Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Missed connections: Deron Williams and Nicolas Batum

eurotrip, flight, plane
As the NBA slowly rolls into gear, I can't help but wonder what might have been for 30HomeGames. All things considered I would rather have a shortened season, with the NBA retaining as much goodwill and momentum possible rather than selfishly holding out to see a few NBA stars in Bizzaro-world rosters in Europe.

I've been spoilt as it is. I had an unforgettable month in Lithuania for EuroBasket, got to see reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, witnessed an ascendent France and the full might of Spain. Not too shabby.

The only real missed opportunity was not seeing Deron Williams play in front of roaring European fans. To be fair, I only had a 1.5 month window (15 games) which was happily spent nerding out in England and enjoying hoops in the Baltics.

For NBA fans, the spotlight shone in Lithuania and Brazil beginning September for EuroBasket and the FIBA Americas Championship and dispersed to places as far as China and Russia where players signed onto faraway teams fearing a protracted lockout. On Christmas day, NBA fans will return their attention stateside as the Assosciation returns to business as usual and fans who were privileged to enjoy the short window of NBA talent competing on their international courts can reflect on how unique a treat it really was.
Turkey’s Besiktas Retires Deron Williams’ Jersey
With the NBA lockout seemingly in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for all those NBA players that left to play ball overseas to return to their respective NBA cities. Well, all except for JR Smith, Wilson Chandler Kenyon Martin and Aaron Brooks, apparently. One guy who will be making his way back home with more than just some extra cash is New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams. The All-Star guard will also be bringing his now retired Turkish jersey. Yes, that’s right. All it took were 15 games for Williams to have his jersey retired...
Here are a collection of farewell tweets from NBA stars homeward bound from their Hoops-EuroTrips
@Nicolas88Batum (Nov 27)
Was maybe my last game in the french league with Nancy. Want to thx everybody (teamates,staff,coaches) I spend 2 great months with them!

@DeronWilliams (Nov 28)
My last game for Besiktas was last Friday... I will be at the game tomorrow but just to watch and support the guys! It was a fun 3 months

@TyLawson3 (Nov 29)
I would like to thank the zalgiris organization and fans for allowing me the opportunity to play for them. I enjoyed the experience.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The NBA is returning just in time for Christmas, Who wins and who loses?

VIDEO: Tentative NBA labor deal reached

ESPN recently compiled a list of Winners and Losers now that the players and management have come to a tentative agreement.

Truth be told, I feel like I would have to include myself in the losers column. Being in Germany, I had been making plans to see the rematch between Besiktas Istanbul and Göttingen, December 13.
Monumental for two reasons:
1) NBA Superstar Deron Williams had just exploded for 50 points against this team
2) New recruit, Championship Laker and reality TV star Lamar Odom would have been on show

Not to mention any number of stars I was looking forward to seeing in France (Batum in Nancy) and elsewhere. With this developing news in America, my enthusiasm for basketball in Europe has deflated considerably.

With that said, In my mind the return of the NBA makes winners of everyone. Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

NBA fans: Phife Dawg of the Tribe loves this game

"If I was an MC I would totally pander to the crowd by rocking the basketball hometown hero jersey. Its funny I was just saying the other day how cool a ZombieSonics Durant shirt would be to rock"

phife dawg, tribe, kevin durant, seattle
Phife rocking a Seattle Supersonics, Kevin Durant #35
phife dawg, tribe, lakers
Phife rocking a Los Angeles Lakers tee
phife dawg, tribe, cavs, one goal
Phife rocking a Cleveland Cavaliers "One Goal" tee
I had the pleasure of being at the UK premiere of Michael Rapaport's Tribe Called Quest documentary. Phife Dawg of the Tribe treated the audience at KOKO (Camden, London) with a set after the screening.

VIDEO: 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest' Trailer

Phife a native New Yorker, who has lived in Atlanta and California shows his love for the game of basketball by rocking some dope NBA merch. By my count, I noticed Phife repping the Lakers, Cavs, [Zombie]Sonics and Warriors. In one amusing scene, Q-Tip conducts a mock interview asking Phife to clarify why he is decked head to toe in Lakers paraphernalia when he hails from New York, the conversation ends with Phife welcoming Amare Stoudemire to NY but pleading he play better defence.

This should come as no surprise. On the official ATCQ website, Phife's profile page declares:
A Tribe Called Quest - Phife Dawg
Throughout Phife’s life, sports have played a major role in this mc’s career. Phife is the one person who truly bridges the gap between sports and music. He was the first to wear throwback jerseys of his favorite teams and players in the early nineties, a trend that would catch on 11 years later. Phife not only rapped about sports, he lived it. He is a walking stat book on all levels of football, basketball, and baseball. He penned hits for the likes of Shaquille O’Neal on several of his platinum releases. He was a contributor to both Rap Pages and Slam magazine dealing with sports and music. He has served as music consultant for the Golden State Warriors...

He IS the biggest damn sports fan in hip hop PERIOD. As he tells it, it is an incurable sickness that will follow him to his grave. He loves sports more than music, and he does music for a living. That should tell you something. Phife would be an ideal host or performer for any event because of his history with music and sports, and his incredible handle on both...
- Go to the official 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest' website
- Official Phife Dawg profile page

Update: Greeting from Germany! Found this Dope Tribe-inspired Tee by German brand K1X
tribe, k1x, scenario, hoops
K1X "What's the Scenario !?" tee

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Patty Mills teams with internationals Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez and streetwear label UNDRCRWN

@30HomeGames: Its like a mashup of everything awesome. An Australian bball player for a great cause, two of my favorite international players and one of my favorite Streetwear brands!

patty mills, australia assists, trailblazers, undrcrwn, charity stripe
Patty Mills rocking UNDRCRWN designed tee for Flood Relief 
patty mills, australia assists, trailblazers, undrcrwn, charity stripe
patty mills, australia assists, trailblazers, undrcrwn, charity stripe
The international stars of the TrailBlazer's helped out fellow teammate Patty Mills by donating their time for 'Australia Assists' - a relief fund created to help victims of the floods that ravaged Northern Australia earlier in the year.

French star Nicolas Batum and former teamate (traded to Dallas) Rudy Fernandez of Spain donated their time for the cause. Streetwear label UNDRCRWN in partnership with 'WearMyShirt ' designed a bangin' t-shirt to raise funds in aid of the relief effort.
Patty Mills teams up with Wears My Shirt and UNDRCRWN for Flood Appeal
Patrick 'Patty' Mills, Wears My Shirt, and UNDRCRWN have teamed up to raise $50,000 for Australian flood relief efforts.

During December 2010 and early 2011, significant flooding and a damaging cyclone occurred in Queensland, Australia. Months of flooding killed as many as 32 people, affected about tens of thousands of properties, shut coal mines, cut rail lines and damaged crops. Economists estimate it may cost A$20 billion in repairs.
- Follow @Patty_Mills on twitter
- Go to the UNDRCRWN blog
- Read more about the 'Wear my Shirt' initiative

Monday, November 21, 2011

Basketball without Borders: North Carolina VS Michigan on aircraft carrier

30HomeGames: My target is to attend 30 Home Games, one for each NBA team. I'm tempted make it 31 venues after this story - watching a live basketball game on an Aircraft Carrier! Truly a unique spectacle only a few lucky people will ever witness.

Basketball certainly has no borders, as a fan and a player the love of the game has allowed me to access people from all over the world. Basketball without borders took on a completely different meaning recently when an exhibition game was played on a floating city. The North Carolina Tar Heels began the season with style against the Michigan Spartans, launching their season on the flight deck of the Carrier Carl Vinson.
North Carolina cruises to Carrier Classic win
NAVAL BASE CORONADO, Calif. — The massive aircraft carrier Carl Vinson can carry more than 80 combat aircraft and a crew of about 5,000 and, by any measure, is one of the most intimidating and powerful components of U.S. military might.

The North Carolina Tar Heels, who opened their season Friday on a temporary court on the flight deck of Vinson for the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, look like they might be pretty intimidating and powerful, too.

- Visit the U.S. Pacific Fleet's Flickr page

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lebron James in London (November 2011)

lebron james, basketball, london
In a previous post I was lamenting how I was missing out on Dwyane Wade's cameo in my hometown of Sydney. Unbeknownst to me Wade's "villainous" partner in Miami was recently in my neck of the woods. Lebron James flew to London for a quick promo tour promoting the new NikeStore in Stratford Westfields.
Popping into the Nike store at London's newest shopping Mecca @westfieldstrat tomorrow 11.30 am sharp, will you be there?.
Lebron made further appearances at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre where he hooped it up in front of hundred of young fans.

VIDEO: LeBron James Q & A with London School of Basketball

Find relevant British Basketball links here:
- Go to the 'London School of Basketball' Facebook page
- Go to HoopsFix.com (England Basketball and British Basketball League)

Update: Jan 2012
VIDEO: LeBron visits London

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London via Couchsurfing

socialympics, basketball, hendon leisure
Crashing the boards
socialympics, basketball, hendon leisure
Easy two coming up
socialympics, basketball, hendon leisure
Ball watching
Part of the reason I've been seeking basketball around Europe, apart from my love of the game, is that its a great way to meet people. Its a particularly useful way to access cultures when there is a language barrier. Being a largely American sport, there is a good chance you can at least connect on English or perhaps American Culture.

My knowledge of the game has allowed me to relate to countries through their famous NBA exports. Depending on its popularity, basketball players can be a nation's most prominent international ambassador. Dirk Nowitzki of Germany and Arvydas Sabonis of Lithuania come to mind. In fact my time in EuroBasket 2011 was largely built on understanding cultures through the mutual love of Basketball.

'Socialympics' in London is a great initiative designed to unite people from other nations through the magic of sport. It caters for people of various English levels but also welcomes locals and fun-loving people from all walks of life.

I was fortunate enough to attend my first organised game of hoops in Europe through Socialympics. I've made great friends and am looking forward to making it a routine. On this night I shared the court with people from Germany, Hungary, Spain, The Czech Republic, Japan and England.

I actually first became aware of the initiative through CouchSurfing, making it the second time CS has helped me access basketball. The first was being spotted by a CSer in the crowd of a Tartu [Estonia] Basketball game which led to being hosted and more nerding out to hoops. She was a big basketball fan and shared tales of befriending some of the City's basketball imports.

Thank You Socialympics, Thank you CouchSurfing and special thanks to the game of Basketball.

My host and some kids repping 'Socialympics'
If you're interested in getting involved you can find the Socialympics Facebook page here. They also host other sports like Volleyball and Dodgeball just to name a few. If you're interested in Basketball, there is a weekly event every Sunday in Hendon Leisure Center (near Tesco), Brent Cross
Social Sunday Sports
Get socialised and play Basketball!
Sunday 20th November, Socialympics are hosting a Basketball game. We are starting at 6pm at Hendon Leisure Centre.

This is about getting socialised so even if you have never played basketball before, no problem!!
Let's Have Fun!;)
Find other Basketball experiences facilitated by Couchsurfing:
- Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London via Couchsurfing
- Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing
- Baloncesto: I love this game - Basketball in Europe (PtI: España)
Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Video: Dwyane Wade at Tweet and Greet in Sydney

From all accounts, Dwyane Wade's Tweet and Greet was a roaring success with hundreds in attendance. According to tweets from the man himself

I wanna thank the 500 plus ppl that showed up for my tweet greet 2day. Sorry I couldn't get to every1. I really tried. Next time
Below are accounts from friends on the ground:

Dwyane Wade signature on Jordan FLY WADE
My buddy JP getting Wade's sig on his Wade sigs
"Yeah the line was crazy, he only got through the first 5 meters of it. He tried signing as much as he can but it just got chaotic! I had to throw some elbows to get this baby signed lol"
My buddy GD with video of the action
VIDEO: Dwyane Wade at Cook + Phillip, Sydney (November 9, 2011)

Monday, November 7, 2011

NBA star Dwyane Wade and girlfriend Gabrielle Union in Sydney

dwyane wade, hugo, manly, gabrielle union
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union in Sydney
Whilst I'm out here in Europe on the hunt for basketball, NBA superstars are touching down at home in Sydney. Dwyane Wade with actress girlfriend Gabrielle Union has been spotted in Manly ahead of promotional duties for Gatorade. The former Finals MVP was replacing Michael Jordan ahead of a launch for the Sports Drink company. Continuing the theme of following in the GOAT's footsteps, Wade is rocking Jordan Brand from head to toe.

- Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade makes an impact during Sydney arrival
- Gallery of Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union in Sydney

Update: Heads up kids! D-Wade will be at Cook + Phillip in Sydney's CBD. 11:30am, Wednesday November 9.
@Dwyane Wade
2morrow is my last day in Sydney and I'm gonna end it with my very own personal "tweet greet" becuz I love my fans and supporters everywhere