Tag Archives: NBA


Be Careful How You “Deal With It,” Dame



So now, it’s official.

The NBA has selected DeMarcus Cousins to take the place of the injured Kobe Bryant, which means that we can officially say that Damian Lillard, master of the step-back three, end-of-game assassin, and the object of countless internet memes, like this:


…has officially been snubbed from the 2015 NBA All-Star team.



For once, I agree with Kanye.



This is, according not only to Portland fans but knowledgeable pundits around the league (including TNT’s “Inside the NBA” resident curmudgeon and non-jumpshooting-team-supporter Charles Barkley) a ridiculous miscarriage of justice, deserving not only of all manner of shrill internet complaints, but in the case of the Portland police department, an actual robbery investigation.

Not to take anything away from other players, but across the blogosphere and the Twitterverse, the consensus is that Lillard well-deserving of this All-Star nod. And it’s important to remember that despite the league’s fan-based selection process, the All-Star Game is not just a popularity contest, but an important progress metric in the overall career trajectory of an NBA player. Getting snubbed for an All-Star team is like being passed-over for a well-deserved promotion at the office. And it doesn’t matter whether this happens in a small office or on the brightest stage of professional sports, people will notice.

So yes, Lillard was robbed. Among reasonable people, there is virtually no disagreement.

Where I do differ from the masses, however, is in how Lillard can, should, or will respond.


Let’s Not Martyr White People For Speaking Honestly About Race

So it just hit the news today that businessman Bruce Levenson has voluntarily agreed to sell his ownership stake in the Atlanta Hawks in response to an internal NBA investigation over a racially insensitive email he sent to Hawks staffers in 2012 — which he voluntarily disclosed to the league office himself in July.

Now, I’ve seen and pondered a lot of different theories about this strange story. Some people think that he was being blackmailed by someone who had the email and decided to get in front of it. Some people think he saw how much money Steve Ballmer paid for the LA Clippers and voluntarily blew the whistle on himself in order to facilitate a huge payday.

Regardless of why, it’s clear that Levenson, after having stated emphatically on the record during the Sterling mess that the league needs to have a zero-tolerance policy about racial discrimination, needed to go to avoid being labeled as a hypocrite. He said so himself in his notice to league commissioner Adam Silver.

But there’s something I’m worried about, buried under the avalanche of Sterling comparisons.

I don’t believe his email was racist.


Before You Turn the Page on Donald Sterling



There are a lot of sighs of relief and satisfaction today.

After an unauthorized recording exposing his racist attitudes found its way to TMZ, and after just about everyone connected to the league spent the weekend consumed with “WTF” levels of gawkery over his well-documented reputation for racism, and after swift sanctions against him were promised by newly-minted league commissioner Adam Silver, it’s official – L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life.


The Definition: More Than Just A Nickname

When it comes to this year’s Portland Trail Blazers, I can honestly say that I really like our players.

All of them.

And I don’t just like them as players, I like them as people. Granted, I don’t know them all that well, I only know them as much as any fan can know a professional athlete — through quotes, interviews, video clips, et cetera.

In my 20s, I spent many formative years cheering for all the talented-but-troubled players who have worn the red and black over the years (Rasheed Wallace, Bonzi Wells, Isaiah Rider, Zach Randolph, etc.) so it makes it all the more satisfying to actually be able to cheer for a group of guys that are just as likable off the court as on.

Brandon Roy is the star, the go-to guy, the clubhouse leader and one of the main faces for our team. Because of this, and because the Blazers are starting to get more national press, there will continue to be throngs of people lining up to praise B-Roy — dubbed as “The Natural” by Blazers radio personality Brian Wheeler.

I share in that adoration, and I continue to be impressed by the way Roy continues to deliver in key moments, game after game after game. As is has been said ad nauseam by writers off every stripe who cover this team or the NBA in general, the Portland Trail Blazers have a great foundation in place with Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and LastYear’sNumberOneDraftPick Greg Oden (yes, that’s his full name now).

But none of them are my favorite player.

My favorite player is Martell Webster. He’s the guy I put on the masthead of this blog, and he’s the one with whom I identify most. He’s articulate, he’s honest, he’s ambitious, he’s confident, and he’s from the Pacific Northwest.

(Yes, I know he’s from Seattle and not Portland. Nobody’s perfect.)

I still remember when I heard the news that the Blazers had drafted Webster… I was very, very pleased. I was living in Chicago at the time, and since there weren’t any other Blazer fans in my immediate circle, I was resigned to reading the OregonLive Blazers Blog.

And since we weren’t any good, really, most of the hope for our team was to be found in scouring stori about potential draft picks. As I sifted through all the information about which players would be available and where, I couldn’t help but notice that everything that was written about Webster seemed loaded with potential: ‘Good NBA body,’ ‘long range shooter,’ ‘eager to learn,’ ‘good work ethic,’ yada yada yada.

I’m thinking, where’s the downside? Is there some cocaine problem we don’t know about?

The clincher was when I read in a pre-draft story about the nickname that Webster had given himself. Normally I frown upon guys trying adopt a nickname on their own (that’s usually your friends’ job) but this one seemed to fit so well: The Definition.

A play on his surname, Webster stated in no uncertain terms that he wanted to be the very model of a modern NBA player. And he wanted that for all aspects of his game. He didn’t just want SportsCenter highlights. He wanted professionalism. He wanted consistency. He wanted to be great.

So I’ve been following Martell’s quest for greatness ever since. Over the years, he’s had his ups and downs. He’s been known mostly as a great shooter with confidence issues, who lacks the consistency to take it to the next level. When he first came into the league, Martell appeared to be somewhat of a sensitive soul who wore his earnest desire on his face at all times.

Now in his fourth year, Martell has been maturing all along. And he’s always shown evidence of that fire for greatness within, particularly in the way he’s responded to less-than-ideal circumstances.

He could’ve gotten upset when the Blazers drafted Brandon Roy, a guy who played the same position and who came up in the same city. But he didn’t. He could’ve taken veiled shots at the coaching staff when he was demoted to the D-League in his second year. But he refused. He could’ve been upset when he wasn’t invited to the Three Point Shootout, even though he shot pretty well from downtown last season. But he wasn’t.

And he could’ve pouted or gotten frustrated when he went down with his first real injury earlier this year. But he didn’t. And the evidence of that is in this interview with official Blazers blogger Casey Holdahl, where Marty says all the right things, and sounds like he actually means them:

When some players get injured they withdraw a bit from the team, but you’re on the bench for every home game and always at practice. Why?

Martell Webster: There’s no “I” in team. Just plain and simple. I know that’s just an old saying, but I always feel a part of this team. I love my teammates. The chemistry is incredible. We have a bond. Why would you want to be away from that? You want to be at ever game. Unfortunately I couldn’t go on the road trips because I was in the boot, but being here at home, sitting behind the bench at every game just makes me feel that much closer to getting back on the court. I love being there. It’s not a matter of needing to do it; I want to do it because I love being with this team.

Do you feel like you have a good balance right now between your personal and professional life?

Martell Webster: Yeah. When you think about it, kids commit more hours in school than we do to basketball all day. We come to practice for two hours and I get the rest of the day with my family. I feel blessed. We don’t deserve it, but I make sure that I play hard and I have no regrets. The most important thing is your family, but this is your job so you have to take care of this first. But two hours a day? Why would anyone complain about that?

How can you NOT root for this guy? Between this interview and his potential to get even cranky ex-journalists like Dwight Jaynes excited, the sky is the limit for Martell Webster.

So all you Blazer fans who keep bellyaching about how we could’ve drafted Chris Paul instead, put a sock in it. Trust me, you’ll forget all about Chris Paul when Martell starts raining down threes in the playoffs with regularity.

And I hope that one day, if I have a son, and my son expresses a desire to play basketball, I can buy him a poster or a bobblehead and say the following:

“You wanna know what a basketball player should be like? Here’s The Definition.”


These Portland Trail Blazers are making some noise

I know their record is only 6-4, but a 3-1 road trip and a gut-it-out win against lowly Minnesota, where the Blazers only had their C game and still found a way to get it done, is heartening to Blazer fans everywhere.

Quite a few talking heads (writing heads?) said that if they could end up 5-5 after the first ten games, that would be a great moral victory, considering the tough schedule for those first ten games: @ Lakers, San Antonio, @ Utah, Houston, Minnesota, @ Orlando, @ Miami, @ New Orleans, and @ Minnesota. Well how does 6-4 taste? Three home wins, three quality road wins. Losses only to LAL, UTA, NO, and SA… all quality, playoff teams (and they hung tough against New Orleans, nearly shutting down Chris Paul).

This is not a sports blog, so I’m not going to dish on and on about the slow emergence of gentle giant Greg Oden (left for dead by many after his early re-injury), the flashy duo of Spaniards in Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez (probably a leader in early rookie-of-the-year talk), the maddening inconsistency of Travis Outlaw, the mystery of MIA guard Martell Webster (the three-point maven of this masthead… when will he return?) and crowd favorite Channing Frye (who, I’m sorry to say, I thought was a White guy until we traded for him… something about his name just sounded too suburban… I’m just being honest here) and the undeniable clutchness of team leader Brandon Roy. (Still think your guy was better, Minnesota fan? It’s okay… I used to think Clyde Drexler was better than Michael Jordan. Fandom can be hard sometimes.)

Instead, I’ll let it suffice that ten games in, these Blazers have rightfully lived up to the hype, and I’ll be shocked — SHOCKED — if they don’t end up as a dangerous lower seed in the playoffs, the team nobody in the Western conference wants to face in the first round.

That is all. Back to more serious topics.


Obama’s In, So No More Business As Usual

Well, he did it.

My brother lost the bet that he and I made several months back, wherein he all but swore on a Bible that there was no way that Barack Obama could beat John McCain in a general election.

I believe his quote was,

“A brotha… in these times? Against a war hero? Come on, now.

Honestly, I was convinced Obama would make a good president even before he finished consulting his exploratory committee, and almost two years ago, I said so in this space. (Though if I were to be honest, I’d have to give credit to Eric Zorn for saying so first.)

Two years later, he’s about to become president. As so many have said, his election signaled a momentous mile marker in the history of these United States of America, and for many reasons, most of which I need not enumerate.

However, I am concerned about the dark side of his imminent presidency.

No, not the Republicans-that-think-Obama-is-the-antichrist dark side. I’m not so much worried about his policies per se — though I do have some concerns, and I’ll surely have more as time goes on — as I am about his supporters.

Now here’s the thing… part of the reason why President-elect Obama won is because he was able to collect a broad constituency of supporters. People of color (however you choose to define that term), the educated, urban dwellers, and younger voters all turned out in record numbers for Obama. Black and White, straight and gay, in coastal cities and in so-called flyover states, many, many people chose to support his as their choice for president.

As a result, my generalizations about “Obama supporters” should not to be taken too broadly, as many of them will not fit sizable portions of his constituency, just as generalizations tend to fall flat when applied to any large group of people. There are always exceptions to the rule here.

On the other hand, if the shoe fits… you know the rest.

My biggest question for Obama supporters is this: what now?

If the biggest accomplishment in President-elect Obama’s campaign was successfully engaging people in the political process who had previously been relegated to the sidelines, then I fear the biggest letdown will be most of those people feeling satisfied, complacent, and ultimately returning to business as usual.

This is an understandable response, because right about now the emotional highs should be all but worn off. Even Chicagoans, who probably felt as much pride about Obama winning the presidency as they did about the Bears winning the Super Bowl, still have to confront the fact that they still live in Chicago. Just because their guy is about to take the highest office, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems in the here and now. Neighborhoods need help. Bills need to be paid.

The problem, though, with business as usual, is that it violates the spirit of all the promises that were made in the campaign. All the rhetoric of Obama-going-to-bridge-the-divides-and-usher-in-a-healing-dawn… well, if you were an Obama supporter and you meant it, then it’s time for you to do your part in living up to the promise. You can’t be all high-minded and idealist during a campaign, and then, now that your guy has been crowned, go back to doing things the way they’ve always been done.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about several things.

First, I’m talking about policy.

Those of you dyed-in-the-wool blue-state Dems should not expect the entire framework of policy advocacy coming from the executive branch to simply march to the left, because that’s not what Barack Obama promised. On several issues (none of which I will name because I don’t want to get too bogged down in minutia) he has been known to embrace certain tenets of conservative ideology — personal responsibility, for example.

Midway through Obama’s campaign, his policy wonks made several concessions here and there in order to maintain a broad constituency and ward off attacks of being the most liberal Senator in recent history. And even though it angered his vocal Democrat base … it worked. Obama was elected. So if he doesn’t back some of that talk up with pragmatic solutions rather than standard liberal dogma, the moderate, independant core of voters that sided with him will turn against him. And he and his staff are smart enough to know that. So those of you who expect the incoming Obama administration to be an avalanche of leftist initiatives, don’t hold your breath.

I’m not just talking about policy, though. I’m also talking about personal conduct, especially as it relates to the political process. Now I realize that some issues are hot-button issues, and no amount of high-minded speeches about unity will appease the rabid constituents on either side of the debate. (Gay marriage and Proposition 8, for example.)

But I hope that we can take some cues from our leaders and stop treating every issue like it’s “us against them.” The truth is, unless you’re talking about sports, most of the time it’s hard to figure out who represents “us” and who represents “them,” because people are different and different people respond to issues in different ways.

And since there is a clear Democratic majority in at least two of the three branches of our federal government, and since we can therefore expect some amount of public opinion and policy to gradually shift leftward, I hope Democrats will remember what it was like to be on the outside looking in, and be gracious enough to respect the opinions of those in the minority. After all, our president-elect made his case to America largely on his initial opposition to the war in Iraq, an unpopular stance at the time. There will surely be other urgent issues where many of our credentialed, experienced, qualified leaders will disagree. If Democrats simply resort to using their numbers to shout down the opposition, they’ll quickly relinquish the moral high ground that they worked so hard to gain. Because nothing screams “business as usual” like doing very the thing you’ve been accusing your opponents of doing.

Finally, it’s my sincere hope that admidst the throngs of inspired, dedicated Obama supporters, there will remain a remnant of folks who will continue to engage their government on state and city levels now that the hype has worn off.

Here in Portland where I reside, it’s a badge of honor for progressive types to complain about how terrible the Bush years have been for our country, which is one of the reasons why sarcastic, leftist bumper stickers sell so well here. Well guess what, folks? Our guy is going to become president now! How about we turn some of that energy into doing something better instead of simply complaining about it?

I was amused by so much celebrity support of Obama during the general election, because I knew supporting Obama was the hot, fashionable thing to do. But if more actors, NBA players, singers and artists of all flavors put a little less attention into being sexy and more attention into living lives of substance, then maybe our country would be better off. I would call some of them out by name like I did over the Tookie Williams thing, but there are just too many to mention, so I won’t.

Besides, celebrities can help bring attention and visibility to certain issues, but when it comes to doing the real work of healing America, the lion’s share of that burden falls on regular people, people like you, Whoever You Are. Policies can help, sure, but regulations can’t and won’t take the place of being respectful and choosing to engage in the areas where we have opportunity.

And when opportunity meets preparation, then boom … we’re in business.

Let’s just make sure it’s not business as usual.

I’m Jelani Greenidge, and thanks for Mixin’ It Up with me.


An Open Letter to A Young Republican

(By the way, this isn’t just one of those generic open letters aimed at anyone who fits the description. There is an actual young Republican that I tried to engage recently in conversation surrounding these issues, but his lack of response to my questions and continued rhetoric on his blog afterward have caused me to believe that he is not interested in dealing seriously with these particular issues. This saddens me. Yet it is my hope that there are others who share some of his convictions who might wrestle with these questions, and in so doing, enrich the current wasteland of political commentary with honesty and sensitivity, two facets in short supply in the blogosphere.)

(Also, I realize that I’m going to throw around some generalizations. I’ll qualify them here and there, but my sentences are already long to begin with, so just bear with me. I try not to get too bogged down in politics, but I just couldn’t keep silent any longer. This post has been a long time coming.)

To A Young Republican,


Your political party, left for dead by many pundits even before the primary season started because of its affiliation with our once-popular current President, has managed to get back into the game, big time.

The addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket has re-energized the red-state faithful, many of whom wouldn’t have ridden the bandwagon for John McCain alone. I’m quite sure that you, like me, have more than a few misgivings about the candidate you’re standing behind, but the competitive nature of politics has a way of causing us to suppress those misgivings for awhile. As the thinking goes, if my guy is going to be attacked left and right by the opposition anyway, there’s no point in me piling on and doing their work for them.

This, along with many other tenets of conventional political wisdom, scares me to no end.

Not because it means that more people have rallied under the banner of McCain/Palin and that means the GOP might win the race, though that would sadden me somewhat.

No, the thing that most distresses me about the current political landscape as I see it expressed by people in your shoes, is that I feel like I should hate your guts when the truth is that I hardly know you.

You might be wondering what I mean.

Allow me to explain.

Lately, I’ve seen a boldness come over you and your peers. It’s a boldness that borders on belligerance. It seems to come from a collective sigh of relief that finally you have a candidate (or co-candidate, as it were) that can steal some headlines from the celebrity of Obama, which is no small feat. And in one sense, I find this behavior to be mostly harmless. If more young people are getting excited and engaged in the political process, I generally see that as a net plus, regardless of which side they land on ideologically.

And even though I’ve seen several high-profile Republicans (including Rudy Giuliani, and Sarah Palin herself) take some cheap shots, that doesn’t bother me that much. I mean, we are still talking about politics. And as any good Chicagoan will tell you, politics ain’t beanbag.

Most well-meaning baby boomers have already seen how divisive and ugly political races become, so it has become social custom for them to simply avoid talking about it in polite conversation. If you don’t bring it up, they won’t either. Not belonging to that generation, though, you and I tend to play by a different set of rules.

Generations X and Y tend to, according to my anecdotal evidence, wear their politics on their sleeves. In some cases, it’s a logical and systematic expression of their core beliefs about life and humanity. But for many of us, it’s more fundamental than that… on both the left and right, we younger adults often ride our respective political bandwagons as a statement of identity. More than just believing in certain ideals, we belong to groups of people who are passionate about the same things we’re passionate about.

So we dig into politics with the same zeal and passion that we give in other areas of our life, if not more so. It becomes a part of our identity, like the brands that we consume or the sports teams that we follow. (It’s no wonder the whole Democrats-are-Macs, Republicans-are-PCs meme is still popular.)

And realizing this helps me to understand why so many of you absolutely despise Barack Obama.

It’s because his political ascendance happened so quickly and so dramatically that even before he declared any official candidacy, his media coverage far exceeded the substance of his overall political achievement. Riding mostly on the strength of his ideas, his charismatic personality, and the cultural and historical significance of his biracial heritage, he managed to parlay a few lucky breaks into a seat in the U.S. Senate, and now he’s poised as the frontrunner to become President.

Is it jealousy? Yeah, there’s probably a little of that.

But I think it’s mostly disdain for the culture of celebrity that has surrounded his candidacy for so long. The Hollywood endorsements, the will.i.am tribute song, the endless parade of T-shirts and trinkets with his name plastered all over them. I’m sure by now someone somewhere is selling Barack Obama waffle irons, where you can pour your syrup over waffles stenciled with his high-wattage smile, and melt little pats of butter that spell out ‘YES WE CAN.’

It’s a little much, I agree.

So combining that with his stances on abortion and gay marriage, his opposition to the Iraq war, and other hot-button issues… it all equals a candidate that you love to hate, even more so than Hillary.

And like I said before, if this only had to do with politics, it wouldn’t bother me that much.

The problem is that many of you, dare I say, most of you, are Christians. And many of you are Bible-believing, sanctified, blood-bought evangelical Christians, which means you’re not shy about making your beliefs heard in the public square.

And those beliefs, specifically the theological ones that differentiate Christian faith from all the other faiths out there, are beliefs that I share. So I think it’s great that you want to advocate for a candidate that you interpret as representing Christianity as you know and understand it. In your mind, you’re doing your part to advance God’s kingdom.

And trust me, I’m all about advancing God’s kingdom.

But it seems to me that, in your zeal to elect the guy you want in office (McCain), it’s not enough to argue that your guy is better. No, you’ve got to tear down the other guy in the process.

Which, again, is not that big a deal if all we’re talking about is politics. Laker fans don’t care if I call Kobe Bryant a diva or a Jordan wannabe… they know that’s what opposing fans do. So I don’t mind that you want to tear Obama down in the public square. As American citizens, you have a right to do that.

As Christians, however, you have a responsibility to hold a higher standard of conduct. Name-calling, spreading false rumors, and fear mongering may be standard behavior for political strategists, but Jesus told us to, you know, love our enemies. Even our political enemies.

So the fact that you don’t seem to be doing that particularly well makes people take notice, especially people who don’t know God like you do. And no disrespect to all the Dallas Mavericks fans, but if even Mark Cuban thinks that politics have gotten a little out of control, then something is very wrong.

Now I know I’m risking looking like a hypocrite here, because many of you might be wondering why I never took the time to defend George W. for the merciless pounding he’s been taking from the left. Where was the call to civility then, you might be asking.

Well, you’re right. I’ve been guilty of the same offense. I’ve chosen to selectively follow God’s will and leading based on the convenience of my politics. And since Bush is easy to make fun of, I didn’t stand up for him at times when I could have. I chose to ignore that whole passage of Romans 13 that talks about how God has ordained certain authorities to be over us.

But… and no offense, fellow Democrats, but uh… it’s a little different when Republicans do it, because the GOP is supposed to be the party that upholds Christian values.

I mean, I know Barack said that whole bit about how “we serve an awesome God in the blue states” during his coming out party in 2004, but I don’t think most of America was really picking up what he was laying down. Liberal Democrats already have the reputation of being secular, immoral, and Godless.

And frankly, even though it saddens me to see liberal bloggers, pundits, and journalists engaging in the same name-calling and fear-mongering, it doesn’t surprise me that much. The prophet Jeremiah (no, not that Jeremiah) told us the heart of man is deceitfully wicked. So when you have a population of people that is, by and large, without the truth of God as we understand it, what should one expect?

But you, on the hand… you guys are supposed to know better.

And I think that if you really understood how much some of your actions help push people away from God instead of drawing them back to God, you would do things differently.

Now as we watch the rest of the drama unfold in this march toward November, I honestly don’t know who is going to win. At this point, I could see it going either way.

But do me a favor, okay?

Regardless of who wins, lets cut out all the vitriol. Lets do our best to keep it about policies and principles.

And lets agree to respect the office of the President, regardless of who actually occupies the Oval Office.

And lets not view the President simply as an extension of the party to which he (or she) belongs, but as a three-dimensional human being with flaws and hopes and bad hair days just like the rest of us. Because it’s a lot harder to demonize someone you can identify with.

And if we can all identify with a figure as polarizing and controversial as the President of the United States, then maybe we’re not as far apart as it seems.

I’m Jelani Greenidge, and thanks for Mixin’ It Up with me.


Blazers’ Edge Dave: Draft Analyst and … Youth Pastor?

So now Dave is my favorite columnist.

Okay, fine. He’s not a columnist, he’s a blogger. But he should be a columnist, because he is very insightful.

And now I can see part of the reason why I’ve been drawn to his writing. Because he thinks like I do… as a budding young minister of the gospel.

Consider a recent post, where, amidst the trade talk surrounding talented young Blazers players Jarrett Jack, Martell Webster, and Channing Frye, he gives a great analogy about the role of a young minister having to trust God and make decisions regarding his future:

I am not slighting the players’ loyalty here, nor their love for, passion for, or commitment to their team. But the reality is their perspective is different–and has to be different–than ours. To us the Blazers equal basketball. Our loyalty, love, and tunnel vision will last as long as we and the team occupy the same planet. The time scale is different for the players. Their experience of basketball at this level lasts ten, maybe fifteen years at most. They don’t have the luxury of thinking in terms of a lifetime commitment. They were not in the same relationship with the Blazers before they came here. They will not be after they leave either. For them, basketball goes beyond just Portland. They can play for the Blazers, love the Blazers, and give their all for the Blazers, but the Blazers are still part of their professional career arc. It’s their job to be prepared to play for, love, and give their all to another team if that ends up being their path. In the context of their brief careers they have to do what’s best for their success when they have the chance–even if that’s playing for another team–just as the organization will do what’s best for it’s success…including trading them if advantageous.

I am not an NBA player by any means, but I think I understand a little bit of this from my own non-blogging profession. As a pastor I end up being a prominent, visible, integral part of a community-based organization which has a long history, with which people identify strongly, and about which people are very passionate. At the same time I come from outside that organization. I have not grown up in the area. I have not spent multiple decades in the organization itself. My church experience is not localized in the same way theirs is. In many ways I am more deeply immersed than even the most seasoned community member, just as a player is more involved in the team than even the longest-term fan. In other ways I belong the least of anybody, as I will never have the same roots or all-encompassing relationship with the organization that the community does.

What this ends up looking like is me throwing my entire heart and soul into the community for as long as I am there. In this way I am very much like the community members. On the other hand when it’s time for me to go then I can rightfully, and with a clear conscience, move along to do the same in another community. This doesn’t mean I love the first less or that I am disloyal. Rather it means I am being called elsewhere in order to do other good things. The measure of my success and integrity isn’t really staying in one place my whole life, it’s how much and how fully I give in each place to which I am called.

And then he goes on to describe his impending free agency (if you can call it that). Very insightful.

For his sake, I hope God gives him the wisdom and revelation to go where he is called, and that wherever that is he’ll have enough flexibility to continue blogging like this. What a witness to believer and non-believers alike. Propers to Blazer Dave.


Chris Bosh: NBA Correspondent, At Your Service

Chris Bosh is a funny dude. In three years, he and G.O. could both be chasing a title and vying for the Shaquille O’Neal Memorial Funniest Cat in the NBA Award.

Which is why the Tonight Show grabbed him and asked him to serve as their Finals correspondent. For once, the Tonight Show actually delivered some real authentic laughs.


Spurs Fans Should Be Thanking Brent Barry

Because just maybe that non-call against his team, and his teammates stoic refusal to blame the refs, might galvanize a little public support for his team.

Up until now, all I heard on talk radio was how much they can’t stand the Spurs, how Tim Duncan is a whiner, how Manu Ginobili is a flopper, how Bruce Bowen is dirty, et cetera.

Now that the Lakers are up 3-1 on a controversial play involving a last-second shot that didn’t involve Kobe Bryant, the fickle winds of public opinion are starting to blow the other way.

Every wannabe analyst (including me!) had to wonder if the referees would’ve called it a foul had it been Kobe shooting the ball for the Lakers rather than Brent Barry for the Spurs.

Unfortunately, though, many fans followed up with this point:

If only Brent Barry could’ve SOLD the foul, the referee would’ve HAD to call it, and the Spurs would’ve won.

No, no, no.

This is a fine point, but it bears repeating.

“Selling” a foul is just a euphemism for flopping.

And though some might feel otherwise, the ultimate goal for a basketball player should always be the same for a basketball team — to put the ball through the basket more times than your opponents.

Spurs fans who criticize Barry for not pulling a Ginobili on that play are missing a crucial truth that might not be evident if you haven’t actually played the game of basketball:

Knocking down the shot and selling the foul are mutually exclusive. You can’t do both. Selling a foul in the hopes of getting a continuation call (in this case, three free-throws) is usually the desperate ploy of a player who has no actual chance of making the shot in the first place.

But Brent Barry, up to that point, had hit several from downtown. In the split second he had to decide, Barry decided to man up and attempt the shot, rather than just flailing his hands and throwing the basketball somewhere in the vicinity of the hoop, hoping to bait the refs into making a foul call.

So the sad irony is that by actually trying to win the game conventionally, Barry opened himself to the petulant criticism of the fans who blame him for the loss.

If the Spurs can somehow come back from this loss and win the series, it will be very satisfying — and I’m not just saying that because I hate the Lakers.

Most likely they won’t, though. Kobe and Co. will probably close this out in either five or six games.

But either way, these San Antonio Spurs will still be holding their heads high, and not just because the organization has four titles to its credit.

It’s because they understand a time-honored axiom.

It’s really not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.