03.31.12

Lawrence : Bobcats Likely To Suffer Another 3-4 Years Of MJ’s Pseudo-Leadership

Posted in Basketball at 6:58 pm by

(above : Jordan’s decision to squander a no. 1 pick on “Workaholics” fixture Uncle Blazer is just one of his many personnel mistakes)

Along with advising the done-for-2012 Jeremy Lin to be more open with the media about his physical condition — “where does he think ‘Linsanity’ started, anyway?”  (I’d say Twitter) —  the New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence reports Bobcats owner Michael Jordan recently instructed GM Rich Cho to prepare for “rebuilding,” with plans to bail on Charlotte in the not so distant future.

“I told Rich to make us better,” Jordan told one associate recently. “If that doesn’t work and I can’t make a profit in the next three to four years, then I’m selling.”

This is a change of plans for Jordan, who over almost the past year has been seeking a buyer to purchase half the team. The Bobcats lost $20 million last season and they’re headed for more big losses this season.

Jordan’s decision to give the assignment of rebuilding to Cho means that Rod Higgins, his long-time president of basketball operations who goes back to when he ran the Wizards, is on the outs. Jordan told Cho, the Thunder’s former assistant GM who arrived in Charlotte last June, to “follow the Oklahoma City model.” (good luck with that, because there was some major luck involved in Oklahoma City’s ascension to the top of the Western Conference).

Because Jordan has been such a failure as an owner — even drawing rare criticism recently from his best pal, Charles Barkley — there will be plenty of fans in Charlotte who hope this next rebuilding campaign is a flop. Just so that he sells and gets out of town.

The Mysterious Randy L. Of The Bronx Continues To Torment NYC Merchants & Service Providers

Posted in Baseball, Free Expression, New York, New York, The Marketplace at 3:52 pm by

Stephon Marbury : (CBA) Champion

Posted in Basketball at 3:07 pm by

OK, in the overall scheme of things, Coney Island product Stephon Marbury winning his first title since high school might seem less impressive than say, actually winning an NBA playoff series.  But considering the marketing stunt-vibes many of us caught from Marbury’s recent seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association, who’d begrudge Marc Berman’s greatest source of material for what sounds like a happy ending?  Despite averaging 33.4 and 6 assists points for Beijing in the 5 game CBA finals defeat of Guangdong, Marbury was denied the playoff MVP trophy due to a rule that limits said award to Chinese players,  a circumstance Sheridan Hoops’ Guan Weijia claims fails to trouble Mike D’Antoni’s former nemesis.

“This is the league of Chinese, it was reasonable that they wanna to issue the MVP to Chinese players. I did not care for the MVP trophy, but did for the championship. That’s what I have dreamed about for years since my childhood,” the 35-year-old Marbury said.

“I was standing on the opposite side of the whole world,” Marbury said of his move to China three years ago. “There wasn’t anybody who believed in me in the U.S., they all said something just like: ‘He wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone on the court’, or ‘He wasn’t able to integrate into any team’. So I didn’t tell them that I had decided to play in China, because I know if they were informed of it, there shouldn’t be any positive report. They would say: “He just wants to sell his shoes in China.’ ”

But in China, Stephon was popular for his professional demeanor as he was for his two All-Star appearances. Said Li Ke, Marbury’s former teammate who is now a coach: “Many American players who have played in NBA were arrogant in China, they would have been absent on the training sessions for multiple reasons. But Stephon won’t, he will try his best every time.”

Marbury coined a nickname “Evil Genius” for his head coach, Min Lulei: “Because every time he said the training will last for 90 minutes, in fact it would be at least two hours.”

03.30.12

Non-Metallic K.O. Is Once Again, A Free Agent

Posted in non-sporting journalism, politics, Sports TV at 5:10 pm by

Former “SportsCenter” anchor Keith Olbermann has been relieved of his duties at Current TV, less than a year after he made his debut on the little-watched cable/satellite channel. Following a prior falling out at MSNBC, Olbermann’s termination at Current seems to center on his less-than-enthusiastic participation in the channel’s 2012 election coverage, though as you’d expect, Keith’s got his side of the story, too.

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.

Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.

Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain.

In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

Brad Pitt Won’t Star In The Movie : Former Dodgers Prospect Bene Busted For Karaoke Krimes

Posted in Baseball, The Law at 4:46 pm by

“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,” declared U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., though if we’re talking about a bootlegged karaoke version of Muse’s “Uprising”, pseudo-intellectual might be closer to the truth. The Contra-Costa Times reports former LA Dodgers first round pick Bill Bene plead guilty yesterday to charges of operating a counterfeit karaoke business, as well as evading taxes on the proceeds.

Bene, 44, of Pasadena signed an agreement with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to two counts charging him with criminal copyright infringement and filing a false tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A date for the guilty plea to be heard is expected to be set April 30.

According to the agreement, Bene sold illegal karaoke jukeboxes between 2006 and 2010 and did not report more than $600,000 in sales to the Internal Revenue Service.

Bene further acknowledged that during those years, he illegally copied and sold karaoke songs on hard drives containing about 122,000 titles each, prosecutors said.

Bene also admitted that he did not tell the IRS about the business, even going so far as to ask the IRS in 2008 for relief from back taxes because he claimed that he could not afford to pay.

Martino : Mets Mulled Dumping Big Pelf

Posted in Baseball at 12:47 pm by

While the Mets’ 9-1 defeat of Houston last night marked the end of Livan Hernandez’ tenure with the Astros, New York starter Mike Pelfrey’s 6.1 IP of one-run baseball might either be his last solid showing in blue & orange, or perhaps a new lease on life. The New York Daily News’ Andy Martino reports the cost-conscious Mets have weighed waiving Pelfrey before the start of the 2012 season, though he’s quick to point out, “none of the uniformed staff was in favor of the idea.” So it’s good to know Terry Collins doesn’t attend such meetings in the nude.

One team official characterized the recent discussion about cutting Pelfrey as “just what you do in meetings, throwing (stuff) against the wall, and we throw a lot of (stuff) against the wall,” and went on to predict that Pelfrey would have a strong year for the Mets.

But still: The very consideration of releasing Pelfrey and replacing him in the starting rotation with Chris Schwinden strongly suggests that club brass is not enamored of the seventh-year Met, who might very well be in his final season with the team — if he remains in New York for that long.

As for the suggestion of releasing Pelfrey, part of the idea was the pitcher’s non-guaranteed contract. If the Mets cut him before Opening Day, they will owe him roughly $1 million of the $5.68 million he will be paid this season.

In the recent meeting, some in the front office wondered if that money would be better spent bolstering the Mets’ 2012 roster depth, with Schwinden in the rotation in place of Pelfrey. Schwinden remains in major-league camp, surviving another round of roster cuts on Thursday.

The Mysterious Randy L.’s Yelp Reign Of Terror Continues

Posted in Baseball, Food, Free Expression at 11:23 am by