Sunday, August 27

Weird Suggestion From An Old Hockey Writer

The Aug 25th column of Toronto Sun's hockey writer Al Strachan provided an interesting topic in an otherwise quiet Raptorland . In his column the man the Raptor Nation now called Weirder Al suggested that the Maple Leaf Sports And Entertainment (MLSE) , the owner of both the Maple Leaf hockey and Raptors franchises , kills the basketball franchise to boost the Leafs. ! He said ' to dump that money losing operation known as the Raptors to lower the hockey ticket price by 10% '. How Weirder Al arrived at that conclusion puzzles me in as much as MLSE is a private company and such no financial records are available . He further added that ' the building is half empty when the Raptors team play and no one outside Toronto cares about the Raptors . Again , Weirder Al ignores the fact that the only NBA team outside the US is no.11 in NBA attendance at 17,000 people per game .

Basketball fans in Canada always get this occasional ' basketball bashing ' . One time a popular Canadian writer put the number of Raptors fans at 20,000 or something as if they are minimal and they don't matter . This was at the height of the team's popularity when the Vince Carter led Raptors battled the 76ers to a 7 game playoff . These old hockey writers cannot accept anything besides their Maple Leafs . They seem to live in a time warp when there is nothing on TV , radio and sports talk show but hockey .Well , I've got news for these dinosaurs. Basketball is now as popular as hockey amongst the Canadian youth of today . That's the demographic that the advertisers cater to . Al 'Sipowich' Strachan should stick to hockey related topics in his writings .

Naismith : Al , it's now year 2006 .
NYPD Blues is off the air ! Wake up

Thursday, August 24

Mr. Bosh Turning Into Mr. Bush

Prior to the Team USA game vs Senegal this morning in which the Raptors forward/center registered a double double . Chris Bosh was completely ' missing in action '. Many Raptors fans were truly dissapointed with his performance or non performance as part of Team USA. Bosh was completely overshadowed by his 2003 NBA Draft batchmates -Dwade , LBJ , Melo and Captain Kirk . Toronto Star's Chris Young called Bosh The Incredible Shrinking Man in his blog for the papers. Bosh had an average of 1.8 ppg in 12 mpg playing time in 3 games . He had one DNP and looked completely lost in the team's play .

Actually it was not Chris fault that the Raptors Nation expects a lot from him. One former Raptor , Vince Carter, made that year's version of Team USA his showcase . Remember that electrifying dunk VC executed after jumping over the head of Frenchman Frederick Weiss . Jason Kidd who was VC's teammate in that Olympic team said ' it was the most spectacular play he has seen '. Incidentally , Weiss is playing for the French team in this world championship. The constant blabbering of Raptors announcer, Chuck Swirsky , did not help Bosh's cause either. Listening to homeboy Chuck , one would think that Bosh is the second coming of Celtics great Bill Russell. During last NBA season , Bosh was evidently not ready for prime time yet despite being named to the league's All Star . In the Raptors close games , he served mostly as an observer to Mike James , who took the big shots . Let's hope that the high expectations are toned down into more realistic ones . Otherwise Bosh will be as unpopular as Bush , his fellow Texan !

Bush : 30% popularity rating ,
will make a good average in the NBA !

Thursday, August 17

The Dilemna Facing Asian Ballers

The lopsided result of prevous night's game between South Korea vs. Team USA highlighted the 'real' problem facing Asian ballers - lack of height . Althought young generations of Japanese, Koreans , Chinese and Filipinos are sprouting like mushrooms , these youngsters still lag behind their western counterparts . The Chinese has an advantage in this area because there is large pool of players to choose from (see previous post) . The only other large source of big ballers in Asia is India. India's population is almost as big as China with some parts of it producing extra tall people. However , it's basically a cricket country which obviously is a British influence . Let's see if KG's recent trip there produces some results. The Middle Estern countries although some of them are producing ' big breeds ' are soccer crazy nations.

Ed Macauley the former NBA great who used to conduct clinics in Asia years ago was asked by a Filipino sportswriter if Asians have a chance to be a power in basketball . Easy Ed supposedly replied ' A good small team can beat a tall team ' . That's another problem . The tall team is also good if not better ! Legendary us coach Hank Iba once called the Filipinos the ' best baller pound for pound '. In the Rome Olympics , its national team held the US Team composed of Jerry West , Big O and 8 other future NBAers ( this US Olympic team was considered the best team outside of the Dream Teams ) to a 25 points margin ! After facing the futility of the situation years after that statement was made , the Philippines began recruiting Filipino-Americans to play for the country . Now it's national team is composed mainly of former US NCAA Players. This is the best thing Asians can do rather than adopt the Nazi's selective breeding . Yao Ming some say is the result of that ( an extra tall Mom and Dad ) .

Iba : Let's show these dwarfs !

Tuesday, August 8

China , The Next Basketball Superpower !

It's obvious that basketball has grown exponentially in China the past few years. No doubt , Houston Rockets' Yao Ming helps in spreading the popularity of the sports in the country with a population approaching the 2 billion mark . The number of basketball playing or watching afficianados is estimated to equal the whole population of USA ! No wonder , David Stern , the marketing genius he is , saw the potential of the Chinese market years ahead and established NBA, Asia way before other major US sports . ' China is the 2nd biggest market of the NBA ' said Stern . Do I see a dollar sign in that smile of yours commish ? Make that yuan sign !

I remember China lagging behind Asian basketball powers such as Korea and the Philippines in early 70s . The Chinese players were tall even then but very mechanical. Now, they lord it over Asian basketball. What's the reason behind the rise of China ? Widespread popularity of the game . ' Basketball used to be behind soccer in popularity but now it's pulling at level ' said Hu Jiashi of Chinese Basketball Association. The Chinese government encourages the growth of the game because it is a relatively simple and cheap sports. I won't be surprised if China's ally , North Korea , is encouraging it too. You see , its dictator , Kim Jong Il wants to watch NBA Basketball. He is said to own all of Michael Jordan's games in tapes. Maybe MJ can help in the present missile crisis with N. Korea.
Almost all the Chinese students studying English here in Niagara region know how to play the game . ' Ah , yes , Yao Ming ' is the common answer I get from them as soon as I mention the baller's name . If only these students can play basketball like they can play mahjong .

Kim : Give MJ . me give up missiles !

Sunday, August 6

Team USA Needs An Outside Shooter ?

The next few days , the USA basketball team will have the opportunity to see how the team will fare in the department that served as the downfall of the Athens team . Outside shooting . I remembered how Starbury , Iverson and the rest of the guys struggled against the opposition because of poor outside shooting . ' The shooting of the men's basketball team was not a threat. Most of the time , that teams were collapsing their defenses against them ' said one analyst before. No one in that Olympic line up shot consistently from the outside . Add the brewing controversy between coach Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury , the team was doomed .You can say that the Knicks problem started even then with Marbury unable to satisfy Larry Brown's point guard requirements. ' He calls me every night to discuss the previous game's performance ' said Isiah Thomas then . I don't know why these 3 chose to come together in the Knicks organization after the Olympics . They should have nicked the Knicks problem even then !
' The team is in desperate need of one more shooter ' said Stephen A. Smith in this Sunday's ESPN Reporters . All are OK with the team, even the coaching it seems , except that . Coach K is handling the team well so far . ' It is about the players . Dwayne , LeBron and Carmelo are in the limelight . Not coach Brown ' added one . ' The team must add Michael Redd in the line up ' Smith added . Oh well , coach K will surely address this weakness. There is a lot of good shooters left off the team. If not , there is the ' baseline shooter ' still at large in Phoenix . Calling Team USA president , Jerry Colangelo who is from that area.

Coach K : Get me that shooter !

Tuesday, August 1

Charlie V's New Motivation

I was surprised to see Charlie Villanueva on NBA TV tonite . He was with fellow UConn player and now Chicago Bull , Ben Gordon . The 2 were there for the special show on the release of the NBA schedule of the coming season .
When asked how he felt when he heard of the trade involving him and TJ Ford of the Milwaukee Bucks ? ' I was surprised at first and after some time, I felt it was good for me . I think I will improve in Milwaukee considering we have Bogut . Redd and Smith . The team will also improve now that I'm there . I am no longer a rookie ' said the runner up to rookie of the year awardee , Chris Paul. Sounds like Charlie V is warning all , especially the Raptors , of his coming explosion !
Charlie V has been practicing his 3 pt. shot this summer and he said that this coming season , he will shoot even better . ' A lot of people were surprised that you can shoot outside ' said Frank Isola of NY Post . When asked if he prefers playing 3 or 4 , Charlie V said he'll play both positions depending on what the coach wants. ' I'm blessed to be 6'10 and to be able to play outside ' he added. If you remember . Charlie scored a rookie high 49 pts. against his current team last season. You can tell that there is still hurt in Charlie V's voice because Toronto traded him . He will surely play aagain with chip on his shoulders .
Last year , it was Stephen Smith who served as Charlie V's motivation .
This year , it is Bryan Colangelo !

BC : Charlie V . V is for Vendetta !