Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

May 7th, 2010

A Banner Day in the History of the Washington Mystics

2002 WNBA attendance champions banner
Good riddance.  Maybe they could have a burning party. 

It hasn’t taken very long for Ted Leonsis to put his stamp on the basketball side of Washington Sports and Entertainment.  What no one probably expected was that his impact would first be felt on the Mystics and not the Wizards. The following is from Ted’s Take:

I was walking around the Verizon Center with Dick Patrick today and I asked one of the senior executives at the building about the Mystics attendance banners. And after some discussion we decided to take them down.

The only banners we should display revolve around winning a division or conference or league championship.

So to all of the folks who have emailed me your thoughts over the years about the attendance banners– as a heads up know they are no longer up in the rafters.

And the congregation said, "Amen!"

The fact of the matter is that those banners have been the object of scorn and derision ever since the first one was raised to the rafters following the 1998 WNBA season.  I can still remember the first time I saw it, and then pointed it out to my friends in the season immediately following the run the Caps had to the Stanley Cup Finals that same year.  We had a good long laugh at its expense.

What we didn’t know then was that the joke would last so long.  As the team continued this inane tradition in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004, it reinforced the impression, right or wrong, that the Mystics weren’t interested in winning, and hence, weren’t a serious professional sports franchise.  And if it wasn’t clear before that Leonsis agreed, it sure ought to be now.

If you’re a fan of the Mystics, and I’m not going to pretend that I am, this ought to be seen as a welcome development.  And if you disagree with that notion, well, I’m afraid that you ought to have your head examined.

March 13th, 2010

Thumbs Up or Down: The Week in Sports Television

I’m a little late with this, but here’s the unedited version of my appearance yesterday on The TV News. Apparently, I was a little long-winded, so some of my comments wound up on the cutting room floor in the original version. In any case, here’s the original edit, restored in its full glory thanks to my benevolent director, Jeff Grimshaw.

And here are my show notes:

March 11th, 2010

Tomorrow on The TV News

I’ll be back on The TV News tomorrow to talk sports television, and here’s what I’ll be looking at:

Come back tomorrow afternoon for the video.

January 20th, 2010

What’s It Like to Watch Alex Ovechkin Play Hockey?

Screen shot 2010 01 20 at 3 18 40 PM

Apparently, it’s a lot like watching LeBron James play basketball.  Here’s Bill Simmons musing on the feeling he gets whenever he sees James playing in person:

If you were ever fortunate enough to have season tickets for a memorable athlete in his prime — Gretzky, Montana, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Pedro, Koufax, whomever — then you know exactly what this means. It’s not just about the winning. It’s about heading to the stadium or the park feeling like you won the lottery. It’s about the buzz in the crowd, the way everyone seems like they spent just a little more time getting ready. It’s about the ceiling being removed for the night. It’s about the chance that, 50 years later, your grandkid or your great-grandkid will ask you, "What was it like to see HIM play every night?" … and you’ll have an answer for him. It’s about the familiarity of excellence — constant exposure to someone who’s better at his job than you will ever be at anything — and how that superiority ebbs and flows from night to night.

Yeah, that’s pretty much on target.

September 8th, 2009

Is Anybody in Online Media Making Money?

Over the weekend, I was sorry to read the news at  the New York Times that NYI Point Blank, the operation started by former Islanders PR head Chris Botta with the support of the team, was facing an uncertain future.  While I was never a fan of Botta’s blog box, his achievements at Point Blank were undeniable, and I was happy to cast my vote for him for the Unsung Hero Award given earlier this year by the Hockey Barn Writers Association.

To make a long story short, after a year, the team has decieded to scale back its financial support, and Botta told the NYT he has yet to secure the sort of sponsorship he’ll need in order to continue.  As most free agent bloggers already know, the work most of us do is a labor of love, one where the returns are mostly intangible, even though there are notable exceptions like David Pinto at Baseball Musings who have managed to make it a business on their own.

But it isn’t just independent bloggers who are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to make a profit in the online content business.  On the same day Jeff Klein’s piece on Botta and Point Blank ran in the NYT, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was passing along  the following story at Blog Maverick:

This summer, in response to the changing sports media landscape, I wanted to create a “media pool” for the Mavs. I wanted to assemble a group of unpaid interns that would acquire video, write game reports, track unique stats, do interviews, interact with fans, and then compile all of this incremental media and provide it free to any and every outlet we could think of. If a middle school newspaper or website wanted up to the minute Mavs reports, check. We had em. Social networks ? All the content you need. Of course we would update our,, websites and offer the content to any and every blogger out there.

The good news is that we would create fresh content and make it available in realtime. Call it “Event Driven” media. The bad news is that there was no way we were going to be able to charge for it. Nor was there any assurances that we could generate enough traffic for the content that we could reasonably believe that we could earn any advertising revenue. In fact, it probably would have cost us more to try to sell advertising via ad networks (contracts, monitoring, reports) than we could recoup in ad revenues.

Given we were lightyears from this being a self sustaining business, and that with the economy in the shitter we didnt have excess financial resources to subsidize this effort, I decided to use unapid interns.

Ouch.  If the owner of a team can’t make it work financially, it’s hard to think of who might actually be able to make a go of it.

August 31st, 2009

Why Turning Pro Early May Be The Best Decision

All the way back in February 2004, I took note of how Christian Drejer, a forward from Denmark at the University of Florida, decided to turn his back on NCAA Basketball and return to Europe in order to sign a nice contract at FC Barcelona.  While some folks here in the U.S. condemned the move — Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo called it a "low blow" –  I couldn’t help but cheer, as it simply indicated to me that elite international basketball players not yet ready for the NBA had access to another option outside of American college basketball.

But that wasn’t all I said:

But the real problem for American college basketball has yet to emerge. Because while it’s one thing for a European off the bench to bolt for dollars back on the continent, the real explosion is going to occur when an American kid opts for the European professional leagues straight out of high school or even earlier.

These days, the folks at Indiana figure they’ve always got the inside track on recruiting next year’s Mr. Basketball. But it won’t be too much longer when they’re going to start worrying about scouts from Europe lurking in their gyms with promises of elite basketball training and big bucks, all without the attendant hassles of the NCAA and the fiction of American amateurism.

Please note that I wrote that a full four years before Brandon Jennings decided he wanted nothing of the NCAA experience, and went straight to Europe for a full year before being drafted #10 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2009 NBA Draft.  At the time, Jennings was widely pilloried for skipping the college experience, but after reading the latest contribution by Jason Chung over at The Situationist, it’s pretty clear that Jennings made the right call for both him and his family:

It is drilled into the minds of most Americans that higher education is the way to go in order to attain professional and personal success. In addition, for student-athletes, playing in the NCAA is viewed as the traditional way in which to interest NBA teams and to raise your draft profile. Jennings bucked conventional wisdom and the resulting immediate reaction on the part of some of the public and NBA analysts like Rose was to question the motivations, financial and otherwise, behind this decision.

This initial reaction is simply not supported by facts.

And as you might suspect, the folks who are running the show inside the NBA and the NCAA don’t want those facts to gain wider currency among elite, college-eligible players.

UPDATE: More proof that the global marketplace in basketball talent is here to stay: Ricky Rubio spurning the Minnesota Timberwolves to play for FC Barcelona.

February 15th, 2009

Mason Upsets Northeastern For Homecoming Win

Northeastern came into the Patriot Center in first place in the CAA conference and a recent victory against George Mason late in January. After being down in the first half the George Mason Patriots walked away with a big win sweeten GMU’s homecoming. Stop by OffWing Photo for the story and more photos from last night’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Northeastern Huskies in NCAA basketball action.


FAIRFAX, VA – FEBRUARY 14: Ryan Pearson #24 of the George Mason Patriots brings the ball up against the
Northeastern Huskies during a conference game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on February 14, 2009. (Photo by Allen Clark/

Off Wing Opinion's 2009.02.14 George Mason vs. Northeastern, Allen Clark/ photoset Off Wing Opinion’s 2009.02.14 George Mason vs. Northeastern, Allen Clark/ photoset

January 5th, 2009

Mason Remains Unbeaten In Conference Play

Cam Long

FAIRFAX, VA – JANUARY 5: Cam Long #20 of the George Mason Patriots shoots against the Georgia State Panthers during a conference men’s basketball game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on January 5, 2009. (Photo by Allen Clark/

The George Mason Patriots are now 3-0 in conference play after tonight’s victory over the Georgia State. Stop by OffWing Photo for the story and more photos from tonight’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Georgia State Panthers in NCAA basketball action.

Off Wing Opinion's 2009-01-05 GMU Patriots vs. Georgia State Panthers (Allen Clark/ photoset Off Wing Opinion’s 2009-01-05 GMU Patriots vs. Georgia State Panthers (Allen Clark/ photoset

December 22nd, 2008

George Mason Goes Home For The Holidays With Win Over Tulane

Andre Cornelius

FAIRFAX, VA – DECEMBER 22: Andre Cornelius #2 of the George Mason Patriots keeps Kevin Sims #1 of the Tulane Green Wave in check during a non-conference basketball game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on December 22, 2008. (Photo by Allen Clark/

The George Mason Patriots go home for the holidays with another win, tonight’s victory was over visiting Tulane University. Stop by OffWing Photo for the story and more photos from tonight’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Tulane Green Wave in NCAA basketball action.

Off Wing Opinion's 2008-12-22 GMU Patriots vs. Tulane Green Wave (Allen Clark/ photoset Off Wing Opinion’s 2008-12-22 GMU Patriots vs. Tulane Green Wave (Allen Clark/ photoset

December 20th, 2008

Patriots Send Radford Home Packing

Daryl Monroe

FAIRFAX, VA – DECEMBER 19: Daryl Monroe #32 of the George Mason Patriots drives to the basket against members of the Radford Highlanders during a non-conference game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on December 19, 2008. (Photo by Allen Clark/

George Mason remains unbeaten at home, keeping a 4-0 record at the Patriot Center intact as they beat Radford University.Mason celebrated 67-55 win over the Highlanders.

Stop by OffWing Photo for the story and more photos from Friday night’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Radford Highlanders in NCAA basketball action.

Off Wing Opinion's 2008-12-19 GMU Patriots vs. Radford Highlanders (Allen Clark/ photoset Off Wing Opinion’s 2008-12-19 GMU Patriots vs. Radford Highlanders (Allen Clark/ photoset

November 30th, 2008

GMU: Now Batting A Lifetime .500

George Mason is off to a strong start this season with a record coming into the game at 4-1. They took on Ohio’s Bobcats from the MAC conference who have only played two games, both of which were victorious. Mason held the lead throughout the game to win 74-65.

Stop by OffWing Photo for additional details and photos from Saturday afternoon’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Ohio Bobcats in NCAA basketball action.

Story by Brian Collins

Louis Birdsong

FAIRFAX, VA – NOVEMBER 29: Louis Birdsong #33 of the George Mason Patriots drives on several players of the Ohio Bobcats during a non-conference game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on November 29, 2008. (Photo by Allen Clark/

Off Wing Opinion's 2008-11-29 GMU Patriots vs. Ohio Bobcats (Allen Clark/ photoset Off Wing Opinion’s 2008-11-29 GMU Patriots vs. Ohio Bobcats (Allen Clark/ photoset

November 26th, 2008

Patriots Topple Mountaineers

Stop by OffWing Photo for the details of tonight’s victory of the George Mason University Patriots over the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers in NCAA basketball action.

FAIRFAX, VA – NOVEMBER 25: Ryan Pearson #24 of the George Mason Patriots goes up against Mount Saint Mary Mountaineers defenders during a non-conference game at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on November 25, 2008. (Photo by Allen Clark/

October 8th, 2008

Hey, I Know That Guy

Sunday night after the Capitals game I played at the Verizon for Catholic U. against American U. Around 5 pm we had to bring our gear downstairs so it’d be ready for us when it came time to play. As several of us were making our second trip down, this big guy walked by in basketball shorts and a t-shirt.

AS I we passed in the corridor and exchanged “hey”s, I was pretty sure I knew the guy. Believe it or not I had just passed within mere feet of Gilbert Arenas.

If I hadn’t known who he was, I would have never known I was passing a star athlete. We traded nothing more than a casual greeting with him, yet we still found ourselves amazed that we just walked by an NBA star.

Needless to say it was a pretty cool moment.

July 25th, 2008

Tim Floyd Whistles Past The Graveyard

Over in the LA Times this morning, USC head basketball coach Tim Floyd gave his take on the downside of opting to play in Europe for a few years instead of playing NCAA basketball:

Asked if he could understand the allure of playing in Europe for a year, Floyd said, “Not necessarily, no. Being away from your family, speaking another language, playing against 30-year-old men versus 18- to 22-year-old players. . . . Until this doesn’t work for the young people who have come in, I can’t see the appeal of wanting my child to go over there unless we were in dire financial straits or I couldn’t get in [to college].

Excuse me, but I thought the purpose of college was to educate young people, not to serve as some sort of 4-year holding tank to cosset them from the demands of the real world. And if I recall correctly, America traditionally sends literally thousands of its college students overseas every year in order for them to experience a semester abroad in another culture, claiming that it’s a “learning experience” that broadens one’s perspective on the world and America’s place in it.

I know one thing: Holding a job in a foreign country and learning to interact with adults as a professional while playing basketball for FC Barcelona is probably a superior learning experience to spending a junior year abroad in the same city, partying and pretending to attend class. That’s especially the case for elite basketball recruits who normally don’t spend a whole lot of time in the classroom anyway. And as I recall, one of the reasons we see increasing numbers of Euros coming to the NBA, is because they seem to possess better fundamental skills than their stateside counterparts. If that’s the case, then what could be better than spending a year in Europe where coaches will spend the time and effort drilling their charges in just those same fundamentals.

Welcome to global competition. It’s a good thing, unless of course all you want to do is grouse about it.

April 1st, 2008

Who Doesn’t “Love” A Big Man Who Can Hit From Downtown?

Anyone who has a tv has probably seen the commercials of LeBron James hitting jumpers from the other end of the court. They looked amazing, and were possible with a little digital wizardry. Well it just so happens that there’s a guy with NBA-level skills that can do that for real (click for video).

During warmups UCLA’s Kevin Love hit a halfcourt shot, a 3/4 court shot, and a full court shot, all of which was caught on tape. LeBron better watch his back…

November 10th, 2007

Arkansas Bends Under Pressure Of Photo Policy

Drop by OffWing Photo to get the latest news on Arkansas Activities Association’s (AAA) rule that they own the copyright to all media (photo, video, audio) taken at state championships and to charge fees ranging from $35-$50 for press credentials to events. This policy as written would also apply to parents and fans taking pictures in the stands.The AAA is the sponsoring organization of championship games for public and private schools in Arkansas.

Check out the latest photos from OffWing photographers by visiting our Photoshelter gallery.

Also stop by our new sister website OffWing Photo where we focus on photography, especially sports photography.

June 1st, 2007

LeBron’s Feat

There are moments that help define a player’s career, such as Curt Shilling and his bloody sock, Bobby’s Orr’s “The Goal”, or Bobby Baun scoring the overtime goal in Game 6 of the ’64 Cup after leaving the game earlier with a broken ankle. With these epic, clutch moments in mind, LeBron James has joined in with his 25 point finish to lead the Cavs back over the Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Finals.

Said Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel,

One on five, and the one willed the win. Through the last minutes of regulation and all of two playoff overtimes, in the loneliest of basketball moments on the road amid the roar of the crowd against veteran defenders, and with the series about to swing, LeBron James willed all right

May 17th, 2007

Maybe We’re More Alike Than We’d Like To Admit

I’m sure this passage that ran on earlier today will have a lot of hockey fans nodding in agreement:

Once upon a time, these guys had a code of honor. They played hard, respected the game, defended their teammates, and if anyone stepped out of line, there was always someone that would take care of them — whether it was another player, a referee, a coach or whatever. When fights or altercations happened, they were considered natural side effects of a physical sport. When two players talked smack, it was considered a good thing, a sign that the game was heating up, that we were potentially headed for a more competitive place.

Too bad that was Bill Simmons talking about the NBA.

May 17th, 2007

A Brief Defense Of David Stern

Over at Battle of Alberta — was it only a year ago that I was there seemingly every day of the week — Matt Fenwick has a very thought-provoking post on why he believes that the NHL’s system of supplementary discipline is superior to the NBA’s.

In the main, Matt is entirely correct. He notes that while plenty of folks might take issue with Colin Campbell’s decisions…

I think Colin Campbell could be better at his job, but I wouldn’t want it myself, and don’t envy him. If there’s two things I hope readers take away, these are them:

1. It is just and proper that NHL supplementary discipline is evaluated case-by-case and takes everything into account: the act, the injury (if any), the situation. While the NHL VP’s best judgement seems crappy sometimes, the alternatives are worse.

2. Next time you’re reacting to a light suspension for a dangerous hit, and are tempted to say, “It shouldn’t matter that the guy wasn’t injured”, ask yourself if you honestly believe that (say) paralyzing someone isn’t grounds for more severe punishment.

Which leads us to NBA Commissioner David Stern, who handed out a pair of one game suspensions to Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw of the Phoenix Suns because they left the bench in the wake of a body check that Robert Horry laid on Steve Nash during Game Four of the NBA Playoff series between the Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. Horry, nothing more than a role player who can still hit an open three at this point in his career, will sit for two games.

This isn’t the first time Stern has laid down the law like this, as I can remember feeling a lot of the same righteous indignation 10 years ago when he suspended seemingly half of the New York Knicks during a similar playoff incident involving the Miami Heat.

But if Stern seems inflexible, hewing so closely to the letter of the law that it seems the concept of justice in this case has been bent like a pretzel, it’s only because justice for the players isn’t an end in itself when it comes to the NBA.

What is paramount, however, is the best interest of the league as a whole. Don’t forget, Stern has been around the game for a very long while, and can easily recall the bad old days of rampant drug public drug abuse and on-court violence — factors that combined to exile the NBA Finals to late night tape delay on CBS until as late as 1981.

Stern knows what that world looks like, knows what the NBA has become, and he’s not going to let it go one step backward. My guess is that in his mind, administering some rough and unforgiving justice to players who merely dare to leave the bench will make it that much more less likely that a bench clearing brawl of the type that nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich in 1977 will ever happen again.

So yes, the decision is unfair to Stoudemire, Diaw and their teammates. It’s unfair to the Suns, their fans, and every fan of the game of basketball who was hoping to be able to watch an exciting and competitive series. But whether or not the Spurs go on to win the series, the NBA will go on being the massive international cash machine that it is, and this incident will go down in history as nothing more than another footnote in Stern’s tenure, justice be damned.

One thing Stern knows for sure: Any video zipping around the world of a group of predominantly African-American men brawling on a basketball court will be judged harshly and unjustly by the league’s sponsors.

So, in a way, Stern is committing a minor injustice today in order to avoid seeing the league’s sponsors and advertisers inflict a greater injustice upon the NBA and all of its players tomorrow.

When you look at it that way, it’s a little easier to see why Stern is probably sleeping easy tonight.

Thanks to J.P. for the pointer to Matt’s BOA post.

March 21st, 2007

Bill Simmons vs. Chris Lynch

Bill Simmons doesn’t like the fact that his alma mater, Holy Cross, hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game in 40 years. He wants to change things.

Chris Lynch tells him to stuff it.

March 20th, 2007

NCAA Men’s Basketball Salary Survey

Thanks to Jason Anastasopoulos for passing along this salary comparison of Division I coaches.

The highlights:

Highest Paid: Tubby Smith, Kentucky, $2,193,150/year

Lowest Paid: Mike McConathy, Northwestern State, $104,300/year

Most Overpaid: Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (17W 14L, Annual Pay: $1,500,000)

Most Underpaid: Villy Kennedy, Nevada (28W 2L, Annual Pay: $170,000)

Most $/Game: Tubby Smith, Kentucky, $68,535.94/game

Least $/Game: Mike McConathy, Northwestern State, $3259.38/game

Most $/Win: Jeff Ruland, Iona, $176,497/win (2W 28L, Annual Pay: $352,994)

Least $/Win: Scott Sutton , Oral Roberts, $5037.83/win (23W 10L, Annual Pay: $115,870)

I don’t know how you could call a coach who’s won two NCAA titles overpaid, but there it is.

March 17th, 2007

Welcome Back, Rob Visconti

After a break of less than two months, my old podcasting buddy Rob Visconti has returned to blogging in time for the NCAA Tournament. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

February 22nd, 2007

News Blackout Over NBA All-Star Weekend?

Can somebody tell me why I needed to read Bill Simmons to find this out about NBA All-Star Weekend?

So many gangbangers and troublemakers flooded the Strip that late-night gamblers willingly chose 75-minute cab lines over a 15-minute walk to their next casino. So many wild stories floated around about shootings, robberies and everything else that we never knew what to believe; still, every tale seemed reasonable because there were no cops to be seen. On Saturday night, one of my friends even joked that the city might have to declare martial law, only none of us laughed because we didn’t realize he was joking.

Whoever at AOL lured Jason Whitlock out of ESPN deserves some kind of medal today. His account of the weekend isn’t different at all:

Plus, the NBA’s business partner ESPN didn’t have time to dirty its hands and report on the carnage. I’m sure ESPN’s reporters were embedded in the rear ends of the troops — Shaq, Kobe, King James, D-Wade, AI and Melo.

As many of you know, I watch PTI with Michael Wilbon pretty religiously. And on Monday’s program, when you would usually expect him and Tony Kornheiser to open with the events in Las Vegas, the focus at the front of the show was on the Daytona 500. As I recall, Wilbon was apparently sick all weekend long, and didn’t get to see much of what went on in Las Vegas.

Interesting and all too convenient. Even Deadspin has bought into the meme that it was a safe weekend to be in Las Vegas.

Here’s Whitlock on what he saw in Vegas in 2007 and what 2008 in New Orleans could be like:

There were so many fights and so many gangbangers and one parking-lot shootout at the MGM Grand that people literally fled the hotel in fear for their safety. I talked with a woman who moved from the MGM to the Luxor because “I couldn’t take it. I’ll never come back to another All-Star Game.”

There are reports of a brawl between rappers and police at the Wynn Hotel.

Vegas police were simply overwhelmed along The Strip. They were there solely for decoration and to discourage major crimes. Beyond that, they minded their own business.

I was there. Walking The Strip this weekend must be what it feels like to walk the yard at a maximum security prison. You couldn’t relax. You avoided eye contact. The heavy police presence only reminded you of the danger.

Without a full-scale military occupation, New Orleans will not survive All-Star Weekend 2008.

Seems like Matt Drudge is the only person covering all this.

UPDATE: Another local story from via Drudge:

Visitors also felt the different kind of Las Vegas atmosphere. “There was a problem with the people trying walking in front of cars and things like that,” said David Hart, visitor from Houston.

“It was very crowded but we did get to where we were going,” said Gwen Hart, visitor from Houston.

Gwen and David Hart flew into town on Friday and when they saw the large groups of younger NBA fans, they say they avoided them to avoid problems.

That’s the same technique David Botero and his wife used. “It was definitely a Las Vegas we had not seen in the past. It was not vintage Vegas at all,” David Botero said. He moved from Las Vegas to New York three years ago. His wife surprised him with a 30th birthday trip back to the city they both love. It turned out to be bad timing.

Although many Las Vegans, including Teresa Frey, support an NBA team in Las Vegas, she doesn’t want to see another All-Star game anytime soon.

“I know that any amount of revenue I made does not justify me being assaulted,” she said.

More thoughts on Whitlock’s piece from Redhawk Review and Macker’s World.

UPDATE: Now I’m really confused. What the heck happened in between the time Whitlock posted this column in the Kansas City Star and his AOL column that I linked above?:

All-Star weekend a perfect party

For black men and women below the age of 45, NBA All-Star Weekend in Vegas was a calling you felt deep in the pit of your stomach.

You just had to be there, even if you no longer love the NBA the way you did when Magic, Bird, Michael and Isiah ruled the game, even if you had zero interest in the actual game.

Granted, later in the column Whitlock comes off as mildly critical, but not anywhere near as shrill as he was in his AOL piece.

What gives? Is the Kansas City Star muzzling Whitlock? I wouldn’t be surprised, as I know personally just how much leeway AOL gives to its contributors.

Or is he trying to play both sides of the street? And what’s the truth?

Thanks to Signal2Noise for pointing this out.

UPDATE: CSTB has some interesting thoughts on Whitlock, what I’d like to read is what he’d write after reading Whitlock’s previous version of the weekend’s events.

February 20th, 2007

Sam Smith Rips Off Some Bloggers

Details from D.C. Sports Bog. Somewhere, I’m sure Mark Cuban is having a good laugh.

And guys, we’ve gotten used to it over here.

February 20th, 2007

George Takei on Tim Hardaway

I don’t have much to say about Tim Hardaway’s comments from over the weekend, but I think this clip from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel is appropriate to share:

Humor is always the best medicine. Hat tip.

October 29th, 2006

R.I.P. Red Auerbach

Perhaps the greatest coach and front office executive in the history of the game. He died of a heart attack near his home in the District yesterday. He was 89. My condolences to his family and friends.

Sure, this is a hockey blog, but this is a Washington blog too. And though Auerbach’s name will be forever tied to Boston, more folks need to know that Washington never ceased being his home, even during the glory years with the Celtics.

He loved D.C. and it loved him back. And on this Sunday, the whole town misses him like Hell. Vaya con dios, Red. And thanks for everything.

October 23rd, 2006

Shaq Participates In Botched SWAT Operation

A story that’s hard to believe: Shaquille O’Neal riding along on a SWAT raid that hit the wrong house.

Even better, he was actually armed. Dear God.

September 7th, 2006

Ralph Sampson Goes To Jail

I’m not so young that I don’t remember when the whole sports world was focused on a college basketball game between UVA and Georgetown that pitted Patrick Ewing against Ralph Sampson.

While I don’t know what Ewing is up to these days, something tells me he’s doing better than Ralph.

August 28th, 2006

Where Do They Find Men Such As These?

Here’s a note that just came across my desk:

Recently, COL Brown, former Commander of 1-/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and a few wounded soldiers formerly under his command, participated in a team building exercise with the U.S. Olympic Men’s basketball team. Attached at the end of this string is a link to a short collection of excerpts from that event. As time permits, please review the clip. It speaks volumes about valor, leadership, duty, commitment, stewardship…and why the contribution you make to Army readiness remains critically important.

Coach K was COL Bob Brown’s coach at West Point prior to moving to Duke, hence the relationship that is still in place. When you see the tears on the cheeks of the NBA players, it’s got to be good.

Click here to launch the clip. Be sure to get out the hankies first.

For more on Capt. Scott Smiley, click here.

July 22nd, 2006

Jordan Prevails Over Knafel

After years in the courts, Michael Jordan has finally prevailed over his former girlfriend, Karla Knafel:

A judge ruled Friday for Michael Jordan in a legal battle between the former NBA star and a woman who claimed Jordan reneged on a promise to pay her $5 million in hush money when she claimed she was pregnant with his child.

Judge Stuart E. Palmer ruled in Cook County Circuit Court that any alleged agreement between Jordan and Karla Knafel would be invalid, pointing to definitive tests that showed Jordan is not the child