First Cup: Tuesday

  • Scott Miller of The Washington Times: "David Falk has changed -- or at least his motives have. The man who built Michael Jordan, made record deals and represented some of the game's biggest stars isn't a superagent anymore. He isn't the hard guy who prodded and twisted the arms of NBA executives until he got what he wanted. He isn't the guy everyone loved to hate because he was too powerful or too manipulative or too cocky. 'He always talks about how he believes deep down he was always meant to be a teacher or a psychologist, and now at this stage in his career he's really doing both of those things,' says Danielle Cantor, FAME's vice president. 'He genuinely loves what he does. Although many people out there say it's because he needs to continue to feed his ego - and, yes, he does have a big ego; everyone knows that - deep down he genuinely loves what he does.' Falk is in a different place now. The relationships he has created in his 35 years in the business are far more important than the size of his commission. He's more of a teacher than an agent. He wants to rip that rearview mirror off his Ferrari and blaze a new trail. And maybe he'll reinvent the game again. 'I think I'm a compulsive perfectionist,' he says, smiling. 'I want to do it better; I want to do it different. This isn't a job for me; it's not really even a career. This is my life.' "

  • Richard Sandomir of The New York Times: "It should be simple to honor Michael Jordan with a fresh and innovative museum exhibit that celebrates his athletic brilliance and transformational impact on sports marketing. But 'Becoming Legendary: The Story of Michael Jordan,' which recently opened at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in advance of Jordan's induction on Sept. 11, is a soulless exercise in corporate worship that was designed, installed, written, curated and paid for by the Jordan Brand, a division of Nike. ... There are events that a more independent designer might have chronicled: Jordan's history with gambling and his mixed success as a team executive -- the owner Abe Pollin's firing of him as the Washington Wizards' president of basketball operations is not noted but his clearing the team's salary cap is. His place on the 1992 Dream Team at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona is recalled with a team-signed basketball but not by resurrecting the controversy about his covering up the Reebok logo on the warm-up suit he wore to accept a gold medal, a step back from his threat not to appear at all in a rival's togs. The exhibit, then, is Nike's story. And for the next year it's the basketball hall of fame's."

  • Michael Obernauer of the New York Daily News: "Everywhere Dwyane Wade travels, it seems, he faces questions about his future a year from now. For instance, he recently purchased a home in Chicago, where he grew up, that fueled reports that he was leaning toward signing with the Bulls. Last Thursday, he was at the Meadowlands to shoot scenes for a Queen Latifah movie in which he plays himself -- and after filming, he spoke of how 'there's going to be a lot of chatter about the Nets' come 2010, when they and the Knicks will be among the NBA teams set up for a shopping spree. A lot of recruiting -- any city I go to nowadays it's recruiting,' Wade said. 'It's always funny to see what questions are going to come my way, even though I know half of them.' "

  • Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "Mike Dunleavy said he would be satisfied with his current 14-player roster if training camp began today, but he kept the option open for more player movement. Rasual Butler, acquired along with cash last week in a trade with the New Orleans Hornets for a conditional second-round pick in 2016, said he's expecting big things for the 2009-10 season. 'It's a playoff team,' said Butler, a seven-year veteran who averaged 11.2 points and 31.9 minutes in 82 games last season. 'Last year, they had a bunch of injuries and couldn't find a good rhythm as a team.' "

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The Suns' current 14-man roster likely won't stay that way long. They acquired Sasha Pavlovic, 25, in the Shaquille O'Neal trade to waive him because it saves $6.9 million in non-guaranteed salary and tax. Pavlovic's agent, Marc Cornstein, said teams are interested in his client. 'This isn't a panic,' Cornstein said. 'He does have a contract. We can afford to be patient and find the best possible situation. We've had good communication all summer. I feel very comfortable with the position Phoenix has taken.' If not for the savings, Pavlovic might be a good fit for the Suns as a young, 6-7 swingman who has shooting range. 'That irony has not been lost on me,' Cornstein said. 'The big thing is for him to be in a place he's wanted. Anytime he's been given an opportunity, he's made the most of it.' "

  • Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Following his benching in a game last week, Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko has left the Ukrainian national team before the conclusion of relegation-round play in the European championships. Although he committed to playing for the national team instead of taking part in summer league with the Jazz, Fesenko did not see action Friday against Hungary and did not travel to Estonia for a game Monday. Russ Ridge, whose family helps care for the 22-year-old center in Utah, has spoken with Fesenko and said Monday that he was not injured, despite a story on the federation's Web site that suggested otherwise. According to Ridge, Fesenko asked for and was given back his passport by federation officials after Friday's game. Along with Minnesota center Oleksiy Pecherov, Fesenko was one of only two NBA players on Ukraine's roster."

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: "The upcoming Trail Blazers season will be marked by new jerseys, special visits from former players and coaches, and even a guest radio appearance by broadcaster Bill Schonely during a preseason game. Why all the hullabaloo about this season? It will mark the 40th in team history, which the Blazers will celebrate with a "Cheers to 40 years" campaign that kicked off Monday at the site of the team's first exhibition game -- Mark Morris High School in Longview, Wash. 'It's hard to believe it was that long ago,' said team founder Harry Glickman, who turned 85 in May."

  • Bill Bradley of the The Sacramento Bee: "It seems TV finally has discovered what sports fans knew long ago: Athletes make for some of the best reality stars. Tonight, we will see the latest example of this as NBA star Shaquille O'Neal -- is it still forbidden to cheer for him at Arco Arena? -- starts a prime-time series, 'Shaq Vs.' In it, he faces athletes in their sports. This is on the heels of the Golf Channel putting Charles Barkley in &#
    39;The Hank Haney Project,' Terrell Owens' 'The T.O. Show' and athletes like Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice and Helio Castroneves competing on 'Dancing With The Stars.' Plus, the next 'Dancing' will feature Michael Irvin and Chuck Liddell. In some ways, these series are just plain fun, like previews have shown for 'Shaq Vs.,' or sad, like Haney's golf lessons with Barkley. (By the way, Barkley's golf game is as bad as ever, and Haney feels awful about it.)"