Some Nuggets were at the party a Bronco was leaving when he was shot, which prompts thoughts about Denver athletes and gang violence. A Denver columnist wonders if Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson are part of the solution or part of the problem. I'm a little hesitant to even seek such hard lines: there's infinite social merit in being a role model who is a hard-working professional, whether or not you give to the charity of a columnist's choosing. On the other hand, if there's evidence a player somehow supports gang violence (none of that here) well, let's examine that evidence. Because that, in my mind, is just not OK.
Pau Gasol played with unbelievable passion last summer, for Spanish national teammates he loves, and was, for a time, arguably the very best player in the world. Then he got injured, and is now on a very crappy team of malcontents with coaching changes and ownership uncertainty. That passion? Missing. Memphis radio host Chris Vernon has prepared a nice little acoustic number about that.
Video of Ron Artest apparently throwing his ABC gum into the Detroit crowd. That's pathetic. Especially when you consider he wasn't even a worthy adversary. Villain is a title you have to earn. His team appears to be coming apart at the seams, although they did beat the Nets.
Reportedly Richard Jefferson's surgery went well. Look for him in March.
The Raptors are perking up. They're my pick to win the weak Atlantic.
Wow. Dan Wetzel reports that Sonny Vaccaro is retiring from running his camps and most of what he does. He's also working on a book, which promises to be amazing. I'll be writing more about this in the days to come. This is a huge deal. Sonny Vaccaro monetized basketball like no one ever had.
There are so many Pau Gasol trades out there. Here's one I don't like, because it involves the Blazers giving up LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph for Pau Gasol and Brian Cardinal.
So far, the Warriors and the Pacers can both declare victory after that big trade.
Is the All-Star game an honor? Or a responsibility? Because if it's an honor, you should be able to decline, and I were Steve Nash, I would. Nash tells Paul Coro: "We kind of get screwed," Nash said. "I told them the last two years that I would do it for them. Two years ago, I said, 'OK, I'll do it for you this time. It's the last time. I'm never going to do it again because I've done it almost every year of my career.' And then the next year, they said, 'you've got to do it because you have to defend,' so I begrudgingly did it. Now, they're saying it's the collective bargaining agreement so I have to do it... It's already difficult enough on my wife and kids that we're always on the road as it is. So then for our one break to be even more busy than we are during the regular season is difficult. Obviously, on the other hand, it's a huge honor. The game is outstanding and being around the best players and coaches is still an experience I'll never forget."
Recruiting ground zero: a double feature with Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant.