- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie11 hrs ago
When Stephon Marbury left the NBA to play in the Chinese Basketball Association in January 2009, it was generally seen as a case of a fallen star looking for the biggest available paycheck. Few thought he would last overseas, if only because the culture shock and different expectations can challenge even the best-intentioned imports. Yet Marbury has thrived — he's been a league champion, become enough of a star to warrant a bronze statue in Beijing, and approached the whole experience with sincere emotion and passion. His success isn't as glamorous internationally as if he'd done the same in the NBA, but it seems somewhere close to as meaningful for Marbury.
The 37-year-old guard now has another accomplishment to add to his growing legend in China — starring in his own stage play. Ben Sin of SI's Extra Mustard explains the play's concept and details:
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie14 hrs ago
When Shelly Sterling orchestrated the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to threateningly boisterous ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, she gained a great number of perks. While a record $2 billion purchase price would seem to be its own reward, Sterling also received two courtside seats for every home game, "owner emeritus" status and the quasi-Orwellian, official designation as "Clippers No. 1 Fan." All this for a woman who has a questionable racial history of her own and who sat next to her husband over decades of widely reviled ownership.
Team USA stands to face several strong sides at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball later this month and in September. One of those teams is France, surprise winners of last summer's EuroBasket tournament. While the French do not feature longtime star and leader Tony Parker and therefore figure not to match their EuroBasket performance, a team with players like Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw, and Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi would figure to pose some difficulties for many opponents.
If one moment from a Sunday exhibition between France and the Philippines is any evidence, though, then there's a pretty simple way to defend Mahinmi — send him to the free-throw line. In the third quarter of the game in Antibes on the Mediterranean Sea, Mahinmi went to the charity stripe for two shots. Neither went very well.
The NBA and its associated retail partners sell a lot of merchandise, from the most coveted retro jerseys to those toasters that burn team logos into bread. While many of these items are sold at considerable markup, they rarely reach prices so high as to seem absurd. Plus, when players change teams, the team-specific apparel bearing their names is always put on sale.
It was a little bizarre, then, to discover that one store at Los Angeles International Airport is still selling Dwight Howard jerseys from his sole season with the Los Angeles Lakers at a premium price. According to sportswriter Jeff Pearlman, who wrote a book on the franchise's Showtime era published earlier this year, the jerseys are going for close to $100. Here's his tweet:
Dwight Howard Laker jersey selling for $100 at LAX. Probably $3 at Marshall's pic.twitter.com/RO23vnHKrs
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers from the Sterling family has been lauded throughout the basketball world, and not only because he's never been recorded making extremely racist comments to his girlfriend and subsequently painted himself as the victim in the whole ordeal. Donald Sterling has been deemed one of the worst owners in sports for decades for reasons apart from his personal views and habits. Ballmer has already promised a new era and committed himself to building an organization worth emulating. It's still early, but fans have reason to think they can be proud of this team.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
After several seasons as a journeyman in the United States and abroad, point guard Patrick Beverley seems to have created an NBA career for himself as a member of the Houston Rockets. With relentless intensity, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard has earned a reputation as one of the league's most tenacious perimeter defenders and a player who expends his energy all over the court. Beverley started 54 of his 55 games for Houston last season and looks likely to play a similar role in 2014-15, so he's probably not going anywhere for a while (which to general manager Daryl Morey usually means a couple months).
While Beverley can apporach the season with a solid sense of his future for the first time in his career, he's not resting on his accomplishments. Like most NBA players, he's training hard this summer to prepare for the season. Beverley just happens to be doing it in a pretty intense-looking Bane-like breathing mask. From his Instagram:
Without video, we don't know if Beverley is also talking like a bad impression of an underwater Sean Connery, but I'm just going to assume it's the case.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie6 days ago
Wednesday night's release of the 2014-15 NBA schedule brings basketball fans a brief moment of joy, even if none of the contests come as any real surprise. The games we have imagined now have firm dates, which gives us something concrete to look forward to. Marc Spears has already noted 10 of the most exciting games on the schedule, but the season obviously features many more dates of intrigue.
Read on below for 10 games of note. Some should be fun, some should be dramatic, some could end up as pretty terrible. What matters more than anything is that they now exist on an official list. The NBA is almost here.
Nov. 4: Charlotte Hornets at New Orleans Pelicans
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie7 days ago
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers officially transferred ownership from Donald and Shelly Sterling (against the former's wishes, of course) to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Under normal circumstances, the sale would have won headlines for the record $2 billion purchase price. Instead, the focus is mostly on the fact that Sterling, finally an NBA pariah after years of mismanagement and bad behavior, has been removed from ownership following the racist comments that surfaced this April. Months of court cases and vague agreements are now over — the Clippers, at long last, have a new owner.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie7 days ago
After a few offseasons of striking out on big-name free agents, the Dallas Mavericks approached the 2014 summer with an arguably more conservative plan of adding (still very good) players who would not require such involved courtship. The results have been pretty terrific. The Mavericks have obtained center Tyson Chandler (a member of their 2011 title-winning squad) via trade to bolster the defense, signed ex-Houston Rockets wing Chandler Parsons to do a little bit (and often a lot) of everything, and grabbed veteran point guards Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton to make up for the loss of Jose Calderon. The Mavs have a clear identity as a seasoned, intelligent group of passers and shooters, and this summer has only enhanced those strengths while also bringing back a needed defensive linchpin.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie8 days ago
As soon as news broke Thursday that the Cleveland Cavaliers had reached an agreement to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love, the NBA world let its collective imagination wander. The Cavs turned an already terrific summer into something even greater, having morphed from a lottery team into a title favorite within a few weeks due to good lottery fortune and the return of LeBron James. With Love, James, and Kyrie Irving in the starting lineup, Cleveland can now begin to turn this dream scenario into a winning reality.