Archive for September 7th, 2011

On November 11, 2011, Washington D.C. will host the first ever “Xtreme Basketball Xhibition” (XBX) event at “DMV’s” basketball mecca, the Capital Sports Complex. XBX, featuring 100 amateur basketball players, including Hugh Jones a.k.a. “Baby Shaq” (Washington, D.C.), Grayson Boucher a.k.a. “The Professor” (Keizer, Ore.), Corey Williams a.k.a. “Homicide” (N.Y., N.Y.) and Taurion Fontenette a.k.a. “Mr. 720” (Hitchcock, Texas), will showcase never before seen extreme individual and team basketball competitions.

The newly created Xtreme Basketball Xhibition will give amateur basketball players the opportunity to display their talents, while being ranked and awarded prizes by a select committee of talent judges from the worlds of sports and entertainment. Players competing in XBX will have their skills tested in dunking, shooting, ball handling, one-on-one and three-on-three competitions - each having a unique style and elevated level of difficulty, unlike standard skills challenges. The event will also include “ringer” events and exhibition games. The event will run from Fri., Nov. 11 through Sun., Nov. 13.

Players interested in participating in the Xtreme Basketball Xhibition’s kickoff event on Nov. 11 can enter a qualifier on October 15 at the Capital Sports Complex. Players interested in registering for the qualifier can go to www.theXBX.com. The competition is open to basketball players, male and female, of all ages, except for college age/athletic scholarship eligible athletes.

The event expects to draw basketball players from across the country and thousands of basketball enthusiasts 10 to 40 years of age. In addition to the competition and exhibition on the hardwood, XBX will feature an “Expo” where related global brands and local businesses will showcase and sell merchandise.

The Xtreme Basketball Xhibition was created by Georgetown Hoya alum Lonnie “Prime Objective” Harrell, a former professional basketball player (New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic and the And1 Mix Tour).

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The Timberwolves Dancers will tour southern China over the next two weeks, bringing the Timberwolves brand to one of the fastest-growing NBA markets in the world. The trip is part of the Guangdong Mobile Tour, an eight-weekend event co-sponsored by the NBA and the China Mobile Communications Corporation that will feature interactive basketball activities and performances from NBA dance teams, local DJs and freestyle streetball performers.

“This is a tremendous honor for our team,” Timberwolves Dancers Director Natalie Alvarado said. “The girls are incredibly excited to represent the Timberwolves organization and the NBA in front of the great basketball fans in China.”

The Guangdong Mobile Tour will travel throughout the Guangdong province in southern China for eight weeks beginning this Friday, Sept 9, with the Timberwolves Dancers performing for four days in the capital city of Guangzhou. The team will then travel to Zhuhai for two more performances the following weekend.

This year’s tour marks the Timberwolves Dancers’ third international trip in recent years, and second visit to China. The team also performed as part of the NBA’s Jam Van Asian Tour in 2006, making stops in Shanghai and Nanjing. The dancers also accompanied the Wolves to France last fall as part of the league’s NBA Europe Live preseason schedule that saw the Wolves take on the New York Knicks in Paris.

Mehmet Okur

There have been rumblings during the summer that Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur might head to his native Turkey to play basketball during the NBA lockout. This has now reportedly become a reality.

According to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:

The Utah Jazz center signed a contract today to play for Turk Telekom Ankara and will begin participating with the team from his country immediately, Okur’s agent Marc Fleisher told the Deseret News.

Okur’s contract includes a provision that will allow him to leave the Turkish team to return to the Jazz when and if the NBA lockout ends this season.

Fleisher said Okur, who is under contract with Utah through the end of the 2011-12 season, has recovered from his back issue and the left Achilles tendon injury that limited his court time last year.

“He’s healthy enough to play now,” Fleisher said.

And Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune (blog) reports:

“He didn’t feel that the option to go play in pick-up games are what he needed,” said Fleisher, who stated that Okur is close to 100-percent health and will be insured while playing overseas. “He choose this and it’s a good team. He knows the league very well and it’s a good opportunity for him to play at a high level. And when the lockout ends, he’ll come back and be rearing to go.”

Okur must first handle a minor visa issue before joining Turk Telekom, and could meet up with ex-Jazz guard Deron Williams while in Turkey.

Okur played just 13 games last season for the Jazz and was barely a factor on the court, averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game. But perhaps, as his agent says above, Okur has regained full health. In which case he might as well go play some basketball and enjoy his home country a bit longer.

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The AP reports:

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee were married over the weekend in a private ceremony in Tennessee.

The wedding came almost a year to the day after the couple’s originally scheduled wedding date. Johnson’s office announced Tuesday that the ceremony was held Saturday at Blackberry Farm near Knoxville.

“We had a small ceremony with an intimate group of family and friends and are thrilled to be starting our lives together,” Johnson said in a statement.

The former NBA star and the education reform advocate had planned to marry on Sept. 4, 2010, in a much larger ceremony in Sacramento, but they rescheduled the nuptials after a wave of intense public interest.

Morris twins in NBA draft

The NBA Draft seems long enough, but owners may want it expanded

By Jeff Lenchiner

One of the less important season-destroying issues in the ongoing collective bargaining agreement discussions that have currently left the basketball world in the midst of an off-season NBA lockout is the Draft.

Generally, most people in the league are OK with NBA Draft basics: Two rounds, first round picks are guaranteed to receive a contract, while second rounders are not. There is room to discuss the amount of years rookie contracts should be, how they’re guaranteed, and of course the amount of money players who get drafted will be paid, but the basic framework is pretty simple and fairly agreeable.

On the one hand, a team that was going to finish in the ballpark of the 15th best/worst record in the league would probably have to consider the benefit of losing a couple of games to make sure they have a bottom-15 record. Not that I would ever accuse a team of tanking, of course. But I have to assume a team would consider every possible course of action available to them, especially if just a couple bad shots here and there would potentially lead to a possibly significant draft benefit.

But, teams make a lot of money with each home playoff game they play. Teams with the 15th best record are probably right on the playoff bubble. Would an owner want to lose out on certain financial gains just to get better draft picks? Doubtful, especially if the picks were only going to be in the mid-teens and then late 20’s. The real gems in the draft tend to be the guys selected up top, of course. Usually.

I don’t think the NBA draft needs a third round anytime soon. It would only make sense if the D-League was expanded and/or the NBA had a complete (and good) minor league system.

But I do like the idea of shaking things up and helping bad teams speed up the rebuilding process. Only if it makes sense and is fair to the league as a whole, though.

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