National Basketball Association
If Obama's Nobel peace prize does nothing else, it at least has briefly united Michael Steele and the Taliban. And, I have to confess, my initial reaction was the same as theirs, and pretty much everyone's outside the White House: What has Obama done to deserve this? But if you think about it for a second, desert is almost irrelevant here.
The Hill has a piece about the upcoming Senate race in Nevada. It seems Danny Tarkanian, son of coaching legend Jerry, is looking to unseat the Senate majority leader with the help of some of daddy's old players and other NBA notables the family has become chummy with over the years. Among the better-known hoopsters rumored to be considering a Tarkanian assist is the popular, irrepressible, and politically minded Charles Barkley.
Bill Simmons has the definitive piece on the 2009 NBA champs, and the team's enigmatic superstar, Kobe Bryant. Simmons is the most entertaining and insightful NBA analyst around, but lately his stuff has been unconvincing or contradictory. Still, this latest opus is a masterful summation of the Lakers' season.
It's been a tough couple of days for Derrick Rose, the NBA rookie of the year who, it's now being alleged, cheated on his SAT's and had his grades changed when he was a student at Simeon High School in Chicago. Say what you will about Rose, but isn't all of this yet another argument for doing away with the NBA's "one and done" rule? Put aside the standard fairness to the player argument--i.e.
The NBA playoffs may be under way, but the biggest basketball story of the moment--and quite possibly the year-- is the news that Jeremy Tyler, a 6'11" 17 year old from San Diego, will bypass his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe. After two years in Europe, if everything goes according to plan, Tyler will then return to the U.S. and enter the NBA draft. (According one general manager who spoke to Dan Wetzel, Tyler is good enough to play in the NBA right now.) I first heard about Tyler last year, when I was writing this piece on Sonny Vaccaro.
John Wall, a 6'4" point guard from Raleigh, North Carolina, is probably the best high school basketball player in America.
On the basketball courts of New York City, there may be no truer measure of a player's stature than his nickname. If a player is considered good, then his moniker will be something straightforward: "Pee Wee" if he is short; "Lefty" if he shoots with that hand. But if a player is viewed as great, then his talent can actually inspire poetry. He will be called "Half-Man Half-Amazing" for his superhuman dunks or "Skip to My Lou" for the way he hopscotches down the court as he dribbles past hapless opponents.
With the political season kicking into high gear, it seemed like the right time for another chat with Sir Charles Barkley. Over the past year, he has been a vocal and active Barack Obama supporter, so we decided to talk to him about that, as well as the Democratic convention, his own future in politics, and his distressingly Luddite tendencies. Have you been hanging out with Barack at all? Not lately. He’s busy. I talk to him, though. And obviously I wanted to be in Denver [for the DNC].
Hoops fans are currently fixated on the upcoming NBA Draft. But the biggest piece of basketball news this week may well be contained in this NYT column from William Rhoden. Rhoden writes about Brandon Jennings, an extremely talented 18-year-old point guard who, in compliance with the NBA's "one-and-done" rule, was slated to attend the University of Arizona next fall but is now toying with the idea of playing professionally in Europe instead: “I think people just develop better over there,” he said.