Friday Bullets

  • Gather around for John Converse Townsend's rich, real-life story about the time the ABA's Kentucky Colonels upended the NBA's Baltimore Bullets in an exhibition game at Louisville's Freedom Hall in 1971. It was the first time an ABA squad beat a rival from the more prestigious, senior NBA. The Colonels had a formidable roster that featured Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel, while the Bullets were playing without Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson. The Bullets' Fred Carter joked that the ABA's tri-color ball looked like a prop for trained seals, but for the ABA, the win carried enormous symbolic importance.

  • Tom Ziller writes that the players' stance is as much about self-determination as it is a financial calculation. One reason: NBA players are much wealthier as a group than they were in 1998: "Make no mistake: with this week's moves by the players, the scales have evened. The players are no longer content to negotiate from the corner David Stern put them in. They looked Stern and MJ and Paul Allen and Dan Gilbert right in their gold-specked eyes and they waved a middle finger and they said, "No mas." That's what David Stern has to deal with now, if this ever gets back to the negotiating table: a collection of players that have had enough."

  • Imagine a world where Charles Barkley was drafted by Philadelphia in 2002 and paired with Allen Iverson.

  • SB Nation's Jason Concepcion on hard-line Phoenix owner Robert Sarver: "Sarver's signature lockout moment was his comment that his wife had asked him to return to Arizona with the mid-level exemption in her purse. I love that for two reasons -- 1) a woman with an eye for arcane salary cap exemptions is obviously a keeper, and 2) Robert Sarver is so cheap he travels with his wife's purse."

  • Beckley Mason on HoopSpeak on the systemic reasons why the system is broken and the owners' unwillingness to address those issues: "The only true source of owner accountability, fans deciding to tune out terrible teams, has been subverted by the owner’s ability to force a too big to fail type bailout at the expense of the labor and taxpayers. Now the owners are trying to impose some kind of logic on a system that is inherently tainted by their own unchecked power. If they really wanted to make the league better, they’d seek the same standard of competency and competition from themselves as they’re demanding of the players."

  • Shane Battier is using the lockout to contemplate life after basketball: "At this point, I’m confident that if the NBA were to never settle, I could go out and get a job and use my brain to provide for my family. That’s allowed me amazing piece of mind to just start thinking about post-basketball, but at the same time be ready for when we do settle, if we settle, to be ready to go."

  • At Hardwood Paroxysm, Noam Schiller looks at a potential arms race in Europe if the NBA lockout persists: "If the Gasol brothers come home to Barcelona --already one of Europe’s top basketball teams -- what do you think their bitter rival, Real Madrid, says? 'No thank you, Rudy Fernandez and Serge Ibaka are enough'? Hell no! They swing for the Dwights and the LaMarcuses and the Dirks -- anybody who can top that Catalan splash, both on the court and off it. And once a strong Real is even stronger, what say CSKA Moscow, or Maccabi Tel Aviv, or Panathinaikos? These are teams that dominate their domestic competitions, and their entire existence is built around the prospect of capturing the Euroleague crown. You think they’ll give it away just because bringing a really really really good player costs a lot of money?"

  • Bullets Forever explores why the allure of The Club is so potent for pro athletes and so foreign to many fans.

  • Hall & Oates sold a ton of records during the 1980s, but their lasting imprint might be the use of "One on One" in one of the NBA's best promotional ads.

  • Not sure what's more fun about this reel: Watching Magic Johnson or listening to Chick Hearn.