ESPN's Marc Stein has been at Phoenix Suns' training camp. He says they're talking about playing smaller and faster than ever, and expect to win a title.
Have you seen that Dave Chappelle skit "A moment in the life of Lil Jon?" Rod Benson would like you to see that. Benson is blogging from Nets camp (it's amazing stuff, really really fantastic) and is spending some serious time with Jamaal Magloire. Benson writes: "If you have ever seen 'A Moment in the Life of Lil John,' then you know that Lil Jon talks with the utmost clarity, calm, and annunciation most of the time, but every now and then he gets crunk and goes 'YEEAAAHHHH', 'WHAATTTTT?', or 'OOOKAAAAYYYY!' Basically there are two sides to him. The first time I played on the same court as Jamaal, I noticed that he is kind of a wild man. He plays like a beast, but that aint the half. He literally yells out different words depending on the situation kind of the way Lil John does. He was yelling and grunting and causing a scene. Immediately after the game, he walked over to me and said, in the most perfect english I may have ever heard, 'Hello. My name is Jamaal. Aren't you so excited for the upcoming season? That's when the money comes.' I was astonished. I was thinking that there is no way this is the same guy. Its like seeing the incredible hulk turn back into Bruce Banner."
Isiah Thomas has a degree in criminal justice, which I did not know. And, if you can believe it, some people in Boston want you to buy their popcorn as a statement against Isiah. "The only thing we're liable for," say the folks at T.T. Buds, "is great taste!"
Yi Jianlian touches down in the Midwest, is all smiles.
When Greg Oden went down, I said to a lot of people: it's cool, we can take it in stride. One injury is not a curse. This is not the end of the world. This is just one of those unfortunate things that is part of sports. But if Brandon Roy or LaMarcus Aldridge gets hurt ... then it's going to be tough to shake off that feeling this team is snakebitten. Maybe this Brandon Roy thing is no big deal. But when we haven't even had a pre-season game yet, and everyone is just talking about taking it easy, and hoping he can sqeak through the season because of foot trouble ... and everyone is clearly terrified of the surgery that might fix it ... I'm worried.
Important debate over at the Blowtorch. Here's one of the comments, from Ben Q. Rock: "Who's more cavemanly: Chris Kaman or Pau Gasol? I'm inclined to say Kaman because of his hair, but cro-magnon man would be jealous of Pau's beard."
Russ Bengston's SLAM preview of the Bulls includes this: "...the Bulls haven't had a legitimate low-post scoring threat since Michael Jordan circa 1998 and Bill Cartwright (and his Killer Fatal Elbows of Death) circa 1993. This is a problem that is blatantly obvious to everyone except John Paxson, apparently, who has done next to nothing to address it. The tragedy of it all is that Michael Sweetney had the ability to be that guy, but instead focused his attention on becoming the next Kobayashi and should have a tremendous future in Sumo, should he choose to pursue it. P.J. Brown did a decent job last year for a 60-year-old-and I suppose there's still a chance he returns for another go-round-but forcing fans to watch both he AND Ben Wallace shoot free throws for another season is just plain cruel."
Rasheed Wallace playing around knowing Lindsay Hunter is in ear shot, says Hunter is "softer than the twinkie filling." Then Wallace mocks noticing Hunter nearby, and says "HEY, budddYYYYYY" in what I swear must be 'Sheed's best "white guy" voice.
Basketbawful: "Remember earlier when Isiah was 'looking forward' to taking the stand to debunk the 'pretty wildly fabricated' sexual harassment allegations levied against him? What ever happened with that?"
What does it take to get Andrea Bargnani to hoot and holler?
It can make any athlete a little crazy to ride the bench when they'd rather be starting. Basically, you're waiting for a miracle. Or an injury. Or the cops to arrest the starter because they found the drugs you apparently planted in his room.
The 'Wolves Craig Smith has a nice little blog going from Turkey, and after his first entry I made some kind of comment about his nickname, "the Rhino." Today he writes: "I wanna explain to you guys how and when I got the nickname the Rhino, because I know some people have to be curious.* Trust me, I didn't come up with it myself. Anyways, I think it started from the 'Name the Rookies' campaign from last year, when the fans thought of a bunch of nicknames for Randy Foye and me. So now, every time I see Kevin McHale or someone from the training staff, they call me the Rhino. I just try and get used to it, because I think it's going to be around for a long time. It's cool though." See how he put that little star, there? It then says, lower down: "*TrueHoop, you know who you are..." This is kind of like intercontinental trash talk, except I like that name, to be honest. Rhinos are amazing.
Tony Battie's season-ending surgery makes the Orlando Magic say what Adonal Foyle has been waiting to hear for ages: thank goodness you're here!
A little anecdote about working for Madison Square Garden, from the NPR Show "The Bryant Park Project" (which I think is pretty cool).
What is it with crazy rich people who can't leave their dogs at home? Ailene Voisin writes in the Sacramento Bee: "... my favorite moment thus far occurred Monday when Joe Maloof's dog 'Buster' broke loose and scampered around the court until he was chased down by a security guard. 'Buster goes everywhere with me,' said Joe Maloof, who some might recall, was caught trying to sneak the Shih Tzu into the Palace of Auburn Hills during the Monarchs-Shock championship series last year. 'He's a great companion. When you're not married, you need a companion. (Laugh) He's my companion.'" (By the way, we used to have neighbors who had three of those dogs.
They walked them in our driveway all the time. I can assure they were Shih, and Piss, Tzus."
Mark Bryant is the Sonics new assistant coach, and director of grime.
James White takes his aerial game to Turkey.
In Europe, most leagues have a limit on the number of foreigners you can have. Here's the suggestion that marrying a local can be a way around that pesky rule.
Update from Tim Donaghy's divorce proceedings.
Portland fan Tyler, from Rip City Forever (suggested name change: Rip City for Next Year) building an imaginary house where he will live happily until injury season blows over: "Here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna try to forget that Oden's even on the roster. I'll pretend that we actually got the fifth pick in the draft, and promptly traded it to New York, along with Zach, Dickau, and Freddy Jones, for Channing Frye, Rudy Fernandez, and James Jones. Yes! That's what happened. I'm okay with that trade. There's no pretending here, this is the trade that happened. Don't even try to convince me otherwise. Let's completely forget that Oden is even on the roster. Then, when next year comes, and we probably will have another high lotto pick, I'll say, 'Hey! I forgot! We have Greg Oden too! And he's better than ever!'"
Video of Shannon Brown being held to the sidewalk, handcuffed, by a bunch of bigger, whiter security guards from a downtown Cleveland club. The Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst points out that a lot of things have gone badly for the Cavaliers in the last few weeks, but he says it'll all be OK.
Mark Cuban credits nerds with his dancing success.
Dan Dickau and Jared Jordan do the Los Angeles and New York quirky white point guard switcheroo.
Don Nelson is thrilled with this year's lighter and notably eager Al Harrington.
UPDATE: Brad Pitt is apparently having a powerful effect on the Celtics.