The Moonball Blog

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Need a gift idea?

The guys at Freedarko put together a great book. Get someone to get it for you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the Basketball Jones

If you haven't watched the Basketball Jones, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's two guys from Toronto who used to do an audio podcast, and this year they upgraded to video. The hosts Skeets and Tas reminded me at first of Bob and Doug McKenzie from Strange Brew -- but talking hoops instead of beer and back bacon. Anyway, they're doing it every day, and it's usually informative and funny as hell.

I always thought it would be cool if they had a decent shirt that said "Basketball Jones" so we could give it to commissioner Jenny. Ironwood told me he was thinking the same thing. Turns out they were having a T-shirt contest last week and JLX told me to make something, so I did. They won't be turning them into shirts, but they put it on the show!

Anyway, here is my brief hit on Friday's show. Skeets says the design is a like the evil eye of Sauron, which was the same unfortunate thought I had when I finished it. The news is a little old now, but it's still a good excuse to tell you about the Jones.

Ep. 358: Combing The Northwest from The Basketball Jones on Vimeo.

Be sure and check out this week's shows at And if you have one of those nifty iPod things, they have video or audio feeds for your ongoing consumption. After a hard night of watching the Wolves, it totally makes my commute worthwhile and renews my hope in the NBA. Just a little tip from yer pal, TV-on-the-internet-Dave.

So Long, Reggie

I'll prefer to remember the good times.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So long, Mo.

I'll prefer to remember the good times. (There may be better YouTube clips, but this is the best soundtrack.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

McHale to replace Wittman as Wolves coach

Yeah, that should solve everything.

If they're not going to replace him with a qualified coach, the least they can do is hire an old favorite like Sam Mitchell. Or, there was an article in yesterday's Strib about Tony Campbell coaching a high school team in NY. Coming to coach the Wolves might be a step backward for him, but it would be fun to see that old timer back in town.

Two for Sunday night

The LA Clippers are about to win a bunch more games than they lose.

Chauncey Billups has turned the Nuggets into a serious team.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Rajon is still rising, Blazers on fire, happiness abounds

With all the wonder of KG, Ray Allen and PDouble, what makes me happiest about the 2008-09 Celtics is that Rondo is getting better and better and his experience and confidence grow. Tonight's statistical explosion is one among many indicators that the Championship seasoned Rondo is a far superior player to the fledgling pg who ran the Celt's attack last season. Remember the way the Hawks, Cavs and Pistons tried to bait Rondo into beating them? No longer possible. Even though he still lacks a jumper, his ability to dissect a defense is nothing to be encouraged. And then there is his defense. Is there a better defender among the League's young elite point guards?

You know what else makes me happy? I could be writing similar things about Perk.

More happiness still: The Blazers are super damn good. If you have not caught many of there games, check it quick. Brandon Roy is emerging supernova style. Oden and Przybilla are beastin on the inside, and the trio of Aldridge, Outlaw and Fernandez are raining J's like a Portland winter. Things are so sublime, that Rookie #4 Nicolas Batum is some how not just holding down a starting forward spot, he is goin off! Portland has had a super tough schedule and simply rocked it. I am blow away.

One other things that makes me happy, from the pages of ESPN:

Bryant finished with 28 points, becoming the second-fastest player in league history to reach 22,000 career points. Wilt Chamberlain was one day younger than Bryant when he reached that milestone.

So glad Kobe was not first.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

King of Lincoln

A DVD Review of
Through the Fire

Remember high school? Trying to ace the SATs and kill brain cells all at the same time. Thinking Paul Westerberg was singing about your life, and trying hard not to disappoint him.

Ever wonder what it would’ve been like to be able to dish and motor and blow past defenders on the way to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Too late, fatso! (But there will always be another...)

The documentary Through the Fire tells story of Timberwolves’ guard Sebastian Telfair, a Lincoln High School senior in the eye of the storm. We all know the themes of economic freedom and broken dreams that follow the pursuit of NBA basketball stardom. So there are no surprises when we witness the kids hitting the court hard, and the free sneakers start to pile up in Bassy's small family apartment in the projects as the national spotlight begins to shine. But despite the cliché "escape from Coney Island" storyline, Jonathan Hock’s documentary is pretty good. In addition to interviews, there’s a lot of great game footage, plus behind-the-scenes exchanges with coaches, scouts, media and others “who just want to help.” And there are no B.S. shots of Sebastian trying to pay attention in history class. This is all basketball.

Watching this film, it’s hard not to think about Hoop Dreams, Steve James' acclaimed documentary out of Chicago by way of Twin Cities Public Television. You see another kid who lives for basketball – it’s part of his family, and his culture and his entire existence. We witness the ups and downs as he pursues his dream, and the games within games as he tries to move to the next level. We even get a re-dux of the older-brother character (Bassy’s brother, Jamel Thomas of Providence) who never quite made it to the NBA and went to Greece. His disappointment pushes his younger sibling to put in that much more effort to finally make it.

But the story’s trajectory is vastly different, practically making it the anti-Hoop Dreams. There are bumps in the road, but young Bassy blows up faster than a hot balloon in an oven. His Lincoln High School team wins some big games, and he climbs from projected Louisville savior until he finally…(BIG SPOILER ALERT IF YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK)...declares for the NBA draft and is drafted by the Portland Trailblazers at #13. An NBA star is born....Roll credits. How lucky are you, my West Coast friends?

The irony of it all is that the same media hype that surrounded Telfair in high school and certainly spurred this film into existence has since died, and we can watch it with some perspective. There are still huge ups and downs in life, apparently, and watching Sebastian go from the roaring high school games attended by Spike Lee, Derek Jeter and Jay-Z to the sweater-fest that is currently the Target Center seems like a downer ending to the fairy tale...and have you seen the Wolves lately? Yet, how close did he come to dropping out completely? I thought Telfair would be cut the second he hit Minnesota, yet he has remained and received a renewed contract as a backup point guard. He is still quick, and has been a stabilizing force on a losing squad. So there is still some redemption, and he's still young. But it's getting harder to imaging we'll ever see him become the next, say, Devin Harris.

For me, the best part in this film was the abundance of game footage of Telfair in high school, with the rockin' gyms, all the big matchups and nationally televised games, including one big matchup against young Dwight Howard’s team. And the segments of Jamel Thomas playing in Greece are excellent as well. Long before Josh Childress put Greece on the map, we see Thomas talking shit to guys who probably don't speak English while well-moustached men shake their fists from the rafters. The game footage culminates in Bassy's trip to the McDonalds All-American game in 2004. The game that year featured Howard, Livingston, Rondo, Gay, Aldridge, Afflalo and 2 Smiths (Josh and J.R.), plus Telfair’s current teammates Corey Brewer and Al Jefferson. We even get to see little Telfair talking shit to little Big Al, calling him a country boy as he leaves the team bus. Funny.

As a Wolves fan, Through the Fire will give me a new perspective when watching Telfair play, and it reminded me again of the crazy walk that a young man takes getting to get to the NBA level. Living the dream, all the way up to the sky or down the bench.