Saturday, June 29, 2013

What I learned in Brooklyn covering Sam Hinkie's first Sixers draft

A little reaction piece I put together Friday morning after returning from the 2013 NBA Draft. It ran on Pattison Ave., so check out the full article here.

"I really didn’t know what to expect from the Sixers heading into Thursday night’s NBA Draft. I headed to Brooklyn sort of sensing a trade; Hinkie had just been too dang quiet to not have something up his sleeve. I thought maybe Evan Turner would (finally) be shipped out of town, or maybe even super-Sixer Thaddeus Young. Or maybe Hinkie would just trade the entire team for the current Houston Rockets roster; I didn’t know, anything seemed possible.

Anyway, I didn’t want to think about it too deeply on the car ride there, fearing that honing in too deeply on Hinkie would impair my driving ability, so I just listened to some old Notorious B.I.G. albums instead; I was going to Brooklyn, it seemed fitting.   

After fighting through unnecessary Brooklyn 
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traffic, or as my GPS system called it, an “optimized route,” I arrived at the Barclay’s center, eager to get the scoop on what the Sixers could be cooking up. 

As difficult as it is to believe, it is actually somewhat difficult to obtain accurate “inside” information in the media room at the NBA Draft. Not because there isn’t any of it, but because there is actually too much. Everyone has some scoop or story on a trade or a possible pick. You sort of have to sift through the soot to get some half-decent, semi-accurate information.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Report: Andrew Bynum likely won't be back with 76ers; hallelujah

A recent report that Andrew Bynum likely won’t return to the 76ers’ sideline next season is the best news I have heard out of the Sixers organization all summer. 

While most fans with any sense were hoping that the Sixers didn’t sink a steep salary on the Bynum ship, the organization has remained mum on the issue, causing me to fear for the worst. 

What if, in order to try to justify last summer’s blockbuster bust, the team continued to back Bynum, and wait for him to suddenly feel motivated to play basketball in Philadelphia?” I kept thinking to myself, fearing that a hefty contract for an often-injured big guy could handcuff the organization for several seasons.

While the manner with which the organization has interacted with fans and media members since the hiring of Sam Hinkie is almost embarrassing, the willingness to let Bynum walk gives me at least a little faith in the currently constructed brain trust that they;

Friday, June 21, 2013

AND 1 to host $100k open tournament in Philadelphia

Unfortunately, I am a couple years past the point where I would take such an open opportunity semi-seriously. Check out the original article here


"Basketball fans that grew up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s are likely to remember the AND 1 mixtape tour, which thanks to an impressive marketing scheme, took the basketball world by storm.

The mixtape tour featured streetball players from all over the country performing dunks, dribbling moves and passes in the context of game play that simply weren’t seen elsewhere.

The players featured in the tapes were exceptionally talented, which is what made the tour work so well. Some, such as Rafer Alston, also known as “Skip to my Lou” in the streetball circuit, were able to make it to the NBA.  Others had NBA-level talent, but thrived the extremely freewheeling style that the mixtape tour offered. 
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Streetball play was a contrast to the comparatively conservative approach of the NBA. The tour was able to gain widespread popularity due to its exciting and unorthodox style, spawning an ESPN spinoff show and its own video game. 

The streetball craze has died down substantially over the past decade, as has the popularity of AND 1 products, but thanks to new ownership the brand is looking to bounce back, and the famous “tours” are making a return as well. 

Relabeled as the “Live” tour, the AND 1 team of streetballers is off again, albeit with a different roster, traveling from city to city, taking on the town’s top talent. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is Michael Curry the next coach of the 76ers?

There hasn't been much news out of the 76ers organization lately. The original article was posted on earlier in the week. Be sure to check it out here.  

The Sixers coaching search has been unquestionably quiet so far this summer, and reports have surfaced recently stating that the selection might not be made until after the NBA Draft on June 27.  

Although it seems that the team should want to have a coach in place as soon as possible in order to provide input on draft decisions and roster moves, the fact that the draft is now only a little over a week away leads one to believe that such reports are accurate. 

Some said that the slowness of the search was just the Sixers waiting for their man, like maybe Brian Shaw. But, it has been a couple weeks now since Shaw’s Pacers were pushed out of the playoffs, and while several teams have entertained the idea of Shaw, the Sixers name hasn’t popped up among them.

Shaw, who was a in the running for the Nets head coaching vacancy until they got all nostalgic over Jason Kidd, is now being mentioned as a prime candidate for the Nuggets job. Meanwhile the Sixers and their new basketball brain, Sam Hinkie, remain tight-lipped about every aspect of the organization, except for the color of the jerseys.

Although names of up-and-coming assistants, like Miami’s David Fizdale and Denver assistant Melvin Hunt are continuously popping up as top targets, the casual demeanor with which the Sixers have approached the search leads me to believe that they may already have their man, and he may already be in the organization.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nike crowns LeBron James a "two-time champion", even though he's not, yet.

There is a lot of anticipation for tonight's crucial game 6 match-up in Miami, but Nike apparently already knows the outcome of the series. 

Check out the original article I posted this morning on, and check out some pictures of the shoes after the jump.

"Either Nike knows something that we don’t, or they are bound to anger some Spurs fans with a recent release.

A recent mockup of Nike’s popular LeBron X model boasts a nice floral theme, along with an interesting message inscribed in the heel inserts.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A conference call with Julius Erving

Late last week I was fortunate enough to participate in a conference call with Julius Erving and various members of the media. The call was set up to discuss NBA TV's new documentary, "The Doctor" which chronicles the extremely exciting, and turbulent career of Erving.

Getting the chance to talk to, and ask questions of one of the game's true living legends was an opportunity I was extremely appreciative of.

While the bulk of questions were directly related to the development of the documentary, and the film itself, Dr. J still provided a lot of overall insight into his life, his impact on the game that he loves, and the state of it today.

Check out the Good Doctor's responses to some media questions on a variety of topics after the jump:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NBA to allow sideline ads next season

Check out the original article on Pattison Ave.

"Starting next season the NBA will allow advertising on the court for the first time. 

In an attempt to add additional revenue streams, teams will be able to sell add space on what is referred to as “the apron” of the court, along with on the top of the backboard to capitalize on overhead camera angles. 

The apron is the area between the baseline and the coaches’ box where teams currently display their twitter handles, while the area above the backboard usually has the team’s website listed.

Court logo space however, can only be sold to a company for games that are locally televised, as any and all corporate branding will be removed for nationally televised games.

Although some fear the over-branding of basketball, placing logos on the court is a favorable alternative to adding brand logos to uniforms, which was seriously discussed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NBA players read mean tweets about them

It is no secret that people get an additional amount of courage when talking from behind a twitter handle. People type things that they probably would never have the, um, courage, to say in real life. Many of these tweets are aimed at athletes and celebrities under the pretense that they will never actually see them.

Well, sometimes they are seen. In this video from the Jimmy Kimmel show, Jimmy has a collection of NBA players read some mean tweets about them. Hilarity ensues.

NBA TV's "The Doctor" a true tribute to Julius Erving

This article ran originally on on Monday, May 10, prior to the initial airing of the documentary. Check out the original article here.


Julius “Dr. J” Erving is the latest next subject in the award-winning NBA TV Originals series. "The Doctor," a 90-minute documentary, had its first airing Monday night, between Games 2 and 3 of the NBA Finals.

Many people are familiar with the myth of Julius Erving; the gravity-defying dunks, the Converse All-Stars, the big, bouncing afro, basically the all-around “swag,” for lack of a better word. 

Yes, the legend of “Dr. J” lives on. But, for all those familiar with the myth, many are unfamiliar with Julius Erving the man. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year Geore Karl isn't the answer for the 76ers

This article originally ran on Pattison Ave Friday afternoon. Be sure to check out the original here.

"Imagine being given an annual award for excellence in your profession and then a few short weeks later being fired from that very same position. This is exactly what happened to the NBA’s current coach of the year, George Karl, who is now on the open market looking for work.

Karl led the Nuggets to the playoffs during each of his nine seasons in the Mile High City, but was released, along with reigning NBA Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri, in an apparent overhaul in Denver.

With the Sixers still searching for a coach, it only makes sense that some would suggest that the team consider Karl. Almost immediately upon Karl’s releases, Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweeted:

  “Not sure he'd be interested, but would not shock me at all if the Sixers' revamped front office called Karl ASAP.”

While it makes sense to consider Karl, as he has long been one of the League’s premier coaches and he will certainly have several suitors, the NBA’s 2013 Coach of the Year wouldn’t be a good fit in Philly.

Friday, June 7, 2013

NBA Draft '13: What would Houston DO (WWHD)??

Check out the original article in its entirety at Philadunkia:
"It has been pretty quiet out of Sixers camp since Hinkie’s hiring. No one seems to have much of an idea exactly what direction the team is going to go, including in the draft. Hinkie was at the helm of Houston’s draft board for the past six seasons, so taking a look at trends that occurred during his tenure may provide the most insight as to what he may do with the 76ers.

Look down the list of Houston’s draft picks since 2007 and a couple things jump out to you almost immediately. 

First, Hinkie is attracted to international players, and has used a bunch of picks on players from overseas, several of whom have yet to actually play in the NBA. In 2007 they selected Louis Scola from Spain and Brad Newley from Australia followed by Nic Batum from France in 2008 and Sergio Llull from Spain in 2009. Nikola Mirotic from Spain and Turkey’s Furken Aldemir were selected in 2011 and 2012 respectively, both have yet to make the trip over to the NBA.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Louisville's Kevin Ware gets back to basketball business

Some good news out of Louisville over the weekend. The original article ran on Pattison Ave on Tuesday, so be sure to check it out there.

Being able to stand on your own two feet is something that many Americans take for granted every day, but not Louisville guard Kevin Ware. At least not anymore.

Just two months removed from his gruesome leg injury in the NCAA Tournament that captivated the country and turned Ware into a semi-household name, the Louisville junior tweeted out some exciting, albeit surprising, news over the weekend.

This is an extremely positive sign for Ware and Louisville fans alike, especially considering that doctors originally said it may be six months before Ware is walking normally again.

The fact that he can stand is only part of the progress. Not only is Ware standing on his own two feet again, he has also been spotted shooting jump shots. This is difficult to imagine, especially since the image of him lying on his back, grimacing in pain, leg bone not where it should be, has been burned into the brains of all those unlucky enough to see it.

However,'s Eric Crawford reported that Ware was at Louisville’s practice court on Monday afternoon, hoisting up a fair share of jump shots.

"I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize [the leg]," Ware stated. "But I'm not going to take it easy, either." An attitude evidenced by him even being out on a basketball court.

Although he still has a long way to go on his path to full recovery, this is a solid start.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

76ers should at least talk to Vinny Del Negro

From Pattison Ave

"The common train of thought surrounding the current Sixers coaching search is that the team is trying to target a fresh basketball mind, as opposed to an established individual. It is assumed that the Sixers want an assistant of some sort, who is eager to break into the big time, with a set of fresh ideas and the patience to help the Sixers right the ship. 

In short, they don’t want another Doug Collins. Or Larry Brown.

They don’t want a coach that is going to kill the team with over-enthusiasm and expectations, and they certainly don’t need another coach opposed to developing young talent. 

Instead, a coach who is willing to adapt, adjust, allow young players to mature, and is well in-tune with today’s style of NBA basketball would be ideal. So, the idea of an ‘up-and-comer’ search makes sense. 

Brian Shaw, an assistant with the Pacers is a popular name, but he will have several suitors for the Sixers to compete with this summer. There are other options outside of Shaw, but one candidate the Sixers may consider isn’t any sort of assistant, but instead he was the head coach of one of the NBA’s most exciting playoff teams this season.

The Sixers would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t at least do their due diligence and talk to Vinny Del Negro. Yes he has taken a lot of heat for poor roster rotations and maybe giving Chris Paul a little bit too much control, but he also led the Clippers to their best record in franchise history while handling some of the biggest stars in the game.

He has been outcoached in the Playoffs by some of the league’s elite, but at this point playoff performance shouldn’t be the team’s biggest concern, considering they just need a coach to get them there first. Just as players improve and expand, so do coaches. So while he hasn’t led any deep Playoff runs, Del Negro has led his teams to the postseason in four out five seasons as a head coach, compiling an impressive overall record of 210-184. While resumes only carry a certain amount of weight, Del Negro’s is short and solid. 

At the relatively ripe age of 46, Del Negro could serve as a long-term solution if the two sides were able to find some success and grow together. It may not be a match, but it can’t hurt to talk to one of the more successful coaches currently available."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Floyd "Money" Mayweather reportedly bet $6 million on the Miami Heat

Boxing superstar Floyd “Money” Mayweather has a lot of money, and apparently he has a lot of confidence in LeBron James and the Miami Heat as well.

According to a source close to Vegas Gambling Steam, the undefeated boxer is betting nearly $6 million, $5.9 million to be exact, on the Miami Heat in Monday night’s game 7 matchup with the Indiana Pacers. 

For “Money” Mayweather to cash in on the bet the Heat not only have to overcome Indiana and advance to the Finals, they also have to beat the Pacers by more than 7 in order to cover the spread.
The Heat have beat the Pacers by 1, 18, and 11 respectively so far this series, and the average margin of victory for both teams has been slightly above 9.

Mayweather, who has been seen sitting courtside in Miami during the Eastern Conference Finals, apparently paid little attention to the Pacers impressive game six performance while laying down his enormous wager.

Mayweather is no doubt hoping to continue his trend of successful sports betting, but it is safe to assume that even if the Pacers pull an upset, the world’s highest-earning athlete will live to bet another day.

Talking with Todd Macculloch

Todd Macculloch is missed among Sixer fans. He was a good guy, and a solid contributor to a couple good Sixer squads. This article ran on Philadunkia the other day, so be sure to check out the article in its entirety here
Todd Macculloch may not be a name synonymous with NBA success, but for a period of time in the early 2000’s he was a big part of some very good teams. His numbers were never eye-popping, but he was a consistent contributor to two Finals-bound teams, and enjoyed four solid seasons before a chronic foot condition forced him into an early retirement. 

Most notably, he was a member of the most recent Sixer team to make it as far as the Finals, serving as a backup to Dikembe Mutombo. Recently, Todd sat down with Steven LeBron Radio to discuss his time in the NBA, playing with Allen Iverson, and his career as a pinball player.

It’s always good to hear from Todd, check out some highlights of what he had to say, and be sure to check out the full podcast at Steven LeBron radio

On his love of NBA socks: “I miss the super soft NBA socks more than anything. NBA socks are the best things ever I’ve tried to buy them ocks through Eastbay and it’s just not the same.”

On if he ever played hockey growing up in Canada: “Absolutely, growing up in Winnipeg, that’s just what everyone is playing. I pretty much only played hockey up until about age 11 or 12. Hockey was everything. But I decided I didn’t want to be a professional at age 11, so I quit hockey before body-checking started. I wanted to try out everything, and not just focus on one game.”
Now, on to some Sixers stuff:

On how team morale was coming off of the summer where Iverson was almost traded to Detroit: ‘Team morale was okay starting the season after A.I. was almost traded. Basically, Matt Geiger had the no-trade clause in his contract and decided to use it. I think the trade would have happened if he didn’t opt to use it.”

On how Iverson felt after almost being traded: “I don’t think that sat too well with Allen that they maybe wanted to move him, so that maybe lit a fire under him to want to show that he belonged in Philadelphia and that we could be a championship team. I don’t know how it affected him personally, but I’ve been traded before so I know what that feels like.”

On finally overcoming Indiana in the 2001 Playoffs: “I think the [Sixers] had made it to the second round and lost the year before my rookie season. Then my rookie year we lost in the second round to Indiana. I think it was Indiana that beat us the year before too. So, there was a feeling that, this is a good Indiana team, and while it’s great that we’re making the playoffs, we’re tired of getting so far and being outed. 

“So I think guys had a goal right from the start of the season, we have to take care of business, we have to get home court. So that second season we jumped out to a 10-0 start on the season. In playoff series it’s really nice to have that 7th game, should it get there, be at home. You got a much better chance of winning that game at home. After we beat Indiana in that first series, I remember Iverson saying that we finally got that monkey off our back.”  
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On the energy of the 2001 Toronto series: “There was a lot of excitement in both buildings for that series. It was like twenty years since the last Philadelphia title, and the city was really feeling like this was a chance. What you had was two really good teams having one of their best seasons in recent history, and you had a feeling it was going to come down to the last game.”

“Iverson was really playing out of his mind. Obviously he had a great career, but he would really pick it up during playoff time. It’s pretty remarkable to be able to step up your game when you’re already playing at an extremely high level. The building in Toronto was insane, the building in Philly was insane, and I’m really glad we got to have game 7 back home. There was a lot of electricity, you couldn’t hear anything. That was a very memorable series, I got to see it all, I don’t think I touched the court, so I just got to root on my team and got a pretty good look from the bench.”
“It was a special thing to be in Philly during all that excitement.”

On how he ended up on the Nets: Personally I had a decent showing in Game 2 of the 2001 Finals against L.A., which didn’t really help us too much to continue that series and lengthen it, but I think it helped gain some interest in some GM’s about where I was going to be the next season, and the Nets gave me the best offer.”

“I didn’t really want to leave Philadelphia, I loved it there, I loved the situation, we had just come off of an amazing season and I wanted to be part of that again. There was this sense that we got all the way to the Finals, and if we get the core together, you know, I wanted to be a part of that. Part of being a restricted free agent is that you can go out and get the best offer you possibly can, and in this case the Sixers had two weeks to match it. So ideally I wanted to go out and get the best offer I could and have the Sixers match it, unfortunately they weren’t able to retain me.”

On playing for back-to-back Finals teams: “I think I started to get spoiled thinking that this is something routine. Now a lot of time has passed and I look back and realize how lucky I am to not only have gone to the Finals once, but twice, and with two different teams, especially when you think about that there’s guys that have had fifteen year careers and never made it to the playoffs, or never made it out of the first round; I feel very lucky.”

On the timing of his retirement: “It was tough. I was really starting to get my confidence, and I felt like my teammates and coaches were starting to get their confidence in me, and to have my career go at that time was extremely difficult, and it still continues to be something I think about probably too much. I felt like I had another good ten years, and I’m sad for all of the experiences and relationships, and just being part of a team, that I missed out on. I didn’t realize how important being part of a team was to me, and I miss it.”

On his transition to pinball: “To me it is a really addictive hobby, and I started it long ago. I grew up in a great time for pinball; I’ve always been around the game and enjoyed it. When I was signed by the Nets we got a nice house and the basement was pretty empty, so I figured it was a good time to get those games that I always liked. I met a friend of mine who introduced me to the world of competitive pinball and it just really clicked for me.  I was missing the camaraderie for basketball and a team event so I joined a couple of pinball leagues.”