Wednesday, December 28, 2011

'A Memento Year' looks back at Basketball and Lithuania

To close out a memorable year in Europe, I had the great fortune of presenting an exhibition in Hamburg, Germany paying tribute to the people and moments that have shaped the trip.

Below are snapshots of the Lithuania/Basketball segment of the exhibition - 'A Memento Year'.

My tribute wall for the month spent in Lithuania for EuroBasket
My FIBA singlet and various tickets for sporting and cultural events
Posts on Basketball around Lithuania and Europe
Europe 2K11
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II
- Trash Talk: News and notes on Lithuania and EuroBasket2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

30HG: Teams to watch for the 2012 NBA season

1) Memphis Grizzlies - My Fantasy Team mascot for the last 3 years. Noone's sleeping on them this time.
2) Chicago Bulls - Joakim Noah. Nuff said.
3) Dallas Mavericks - Champions and now even bigger underdogs. Take it away Dirk...
4) Indiana Pacers - Are they still a sleeper team?
5) Minnesota Timberwolves - Rubio: Was on the bandwagon with everyone. Jumped off it with everyone and I'm back on it with I think everyone.

Marc Gasol 2012
Chicago Bulls 2012
Defending Champs Dallas Mavericks 2012
Indiana Pacers 2012
Minnesota Timberwolves 2012
... Oh Yeah! and my favorite player's team - The Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry 2012

NBA off the court - 2011 Christmas Day tip off

Some more Christmas presents
1) D-Rose' sweater: Cool or Corny?
2) Kobe's bag: Black Mamba snake skin?
3) Yeezy
4) Weezy
5) The Ron Artest of Comedy
6) Directors

Via NikeTalk

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Basketball Never Stops" - NBA, Welcome back!

Had no luck finding anyone playing Live NBA on Christmas Day in Hamburg. Bummer!
In honor of the Christmas tipoff for the shortened NBA season, I present to you some of my favorite "Basketball Never stops" photos.

Via NikeTalk

1) Durant really is committed to the "Backpacker look"
2) Black Mamba in the Phils
3) A Steve Francis sighting - There's the love!
4) Leaders of the new
5) Curry next to B Diddy. Pimp! My old fave next to my new.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NBA Christmas list

Sleeper team likely to impress:
Indiana Pacers

Non-sleeper team likely to impress:
Memphis Grizzlies

Overrated acquisition:
Chris Paul (Injury, Thankfully the Clips backcourt is loaded)

Underrated acquisition:
Mike Bibby

Overrated Player:
Carmelo Anthony

Underrated player:
Marc Gasol, Luis Scola,

My mistake:
That Ricky Rubio becomes a decent NBA player

Crazy prediction:
Mark Jackson to contend for the COY in his coaching debut

Merchandise wish list:
NBA Exclusive Collection Minnesota Timberwolves Logo T-Shirt

timberwolves, shirt, nba merchIt's shame that I've chosen a retro (I prefer designs moving forward) but this is the only shoe thats' piquing my interest for 2012. UnderArmour's future is looking promising for me though. Seeing as I've already highlighted a retro, Nick Van Exel's revamped former shoe ain't bad.

jordan 11, lows, black red

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Road Music: Songs to be happy to (Sports songs)

<< crossposted on the 'LozInTranslation' blog

The 30HomeGames project is a mission that has me seeking Basketball around the world. In reality it's been a great pretext that's connected me to places and people I might otherwise not have.

Throughout the year I've befriended amazing people by connecting through sport. From parkour in München, participating in classes at Köln's esteemed Sports College to playing with Bremen's Ultimate Frisbee team. Not to mention the amazing Basketball experiences across Europe.

Fun Fact: More often than not these sports experiences have involved Germans in some way. *Shrugs*

The following songs form the soundtrack for the Sport experiences I've had recently. 'Lovely Day' was part of the Mix CD my German friend and events organiser had playing for some Volleyball socials in London. Additionally one of my skater housemates in Köln had a soulful music palette thus Bill Withers was on high rotation.

VIDEO: 'Lovely Day' by Bill Withers

Sports hype music is ultimately arbitrary, any feel good track with an energetic rythm will do. The video below documents a 'lovely day' spent with Sports students in the 'Aqualand' of Köln.

VIDEO: Aqualand 10.12.2011
'Banquet' by Bloc Party
'Promiscuity' by Manu Chao

- Find the entire 'Road Music' Track listings here

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NBA Player jerseys: Overlooked eras, Forgotten teams

One of the things I nerd out to basketball-wise is seeing people rock obscure jerseys of overlooked eras in a Superstar's storied career. I spotted such a singlet at a recent Wrestling show in Oberhausen, Germany. I found former ROH Champion Eddie Edwards sporting a #12 Celtics (Dominique Wilkins) jersey as he manned his merch desk post-match during intermission. I commended him on his singlet, he told me "he got it in Boston 15 years ago" adding that he loves "anything Boston". When I told him how much I enjoyed obscure jerseys and recalling a player's forgotten years, Eddie proceeded to recount Dominique's team history post-Celtics (Clippers, Spurs).

Whilst in London, I took note of a #23 Knicks jersey (Marcus Camby) a BBoy at the Trocadero Underground was rocking. I also had a recent conversation about how dope a #35 ZombieSonics (Rookie Kevin Durant) jersey would be. Days later I would see Phife Dawg wearing it onscreen at the Tribe doco screening.

Eddie Edwards had also seen the doco and dropped even more knowledge, the guy knows his stuff. I love nerding out to basketball.

Enjoy the following collection of Superstar forgotten eras, my Christmas wishlist of obscure jerseys:
pippen, rodman, lakers, blazers
Rodman, Lakers #73. Pippen, Rockets #33
pippen blazers
Pippen, Blazers #33
olajuwon, ewing, raptors, magic
Olajuwon, Raptors #34. Ewing, Magic #6
cassell, sprewell, wolves
Cassell, Wolves #19. Sprewell, Wolves #8
iverson, memphis, grizzlies
Iverson, Grizzlies #3
1) It seems Rodman and Pippen are still yet to have their first conversation
2) Two members of the coolest team at the turn of the century
3) 7 year itch: HOF Centers, Ewing and Olajuwon relive the Finals in 2002
4) They only had one devastating year. 2004, KG's MVP year.
5) Iverson gave up on Memphis as he wanted to start for a contender. The Grizz eventually became legend-killers

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happiness, Dreams, Hard Work: Dirk [Nowitzki] DID it!

"All dreams are crazy. Until they come true. | Dirk Did it" - Nike T-Shirt
I mentioned in my maiden 30HomeGames post that my travel writing often reflects the 'Pursuit of Happiness'. I drafted this piece months ago, sat on it then totally forgot about it. Fast forward to now in Germany. I picked up 'Snipes Mag' with local hero Dirk Nowitzki on the cover, it contained a pictorial of his triumphant meet and greet at Frankfurt in September.

Though I never have absolute favorites, I've always admired Dirk and had a soft spot for the Mavericks. I had Dallas picked at the start of the season but as custom for Mavs fans was (understandably) subdued come postseason. They made an improbable run. Beating Portland who were tipped to upset, sweeping the reigning champion Lakers, defeating the ascendant Thunder and avenging "Heel Heat" in the Finals. Dirk's road to glory couldn't be any more dramatic and come to a more deserving player.

dirk nowitzki, champion, frankfurt, fans, mavs
Dirk Nowitkzki at the Frankfurt Snipes Store
- Find the shirt here, NIKE Tee Nowitzki Celebration black
- Find more pictures here, "Dirk did it at Snipes FFM"
- Video of Nowitzki's Meet & Greet, Dirk Kommt promo
- Video of Nowitzki at Frankfurt Snipes, Dirk Nowitzki bei SNIPES in Frankfurt am Main
- Go to the official Snipes Shop site


One of the recurring themes of my travels is "happiness". Spending a year being able to act on one's every whim, you start wondering "to what end?". I think the best recipe for happiness is to find purpose, to reach for a goal. More often than not our goals can seem unattainable but it only makes success that much sweeter when it's achieved.

Follow Dirk's championship story charting his journey from tragedy to triumph:

dwyane wade, heat, mavs, dirk, 2006
D.Wade almost singlehandedly wills his Miami Heat to a Championship
2006: The underdog Heat led largely by 2nd Year Superstar Dwyane Wade spectacularly defeat the Mavs after trailing 0-2 and down 13pts with 6 minutes to go in Game 3.

baron davis, warriors, mavs, dirk, 2007
Baron Davis leads the Golden State Warriors to upset the Mavs in Round 1
2007: Upset in the first rd by the upstart 8th seed Golden State Warriors after posting the best Regular Season record (67-15)

VIDEO: Dirk Nowitzki's Championship Game 6 Press Conference

Transcript: Dirk Nowitzki after winning the NBA Championship (June 12, 2011)
DIRK NOWITZKI: I don't really think that way right now. If you're in this league for 13 years of just battling and playoffs last basically ten years, 11 years, and always coming up a little short. That's why this is extra special. If I would have won one early in my career, maybe I would have never put all the work and the time in that I have over the last 13 years. So this feels amazing...

Man, this is what I obviously played for the last couple of years. I think when you come in in this league you want to establish yourself. All these All-Star Games and all those things are nice, in scoring, but when you get to a certain age, you've basically seen it all, and all you play for is for that ring.
This graphic details how much of an underdog feat the Dallas Mavericks accomplished in 2011
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry leads
the Dallas Mavericks past the doubters
- NBA 2011 Champion Dallas Mavericks: Happiness on a shirt

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Other people's stories - Tales of: living in the moment

<< crossposted on the 'LozInTranslation' blog

On my return to Germany, I had a thought-provoking stay couchSurfing in Düsseldorf. My host, 'German P*' was an avid poker player and philosophy student with an impressive collection of books. Some I owned and some I'd been reading. Most interesting was the literature he had on zen, it informed his poker play and extended to his approach to life. As I've been on a mission to have a basketball experience around Europe, I was naturally drawn to his copy of 'Sacred Hoops'. A book by basketball living legend and famed zen master Phil Jackson, best known for coaching two of the greatest competitors and champions in Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

When in motion I prefer not to use a map. I enjoy feeling my way through, come what may. On the occasion I've had a running mate, I've found myself annoyed when they've depended heavily on GPS navigation and maps even though I know its entirely well meaning. You could say its a pet peeve. I've often wondered why it aggravated me so, this passage from Jackson's book shed some light:
I find it amusing when people ask me where I get my ideas for motivating players. The answer is: in the moment. My approach to problem-solving is the same as my approach to the game. When a problem arises, I try to read the situation as accurately as possible and respond simultaneously to whatever's happening
I realised I enjoy being in the moment, to be tested by it. I learnt several things during my stay with P*. With his perspective as a poker player and student, we had many discussions on the subject of gambling, life and the way we think (human behaviour and personal beliefs). What I came to appreciate was the importance of "living in the moment", particularly poignant as the year closes and my journey wraps up. Not only to look back and reflect but to also feel "present" inspite of the complacency and distraction that can overwhelm during eventful times.

With that I present to you this edition of Other People's Stories - Tales of: living in the moment:

VIDEO: Marc Maron talks to Norm Macdonald about his gambling problem

This podcast conversation on gambling resonated with me when I heard it months ago. I shared it with P* as I felt it was relevant to our discussion
WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: Episode 219 - Norm Macdonald
NORM MACDONALD: The only time I went to a psychiatrist was for gambling, cuz how do I get the f*ck out of this. He said "the reason you gamble is to avoid life". My thing was "Isn't that why you do anything in life? To f*cking avoid it"
MARC MARON: (agreeing) It's just too painful
MACDONALD: just lose by uh, its just like any escape... When I watch a game and I've got a bunch of money on it then I can understand what's going on. There's nothing ambivalent about what's going...
MARON: (adding) and there's stakes
MACDONALD: and there's stakes. You know exactly the rules. You're completely involved. You're completely escaped from your life. The real, real fear...

sacred hoops, phil jackson
'Sacred Hoops' by Phil Jackson (1995)
I devoured this book as soon as I found it on P*'s bookshelf. He suggested 'A New Earth' (Eckhart Tolle, 2007) was more relevant to me, I felt that with my 30HomeGames mission choosing the basketball book was a no-brainer
Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior
This is a book about a vision and a dream. When I was named head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989, my dream was not just to win championships, but to do it in a way that wove together my two greatest passions: basketball and spiritual exploration.

On the surface this may sound like a crazy idea, but intuitively I sensed that there was a link between spirit and sport. Besides, winning at any cost didn't interest me. From my years as a member of the championship New York Knicks, I'd already learned that winning is ephemeral. Yes, victory is sweet, but it doesn't necessarily make life easier the next season or even that day. After the cheering crowds disperse and the last bottle of champagne is drained, you have to return to the battlefield and start all over again.

In basketball as in life true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way. Of course, it's no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you're going to win or lose and focus your full attention on what's happening right this moment
Life like, basketball is messy and unpredictable. It has its way with you, no matter how hard you try to control it. The trick is to experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart. When you do that, the game – and life – will take care of itself.

This was a winning essay P* entered into a competition commissioned by a German poker forum, It deconstructed the psychology of "tilt". When players let their emotions cloud their poker judgment, it is called going "on tilt".
In order to recognize tilt we need to be present. This is a matter of exercise and great results can be achieved long-term. The most intensive kind of exercise is meditation, which is pure presence...

A less intensive way of exercising is implementing small routines in daily life... "If you sweep the yard, sweep the yard. If you cut a carrot, cut a carrot" is a Zen saying which refers to this. Usually when we cut a carrot we are somewhere in the past or future, only when we cut our finger are we present. If we are fully present from the beginning we won`t cut our finger - you could say the same for tilt. If we are fully present we dont tilt
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Adventure
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Love
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Living the Dream
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Living in the moment

Find previous Maron podcast references here
- Marc Maron with Adam Carolla - On being sedentary
- Marc Maron with Doug Stanhope - On happiness
- Marc Maron with Norm MacDonald - On being in the moment