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March 1, 2009

Pictures – President Obama Goes To The Wizards v Bulls Basketball Game

president-obama-waves-arrives-wash-wizards-bulls-2-27-09 On Friday, February 27 President Obama and friend Marty Nesbitt watched the Washington Wizards play the Chicago Bulls at the Verizon Center in Washington.

Obama earned cool points for watching the game from a courtside seat rather than in a luxury box. The Wizards and Bulls took the court for the opening tip but were sent back to the bench because a large crowd of cameramen had spilled onto the court as they waited for the President to enter.  After a three-minute delay President Obama entered from a nearby tunnel to a thunderous standing ovation from the crowd of 18,114 and took his seat.  The Wizards and Bulls joined in the applause and Washington’s Nick Young and JaVale McGee stood on their seats to get a better look at number 44.

president-obama-speaks-young-basketball-fan-supporter-2-27-09 He sat next to 5 year old DC native Nicholas Aiello. Obama and Aiello chatted several times during the game.

president-obama-speaks-wizard-bulls-2-27-09 Obama wore a black collarless shirt and a black sport coat and remained in his courtside seat until just before halftime and returned just after the start of the third quarter.

President Obama entertained his hometown Bulls at the White House on Thursday and received a Number 44 jersey from the team.

President Obama left with 4:26 to go in the 4th quarter with the Wizards up 103-86. As he left the crowd gave him another standing ovation.

president-obama-shakes-hand-2-27-09  president-obama-wizards-bulls-2-27-09  president-obama-marty-nesbitt-2-27-09-beer1

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February 2, 2009

LeBron James – The World’s Greatest Basketball Player SCHOOLS GQ Staffers

lebron2  My nine year old nephew Elijah (a H-U-G-E Kobe fan!) will vehemently disagree with the title of this post.  But Elijah, Auntie is merely using GQ’s words. 

I LOVE GQ magazine.  Even though it’s a “men’s” magazine I rarely miss a month.  This is a well written piece that had me living vicariously through the “GQ 6” and it had me chuckling to the end.  I’m with my nephew – I think Kobe is totally awesome, but so is LeBron :-).

Six pale, earthbound desk jockeys from GQ challenged the greatest basketball player on earth, also known as LeBron James, to a game of basketball at the time and place of his choosing. Unfortunately, the challenge was accepted

In retrospect, obviously, it was too good to be true, but in the grip of the fantasy we didn’t see it that way. We spent long stretches of our workdays talking about how there are five of us and only one of him, or how Trent and Will are nearly as tall as he is, or how one man, I don’t care if he is the greatest basketball player on earth, can only cover so much ground. It’s not like he’s a Transformer.

Andy, our executive editor/player-coach/liaison to LeBron’s publicist and the Cavaliers’ PR folks, sent us the following e-mail in late November: “It is on. Team GQ will be traveling from New York City to Cleveland, Ohio (in a van, make and model to be determined), on Sunday, December 7. We will be playing LeBron James, five-on-one, at 1 p.m. on Monday, December 8, at the Cavs practice facility. I repeat: It. Is. ON.”

The predictable flurry of YouTube clips soon followed—LeBron dunking from the free-throw line, LeBron blocking a shot by Chris Duhon all the way out to half-court, LeBron taking flight from ten feet out and throwing down a dunk of such unrestrained fury over Damon Jones that it will forever be the most memorable moment of Jones’s NBA career. Again, Andy via e-mail: “If we’re lucky, he’ll just jump over us, and we won’t suffer the indignity of taking his junk square in the face.”

But then Adam started in with the X’s and O’s—how we need to force LeBron left, how three-pointers are his Achilles’ heel, and how he, Adam Rapoport, style editor at Gentlemen’s Quarterly and occasional wearer of skinny white jeans, was prepared to take the charge if LeBron drove into the lane. Over the next week or so, as plans solidified (we would be driving to Cleveland not in a van but in an Escalade, a hybrid Escalade!), the delusional chatter continued. There was even talk at one point of “allowing” him a teammate—one of his Akron boys, maybe—because five-on-one couldn’t possibly be a game, and it would be kind of embarrassing if we beat him too handily. At the very least, we all agreed (with the exception of Andy, who is always the voice of reason, and Fred, who’s been around longer than the rest of us and possesses a veteran’s hard-earned wisdom): Mr. Chosen One was going to have to work to make it a game. We weren’t driving eight hours to look like a bunch of assclowns.

you can see the Nike billboard from the interstate. LeBron’s massive, striated arms outstretched, a faint halo of chalk dust surrounding him as he gazes skyward. It’s ten stories high and 212 feet wide and dominates the eastern face of the Sherwin-Williams building, which is basically across the street from Quicken Loans Arena, or the Q, where the Cavs play their home games. Last year, federal officials tried to force the city to take it down because it violates the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which apparently forbids a billboard from being within 660 feet of a major highway. (Technically, the dispute was over a previous version of the banner, an equally stunning if less messianic image of LeBron in midflight, the ball cocked high above his head.) But to his great credit, Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland, refused to remove the billboard, referring to it as a “beautiful display of commercial art” that the people of Cleveland have the rare and wonderful opportunity to enjoy. He’s got that right. It’s also a bit of a reality check if you happen to be among a group of magazine editors arriving in the frigid city at night and pulling over to the side of the road to take in just how physically awesome the man is whom you’ll be playing against the next day. Let’s just say it makes you question some things.

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November 26, 2008

Basketball: The New York Knicks And LeBron James – What A Perfect Combination!

05* The crowd at ‘The Garden’ greeted number 23 with an ovation worthy of a King. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Spike Lee and other celebrities in the audience gave the night a big-game feel and Madison Square Garden sure like heck has not looked or sounded this good in years.

King James left the Garden Tuesday night with a message for Knicks fans, “You have to stay open-minded,” he said, referring to July 1, 2010 when he becomes a free agent.

As if there’s a single Knick fan out there who would oppose him coming to New York in 20 months. Heck no, we want LeBron in NYC! We can’t wait for his homecoming!

But that’s not the issue. It’s all about whether James wants to come to New York to play for a Knick team that right now doesn’t even exist. There’s no starting five. No bench. There’s just a team president with a game plan and all kinds of cap space to see it become reality, along with a coach who James calls “an offensive mastermind.”

That’s not a lot to sell, but that can change in an instant. It’s not as if James would want to join the current Knicks team, anyway. The Knicks were pathetic Tuesday night as they worked in two new players – Tim Thomas and Al Harrington – against one of the East’s top teams.

Mike D’Antoni wasted his time and money getting a technical near halftime. “When you get beat by 30,” he said later, “it’s OK.”

Actually, the final margin was 18, 119-101, but it did seem like a 30-point loss. With James scoring effortlessly and the Knicks a study in chaos, this was one was over after about 13 minutes. There must have been a time in the fourth quarter, when James did not play, when he must have wondered what he’ll be coming to in 2010 if he leaves Cleveland.

Beyond James, Knicks president Donnie Walsh’s strategy can be summed up in two words: Think big.  Big as in a quality big man who can help get the Knicks back to title contention.

lebron-james-1 While James flirted with Knicks fans, Walsh won’t even concede that James will be free in two years, let alone be the top player on his board.

“It’s two years from now and guys are playing on other teams,” he said. “A lot of things can happen between now and then.”

But one thing almost certainly won’t change. Walsh will try his best to find a big man to pair with James.

He doesn’t have to be the second coming of Patrick Ewing but he can’t be a stiff.  As Walsh explained, “I’ve always thought that you had to have a really good big man to have a great team.”

The NBA has become more and more of a wing player’s league, with James and Kobe and Paul and all the rest. But you still need a dominant big man to win. Just as the Celtics had last June with Kevin Garnett, and as the vast majority of champions almost always have.

“I think you have to have a big guy who can do the real important things,” Walsh said the other day. “Scoring, maybe. To me, it’s more about rebounding and blocking shots and providing the intimidation inside. You need those things to contend.”

The beauty of the deals Walsh made last week is that he’ll have plenty of money for James and a big man.

“It’s a huge advantage when you’ve got a great big man,” Walsh said. “When you have a guy like that, you can really succeed.”

The success will come when James signs a long-term deal at the Garden.

lebron-james-2 If you need to keep an open mind for that event, you officially need help. 🙂

 

August 9, 2008

Olympics: Let The Games Begin!!! (See Times and Schedules)

Let the games begin!!!

I am no fan of the Chinese government – no way, nee, nu, bus hi, daong, na, nyet! (No in several languages).

But I am a lover of sports.  Yes I am!  But as a form of my own silent protest, because of the inhumanity of the Chinese government and in empathy for the Chinese citizens, I will not watch the Olympics.

 It’s painful – I very much want to watch the US basketball teams (men and women), gymnastics, volleyball, swimming and of course track and field.  In particular the 100m and 200m (go King and Lightening!!!). 

I will however follow the results on-line and in the news. If you plan on watching and aren’t sure of ‘the hot events’, try to watch Lopez Lamont (USA) 800m – he’s one of the lost boys of Sudan and his story is inpirational and shows that if we how we love each other and leave the fears behind we will make the world a better place.

Those of you who will watch to honor and support the brilliant athletes of the world who have trained and sacrificed for years and years and have the opportunity to represent themselves and their countries, another must watch event is the Men’s 100m and 200m where America and Jamaica will go head-to-head.  Both races promises to be spectacular. And if you can, don’t miss any of the men’s basketball games.

Just in case you’re wondering what the time difference is between Beijing and your local time:

 

Beijing

 

7 hours ahead of London

8:00pm

1:00pm BST London

12 hours ahead of New York

8:00pm

8:00am EST NY

13 hours ahead of Texas

8:00pm

7:00am CST TX

15 hours ahead of LA

8:00pm

5:00am PST CA

To find out what time it is in Beijing, check out the World Clock.

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August 6, 2008

Olympics – Basketball: Redeem Team Arrives in Beijing With 5-0 Record

 The ‘Redeem Team’ wrapped up its exhibition schedule with its toughest test, pulling away and beating Australia 87-76 Tuesday night in Shanghai, China – their final game before heading to Beijing.

The United States led by only four points nearly halfway through the third quarter and was up by seven midway through the fourth against an Australian team that was resting its best player, Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut.

Dwyane Wade scored 22 points; LeBron James had 16; Kobe Bryant scored 13 points and Carmelo Anthony had 12 points with 10 rebounds.  We finished three of 18 from behind the arc and 20 of 33 (61 percent) at the foul line.

Team USA arrived in Beijing amid near pandemonium.  When the team arrived at Beijing’s airport on Wednesday dozens of fans, most wielding cell phones or digital cameras, who had mounted a spiked iron fence to get a closer look at their American basketball heroes were on-hand screaming and shouting.  Many shouted “Kou-bi-er” — the local rendering of Bryant’s name — in hopes of getting his attention.  Later in the day the players held a team meeting before deciding to head to the Olympic village to take in the sights.

Team USA plays China on Sunday, August 10 at 10:15am EST

USA/Russia – Sunday, August 3

USA/Australia – Tuesday, August 5

Also see:

https://letustalk.wordpress.com/2008/08/02/olympics-basketball-team-usa-3-0-looking-really-good/

August 2, 2008

Olympics – China To Athletes: “WIN Gold At Any Cost For Motherland”

  China assembled its elite athletes for their final rally before the Olympics, earlier this week; their orders from the government were clear and urgent:  “To achieve Olympic glory for the motherland is the sacred mission ordered by Communist Party Central,” Sports Minister Liu Peng told the 639 hand-picked Olympic athletes in their newly issued red-and-yellow uniforms.

“We have to fulfill our historic responsibility,” he exhorted the Chinese Olympians in his speech at a vast government meeting hall.

The Chinese athletes will be under enormous pressure to fulfill the country’s expectations in Beijing when the Olympics begin. Nothing less than gold – and plenty of it – will be acceptable.

Most experts are predicting China will top the gold-medal table, pushing ahead of the United States for the first time. It’s an extraordinary achievement for a country that did not even join the Olympics until 1984. Home advantage is far from the only reason for its expected success.

China has poured massive resources into its Olympic program in the past eight years. Its team this year is the biggest and strongest in its history, with twice as many athletes as it sent to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Its annual sports budget has increased exponentially since 2001. It has hired more than 50 foreign coaches since the last Olympics in 2004, including top coaches from Europe, North America, Australia and the former Soviet Bloc.

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Olympics – Basketball: USA Redeem Team 3-0, Looking Really Good

 Team U.S. A has arrived in Macau, China.  Macau is on the SE coast of China just a 50 minute ferry ride SW of Hong Kong and a three hour flight to Beijing.  Macau was both the first and the last European colony in China.  Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the ‘handover’ on December 20, 1999.  Macau is the most densely populated region in the world; with a population density of 18,428 persons per kilometer (one kilometer is .062 of a mile). 

Five percent of Macau’s population is Chinese; another two percent is of mixed Chinese/Portuguese descent, an ethnic group often referred to as Macanese. Macau is believed to have the best food on the Chinese continent and Macau is clean and fog free!

Before they arrived in China, Team USA had their exhibition opener against Canada.  They scored, they dazzled and they dunked – they beat Canada 120-65.  Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Michael Redd each had game-high total of 20 points each.

 Kobe Bryant played 23 minutes and scored 15 points, making six of 10 shots.  The U.S. shot 65.7%, Canada just 33.3%. The rebounding department was equally one-sided, the U.S. outrebounding Canada, 38-24.

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