edition. Every year, people send in countless letters wondering how SI could ever print such debauchery, even though the magazine does it every year, and has for more than four decades. If the letters weren't so funny, I'd wish SI stopped printing them. But they provide so much amusement, much more than Dick Vitale.
• Oh, last week there was so much promise for Towson's men's lacrosse season, and now it's all gone. The Tigers lost their season opener to unranked Rutgers, putting a big damper on any hopes they have on making the NCAA tournament. Do they miss Kyle Campbell? Maybe, but the bigger problem seems to be the problem that afflicts all Towson teams: turnovers. I hate turnovers and so do most coaches, and they're like a plague on Auburn Drive, one that must be stopped.
eBay Item of the Week
• The 1994 Swimsuit Edition with Kathy Ireland, Elle MacPherson and Rachel Hunter on the cover. March 2, 2003, 2:43 p.m. PST.
• The Texas Rangers will improve by at least 15 games and possibly push 90 wins. But they still won't make the postseason. Neither will Anaheim. The AL playoff teams will be New York, Chicago, Seattle and Oakland.
-Hey, I finally did SportsBytes. I did most of the other stuff too, but SportsBytes is the big thing. I'll get more reviews up this week, but for now, read SportsBytes. Yes, I caved and did Kobe, but it's good. Oh, and I posted pictures of my new Houston Texans jersey and my new Kobe jersey (yes, more Kobe).
-One cool thing coming up, I bought a LeBron James jersey on eBay and it's coming soon. I'll post pictures of it in the jersey section (NBA section) when I get it.
-I was planning on doing a new SportsBytes this week, but I can't really think of anything to rant about. Maybe Kobe, but that's really been overdone. If I come up with something later, I'll post it, but for now, don't expect anything.
-As for reviews, I definitely need to catch up on some stuff. I'm going to do the 50 Cent album, the Chicago soundtrack and Gods and Generals. I'll try to do one a day for the rest of the week. I will also post up some photos of my iMac Aquarium and some new baby pictures. Plus, I got a couple new jerseys and I'll update that as well.
-Otherwise, I'm just having fun relaxing on my day off. I might even not go into work today, since I seem to go in every other time on my day off.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
-Well, I was half right about what I did yesterday. I did not get a new SportsBytes done, but I did play lots of video games. I got a little further in "Vice City" and a lot further in "The Mummy Returns" and "The Fellowship of the Ring."
-Fortunately, I did get around to writing a SportsBytes this morning, and it's up for your enjoyment. I wrote about who I think are the top five NBA players regardless of position. So what do I think is the top starting five? That's a little easier. Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant are the guards, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett are the forwards and Shaq is the center. If we sent that team to Athens in 2004, we'd be fine. Hopefully we'll get everyone but Shaq, and we'll still be OK.
-I may have another update later today depending on what I'm doing. For now though, I'm just going to enjoy my second straight day off -- this one being a scheduled one, not a snow day.
Monday, February 17, 2003
One of the more interesting debates these days centers around the proposed roster of the 2004 U.S. men's basketball team. Stemming from that debate comes the more interesting one that we recently had at work: Who are the top five players in the NBA today, regardless of position?
Most people start with Shaq and Kobe and then get stuck from there, but to be honest, I don't put Shaq in my top five. He's great, to be sure, but he really has no competition at his position, and he can't do as many things as the more talented players in the league today.
When I start my top five, I start with the wing guys who can play multiple positions. Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady and Kobe all qualify here. KG is a 20-10-5 guy, one of just a few in the league, and on a good team he'd probably be a 27-15-7 guy with blocks thrown in. And Kobe and T-Mac don't really need an explanation.
So, with Shaq out of the picture who do I put in my top five. Easy, another pair of 7-footers from the West: Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan. Dirk is just like KG, only younger and better from three (but not as strong on the defensive end) while Duncan is what Garnett would be if he'd tried to become a low block player.
There are other players who you may thing are left out here, but the fact is that the league, besides Shaq, is dominated now by the three and four men, particularly the versatile ones, and it makes it a great time to be watching the NBA.
• ESPN.com debuted another redesign (it seems to be an annual thing now) with a larger emphasis on broadband capabilities. While I feel for people who are still using dial-up, I'm glad that ESPN is pushing into the future. ESPN Motion seems like it'll be a great thing, a bridge between the network and the web site. Of course, I can't view it yet (it's Windows only). The site does say that a Mac OS X version is coming soon, probably because the dot-com guys themselves use Macs, as do some of the anchors.
• ESPN.com's biggest online competitor, CNN/SI.com, also underwent a big change recently, switching over to being just SI.com. The CNN/SI network folded recently, making the CNN/SI label useless. Of course, there weren't many actual changes to the site, which still has most of the same columnists and features, and that's a good thing. Peter King's MMQB is second only to Bill Simmons's stuff on Page 2 on the must read list.
• Guess what time of year it is? That's right, it's lacrosse season! Sure, last year wasn't the best of seasons for the Tigers, but they still have quite a team coming back in 2003. The offensive talent is there (even with Kyle Campbell ruled ineligible), but the season will likely hinge on the performance of Reed Sothoron in goal. As a freshman, Sothoron showed flashes of talent, but was inconsistent. With John Hunt gone, the goal is Sothoron's to keep.
eBay Item of the Week
• A Lakers three-peat 8x10 photo, signed by eight Lakers, including Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Current Bid: $40. Ends Feb. 23, 2003, 10:03 a.m. PST.
• Preseason NCAA lacrosse picks: Final Four is Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Princeton and, in a huge surprise, North Carolina. Syracuse beats UNC for the title.
The blizzard that has overtaken pretty much the entire east coast has forced the Westfarms Mall to close for the entire day, giving me an extra day off this week. Of course, because everything is closed, there's really nothing to do, so I guess I'll do some website updating today.
-I'll try to have a new SportsBytes this week (after missing last week) with no LeBron stuff, since that's all covered by LeBronJamesNews.com now. The site's doing well, as is SportsPickle.com, which is getting all sorts of publicity.
-For the most part though, I'll probably just sit around doing nothing, maybe play some video games. That'll be fun.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
-Well, I finally delivered something on time as promised. The "Friends and Family" section is now pictures, complete with my entire jersey collection, not just the NFL ones. I'm going to post the iMacaquarium shots later tonight, along with some other room shots, giving you an idea of where I live.
-I also posted my "Chicago" review, a little later than I'd hoped. The movie earned 13 Oscar nominations, most deserved, and was worth seeing in the theater. On a related note, I might have a Rambling article this weekend about my thoughts on the Oscar nominations.
-I've had a huge migraine all day, so I'll probably be going to sleep early, which sucks.
-Oh, one more thing... I updated the iTunes top 25 most played list, and included play counts. Enjoy
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
-Quickie update tonight.
-First, SportsPickle.com is updated with a new issue, and I really like this one, even though it is kind of vulgar. Also I posted a commentary on LeBronJamesNews.com and updated the latest links from the web.
-There's a new LeBron controversy, but it really has nothing to do with what he did. It's about the ref that had his picture taken with LeBron after the SVSM-Westchester game Saturday night. Obviously a ref shouldn't be taking a picture with a player, but it's not on James to say no, it's on the ref to not ask for the picture. Nothing will happen to James here.
-I have the day off Saturday, and I'm thinking I'm going to change the "Friends and Family" section to "Pictures." I'll keep the pictures of Lilah up there, but I'll also throw up some pictures of my NFL jersey collection and my new iMacaquarium. Eventually I'll get pictures of my family up there, I mean other than my niece.
-And now I need sleep.
Thursday, February 06, 2003
(cause) I need two pair
So I can get to stompin in my Air Force Ones
(Big boys) stompin in my Air Force Ones"
Why am I in a Nelly mood tonight? Well, maybe it's because I -just picked up a pair of 20th anniversary Air Force Ones (navy on white) at Foot Action this afternoon. Or it could be because I found a site (pickyourshoes.com) that sells the classic White-on-Whites for a reasonable price (that is, if you think $135 is reasonable for any pair of sneakers). I can't decide if I want to get the White-on-Whites, or if I want to wait until later this year, when the LeBron I -- whether by Nike or Adidas is still unknown -- inevitibly arrives. Knowing me, I'll buy the White-on-Whites now and add the LeBrons to my collection later.
-Speaking of LeBron, there's been no new news today, which is probably a good thing for my sanity. LJN.com has been more work than I ever could have expected, though I really did bring it on myself. Of course, right now it's still in the fun stage, much like TowsonSports.com was for the first few months. Who knows when it'll become more of a burden than it's worth, but hopefully that won't be for awhile (and once James hits the NBA, I might actually be able to go to some games in Boston or New York, which would be very cool).
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
It's a given that, barring some sort of catastrophic injury, LeBron James will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and 28 teams will have no shot at even bringing him in for a workout (unless the Cavs get the No. 1 pick, and James truly won't play for them, in which case it'll be a free-for-all to try and trade for the top pick).
That means we must move on to the No. 2 overall pick for speculation. May I suggest stopping in upstate New York?
Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony, only a freshman, is putting up numbers that have him in consideration for national Player of the Year honors. He's averaging 20.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and almost two steals per game for a team that is easily exceeding all expectations.
The most recent Wooden Award list of 30 "finalists" came out on Feb. 2, and Anthony was one of only four players not on the preseason list to make the final 30.
And while the NBA may be leery of drafting one-and-done college players, Anthony is not your traditional ship-jumper. He could have left for the pros straight out of high school (many analysts had him pegged as a lottery pick) but he went to Syracuse anyway. I can still remember talking with him after his Oak Hill team defeated Towson Catholic last season and he spoke of wanting to play in the Carrier Dome in front of 30,000 fans. He liked the idea of the college atmosphere and wanted to experience it at least once.
Combine that attitude with his pure talent, and maybe you'll see why the team with the No. 2 pick isn't a total loser.
• I don't get to see it too often, because it seems like I work almost every Tuesday night, but ESPN2's NBA Fastbreak is a great idea. Rather than showing another mid-week game, we get a sampling of every game, with in-depth analysis in between. As the season hits the stretch run, with playoff positioning on the line, this show will pick up in quality, and the look-ins will be invaluable.
• USA Today deserves credit for keeping St. Vincent St. Mary in the top spot of the high school basketball Super 25. The Fighting Irish haven't lost to anyone on the court, and even won their first game without LeBron James, so there's no proof they would have lost the game the OHSAA initially ruled they had to forfeit. The paper probably wouldn't have taken much heat for dropping SVSM in the aftermath of "Jerseygate" but they stuck by their guns. Of course, these mythical high school rankings don't mean much, but a lot of people have paid attention to them with James around, increasing the pressure on USA Today to make the right call.
• For the third time this season, Lawrence Hamm was named CAA men's basketball Rookie of the Week, easily establishing himself as one of Towson's most honored freshmen ever. However, it doesn't seem like Hamm will have much of a chance at winning CAA Rookie of the Year, not unless Towson can improve and win a few more games. Sure, Kenny Adeleke won from last-place Hofstra last season, but he put up better raw numbers than Hamm and was generally flashier in doing so. Hamm will almost definitely make the all-rookie team, but ROY is going to be tougher to earn without at least three or four victories, and maybe a 20-10 game somewhere along the way.
eBay Item of the Week
• The infamous Wes Unseld throwback jersey from Mitchell & Ness. Current bid: $205. Ends Feb. 14, 2003, 1:25 p.m. PST.
• With the NBA all-star weekend almost upon us, it's time for a mid-season NBA Finals prediction. I'm going with the Lakers to put it together and come out of the west, facing the east champion... uh, how about... Detroit? Maybe. Or not. I'm not really sure. Yeah, LA-Detroit seems good. Maybe the Pistons can break out some cool retro-jerseys for the classic matchup.
-I posted a new, non-entirely LeBron related, SportsBytes for you to enjoy, and I hope you do. Props to Lawrence Hamm for being named CAA Rookie of the Week for the third time this season, but is he the front-runner for ROY? Check out SportsBytes to find out for sure.
-Also, be sure to check out LeBronJamesNews.com for the latest on his suspension. Later today, I'll be posting commentary from Towerlight columnist Hector del Castillo on James and the hype surrounding him.
-Oh, and I won't be around tonight because I'm going to see "Chicago" with Tracey. I'll try to have it reviewed by the weekend. Everyone's told me it's really good, but I have to see for myself.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
-Well, thanks to the quickness of Yahoo! Domains, LeBronJamesNews.com is already active and running.
So, since the domain is already working, I figured I should have somethink resembling a LeBron section up. Click on the button to the left, or just go to LeBronJamesNews.com to check it out.
It's amazing to think that of all the celebrities I've followed closely throughout the years, LeBron is the first for whom I've put up a web site. Right now, it doesn't really do him justice, but I'll work on that tomorrow, when I have the day off.
I'm also going to be writing for Eric Brandner's website, TintedView.com (which isn't active yet, so don't try to go there; I'll let you all know when it's up), so check those columns out eventually.
Monday, February 03, 2003
No matter what you think of the LeBron James suspension, there is one thing I have to believe: not even the NCAA would have screwed this up this badly.
The facts of the case, as we know them now, are these: James was given two jerseys valued at $850 in exchange for posing for some pictures. Later that day he found out that might be construed as a rule-violating offense, and he returned the jerseys before ever playing in a game. After playing in his next game, the story broke. A day later the OHSAA ruled James permanently ineligible, saying he'd forfeited his amateur status.
Now, I'm not one to defend the NCAA, but knowing the facts as stated above, I can confidently say there is no way the NCAA would have come down as harshly on James as the OHSAA did, despite some early columns suggesting that this incident may have permanantly precluded James from going the college route.
In cases like this, the NCAA has generally required restitution (which James already did, by giving back the jerseys) and a short suspension. Instead, the OHSAA decided to punish James more for the Hummer than the jerseys, and in doing so, made themselves the villan here.
• Dick Vitale came off as quite a hypocrite on ESPNNews after the James story broke. He went off on one of his wild rants telling James that all this stuff, like the Hummer and free jerseys and the like, could have waited until after high school. Where was that indignation in December, when Vitale was calling a James game for ESPN2? It wasn't anywhere, because it wasn't chic back then to tell James to chill. Back then, everyone was just still marvelling at James's unlimited ability. Now we may not get to see it until October.
• Another one of the big losers in this whole thing -- aside from James's teammates, SVSM, and everyone who bought tickets to SVSM games -- is the YES Network. The network, only available in small parts of the country, is scheduled to broadcast the Prime Time Shootout this weekend, featuring some of the top high school teams in the nation. The centerpiece of Saturday's triple-header was the game between SVSM and Westchester (CA). They are even slated to rebroadcast the game on tape delay that night. Now the game is looking like one of the worst games in the tournament, and barely TV worthy. How quickly one player can change things.
• How to relate LeBron to Towson? Simple. Towson is one of the many schools (320, give or take) for which LeBron will never play. Of course, that's copping out. How about this? LeBron is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, but who's going after that? Well, No. 2 could be Towson native Carmelo Anthony, who played a year of high school ball at Oak Hill Academy, the school James's SVSM beat in their ESPN2 debut. Anthony played a great game for Oak Hill against his former school, Towson Catholic, in Towson University's Towson Center, a game I covered and wrote about in a feature story on Anthony. The Syracuse star is looking like a runaway choice for freshman of the year and a contender for player of the year, not to mention the leader for the DaJuan Wagner Memorial One-and-Done award (formerly the Marbury Trophy).
eBay Item of the Week
• LeBron James is only in high school. Yet there are already LeBron throwback jerseys (models from his sophomore and junior years). This one here is very nice. Currently going for $75.00. Ends Feb. 10, 2003, 10:24 a.m. PST.
• LeBron James will play high school basketball again, and not just in postseason all-star games. He's probably just waiting to file his appeal as close to the Feb. 13 OHSAA meeting as possible. He'll play in the state tournament at the least, and probably in one or two more regular season games.
-So remember that whole thing about not doing SportsBytes today?
Well, I changed my mind, for one big reason. Try typing in LeBronJamesNews.com in your web browser's location menu (or just click on it).
And you're back!
Yes, that's right. I bought LeBronJamesNews.com, and in honor of that, I have an all-LeBron edition of SportsBytes. Eventually, I may add some more LeBron related stuff (at the least, I'll post a stats and links page), but I've still got other Adam Reisinger stuff to add to AdamReisinger.com first.
For now, enjoy the LeBron SportsBytes and any future LeBron-y goodness (and I promise that's the last time LeBronJamesNews.com will use the phrase "LeBron-y goodness").
-It's my first update in February, and it's a pretty lame one. I'm not going to do SportsBytes today -- I'll probably save it for Wednesday, when I'm off from work again. I am going to review "Blue Crush," which I just picked up on DVD, so check out the movies section later for that.
-I will write about two things up here. First, LeBron James. Yes, I can't get enough of him, and it seems neither can the mainstream media. The latest incident, involving James's alleged free jerseys leaves me with one question: Wes Unseld? Sure, Gale Sayers is a cool retro football jersey, but Unseld? If you're going to ask for a free throwback basketball jersey, why not go for a white Jerry West Laker classic, or maybe a Buffalo Braves Bob McAdoo kit. Or maybe even my personal favorite, a rookie-year model Dominique Wilkins Hawks red and yellow style throwback. Of course, add to all this the fact that he already had an Unseld jersey (don't ask how he got it), and the fact that he ended up returning the jerseys before SVSM's next game (maybe he got back home and saw he already had every throwback jersey ever made) and you wonder why he received such a stiff punishment. Then you see him driving around in that platinumized customized Hummer and you know why.
-On a completely unrelated note, I've been playing a lot of Madden 2003 online lately, and I think I've come up with a new strategy. If you've been paying attention since I started writing this, I at one point had mentioned the unstoppability of Mike Vick as an offensive weapon. Well, that plan hit a snag -- called the Falcons' defense. Playing as Atlanta, I couldn't stop anyone, and I was losing a lot of 49-42 games. I've gone back to my familiar style of playing as the Redskins -- running with Stephen Davis and playing stout defense in the Nickle. I won three in a row at one point (though in two of them, my opponent disconnected, so the stats didn't count). Hopefully by Wednesday, I'll get my online stats page posted, with some additional notes on strategy.
I never saw this movie in theaters, so I can't really compare the DVD experience to the theater experience, though the transfer seems good, the ocean scenes look spectacular and the sound isn't bad either.
The special features are OK, though I'm getting sick of behind-the-scenes documentaries that try to make the movie seem more important than it is. The wipeouts and action montage is quality, but the surf fashion special just isn't.
As for the movie itself -- and the movie still is the reason to buy any DVD -- it's one of many in a new sports genre: the "winner" who doesn't actually win in the end, but overcomes personal demons and wins the respect of everyone else. It's becoming almost as predictible as the "underdog winning when only they believe in themselves" movie, and it's got to stop.
The other big problem with the movie is Matthew Davis. This actor, who plays the NFL quarterback who falls in love with Kate Bosworth's Anne Marie, has so much range that his character is named Matt. You know an actor is bad when he has the same name as the character. It's the mark of "this guy couldn't get his names straight so we just changed the name to match his." Other than that, which is a minor thing really, is that he doesn't look like a quarterback, much less an All-Pro one. Throughout the movie, if you're a football fan, you'll find yourself looking at Davis and thinking he looks more like a kicker than a QB. Also, his buddy lineman (Faizon Love, who was also in the Replacements) is too short and out of shape to be a Pro Bowl lineman, which is really saying something.
Forgetting the football, the plot kind of, almost makes sense, but it's very cliché. When it comes down to it, you'll find yourself skipping entire scenes just to get to the surfing, which plays out well in the movie.
When it comes down to it, you'll look at "Blue Crush" and wonder why someone didn't just make a documentary about female surfers instead of tacking on a Cinderella-esque plot to a decent surfing flick.
My Grade: C-