Tag Archives: Basketball

Basketball Tournament Tips

Over the next few weeks there will be lots of basketball tournaments to watch. State high school, college conference, NCAA, NIT tournaments for both men and women will crowd the cable airwaves, and just when you think they were over, up will pop the NBA tournament games. In the event you are not highly knowledgeable on Mr. Naismith’s game, I’m here to help.

I have a long history of playing basketball badly, and watch just enough on TV to provide you with all you’ll need to know.

1. Traveling. This is an infraction that used to involve taking more than two steps without dribbling the ball. In the modern era, many steps, along with a hop, skip, and jump can be taken. Traveling is most likely to be called in pee-wee basketball, and less likely each step up to NBA ball, where a player once travelled from New York to Philadelphia without bouncing the ball even once, and was not penalized.

2. Coaches. Unlike baseball, where coaches wear uniforms, or football, where most wear sweatshirts, basketball coaches wear fine suits, and, I’m guessing, soak them with perspiration as they parade back and forth in front of their teams, cajoling the players, and beseeching the referees. From time to time the coaches call time-outs, and share highly sophisticated strategies with their players, who then go back into the game and do something different. There are surprisingly few strokes.

3. Betting. A lot of people bet on basketball tournaments. A statistics professor has opined that the chance of someone who follows basketball getting all the games right is about 128 billion to one. So, good luck!

4. Commentary. The sports talk people will spend countless hours talk about what might happen, and countless hours talking about what did happen. In between, there will be games.

5. Work. How many people watch tournament games while they are being paid to do a job? It is said that 86% of people who watch the NCAA games watch at least some of them at work. I, personally, wouldn’t ever do that, since it might disrupt my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and http://www.peterwallace.wordpress.com use. Oh, and work.

6. When will the tournaments end? Well, I remember visiting someone years ago to watch Michael Jordan play in the NBA tournament games, and it was 90 degrees outside and there were lots of mosquitoes, so I’m guessing it was late June. I always think of basketball of a winter sport, but I guess not.

7. How important are basketball games compared to other things going on around the world? Very! If we really thought about everything else that’s going on other than basketball, we’d go crazy, so thank goodness for all those games!

If you have other questions, simply tune in to ESPN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., Yahoo Sports, NBC Sports, Fox
Sports, CBS Sports, or Vatican Sports. I made up the last one.

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Whirled Peas

I haven’t seen one for a while, but I enjoyed those bumper stickers that said “visualize whirled peas.” For anyone not into word-play, it’s a take-off on “visualize world peace.” Of course, visualizing world peace is about all we can do as long as there are bad people with big weapons who don’t seem to want peace. But, it’s a nice thought.

This past weekend I was reminded of that bumper sticker when the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest – now going by the name Metta World Peace – nearly decapitated an opponent following a slam dunk. It was an action that could hardly be called peaceful. It was so ironic that my brain almost exploded.

The former Mr. Artest is well known in basketball circles for being, shall we say, a bit rough. His low point, before Sunday’s game, was when he went into the stands and started punching a fan. I think that time he forgot he wasn’t a hockey player.

I don’t follow the NBA very closely, but I understand that MWP (Metta World Peace) has mostly been much more in control of his emotions in recent years. Maybe the name change had something to do with it. He is a very good player, and given the raw physicality of pro basketball, I’m sure being high-strung and emotional can be a good thing.

The guy he hit, James Harden, was able to leave the court under his own power, though I don’t know if he remembered where he was, or who he was. He is still recovering, and is said to be “day-to-day” in terms of getting back into the lineup. Seeing the replay of the thrown elbow over and over, and in super-slow motion, I’ve come to the conclusion that things could have ended very badly. So, both MWP and Harden are both fortunate, I guess.

Years ago, another basketball player named Lloyd B. Free changed his first name to “World.” He was a flamboyant player who seemed to really light up the court when he played. He now works for the Philadelphia 76’ers as head of player development. Having a last name like “Free” is surely from the legacy of slavery, and more importantly, the end of slavery. Adding “World” as a new first name perhaps visualized the hope that everyone in the world might someday be free, just as Metta World Peace might see universal peace in his mind.

Peace and freedom are both precious states of existence, and to many seem unattainable. They are also easy words to use carelessly. Mr. World Peace says he didn’t mean to hurt Mr. Harden, and I take him at his word. But, the whole episode on the basketball court in Los Angles was a reminder that actions do speak more loudly than words.

Now, I want you to close your eyes for a minute and visualize whirled peas. It can’t hurt.

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