Monday, January 30, 2012

NBA 2011 Champion Dallas Mavericks: Happiness on a shirt

NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks shirt @NBA Store Istanbul, Turkey
I capped off an NBA Day in Turkey by buying 'Happiness on a T-shirt' from the Adidas NBA Store in Istanbul. The shirt features all the principles from the 2011 Mavs squad that bested the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Redemption, justice and purpose were buzzwords that exemplified this team of castoffs, underdogs and veterans.

The champion Dallas team as represented on this shirt proves that "Dreams can come true, if you believe".

Mark Cuban (Owner)
11th Season
Outspoken billionaire gets the final word by changing his tact
Mark Cuban Gets His Redemption
Cuban has been committed to the Mavericks from the moment he bought them, and for the first time he didn't goad the opposing team, didn't harass officials, and gave his players the chance to make a statement on the hardwood.
Rick Carlisle (Coach)
9th Season, 3rd team
Rick Carlisle once a Pacers' castoff, now a champion
At one point or another in most of our lives, we get hosed by management. We get a raw deal, maybe from new managers who want to reinvent the wheel... Which brings me to Rick Carlisle
Jason Kidd (PG)
17th Season, 3rd team
Came short in the NBA finals twice, reuniting with the team that drafted him
Jason Kidd: On being 38 and winning a title, turning point in Heat series
KIDD: Man, it's a dream come true. It's not real right now, because just the battles against the Heat and understanding the journey, it's been a long journey for 17 years.
Dirk Nowitzki (PF)
13th Season, 1st team
Despite excruciating lows, Dirk remained loyal as the face of the Mavs
'Who Knows If My Way Is the Right One?'
NOWITZKI: At the beginning I was condescended to and laughed at. "The nice boy from Germany will never make it," people said. Still, I never gave up. Now, I have been celebrated by 250,000 people in Dallas at the championship parade. That was an unbelievably intense feeling. I trembled.
Peja Stojaković (SF)
13th Season, 5th team
Playing what would be his final season, Peja was part of the early wave of international All-Stars
Peja Stojakovic to retire after 13 years
"I also want to thank the Dallas Mavericks for believing in me this past season and for giving me the chance to end my NBA career with a championship."
Jason Terry (SG)
12th Season, 2 team
Along with Dirk, the only holdover from the 2006 Mavs squad that collapsed against the Wade powered Heat team
Jason Terry erases bitterness, keeps ink
"Jet had to take all that criticism," said owner Mark Cuban... "The media was killing him: 'He can't perform in the playoffs. He's not clutch in the playoffs. He's too this, he's too that.'
"He shoved it up everybody's ass
Marion, Shawn (SF)
11th Season, 4th team
Chandler, Tyson (C)
9th Season, 4th team
Butler, Caron (SF)
8th Season, 4th team
Once pivotal members of their former teams (Phoenix, New Orleans, Washington respectively) these stars took on lesser roles to bring the Mavs to the promised land
Shawn Marion: 'We had the ultimate swag'
"It was a great team championship," Marion said. "I can’t say enough about how everybody contributed. Everybody did something special for this team. That’s why it was so special for us. We was hot. We were feeling each other. We just had the ultimate swag.
DeShawn Stevenson (SG)
10th Season, 4th team
Jose Juan Barea (PG)
5th Season, 1st team

Brian Cardinal (C), Ian Mahinmi (C), Brendan Haywood (PF), Dominique Jones(SF), Corey Brewer (SF), Rodrigue Beaubois(PG)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mike Yam and Tim Legler: What drives greatness?

jordan, kobe, durant, lebron, goat, greatness
Mike Yam and Tim Legler essentially have a conversation about finding happiness in life when discussing the greatness that drives elite NBA athletes - The balance between success and contentment and the difficulty of enjoying the moment.
NBA Today: 1/11
Mike Yam and Tim Legler discuss the fire that drives the great ones like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

Download the conversation here - NBA Today: Discussing greatness
Happiness VS Greatness
MIKE YAM: ...When you're that competitive I almost feel like you'll never be happy. You can't be happy...

TIM LEGLER: You're talking about [Michael Jordan] at his Hall of Fame speech? There is no doubt it was one of the most unusual Hall-of-Fame speeches of all-time...

The sad part about that speech and it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, he doesn't need to be that. That came of bitter and that came off as a guy that's angry. Directly to what you said, people that are that competitive aren't [happy] because they can't ever find that adrenalin rush or fix in anything that they do as being the best at what they did on the planet...
Being in the moment:
MIKE YAM: (quoting Bruce Lee's wife on her husband) "...He was more concerned about losing that half step than he was about being the best"

Because you're mind is already thinking about that next thing and you're not even in that moment and I gotta feel like these elite athletes are sort of like that.

TIM LEGLER: In a weird way what you're describing (and this is absolutely true) is an insecurity that exists in these people. All of us have insecurities but the general conception is these [elite] people don't have insecurities. They absolutely do.

And its more related to not so much winning or not losing a final... its more like you don't want to feel like you're losing something because you worked so hard to get to that level and all you wanna do is maintain it
This conversation dovetails with my own epiphany having had the privilege of taking the year off to travel abroad. Seeing the dichotomy between success and contentment, speaking to fellow travelers and finding how they coped with the "rat race" they left behind whether temporarily or otherwise.

In living the dream I also found the importance of 'being in the moment', which was crystalised when I read Phil Jackson's book 'Sacred Hoops' whilst Couchsurfing in Germany.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Air Jordan 2012 Passport (pictures)

To mark the drop of the 'Air Jordan 2012', Jordan Brand have developed a promotional passport that should excite any self respecting traveler and basketball fan.

Truth be told, I'm slightly perplexed by the muddled aesthetic. I don't understand how the 3D Glasses and hand drawn sketches flow with the formality of a travel passport. Where are the stamps showing places Jordan has been to: Barcelona with the Dream Team, the clubs he's represented? North Carolina, Chicago and Washington. Heck, his Airness has been to Outer Space! How about a 'Security warning' for the controversial Red Jordan 1's.

Tip to JordansDaily for the assist

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Basketball games watched in Europe

March 24 - Spain
League: EuroLeague Basketball
Teams: Panathinaikos def. Regal FC Barcelona (75 -71)
Arena: Palau Blaugrana. Barcelona, Spain (Att: 7319)
Official Summary: Game Report


September 2011 - Lithuania
Tournament: EuroBasket 2011, Lithuania

Live EuroBasket results: Lithuania, September 2011 (Pt1: Panevėžys, Šiauliai)
September 1 - Panevėžys
Spain def. Portugal (87-73)
Turkey def. Great Britain (90-61)

September 4 - Šiauliai
Israel def. Latvia (91-88)
France def. Italy (91-84)
Serbia def. Germany (75-64)

September 5 - Šiauliai
France def. Serbia (97-96 OT)

Live EuroBasket results: Lithuania, September 2011 (Pt 2:Vilnius)
September 10 - Vilnius
Serbia def. Turkey (68-67)
Spain def. France (96-69)
Lithuania def. Germany (84-75)


September 30 - Latvia
League: Baltic Basketball League
Teams: BC Ventspils def. Liepajas Lauvas (85 - 59)
Arena: Olympic Center Ventspils. Ventspils, Latvia (Att: 250)
Official Summary: Third Quarter Rout Gives Ventspils Opening Win

October 15 - Estonia
League: Baltic Basketball League
Teams: Kalev/Cramo def. University of Tartu (89 - 82)
Arena: Tartu University Sports Hall. Tartu, Estonia (Att: 2000)
Official Summary: Kalev/Cramo make ammends for preseason loss


January 14 - Turkey
League: Turkish Basketball League
Teams: Beşiktaş Milangaz def. Antalya BŞB (85 - 75)
Arena: Dilek Sabancı Sport Hall. Antalya, Turkey (Att: n/a)
Official Summary: Boxscore

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My European scouting report: I was wrong on Ricky Rubio

ricky rubio, timberwolves, photoshoot"I'm ready for my close-up"

I was way off on Ricky Rubio.
I had the privilege of seeing Rubio a few times in 2011, for Barcelona in Euroleague action against eventual champs Panathinaikos and representing the Spanish National team as they dominated the EuroBasket Championships.

Its worth noting I described the opportunity as a privilege rather than a pleasure as quite frankly it was an underwhelming and aggravating experience.

I first noticed Rubio in the Beijing Olympics as a prodigy pickpocketing the Chinese backcourt mercilessly. I was giddy at being able to scout him in Barcelona. Despite being a nailbiter Rubio was a non-entity, I don't recall him being used at all in the second half. In Eurobasket action he seemed to be third in the PG rotation behind Sergio Lull and starter Jose Calerdon and rarely featured in the closing minutes.

From this sample and through conversations with Spanish fans I got the impression Rubio didn't have a natural killer instinct. He had a shaky jumpshot, seemingly content just to hit the rim.

In his first month in the NBA... oooh boy has he been a revelation! Mirroring the type of electricity Blake Griffin generated for his own belated NBA arrival last year.

I was in Vegas for the NBA Summer League featuring Rubio's 2009 Draft Class. Whilst that rookie crop boasted the likes of ROY Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Steph Curry and [also ROY] Blake Griffin, the only rooks I witnessed were Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. Not exactly a flattering sample. Such was my low assessment of Rubio that I didn't see him besting the underwhelming Flynn.

The frustration caused by the lockout seemingly conspired to welcome its newest sensation, the 2yrs of NBA limbo eroded the anticipation into apathy. The collective eagerness to return to business as usual softened the pressure on the much hyped rook, the Spaniard delivering bigger than anyone could have imagined under muted expectations.

The Wolves' arrival as the feel good team of the season is a convergence of a few things:
  • Shipping out fellow 2009 draftee Jonny Flynn
  • Abandoning Coach Rambis and his quixotic scheme to transplant a triangle offense synonymous with Dynasties (helmed by GOAT players) to - uh - the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Introducing Coach Adelman's flowing offense to compliment the Wolves' young core
  • The emergence of Kevin Love as an Elite Top15 player
The Wolves are consistently mentioned as a must-watch team with many in the Press corps admitting they flick to Wolves games' on NBA League Pass awaiting Rubio's insertion on the court (Ridnour is tipped to lose his Starting spot sooner rather than later).

Magic Johnson had this to say of Rubio after his scoreless, 3 assist showing for Barcelona against the Lakers in the Champion VS Champion exhibition game in 2010:
Getting schooled by Ricky Rubio
"You're going to be wrong. Listen to me on this kid. He'll be better in the NBA than he is in Europe because our guys are more athletic and they run to the rim. In Europe, guys don't really run the break; they fan out around the 3-point line, they pump-fake, they look to score in other ways. Our guys are going to see a dude who can pass it like Rubio and run like hell to the rim. Trust me."
- Magic Johnson
The game's most dominant floor leader was right. I was wrong.
At least I can take comfort in seeing Rubio before he became a bonafide star. My goal now is to see him live again, this time in NBA action.

ricky rubio, jason kiddThe old guard

ricky rubio, derrick roseThe new guard

ricky rubio, jose calderon, spanishSpanish guards

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Greatest blog ever sold: Follow my blog (May 2011 flashback))

Its exactly 250 days since my memorable day in Lisboa, Below is a repost in honor of my 'Tudo Boms'. I've yet to see the kicks in the flesh but will be picking them up enroute to home.

It turns out the Reeboks featured were in fact ES-22s (NFL's Emmit Smith) and not Iverson Question IIs as I had thought. Sadly I will need to deduct some cool points.


The Greatest blog ever sold: Please pimp, promote, like and sponsor this blog!

Reel Big Fish - Sell Out

After a typically incoherent LozInTranslation conversation, this became
the humming anthem for our Portugese Road Trip.


I don't know why I was being so coy the first time around.

miradouro de são pedro de alcântara, nike running, lisboa

"Aaawwww for me? This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me!"
I believe these are the second of three evolutions of my all-time favorite shoe,
Iverson's 'The Question'. I wish I was able to get Google to confirm it for me though.
(Update: They are not. See above)

sintra, abandoned

sintra, shoe, reebok, lisboa

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Trigger: Day 114 - An NBA day in Portugal

<< crossposted on the 'LozInTranslation' blog

Day 114: It was the front end of our roadtrip north from Lisboa, the sun was shining and we were deep into the NBA playoffs.

The day began in beautiful Ericeira

and we awoke to a beachfront view.

After scoring some roadside fruit we met up by the van for breakfast.

We spent the day hitting up various beaches,

stopping by Mafra

before settling in Obidos for a burger dinner.

An advertised acoustic night wasn't available
but we befriended the guys from the Restaurant.

VIDEO: Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat Gm3 recap (May 23, 2011)

We camped by the Post Office steps at 1am to access the free WiFi
to watch Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Our new friends passed by and invited us to join them for a drink.
When we couldn't find anything open we were welcomed in their home.

Our host felt the occasion was worthy of popping open his 200yr old Port.
We chatted and had early morning walks learning about their village.

We discussed sleeping by Obidos' castle walls but instead
crashed at a secluded area along the tracks by the Church.

We never did get to finish Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals but being outside at that moment gave us the opening for the invitation. Sometimes its just a pretext to be at the right place or meet the right people, thats my ultimate wish for the '30HomeGames mission'

The game was a bit of a bummer anyway as the Like-a-Bulls were trounced by 'Heel' Heat. We managed to see highlights of the OKC vs Dallas nailbiter the following day at a library in Leiria. Basketball Never Stops.

- Find all my Trigger Days here

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Undrcrwn: Concords and Astronauts

Its Day 6 in Turkey and no basketball experiences to report as yet. After delighting in the otherworldy sight that is Pamukkale by night, I wanted to share the following UNDRCRWN pic and accompanying thought:
I wonder if Astronauts ever think "Wow! Being on the the moon is fuck*n cool, I wish I was here with a cute girl though"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year from 30HomeGames!

Courtesy of my boys at 'The Good Life Creative'

Happy New Year everyone and keep living the Good Life!

I've been greeting my 'GoodLife' Fantasy League with the following video to tipoff each year. After 3 years in said league I won't be participating this season as I couldn't negotiate a buyout. I will however continue to find basketball experiences around Europe though my journey is wrapping up.

I'm in Turkey now. Despite missing out on seeing some D-Will action (bummer), I see no trouble in finding some hoops action in this Basketball-friendly nation. Its a brand new day...

VIDEO: Vince Carter Nike Shox Commercial VC2

Not playing Fantasy means I don't get to put these 3 awesome things to use:
1. Free early year access to NBA TV League Pass
2. My in-person scouting of NBA talent in Europe, FYI I was waaaay off on Rubio
3. My running mate's startup Fantasy Help site - 'Trade Debate'