Saturday, April 15, 2017

The South 2017: NBA Roadtrip wishlist

@30HomeGames goes South:
Memphis & Atlanta (April 23 21 - May 1)
I'm heading to the South for my first taste of Playoff basketball, hoping to catch two teams with sentimental connections.

Good news: I'm flying in to Memphis for the 2017 NBA postseason.
Bad news: I might not get to see my team play.

It was always going to be a Riverboat gamble. Threading the needle with work leave, I was securing travel plans before the Playoff schedule was released. Using last year's programme and comparable seedings as a rough guide, I took a chance. It turns out a previous season's calendar has no bearing on future schedules. Lesson learnt.
Memphis starts their series rematch with San Antonio on the opening day of the Postseason. Unlike last year, the first round games this season have a tighter turnaround. Arriving Stateside on the 9th day of the Playoffs, I narrowly miss the two guaranteed games at FedExForum. I'm left to pray that the series grits to a 6th game where it returns to Memphis. That would be a dream.
Mercifully I'm able to catch Game 4 in Atlanta versus the Wizards. My initiation into Playoff basketball.

This trip came about quite suddenly. A flash of inspiration had me scrambling for work leave and securing flights before the schedules had even been released. 30HomeGames will be at Game 4 in Atlanta and Memphis.

Believe Memphis
The Grizz are my team and Marc Gasol is my favourite player. There's uncertainty about how much longer the Core 4 of the Memphis will remain intact and the retirement of the ageless Vince Carter looms. 1st year Assistant Coach, Nick Van Exel is one of my all-time faves too. Having welcoming colleagues within the Grizzlies organization in 'The Basketball Physio's Dean & Dave gave me the impetus to make my Grindhouse pilgrimage sooner rather than later. I hope to connect with the Melbourne lads during my time in the Blues City.

True to Atlanta
Inspired by Outkast and Hawks basketball, my current rec ball team are the 'ATLiens'. We emerged as Champs in our maiden season and as an added surprise got major love from some of the ATL's biggest boosters. NBA Hang Time's Lang Whitaker and Sekou Smith are our 6th men from across the pond, complete with team jerseys. I'm not sure if either sportswriter will be returning home to cover Atlanta's games but it would be a treat to run into our ATLiens teammates.

Atlanta and Memphis rank 4 and 5 respectively on Jalen Rose's "Black Guy City" power rankings. Coupled with one of America's finest cities in Nashville, the trip is fixin' to be a blast. Truth be told, I'd also love to meet Harry the Hawk and Grizz, my two favorite mascots. Harry has the League's best Social Media game, whilst Grizz reps Memphis Wrestling.

My grand plan for the year had been Congo-Brazzaville for AfroBasket 2017. This completes my set, visiting each Continent for FIBA competition. I'd allocated most of my work leave and bankroll for that adventure in August. I had a feeling my 30HomeGames mission would never feel whole if I never watched my Grit-'N'-Grind Grizzlies in person thus my impromptu jaunt. It's a brief trip but I have my fingers crossed the Grizzlies will come through.

Greetings from Memphis, Tennessee
Millington Mayhem 4 "United We Stand" (Apr 29 at N-82 gymnasium)
Real South Wrestling Federation (Apr 29 at 3715 South Perkins suite 21)

Jerry Lawler's BBQ
_ King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar & Grille
_ Grizzlies-branded court at 'Howze Park', Binghamton
_ Riverboat Gambling
Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken
- Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Western Conference

Memphis Grizzlies:
FedEx Forum
191 Beale Street Memphis,
Tennessee 38103

Game 3: Thursday Apr 20, 9:30pm
Game 4: Saturday Apr 22, 8pm
Game 6*: Thursday Apr 27 TBD

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee
Freedom Pro Wrestling

Zanies (Gary Gulman, Apr 27-29)
Third Roast Comedy Club

_ 'Master of None' Hits and Misses

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia
Relapse Theatre (Myq Kaplan, Apr 27)
Laughing Skull Lounge
Highwire Comedy Co.

_ Hawks-branded court at 'Welcome All Park', College Park
- Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks:
Philips Arena
1 Philips Drive,
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Game 3: Saturday Apr 22, 5:30pm
Game 4: Monday Apr 24, 8pm
Game 6*: Friday Apr 28 TBD

Related posts:
- Jalen Rose's City Power Rankings aka Black Guy City Power Rankings
- 30 Home Games mission: Southwest Division map
- All posts on the Memphis Grizzlies

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

LozinTransit trip to Texas, 2016: Spurs/Rockets/Mavs. Comedy, Wrestling and the US Election

<< crossposted on the 'Loz in Translation' blog

My maiden 30HomeGames road trip was a short getaway with friends, an East Coast jaunt at the start of 2015. I've just completed my second NBA journey, a month solo backpacking around Texas. On my first trip we rented a car and stayed in swanky accommodation. My recent outing was budget travel in the fashion I'm accustomed to, catching Public Transport and staying in hostels. It was quickly evident how impractical and atypical this was. Backpacker infrastructure in America isn't well developed, particularly outside the main metropolises. American Road Trips customarily involve rental cars and Motels, a function of how ingrained car culture is in the States.

#30HGsouthwest Texas Triangle
Oct 27 - Nov 23, 2016
My maiden 2015 visit was a more traditional American Road Trip. Whilst saving on comfort costs as part of a collective, I conversely found it more touristic. I wasn't able to indulge in as many of my passions and go down weird rabbitholes having to conform to the whims of the group. This Texas trip was more like my previous backpacking adventures. Going solo opened me up to more opportunities and connections. I sought out Comedy and Wrestling, hung with locals at their spots and got to explore Universities and sit in on a Megachurch. The clash of styles I experienced on my first two trips gives me perspective for future excursions and how to best balance the pros and cons.

Timing was crucial on this trip as I had a target of seeing all 8 Aussies in the NBA. I had a set itinerary of games to make which posed some restrictions. The 'ROH' wrestling show in Arlington were the only advanced tickets I purchased however so I wasn't beholden financially. Thankfully my calendar dovetailed nicely with several events. Notably Houston's 'Come and Take it' Comedy festival and 'Unelectable You' in Dallas. The latter a treat, realising the regional advertisements I'd heard on podcasts for months were suddenly applicable being in town.

I love these games
Playing Board Games was a new pastime I'd picked up last year and it translated well on the road. On my first night Stateside I attended a Games meetup and made new running mates which opened the door to many local experiences. I attended several parties for Halloween, experienced VR at a lavish house and finally participated in a Hash Run after being made aware of it years ago. I'd often tell people that basketball was great because while "you couldn't invite yourself over to dinner, you can with sports". The Board Game scene is similarly welcoming.

Whilst I value organic experiences, part of the 30HomeGames project is connecting with fellow hoopsheads and seeking unique fan experiences through Social Media. My first contact with the NBA was at Madison Square garden, the New York Knicks kindly hosting my friends and I to pre-game access. Whilst difficult to top, I was kindly welcomed by Rockets die-hard @00_rocketgirl and the 'Red Rowdies' cheer section to fire up the team. Particularly memorable as they're enjoying renewed success and celebrating their 50th Anniversary as a Franchise. Olajuwon and the Rockets were my first love when I began watching the NBA as a kid.

Part of the reason I traveled during that time was to witness the outcome of a Historic election. It gave the period a special sense of import. Austin, the only non-NBA destination for the trip was finally ticked off my bucket list being a big fan of local filmmakers Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez.

I'm undecided for my next NBA plan but with fingers crossed am plotting a quick return for the coming Playoffs. With my modest means (work leave and money) I can only manage one stateside trip per season but I'd make special exceptions to watch my Grizzlies make a Finals push. Prioritised for 2017 is AfroBasket in Congo-Brazzaville, which would complete the FIBA set. Having been to EuroBasket, FIBA Americas, FIBA Oceania and FIBA Asia biennial tournaments previously.

As for the NBA Home Games, 6 teams down and plenty more adventure to go :)

My NBA Trips so far:
East Coast 2015 (NYK, CLE, PHI)
- Coolspotting: 30HG '2015 NBA RoadTrip' Tip-off and Schedule (1 of 2)
- Coolspotting: 30HG '2015 NBA RoadTrip' Champagne and Campaign spots (2 of 2)
- LozinTransit in 2015: American Roadtrip, FIBA Oceania and Asia
- #30HomeGames in 2015: USA Roadtrip and being the Ultimate NBA fan

Texs Triangle 2016 (DAL, SAS, HOU)
- Texas Triangle 2016: NBA Roadtrip wishlist
- LozinTransit in Texas, 2016: Spurs/Rockets/Mavs. Comedy, Wrestling and the US Election

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Jalen Rose & David Jacoby on millennials and their relationship with Social Media

I've expressed my wariness of technology and it's ability to take us away from the moment. With the ubiquity of Smartphones its a constant battle deciding whether to log on or whip out the camera, a photographer once told me "to capture happiness, you have to be outside of it". When we derive joy from broadcasting our experiences it becomes an even trickier balancing act.
NBA alumn Jalen Rose describes the state of Society and Social Media to co-host David Jacoby using the Russell/Young viral video as a jumping off point. Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell foolishly broadcasted a private conversation of his teammate Nick Young discussing "men's business", this put him in an awkward spot with fiancĂ©e, rapper Iggy Azalea.

Jalen & Jacoby 12/28/16 - Best of Jalen and Jacoby Podcast JALEN ROSE: (7m 56s) I don't actually blame him [D'Angelo Russell]. I blame this era that has been highlighted by the Kardashians who have made a multi-billion dollar brand off of not necessarily being talented. And I don't blame them because they're the trendsetters. I blame all of the followers. People that think Social Media is gonna be your vehicle to your success. I don't care what your job or your career is. Its gonna be minuscule what Social Media pays you versus what that will pay you
DAVID JACOBY: What does that have to do with D'Angelo Russell though, he's getting paid to play basketball?
ROSE: Tupac said "I learnt to ignore what can't pay me". Now millennials are so worried about being appreciated and validated by what they post on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Periscope, Snapchat. So many different avenues, that what I'm doing in person and who I'm doing it with is not as relevant as who I want to see or acknowledge it on Social Media. A lot of young people now go to Social Media for gratification, for self-esteem, for support... 
Jalen & Jacoby on Social Media
Its a little counter-intuitive for Jalen to admonish fans for doing what they love as their own 'Jalen & Jacoby' program first began as a passion project on the Grantland network. The labour of love netted them a following which earned the duo a primetime Radio spot and TV show. Technology has democratized the media allowing everyone the chance to offer their own analysis, from commenting on messageboards to creating their own Sports Talk show.
JACOBY: Obviously we're talking about the video that somehow found it's way on the internet of Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell recording a private conversation between him and Nick Young that has then blown up his relationship with Pop Star Iggy Azalea and also allegedly blown up the Lakers locker room with the other Lakers freezing out D'Angelo Russell...
I completely disagreed with you at first when you blamed the Kardashians and Social Media however you said something that I definitely agree with you with. What's happening now today is that the conversation you're having, the experience that you're having is somehow not good enough. You need to record it and share it with every single person you know. And I think that's what this is...
Outings and Eats with @30HomeGames
Its a tightrope I've had to walk since launching IG @30HomeGames 134 weeks ago. I retired my Sydney content after 2 years but during its heyday I was on an obsessive hunt for hoops-inspired shots. On the flipside, it catalyzed me to be active socially and culturally, I just needed to redress the balance between being an observer and actor in my own life.
ROSE: For D'Angelo Russell, while it was irresponsible. While it was immature and a flagrant foul he highlights what happens daily. Young people go to Social Media for appreciation and for validation. What I'm doing at the Dinner table, what I'm doing at the house, what I'm doing at my job isn't enough for me. I don't feel as confident till I post it. I need everyone else to tell me that I look good, that I sound good. And a lot of times these are people that don't know what they're talking about. You're taking opinions from a lot of people that are not necessarily experts in the field that you're trying to get validated for. And you're spending time on Social Media and its not paying you a dime. Social Media isn't paying you millennials anything. When are you gonna wake up?
JACOBY: I love millennials and I'm gonna back millennials any chance I can because there are a lot of millennials that up there profile through their Social Media persona, there are people that get jobs because of their Social Media persona
My IG despite lukewarm numbers has netted me great friendships and experiences. It got me a memorable maiden NBA Arena experience with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. On my recent trip to Texas, I was welcomed by @00_rocketgirl  and enjoyed a Rockets game alongside their Red Rowdies cheer section. Harnessed correctly, Social Media can make the world feel smaller and connects like-minded folks together.
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