December 29, 2012
During the prime of his career in 2010, Brandon Roy’s bad knee forced him to retire. Many believed during that time that next to Kobe Bryant, Roy was the best shooting guard in the NBA. This year Roy returned to the NBA and signed a 2 year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately, his knee problems flared up again, limiting him to only 5 games this year. Last month Brandon underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to help ease the pain, but little to no progress has been made. NBA sources say that Roy has exhausted all options and is mulling retirement for a 2nd time.
You hate to see a player of his caliber forced to leave the game he loves, due to inopportune circumstances. Roy is now placed in the “what if” category (a la Grant Hill) of players that have tremendous talent but were unable to fulfill their potential due to devastating and/or nagging injuries.
In 2008, Roy enjoyed his best season as a pro. He averaged 22 points, 5 assists pg, and carried the Trail Blazers to 54 wins and a playoff birth. Above is a clip of Roy erupting for a 52 point explosion against the Phoenix Suns. Roy scored from all over the court, and relentlessly attacked the basket looking to create for himself and his teammates.
Hopefully the 3 time all star, can find a way to get back on the court. The Timberwolves have been forced to start rookie Alexey Shved in Roy’s absence. While Shved has shown flashes of potential, Minnesota could use a veteran presence in the midst of their current slump. The Timberwolves have lost 4 of their last 5 and slipped to a .500 record.
December 28, 2012
Yesterday the Brooklyn Nets let go off head coach Avery Johnson after the team struggled in December. What’s so perplexing to me is that Johnson was making the most of a flawed team, and was Coach of the Month last month! The Nets started the year on fire, winning 11 of their first 15 games. The following month was a tough one for Brooklyn, they sunk to a .500 record, while PG Deron Williams and Johnson clashed. Unfortunately, Johnson was a victim to a billionaire owner seeking immediate success. The Brooklyn Nets simply don’t have enough to win a title this year, no matter who is the head coach. The Nets have some pieces in place, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson (though he has lost a step), and Brook Lopez are a nice foundation to build a title contender. However, this team lacks depth as well as playmakers. During the Nets 3-10 December skid, the offense look stagnant as everyone watched Joe Johnson play one on one. Some of this blame should go to the Nets All Star PG (not Avery), whose production has decreased from last year.
Now that Johnson is gone, what’s next for Brooklyn? Several NBA sources have said the Nets are now pursuing Phil Jackson to coach the team. My advice… quit dreaming and wake up! Jackson, 12 time NBA Champion (1 as a player) will be in the mix for every available head coaching position. Despite billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s deep pockets, a fat contract won’t persuade Jackson to come out of retirement. The Nets don’t have enough talent to entice the Zen master to return to New York (he won a championship there during his playing days).
Here are some realistic candidates that would be a good fit for the Nets
One of the Van Gundy Brothers: Both Steve Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy are veteran coaches with experience with stars like Deron Williams. Steve turned a raw Dwight Howard into a top 5 player, and helped the lead the Magic to the Finals in 09′. He has won 371 games, and 4 division titles (1 with the Miami Heat). His brother Jeff coached the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets for 11 years. His teams have missed out on the playoffs only once, and like his brother Stan he has made the Finals once back in 1999 with the Knicks.
Patrick Ewing: This former Knicks legendary center is a Hall of Famer and is ranked as one of the top 50 NBA players of all time. His experience on the court has helped him become an excellent assistant coach. He was on Stan Van Gundy’s staff for the Orlando Magic and helped Dwight Howard develop a post game. Under Ewing’s guidance, Howard thrived particularly on defense and earned 3 straight Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Brian Shaw: Shaw spent 15 years in the NBA playing for several teams. After his playing career, he coached the Los Angeles Lakers under Phil Jackson’s and Mike Brown’s tenure. He is highly respected around the league, and is considered a great leader from players like Kobe Bryant. Much like Ewing, Shaw is patiently waiting for a head coaching opportunity and is capable of success if hired in an environment like Brooklyn.
December 23, 2012
“That was perhaps the greatest streak shooting I have ever seen in my life,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has coached nine NBA championship teams – six in Chicago and three with the Lakers.
“They weren’t hitting anything, they were just going straight in – nothing but net,” Shaw said.
“I don’t think most guys can do that in a gym by themselves, let alone a game where you’re being defended.” Sonics coach Nate McMillan said.
Coming into this contest against the Seattle SuperSonics, Kobe Bryant was shooting 3’s at a 28% clip. Then he accomplished something that’s only happened twice in NBA history, he shot 18 3 pointers, made 12 including an unconscious 9 STRAIGHT (also an NBA record)! Bryant dropped 45 in the Lakers’ 119-98 win over Seattle, and it looked so effortless. His 1st 3 pointer didn’t come until less than 6 minutes left in the 2 quarter. He then drained 5 more before halftime, and his rhythm continued in the 2nd half. The more he hit, the more his confidence swelled.
“It’s hard to describe,” Bryant said of the feeling he had once he got hot. “You just feel so confident. You get your feet set and get a good look at the basket – it’s going in.
“Even the ones I missed I thought were going in.”
This amazing feat is a testament to Kobe’s scoring ability. He has never been known as a great perimeter shooter, so for him hit 12 NBA 3 pointers in only 37 minutes is nothing short of amazing.
December 22, 2012
Top to bottom the Clippers are the most athletic team in the NBA. This squad is built to run the floor, and to score and defend in transition which makes them a matchup nightmare. LA’s “other” team is riding a 12 game winning streak and is sitting atop the Pacific Division. Their early season success is in large part due to their depth, the bench averages over 35 ppg. When the starters are resting, dynamic playmakers like Eric Bledsoe have maintained and often times extended Clippers’ leads.
In the clip above, Eric Bledsoe shows off his elite athleticism with a “LeBronesque” chase down block in transition that lead to a Ronny Turiaf dunk. The 3 year pro from Kentucky is flourishing in his role off the bench. Despite taking a back seat to John Wall/DeMarcus Cousins in college, and Chris Paul/Blake Griffin in the pros, Bledsoe is a solid player. He brings energy, effort, and toughness to go along with being a hell of a athlete. He is taking advantage of increased playing time this season and is averaging career highs in just about every category.
What’s so scary about this Clippers team is that they are just scratching the surface of their full potential…
The clip above shows Melo in torching the Brooklyn Nets for 45, in a impressive offensive display (The Nets might want to send more double teams at Carmelo in the future).
December 20, 2012
At the start of 2012 NBA season, all of the attention was on defending champion Miami Heat and the retooled Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks’ spent their offseason acquiring NBA senior citizens like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace which didn’t spark fear into any anyone. Coupled with the injuries to Amare Stoudimire, the Knicks looked destined for another 1st round playoff exit and considered an afterthought. 25 games into the season, the New York Knicks have been one of the best teams in basketball. Lead by Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have an near perfect 11-1 record in the Garden, and the best record in the East.
Unlike previous New York teams, this squad is perfectly suited for Melo’s game. He is playing the power forward position (where he is most effective) is surrounded by shooters, and anchored defensively by Tyson Chandler. The Knicks are playing great basketball and Carmelo Anthony is having one of his best seasons ever. He is 2nd in the league in scoring (28 ppg) and shooting a ridiculous 46% from 3. He has been more consistent on the defensive end and has been a model of consistency on and off the court. If Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks keep up this pace, Anthony will capture his 1st MVP… and maybe his 1st title.
How media transformed Michael Jordan into a Living Legend
December 19, 2012
By the time Michael Jeffery Jordan retired from basketball for the 3rd and final time after the 2003 season, he was recognized as much more than a phenomenal basketball player. Jordan was the face of the National Basketball Association, which at the time was at the height of its popularity. In the 90’s the NBA raked in billions of dollars due to superstars like Michael Jordan becoming global commodities. During this era in professional basketball, MJ became synonymous with the NBA. From his Air Jordan brand sneakers, to his endorsement deals, to his 7 figure basketball salary, Jordan had the world at his fingertips. He was the generation’s best player and played for an extremely successful franchise, the Chicago Bulls, which helped fuel his brand. These elements lead to Michael Jordan’s rise to astronomical heights, and thus he became “the greatest basketball player who ever lived.” In reality, Michael Jordan was a great basketball player, but mass media marketing made MJ a “god amongst men.” Throughout NBA history there have been players who were just as good, if not better than Jordan. Through mass advertisement, Nike, the NBA, and other media conglomerates lead to the cultivation of Michael Jordan and his brand. Mass Communication Theory describes cultivation theory as the use of media outlets, like television, to cultivate or create a worldview that, although possibly inaccurate, becomes the reality because people believe it to be so.
“Jordan’s presence as corporate logo and cultural signifier made him more than a postmodern
Icarus… Jordan read NBA read Nike (and all the other endorsements) epitomized a larger world presence which entranced the young in many cultures, validated Western materialism and consumer instincts at the expense of other moral codes and social values…” (Andrews 443).
From Chicago, Illinois to Tokyo, Japan kids everywhere wanted to “Be like Mike.” Jordan was an immortal sports figure and was invincible “there was nothing he could not do.” In 1996, he starred in the cartoon movie “Space Jam.” The Looney Tunes need “Air Jordan’s” assistance to win their freedom against the evil aliens. The movie embodied the media portrayal of MJ’s “superhuman abilities.” The face of the NBA combined with the one of the most popular children’s cartoon brand ever to make huge box office splash. Worldwide, this movie has grossed more than $230,000,000. Because MJ meshed well with Wall Street, and was accepted amongst religious politics he developed a mass appeal. Jordan was ranked in a several polls with “God” as the most admired global being/deity.
Michael Jordan symbolizes the 1990s spectacle both on the basketball court and in advertisements and media exposure. His athletic achievements were commercialized and his sports image was personified through corporate products which led to Jordan becoming one of the highest paid and most fruitful generators of social meaning in the history of media culture. “…Symbols transform the socialization process, freezing it from the bonds of both space and time” (Baran and Davis 318). Through symbols we can be transported anywhere in the globe, which explains Jordan’s ascension of global popularity.
Michael Jordan’s fame transcended his ethnicity, and he was immune to the negative stereotypes that plague blacks in America. Jordan is a unique Black attraction and his ethnicity is a prominent feature of his image. “Black media personalities like Michael Jordan… focus, organize, and translate blackness into commodifiable representations and desires that can be packaged and marketed across the landscape of American popular culture… we are witnessing the ‘African Americanization’ of global popular culture…” (Denzin 320). MJ is a reflection of national/capitalist values of hard work, dedication, competiveness, ambition, and success. As an African American superstar, he defied the odds and he served as a model of excelling through competition and status in our society despite the limitations of racism and classism.
Jordan is a figure whom people from all demographics fantasize about (athletic greatness, wealth, success, etc), he provides a symbol that represents desirable national as well as global aspirations. He is a privileged role model for Black youth, and is the symbol of an African American who has transcended race and has assimilated and thrived in American society. He achieved the “American Dream” of assimilation, wealth, and success. “Jordan seems to embody… American values and serve as a role model for American youth and as the White fantasy of the good African American… Michael Jordan transcends race, he seems to produce unusually positive representations of African Americans, thus, undercutting racist stereotypes and denigration” (Kellner, 464).
Professional sports were segregated as recently as the 1940’s. Minorities were forced to participate in “colored leagues,” which were essentially minor leagues due to lack of adequate funding and resources. Once blacks integrated and assimilated in professional sports they began to dominate. Sports became an opportunity to minorities to get out of poverty and live the “American Dream.” American fascination with sports eventually promoted racial equality, acceptance of difference, and cultural diversity. Once black athletes were incorporated into professional sports, they entered mainstream media culture as icons of the spectacle, as role models for youth, and by default promoters of racial equality. Michael Jordan’s global fame was like destiny in the era of the communication satellite. Since America was the hub of wired world, and given basketball’s easy comprehensibility, it was only a matter of time before an iconic figure emerged as the poster child for Nike, the NBA, and even America.
In 1984, Michael Jordan’s sports agent, David Falk, helped him land an unprecedented endorsement deal with Nike. The most important aspect of the deal was promotion. Falk negotiated that Nike must spend at least 1 million dollars in promotion in the first year of his deal (which was unheard of in the 1980’s). Through the strategic promotion and marketing of Michael Jordan, Nike created a superhero.
“Our commercials are several things—they’re color, they’re music, and they’re athletic, and
frankly, what people learn and know is that we are an American company. We’re selling products that are authentic athletic, and Michael Jordan is one image that represents that. He is probably the best recognized, best-known American athlete throughout the world. – Richard J. Donahue, Nike president (1993)
Michael Jordan became the America’s cash cow due to Nike’s manipulation of the economy, culture, media, and technology by “fashioning a commercially viable language of appearances and images.” This tremendously successful media marketing campaign resulted in a global demand for the Air Jordan brand, Nike, and the NBA. MJ’s unique images are highlighted in Nike’s promotion of his brand, for example a Nike ad starring Spike Lee that insists that “It’s the shoes” (which make Jordan the greatest).
In 1996, Jordan received sharp criticism from the media for his affiliation with Nike, and the company’s exploitation of Third World workers at ridiculously low wages.
“Nike engages in super exploitation of both its Third World workers and global consumers. Its
products are no more intrinsically valuable than other shoes, but have a certain distinctive sign value that gives them prestige value, that provides its wearers with a mark of social status, and so it can charge $130 to $140 per pair of shoes, thus earning tremendous profit margins. Nike provides a spectacle of social differentiation that establishes its wearer as cool, as with it, as part of the Nike/superstar spectacle nexus: ‘Be Like Mike, buy the shoes he sells!’…” (Kellner 463).
Though Michael Jordan embodies good and wholesome values, he is still tied to the manipulative corporate sponsors he represents. His brand is tied to Nike’s so much so that if Nike’s reputation suffers, so will Jordan’s and vice versa. This bond was formed because of Jordan’s endorsements from the company very early in his career. His Air Jordan product line helped turn the company around when it was struggling, and turned Nike into an American corporate icon. Once Nike was established in America, it became popular around the world elevating its global popularity. “Thus, whereas Jordan was no doubt embarrassed by all the bad publicity that Nike received in 1996, his involvement with the corporation was obviously too deep to ‘just say no’ and sever himself from this symbol of a greedy and exploitative corporation” (Kellner 463).
“When the real world changes into simple images, simple images become real beings and effective motivations of a hypnotic behavior… Experience and everyday life is thus mediated by the spectacles of media culture that dramatizes our conflicts, celebrates our values, and projects our deepest hopes and fears…” (Kellner 458) The “spectacle” is this case refers to sporting events, and they are used to pacify and disable political agendas. It is referred to as a “permanent opium war that stupefies social subjects and distracts them from the most urgent task of real life…” (Kellner 458). The spectacle is received by spectators, who are consumers of a social system based on compliance and conformity. Spectacles are controlled by the elites in society and are used to control all aspects of leisure, desire, and everyday life. Spectator sports in an postindustrial era requires consumption and misuse of spectacles to reproduce a consumer society. Postindustrial sports turn sporting events into a media spectacle. Professional achievements and commercialization becomes intertwined and result in the commodification of all aspects of life in a media/consumer society.
“Throughout the world, but especially in the United States, the capital of the commodity
spectacle, superstars like Michael Jordan commodity themselves from head to foot, selling their various body parts and images to the highest corporate bidders, imploding their sports images into the spectacles of advertising. In this fashion, the top athletes augment their salaries, sometimes spectacularly, by endorsing products, thus imploding sports, commerce, and advertising into dazzling spectacles which celebrate the products and values of corporate America” (Kellner 460).
The NBA, with Michael Jordan’s brand at the forefront, transformed Jordan’s African American identity into a “nonthreatening Reaganesque masculinity” for male youth across the world. Jordan became a commodity in a global, mass-mediated culture because his is “the racially neutral, NBA superstar; everybody’s All-American; White America’s solution to the race problem” (Denzin 321).
In 1993, a study was conducted among New Zealand youth looking to find out who they recognized as sports heroes. Despite being thousands of miles away from Chicago, Illinois, the New Zealand youth overwhelming chose Michael Jordan as their sports hero. In a country in which basketball is an afterthought, while rugby and cricket are the most popular sports, how could this happen? It all started with the rise of satellite television. Despite not having access to view full games of MJ, New Zealand was exposed to all of his highlights, as well as countless conglomerate corporation ads starring Jordan.
In many card collection stores in across the country like “Card Crazy”, Michael Jordan paraphilia is like gold. MJ remains the top selling card while New Zealand’s new international rugby star, Jonah Lomu (who is referred to as the Michael Jordan of rugby) ranks a distance 2nd in popularity.
After World War II New Zealand’s politics shifted towards American capitalist ideals, like regulation and privatization. While looking for a searching for a national identity, society began to embrace American culture and commodities. There was a “simultaneous multitextual circulation of Jordan’s identity on commercial satellite television and the corroborative presence of Nike’s Air Jordan shoes and apparel, related Nike promotions, and other NBA paraphernalia, in numerous commercial spaces…” (Andrews 436). Their society was captivated by the NBA (and Michael Jordan) because it represented the inciting American values of glamour, wealth, and explicit commercialism. Michael Jordan, along with the NBA energized popular and local culture in New Zealand. That in turn, enabled the profitability of local sports like the rugby union and rugby league to become a professional sport and make it a global commodity which thrust this country into the world of postmodern industrial sports.
During the 1990s the globalization of Nike along with the NBA, led to Michael Jordan becoming a sports hero to the youth in Poland. In today’s global broadcast via satellite, Poland was fed footage of Jordan’s athletic ability through sports highlights. His dominance on the court was appealing to Polish youth. MJ represented the ideal standard in a society that was oppressed by communism. Poland viewed the United States as “a bastion of freedom, justice, economic success, personal achievement, and happiness… the reception of Michael Jordan in Poland must be seen in the context of the centuries-long Polish fascination with America and its culture” (Andrews 441). The American Revolution was happening during a time when Poland lost its freedom to totalitarian government, so America was always looked at as an ideal society filled with liberty and justice. Thousands of Polish flocked to the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries as a result. “In Poland, the adjective ‘amerykanski’ (America) came to mean “the best,” of superior quality.” Even today the proverbial ‘wujek z Ameryki’ (an uncle from America), stands for the enormous opportunities for achieving personal success that America represents to Polish people” (Andrews 441). Through commercialization, America became even more seductive and powerful which was so different from the harsh realities they faced in Eastern Europe.
After the overthrow of a communist rule that lasted almost a half a century, the Polish sought political and economic initiatives from capitalist governments and free market economy in Western Europe and North America. From 1989 to 1995, there was a massive birth and development in Polish consumer culture that craved items advertised by global popular culture. “The possession of material goods, which serve as important status indicators has been, perhaps, the most conspicuous social change within postcommunist Poland…” (Andrews 442). The demise of communism in Poland happened during the NBA’s and Nike’s strategic efforts to increase their global presence. Regular television broadcasts, increases in news coverage, magazine circulation, and advertisements led to a demand of the NBA and Nike within Polish culture. Soon Poland had access to NBA games once a week, and they were littered with commercial breaks filled with NBA stars and their paraphernalia.
In addition to TV coverage, Poland had three national magazines devoted to basketball: Tygodnik Koszykarski Basket, Magic Basketball, and Koszykowka. The national, regional, and local newspapers also had sports sections that covered the NBA. In fact, when Michael Jordan returned to basketball in 1995, it was covered on national news stations and received the front page in most newspapers. “Reading the intertextually fabricated narrative of Michael Jordan, the Polish consumer is encouraged to view him as the lastest reincarnation of the hyperindividualistic ideology most closely associated with American culture… Jordan represents the apotheosis of such American values as freedom, independence, lack of restrictions, informality, optimism, wealth, and entrepreneurial skills” (Andrews 444). MJ has all the elements of the “Polish American Dream.”
The fascination with the NBA was manifested in youth fashion. Hats, t-shirts, shorts, and sneakers with a NBA team logo were all the rage in Poland. If you idolized a particular NBA star, you had some type of NBA paraphernalia. “’Jordanki,’ original and authentic Chicago Bulls caps, No. 23 t-shirts, and other basketball paraphernalia are purchased to be worn as status indicators; streetwise fashions that identify the owner as someone who knows what’s “in”…” (Andrews 445). Young people saw Jordan and other American global icons as inspiration for their own dreams and ambitions. They offered a break from their trials and tribulations, and brings them one step closer to the “idealized America of the Polish popular imaginary.”
“Polish youth, American popular sport culture, including NBA basketball and specifically
Michael Jordan, becomes a prominent reservoir of ideas and an important source of reference for expressing the limits/possibilities, pleasures/pains, and fascinations/fears that delineate postcommunist Poland” (Andrews 446).
In spite of Michael Jordan’s location, he still managed to make a significant across the world. The products he endorsed, his images, and services from American were packaged, commercialized, and adapted to fit multicultural ideals. Jordan’s globalization occurred through strategic advertising techniques and exposure to increase the worldwide demand. Jordan’s persona was molded through the media and corporate America and avoided the prejudice that many African Americans face in the United States. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson calls MJ “the symbolic carrier of racial and cultural desires to fly beyond limits and obstacles, a fluid metaphor of mobility and ascent to heights of excellence secured by genius and industry.” Through his excellence on the basketball court and commercialization by elite American corporations, Michael Jordan truly became a living legend.
Baran, Stanley and, Dennis Davis. Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future. Boston: Wadworth, 2012. Print.
Denzin, Norman K. “More Rare Air: Michael Jordan On Michael Jordan.” Sociology Of Sport Journal 13.4 (1996): 319-324. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
Kellner, Dougias. “Sports, Media Culture, And Race- Some Reflections On Michael Jordan.” Sociology Of Sport Journal 13.4 (1996): 458-467. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
Zbigniew Mazur, et al. “Jordanscapes: A Preliminary Analysis Of The Global Popular.”Sociology Of Sport Journal 13.4 (1996): 428-457. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
March 13, 2009
Many basketball fans dismiss this comparison claiming that Michael Jordan is the superior basketball with little to no evidence supporting their claim. One main argument is that Jordan has 6 championships compared to Kobe Bryant’s 3 which means Jordan must be the better player. If this is so Robert Horry is better than the both of them (he has 7 rings). From his rookie season until his 2nd retirement Jordan has consistently played around better talent than Kobe. People forget that Scottie Pippen played an essential role in those 6 championships and is among ESPN’s 50 Greatest Players of all time.
After analyzing both Kobe and Michael I have discovered there is no aspect in the game of basketball that Jordan is better than Kobe. On the offensive end of the floor there is no denying both players ability. Phil Jackson, who coached both players, has been quoted as saying “Kobe is a more skilled player than Jordan.” The fact that Jordan scored more points per game over his career has more to do with the fact that Jordan started his career off on a lottery team with little talent at his position and they needed more offensive production to begin is career. However, after witnessing Kobe hit 12 three pointers in a game (NBA record), outscore an ENTIRE TEAM in three quarters (62 vs. Dallas Mavericks), and scoring 81 points in a game in which his team was down double digits at halftime I believe Kobe is superior to Jordan on the offensive side of the ball.
One defense I believe that both players are equally matched. Both players were consistency members of the all NBA defensive team. Though Jordan won the defensive player of the year award, Kobe’s defensive prowess shouldn’t be ignored. While he has not won the award but his name always is mentioned during the voting process plus that fact that during his career he has played among defensive specialists (Ron Artest, Bruce Bowen, Ben Wallace, Kevin Garnett, etc.) who could dominate the defensive end of the floor in any NBA era.
In conclusion it is my firm belief that Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player of all time… for now… Though Kobe Bryant holds the position as the best in the game, he could in the near future be replaced by Lebron James. Lebron is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete with very good basketball skills. Because of his inconsistent perimeter shooting, average free-throw shooting %, and lack of mental toughness he CAN NOT be mentioned in the same category as Kobe and MJ because both players are superior in those categories. With consistent improvement in these areas of the game Lebron James can replace Kobe as the GOAT… maybe…