Friday, January 31, 2014

Hip Hop Arcade presents NBA Jam Tournament @ The Flinders, Sydney

I had the pleasure of attending an NBA Jam Tourney hosted by 'Hip Hop Arcade' at the Flinders. Held each Wednesday, it began January 22nd and will culminate in a March 5 Grand Final where each week's winners will face off in a Round-Robin.
The event was reminiscent of 'Nintendisco', a Video Game night in Shoreditch where I celebrated my birthday for 2011.

I advanced to the Finals but lost by 7 points in the Big game. Playing with Utah in the 1st round I feasted on a steady diet of alley-oops to "AK-47". Playing as Atlanta in the 2nd round, Joe Johnson was formidable behind the arc as Josh Smith cleaned up the mess.
NBA Jam Tournament @The Flinders
courtesy of 'Yagz'
The Final was hard fought. I returned as the Jazz but was outclassed by Dino and his favored tandem of Pippen and Rodman. Playing as D-Will once again, I was limited to finger rolls and contested threes whilst Pippen hit ridiculous fadeaway triples and the 'Worm' controlled the paint.
I'll definitely be upgrading to a better team and tweak my game plan for our rematch.

My Vanquisher, winner of Week 2 action.
via the Hip Hop Arcade event page
Find details of the event below, see you guys on the court
Hip Hop Arcade presents NBA Jam Tournament @ The Flinders
Doors Open 6PM
Competition starts around 8:30PM
Great Pub menu
Qality Hip Hop mixed by DJ Raine Supreme
$5 Drink Specials all night
Prizes from our Sponsors 567KING and THE RECORD STORE

ELIMINATION ROUNDS - 1on1 - winner advances to grand final!
Jan 22nd - Round 1
Jan 29th - Round 2
Feb 5th - Round 3
Feb 12th - Round 4
Feb 19th - Round 5
Feb 26th - Round 6

GRAND FINAL - 1on1 - all winners compete in round-robin March 5th
- Go to the official site of 'Hip Hop Arcade'

Thursday, January 30, 2014

NBA Players Wally Szczerbiak and Giannis Antetokounmpo talk about living in the United States and Europe

As a basketball fan who also enjoys travel I'm fascinated by the global scope of the game. I've had the fortune to play and talk hoops around the world so the prism I view the game is more international than most. Basketball might forever be associated with the United States but as the Global talent catches up and the stream of foreign players into the NBA continues, all fans will come to appreciate the global reach of the game.

Providing parallel perspectives on their impressions of "home", I present retired All-Star Wally Szczerbiak and rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Wally talks about his formative years growing up in Europe, living in Italy and Spain with his dad and EuroLeaue star, Walt.

From L to R: Son Wally playing Cleveland, younger days, Father Walt playing for Real Madrid
'The Szczerbiaks' via ESPN
'Below the Rim' with Brian Windhorst: Wally Szczerbiak (Jan 28, 2014)
BRIAN WINDHORST: (1m 09s) You were actually born in Europe. How many years did you spend over there?
WALLY SZCZERBIAK: I was born in Madrid while my dad was playing professionally for Real Madrid and I lived in Madrid for 3 years. Then my dad moved to Italy, played 2 years in Italy so I moved with him to Italy. We lived in Udine and he finished out his career in the Canary Islands for a year and a half...
WINDHORST: I don't even know where the Canary Islands are
SZCZERBIAK: They're right off the coast of Africa. Its a beautiful, tropical island. A big tourist spot. Just a spectacular place, it really is. But its a part of Spain so I remember those times vividly.
I went to first grade there for a part of the year and I remember some really good times there. It was pretty cool going to school and being the son of the star Basketball player on the team. I got some pretty good perks
WINDHORST: So you kind of had a Kobe-esque childhood even though it wasn't your whole childhood because you would eventually move to Long Island. Its interesting to be so international when you were so young
SZCZERBIAK: Yeah I grew up speaking Spanish, English and Spanish. I spoke Spanish fluently when I was a kid, and then when I went to Italy I could speak Italian fluently when I was there. And then I knew Spanish in 1st Grade along with English. When I moved back to the States unfortunately I didn't keep up with my Spanish as much but still had a good background in it. To say the least I got good grades in Spanish from High School to College...
Giannis had a tougher childhood growing up. Born in Greece with his 3 other brothers, his parents arrived from Nigeria as illegal immigrants. They lived under the threat of deportation for 20 years, the Family became recognised as Greeks only recently after Giannis garnered NBA attention.

Giannis posing with his parents alongside the Greek Prime Minister.
His parents arrived to Greece from Nigeria as illegal immigrants
The priority for Giannis growing up wasn't to help the family by becoming a millionaire NBA player but working together with his brothers "selling sunglasses, hats and bags on the street". Its a common sight in Europe to see African immigrants hawking wares by the side of the road. It comes as no surprise that the cheery Giannis appreciates the simpler pleasures of his new home in the USA playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
TrueHoop: Make way for the Greek Freak
KEVIN ARNOVITZ: (5m 50s) You like being on the road in other NBA cities, you like to walk around, you get out of the hotel. A lot of guys kinda stay in, Playstation but you're out there. Where, What's your routine when you go to a new city in the NBA?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Let me explain you something (sic), here in Milwaukee so much cold, so much snow. I don't go outside so I just play my Playstation here in Milwaukee so when I go to roadtrip, we got good weather. Phoenix, LA its an opportunity to go outside, ride a bike, walk around, do stuff. Eat, go in a good restaurant. Do many stuff.
Further reading:
- Best of the Euroleague and NBA: Walt and Wally Szczerbiak
NBA provides an escape for Bucks rookie Antetokounmpo

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Western Conference edition

Memphis - #5 on Jalen Rose' "Black Guy city Power Rankings"
Continuing my roundup of Champagne and Campaign tips from Trip Advisor extraordinaire Jalen Rose, I present the Western Conference edition. Compiling these lists you come to the sad realisation that its a tall order to live up to. Without the NBA money and fame, the mentioned hedonistic pursuits are beyond reach for most civilians. At minimum an appetite for partying and indulgence is required to tackle the smorgasbord of delights.

'30 Home Games' will try its darndest. How much could you handle?

Denver Nuggets | 13: The Denver Nuggets Are in Decline
(9m 05s) You can't Champagne and Campaign without the NBA money...

In Dallas you can go to the "Adult establishment and have dinner all at once"
Dallas Mavericks | 14: Clairvoyant Bill Predicts Comeback Year From Dirk!
(11m 10s) ROSE: When you're in Dallas there's State income tax and when you're in places with no State income tax I figured out just like Las Vegas, just like Florida they tend to host some of the top Adult establishments...
SIMMONS: Oh for tax reasons really?
ROSE: To entertain for the Champagne and Campaign. Its a perfect time to give back to the community, to do charity work. This is the kind of charity Bill that makes it to the hood when you're playing in Dallas. Dallas is one of those places where you can actually go to the Adult establishment and have dinner all at once. Order a lobster or go well done. Go to a steak spot, normally they have good lobster. You can get two for a $1. Get dinner, get the entertainment. You can call it an early night.

Golden State Warriors | 9: Can the Warriors Win the Western Conference?
(10m 55s) In 92' and 93' I used to go to the top Summer Jam in the United States of America, KMEL. When I was around all my favorite artists who were performing from sunup to sundown, so we champagned and campaigned all day literally. That was Coachella back in the day. That's what KMEL Summer Jam was.

Houston Rockets | 8: Did Dwight Howard just make the Rockets a Championship team?
Video Down! (This video contains content from Fox who has blocked it on copyright grounds)

Rose in LaLa land with "half the beautiful people in America"
Los Angeles Clippers | 5: Are 'Good Times' Ahead for Chris Paul and Clippers Fans?
(13m 40s) SIMMONS: The only city to get two Champagne and Campaigns
ROSE: See the thing about LA coming from Detroit and loving to spend time in New York and Miami when you take a nap before you go out is that at 1:30 they cut on the lights and take your adult beverage . I'm standing around like "Its 1:30 the lights are on. You're going to take away my beverage and then cut the lights back off for another hour". But coming back to LaLa back in the day, mid-nineties. All hail, I salute you, The Century Club [closed]. If those walls could talk, man I tell ya.
SIMMONS: Where is the Century Club. What part of LA is it?
ROSE: The Century Club is in Beverly Hills. I think that's Beverly Hills
SIMMONS: Was that the kind of place you would have seen Dr Jerry Buss back in the day.
ROSE: Yes. Its the kind of place where there'd be a line around the corner. For everybody that's gonna hit me and say about the Geography and the street. I don't care! This is the whole point of this, this is the Barber Shop
SIMMONS: We don't want to be bothered by facts...
ROSE: Now one thing about LA people don't really realise. Its not big for the strip club. Los Angeles creates a different type of Business Card demo, why dance and get a couple of singles here when I can meet John Doe Actor or Actress and make millions
SIMMONS: The good news is you've got beautiful people at places because you basically have half the beautiful people in America here trying to act, model or doing whatever.
ROSE: So being in LaLa, going to the Century Club, Champagning and Campaigning - Holiday style!

Los Angeles Lakers: 18: Can Kobe Bryant Save A Mediocre Lakers Team?
(10m 45s) SIMMONS: Uber's [Transportation Network Company] the greatest thing that's ever happened...
ROSE: I don't go to clubs in LA, its more restaurants, Happy Hours, little off-the-wall little spots that play music, that got the DJ, stuff like that. Old man stuff in the West Coast in LA

Minnesota Timberwolves: 17: Rubio and Love Are Back and David Kahn Is Gone
(9m 13s) SIMMONS: You like Minnesota for Champagning and Campaigning because of the 3% chance Prince might invite you to his house to invite you to make pancakes?
ROSE: Correct. When you go there it's basketball season. Basketball season happens predominantly in the Winter. When you get to Minnesota, its Winter. Its freezing outside. Its too cold outside... Minnesota's one of the coldest cities that has an NBA team

Jalen Rose feasting on 'Gus' s World Famous Fried Chicken' in Memphis
Memphis Grizzlies | 11: The Championship Window Has Shut for the Grizzlies
(12m 30s) ROSE: Going to Memphis... reminded me of what Detroit used to be in a lot of ways. Going in Juke joints, playin' the Jukebox, eating good food, the people were awesome and welcoming and the seasoning on that Chicken was crazy... is there some way they can FedEx us some Gus's [Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken]

New Orleans Pelicans | 19: New Name, New Roster, Same Mediocre Pelicans
(11m 30s) ROSE: Big shout to New Orleans. Everything from Mardi Gras to Gumbo
SIMMONS: Unbelievable food, unbelievable nightlife scene
ROSE: No curfew
SIMMONS: No curfew at all. A few gentleman establishments, a Casino, a very diverse population
ROSE: Terrific music!
SIMMONS: Great music and they have a basketball team named after a pelican
ROSE: Ain't that something
SIMMONS: You don't have to rank it but is it in the Mt Rushmore for Champagne and Campaign?
ROSE: Absolutely!

Oklahoma City Thunder | 6: How Far Can Kevin Durant Carry the Thunder?
(18m 12s) ROSE: So what do you do in Oklahoma City? I got the chance to go there when the Hornets was there and Chris Paul was on the team and you know what I did, I got some rest. I actually got some rest.

Phoenix Suns | 29: The Phoenix Suns Are Tanking
(9m 40s) More athletes that have played for the Phoenix Suns have more restaurants than anywhere else in the NBA. Amare Stoudemire (Stoudemire's Downtown - Closed) has a restaurant, Dan Majerle (Majerle's Sports Grill). It's just a fun fact

Portland TrailBlazers | 16: The Blazers Are Better, But Not Good Enough
[No C&C segment but they do make a bet]
SIMMONS: I think Portland are gonna make the Playoffs
ROSE: I don't. I think Minnesota's gonna make the Playoffs. I think Minnesota is the better basketball team on paper
SIMMONS: And we're gonna bet a nice Lobster Tempura dinner on this - Portland Vs Minnesota
ROSE: And if they both make the playoffs we go on who has the best record

Sacramento Kings | 25: The Kings Are Now "Boogie" Cousins's Team!
(8m 26s) ROSE: [Imports!] The plane, the plane. You're right by LA, you're right by Oakland.
SIMMONS: How does it work when you import the ladies, do you have an assistant do the travel?
ROSE: It's 2013... ---- Censored due to Editor intervention ---

Tony Parker partying at his now-defunct club, The Nueve Lounge
San Antonio Spurs | 3: How can the Spurs Rebound from being a Rebound away From the Title
(14m 10s) ROSE: So when you go to San Antonio
SIMMONS: We spent 12 days there
ROSE: You get in the league in '94 and they got Tim Duncan in '99 you get Room Service and you go to bed. They had Tim Duncan and David Robinson, you're going to bed. They got a Hall of Fame Coach. You gotta get some rest in San Antonio and plus we went so hard in Dallas and Houston we gotta rest in San Antonio unless we got with Tony.
SIMMONS: I think that might've been one of the reasons Tony's nightclub went under. So he opened a nightclub called Nueve [Tony Parker's Nueve Lounge - Closed] . This was Tony in happier times, when he thought the Nightclub was going well.
ROSE: So the young lady in the black clearly left home to go to Tony Parker's restaurant, club or party. When they're taking the picture, why is she covering her face? I'll tell you why
SIMMONS: Why? I'd love to know
ROSE: She got a boyfriend and she told him she's going out with the girls. She didn't say she was going to Tony's spot and she was gonna be background music for Tony's pictures
SIMMONS: (facetiously) Good thing she doesn't have a tattoo that'll give away your identity.
ROSE: It was you!!
SIMMONS: First of all don't open a nightclub with your brothers.
ROSE: Don't open a night club at all...

Utah Jazz | 27: Are the Utah Jazz Any Good?
(6m 18s) ROSE: I didn't travel to a town and take a plane to another town, that was just doing way to much for me. When you go to Utah Bill, IMPORT!

Find Champagning and Campaigning posts here:
- NBA Cities: Eastern Conference
- NBA Cities: Western Conference
- Jalen's Black Guy City Power Rankings
Sydney celebration

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

'30 Home Games' recap in Europe (2011) and South America (2013)

Posing with the official FIBA Americas and EuroBasket shirts.
Interestingly, star National players Greivis Vasquez (Venezuela) and Jonas Valančiūnas (Lithuania)
play for the Toronto Raptors
I've returned from 6 months in South America and its back to square one again in Australia. Just like with Europe I managed to attend the FIBA Championships equivalent in South America. Whilst EuroBasket 2011 was held in several cities around Lithuania, the smaller FIBA Americas was hosted solely in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
Continuing a trend that began in Europe I was able to play basketball with locals in each Country visited. Due to poor timing however I wasn't able to watch any South American Basketball leagues as most were in their offseason by the time I arrived.

The goal to visit each of the NBA cities remains. There is no timetable at this stage for when it might go down but I'll continue creating experiences and graphics for the blog with an eye on that goal.

Finding Basketball in Europe 2011
Hooping and longboarding with lesbians at Brighton Beach, England
Basketball adventures in Europe
- Trigger: Day 114 - An NBA day in Portugal
Baloncesto: I love this game: Basketball in Europe (PtI: Espana)
Krepšinis: I love this game: Basketball in Europe (PtII: Lietuva)
- Live EuroBasket results: Lithuania, September 2011 (Pt1: Panevėžys, Šiauliai)
- Live EuroBasket results: Lithuania, September 2011 (Pt 2:Vilnius)
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II
- Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London
- 'A Memento Year' looks back at Basketball and Lithuania

Finding Basketball in South America 2013
He's on fire! Balling in Bogota, Colombia on Christmas Day
Basketball adventures in South America
Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogota, Colombia

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

NBA Champions Miami: Champagning and Campaigning in Sydney

After compiling a Champagning and Campaigning guide for the Eastern Conference which featured Miami as the #1 party spot (no surprises), I was inspired to dig up our own 'Champagning and Campaigning' photos from Sydney. A few of the boys from the 'Star Basketball Competition' capped off the 2013 season by celebrating Miami's win and the forthcoming windfall from putting their money where there mouth was.

Below are some celebratory graphics.
After an unfortunate hiccup the SBC will be hosting its first event for 2014 and the 3rd tournament overall. Once again thanks to Commissioner Von and the SBC committee for all their efforts.

Champagning and Campaigning: Party City
Champagning and Campaigning: World Red Eye
Champagning and Campaigning: Drake DADA

Monday, January 6, 2014

Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Eastern Conference edition

"You gotta give the people what they want"
O' Jays
I plan to visit all the NBA cities with the intention of hitting all the cool spots. There's no better Trip Advisor than former NBA star and Mr "Champagne and Campaign" himself, Jalen Rose. During Bill Simmons' exhaustive 2014 NBA preview each team was profiled with projections for the Upcoming season. With Jalen offering suggestions for off-Court extracurricular activities.

For your convenience and my reference I've excerpted each of his suggestions below.
I present to you 'Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Eastern Conference Edition'

Champagning and Campaigning in the Eastern Conference
Atlanta Hawks | #22: The Hawks and the Legend of the Gold Club
(7m 50s) ROSE: If those walls could talk, so much so that there was a trial that surrounded some of my favorite NBA players about the goings on in that place
SIMMONS: I also have a Gold Club story... I decided to write an 'Idiot's Guide to Gold Club' column
ROSE: The Gold Club is the 31st NBA team

Boston Celtics | #24: The Celtics Will Trade Rajon Rondo
(7m 30s) ROSE: I have a funny and interesting story when I used to go play at the Celtics when Larry Bird was my Coach... when we used to do shootaround I used to have a marker and I used to write "LB33" on the white part of the Center of Jumpball... to tribute the Legend
Jalen in the boondocks with his 40'
Brooklyn Nets | #7: Bill Simmons LOVES the New-Look Nets
(13m 35s) ROSE: At that point in time Olde English was the beer of choice, 40 ounces were a lot more popular, I'm a Miami Hurricane fan. Those are my squads in the 80's... I am in East Islip, New Jersey. In the boondocks hanging out with my homeboy Parrish Smith and Das EFX, they were in the studio at the time... we were playing SEGA while they were recording

Charlotte Bobcats | #26: Michael Jordan Is Destroying the Bobcats
(10m 20s) ROSE: If he [Owner Michael Jordan] doesn't want to Champagne and Campaign there, why would I? ... I can't Champagne and Campaign in a town where the College team is better than the Pro team

Chicago Bulls | #1: Derrick Rose and the Bulls Get the No. 1 Ranking!
(14m 22s) When you're hanging out in Chi-Town you first go to Russ St for dinner. The next thing you do is go to Garrett's and get some popcorn. That's mandatory.

Cleveland Cavaliers | #21: The Cavs Are Courting LeBron James
(9m 04s) ROSE: When you're in Cleveland you gotta kick it in the 'Flats'. I like kicking it in the Flats. Its blue collar, Lake Michigan right there. There's a nice Ritz [Hotel] downtown, its connected to the mall.

Detroit Pistons | #12: Detroit vs. Everybody!
(14m 10s) ROSE: I am home... when I'm there I'm at JRLA [Jalen Rose Leadership Academy], I'm spending time with my family trying to get some stuff done

Indiana Pacers | #4: Larry Bird Will Be the Difference for the Pacers
(13m 35s) Geist Reservoir, Cocktail Cove is what they call it. So basically its where people go to park their boats, their Jet Skis, then water activities... I'm not exaggerating you would think every home has a basketball hoop. Riding down the street if you wanted to shoot you could just pull over somebody's house.

Jalen Rose loves South Beach
Miami Heat | #2: LeBron James and the Heat Will Not Three-peat
(16m 50s) SIMMONS: I think this is our Champagne and Campaign champion which is probably why it's a bad idea for Michael Beasley to be down there
ROSE: ... I've actually lived in the Miami area so I know my way around. From Liv [Night Club] or from the Ritz of Coconut Grove [Hotel Suites] where I spent time
SIMMONS: You love South Beach
ROSE: Lobster tempura 'Prime One Twelve', Joe's Crab Shack, Liv and Fontainebleau [Resort]... I'm out there. I'm hanging with Lil Wayne, I'm hangin with Drake

Milwaukee Bucks | #15: We Didn't Forget About the Bucks!
(11m 54s) ROSE: When you're in Milwaukee, you're central to Chicago, you're near Indiana and you're near Detroit. All places that I either lived or played. So when you're in Milwaukee you get a good night's sleep, you order some Room Service , you get some rest before the game and you "import" via Car Service... it's Wintertime in the NBA season, you don't want any delays or issues
SIMMONS: What's the lobster situation in Milwaukee?
ROSE: I'm not sure...

NY Story: Land off the plane, go to dinner, Nap then club
New York Knicks | #10: Can Carmelo's Knicks Make Round 2?
(12m 25s) ROSE: So this is what you do in New York, so you land, you go to dinner, you meet any people that you wanna hang out with and then you go take a nap... normally in New York you got so many places to hit, the clubs, the scenes move around so many different times... you have Public Transport, you don't need UBER. You walk right out and the Taxis are right there and the difference between LA... they're selling fruits. In New York they're selling Street Meat. It's just a different mentality.

Orlando Magic | #28: Who Are the Orlando Magic?
(6m 46s) ROSE: When I'm in Orlando it's about the kids... when I'm with my daughters I Can't stay up late because I'm tired.
SIMMONS:  So you're giving for Champagning and Campaigning a Zero to Orlando for reasons that have nothing to do with the city itself

Philadelphia 76ers | #30: The Philadelphia 76ers Are the NBA's Worst Team
(10m) SIMMONS: I have no idea what that has to do with Champagne and Campaign in Philadelphia... Its a very fancy way of saying that Philly didn't crack his Top10 for Champagne and Campaign. He won't say...

Toronto Raptors | #23: Where Will the Raptors Trade Rudy Gay?
(8m 38s) ROSE: If you in the TDot. you must go to King St, that's where you must be...
SIMMONS: So out of the first 8 teams we've done in the Countdown, Toronto is the leader of the Champagne and Campaign no doubt

Jalen speaks on "Chocolate City" Washington DC
Washington Wizards | Will the Wizards Make the Playoffs?
(9m 46s) ROSE: When I go to DC I holler at my guy Wale these days but people forget when I used to get to DC, two of my College teammates Chris Webber and Juwan Howard actually played for the Washington Bullets... The one thing I loved to do in Washington was go to 'Love' the Club, 4 levels Bill. Different music on every level. DC's staple is Go-Go , gives me a lot of chance to get my Go-Go flow on. Learn more about it. Kickin it in Chocolate City

Find Champagning and Campaigning posts here:
- NBA Cities: Eastern Conference
- NBA Cities: Western Conference
- Jalen's Black Guy City Power Rankings
Sydney celebration