Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns: "The biggest criticism for [Steve] Nash nationally is that he appears to be giving up his final chance at a title for a little short-term cash. Then again, what does it say about a player trying to steal a cheap ring like Payton and Malone tried to do with the 2003-04 Lakers? At least for the next three years, Nash won't be doing that. You don't want to say Nash doesn't care about winning, because he does, but he did say something interesting near the end of last year about being happy if this Suns team would just play with spirit and have fun together like they used to. The assumption would then be that they'd be a pretty damn good team as well, but overall team camaraderie and togetherness obviously are very important to Nash." I'm sure this sentiment is wholly alien to a lot of people. What do you think? Is there something wrong here, or is it just smart to want to enjoy your work?
John Krolik of Cavs the Blog has the unenviable task of trying to make Shaquille O'Neal make sense to Cleveland. At the conclusion of a long and hilarious breakdown of O'Neal's night in the pro wrestling gym, Krolik writes: "I have no possible clue how to make sense of any of this. Once we get onto the second extended bit involving a midget, I'm generally out of reliable analysis. This is one of our stars, and he's going to play a big part in the championship run. This is part of the deal. Just try and embrace the crazy." Lang Whitaker of SLAM breaks down O'Neal's performance in unmatchable detail -- opening in a Georgia middle school library, stopping by a 1990s limousine to share some Copenhagen with a pro wrestler, all before O'Neal even encounters the ring.
As things re-shuffle in Houston, with the departure of Ron Artest and the injuries to Yao Ming, might Shane Battier become available?
A nice and growing collection of Stephon Marbury quotes. How can one man say so many amazing things? In his own words: "I had to overconversate."
Joey, writing on FreeDarko: "When it was reported that [Allen] Iverson might be signed by the Clippers in a desperate attempt to sell tickets, my heart sank. Not because I am such a huge fan of AI's game, but because I do tremendously value AI's meaning in the sociocultural continuum. Reducing Allen to the NBA equivalent of a carnival attraction immediately summoned sad notions of minstrel things. For several years, now, I have been unable to stop thinking about Iverson and his unforgivable blackness, to borrow the Jack Johnson term. Whatever else he was or is, and however sincere it might have been, Iverson's identity has always counted his blackness as a primary component. Seeing a symbol of the black experience he has been held out to represent reduced to a sorry gimmick would feel horribly gross."
OK, so let's say the U.S. is favored to win the World Championships. What if the U.S. had a second team -- made up of the players who didn't quite make the final cut? Where would you expect that team to come in?
Every now and again one-time dunk champion Desmond Mason makes "SportsCenter" with one of his dunks. And when he does, don't you think something like this point, from Austin Kent at The Good Point? "If Desmond Mason were less talented he may qualify as 'only a dunker,' but at least he'd be known for that. Instead his advanced ability leaves him no choice but to reach for that next plateau of basketball acceptance, falling ultimately short (ironic considering his ability to reach very high things) and thus stranding himself between two defined and easily-classified points. It's a phantom-like purgatory in which he's apparently content. As a result, the 2001 Slam Dunk champion is relegated to 'Oh yeah, I forgot about him' status ..."
Sophisticated analysis reveals: Malik Allen is not all that good.
The Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman quotes Dorell Wright: "It's been my year for years. Ain't going to be my year until I go out there and do it."
There is reportedly only one candidate for Seattle mayor who is against using taxpayer money to fix up the stadium to get an NBA team back. It happens to also be the only candidate who has played in the NBA.