Shirts or Skins?
Michael Phelps…Usain Bolt…Mark Spitz…Rafer Johnson…Josh from Down the Hall????
Let’s be honest here. When you think Olympics, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat (sorry, I know that’s Jim McKay and Wide World of Sports, but if it’s still good, why keep it in storage) the best of the best standing tall after tremendous athletic achievements, both singular and team, basking in the adulation of millions, representing self, family and country. Swimming, diving, rowing. Cycling, sailing, fencing. Boxing, golf, tennis. Three on three basketball? Hey, you wanna play, we need one more. This is now an Olympic sport?
Now there’s no denying that 3/3 is one of the staples of the basketball universe. In the park, in the gym, at the Y… but for Olympic gold? Did Ice Cube have this much influence with the new BIG3 league (more on that later) that he convinced the IOC to add it to the roster? I needed help, so I phoned a friend.
Dave D’Alessandro used to roam the NBA hardwood for many years, most notably at the Star-Ledger, where he offered his unique perspective that sometimes made you wonder if one, you were watching the same game, and two, man, I’m just not that smart. But now Dave D. writes editorials for the Ledger. (For those who love the game, having Dave D. write about politics and plumbing and not points per possession and player productivity is akin to the Yankees going to the late, great Bob Sheppard and saying, ‘Hey Bob, you have a great style, you’re doing a great job, but we think the team would be better served by you doing the announcements on the concourse for those going to buy a dog…but I digress).
“I don’t know what message they’re sending by adding another basketball event. Maybe they’ve invented some incarnation that requires another skill set. The most important shot in today’s game is the three pointer-will there be any three pointers? But frankly, I don’t expect this to replicate the who’s got-next vibe of West 4th.”
So Double D is as nonplussed as me…not good. Then let’s move on to the new three on three league which begins next weekend, featuring retired NBA players, or more succinctly, guys who have played in the NBA. The BIG3 (and seriously, if you have BIG in your name, how is Tom Hanks not the celeb commissioner…but I digress).
“Those Legends games at All-Star were entertaining as hell (notably Gervin, Cal Murphy). Of course, I also remember one or two being carried off on gurneys and Rick Barry strapping on an oxygen tank. But these teams are for the millennials, not you and me. And sustaining eyeballs will come down to two things. One, do the shots go in, and two, are the 30-somethings really in front of their TV’s this summer.”
The bottom line will be if it can produce ratings. So as not to mail it in, Dave contacted a TV ad exec for these pearls.
“I’d be interested for 10 minutes for the big names,” said the anonymous source. “ But McCants, Boykins, does anybody really care? There is a hole for sports programming in the summer, and it may be able to survive on a small but concentrated young audience.”
And when you look at the rosters, there really is only one player of note, AI. Besides that, it’s the coaches that have all the name recognition, but they’re not playing! Payton, Gervin, Oakley, Drexler, Dr. J ( and btw, the Cav’s PA guy, who is a lovely young man, is treading dangerously close to hallowed ground when he extolls Kyrie Irrrving…because, there is only one of those…the great Zinkoff and the iconic JooLeeUs Errrrrrrrrrrving….but I digress).
Kwame Brown…Moochie Norris…Reggie Evans ( great guy, but all muscle and no shot…KImbo Slice (R.I.P.) in shorts and sneaks). That’s who you’re going to watch play three on three?
Which brings me to the Ball Hogs, coached by Rick Barry. The captains…the self-proclaimed White Mamba, Brian Scalabrine and Josh Childress, along with Derrick Byers, Rasual Butler and Ivan Johnson. Not exactly dripping in star power. You already have Rick Barry as the coach. And you need five players. How about renaming the team Family Affair and go all-Barry…Scooter, Jon, Brent, Drew and Canyon?
Who’s got next?
The Comey hearings rivaled the NBA Finals in viewership. I contacted Schumer’s office…they said Santana didn’t play the anthem, but was heard banging out ‘Soul Sacrifice’ on the steps of the Rotunda.
There’s a new professional flag football league…and here I thought I wasted my college years working the intramural program instead of taking meaningful classes.
Rafa wears his sneaks a half- size smaller when he plays on clay…I know you’re waiting for me to say that size doesn’t matter…so why disappoint.