Basketball

F*ck you, he explained

Featured image Adrian Wojnarowski reports on basketball for ESPN. He became a media star by breaking big stories (as NBA news goes), the way Adam Schefter does with the NFL but probably more so. His tweets of major NBA news are called “Woj bombs.” To drop these bombs, Wojnarowski relies on league sources, including players and team executives. His sources could give the information to any of a number of reporters, but »

A man ahead of his time

Featured image Yesterday, I wrote about how some top high school basketball players are talking about choosing to play at historically black colleges, rather than at schools with top basketball programs. One highly-rated prospect just committed to Howard University, reportedly turning down Kentucky, Oregon, and Memphis, among others. I assume that most black basketball players have always considered the extent to which the colleges that recruit them will provide a good, comfortable »

Will top black athletes opt for HBCUs? Will top black students?

Featured image Trevor Keels will be a senior guard next season on the powerhouse high school basketball team Paul VI in Fairfax, Virginia. Keels is a five-star recruit and ranks among the top 25 high school players in the class of 2021. Reportedly, he’s being recruited by the likes of Duke, Virginia, Villanova, and Michigan. The Washington area high school league Keels participates in has sent players to all of these schools »

Slogans from the poorly educated

Featured image According to this report, the NBA will allow its players to replace the last name on the back of their jerseys with a statement on “social justice.” To me, this is more offensive than permitting a one-time gesture — kneeling, a clinched fist, whatever — at the beginning of an athletic contest. Watching some ill-educated 20-something who attended a basketball factory university for a year or two run up and »

Wes Unseld and what might have been

Featured image In reading tributes to the late Wes Unseld, I learned that Adolph Rupp, the racist coach at the University of Kentucky, wanted to make Unseld the first black member of his team. Indeed, Rupp tried very hard to recruit Big Wes. Unseld, an outstanding student on top of everything else, was recruited by top programs throughout the country. But he was a Kentucky native and quite interested in playing at »

Does fan noise affect the games? A former player’s take.

Featured image For a while, it looked like major sports leagues and tournaments would proceed despite the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, but with no fans admitted. This plan ended when players, coaches, and referees were found to have been infected by the virus. I did watch one German soccer match played without fans. It was a Rhine derby between arch rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Köln (Cologne). Fans called this a “ghost match” »

Major conferences cancel basketball tournaments [UPDATE: “March Madness” is canceled too]

Featured image All five of college basketball’s so-called Power 5 Leagues have canceled their tournaments due to the coronavirus. The five conferences are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12. The Big East, which is comparable in the quality of its basketball to some of the Power 5 Leagues is proceeding for now with its tournament, which began yesterday. [NOTE: The Big East has now canceled its tournament.) Other conferences »

The lives Morgan Wootten touched

Featured image The late Morgan Wootten didn’t just help shape the lives of his basketball players and history students at DeMatha Catholic. He touched thousands of lives through his annual basketball camp. According to this report, Wootten didn’t just preside over the camp. He lived in the dorms with campers and ate meals with them. A friend who was an outstanding high school basketball player has first-hand knowledge of Wootten’s camp. He »

Morgan Wootten, RIP

Featured image Dean Smith called him “the best coach I’ve ever seen.” John Wooden said of him, “I know of no finer coach at any level, high school, college or pro.” Morgan Wootten, the subject of this praise, died yesterday at the age of 88. Wootten coached basketball at DeMatha for 46 years. His teams won 1,274 games and lost 192. He was the first basketball coach who coached only at the »

2019 in reading

Featured image Every year at around this time, my friend Tevi Troy provides his list of books he recommends. I have found his recommendations to be sound and sometimes inspired. Here is Tevi’s list for 2019. For me, this year in reading centered around my travels to Austria, Croatia, and England. Every country’s history interests me, but I found that of Austria (and its associated empires) to be especially intriguing. I highly »

NBA television ratings plummet

Featured image These days, televised sports on Christmas center on the NBA. Five of its games were shown today. College football took the day off. So did big time soccer. There were a few college basketball games on television, but none of note. For me, this nearly meant a day off from watching sports on the tube. I caught only the last ten minutes of the NBA’s marquee game between the Clippers »

Lebron James, Useful Idiot, Part 2 [Updated]

Featured image Paul wrote earlier today about Lebron James’s ill-informed and self-interested comments on Chinese oppression of the residents of Hong Kong, and Daryl Morey’s free speech rights. One of my kids noted this lampooning of James by Barstool Sports, on Instagram. Barstool pulls no punches: “In honor of Lebron denouncing freedom of speech…” When you’re being criticized by sources as disparate as Power Line and Barstool Sports, it is probably time »

Lebron James, useful idiot

Featured image Lebron James has weighed in on the controversy over the expression by the Houston Rockets’ general manager of sympathy for the people of Hong Kong, and on the NBA’s reaction thereto. James accused the GM, Daryl Morey, of thinking only about himself. James said: [A]t times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, when you only think about yourself. I don’t want »

Charles Barkley weighs in on NBA and China

Featured image Charles Barkley claims that those who criticize the NBA for not taking a stance on China are hypocrites (and worse). He says people ripped Colin Kaepernick for taking a stance on race relations and the police in America, yet want the NBA and its players to take positions about what happens in a foreign country. Barkley is wide of the mark. First, Kaepernick was ripped not for taking a position »

Steve Kerr, useful idiot [UPDATED]

Featured image Steve Kerr coaches the Golden State Warriors. He’s an outstanding basketball coach and, dating back to his days as a player and then an analyst on television, always struck me as a good guy. Early on, Kerr became a strident critic of President Trump. That’s okay. It’s his right. I don’t believe in “shut up and coach.” However, this doesn’t mean that anyone should take Kerr’s critique of Trump, or »

NBA stars affirm love for China

Featured image When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn came to the U.S. after years of captivity in the USSR, he professed amazement at how U.S. journalists who had exhibited cowardice when in the Soviet Union were posing as courageous lions of the press in the more congenial setting of the United States. I get the same feeling about the National Basketball Association. The NBA poses as a beacon of woke liberalism when it comes to »

Don’t expect USA Basketball to bring us together

Featured image A headline in the sports section of the Washington Post (paper edition) declares: “Popovich and Kerr hope U.S. team is unifying force.” The reference is to Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who are coaching USA Basketball in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. I assume the Post’s headline was written without irony. In reality, USA basketball couldn’t have selected two coaches less likely to be a unifying force. Popovich and Kerr »