Category Archives: Basketball

Los Suns Also Rise: Phoenix Suns Win in More Ways Than One

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dave Ziran

Anyone who believes that sports can’t be an effective platform for social justice, needed only to watch last night’s game between Los Suns of Phoenix and the San Antonio Spurs. The unprecedented decision by the entire Suns organization – from owner Robert Sarver to star players Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash – to wear uniforms blaring Los Suns and come out against Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070, created a sports broadcast like no other in my lifetime. The game on TNT began with sideline reporter Marty Snider outside the arena covering a mushrooming 3,000 person civil rights march, led by Al Sharpton and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon (both wearing Los Suns Jerseys.) Then the scene switched to the pre-game studio with host Ernie Johnson and former players Kenny “the Jet” Smith, Chris Webber, and Charles Barkley. The viewing audience then got an unexpected and bracing lesson in dissent.

Kenny Smith, like any good point guard, set up the others by saying, “I think it’s great that the team understands, the management understands and now the people of Phoenix are all rallying together at the same time.” Barkley, a long time Arizona resident and a man who once said that he was a Republican until “the Republicans lost their damn minds” chimed in saying, “The only people screwing it up are the politicians. The Governor – the interim governor I might add – J.D. Hayworth and John McCain. They’re the ones screwing this thing up. I really take my hat off to Robert Sarver and the Suns for taking a stand. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination……. President Obama you’ve got to do something because these lightweight politicians in Arizona have no idea what they are doing.”

The typically blunt Barkley speaking in such terms is hardly surprising. But it was Chris Webber who upped the ante, interrupting a visibly uncomfortable Ernie Johnson with, “Public Enemy said it a long time ago. ‘By the Time I Get to Arizona.’ I’m not surprised. They didn’t even want there to be a Martin Luther King day when John McCain was in [office.]. So if you follow history you know that this is part of Arizona politics.”

It was a remarkable display and it was difficult to not think of the millions of television viewers around the country, in sports bars, restaurants, and house parties, being confronted with this kind of forthright, plainspoken language. But perhaps even more important than the support Los Suns received from protestors and broadcasters, was their play on the court. Phoenix trailed by nine at the end of the first quarter and Spurs star power forward Tim Duncan was scoring with ease. The crowd was dead and it wasn’t difficult to envision what would be said in the SportsWorld if Phoenix lost: “The political hoopla was a distraction.” “This is why sports and politics don’t mix.” “They should have been focused on the Spurs and not immigration.” And grinning smugly would have been LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson who chided the Suns yesterday saying, “If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws…. I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff.”

In other words, everyone who stands with SB 1070 would be feeling a little more joyful this morning. It would have been an echo of the time Muhammad Ali lost his first fight to Joe Frazier and all the columnists and fans who wanted to see the draft dodging Ali punished, chortled gleefully after he was knocked to the canvas. But just when we were all ready to stick a fork in the brick-laying Suns, something remarkable happened. The slick shooting, fast breaking team started to crash the boards, play ugly, and do all the dirty work that wins games. Doughy, undersized three point shooter Jared Dudley started aggressively snatching offensive rebounds like his soul had been possessed by Barkley himself, energizing the crowd and shocking his team back to life. The result was a 110-102 victory in which the run and gun Suns were held to just eight fast break points. Coach Alvin Gentry said afterward that he had never seen the team play so mentally tough.

Maybe this will be the start of a new trend where teams see the unifying benefits of going out on a political limb and taking a stand. Maybe players across the sports leagues who oppose SB 1070 will be inspired to come together in a common organization and demand Arizona cease the imposition of “Juan Crow” on the Latino population. Maybe the major sports unions, all of whom have voiced opposition to the bill, will release a joint statement saying that they will support any player or team who boycotts the state as long as SB 1070 is on the books. Maybe this is all utterly unrealistic. But it seems a hell of a lot more possible this morning than it did last night. Vivan Los Suns.

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Dave Zirin is a sports correspondent for The Nation Magazine

Follow Dave Zirin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/edgeofsports

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Filed under Arizona, Basketball, Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Immigration, Sports, Uncategorized

The Biden’s Attend NCAA Women’s Women’s Final Four National Championship Game in San Antonio

Posted by: Audiegrl

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden pose with the Connecticut Huskies and the national championship trophy as they celebrate after a 53-47 win over the Stanford Cardinal during the NCAA Women's Final Four Championship game at the Alamodome on April 6, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attended the women’s basketball championship game between Connecticut and Stanford on Tuesday night. He sat two rows from the Alamodome floor at center court with his two young granddaughters.

“I tell my daughter and my granddaughters they can do anything a boy can do,” Biden said during an interview with ESPN.

“I have two basketball players here. I’m looking for scholarships.”

It wasn’t clear whether Biden, a Delaware graduate, had a rooting interest, but he was impressed with Stanford’s early play against the unbeaten Huskies.

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Filed under Basketball, Dr. Jill Biden, Uncategorized, Vice-President Joe Biden

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Brother Writes A Memoir

Posted by: Audiegrl

The eagerly anticipated inspirational memoir from Michelle Obama’s brother, celebrating the extraordinary family members and mentors who have shaped his life

LAT~Reporting from Washington – The news might have set off alarms in some past administrations: The president’s brother-in-law has written a book.

But you won’t find dirty laundry in a memoir from First Lady Michelle Obama’s brother, Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson.

The book, “A Game of Character,” which has a foreword by their mother, Marian Robinson, is due out April 20.

Craig Robinson writes that he and his parents didn’t think Barack Obama stood much of a chance with his sister when they met him.

He and his parents were out on their porch on a hot summer night in Chicago when the couple stopped by to say hello on their way to a movie.

Well, he’s tall,” Marian Robinson said while Obama was out of earshot.

Not a bad-looking guy, either,” said her husband, Fraser.

But even though the suitor struck the Robinsons as a self-possessed man with a nice smile and firm handshake, they figured he wasn’t a keeper. “Too bad,” Marian said. “Yep,” Fraser answered. “She’ll eat him alive.”

Miche, as he calls her, was a disciplined, scholarly girl who saved money fastidiously, who learned to box at their father’s behest and who once conspired with him, upset that their parents smoked, to destroy every last cigarette in the house.

Robinson writes mostly about basketball, even when describing how he introduced his sister before her prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention.

Michelle was being asked to sink a three-pointer at the buzzer in a do-or-die game at the start of the championship,” he writes. “Everything to come, victory or disappointment, would hinge on this one shot. And all I could do to help was simply pass her the ball. And believe.

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In A Game of Character, Robinson takes readers behind the scenes to meet his most important influences in his understanding of the winning traits that are part of his playbook for success. Central to his story are his parents, Marian and Fraser, two indefatigable individuals who showed their children how to believe in themselves and live their lives with conviction through love, discipline and respect. With insights into this exemplary family, we relive memories of how Marian sacrificed a career to be a full-time mom, how Fraser got up and went to work every day while confronting the challenges of multiple sclerosis, how Craig and Michelle strengthened their bond as they journeyed out of the Southside to Princeton University and eventually, the national stage.

Heartwarming, inspiring, and even transformational, A Game of Character comes just at the right time in an era of change, reminding readers of our opportunity to work together and embrace the character of our nation, to make a difference in the lives of others and to pave the way for the next generation.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Basketball, Books, First Lady Michelle Obama, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

President Obama Plays HORSE with CBS’ Clark Kellogg

White House/Jason Djang~It’s been a big day of sports and games around the White House today. The President kicked off the annual White House Easter Egg Roll this morning where thousands of visiting children pushed eggs down the South Lawn. He then headed across town to Nationals Park where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the Nats’ Opening Day. That pitch marked the 100th anniversary of Presidential first pitches on Opening Day of baseball season, a tradition inaugurated by William Howard Taft on April 14, 1910.

And you better believe that the President will be watching tonight’s NCAA men’s basketball championship. In the run-up to the Final Four, he took on former NBA player and CBS Sports college basketball commentator Clark Kellogg in a game of HORSE — rather, POTUS — at the White House. Watch how he fared against the pro:

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Filed under Barack Obama, Basketball, Presidents, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

President Obama Calls Limbaugh & Beck Rhetoric: ‘Troublesome

Posted by: Audiegrl

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Filed under Basketball, Glenn Beck, Pres. Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube

Photo of the Day: NCAA Basketball Tournament – First Round – Oklahoma City

A member of the North Texas Mean Green wears a mask with the likeness of President Barack Obama as they perform against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 18, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)

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Filed under Barack Obama, Basketball

Wounded Warriors at the White House

The President hosted a remarkable group of wounded veterans a few weeks ago on the White House basketball court. These “Wounded Warriors” from Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed President Obama a thing or two about wheelchair basketball. Check out the impressive moves that can be performed on four wheels.

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About the Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior ProjectThe Wounded Warrior Project began when several individuals took small, inspired actions to help others in need.

One night while watching the evening news, a group of veterans and brothers were moved by the difficult stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. They realized then and there that something needed to be done for these brave individuals beyond the brass bands and ticker tape parades.

The resulting objective was to provide tangible support for the severely wounded and help them on the road to healing, both physically and mentally. What had been initially viewed as a small contribution (compared with what the warriors had sacrificed while serving our country) has become WWP’s signature program: “WWP backpacks delivered bedside to wounded warriors.” Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization.

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Filed under Basketball, Military, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Veterans, Video/YouTube