Time to assess the meaning of Piston pride. What does it mean to be from Detroit? One from the archives, from Dr. Todd Boyd, "the Notorious Ph.D." My hope: that Detroit attitude doesn't come unhinged in Game 6. Remember, it's basketball that keeps us all coming back. Proving your manhood is secondary.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan (Insider): "The Detroit Free Press buried it in today's paper, but reporter Chris Silva spotted Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick giving LeBron James a hug in Cleveland after Game 4, prompting the mayor's office to go into damage control mode Wednesday and insist that the mayor is actually rooting for the Pistons." Also, he points us to that great video of Will Blalock getting a sweaty Rasheed Wallace uniform in the face, with news that moments later Sheridan witnessed Wallace slamming a door so hard it caused debris to tumble from a nearby light fixture onto assistant coach Igor Kokoskov.
The Oregonian's Jason Quick quotes Kevin Durant: "I may not look strong, I may not be strong, but just me thinking I'm strong is going to help me a lot," Durant said. "That's what I did in college, and that's what I'm going to do in the NBA. Just thinking that the next guy is not going to bully me, just being tougher. I think that will get you a long way, being a tough player, and that's what I think I am."
Laker update: Jerry Buss is vacationing in China for three weeks. I'm guessing Kobe Bryant is stifling the urge to deliver a lecture on "sense of urgency."
ESPN's Chris Broussard on Kobe Bryant: "It may not have been the best way to go about it, but he's going to get what he wants -- an increased sense of urgency within the Lakers' front office. If he can make up with Phil Jackson after Jackson bashed him in his book, then he can make up with the rest of the organization. And once that happens, the Lakers will go out -- with or without Jerry West -- and do their best to put title-contending pieces around Kobe Bryant right now."
Lots of signs that Dave Griffin of the Phoenix Suns will be the new G.M. in Memphis. UPDATE: ESPN Insider Chad Ford: "They made an offer to Suns VP David Griffin, but Griffin decided to stay with Phoenix. It looks like Chris Wallace, who serves as the Celtics GM though he actually works for Danny Ainge, might be the favorite for the job. You've gotta love it: Only in the NBA would the the GM of the second-worst team in the league be brought in to rescue the worst team in the league."
Tim Hardaway is back. He has a credential to the pre-draft camp in Orlando, and is looking for work with an NBA team.
Nobody knows who Atlanta will pick third. More and more "experts" are following Chad Ford's lead in declaring Yi Jianlian the third best talent in the draft, but few think he's a fit with the Hawks.
Kurt Rambis, Stan Van Gundy, and Terry Porter are said to be among the major candidates to coach the Sacramento Kings.
If you want to like Marc Iavaroni, read this.
Harvey Araton of The New York Times interprets Kobe Bryant's recent outburst as Bryant craving attention and spotlight. (He also neglects to even mention that the team's bumbling front office might have had any role whatsoever in creating the mess.) Then he says this: "He couldn't have shown consideration for James and Tim Duncan and colleagues still at work, waited a few more weeks to clench his fists and jump up and down?" As a subscriber to the New York Times, I smell irony. You're going to lecture Kobe Bryant on respecting the work of LeBron James and Tim Duncan? Two nights ago Duncan made the NBA Finals. Last night James made NBA history. The following mornings, the version of the Times on my doorstep, which clearly has some of the earliest deadlines in the business, mentioned neither. UPDATE: In fairness, I'm told the Times in the city has these late scores, and they are one of the only papers not from Cleveland, Detroit, San Antonio, or Utah to have reporters at the conference finals.
Michael Jackson of ESPN Research says Fabricio Oberto of the Spurs is the third player since 1971 to average at least ten points in the conference finals while shooting 70 percent or more from the floor. The other two were James Donaldson ('88) and James Worthy ('85).
A co-owner of the Hawks is among those hoping basketball can play a key role in Middle East Peace.
The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi: "'They need to widen I-4 because all of us Tampa fans are coming over to watch the Magic now,' Tampa sports-radio host and former Gators football player Scot Brantley said Thursday afternoon. The Magic didn't get just a new coach Thursday; they got a new arena; they got a new start; they got a new lease on life. With one stroke of the pen, anything and everything seems possible now."
Associated Press: "In memoirs published in February, he called Salt Lake City 'the hippest, gayest place east of San Francisco.' Amaechi returns to celebrate that by serving as the grand marshal for this weekend's Utah Pride Parade. He has also accepted grand marshal honors for parades in Los Angeles and Chicago. 'I really owe Salt Lake. My time there would have been so multiply miserable had it not been for so many people -- gay, straight and otherwise -- who m
ade my time there so special,' he said."
Clay Bennett is, in the eyes of this columnist, taking every possible opportunity to kill enthusiasm for keeping the Sonics in Seattle.
Goodbye, Charlotte Coliseum. It's only 18 years old. For something so expensive, stadiums sure don't last very long. Remember, they're still paying off the long-destroyed Kingdome in Seattle.
UPDATE: They call Corey Brewer "Buck Wild Basketball."
UPDATE: E-mail from a TrueHoop reader: "I may be 25, broke, and living at home, but I will be sitting courtside when the Blazers beat Cleveland in the finals in 2010."
UPDATE: Lawyer Michael McCann says it makes little sense for Phoenix to waive the sales tax to attract the NBA All-Star game.