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Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

Life is no brief candle to me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
   ―    George Bernard Shaw
[Although I grew up a Warriors and Celtics fan and therefor detested all things “Lakers”,  I have never really been able to “hate on” any of the specific Laker players.  To be honest, except when they were playing my two teams, I usually looked forward to watching the Lakers – from Chamberlain and “the Streak”, through Kareem / Magic and “Showtime”, and on down through Shaq and Kobe.  Due to his competitive nature, I feel Kobe was never able to find rest in this life.  Even before fully retiring from the game he was transitioning his brand and his businesses in order to be “the best” at those, too.  Sometimes that is the price you must pay to be the very best at your profession.  I hope he can find that rest now.  But I bet he’s trying to get a one-on-one going with Wilt…
Thanks for the memories!  R.I.P. Kobe Bryant   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Looks A Lot Like #45
2018 Trying To Stay Young
2017 Seems Reasonable To Me
2016 We Can Get Through This Together (In Time)
2015 How Long Is A Piece Of String?
2014 Heathen, n.
2013 Wisdom’s Folly
2012 When The Student Is Ready
Disconnected Leadership
2011 The Complex Richness Of Life

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I have missed more than 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, on 26 occasions been entrusted to take the game winning shot — and missed.  I have failed over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.
    —    Michael Jordan
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On This Day In:
2018 Praise God
2017 Necessary Gaps
2016 Nor My Dogs
2015 Say What?
I’m A Dog, Too!
Beginnings
2014 Astonishing Choices
2013 Three Hard Tasks
2012 The Only Remains
2011 Personal Capability
What Price Failure?
Both Of W’s Elections
Tea (Baggers) Anyone?

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The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA”  –  book review
On Wednesday (11 May 2018), I finished reading “The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA”  (2009©)  – written by: Chris Ballard.  The game in question is basketball and not soccer – which is what I assumed the book would be about until I opened it.  My copy did not come with the dust cover and the sub-title is not on the binding.  Oh, well…
This book is a blend of various types of sports authorship: part biography, part techniques and skills, part biology, part X’s and O’s and part psycho-babble.  Interestingly, the blend worked and the book ends up an entertaining and interesting (if not particularly useful) read.  Sometimes a hard childhood makes a superstar, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes “just” being superb at individual skills and techniques will elevate you to superstar status, most times it doesn’t.  Most times being a biological freak will get you into the league – even if it is not enough to make you a superstar.  And, it appears, sometimes superstars are cerebral.  Unfortunately, the book doesn’t confirm (or prove) ALL superstars are cerebral or that average and not-quite-superstar players are not equally cerebral (thoughtful about their game / skills).  And, because correlation does not prove causation, we can’t know if being cerebral makes a player a superstar.  Causation appears unlikely, though.
The book breaks down the “art” of the game into twelve particular skill sets / attributes the author wants to describe, including: “killer instinct”, pure shooting, free throws, defense, rebounding, blocking shots and being big.  There are five other specifics, but these (listed) are representative of the book.  Each chapter uses interviews with one or two active players – active as of the time of writing or the decade immediately prior – (2009 or the 1990’s) to relate the star to the author’s proposed “art“.  Through first person interviews and interviews with teammates and coaches, we get a feel for what makes the “superstars” truly super.  It turns out: great genes, desire, practice, coaching and attention to detail, and luck are all it takes to be great.  (Sarcasm: “WHO would have guessed?”)
So, is the book any good and was it worth my time reading it?  Yes, and yes.  The author played basketball at a much lower level and what clearly comes across is his love for the game and his feelings (not so subtle) that, “If only…”  This is a feeling which almost everyone who has seriously participated in any sport can relate to – particularly if you too “loved” your sport.
Final recommendation: strong recommendation.  I tend to read books (history, sports, biographies and science books) to scratch a particular itch.  While I can’t say I learned anything generally about sport or basketball, or anything specifically about skills and techniques in this book, I did thoroughly enjoy reading about the players and their views on their skills and sport.  Sometimes, just reading about passion for a subject is enough to make a subject more interesting than the book about the subject itself really ought to be.  It’s the difference between “love for the game” and diagrams of X’s and O’s.  This book scratches the first itch, even if it pretty much ignores the second.  I got the book at Half-Priced Books for $2.  Well, worth the cost and the time – particularly if you like hoops.  (Unashamedly, I do!)
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On This Day In:
2017 The Voice Of Experience
2016 Who And When
2015 Change Process
2014 What Is Still Possible
2013 Strength Is There
2012 Beyond Reasonable Doubt
2011 Celebrating Values
2010 Is it just me, or is it suddenly dark around here?
Dance!

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Golden State Warriors Sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals!!!

Image of Dubs are 2018 NBA Champs Baseball Cap

Dubs are 2018 NBA Champs

Congrats to the Golden State Warriors on winning the 2018 NBA Finals in a four game sweep.  Game 1: Close, but won in OT.  Game 2: all Steph.  Game 3: all KD.  Game 4: too much of KD and Steph in blow-out “no-mas” victory to end the series.  Two titles in a row!  Oh, my!  There goes those Dubs!
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On This Day In:
2017 The Best?
2016 Timely Opinions On “The Donald”
Even Allowing For Coincidence
2015 First Things First
2014 Without The Other
2013 Earn This
Seeking A View
2012 Stumblin’ Along My Way
We’re Proud Of You, Jr!
Union Card
Two Philosophies
2011 Simply Unpredictable

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Image of Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors

Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors

This Warriors appearance in the NBA finals (together with the Cleveland Cavaliers) will mark the first time in NBA history the same two teams have competed against each other for four consecutive Finals.  The Golden State Warriors are 2 of 3 in the series so far.  The only loss came in the 2016 series when the Cav’s came back (for the only time in NBA history) from a 3-1 deficit to win 4 games to 3.  Either way it (the Finals) goes, NBA history is being made before our eyes.  Go Dubs!!!  Bring the O’Brien Trophy home again, Splash Brothers.  Make it rain!
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On This Day In:
2017 And Yet I’m Still Having Fun
2016 I See Coincidence Everywhere
CA3: Civil War
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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There are days when you can’t get the ball in the basket, no matter how hard you try.  But there is no excuse for not playing good defense.
   —  An Anonymous Basketball Coach
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On This Day In:
2017 Winning So Much I’m Already Tired Of It (Not)
2016 Punishing Red Binge
2015 Bits In The Soup
2014 More Beef, Less Bull
2013 Where Are Your Mountains
2012 Spherical Knowledge Of Hamsters
2011 Taking Stock Over Time

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“Rimmed Out” – in basketball, when a shot at the basket rolls around the rim and then comes out as a “miss / failed attempt”, it has rimmed out.
This review is for the Sci-Fi / action movie: “Pacific Rim“.  Other than some mildly interesting special effects, this is an entirely forgettable “dinosaur like creatures fight humans in giant robot suits” – and the humans win to save the Earth.  (Who would have guessed that?)
I was interested in seeing this movie at the theater because it received a write-up in Wired magazine.  The magazine discussed the possibility of making / using such suits – unlikely to impossible.
Not the worst movie I’ve seen in this genre, but I’m glad I borrowed the DVD and didn’t pay for tickets.  I’d probably have a lower rating if I’d lost the time AND paid money for the “privilege” of seeing this movie.  Final recommendation: low.  Skip this unless you really have nothing else to do, in which case, suspend all reason / thought and try to enjoy the special effects.
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On This Day In:
2013 Likeness
2012 Sums It Up Quite Well, Actually
2011 Momentary Abandonment

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Sometimes, but not often, you can hear the sound of perfection.  Sometimes perfection is felt.  More rarely (I believe), it’s both heard and felt.
I don’t play golf, but I do enjoy going to the driving range to bang out a bucket.  Every now and then – for me it’s about once every 100-150 balls – you can get a “perfect” drive.  The swing is easy.  The ball is struck cleanly and true.  You hear a certain “ping” sound that comes to your ears almost as much as it travels up the club and through your arms.  And the ball jumps away from you straight and far.  It doesn’t happen often (for me anyway), but it explains completely why some folks LOVE golf.
For other folks, it’s the sound of the ball/net when a basketball goes through at just the right angle to miss the rim but not get hung up in the net.  It’s a “swish” sound.  It’s not the “bump” sound of off the backboard or the “bong” sound when the ball goes in but catches a bit of the rim.  Sometimes, even, when the ball falls through, just so, there’s almost no sound at all.  But for me, it’s that “swish” sound that makes the “perfect” shot sound.
In running (or jogging), when you’re on a gravel track and you’re “floating” along in your run, there’s a certain “crush / squishy” sound your feet make.  It’s kind of like a cross between walking on icy snow (“crunch”) or autumn leaves (“crush”) on your driveway.  You can hear (in the background) your breathing and the sounds of anyone you’re running with, but it’s that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound from your feet – coming up to your ears through your body as much as through actual sound – that makes running feel perfect.
By now you’re probably wondering what is the point of this post?  Well, today I went out and bought a couple of pairs of running shoes to reward myself for …  well, for nothing in particular.  If you know me, you know I buy books, books and more books – and occasionally – running shoes.  Anyway, today I picked up a pair of Reebok SmoothFlex Ride 3.0 running shoes.
My New Keds

My New ‘Boks

They are mostly greyish/black with a little bit of orange thread for trim.  Well, being a S.F. Giants fan, all things Orange and Black call out to me.  Soooo….
Lacing them up, I went out for a spin around the local schoolyard to break them in.  In honesty, I was not expecting much.  I’ve never owned a pair of Reeboks before and of late, the last five years or so, I’ve been kind of a “minimalist” shoe user.  I tend to buy cheap or garish.  The “cheap” shoes I use for jogging and working out in.  The garish shoes I wear as fashion statements.  What?  You don’t think old men make fashion statements? (LOL)  (By “minimalist” I mean “water” shoes, after a few goes with “FiveFingers”.)
Shock of my life!!  Within five steps I heard that “cooush, cooush, cooush” sound coming from my feet.  As I’ve not heard that sound in nearly forty years, my body kind of lurched with shock as I looked down at my feet.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am no longer a “runner”.  Heck, I’m not even a “jogger”.  I consider myself to be a “slogger” – that’s a very slow jogger.  But, never-the-less, there was that sound.  I began grinning from ear to ear and just settled into that joyous feeling of remembering what it was like to be young (again).  I have NO idea how this sound is being created because I was jogging on asphalt, not a gravel track, but this shoe has “perfect sound” marketing for me.
I will try to do a fuller review after I’ve had them out for a few more jogs and then a final review after I’ve worn them out.  By the way, I picked them up at my local Big5 Sporting Goods store.  Still the best value for money, general purpose, sporting goods store in our area.  You can follow my attempt to get back into “slogging” by checking out my “Sweat Equity” page for the first quarter of 2014.  (And wish me luck…!)
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On This Day In:
2013 Still Waiting For Answers
2012 Informal Leadership
2011 A Little More Progress
2010 Bec’s Gone Again…

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