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| Mar. 13, 2007

The Game, its Players and other ISH

Lithuanian Dunk Contest: Basketball announcers routinely indulge in the stereotype that American-born players are athletic slashers who can’t shoot and European ballers are fundamentally sound stiffs with great shooting skills. Players like Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Sergio Rodriguez and Thabo Sefalosha have helped debunk this boring myth. Then again, clips like this only serve to reinforce the stereotype… Thank you, Paulius Parachomikas. Next time, stick to chest passes and open jumpers.

Bron: Speaking of dunk contests, this was like a Dominique 1988 Dunk Contest dunk… except it was in a game.

Boston Snackbar: My favorite dunk of late, though, has come from an unlikely source: the Nets Bostjan Nachbar.

Fan Support: After Shaun Livingston’s gnarly knee injury a couple weeks ago, L.A. Clippers fans have posted “support” for Shaun on the Clippers website. Here are a few of my favorites, unedited:

"You were a great player"

"You still have a life ahead of you!"

"as soon as you can, get with a physical therapist and work on your knee"

"On the bright side the time off will let you bulk up your thin frame."

"your still the future of the franchise. Just don't get fat and out of shape."

"My heart literary came out for you."

"You were one of the most promising players in the leauge."

"Hopefully the injury put upon your leg is not as bad as how it looked."

"The pain that you endured looked very vigorous."

Fan Support Pt. 2: This girl has Shaun Livingston injury arms. Gross.

Running is easy: Every time I watch the Suns play, the announcers inevitably speculate that the Suns will “wear down” as the season goes on because they run more than other teams. This is just plain wrong. The most exhausting style of basketball is not a wide-open, fast-breaking style; rather it’s the slow, physical, half-court battles that wear you out. In fact, nothing is more tiring than guarding a big, strong player on the blocks. Hence the enduring value of Shaq, even at this advanced stage of his career—just guarding him totally exhausts 2-3 players. This also reveals the brilliance of the Suns style of play: by running on every play, they’re in fact preserving their players for the long “run,” no pun intended.

Sun shot: Seven-foot-nine Maryland Nighthawks center Sun Ming Ming has a decent little jumper! But he could still get blocked by Nate Robinson.

Shuttlesworth: Just for the record, Ray Allen is an incredible basketball player. He doesn’t receive a lot of media love, mostly due to the fact that he’s a low-key, non-controversial guy who plays for a mediocre team far away from media centers. The truth is, though, that he’s one of the 4-5 best players on the planet. In fact, I’d take him over Iverson, Bryant, Carmelo and a few other big-name cats. He’s one of the best shooters the game has ever seen, if not the best, and he plays with a cool, smooth, mature efficiency, an almost Zidane-like nonchalance. One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in basketball was watching Ray shoot warm-up shots before a game a couple years ago. He went around the horn, shot about 100 long shots form all angles, including two-dozen intentionally banked threes. Basically he didn’t miss—it was unreal. Here’s a nice little TNT video showing a few of his shooting drills (notice his grotesque mustard yellow Jordans). Don’t sleep on Ray Allen.

Stompin’: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably caught some of Nike’s massive campaign for the new Air Force 25. What’s weird is that the ads and the hype are better than the shoe itself. The design just doesn’t do it for me, especially the versions with the clear rubber sole—which turn yellow after a couple months. Considering how much they’ve invested in the shoe, you’d think the design would be a little more compelling…

Probably the best part of the whole campaign is the release of the Original Six models, one each for Michael Cooper, Calvin Natt, Jamaal Wilkes, Mychal Thompson, Bobby Jones and, of course, Moses Malone. It’s just dope that there’s a signature Bobby Jones shoe. Although it’s equally weird that there’s a Mychal Thompson shoe… I mean, he was a solid player and all, but who’s next?

Andrew Bangs is a writer and editor living in Queens, NY. His favorite karaoke song is “Wanksta” by 50 Cent.



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