The Ball is in your court ……

The Ball is in your court …..

By Tophatal

The NBA season hit its stride with an opening night schedule , which the defending champions the Miami Heat , open up the defense of their title , also with the members of the team receiving their NBA championship rings. LeBron James the reigning MVP and Finals’ MVP, will almost certainly be looking to make successful defense of their title. James along with new teammates, Rashard Lewis , Ray Allen , joining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to what on paper looks to be an already formidable lineup .

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Tuesday night , the Miami Heat played host to the Boston Celtics in their season opener at the AA Arena in Miami, Florida. Heat executives, Micky Arison, and team President ,Pat Riley, have assembled a roster , that they believe will be successful , over the course of this season, with the ultimate goal of making a successful defense of the NBA title. Considering , that there has not been a back-to-back winner of the title, since 2010 , when the Los Angeles Lakers made a successful defense of the NBA championship won, previously in 2009. Complacency might be the only thing standing in the way of the Miami Heat , in defense of their title , although there is a common belief that the team they defeated in last season’s finals will seek to redeem themselves. Head coach, Erik Spoelstra , I do not believe will be susceptible to such an inclination, albeit that the Oklahoma City Thunder , in spite of their being a minor shakeup in their starting lineup , with the loss of the James Harden , via a trade to the Houston Rockets. How the Thunder’s Rockets’ fans may now feel about the loss of Harden, will obviously be dependent upon how they view the start of the team’s season and how the players acquit themselves in such an instance. GM , Sam Presti and head coach, Scott Brooks were forced with a situation where it came down to what was best for the organization . As a small-market franchise , with a limited revenue streams , the franchise was less committal in granting Harden’s wish for a sizeable contract. The vast majority of the Thunder’s financial commitment in team salary , was in fact tied up in the team’s two best players, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. James Harden has since signed a five-year $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets , to be on a team, whose ascent within the NBA is not seen as something that sees the franchise being sought and thought of as legitimate contender this season for the NBA title.

The Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey’s wish, if anything, is to create more of an offensive minded team, but I do not believe that this current roster is simply good enough to even be considered amongst the elite teams within the NBA ! And the team’s opening game of the season , and their convincing victory over the Detroit Pistons , may well go a long way in convincing the fans that this might have been such a bad move after all , in acquiring James Harden.

Don’t look now, but something is not so right in “ Tinseltown” , with the Los Angeles Lakers getting off to an 0-2 start to their season . Mitch Kupchak, and Jim Buss , simply wanted to make a big splash in off-season , and that they did , with the acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Whether or not the Lakers’ non too fickle fans are amenable to such a lackadaisical start to the season , remains to be seen. For head coach , Mike Brown , should this team stall , and simply not find flight , then his stay in the “city of Angels” , could very well come to an abrupt end.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Portland Trailblazers in a game that pitted a new look Blazers roster and a coaching staff led by Terry Stotts . In a game of contrasting styles , it was the Trailblazers who dictated the pace against a lethargic Lakers’ offense and defense in transition. And though Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard , led all scorers with a combined 66 points , for the Lakers in their second successive loss of the season. It was Nicholas Batum , LaMarcus Aldridge , Wesley Matthews and Damien Lillard , who led the way for the Traiblazers , as they knocked off their Western Conference counterparts 116-106 . The Lakers’ scheduled event, will see them take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center , which will be a home game Lakers who share the venue with their namesake. The series’ meeting between these two historic franchises is somewhat lopsided, with the Lakers leading the Clippers 143-49 , in their one hundred and ninety-two meetings.

Steve Nash may well have to miss the game due to a bruised right knee and contusion of his right leg. In what was hoped to be a classic match-up of two of the NBA’s marquee point guards, will now be left for a subplot to be written all of its very own. Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul, was amongst the most productive players at the position within the NBA. And in 2012, though we are a mere two games into the season we are a number players rising to the occasion . The Clippers for their part, coached by Vinny Del Negro must seek to see a more defensive approach and presence from this team. Del Negro and his coaching staff have revamped the roster to complement the skillset of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul, Lamar Odom , Grant Hill , Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf .It may well be seasoned veterans such as Hill , Billups , Odom and Turiaf, who will have to provide a major contribution if the Clippers are to fare well over the course of this season. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling and team general manager Gary Sacks in recent seasons has often been viewed as an owner who was averse to spending money on his franchise in terms of team salary. Chances are the Los Angeles Clippers will seek to make themselves a contender for the NBA title, and most certainly a viable candidate for the Western Conference title.

The city of Detroit has seen its NFL franchise , the Detroit Lions rise from the ashes like a phoenix, albeit that this season, the team seems to have fallen on hard times . With the NHL now shuttered down , with their being signs of this fiasco being found an amenable ending to their nonsensical drama. That would leave us with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons at the professional level , in terms of our sporting entertainment. The Tigers as we now know fell, all too listlessly to the San Francisco Giants in one of the embarrassing and lopsided defeats in World Series’ history.

The Pistons, ever since their NBA Finals’ triumph in 2004 over the labored , albeit the then overzealous Los Angeles Lakers , And that specific roster was filled a quartet of future Hall of Famers , that included Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Shaquille O’Neal, along with legendary coach , Phil Jackson. That series’ loss 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons would prove to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals’ history. In the subsequent years since that loss, the Pistons’ franchise has had it high and low points. The organization has changed ownership with a new executive structure in place , with Joe Dumars, having become the Head of Basketball Operations, with Tom Gores , billionaire venture capitalist, owning the venerable NBA franchise. Head coach, Lawrence Frank, has been entrusted with the considerable task of coaching this team , having assembled an abled group of assistants . And the roster itself, it is not one that on paper looks overly impressive or distinguished . If anything , it is workmanlike in its makeup , led by ten-year and thirteen-year veterans , Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. Considered to be the Pistons’ best player, Rodney Stuckey, he will be asked to do a great deal as the leader of this team, as they embark upon their schedule this season. In light of the Pistons’ 105-96 loss to the Houston Rockets , it will be interesting to see how they acquit themselves when they take on the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center , in Phoenix, Arizona , this Friday.

Another season, another year of low expectations , dependent upon how one looks upon the Charlotte Bobcats as an NBA franchise. And it does seem somewhat asinine to keep on repeating the fact that, this organization has been mismanaged, and the face of it , they seem bereft of creativity and intelligence within the front office . Yet , it is a fact that since Michael Jordan assumed control of this franchise, they have been incredibly inept right across the board , from management , on down to the players on the roster. One year removed , from having posted one of the worst records in NBA history , albeit that the season was one of sixty-six games , rather than the customary eighty-two game schedule. Nothing can be left to chance in 2012 , as it relates to the Charlotte Bobcats , and what the prognosticators might be suggesting concerning the franchise, as they embark upon their schedule. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings , but I would be pleasantly surprised if the Bobcats were able to surpass last season’s mark of 7-59 !

I certainly don’t believe that the Bobcats were assisted in the subsequent NBA Draft Lottery or the Draft itself . If anything this format, insisted upon by the soon to be outgoing commissioner , David Stern , does not add intrigue or suspense to the whole system itself. It has become rather mundane, asinine, and if anything , it makes the NBA “ the laughing-stock “ of the sports’ world . Yet somehow , on each occasion that this ridiculous event takes place , there stands the commissioner , grinning from ear to ear , like a cat about to take a sip from a plate of milk. “Milk, may well do a body a great deal of good” , but it certainly hasn’t added to Stern’s intellect or overall intelligence. The 2012 NBA Draft , said to be littered with high-quality talent , and what should appear to be breakout prospects , could very turn out to be a monumental bust. The Charlotte Bobcats for their part under the auspices of head coach, Mike Dunlap, GM Rick Cho , and President of Basketball Operations , Rod Higgins, chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor as their picks within this year’s NBA Draft. It remains to be seen whether or not these two highly sought after recruits can make a name for themselves within the NBA , on a team , being coached by a first-year coach , in Mike Dunlap. The odds are more stacked against the team and their freshman coach , than one would come to expect given the franchise’s overall lack of success since the Bobcats came into existence . As the team’s best player Kemba Walker may well struggle once again to find some semblance of success over the course of this season.

Everyone seems to enthralled with the very fact that the city of New York now has two NBA franchises , presumably of relevance. Yet when you bear in mind that last season was the first time that the New York Knicks had ventured into the NBA Playoffs, it was for the very first time in after their disastrous foray in 2011 . There, a first-round loss (4-0) to the Boston Celtics , sealed their fate during the postseason schedule. Prior to that, the franchise’s last appearance came in 2004 , where again, they were not so lucky , as they fell to the New Jersey Nets . Joining, the Knicks in the “Big Apple” will be the Brooklyn Nets , formerly the New Jersey Nets. The franchise having moved into their new venue , the aptly named , Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York , a luxurious , half-billion dollar ($500,000,000) edifice , that might the most palatial of all of the NBA’s thirty arenas. Certainly, for Nets’ owner,Mikhail Prokhorov , beyond his investment of having purchased the franchise , there was also his stake in that multibillion dollar venture of commercial and residential estate deal , that should reinvigorate the community at large . Whether or not, the fans in attendance will be there on a regular basis , will most definitely be defined by the amount of success that is attained on the courts by the Brooklyn Nets.

Nets’ coach , Avery Johnson , and his coaching staff have assembled a capable roster of seasoned veterans along with core group of youngsters , to go alongside their 2012 NBA Draft picks. The “pecking order” and bragging rights will be up for grabs this season , as to who should be viewed as the city’s best NBA franchise. James Dolan , as owner of the New York Knicks will now have to match wits with the ambitious Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in the world , with an estimated $13.2 billion fortune , far exceeding Dolan’s reputed $4.2 billion , net worth.

The Brooklyn Nets were due to host the New York Knicks at the Barclays Center, in what was meant to be the inaugural regular season game at the venue. That game has now been postponed until the 26th November , in the aftermath of Super-storm Sandy, which has simply decimated the city of New York and much of the Northeast United States , but specifically the eastern seaboard. As to the mindset of New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, still thinking it appropriate to proceed with the New York City Marathon , this upcoming Sunday , while many of his city’s residents are without a home, electricity , and a number of other staples needed to carry on with daily lives , seems to smack incredulity and incompetence on the mayor’s part, with his stating the staging of the event will boost the morale of the city, and not take away from the city’s resources in terms of the residents’ safety. PR image or not, Bloomberg’s , Chief of Staff and Press Information officer , Howard Wolfson , obviously are not of the opinion that the city’s plight and that of its residents , should take precedence over an event, that should be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. Bloomberg, in my opinion is simply looking for the nation’s sympathy as well as making the Marathon itself more of an event than it really needs to be at this moment in time. And why this decision by the mayor has not drawn the anger New York’s residents is simply beyond belief.

Courtesy of NBC News (NBCnews.com)

Backlash erupts as New York City prepares for marathon

By Andrew Mach and Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to allow the world’s largest marathon to proceed on Sunday has drawn a severe backlash from some quarters of the city.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”

Staten Island, the marathon’s starting point, suffered some of the worst destruction from Superstorm Sandy. At least 19 of New York’s 37 deaths occurred in the oft-forgotten borough, home to 500,000. Officials are still searching homes for survivors.

On Thursday, the bodies of two children who had been missing since the storm were found. The boys, ages 2 and 4, were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by floodwaters on the island.

“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones.”

Stringer said downtown Manhattan, the city’s financial hub, “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which goes through each of New York’s five boroughs.

Bloomberg has vowed the marathon will not divert any resources from victims, and expects power to be restored to downtown Manhattan by race day. In defending his decision to go forward, the mayor cited the thousands of out-of-town visitors who come for the marathon.

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As to the proposed game between the Knicks and Nets, as I alluded to earlier , that event has been rescheduled. The Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural regular season game will now be against the Toronto Raptors on the 3rd November , which will be followed by a second home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 5th November , 2012. There is a great deal that the NBA fans will have to look forward to over the course of this season as the Knicks and Nets get their season’s schedules underway. Most notably though, will be the meetings between these two franchises. The stars may well align for one if not both of these teams at some point during the season, but much of that will predicated on the play and coaching styles adopted by Avery Johnson of the Nets and Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks. Issues already abound for the Knicks , as they are like to be without C/PF , Amare’ Stoudemire, who could be out for for 6 to 8 weeks , with having to undergo knee surgery . I’ve always maintained, that prudent decision-making by way of the Knicks’ front office and specifically that of GM Glen Sather has left a great deal to be desired . Stoudemire has failed to live up to the almost $100 million contract , which expires in 2015 . The outlay made to the player by the organization, is just more of the continued idiocy that the Knicks have become known for in recent years . And yet to no avail, has there been any financial expediency been shown by Sather or for that matter by the owner , James Dolan.

Granted, as the NBA’s most valuable franchise does assist the New York Knicks in how they conduct their business operations , something that is not afforded to the vast majority of the league’s thirty teams . Much of the financial malaise that the NBA currently finds itself in , has been summarily been brought on by the lax rules applied to the NBA “soft salary cap” ($58.044 million). And there seems to be this tendency to believe that NBA Commissioner David Stern is without blame for this continued idiocy. However, do bear this in mind, the commissioner’s annual salary is in excess of $25 million , which would place him amongst the highest paid players in the NBA . Far be it for me to suggest, if Stern is asking the NBPA (Players’ Union) to make concessions in terms of their share of the league’s revenue pie . How is that, he, has never indicated that league hierarchy is prepared to the same? Clearly, that is something that has never been posed to David Stern as a question. What thoughts if any do you have on that premise? Billionaire owners , multimillionaire NBA athletes simply pissing into a lake, to see how much of a ripple effect is made , meanwhile the fans are being imbued with a less than satisfactory product ! Fuck it! Professional sports, has no integrity or morals, as cash rules everything . Anyone who believes to the contrary , is seriously delusional .

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What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And what do you wish to see come out of this NBA season by way of the players’ and teams’ performances ? By all means do you leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade holds his 2012 NBA Finals championship ring during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(2) From left, Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James pose with their 2012 NBA Finals championship rings during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(3) Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (5) backs down Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …..

(4) Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson …

(5) Amar’e Stoudemire (C) of the New York Knicks introduces new players Carmelo Anthony (L) and Chauncey Billups (R) at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ….

(6) Brooklyn Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov , the billionaire entrepreneur seeks to make the NBA franchise a worldwide brand , as he seeks to the Nets a competitive force in the NBA .
AP Photo / Richard Laurence ……..

(7) New York City Mayor , Michael Bloomberg ,foreground, is seen here with the city’s police chief , Ray Kelly . Bloomberg made the decision to proceed with the staging of the New York City Marathon , this Sunday , which will have 24,550 competitors for the event . There has been a great deal of anger at the mayor’s decision , in light of the recent devastation in the city , causing billions of dollars of damage to New York City’s infrastructure , residential and commercial property . AFP / REUTERS / Keith Hammond ….

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NBA related links: Hornets’ Gordon says knee injury legitimate

NBA, NBPA pledge $1 million for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Barclays Center Suites to Become ‘Your Home Away from Home

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NBA results 1st November 2012

NBA results 31st October 2012

NBA schedule 2nd November, 2012 (12 games to be played)

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Amber Lynne, currently a member of the Miami Spice of The Bikini Basketball League , a new start-up women’s professional basketball league where the uniforms are in fact a two piece swimsuit. What’s bad about that?

Hashish Is The Spice of Life …………

Hashish Is The Spice Of Life So Says Deron Williams

Let’s get one thing clear and stop with the utter stupidity that the statement in which New Jersery Nets’ point guard Deron Williams whose choice to pursue and offer his talents to top Turkish basketball side Beseitkas BC is all about money. The player who left the Utah Jazz in a trade transaction that was a multi player deal to make his home with the Nets . Multi billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the front office had to have given his blessing for this deal even with the advent of the NBA mandated lockout. The vested interest that the organization has in the player and the fact that GM Billy King knows that they would rather have a happy player rather than a discontented one .

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Williams simply doesn’t need the money as he’s the thirteenth highest paid player in the league and has sizable endorsement contracts that simply gives the player all the money he could simply ever wish for. What most patrons who’ve proffered up a commentary on this issue fail to understand is that the NBA players are not covered their teams’ insurance coverage during a labor stoppage so it makes prudent financial sense for a player to seek plying his trade elsewhere. The caveat being however , it does give an NBA team the right to void the player’s contract should they have a serious injury that could curtail their career during their sojourn. In the case of Deron Williams he will be financially rewarded with a $ 5 million one year contract , an assistant , the lease of a brand new car , a luxurious home for the player , his immediate family , round the clock security and all of his living expenses will be paid for by Beseitkas during the player’s stay in Turkey. The team itself is one of the top club sides in Europe alongside Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel .

Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

Now with Williams’ wish to play abroad it remains to be seen whether or not any of the league’s marquee stars will seek to ply their trade abroad . With all of the rumors currently circulating that Kobe Bryant is said to be interested in playing in Italy , I for one find that premise somewhat misleading with the mere fact with the player coming off surgery , it is highly unlikely that Bryant would seek to have a re-occurence of injury while playing abroad . If anything the player is more liable to rest and recuperate while awaiting an outcome of this work stoppage initiated by the league hierarchy at the insistence of the NBA team owners .

Courtesy of Foxsports

NBA stars going overseas a bad sign

By Dan Wolken

So Deron Williams wants to play in Turkey if the NBA season doesn’t start on time, which is certainly his right. In theory, it’s a decent way to spend a few months: Hang out in Europe, make money and play basketball while the NBA bickers its way through a lockout. It sounds so good, in fact, that within minutes of Williams’ agent confirming the agreement, superstars ranging from Carmelo Anthony to Kobe Bryant indicated an interest in joining him overseas.

But just by entertaining the idea of a European exodus, NBA stars are already showing the kind of selfishness and greed that will ultimately undermine the Players Association in what could be a long, ugly labor war.

A number of basketball people reacted the same way to the news Williams had agreed to play for Besiktas: They’ll believe it when they see it. But even if Williams never makes it to Turkey, the mere notion of it has already caused problems for players on the margins of the NBA.

With the possibility that legitimate NBA players and even some All-Stars could sign for the duration of the lockout, there are some early indications that players who typically go overseas may be squeezed out until European teams see who they can get.

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With that in mind this can’t sit well with the owners knowing that their players would seek to ply their trade elsewhere while the league itself is in the midst of a labor dispute . But so asinine has been the situation that it is hard to see how David Stern , Adam Silver as Deputy Commissioner can seek to resolve this situation when the league hierarchy and the NBPA are so far apart in renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement which expired on the 30th June.
The union’s Executive Director Billy Hunter along with union president Derek Fisher and its <a href=”http://npba.org/leadership”&gt; executive committee are insistent they have no wish to accede and make any concessions to the league unless the owners and hierarchy are prepared to acquiesce and reciprocate in kind. That at present doesn’t, appear to be an option but it remains to be seen over the ensuing days and weeks how things will work themselves out . This much is certain if the hierarchy and players aren’t on the same page by the time by the mini camp and preseason starts , we could well be seeing a prolonged stoppage with the possibility that the 2011-12 season not starting on time until either January of 2012 or perhaps the season being completely abandoned altogether .

The NBA’s teams at present are hemorrhaging money with more than half the teams in the league now said to be incurring multi million dollar losses . A patron of my site tried to allude to the fact that much of what is being stated concerning the teams’ losses is mere subterfuge on the part of the NBA and the fact that there are clear indications that the teams are in fact making millions . A recent article in noted financial publication Forbes Magazine states that much of the NBA hierarchy’s claims are a fallacy but herein lies the caveat with regard to those claims , it is merely that the contributor of that article merely remarked about the fact that much of the revenues derived by the teams are in fact from season and general admission ticket sales and that of concessions during regular season games . Not much was made with regard to revenues streams derived from the NBA’s own marketing and branding operations . Now inasmuch as I’ve a great affinity for Forbes Magazine and what it at times bring to the table I found the article on the NBA’s finances something of a faux pas on their part ! The article failed to touch on the very fact that in 2009 and 2010 respectively the league received cumulatively in excess of $550 million in loans which was shared amongst 22 teams around the NBA . If that is not indicative of a league that is said to be in dire straits then can someone please explain to me what is ? David Stern in his formal statement in 2009 concerning the first series of loans made the suggestive statement ….. ” that this should not be viewed as a financial bailout of the teams in question but merely a way of assisting them in their financial difficulties”. Over this last decade the league’s teams have borrowed in excess of $1.6 billion from major financial institutions across the nation. Clearly a situation that the league now needs to address as to the financial acumen of its teams and their general managers .

After a nine year career much of it filled with a great deal of disappointment Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming we’re told will make a formal announcement stating that he will retire from the game. Recurring injuries and ill health throughout much of his career led to this decision where the 7′ center feels it necessary call it a day. Drafted in the 2002 NBA Draft first overall by the Rockets Yao Ming would make his home in Houston leading the team in a number offensive categories over much of his career .

The faith shown in Yao Ming by general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander has been implicit but it has been the growth of the game in Yao’s homeland of China that must first be appreciated . Granted , the population (1.6 billion and counting) may well have known about Michael Jordan through jersey , other sports apparel sales and the presence of Nike Inc which has several manufacturing plants dotted all over the country gave a heighten awareness to the game and NBA brand in the Far East.

With Yao’s apparent wish to step away from the game it has to be said that league hierarchy will see this as something of a sad loss . Commercially the player had the second highest jersey sales in his native land behind Kobe Bryant but without the Chinese native’s rise to the top of the game and the legions of fans within China that now follow the NBA , this has all been due to his presence within the professional ranks in North America.

Success though fleeting for the Rockets with Yao’s arrival and the awareness of the Sino American community within the state of Texas and in particular within the city of Houston laid the foundation for the organization and its selling of the player to the community at large . Yao Ming played his role in that task and it became clear that the Houston Rockets and NBA at large would profit greatly from this endeavor. And though it is questionable as to how Yao Ming’s career will be viewed by the fans and analysts at large . A great player in his own right on both ends of the court it has to be said there will be those who will debate overall whether or not he has actually been a success in the NBA . Debate it at will but there will be those who come out in favor of the player and those who will also question where he stands within the game. The preeminent centers within the game as Yao’s peers were Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard once he became a force in the league but it has to be said the thinning of the position with O’Neal now retiring leaves us with not much by way of the prototypical center within the NBA.

From my own perspective with the retirement of Yao from the game it now leaves a large gap of what I believe to be truly good centers within the NBA ! Certainly amongst the centers now playing the game Dwight Howard immediately comes to mind and that of Andrew Bynum with the latter yet to refine his game and live up to the perceived expectations as to how good he can really become. I think that comes more out of conceit on the part of Bynum , the fact he is self absorbed and believes himself privileged . And if the Los Angeles Lakers are to be resurgent once again then he will have to raise the level of his play.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In your opinion do you feel that the departure of Deron Williams to play in Europe will be sign that other marquee players will seek to ply their trade elsewhere ? Also with what is said to be the imminent retirement of Yao Ming what thoughts if any do you with regard to play of the centers that are now playing in the NBA ? Do you believe that it is on the decline or is it your opinion that this is merely a cyclical situation and we will once again see a dominant player at the position ? Simply chime with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) FILE – This Feb. 24, 2011, file photo shows New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams posing in front of his poster at a news conference, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Turkish team Besiktas says it is close to reaching a deal with NBA All-Star guard Deron Williams. The New Jersey Nets say they can’t comment because of the lockout. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(2) New Jersey Nets draft pick Jordan Williams speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as Marshon Brooks looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(3) New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King speaks during an introductory NBA basketball news conference as draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic , left, looks on Monday, June 27, 2011, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(4) Nets’ team owner Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with minority equity stake partner Jay-Z . The two will combine their resources in bringing the team to the Barclay Yard Development in Brooklyn , New York in two years . Courtesy of NESN.com copyrighted material @ all rights reserved ….

(5) This file photo taken on June 27th, 2011 shows NBA Houston Rockets’ Chinese basketball star Yao Ming listening to a question during a press conference in Taipei. Chinese media was rife with speculation on July 11, 2011 about what basketball icon Yao Ming might do next, after reports the country’s most famous sporting export is set to retire. AFP PHOTO /Getty Images / FILES / Sam YEH …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 26: Yao Ming (11) of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..

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Pop Goes The Weasel ……………..

Pop Goes The Weasel …..

Well it is now being widely reported that the NFL in conjunction with the NFLPA have gotten an accord wherein an agreement has been reached between the two sides. From what I’ve been led to believe it will be that the union and Commissioner Roger Goodell on behalf the team owners have suddenly had their wits about them. It took the two sides just over 100 days to suddenly realize that neither side can do without the other . At the same time I do believe that Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan simply made both sides an offer that neither could refuse ! Either they reached a compromise or Boylan would render a decision that would most certainly have some serious repercussions for both sides.

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If the teams now get back to full practice mode with them all returning to their training facilities then quite possibly a preseason and some form of a regular season will proceed as planned . From my own perspective I think it is more liable that we will see a preseason of 2 games with regular season of 16 games as planned, kicking off on time on the 8th September . As to what this says about the NFL and in particular for the players of the NFLPA , it may well all come down to wanting to save face rather than being forced into a situation where they may have to come off on the wrong side of a legal verdict .

DeMaurice Smith as the NFLPA Executive Director now knows that he and his members face something of an uphill battle in assuring the player representatives that this is now all in their best interest. Other the flip side of this coin , Goodell’s legacy may well appear to be in tact knowing that he dodged a bullet . And for the fans of the NFL well let’s just say that there are some amongst us who feel that it’s great that the league will be back in action . I simply hope that the news that is now coming down the pike concerning the NFL has some real veracity to it and that the new CBA is equitable and amenable to all of the parties concerned !

If the actions of the NFL doesn’t have a bearing on the NBA and their own situation then quite possibly we could very well see the two sides there reach some sort of a compromise. But herein lies the caveat , NBA Commissioner David Stern as the league’s highest ranking official has ruled the NBA as if it were his own personal fiefdom . Stern’s autocratic rule would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud of their own accomplishments and achievements. In the case of David Stern he now appears to be fighting his toughest battle yet . The NBPA in all likelihood will most certainly be against making any concessions that has them appearing weak and at the same they are not prepared to lessen their grip on the league revenues which sees them receiving a 53/47 split of the $3.95 billion that comes into the league’s coffers each season .

One wonders how it is that repeatedly when such instances arise in the wake of a hierarchy induced stoppage how it is that no foresight is shown wherein a collective bargaining agreement that the two sides prior to that expiration the two sides don’t start negotiating in advance ? That was most certainly the case with the NFL and also once again here with the NBA ! It would appear reasonable to suggest that they ought to have done that in the first place ____ starting off in good faith rather than the intense , sometimes rather animated and infantile exchanges that are said to have taken place during these negotiations between the NFL , NFLPA and now between the NBA and NBPA. Kind of makes one wonder who actually is the child here and who if anything is the adult overseeing this all ? It may well be that things will indeed have to take a real turn for the worse before any semblance of common sense is actually shown. I’m sure that Stern or his union counterpart Billy Hunter surely are not willing to have the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) or the US Federal Court intervene in this matter because should that occur then no party comes out in the end looking like a winner under any circumstance.

Now there’s a great deal to be said about the utter stupidity that has shown by the team owners , league hierarchy and in particular the general managers of the teams in the NBA . And now with a number of players now seeking to ply their trade elsewhere knowing that while a lockout remains in force they know that they are not covered in terms of insurance coverage during a league enforced lockout. Salaries , well it’s obvious that those won’t be paid at all so for the players who choose to play in Europe or elsewhere so that they can then earn a sizable sum in the midst of the stoppage and at the same time remain relatively fit is of benefit to themselves and their financial well being .

I find it somewhat naive of the fans are of the opinion feel that the league isn’t losing money but then again it all boils down the league showing very little by the way of transparency . They certainly are averse to opening their books for public scrutiny and it certainly has made David Stern look the complete idiot , when he , himself has sold the golden goose as a brand that simply was all in good standing. In the last two years Stern has made sure that teams around the league have been the financial recipients of over $600 million in loans , all of which the commissioner stated wasn’t to be viewed as a bailout . Somehow in the midst of this all David Stern is now finding out that all that glitters simply isn’t gold . Admittedly the ratings for this past season’s NBA Finals were a bonanza for ABC but the attendance for scheduled regular season games around the league saw a marked decline . Much of which has led to part of the financial instability for a number of teams. Owners such as Mikhail Prokhorov , Dan Gilbert , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber vastly overpaid for the respective franchises purchased but herein lies the caveat as in the case of Gilbert he’s amongst a number of team owners who are now cash strapped in more ways than they would actually care to admit . Nowhere is this more self evident than in the case of the Sacramento Kings and the ownership group led by Joe and Gavin_Maloof as they’ve simply looked to seek financial aid courtesy of the league hierarchy and advantageous tax exemptions from the city of Sacramento .

The plight of the Kings is by no means clear albeit that they will remain in Sacramento for one more year . Do not be surprised were the Maloofs to take off like thieves into the night with their bags packed and the city of Sacramento is left without an NBA franchise . One simply has to remember what took place with the Seattle Supersonics and their move from that city to Oklahoma City and the lies that permeated through the decision to move all orchestrated by David Stern and the Thunder ownership group led by Clay Bennett . Money may well have exchanged hands to finally facilitate the move but the city (Seattle) remains without a franchise and that simple feeling that they had been duped all along by the NBA . That once again is liable to happen with the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings when it’s all said and done .

Falling attendances in an economic downturn is one thing but when the teams choose not to rein in their expenses and Stern seems to be adverse to actually initiating a hard salary cap rather than insisting that a soft cap now works for the teams. This has proven to be misplaced and even more so given the fact the commissioner has admitted that teams are hemorrhaging red ink like a corpse exsanguinate blood after receiving a nasty abdomen wound from a shotgun. I personally believe that the league hierarchy , the general managers and owners around the NBA have simply lost touched with reality . And the union and its executive committee are not that far behind in this whole asinine charade as they each look to one up each other. The league hierarchy wants to hold on to what little power it still has whereas the union simply wants the status quo to remain as is or perhaps get an even slightly larger slice of that pie.

This stoppage may well be the wake up call that this image enriched league needs to bring it back to reality. And the case can be made that much of this was simply brought about by the ambition of David Stern as he viewed that the best way to market the league was through its stars rather than the marketing of the teams . This scenario worked well when the league was in need of real vibrancy and they found it in a marketing and basketball phenom in Michael Jordan . And the rest as we say is history as the league and Jordan had some rich and wonderful years that have benefited both financially beyond their wildest dreams. Since the six time championship winning player retired from the game it has to be said that the NBA hit some lean years from a fan and attendance standpoint. Competitively the NBA is has had its ups and downs but the teams we expect to see make the NBA playoffs usually do , with there being one or two surprises along the way.

As I have alluded to earlier the league hierarchy simply are averse to any real transparency as to the their business practices and how they actually conduct their operations . The asinine situation remains is the very fact that there are fans out there who simply believe that the league can’t hit upon hard times. If they believe that to be so then simply look at the problems we now see befalling such teams as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are not mere hiccups . If only these fans would care to look beyond what takes place on the field of play and look to what is actually going on in the boardrooms of the teams then they would actually understand what is happening. Many of the thought processes I’ve heard _____ “we have a horrible owner and he needs to sell the team then we’d be much better off “ .

Given the situation with the economy and the asinine belief of some fans that billionaires such as Mark Cuban , Larry Ellison , Carlos Slim Helu and Eli Broad would even be interested in overpaying for a franchise that simply has seen its profits decline and many of its streams begin to dry up with the seller seemingly seeking prices that are inflated and not based on being anywhere near being realistic . Buyers simply don’t buy a sports’ franchise on a whim, they look to make sure that the purchase will be of benefit to them and that there is most certainly a chance of success before they would even consider plowing their money into such a venture . But then again that may not have been the case with the purchase made by Frank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the sheer ineptitude shown by the team owners and baseball hierarchy in approving the deal to begin with for the sale of the team. Most certainly due diligence can’t have been used by the league hierarchy and anyone who simply believes that to have been the case has to be an idiot to begin with ! This very same hierarchy and owners voted against McCourt when he originally sought to purchase the Boston Red Sox but a mere three years later they saw fit to vote him in amongst the team owners’ fraternity by approving his purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow words escape me as to the mere ineptitude that has been shown by Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and in fact the team owners of Major League Baseball !

Dan Gilbert though a multi millionaire is now finding out the hard way having seen the marked decline in the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers but at the same time he’s having to pay down the principal and interest having purchased the team by way of a loan from a major financial institution. This could very well be one of the numerous reasons why we are now seeing a number of owners beginning to voice their disapproval with the way that Stern has handled the matter but somehow they remain steadfast in their support of the commissioner and league hierarchy for now. Long time owners having bought their teams relatively cheap simply haven’t that much to worry about in large part but there are those recently new team owners that have spent hundreds of millions in their purchase that have yet to see anything tangible from that purchase by way of success or in the form of a profitability standpoint.

So apparently as one door closes another is still left ajar as the NBA continues with its own form of infighting . It will be interesting to see what now permeates between the two sides and how each looks to make their presentation of their case for the public’s consumption. I doubt that the vast majority of the league’s fans actually favor one side or another but they would simply be rather content to see both sides reach an agreement rather than what could turn out to be a rather bitter dispute between the two parties . It’s bad enough that the public has to endure that same sort of stupidity with the members of the House and Senate up on Capitol Hill without it now having to be shown of all places within the domain of big time professional sports . But this simply has become a microcosm of our society and when greed rather than common sense gets in the way of a real issue then for all sense and purpose stupidity sets in and ‘pop goes the weasel ‘.

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If the related news is said to be true are you happy that the NFL will be back in full swing with a scheduled formatted season of games to be played ? And what are your own thoughts on the NBA’s self imposed lockout and how do you see that scenario ending ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

NB : At the time of writing this piece the news concerning an agreement having been reached between the NFL and NFLPA _ no formal statement had yet to be issued , so as of now things still remain as they are .

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(1) Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert talks with the media at a press availability at the Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence, Ohio on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta …..

(2) Larry Ellison, chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., talks about his company during an interview Monday, May 8, 2000, in Dallas. Ellison, who unveiled a $199 Internet machine before an audience of students at a performing arts high school, said Oracle will donate more than 1,100 of the machines to 23 Dallas schools. The machine, which lacks a hard drive, is targeted at the education and consumer markets. Ellison the founder of Oracle is an ardent basketball fan who lost out in trying to acquire the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. AP Photo/Tim Sharp ……

(3) Billionaire real estate mogul and philanthropist Eli Broad . Courtesy of Forbes Magazine / Joe Puglise @ all rights reserved copyrighted material …

(4) David Stern (left) and Oklahoma City Thunder principal managing partner Clay Bennett are seen here at an NBA game in Oklahoma City , OK. AP Photo / Gabriel Barnes …….

(5) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco ………

(6) (L-R) Brothers George Maloof, Gavin Maloof and Joe Maloof watch a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95 . Getty Images North America /Ethan Miller ……

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My Horse My Horse My Kingdom For A Horse

My Horse My Horse My Kingdom For A Horse

Well the NBA ___ preseason will start within the next three weeks and all signs point to the fact that all of the power will return to the Eastern Conference. I could well be wrong in my interpretation but with the possible move of Carmelo Anthony moving from the Denver Nuggets to the New Jersey Nets . It would appear that the conference could see a re-emergence in terms of supremacy.

No doubt with the Miami Heat with its trio of stars corralled by Heat President Pat Riley , his three musketeers in the guise of LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will look to be the dominant team within the conference. However with such teams as the Orlando Magic , Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics all looking to make the Heat the pretenders to the crown that's still in the possession of the Los Angeles Lakers. And until the champions are knocked off their pedestal then all homage has to be paid to the Lakers.

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Slide-show for your perusa.

Courtesy of The New York Daily News

Donnie Walsh regrets using draft pick for Tracy McGrady, which may help Houston land Carmelo Anthony

By Frank Isola

Donnie Walsh admitted Wednesday that he second-guesses himself for including a first-round pick in last year’s Tracy McGrady deal.

In fact, the Houston Rockets are dangling that 2012 first-round pick in a potential deal for Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony, a player the Knicks are also heavily pursuing.

“I’ll second-guess myself forever on that,” Walsh said of including a 2012 first-round pick in the McGrady trade. “I’ve always wondered about that. I didn’t like it when we did it.”

On Feb. 18, 2010, McGrady was traded to the Knicks as part of a three-team deal involving Houston and Sacramento. The Knicks and Rockets exchanged 2011 first-round picks in the deal, and because the Knicks added their 2012 first-round pick, they are prohibited by league rules to trade their 2013 first-round pick.

In fact, Walsh revealed that he is trying to acquire a first-round pick that he theoretically could include in a deal for Anthony.

Both Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni believed the McGrady trade helped the Knicks because it created enough salary-cap space to sign free agents Amare’ Stoudemire and Raymond Felton over the summer.

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Now while it's yet to be confirmed that the trade will go down it's expected that Anthony could be looking to land with a team that has the potential to be considered a contender not just within the conference but quite possibly as a title contender . And while there's every belief that a trade will happen , I'm not entirely sure that the player will go to the lowly Nets spite of the team now being owned by Russian multi-billionaire entrepreneur Mikhail Prokhorov. This much we do know Prokhorov is an ambitious owner who wants to set his seal of approval within the NBA. I'm under no illusion about Prokhorov, that he is serious about making the Nets a contender but this team is at least two years of actually being considered a contender within its own division much less the rest of the Eastern Conference. And while there's burgeoning talent there in terms of Derrick Favors, Brook Lopez and Devin Harris beyond that there's very little there to suggest that with the addition of Carmelo this team would make a sizable gain in terms of wins when measured against last season's total of 12 wins.

And while no one might view this as significant I'm in agreement with ESPN's NBA analys and writer Chris Broussard that either Chicago Bulls or the Houston Rockets could very well make a play for Carmelo Anthony. They have the contracts that are coming to a close an end and a number of players that are surplus to their needs. Acquiring Anthony would be of benefit to the team and Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey being as insightful as he is , he knows that obtaining a player of this magnitude would be of benefit not only to the organization from a business standpoint as it would help the bottom line of a franchise that has struggled eke out a profit and being seen as the lesser light within the “Lone Star State” , as the rise in prominence of the Dallas Mavericks and the four time NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs. For the Rockets they've not been viewed as a perennial contender since the halcyon days of Hakeem Olajuwon and the coaching pedigree of Rudy Tomjanovich.

What we do know is that the Western Conference is still the weighted conference in terms of quality laden teams. The talent is there and with the emergence of the Oklahoma City Thunder and two truly rising stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook we could well see the further dominance of the NBA by Western Conference teams. Now there are those fans within the Eastern Conference who view the Heat and their trio who are looking to bring back some prominence to South Beach. And while no one is under any illusion that the Heat are expected to have a dominant season it has to be said anything short of winning the title will be looked upon as a complete failure. There's a reason why Heat owner Micky Arison , team President Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff has set this all in motion. The franchise needed a boost and with declining revenues and the fact franchise's bottom line had shown a steady decline over the last four years something had to be done. And now with general ticket sales on the rise , that of the executive suites and memorabilia it could mean all or nothing for the club.

I'm under no illusion that the Heat are presumptive favorites I do feel that we ought not to overlook teams such as the Celtics , Lakers , Magic, Spurs and Thunder. The latter I've stated because to my mind I view them as contenders who could very well upset the apple cart. On the other hand I'll be looking to see whether or not the Dallas Mavericks can prove me wrong by showing that they can actually play with some heart. To my mind this team has always built on the premise that if they have a good regular season that's enough to satisfy their fans . Mark Cuban to my mind while he's demonstrative and highly opinionated his greatest problem is that the talent of the Mavericks isn't as good as he believes it to be. And unfortunately while Dirk Nowitzki is a year older the talent around him simply doesn't show that they can play with a passion and can be physical when needed to be. A closet full of "queens" (homosexuals) show more passion and physicality than the Mavericks have shown. Less we forget their sole appearance in the NBA Finals led to them having their asses handed to them on a silver platter. And at present there's nothing that'd lead me to believe that the same outcome isn't liable to happen again. Rick Carlisle as the team's coach hasn't the wherewithal to have the team batten down and the hatches when adversity stares them in the face. If anything as we've seen repeatedly over the years they've buckled under the weight of expectation. Is it liable to happen again this ? Well I think that will the case and there's not much that can dissuade me to think otherwise.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Are you as a fan looking forward to the upcoming season in the NBA and how do you see things panning out for the Miami Heat ? Are they capable of usurping the Lakers and bringing the championship back to the Eastern Conference and in particular to South Beach ? Chime on in with your thoughts and observations and as always thanks for the continued support .

🙂 _ 😦

Alan aka tophatal

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Russian model , actress and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko .

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Less is more as they say and the more of Olga that we see the better off we are !

The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming ………….

Now that the ‘Cold War’ has ended , though there’s still said to be some distrust, disquiet , between the two former adversaries and by those who claim to be in the know. There’s an interesting anomaly that seems to be arising in the world of sports. In particular as with regards to the sports horizon in the United States and its landscape.

In Major League Baseball (MLB) there are two foreign owners of a major league franchise. In this case it is the Seattle Mariners . They’re owned by Nintendo of America Inc. who are part of the Japanese multi-national company, Nintendo Co,. Ltd . And there’s also the Toronto Blue Jays , owned by the wealthy but reclusive Rogers family. In the NHL , – well obviously there are the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs .

The NFL for all of its history and legacy does not possess a foreign owner , much less an ethnic minority owner in any of its 32 franchises. And this from a sport with burgeoning ambitions to become a global brand. It remains the one sport that despite its appearance would rather at ownership level remain and keep the status quo as it is. Essentially an ‘old boys network’ filled with a certain type of owner .

Russian  tycoon  Mikhail  Prokhorov  listed  as  Russia's  wealthiest  person  and  at   #40   Forbes'   list   of the  world's wealthiest  individuals   for   2009.   Prokhorov   has  made  a  detailed    offer  to   purchase a  majority  stake  in the  New  Jersey   Nets   along  with  a  capital  infusion   provided   for  the  development  of  the  Atlantic  Yards  project.  An  area that will   encapsulate   residential    as  well  commericial   properties   with  its  centerpiece  being   the  Barclay  Center-  which  will  become  the  new  home of the  New Jersey  Nets.     The  development   will  be  situated   in Brooklyn,  NY,.      picture appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Mikhail Metzel   ......................................
Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov listed as Russia's wealthiest person and at #40 Forbes' list of the world's wealthiest individuals for 2009. Prokhorov has made a detailed offer to purchase a majority stake in the New Jersey Nets along with a capital infusion provided for the development of the Atlantic Yards project. An area that will encapsulate residential as well commericial properties with its centerpiece being the Barclay Center- which will become the new home of the New Jersey Nets. The development will be situated in Brooklyn, NY,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mikhail Metzel ......................................

The NBA now but down to one foreign owned franchise, in the form of the Toronto Raptors . They’re now said to be on their way into possessing a second . It is widely being speculated upon that Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov will formally make a bid to buy in part , the New Jersey Nets. It is said to already have the blessing of NBA commissioner David Stern. Though the formal announcement has yet to be made as it await the NBA’s Board of Governors’ approval. It is not thought that there will be dissenting voice or vote in the process. And certainly with the most recent maneuver whereby the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ owner Dan Gilbert sold a minority stake in the franchise to a Chinese entrepreneur.

The  Barclays  Center    as   the  projected   future home  of  the  New  Jersey   Nets  .  The  design  is   by  architectural   firm  Ellerbe  Beckett .  picture appears courtesy of  curbed.com/archives/ barclays  center  ......................
The Barclays Center as the projected future home of the New Jersey Nets . The design is by architectural firm Ellerbe Beckett . picture appears courtesy of curbed.com/archives/ barclays center ......................

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP

Russian tycoon to buy Nets, move team to Brooklyn

By Tom Canavan AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—The NBA has truly gone global.

Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov reached an agreement Wednesday to buy 80 percent of the financially strapped New Jersey Nets and nearly half of a project to build a new arena in Brooklyn.

The only thing that stands in the way is a nyet from the league’s board of governors, and that doesn’t seem likely with NBA commissioner David Stern already giving the deal his initial blessing.

The proposed blockbuster deal would give the Nets’ current principal owner, Bruce Ratner, the needed cash to move forward with the Barclays Center, the centerpiece of his Atlantic Yards development, which includes plans for retail and residential projects.

It would make Prokhorov, a billionaire and former amateur basketball player, the NBA’s first non-North American owner.

It would also mean the Nets really do seem headed to Brooklyn, a New York City borough without a major pro sports franchise since baseball’s Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957.

“Interest in basketball and the NBA is growing rapidly on a global basis, and we are especially encouraged by Mr. Prokhorov’s commitment to the Nets and the opportunity it presents to continue the growth of basketball in Russia,” Stern said in a statement.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, too, is ready to welcome Prokhorov to the NBA.

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In order to read Tom Canavan’s article in its entirety just click on the link provided.

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The New Jersey Nets’ principal partner Bruce Ratner , whose paramount issue at present is the relocation of the franchise from New Jersey to New York City (Brooklyn). And it is felt with the cash infusion provided by Prokhorov. It would facilitate the finishing of the project known as the Atlantic Yards project. At the center of this all will be the Barclays Center , which will become the new home of the New Jersey Nets. The project itself is multi-billion dollar undertaking. And it envisaged as an area of residential as well as commercial properties with the Barclays Center as its center piece.

Bruce  Ratner seated  left   of movie  star  Bruce Willis   is the  principal  partner   in the  ownership   group of  the NBA's  New Jersey  Nets.   Ratner  and  his  ownership   group  are  awaiting the NBA's   blessing  to  sell  in  excess of  80%  of  the  franchise  and  other  assets  to Russian  tycoon   Mikhail  Prokhorov.  picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images/   Richard   Hauser .......................
Bruce Ratner seated left of movie star Bruce Willis is the principal partner in the ownership group of the NBA's New Jersey Nets. Ratner and his ownership group are awaiting the NBA's blessing to sell in excess of 80% of the franchise and other assets to Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Richard Hauser .......................

With this now comes the perception that this won’t be the last big undertaking by the Nets’ ownership. It is widely thought that with impending free agency of the Cavaliers’ Le Bron James at the end of the 2009-10 season . The New Jersey Nets will make a solid push to obtain the player. Certainly the Nets won’t be the only team looking to lure the player to ‘The Big Apple’, as it’s also thought that the New York Knicks will most certainly make the player a very lucrative offer. And it is thought the Cleveland Cavaliers will move heaven and earth to insure that James remains in Cleveland.

Rap star , music mogul and business entrepreneur Jay Z , who’s also a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets. Here he speaks with fellow rap star and record producer Jermaine Dupri and his ambitions to bring the Nets to Brooklyn. It’s also believed that he may well sway the decision that’s yet to be made by LeBron James and whether or not he’ll leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Certainly should this deal be approved by the NBA . Then it would most certainly change sporting landscape within the United States. The NFL in large part sees itself as a burgeoning brand on the international market. But essentially they’ve been somewhat haphazard in their marketing of their brand and product to the outside world. And while the game is growing in popularity across the globe. The resonance that it has sought , has yet to reach the levels attained by the NBA. This only adds to the dilemma that it now faces. And for the NBA , the acquiring of a foreign based owner in the guise of Mikhail Prokhorov will be seen as a boon for them and a ‘grand marketing idea’ that they can build around to further their already established brand on a global scale.

Cavaliers'  player  LeBron  James   signs  copies   of  book  'Shooting  Stars'  at  a  book  signing   at  a Borders  bookstore in  Westlake  ,  Ohio.   The   player    seeks   impending  free  agency   after  the  2009-10  NBA   season.   And  it's  believed   that  there'll  be  a  fullcourt  press  by   both  the New  York  Knicks  and  New  Jersey  Nets  to  acquire  the  player.   The  book   is  James'   first  take  at   writing   and  he was  assisted  in the process  by  noted   author  Buzz  Bissinger , who   wrote   'Friday  Night  Lights'  .   picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Amy  Sancetta  .......................
Cavaliers' player LeBron James signs copies of book 'Shooting Stars' at a book signing at a Borders bookstore in Westlake , Ohio. The player seeks impending free agency after the 2009-10 NBA season. And it's believed that there'll be a fullcourt press by both the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets to acquire the player. The book is James' first take at writing and he was assisted in the process by noted author Buzz Bissinger , who wrote 'Friday Night Lights' . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Amy Sancetta .......................

Well one can surmise to invest in an NFL franchise is a considerable one. Given the fact that the average price of an NFL franchise is slightly more than a $1 billion . And if you were of the opinion what it would indeed cost to be new starting franchise in the NFL. Well unless you can come up with rights’ fees and then have at least another $1 billion dollars in financing for a stadium and other ancillary costs . Then the NFL isn’t the business you really want to be getting into. And that’s even with the over inflated price tags of their franchises. The revenues garnered by way of the tv rights and marketing , may well make it on appearance a lucrative investment. But for every dollar invested what is the return on that particular investment ( roi ) ?

I for one think that with the impending addition of Prokhorov as an owner within the NBA. It can only be of benefit to the game , domestically as well as on the international front. It adds to the ambitions of the game’s hierarchy. And in essence it gives the impression that there’s also a favorable environment for an aspiring sports franchise owner to invest here in an identifiable product and brand. At present the same can’t necessarily said of the NFL. It’s still looking for its first ethnic minority owner , never-mind one from the international arena. And that’s something that the NFL hasn’t really pursued at any level , in reality. If they’re of the opinion that the ‘Rooney Rule’ fixes anything, then they’re sadly mistaken.

Roger Goodell, nor his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue , had gone far enough to ingratiate the thought of even having a minority owner of a franchise within the NFL. It has been something of an eye opener to many and nearly not enough for a number of people who’d obviously like to have seen a genuine effort from the NFL.