Luther Burden Dinner

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.

For more information, to purchase tickets or offer a donation, visit

Mikhail Prokhorov Nets

You’ve probably heard about the sit-down that NBA commissioner David Stern orchestrated between the New York Knicks owner James Dolan and the Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov:

One source maintained Prokhorov stokes the rivalry fires because he believes the feud “is great for both teams” and insisted it is “not at all personal” against Dolan, the Garden chairman and Cablevision CEO.

So basically, Prokhorov comes into the NBA, buys one of the worst franchises, moves it to the big city and starts picking a fight with the Knicks, who supposedly own New York? That makes sense for the Nets, who have long wanted a piece of the New York pie, but have always been on the outside looking in.

Of course, the Knicks responding to it just makes it effective. So, way to continue leading the Knicks into the abyss, Dolan.

By Marcus Shockley

New Orleans Hornets Chris Paul (R) drives on Los Angeles Lakers Derek Fisher during Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference first round playoff basketball game in Los Angeles, California April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


Oh, there’s so much to talk about these days.

With the end of the lockout, you would think that the real NBA discussions wouldn’t begin until sometime after the first exhibition game tipped off; this is a sport, after all, and the primary focus is supposedly who wins and loses the games, but that’s never stopped the sports media from churning as much out of nothing as they possibly can.

One of the best formulas for creating sports stories out of thin air is what comedian Greg Proops once called the ‘What-If’ News, as in, ‘What IF Chris Paul joined the Knicks’ or ‘What IF the Celtics tried to trade Rajon Rondo?’. This, of course, is all speculation on what will happen many months from now, on the other side of a season, albeit shortened, but still rather lengthy. This is also ignoring the current free agent market that’s about to open, under the new CBA, because the current free agent market is rather dull, with the largest target possibly being Nene.

No, the discussion is lot more interesting when we talk about players like Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

With all of the first little bevy of rumors spilling out, we’ve heard already about the Nets trying to offer big deal to Howard, and how Deron Williams won’t sign an extension with them. Yesterday the rumor was that Chris Paul wanted to go to New York, but Paul rebuffed those rumors. Honestly, it’s far too early for any of this to have real credence, but there are some things that can be used as guidance on how this could shake out, and it starts on the West Coast.

The Lakers are one of the teams that really understands how to look to the future, and they have a long history of going out at the right time and putting together the next glamour team that will contend for, and usually win, a few NBA titles. The Lakers also have a solid track record of letting other NBA teams work almost as a farm system, taking risks, getting the bust draft picks, until the good players shake out and the Lakers move them to L.A.. Consider this: Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Lakers only one year after winning the league MVP. Kareem Abdul Jabbar didn’t get drafted by the Lakers, but he retired there with the all time scoring record in his back pocket. Shaq did his young days alongside Penny Hardaway in Orlando before he teamed up with Kobe. If you want to know the big free agent moves that are about to happen, all you need to know is that the Lakers are about to transition away from Kobe into their next incarnation, and that whatever that team looks like will be one that will sell tickets and more than likely win some championships. Does that mean Chris Paul and Dwight Howard? Or Deron Williams?

What happens next summer will be driven by what the Lakers are going to do; not because everyone in the league is scared of the Lakers, but because most of the teams in the league are just bad at putting together deep, winning teams. The closest team right now that has a roster to be afraid of for the long term is Chicago, and with the Mavs and Spurs aging, the league is poised for new blood, such as the Bulls or maybe the Heat, to make a move.

The only problem is, the Lakers have seen this before. The Spurs and Mavs make good moves on their own as well, but they have a hard time competing with the deep pockets and glitz of L.A., so it’s tough to say where their long term prospects are. The Spurs draft really well but is there another Tim Duncan out there in the college ranks?

So even though I won’t be paying too much attention to all the made up and strategically ‘leaked’ free agent talk, I will be paying attention to what the Lakers do this offseason.

Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki (C) tries to score against Macedonia during a friendly basketball match in Berlin August 28, 2011. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz (GERMANY – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


The New York Knicks are ready for the season to start, or at least, the Impact “lockout league”, where a handful of Knicks will be playing on the “A Team”:

Seventy NBA players will participate in the “Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series” because of the lockout. The Knicks team will feature Chauncey Billups, rookie Iman Shumpert, Shawne Williams, Roger Mason, rookie center Josh Harrellson and Jared Jeffries.

In Europe, France was missing their stars in Joakim Noah and Tony Parker, making their European championship game against a Pau Gasol-powered Spain a losing effort. However, the move by Noah and Parker was strategic, as both teams have already advanced.

Dirk Nowitski’s Germany team had less luck, as Dirk’s poor 4-for-17 shooting effort led to his team being bounced from the European Championship. The loss has even worse ramifications for Germany:

Germany not only missed a spot in the quarterfinals but also a chance to qualify for the London Olympics. Germany needed to win by 11 points to advance but didn’t come close. “It’s my fault,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 16 points.

Finally, speaking of the Olympics, Argentina defeated Brazil behind Luis Scola’s 32 points in the Olympic qualifying championship for the Americas.

Carmelo Anthony
Flikr/Keith Allinson

By Marcus Shockley

Look, I’ve gotta be honest. I like Carmelo Anthony. I overlook the no-defense-style and I’ll always respect that he’s a superstar that proved he could hang in college, bringing a championship to Syracuse.

And, I’m glad he got to play where he wanted. I do agree with many analysts who say that the superstars teaming up like it’s AAU is bad for the league. That’s true. It also won’t last. The hard truth is that the players might think they run the show, but they aren’t writing the checks. The people who write the checks make the decisions, and that’s one of the big reasons there will likely be a lockout this year as the owners make a point to Lebron and all the rest of the players.

But, back to Carmelo and the Knicks.

Let’s get one thing straight: there is absolutely no reason why the New York Knicks can’t be one of the dominant powerhouses in the NBA, competing for titles every year. They have the big market, the money, the media and the ability to attract players that means they should be able to be just as competitive as the Lakers.

But they aren’t, and it boils down to management and ownership. You can’t overcome Bad Management, and the Knicks have some of the worst. If they were in any other market they’d be in danger of contraction. The worst thing about Bad Management is that it never learns, never changes and never gets better. The only thing that will save bad management and ownership is wholesale change (see the Tampa Bay Bucs and Indianapolis Colts), and the last time I checked, the same owner is over the Knicks that thinks Isaiah Thomas is an awesome guy.

To be blunt, the Knicks are a horribly run organization and business, and they won’t win while they have the current management.

Let’s unpack this blockbuster trade, shall we? The Knicks had already put together a team that was most likely headed for the playoffs, behind respectable GM Donnie Walsh (slumming, apparently), but traded away all of their supporting cast for a guy who puts up big scoring numbers. Yeah, that will work, unloading almost the entire team for a single scorer. Starbury, anyone?

Sure, they have Chauncy Billups and, of course, Amare Stoudamire. But Billups is gone at the end of this year, and then there will be a lockout, and the Knicks will be looking to bring in those same kinds of players they just traded away. Their roster is thin. Nobody on their team plays any defense. Deron Williams isn’t coming to New York. Chris Paul isn’t coming to New York next season. How, exactly, is all of this supposed to make them long term contenders with the Lakers, Celtics, Magic and Heat?

I’m not sold. Even though I like Billups, Anthony and Stoudamire on the same starting five, I know bad management, and bad management will always run it right into the ground.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers.