03.29.10

Mikhail Prokhorov Is Very Ready For His Close Up

Posted in Basketball at 2:18 pm by

It’s been quite a whirlwind media tour for Russian zillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, aspiring owner of the Jersey/Brooklyn Nets.  Profiled last night on CBS’ “60 Minutes”, Prokhorov answered questions about his pending Owner With A Boner status by saying, “I like women.” Finally, a heterosexual in the ownership ranks of the NBA!  Following a Business Week interview in which the one-time stonewashed jeans mangnate professed to checking out the internet only 3 times (and never having set foot on his $45 million yacht), Yahoo Sports’ Trey Kirby calls Prokhorov, “a movie character come to life” .  And best of all, he seems to have an amazing sense of humor, at least when it comes to talent evaluation.  From the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir :

In an e-mail interview, Prokhorov said he was not confined to one strategy to improve the team. Asked if he will pursue elite players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh if they become free agents, he said, œWe will certainly try to use a large number of free agents over the next two seasons.

He added that the œstarting point of our plan will be the draft picks on 18th May. The league™s draft lottery will be held May 18, with the draft June 24.

œThis year promises uniquely strong draft picks comparable with the draft picks in 2003, when such great players as LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade joined the N.B.A., he wrote.

Prokhorov said he did not intend to install a Russian lieutenant to oversee his Nets investment.

œAt the moment, there are no managers in Russia qualified to supervise people at the level of Rod Thorn or Brett Yormark, he wrote. Thorn is the Nets™ president, and Yormark is the president and chief executive of Nets Sports and Entertainment.

But, Prokhorov said, œI do plan to incorporate a young, talented Russian manager with a successful background in European basketball into the team™s management, someone who can develop to the level of N.B.A. basketball over time and fully grasp basketball as a business.

03.28.10

Is Turkoglu Jaking It?

Posted in Basketball at 5:46 pm by

The 35-36 Raptors are clinging to 8th place in the Eastern Conference entering today’s visit to Miami, and with the first quarter nearly complete, underachieving SG Hedo Turkoglu has yet to take the floor for Toronto.  The Sun’s Mike Ganter reports yesterday, “Turkoglu walked out of practice early again Saturday looking like he wanted to be anywhere but in a gym.”

That™s a game and a half, a shootaround and two practices now that Turkoglu has missed with what the team is describing as a stomach virus.

œHe just wasn™t healthy enough to continue on here, head coach Jay Triano said.

œIt happened in the game (Wednesday when he didn™t return for the second half) and he couldn™t play Friday night and we weren™t going to get anything out of him in practice either, so rest and get healthy.

Triano said the team had doctors look at him Friday morning, but would not elaborate on the problem or the findings.

œThere™s a fine line between what you can say about a stomach virus without people flooding us and coming in and testing everyone who has been around him and associated with him, Triano said.

Triano was asked point blank if Turkoglu™s illness was legitimate.

œAbsolutely, he said.

Amid whispers that he has been out and about town while dealing with this stomach virus, and with his team in desperation mode, Turkoglu is unavailable.

It Couldn’t Happen Here (And Probably Won’t There, Either) : Labor’s Fan Friendly Football Scheme

Posted in Football, politics, The Marketplace at 4:57 pm by

The precarious financial status of Portsmouth, along with frequent headlines about mounting debts at Manchester United and Liverpool have created a scenario in which Britain’s trailing-in-the-polls Gordon Brown & colleagues are proposing greater regulations over ownership in the Football League. Free market be damned, it would be worth watching Tom Hicks choke on a hot dog were someone to read this to him. From the Guardian’s Owen Gibson :

It is believed that No 10, which has been working secretly on the plans for weeks, has resolved to deliver concrete proposals to tackle growing public disquiet at the level of debt carried by some clubs, the ownership model of others and the dysfunctional structure of the Football Association.

The plans include:

¢ Requiring clubs to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans in recognition of their links with their local community.

¢ Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans a window to put together a takeover of their club if it was up for sale or went into administration.

¢ Giving the football authorities a deadline to reform the FA and remove “vested interests” from the board, and streamline decision making.

¢ Introducing a unified system of governance that co-ordinates issues such as club ownership and youth development.

¢ Allowing professional leagues and the FA additional oversight of club takeovers.

While the government will reiterate that it has no desire to regulate football directly, the prime minister believes the democratisation of football club ownership taps into wider themes about the “mutualisation” of public services and the need for regulatory reform.

Uecker’s (WWE) Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech

Posted in Baseball, Professional Wrestling at 3:11 pm by

On the eve of Wrestlemania 26, a throng of nearly 5000 paid serious loot to attend the WWE’s annual Hall Of Fame induction ceremonies, an event televised by the USA Network and often designed to honor those who’ve either buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon or remained in his good graces. Amongst the Class of 2010 — including the late Stu Hart, Antonio Inoki, Wendy Richter and Ted DiBiase — was Brewers announcer Bob Uecker, named to the Hall’s “celebrity” wing. As quoted by Pro Wrestling Torch’s James Caldwell :

I remember going to Los Angeles to do the promotion stuff (for Wrestlemania III). It was Hulk Hogan, (Andre) the Giant, (Bobby) the Brain (Heenan), Jake ˜The Snake™ Roberts, who coincidentally said, ˜Uke, why don™t you take a picture with Damian?™ I said, ˜Who™s Damian.™ He said, ˜He™s in the bag.™ I said, ˜So am I. Give me a couple more beers.™ So he took the snake out and I put him around me. He said, ˜Don™t worry. He™s big and he’s strong.™ He got his tail around my leg hee and I™m holding him and I™m looking at Jake and he™s got this huge scar right here (on his chest). I said, ˜What is that?™ He said, ˜That™s where Damian bit me.™ I said, ˜Oh, what a great time that must be. I hope he bites me, too.™

I remember the one thing with Jake was Donald Trump™s wife, Ivana. He put that snake down at her feet and she left Wrestlemania so fast, she just left Donald there and she ain’t seen him since.

Justice : If Baylor’s Drew Is Dirty, Where’s The Smoking Gun?

Posted in Basketball at 2:27 pm by

If Baylor can get past #1 seed Duke later today at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, “the win would convey instant legitimacy to Baylor’s rise and send ripples across the country” promises the Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton.  The equally enthused Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle considers the possibility of the Bears advancing to their first Men’s Final Four in 60 years and warns if such a result occurs, “there will be more stories about how (head coach) Scott Drew is dirty.”

UT’s Rick Barnes has all but called him a cheat, or at least hinted strongly that he lacks ethics. Bob Knight is said to have angrily confronted him during a Big 12 meeting. Bill Self didn’t like a stunt Drew (above) pulled before a Baylor road game at Kansas.

About all these coaches have not done is offer an ounce of proof. They whisper that they know what he’s up to. They’ll tell you they know, they really know, they absolutely know and they wonder why you can’t see it, too.
Proof? They’ve got none. Zero. Zip. Zilch. And while Barnes and Self are sitting home with their underachieving teams, Drew and Baylor are still playing.

What Drew has recruited aggressively, going after the best players, conceding to no one. He gets there first. He doesn’t take no for an answer. He has gotten close to a line or two, like when he hired a guy close to John Wall apparently hoping he might get Wall.

But he may have gotten Tweety Carter because he worked harder than anyone else and sold the kid on his vision of Baylor.

œI really didn’t get recruited by anybody else, really, Carter said.

03.27.10

Somebody Out There Likes Joe Randa (Until April 2, 2011)

Posted in Baseball, History's Great Hook-Ups, The Internet at 7:43 pm by

I mention the above date because sponsorship of Mr. Randa’s Baseball Reference page is up for grabs.  So if you’re an ardent admirer or perhaps a situationist prankster, you might want to sign up, or perhaps just renew the following copy, as forwarded to us by the eagle-eyed Tim Cook.

Stat : T-Mac Blew Me Off

Posted in Basketball at 5:25 pm by

Though the biggest Knicks related news today probably comes from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger floating the possibility of Kobe Bryant opting out of his $25 million salary in LA to become a restricted free agent and sign with New York (œ’He™s definitely in the mix,’ one GM told me recently. ‘What if they don™t win it this year and what if he™s [ticked] off at Dr. Buss for not re-signing Phil Jackson or he™s sick of playing with whoever and he says, ˜You know what? I™m gonna go put on a New York Knick jersey.™ All of sudden he and Mike D™Antoni hook up in New York and they can talk some Italian.'”), the following item from the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro comes a close second.  It seems the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire (above) claims he once attended a high school football game starring Tracy McGrady’s brother, and sought counsel from the (at the time) Orlando star.  Coro transcribed the bickering prior to New York being routed in Phoenix last night.

“I’m not a huge Tracy McGrady fan,” Stoudemire said.

As a person or player?

“Both,” he said.

Why?

“I tried to reach out to him one time before in high school, really to get some advice on going from high school to the NBA, and he pretty much didn’t say anything,” he said. “So I look at myself now being successful in the NBA, if a kid from my hometown was to come up to me and say, ‘Yo, Amar’e. I’m thinking about going out of high school.’ I would say, ‘Well, you know what, it’s a tough process. College is very important. Education is very important.’ So forth and so on. I didn’t get any of that. I just went off my instinct.”

McGrady not only disputed that such an exchange occurred but said he never went to a high school football game while he was a Magic player and that his brother did not play football. He said he did have a phone conversation on the topic with Stoudemire and watched Stoudemire play against his brother’s team.

“That’s a made-up story,” McGrady said.

In turn, Stoudemire said McGrady was lying.