Hey There!

I have no idea what's going on. Here's a pretty emotional column I did for Sporting News, about anyone who would call Elton Brand a traitor. In retrospect, I wonder if it has a certain "Special Comment" feel to it. Expect the Recluse's thoughts on Jennings this evening. Join the book's Facebook group; it set it up all by itself.

UPDATE: Well, not really. I just felt bad making my first post in five days so slight. So, because these things matter, here's my YouTube wishlist at the moment. In no particular order:

-Afghan ballers: This article captured my interest, but all the videoes are of SoCal Middle Eastern dudes slashing to basket and breaking at halftime. I was hoping for an even more Otherly version of that Iraqi schoolyard ball clip I found a few months back, which, if memory serves, prompted a long discussion over Arabs' love of the jerky, pointless no-look pass.

-Gordon Gund at the 2003 lottery: When the Cavs won the lottery, Stu Scott decided it was a good, even sensitive, idea to ask the blind owner what he thought LeBron James played like. I think it really quickly devolved into just getting some basic sense of what Gund pictured in his mind when he thought of James. Profound and, at the same time, totally vulgar and cruel.

-Basketball was jazz: TNT, answer my emails! Around 2001, when I watched every single network/TNT/ESPN game (no League Pass for me then), there was this ad where Vince, Chris Webber, Ray Allen, and one other sad, plausible dude were performing as a jazz combo in someone's living room. Vince made a point of making it clear he was actually playing. For some reason, I always link this in my head with the Code Red ad where T-Mac and Webber buy soda for everyone at the courts and then dunk a bunch while everyone watches.

If anyone has these clips, please post them. . .



At 7/09/2008 3:11 PM, Blogger oliver said...

Oh good, I was just about to leave a comment about this. I apologize for not reading the Sporting News column first; I'm at work.

Yeah, so J.A. Allende (or whoever) has a hilariously off-base column up on ESPN.com today about the Brand thing. The thesis of the column is: BRAND traitor THESE KIDS TODAY blah blah blah ONLY CARE ABOUT MONEY blah blah ONLY WENT TO PHILLY FOR THE MONEY blah.

Yeah, right on, J.A! You dumbass.

Point (1): The Warriors offered Brand way more money than Philly.

(2) The Clips offered him $81 million, Philly offered him $82 million. Big whoop.

(3) If he had stayed in LA and not opted out, he would have made about 3 million more this season that he's going to make in Philly.

So whatevers to that. But yeah, J.A., these kids today, only caring about money. Unlike basketball players in the past -- like, say, George Mikan, who would have played for 3 cents a year because of his LOVE AND RESPECT for the good people of Minnapolis.

I am so sick of "Athletes today suck, athletes of the past were honest awesome demi-gods" bullshit arguments. Nostaliga it up all you like, but this argument has always been fallacious bullshit. Ty Cobb, anyone? Shoeless Joe?

Brand went to Philly because he wants to be near his family and because he wants to go to the finals. And let's face it, he has a way better chance of doing that in the East.

Yeah, he handled the whole deal in sucktacular fashion, but whatever. He didn't betray the Clippers; he stuck with that shitty-ass franchise forever. It's nice that Donald Sterling finally decided that he wants to have a good team and not just make money -- but it took him twenty-five years to decide that. Too little, too late.

If Brand betrayed anyone, it was Baron Davis. Although you've got to respect how he played the suddenly evil Emperor Palpatine to Davis's befuddled Anakin.

...But Baron Davis betrayed the Hornets back in the day by forcing them to trade him, so, you know? As a wise yet gay Hobbit once said, the road goes on forever...

Anyway, I apologize for any typos, any overwroughtness in this comment, and for not reading the Sporting News thing first. But I just really hated that article on ESPN.

Plus, go Sixers.

At 7/09/2008 3:14 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Hadn't thought about the family angle yet. Does his mother still live in NY?

WV: norfega; has blogger caught onto this little game or something?

At 7/09/2008 3:23 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

I thought the Adande column was very well executed; of course, I am a Boozer apologist.

At 7/09/2008 3:30 PM, Blogger oliver said...

His family all lives in New York, and Brand's wife is having a baby. This is just stuff that I'm getting from the TV; I don't want to act like I have 'inside dope.'

We had to study the Boozer thingy in law school. The moral of the story is: oral agreements ain't contracts, so suck it up, Cleveland.

But it is bad karma to screw over a blind guy; far less so to screw over Baron Davis, in my humble opinion.

Hey, did I or anyone ever win the Muxtape contest? Or was that scuttled by Muxtape itself?

At 7/09/2008 4:08 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I updated the post to reflect a pressing need in my life.

At 7/09/2008 5:02 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Jennings will actually drop tomorrow some time, so don't sit in front of your computers all night hitting refresh.

@oliver: some oral agreements are enforceable contracts.

At 7/09/2008 5:10 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Off topic, but did anyone see this:


Personally, I just don't see this catching on. He's likely going to be stuck on the end of a bench for most of the year, and even if he ends up a top draft pick next year, European teams are going to see that they get nothing out of an arangement like this.

Anybody have any idea of what a minimum contract for a mid-level to decent Euro squad is? I'm guessing it's not much more than boosters from big schools pay under the table.

At 7/09/2008 5:12 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

How is that off-topic when the post says "Jennings thoughts soon" and the comment before yours is "Jennings post tomorrow?"

More importantly, that TBL post has a question/statement ratio of 11/6.

At 7/09/2008 5:25 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Yeah I missed that on first read. Was too busy joining the facebook group.

A high question/statement ratio seems appropriate at this point, no? Since no one has any idea how this will work out? Is my question/ statement ratio even worse? Yes, it is.

At 7/09/2008 6:12 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

First off, I ghostwrote that post for TBL, Shoals, so don't (t)rip on the 11/6 question ratio... the Jennings signing does raise more questions than it can answer right now. Such is the way of the pioneer.

As for Brand being labeled a traitor... the most ridiciously thing is that people are actually try to sell the idea that the Clippers - effing Don Sterling's Clippers - deserve loyalty! F*ck Sterling. He deserves to get eff, for all those times he's ripped off his own fans over the year by failing to put out a competitive team. Brand knows what a cheap owner Sterling is... he hasn't sniffed a playoff victory in 8 years. So yeah, good for him to move on to Philly. He's not Garnett and Allen; he won't instantly turn the team into championship contenders, but they will be a top-4 team in the East next year.

Is there anything lazier than an ESPN writer?

At 7/09/2008 6:12 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Here's a statement: what Jennings is doing definitely raises his profile, increases name recognition, etc etc. Instead of possibly being some anonymous dude who dropped 15 and 5 in Div I, suddenly he's That Kid With The Balls To Split For Europe. Granted, to some, he'll be That Retard Who Flunked His SATs, but as Paris Hilton recently remarked, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

At 7/09/2008 6:25 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Jawaan, Jennings had name recognition already. He's been a top-5 high school baller for two years now. He wouldn't have been "anonymous dude". He's Beasley, Rose, Mayo. The NCAA loses, because they don't have a high profile star in their league next season.

He does have balls, but that's because it takes big ones to rock a Bobby Brown-styled flattop 20 years after it's gone out of style.

Right now, Jennings has a very key player in basketball history; if he succeeds in Europe, and keeps his projection as a top-5 pick next year, then the gates open up for other top prospects who are either poor (and need instant paydays to take care of their families) and/or academically low scoring. Especially if it is profitable to the Euro clubs, meaning that if Jennings does well, and attracts media attention, then it becomes profitable for other Euro clubs to poach high school recruits. Sonny Vaccaro creates a new version of the old sneaker war. 16 year olds drop out of American high school, to play in the Europe leagues. Don't say it ain't possible - Danilo was 16 when he was called up to the Italy Serial A league....

A new era might be upon us.

At 7/09/2008 6:55 PM, Blogger BPH said...


The NCAA loses, because they don't have a high profile star in their league next season.


At 7/09/2008 7:02 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@BPH: I meant the NCAA loses because they have one less high-profile star. But, ironically, you link to a video of DeMar, who, according to the NY Times article, was thinking about following Brandon Jenning's lead, and going to Europe.

At 7/09/2008 8:40 PM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

Wow, I wrote a long, heart-felt comment about the NBA "One Year" rule, LeBron James not needing the NCAA, Brandon Jennings really thumbing his nose at college, and the perception of "adults" in this country.

And Blogger ate it. Gone like a fart in the wind.

To summarize:

I'm rooting HARD for Jennings and those who follow his path to succeed.

Fuck the "One Year" rule, and FUCK THE NCAA. Corrupt. Greedy. And worse.

At 7/09/2008 8:43 PM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

Damn, I forgot to add:

Ronny Turiaf and Andris Biedrins is a totally decent defensive frontcourt.


At 7/09/2008 9:52 PM, Blogger BPH said...

Gotcha. Though what I thought you meant actually wouldn't be far from the truth without Derozan. And, yeah, I saw that article, too -- wherein he said Jennings' decision "put thoughts in players' heads" -- but fortunately for everyone who'd like to see the kid play next year, he was quoted elsewhere:

"I've heard it all and read all about Brandon, but I'm not thinking that way at all ... I'm focused on going to college and playing college basketball. You only get the opportunity once in your home country where everyone can see you."


At 7/09/2008 10:03 PM, Blogger Bernice said...

Stopmike brings up a pretty good point. Take Jamario Moon for example. Toiled at unknown community colleges beacuse D-1 wasn't an academic option for him, but if he had maybe gone to europe when young he could have made alot more money and expanded his talent.

At 7/09/2008 10:44 PM, Blogger mdesus said...


I think we can all acknowledge that almost all top spanish/italian league teams are as good, or better than all NCAA teams. What really intrigues me here is that it should be great for him as a person. I mean college, especially college athletic departments, are hyper insulated. I believe, you have to interact with people who are outside your comfort zone very rarely. In the NBA your lifestyle is very itinerant, and often, so vastly different from anything anyone could have seen before. European pro ball, again I believe, is a much more similar lifestyle to that of an NBA player than to that of a college player. I can't help but think that this route will do a better job of preparing him for crazy shit popping off than that of a college athlete.

At 7/09/2008 10:57 PM, Blogger oliver said...

@Brown. That's true, some oral contracts are enforceable. God, I hated Contract Law, by the way. Is there an offer? Acceptance? Valuable consideration? Fraud? Duress? Mistake? Kill me.

At 7/10/2008 9:32 AM, Blogger themarkpike said...

@oliver. boozer hit em with the statute of frauds. you can't orally agree to a multi-year contract. i think that's all i learned 1L.

i would love to see more euro-bound 18 year olds. study abroad is the quintessential college experience anyway, so folks need to lay off the 'get an education' argument.

The Grand Tour. it lives.

At 7/10/2008 9:39 AM, Blogger Chad said...

I hate to argue, but I think it was Jim Gray (Grey) asking Gordon Gund what he thought Lebron's mug looked like. I remember watching it and being a tad taken-aback.

Gray (Grey) also ambushed Pete Rose a couple of years ago too.

At 7/10/2008 10:40 AM, Blogger avery said...

Through the Big Lead post mentioned, I read the New Republic article on Vaccarro. It seems like his criticisms on the NCAA will make some changes, which should force the NBA to make some changes as well...like why not open up the D-League to whomever, and just restrict the Lig to one year after high school...that way a kid like Jennings would not foster speculation about cultural adjustment, and instead can adjust to a bad salary in Iowa.

At 7/10/2008 12:08 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

So, as a Duke alum, am I supposed to feel guilty that two PFs exercised their free agency in a capitalistic society, against the wishes of two blind billionaires, literally and figuratively, Gund and Sterling? I don't, and when Boozer spurns the equally egregious Larry Miller of my hometown team in a year, I won't then. Why is one enamored with "restricted" free, tying things back to Jennings?

At 7/10/2008 1:21 PM, Blogger rebar said...

fuck everything, i just watched the elton brand press conf. on fanhouse, and dude looks positively exhuberant. i don't care if he screwed the clips and the warriors, the sixers are my new fave team, especially considering how pittsburgh has no NBA franchise.

let auditions for the role of boston strangler begin.

At 7/10/2008 3:10 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Jennings HAS to succeed, not just to topple the exploitative and corrupt NCAA regime. But also, to hopefully put an end to subjecting future NBA superstars to Right Way oppressors like Coach K who live to diabolically suck the all potential FD and NBA superstardom out of a player and forcefully mold them into Shane Bateer like 'role models' and Right Way purists.

That said Coach K's Right Way brand of college grit, hustle and conservativeness is not totally satanic. I think its the best way to extract a high level of competitive basketball achievement from all our future accountants and lawyers. Coach Skiles would have a ball running amok in such a system. However for the Josh Smiths, AIs, et al, being subjected to the the molestation of Coach K is a fate worse than the brimstone stench of hell. Hopefully kids destined for the pros will have alternatives that actually better prepare them for the Lig.

At 7/10/2008 3:17 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I understand the Duke hate, but Coach K is the realness. Hustle and grit make EVERY player better. AI does it on his own, but think if Melo gave 1/2 a shit as much as Battier, his team would be winning playoff games. I love "FD players" but I hate when lackadaisical effort/attitude are praised in the realm of atheletic competetion. Coach K is a teacher of the game, if he could impart a little wisdom to J Smoove we'd all be better for it.

At 7/10/2008 4:03 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Well, Chris, if Coach K and his "right way" are so right, explain why you can count the number of good pros to come out of Duke on one hand and still have a finger to type with. I count pre-injury Grant Hill, a couple years of Christian Laettner (who in spite of not sucking never lived up to the hype), and dropouts Elton Brand and (being REALLY generous here) Corey Maggette. Note the complete lack of qualifiers among that group. This isn't about Duke hatred---I don't care one way or the other about them---but every single guy who comes out of that program underachieves in the Association.

We would not be all better for it if Coach K had a couple years with J-Smoove. We would probably have a generic small forward with no jump shot named Josh Smith.

At 7/10/2008 4:28 PM, Blogger bernard snowy said...

I hate to defend Duke or Coach K in any way, but most people would consider Carlos Boozer a "good pro". Just sayin'.

At 7/10/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

He is. But he's the only one I forgot.

At 7/10/2008 4:38 PM, Blogger Joshua R said...

Well, Chris, if Coach K and his "right way" are so right, explain why you can count the number of good pros to come out of Duke on one hand and still have a finger to type with.

Because there are reasons other than knowledge that figure into the equation. JJ Reddick might be a fantastic shooter, but he's a little small and nonathletic. Having been a superstar at the NCAA level he may also be unwilling to work as hard now. Those factors have nothing to do with Coach K's system. Nothing. (It may have something to do with his recruiting, but not with his philosophy of basketball or his offensive system.) JJ Reddick or Trajan Langdon would face the same problems going to the NBA regardless of their NCAA. The same problems that will ultimately keep Ben Gordon from being a top banana and probably Eric Gordon as well.

That is without commenting on any other nuances that make the NCAA a different type of game than the NBA. For instance, the shorter 3 point line probably gives an edge to dead eye shooters who might not hack it athletically (see my two examples above). Or the more pervasive use of zones. You play fewer games and travel less, and if you're any good have a whole campus on your jock (i.e. your body isn't taking the same punishment, and you're probably having more fun to boot).

(Also of note: Langdon is a pretty good player in Euro ball, so again: are we talking about problems with Coach K's system or differences between the NCAA and the NBA as well as Euro vs. NBA?)

At 7/10/2008 8:11 PM, Blogger Joshua R said...

Well, Chris, if Coach K and his "right way" are so right, explain why you can count the number of good pros to come out of Duke on one hand and still have a finger to type with. I count pre-injury Grant Hill, a couple years of Christian Laettner (who in spite of not sucking never lived up to the hype), and dropouts Elton Brand and (being REALLY generous here) Corey Maggette. Note the complete lack of qualifiers among that group. This isn't about Duke hatred---I don't care one way or the other about them---but every single guy who comes out of that program underachieves in the Association.

Okay, let's think about this. Below is a list of Duke stars over the past decade or so that I can think of. why stars? Because that is who we would expect to get a sniff from the NBA:

Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer - Top 10 Power Forwards
Shane Battier - All-NBA Defensive Player
Cory Magette - 20ppg scorer
Grant Hill - one of the top ten players in the NBA before his injuries

JJ Redick - Bust
Trajan Langdon - Bust in the NBA

Christian Leatner - Solid if unspectacular pro
Jay Williams - Incomplete due to injuries
Bobby Hurley - Incomplete due to injuries

Who else is there? What other big names can we add to this list? Maybe there are some role players I'm missing?

Because that's not a bad list. We have to keep two of them off to the side (Hurley and Williams); if we do that, we only really have two busts from their stars. I'm likely missing some figures of course, but I think the point is still there.

Secondly, you say that he hasn't had many good pros and that his guys have underachived. That underachieved bit is interesting then. You can only underachieve if there are expectations, particularly high ones, of you. But, if they're not good enough to be good pros, then how is that they had such high expectations on them in the first place and how is it that Duke has had such a solid run of success? The success of a college coach's players in the NBA cannot and should not be the primary metric by which somebody measures their success as a coach. That he was able to take so little talent, apparently, and coach them to success and high estimation is ultimately a tribute to him then.

I don't give a shit about Duke, btw. I just think it was a bad argument.

At 7/10/2008 11:58 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Coach K is a Necon, W-apologist cunt.

Therefore, whackness.

At 7/11/2008 1:00 AM, Blogger bayareasportsguy said...

Don't forget the great Mike Dunleavy, Jr., the best No. 3 pick by the Warriors since Chris Washburn.

I loved when Coach K started that Amex commercial with, "I prefer to think of myself not as a coach...but as a leader." Dickie V. still uses that quote as his ringtone.

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