With both the college and NBA basketball seasons closing in, it’s time to revive our regular roundup feature, where we whip around the world of basketball and see what’s happening that’s interesting right now.
Derrick Rose is not only ready physically for the season, he’s been slowly increasing his conversation as well, most recently saying that the only true rival for the Chigago Bulls right now are the Miami Heat.
“Well, I didn’t look at it as the banner thing. I just look at it as putting our guys up…. Listen, I think this is our arena when we play,” Rivers said. “So I just thought it would be good that we show our guys. No disrespect to them. But when we play, it’s the Clippers’ arena as far as I know.”
Finally, Hall of Fame center Bill Russell was arrested for carrying a loaded handgun into an airport inside of his luggage. No explanation was given but Russell has apologized for the incident.
Several basketball legends are coming to the aid of friend and teammate Luther “Ticky” Burden, a former ABA, NBA player and collegiate basketball star who set the FIBA World Championship scoring title in 1974, as well as helping the US win gold at the 1975 Pan American Games.
Burden, who currently resides in Winston-Salem, NC, is suffering from a life-threatening form of infiltrative heart disease known as ATTR amyloid, which will require relocation to Columbia University in New York for evaluation of potential heart and liver transplants. The treatment is expected to cost in excess of $500,000. Burden does not have health insurance.
Burden played for the University of Utah collegiately then spent time in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and in the NBA with the New York Knicks. Burden’s FIBA record remained intact until Kevin Durant broke it in 2010.
Former legends of collegiate and pro basketball, including All-Americans Skip Brown of Wake Forest and Phil Ford of North Carolina are coming together to help raise funds for Burden at a charity dinner on October 11, 2013.
The dinner will feature legendary NBA players including ACC alumni such as Chucky Brown of NC State, former NBA player and Wake Forest star Charlie Davis, Winston-Salem State head coach Bobby Collins and several more.
There will be several available auction items for sports memorabilia provided by the New York Knicks, including an exclusive autographed J.R. Smith jersey. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of some of the memorable moments in basketball history, as well attend a meet-and-greet prior to the dinner. 100% of the proceeds for this event will go directly to helping Luther Burden battle his life-threatening illness.
Kevin Durant likes Seattle, and he wants them to know it.
Durant, who played his rookie season for the Seattle Supersonics before the team relocated to Oklahoma City, scored 63 points in a game at the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro-Am, in front of about 3,000 fans. According to Crawford, Durant took his own jet to play and really wanted to make sure the fans understood that he missed playing in Seattle.
The Miami Heat have decided that the will use the Amnesty clause on sharp shooter Mike Miller, which may save the team more than $30 million. The savings will likely come from luxury tax payment savings. The move is not entirely unexpected, although it was only a few days after team president Pat Riley stated that the team was looking to keep the core group of players intact.
However, the Heat reportedly tried to trade Miller, not because of his play but because of the mounting cost the team incurred when adding their “Big 3″ of Bosh, Wade and Lebron James. Miller was aware that such a move might be made and is taking it in stride:
‘I understand the business side of basketball,” Miller told The Associated Press. ”It’s a combination of being very, very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had, but it hurts that we had a chance to do something very, very special and I’d love to have been a part of it.”
It’s not entirely bad for Miller, he had battled back from injuries last season to make a positive impact in this year’s title run with the team, and despite being off the roster he will still receive his salary of $6.2 million and $6.6 million for the next two seasons. However, the Heat won’t have to count Miller’s salary towards the cap.
Former NBA player Daron ‘Mookie’ Blalock is in critical condition today following a car accident late Friday. Blalock’s SUV reportedly crossed the center line and collided with a head-on with a van. One passenger in the van, 43-year-old Monica Murphy, was fatally injured and her husband suffered a broken ankle.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Blalock was initially placed on life support, but his condition has improved enough that it was no longer required as of Friday morning and that his current condition is ‘guarded’.
Michael Jordan gently discusses an issue with the ref
By Marcus Shockley
If you haven’t heard about Mike Rice, the head coach of Rutgers men’s basketball team and his abuse of his players during practice, you can catch up with the video below. Needless to say, Mike Rice should be fired – under no circumstances is this acceptable behavior for anyone, child or adult. I would go so far as to say that the fact that the Athletic Director didn’t fire Rice immediately should be concern about the AD as well.
But one issue that this raises is that many sports pundits have taken to the idea that in order to be great in sports, either as a player or a coach, you have to be a megalomaniac, completely absorbed in your own desires and focused only on yourself, to the point of complete disregard for anyone else in any capacity.
The popular icon of this is Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, who also became one of the biggest egos of all time; it has become commonplace to refer to any dysfunctional or abusive behavior as ‘what is required’ in order to be legendary. Several players are said to have this ‘winning’ attitude: Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams have all been described in such terms.
But it’s not true.
There is a common phrase used in the field of statistics whenever a theory is introduced based on only a few variables: “Correlation does not imply causation”. To put this in plain English, just because you have a couple of examples of something occurring does not make it true for all cases, or even true in general.
There are some things that hold true; fierce competitiveness, focus and a strong discipline are all factors of every legendary player. Many pro players are stunted emotionally because as they’ve worked like mad at their sport, outside of sports they are handed many things for most of their life.
But there are plenty of examples of players who won – a lot – and weren’t crushing people with their ego along the way.
Jackie Robinson, the focus of a new movie about how he broke the color barrier in baseball, was such an example. Think Robinson wasn’t as great as Kobe? Consider that Jackie Robinson was so good that he forced racist business owners to completely change their beliefs; forced their hand because they would rather go against hundreds of years of cultural and societal taboos rather than pass on his talent.
But even today there are tons of examples of superstar athletes who aren’t preening egomaniacs – Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Roger Federer and Kelly Slater all have lengthy careers – all would be HOF or the equivalent in their sport – and none have the supposed burning self-love that is claimed to be a prerequisite to greatness.
Let us not forget how many jerks we run into, in all walks of life, every single day. People cut each other off in traffic; push ahead of each other in line at grocery stores; steal office supplies; start rumors about each other; cheat on their spouses. The vast majority of those people behave like jackasses a lot, some of them to the point of ruining their marriages and careers. Their behavior certainly doesn’t make them legendary.
The simple truth is this: if someone is a legendary player and behaves like a jackass, they are just a jerk who is also good at their sport. They are not great because they are a jerk. If being a jackass made people great, our world would be teeming with amazingly talented people on every street corner.
Go ahead an nod along, you know I’m right. There are plenty of untalented knuckleheads in the world.
So, let’s call it what it is when people have dysfunctional, anti-social behavior instead of dressing it up and dismissing it as a quality. Kobe Bryant is a great player, but he’s also a jackass. Michael Jordan was the greatest player, and he is also a jackass. Let’s not confuse the two.
And Mike Rice? Yeah, well, there’s really no question what he is.