Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Logo vs. The Jumpman: Original Images

Last week, Around The Arc ran an article stating that Michael Jordan’s Jumpman would serve as a cooler League logo than the current symbol, which depicts Jerry West making a basketball move.  While the idea serves as a fuel for debate fodder, it is far from a possibility, as the super-successful Jordan Brand has long had the symbol copyrighted. 

However, as a follow up to last week’s piece, I thought it would be a good idea to run pictures of the original images that developed into these two iconic logos to show exactly how basketball’s two most famous symbols came into existence.


















West’s, as you can see, was developed from an in-game image, while the Jumpman came out of a Nike photo shoot.  Interestingly enough, Mike was not even dunking the ball in the image, but rather just jumping straight in the air and posing.  The fact that West’s came from actual game play gives it a level of realness, but for my money, the Jumpman is still where it’s at.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Jumpman Should be the NBA Logo

No, Jerry West’s storied silhouette is in no real jeopardy of losing its status as the National Basketball Association’s primary symbol,  but come on, the Jumpman would just look so much cooler as the League’s logo. 

No symbol is more synonymous with success in basketball than Jordan's Jumpman, not to mention the enormous off court implications it has in the areas of lifestyle and culture.  Jordan, the most renown and popular player of all time, revolutionized the way the game is played and appreciated, and is a much more recognizable individual than West ever was, as MJ’s impact and influence will be forever felt on the game, both on and off the court. 

Aesthetically Jordan’s soaring silhouette looks much better than Jerry’s earthbound body and it evokes more emotions of excitement and athleticism that the National Basketball Association banks on.  As sad as it is, many kids from the current and future generations may not even know who Jerry West was, let alone his style of play or why his likeness was chosen to represent professional basketball in  America.  Everyone knows Mike, however, along with his high-flying antics, and the fact that aside from Larry Bird and Magic Johson, Michael was the man singlehandedly responsible for saving the NBA.  That alone should earn Jordan’s Jumpman as a permanent spot on the NBA’s patch.

The iconic Jumpman however, is already the primary trademark of the super-successful Jordan Brand, and is on its way to standing alongside the Nike Swoosh as one of the most recognizable sports brand logos in the world.  Thus, it could never actually become the official logo of the League, as that would cause a conflict of interest between the company and the Association, a well as making things kind of confusing for consumers.  Besides, the League has shown no actual interest in removing West’s likeness from their logo, it just simply seems as though the Jumpman is more suited for the spot.


In other news, Jerry West hangs out with Cam’ron to prove that he remains relevant, and provides us with one of the more improbable photos seen in a while. 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Andrew Bynum’s Hair is out of Control

Since Andrew Bynum won’t be able to make any headlines on the court until January, it looks like he has decided to make some off of the court instead. 

Bynum was spotted on the sidelines Wednesday night during the 76ers loss to the previous winless Pistons sporting a new ‘do, that was different to say the least.

Andrew has always been an interesting character since he entered the L, and this new hairdo just further solidifies so. 

While I am not certain how the flattened-looking fro will be received, I am sure that, after dropping back to back games to the Bucks and lowly Pistons, the Sixers could certainly use him out on the floor. 

If you didn't get a chance to see Andrew on the sidelines last evening, check out the look for yourself below:



Pretty interesting, huh?  I don’t know if I would try that look on myself, but as long as he produces upon his return, Philly fans won’t care what his hair looks like.  Ike Turner anyone?



(This is the first, and last time, Ike Turner will ever be mentioned on Around The Arc).

Monday, November 12, 2012

More Interesting Moves in Laker Land

With Phil Jackson seemingly reading and willing to reclaim his old role as skipper of the NBA’s most enigmatic franchise, the Lakers management made another head-scratching move, passing over Phil and his five titles in Laker land, opting instead for Mike D’Antoni of Phoenix Sun fame. 

Simply, the Lakers must have seen what an outstanding did D’Antoni did with the Knicks a couple seasons back, and just felt that they couldn’t miss on the same opportunity for their franchise (For those that did not pick up on it, that was some sarcasm; in D’Antoni’s three seasons with the Knicks they failed to make the playoffs twice, and were swept in the first round in his final season with the franchise).

In actuality, this move makes no sense to me.  You have the man who has had more success with the franchise and its fickle superstar than any other individual just waiting in the wing to reclaim the clipboard and you pass him over for a head coach who has no track record of sustained winning in the League? 

Aside from his success with the Lakers alone, Phil is the NBA’s all-time winningest coach as far as championships are concerned, and is known for commanding the respect of multiple superstars and figuring out a way to make them play well together.  Sounds a little like the current situation out in Los Angeles. 

Sure people will point to D’Antoni’s success in Phoenix with current Lakers point Steve Nash, who won two MVP awards under Mike’s tutelage.  However before making this argument some aspects must be considered.  First, that was over half a decade ago.  Nash has lost a step and a half since then, and will not be able to handle the amount of minutes it took for him to so successfully orchestrate the offense in Phoenix.

Second, Phoenix had a lot of shooters, the Lakers don’t.  Nash was able to rack up assists by penetrating and kicking it out to a plethora of solid shooters that L.A. simply doesn’t have on its roster.  Unless Gasol gets moved (which he now very well may) for some guys who can stretch the floor, the blueprint Nash and D’Antoni nearly perfected in Phoenix isn’t completely applicable in L.A.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is the fact that D’Antoni runs an up-tempo, run-and-gun style offense that may not be well-suited for his most important player, Kobe Bryant, who is one of the best half-court players of all time.  Throw in the fact that Kobe is in his 17th(!!) NBA season, and it doesn’t seem likely that he is going to want to do a whole lot of running or gunning (well, maybe some gunning). Kobe has always benefitted from a structured offense (the Triangle, anyone?) and an up and down style of play seems ill-suited for Kobe at this stage in his career.  Not to mention that D’Antoni disregards defense, another one of Kobe’s strong suits.  How many losses until a disgruntled Kobe, who probably would have preferred Phil Jackson, takes a shot at D’Antoni?

Phil Jackson was the man for the job, however you look at it.  The fact that Jackson was reportedly ready to accept the position and the Lakers passed him up makes the situation even more shocking.  There is no one on the planet more qualified to lead a talented team to a title than Phil Jackson, and the Lakers decided to pass him up for a man who hasn’t even been able to take a franchise to the Finals.

Good Luck, L.A.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lakers Fire Mike Brown After 5 Games!?

Well that didn’t take long.  Despite vehemently denying that it was time to push the panic button, the Lakers waited just 5 games to fire head coach Mike Brown.

The Lakers have started the season off at 1-4 after extremely high offseason expectations due to the acquisitions of stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.  In the standings, the Lakers are currently located at the bottom of the Western Conference, despite having the League’s largest payroll.

It seemed as though entering the season everyone was aware that it may take the team some time to fully form together, as they had added a plethora of new parts. However, Lakers ownership has already run out of patience.  Despite having Steve Nash healthy for only one complete game, and the lack of time these new players have had to get acclimated to the system, Lakers management had apparently already lost all faith in Mike Brown, and felt that it was time to make a move. 

Everyone knew that Mike was on a short leash entering the season, but this is still surprising.  5 games??  The guy didn’t even have an opportunity to sport his entire repertoire of suits for the season yet.

Sure the offense looked a little shaky, but the team was dealing with 2 new starters, a sub-par bench and injury issues. 

Kobe isn’t ageless, and now the Lakers are looking at the prospect of spending an entire season under the tutelage of an interim coach.  Names like Chuck Person and Bernie Bickerstaff are being thrown around in an attempt to return the ship to its Championship course.

The season is still in its infantile stages, and the West is wide open, so the Lakers are far from eliminated.  In fact, there are many that would still pick them as championship favorites. 

The Lakers had a lot of issues to work out under Mike Brown, and his firing has opened a whole new set of obstacles.  Luckily, the Lakers have more time to address and correct these issues than Mike Brown was granted.  It will be interesting to see where the team goes from here.

Any chance Kobe brings back the role of player/coach?  Now THAT would be fun to watch.  Or anyone else thinking about a tall coach that already has 11 NBA titles?  You should probably stay by the phone, Phil.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Remember the Starter jacket?

Everybody had one.  It didn’t matter if you were a true sports fan, or just wanted to look fly.  Maybe the Starter jacket you were wearing proudly displayed the logo of your all-time favorite team, or maybe you just really liked the color scheme on the coat.  Either way, if you were coming up in the mid-1990’s, odds are you were a proud owner of Starter’s most popular product. 

With the cold weather fast approaching in Philly, I went to gather my cold weather gear this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find my original Orlando Magic Starter jacket in pretty decent condition at my mom’s house.  Of course upon finding it I immediately wore it out that evening, and plan to sport it throughout the winter months (my loyalties to the 76ers aside, it’s just a nice coat).

Below are a couple pictures of this classic piece of winter wear.



I was also always a big fan of the Charlotte Hornets edition, they still have one of the coolest color schemes of all time:

Starter really needs to bring these back, considering their stuff is nowhere to be seen on store shelves these days, I’m sure it couldn’t hurt.

Who else fondly remembers having one of these?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kobe Never Won Without (Big) Help

After Kobe Bryant received his fifth ring a few years back, speculation about whether he could pass Michael Jordan on the hardwood and in the history books began to swirl.  After all, he is only one ring shy of Michael’s impressive six, and statistically no one has been able to produce the way Bryant has since MJ hung it up.  Throw in the killer instinct and that alpha-dog drive possessed by both and it becomes easy to see where the comparisons come in to play. 

Like most kids who grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Kobe idolized MJ, and developed a good part of his own game by emulating Michael’s moves.  The difference between Kobe and most kids, however, was when Kobe imitated MJ on the hardwood, he actually did it well.  So well in fact, that entering the sixteenth season of his illustrious NBA career, many call Kobe the second coming of Michael. 

While Kobe, one of the most talented, driven, and dedicated players of all time is deserving of all the accolades and acclaim he receives on the court,  I feel that the comparison to the greatest of all time is a little unfounded.  This is not necessarily a knock on Kobe, as it is doubtful that anyone will be able to duplicate the individual success Michael achieved on the hardwood.  In fact, Kobe may have come as close as possible, causing many to aptly label him “this generation’s Jordan.”

However, despite all Kobe’s success and similarities to MJ, there is one obvious, yet important distinction between the two; Kobe never won without big help, literally.  In other words, Kobe Bryant never won an NBA Title without the presence of a premier post player on his team. 

Although it is now slowly shifting to a small-ball, semi-Euro style of play, the NBA has long been a big man’s game, in which having a superior center on your team was a good indicator of success, and Kobe Bryant has benefitted from this blue print as much as anyone.

As everyone is well aware, Kobe’s first three titles came while playing alongside Shaquille O’Neil, one of the most talented and dominant big men the game has ever seen.  It was Shaq, not Kobe, who was named MVP in all three of those Finals appearances while averaging an incredible 29.8 points and 14.4 rebounds per game over the course of those three playoff appearances.  While Kobe was no slouch statistically during those runs, he was clearly second fiddle to Shaq; a role Jordan never knew.  The best statistical support MJ ever received from a big guy during a Finals run was the 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game Horace Grant put up in the 1990-1991 playoffs. 

Although he was clearly the go-to-guy on his next two title teams, Kobe’s fourth and fifth rings didn’t come without their fair share of help.  In fact, if you can recall the first couple seasons in L.A. post-Shaq, Kobe struggled to keep the Lakers afloat, while complaining that he needed help (Also something you never heard Jordan do).  Luckily for Kobe, the Lakers front office has long been able to work miracles, and help came in the form of Pau Gasol, another one of the League’s premier post players. 

With Pau in the post, and the help of young stud center Andrew Bynum, Kobe was able to take home two more titles, while finally etching his name on the Finals MVP trophy; an honor Shaq’s performances had prevented him from.  During those 08-09, and 09-10 playoffs, when the Lakers won their two most recent titles, Pau averaged an impressive 18.9 point and 10.95 rebounds per game; again well above any big man help Michael benefitted from.  In other words, even when Kobe’s titles weren’t being driven by The Diesel’s dominance, he still had supreme (nearly 20-10) frontcourt support. 

Sure Michael had Scottie, but the benefits of having a dominant big on the block often outweighs that of another wing, as bigs can draw attention (and defenders) away from the other players on the floor.

Kobe is one of the most driven and dedicated players of all time. He was an integral part of five (so far) championship teams and has put up some individual statistics at a consistency the likes of which the League has never seen. He is a first ballot hall of famer and one of the game's all time greats. However, when it comes to comparing him to THE all time great, his surrounding cast in those championship seasons must be considered.  Kobe's frontcourt support (3 titles with shaq, 2 with pau) is far superior to MJ's (a combination of King, Cartwright, Horace Grant, Rodman and Luc Longley; none of which averaged more then 12 ppg during the playoffs of any of Michael's championship seasons).

So, while Kobe may be this generation’s Jordan, it is important not to forget the frontcourt help he had along the way; a luxury the original MJ never enjoyed.



All statistics @

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Thunder Made a Mistake

44 minutes, 37 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block.

Those numbers have to hurt the Thunder at least a little bit.  Yeah it was only one game, but that one game was indicative of what they will be missing out on moving forward.

There was James Harden, a central cog in the Thunder’s run to the Finals last year and a figured future cornerstone of the franchise, dropping career numbers in his first game in a Houston Rockets uniform.  Out in Oklahoma City one can only imagine that the Thunder had hoped that Harden would wait a couple weeks to post some impressive numbers with his new team, at least until the shock and disappointment of the fact that the Thunder shipped off this fan favorite had died down slightly.

But Harden wasted little time in making it known exactly how valuable he could be to a team, dropping history-book worthy stats while leading Houston to a come from behind victory in what was his first game in Rocket red. His performance also helped to silence the critics of his freshly minted eighty million dollar contract, at least for the moment. 

To make matters worse for the Thunder, they were unable to get a win in their first game post-Harden, losing to opposing Western Conference power San Antonio at the buzzer. With Harden’s impressive performance fresh in fan’s minds, this loss seemed especially sour.  Anything short of a Finals victory this season will leave fans wondering what could have been.  How good could the Thunder have been for the next five seasons had Sam Presti been able to keep the young, explosive nucleus of Durant-Westbrook-Harden-Ibaka together?  Now, we will never know.

The Thunder received decent compensation for last season’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner, or at least as decent of compensation you can get for a player of that quality.  Despite this, they will still suffer on the court, and with the fan base as well.  Harden was a fan favorite; the off-the-bench energy player who could score quickly and at will.   Throw in the fun facial hair and the whole “Fear the Beard” campaign which fans so eagerly embraced, and it is easy to see why a fan base that still boasts 2 of the NBA’s 10 best in Durant and Westbrook, is so torn up over the trade.

The Thunder will still be solid this season, and can certainly compete for a championship, but a bit of their mystique is missing.  Harden did a lot for the team, and was capable of doing even more,  evidenced by his explosion against the Pistons the other evening.  The Thunder are still stacked, but there will be a noticeable absence of beard this season, and that will hurt the team both on, and off the court.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This image was brought to my attention recently by someone who stumbled upon it online. Guess it was hidden deep in the annals of the internet somewhere, as I was unaware that it even existed.

This (extremely accurate and vivid) depiction of the Orlando Magic facing off against the Houston Rockets was done by me circa 1996, and shows my early affinity for basketball, as well as an uncanny ability for bubble letters.

So, on this what many label "Throwback Thursday," I thought I would share this old image as an ultimate throwback; a tribute to the glory days of mid-90's NBA and the times when I has nothing better to do than draw pictures of my favorite players.