Friday, February 27, 2009
Gazidis, who has first hand experience of the game across the Atlantic, has given his views on the 'Becks' saga and he feels that it will not be the end of the world if the England international doesn't return to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"All I will say is that players have a contract to respect and David has always done this," Gazidis told the New York Times.
"In any case what happens happens. I don't think Beckham will be the determining factor in terms of the future of the MLS.
"The league has its own strength and respect from the world of football."
Milan are trying hard to ensure their man stays on at San Siro, however, the offer they have made to the Galaxy has been deemed less than perfect.
The latest reports suggest the Rossoneri have delayed plans to fly out to America once again. Beckham, however, has always maintained the stance that he wants to stay in Italy.
Kerr died at his home after a battle with prostate cancer, Bulls spokesman Tim Hallam said.
"His name was synonymous with basketball, both here in Chicago, and throughout the entire NBA," Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said. "Those that were fortunate enough to have known Johnny were touched by both his tremendous compassion for people, and his lifelong passion for the game of basketball. We will miss him greatly."
Kerr's death is a double blow for the Bulls, following the death also Thursday of Norm Van Lier, one of the most popular players in Bulls history. Van Lier was 61.
The Bulls unveiled a statue of Kerr at the United Center during an emotional ceremony earlier this month that included taped messages from President Barack Obama and commissioner David Stern and speeches from Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan.
Pippen said Kerr "makes Chicago Bulls basketball what it is," while Jordan called him "an inspiration to me as a basketball player and as a person."
A Chicago native who served as the team's first head coach and received NBA Coach of the Year honors for leading the Bulls to the playoffs in the inaugural 1966-67 season, Kerr also received a photo collage from Bulls GM John Paxson and the Basketball Hall of Fame's John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from Jerry Colangelo during the ceremony.
"I want to thank everybody here in the audience who has seen the Bulls play not because of Red Kerr but because of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and all the other people in the organization," said a choked up Kerr.
Kerr played 12 seasons (1954-1966) in the NBA for the Syracuse Nationals, Philadelphia 76ers and the Baltimore Bullets. From 1954 to 1965, the three-time NBA All-Star appeared in a then-NBA record 844 consecutive games.
He is survived by five children and 10 grandchildren.
Plans to honor Kerr were pending, Hallam said.Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
Jeffrey Rosenberg, president of sports collectibles organization Tristar Productions, said he considers the purchase a bargain, as the card bearing the image of professional baseball's first team is likely worth six figures, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.
"This is like an ultimate treasure," Rosenberg said. "Anybody who is a collector of baseball cards, of history, would want this. It would fit in any museum, from the Smithsonian to the Baseball Hall of Fame."
He said the previous owner of the card, antiques dealer Bernice Gallego, 72, initially put the card on eBay for $9.99 after she discovered it in a box acquired during a long-ago estate sale. However, the woman pulled the card from eBay after online inquiries hinted at its true value and she eventually made $64,073 from the sale after the auctioneers took their fee.
"I feel great. I'm happy for the card. I'm happy for my husband and I. I'm happy for the whole world," Gallego said during a recent appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
I know nothing about the Mississippi education system, and will make no remarks about it. I also will refrain from any regional stereotyping, especially as I'm typing this in Atlanta, and any fires I start would backdraft on me in a heartbeat. I would like to suggest that they leave it this way and insist that the spelling error is intentional, a result of a misguided attempt to hype up the Mississippi State baseball team by intentionally misspelling things. Jerseys will read "Buldoggz" from now on, and the official name of the school will be Mississppi St8. The kids will love it. Trust us.Original here
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
2) Jose Mourinho bangs on beforehand about how his Chelsea side were better than United, and that his record against Fergie is Won 6, Drawn 4, Lost 1.
3) Sir Alex Ferguson will use the words “No doubt about it” at least 100 times, while he will mention during an interview with SKY Italia about how good Luciano Spalletti’s wine is.
4) Wayne Rooney does a Zinedine Zidane and headbutts Marco Materazzi in the chest after the Italian snipes that he would “rather NOT have Rooney’s mum”.
5) Mourinho runs down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate a last minute goal that puts Inter into the next round.
6) Ferguson engages in a furious touchline row with Mourinho over the award of a throw-in, and lobs his chewing gum onto the pitch in disgust.
7) Manchester United fans sing “same old I-Ti’s, always cheating”, even though Inter don’t have a single Italian in their team.
8) Claudio Ranieri laughs hysterically during both of his pre-match interviews in the tie against former club Chelsea.
10) English commentators tut-tut about Italian diving shortly before Didier Drogba goes down like he's caught the plague.
11) Momo Sissoko to have the best pass completion rate...for Chelsea. “Camoranesi... Nedved... Del Piero, back to Nedved, now Sissoko, oh he's played it straight to Deco!! Deco, Lampaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard GOAL! Chelsea lead!"
12) Lampard is credited with the goal by UEFA, despite the fact the ball took eight deflections, and travelled to and from Timbuktu, on its way into the net.
13) Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness, and a number of other SKY Sports pundits bash the Italian league at every opportunity, and label it an “old, slow, retirement home”, while repeatedly championing the Premier League as the “best league in the world”.
14) Souness says he would never have the over-rated Francesco Totti or Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his team (if he was a manager).
15) Italian media pundits jealously declare that the only reason the Premier League is so strong is because of rich foreign owners, managers and players.
16) In the build-up to Arsenal-Roma, both will be described as attractive, passing sides who play good football, but whoever loses the tie will be condemned as being 'in crisis.'
17) There will be serious crowd trouble inside and outside the Stadio Olimpico. English fans smash up a number of local bars. Italian fans attack their adversaries while riding around on mopeds.
18) The English media blame 19th century Italian policing for the trouble.
19) The Italian media blame 19-times over-the-drink-limit English fans for the trouble.
20) Whichever country comes out on top in the three-round contest will declare that they have the best league in the world.
What are your views on this topic? What do you expect to happen before, during and after the England v Italy ties? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think.
The apparently recession-proof Toronto Maple Leafs have hiked tickets prices by an average 3.5% for next season.
Not that they expect all their fans will weather the economic storm.
For the first time, the 20% renewal deposit for season tickets is "non-refundable".
The good news is Raptor ticket pricing remains the same next year, following an 8% increase in 2007-'08.
The Leafs, who will miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, raised prices 5% in 2007 but there was no increase in '08. The '07 hike was the first since the 2004 lockout.
“Until this increase, we have basically been at 2003-04 pricing with only a 1% net increase since before the lockout,” explained Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd, in an email.
“However, costs and inflation, such as NHL revenue sharing, hockey front office and operations costs, Air Canada Centre capital improvements, technology and greening investments and Canadian dollar (exchange costs) are up significantly in that same time period.”
Leaf seats now range from $37 to $182.
The increase comes amid anticipation that the NHL salary cap will start falling next season with the troubled global economy lowering league revenue.
“We’re very sensitive to pricing, especially in a tough economy,” Anselmi said. “We gave it careful consideration, however, not many businesses have only had inflation of 1% over the last four years.” The Leafs are consistently ranked as the National Hockey League’s most profitable franchise, worth more than $400 million US by Forbes Magazine, a claim often disputed by MLSEL.
Of all the flukes seen on a golf course, greenkeeper Richard Mitchell can claim one of the strangest.
As he took his chainsaw to a leylandii tree, he hit the exact spot where a ball was embedded in the wood and sliced through it.
The ball apparently lodged in a fork of the tree many years ago when a golfer hooked a drive on the first tee. The conifer grew around the ball and it remained hidden in the screen of 15 trees.
A golf ball was found embedded inside this preserved tree trunk
Trimmed, sanded and varnished, it is to become a rather unusual trophy board at Eaton Golf Club in Norwich.
Mr Mitchell discovered the ball last month after he felled the 40ft trees, planted 37 years ago, and began cutting the timber into 4ft lengths for firewood.
The piece of wood with the half ball visible is being preserved and varnished by former club captain Jim Cook who is a skilled woodworker.
It will then be kept behind the bar and used to record the names of everyone who gets a hole-in-one on the 198-yard ninth hole.
Eaton member Jim Cook is pictured on the ninth hole close to where the unique tree was felled
Peter Johns, the manager of the £675-a-year club, said: 'It is just an incredible find.
'We think it came off the first tee. It must have lodged in a fork or embedded itself in the trunk and the tree grew round it.
'If Richard had cut the trunk an inch or two either way we'd never have known it was there.'Original here
By Scoop Jackson
Trying to find four people to represent an NBA franchise's history is tough. Probably harder than finding four decent presidents that represent what a country stands for. Being carved in stone doesn't come easy. Stats are often secondary to impact and influence. Remember, Mount Rushmores are forever. There is no do-over. Once Jeffersonized, you are there for life. If Joe Johnson happens to win a championship in Atlanta or Kevin Durant gets more love in Oklahoma City than Jack Sikma got in Seattle, too bad. This is the granite version of a one-and-done.
Lou Hudson, Bob Pettit, Lenny Wilkens, Dominique Wilkins
"Sweet" Lou Hudson, who played 11 seasons for the Hawks in St. Louis and Atlanta, is the team's third-leading career scorer.
Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bill Russell
Rationale: There are two teams that are impossible to reduce to four players. The Lakers are the other. No Bob Cousy, no Sam or K.C. Jones, no Kevin McHale, no Tom Heinsohn, no JoJo White. And no disrespect to Paul Pierce, who's been in a Celtics uniform the same amount of time as Havlicek, but No. 17 has eight rings to P2's (so far) one. Seven more seasons in green like the last one and the Truth might get in the conversation.
Brevin Knight, Michael Jordan, Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace
Rationale: For many reasons, some beyond their control -- location and bad luck, for instance -- the Bobcats are like a poor man's franchise: Wallace, the poor man's Vince Carter; Okafor, the poor man's Dwight Howard; Knight, the poor man's Chris Paul; and Jordan … he's the poor man's Jordan.
Michael Jordan, Bob Love, Scottie Pippen, Jerry Sloan
Rationale: Jordan should have his own mountain. We already know that. But just as everyone says, "Pippen never won anything without Jordan," how many rings (or MVPs or first team All-NBA selections or Defensive Player of the Year awards, etc.) does Jordan have without Pip? The greatest duo in the history of anything.
| • David Schoenfield: AL Mount Rushmores |
• David Schoenfield: NL Mount Rushmores
• Page 2: Zany Mount Rushmores
• John Buccigross: NHL Mount Rushmores
• SportsCenter: Mount Rushmore of sports
Austin Carr, Ron Harper, LeBron James, Mark Price
Rationale: There's only one problem here. When the mountain is erected, how much larger will LeBron's face be than the other three? Because as much as Harper and Price did for keeping the Cavs somewhat relevant during their years there, and for all that Carr did to put them on the map, what LBJ has done in five-plus years … let's just say he may be the single most important player to any one franchise on this list.
Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman, Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki
Rationale: Aguirre did as much for the franchise as Dirk, but has less to show for it (no MVPs, NBA Finals appearances, etc.). Blackman's four All-Star appearances in a Dallas uniform (including one of the game's greatest moments, when he hit two free throws to send the '87 game into overtime) and his tenure as the head of player development are unarguable. Cuban, on the other hand … well, ask yourself this question: If he were not the owner, would you care about the Mavs?
Carmelo Anthony, Alex English, Dan Issel, David Thompson
Rationale: Melo over Fat Lever? Melo over Michael Adams? Melo over Mutombo? Melo over Doug Moe? Yes! If you are honest with yourself, you'd know that he means just as much to this franchise as the others he'll share space with in stone. Stop hatin'.
Dave Bing, Joe Dumars, Bob Lanier, Isiah Thomas
Rationale: As a guard tandem, Thomas and Dumars will go down as one of the best ever. As an exec and player, Dumars will go down as Detroit's Jerry West. The only question: Where's Sheed, right? OK, you can stop laughing.
Golden State Warriors
Al Attles, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin, Nate Thurmond
Rick Barry averaged 30.2 points, 6.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game in the Warriors' 1974-75 championship season.
Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich
Rationale: The only people more important to Houston basketball than these four might be Tina Thompson, Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Van Chancellor. Each one represents something different in the history of Rockets basketball. If you're wondering where Clyde Drexler is, scroll down to Portland.
Roger Brown, George McGinnis, Reggie Miller, Chuck Person
Rationale: There was a six-year period, between Clark Kellogg's exit and Reggie Miller's becoming Reggie Miller, when Person kept the Pacers from irrelevance. And Brown? If anyone reading this is too young to remember or so old you forget, do yourself a favor and look him up.
Los Angeles Clippers
Elgin Baylor, World B. Free, Bob McAdoo, Randy Smith
Rationale: Before the franchise moved to San Diego from Buffalo in 1978, McAdoo and Smith (and Ernie DiGregorio) had the then-Braves rockin' the East Coast as one of the most potent offenses in the League. Before the move to L.A. from S.D., World B. did his thing (second in the League in scoring in each of the two seasons he was there, 28.8 and 30.2 ppg) as only he could. Once in L.A., no one player has had the impact on the organization as Baylor … and that was not always a good thing.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jerry West
Rationale: This is the other franchise which makes it seem unfair to only have four people etched in stone. West is the architect and icon, Magic the master and maestro, Cap the guru and Bryant the prodigy. Each one represents a different era in Lakers history, possibly making this Rushmore the closest to what this project is supposed to represent.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Pau Gasol, O.J. Mayo, Bryant Reeves
Rationale: While in Vancouver as a David Stern experiment, Abdur-Rahim did everything he could to keep the franchise in the League. Once in Memphis, Gasol became the face of the franchise, even leading the team to three playoff berths. Mayo is everything the franchise is soon to be about. Big Country? He's on for the flat top alone.
Timmy Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Dwyane Wade
Rationale: Rice over Shaq? Yesssiiirrr. Although Diesel was a big reason the Heat got the franchise's only chip, Rice was the reason they were still a part of the League. Timmy and Zo helped, but from 1989-95, Rice and South Beach were the main attractions in Miami.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Moncrief, Oscar Robertson, Brian Winters
Rationale: By the time Oscar got to Milwaukee, his triple-doubles were in the rearview mirror. But his pairing with Kareem remains the pattern that most NBA execs follow when building a franchise (think Magic-Kareem and Wade-O'Neal). True, Junior Bridgeman, Marques Johnson and Bobby Dandridge are absent, but Winters is the one who stands out whenever you enter Wisconsin.
Rationale: This will be a one-faced mountain. No one else deserves to share this space.
New Jersey Nets
Vince Carter, Julius Erving, Jason Kidd, Drazen Petrovic
Rationale: Erving and Kidd require no explanation. Carter's inclusion is questionable, but hard to deny. Petro's importance to the Nets -- and international basketball -- speaks for itself.
New Orleans Hornets
Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Paul
Rationale: Johnson was the blueprint. Bogues was the identity. Mourning hit "the shot." While in Charlotte, the Hornets seemed to be doing everything right in building a solid franchise. Then free agency and George Shinn hit the fan. Now it's all on CP3 to separate himself from the other stone faces.
New York Knicks
Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Bernard King, Willis Reed
Walt "Clyde" Frazier is the Knicks' career leader in assists, and he's second to Patrick Ewing in points and games played.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Johnson, Gary Payton, Jack Sikma, Gus Williams
Rationale: Lenny Wilkens coached 11 years for the Sonics, played four, made three All-Star teams as a Sonics player and won a championship as the head coach in 1979. Why isn't he in stone? Explain how you leave one of these four off.
Nick Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Dwight Howard, Shaquille O'Neal
Rationale: Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady aside, the Magic are still looking for an identity. Anderson's four missed free throws in Game 1 of the '95 Finals remains the team's watershed moment. And until the Magic win a championship or just get back to a Finals -- as wrong as it is -- Nick's face is as much a part of their history as anyone's.
Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson
Rationale: Yeah, yeah … I know. I must be smoking the same stuff as Michael Phelps. Where's Hal Greer? Where's Paul Arizin? Where's Billy Cunningham? Where's Dolph Schayes? Where's Moses Malone? I agree. But in a four-on-four competition, no mountain would defeat this one.
Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Steve Nash, Paul Westphal
Rationale: In June 1969, the Suns took a chance and signed Hawkins as a free agent from the ABA. He played four-plus seasons for the Suns and played in four All-Star Games. Forty years later, he is still with the organization (on leave due to cancer since 2007) as a community relations representative. Commitment is a thing of beauty.
Portland Trail Blazers
Billy Ray Bates, Clyde Drexler, Jack Ramsay, Bill Walton
Rationale: "Who is Billy Ray Bates?" you are probably asking. Ask anyone in Portland. Ask Brent Musburger, who lost his voice while at CBS calling his games. A player who probably should be replaced by anyone from Lionel Hollins to Brandon Roy, Bates to this day -- nearly 27 years after his last game with the team -- is still the most exciting player in Blazers history. His face represents the "I in team" side of the game.
Oscar Robertson, Nate Archibald, Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber
Rationale: Big O and Jerry Lucas held it down in Cincinnati for Tiny before the relocation to Kansas City. Tiny held down K.C. for Otis Birdsong, who held it down for Reggie Theus and a move to Cali. Reggie held it down for Mitch, who held it down for the Maloofs, who took a huge financial risk buying the team. The Maloofs bankrolled the team on Webber, who just had his Kings jersey retired earlier this month.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, Sean Elliott, George Gervin, David Robinson
Rationale: Gregg Popovich has probably done more for the Spurs franchise than any one player who will be carved into this mountain. But he wouldn't want to be honored like that. He'd want someone like Avery Johnson or Mario Elie in his place. For the record, not having Larry Kenon on the Spurs' mountain is like not having Scottie Pippen on the Bulls', but he never hit a Memorial Day Miracle like the one Elliott dropped in Game 2 of the '99 Western Conference finals -- a Spurs legend for life was made with that one shot.
Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Damon Stoudamire
Rationale: If Bosh doesn't leave in or before 2010, he'll be the most meaningful Raptor ever. Finding four players that have stayed with the organization more than six years is close to impossible. That either says something about the city or the franchise.
Karl Malone, Pete Maravich, Jerry Sloan, John Stockton
Rationale: When in New Orleans, Pistol gave the franchise a reason to exist. In Utah, the Stockton and Malone combo went down as one of the greatest in NBA history. Sloan is Utah's Auerbach. At the bottom of the mountain, "RIP" will be etched next to Larry Miller's name.
Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, Earl Monroe, Wes Unseld
Rationale: Bullets over Baltimore. Monroe put on religious performances before being shipped off to N.Y. Once the franchise moved to D.C., Hayes and Unseld (along with Phil Chenier) became the cornerstones of one of the most beloved franchises in the NBA. Johnson's face has to be smiling. Gotta show off that gold star on his front tooth.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Big 12 Conference suspended Texas Tech coach Pat Knight for one game on Monday for complaining about the officials after a loss to Texas A&M.
Knight received a technical foul in the second half of the 79-73 loss on Saturday for arguing a foul call and complained about the officials after the game to reporters, saying he didn't care what the Big 12 thought.
The son of Bob Knight, Pat Knight also was publicly reprimanded by the Big 12 earlier this month for being ejected after running onto the court twice to argue a foul call in a game against Nebraska.
Assistant coach Stew Robinson will replace Knight for Wednesday's game against Texas.
"I wasn't surprised because I broke a rule," Knight said during the Big 12 coaches teleconference on Monday. "I know the rules, but sometimes you have to lay on a grenade to get your point across."
In 6½ seasons at Texas Tech, Bob Knight received two public reprimands from the Big 12 in 2007 for his actions following losses.
Pat Knight didn't show any of his father's fiery demeanor after taking over the team halfway through last season, choosing to remain calm in tight situations.
That has changed over the past few weeks. With his team struggling -- 12-15 overall, 2-10 in conference -- Knight has become frustrated with the officiating, leading to two outbursts in the past three weeks.
The first time came following a loss to Nebraska on Jan. 31. Unhappy with a foul called on Alan Voskuil, Knight was ejected for running onto the court to argue with the officials. A few moments later, he returned to the floor to continue arguing, leading to a public reprimand from the conference two days later.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe didn't give Knight a harsh penalty after that outburst because of his "past exemplary behavior." This time, Beebe said he was disappointed that Knight had committed a violation so soon after the first one.
"I was extremely lenient in that case and chose not to suspend Coach Knight," Beebe said in a written statement. "The nature and extent of his comments after the Texas A&M game, and his callous attitude in light of his commitment to me to abide by the rules, require a serious penalty."
Knight became increasingly frustrated with the officiating during Saturday's home loss to the rival Aggies, a physical game that featured 56 combined fouls. He was hit with a technical foul in the second half for arguing a call against John Roberson and considered getting thrown out of the game to prove a point.
Knight thought better of it and instead decided to complain to the media after a game in which four of his players fouled out and his team was outshot 51-22 at the free-throw line.
"I was sitting there with my staff and the way things were going, I asked them if I needed to get thrown out of this game. We decided it was best not to do that twice," he said. "I already made my point once doing it that way, so the only way to make a point and get it out there was to bring it up in the press conference knowing that I was probably going to get fined or suspended."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
David Falk speaks in adages and anecdotes, every catchphrase and tale conveying a lesson from nearly four decades as an elite N.B.A. agent. The stories come in rapid-fire fashion, their themes accentuated by an All-Star cast of characters, including Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and David Stern.
As Falk intently delivers this oral history, the lessons coalesce in one stark, alarming prediction: the N.B.A. and its players are heading for a profound labor battle.
The nation’s economy is buckling. Too many teams are losing money. League revenue is flat, and the salary cap is about to shrink for only the second time in its history.
The N.B.A.’s system is broken, Falk says, and fixing it will require radical measures that almost guarantee a standoff in 2011, when the collective bargaining agreement expires.
“I think it’s going to be very, very extreme,” Falk said, “because I think that the times are extreme.”
How extreme? Falk said he believed Stern, the commissioner, would push for a hard salary cap, shorter contracts, a higher age limit on incoming players, elimination of the midlevel cap exception and an overall reduction in the players’ percentage of revenue. And, Falk said, Stern will probably get what he wants.
“The owners have the economic wherewithal to shut the thing down for two years, whatever it takes, to get a system that will work long term,” he said in an extensive interview to discuss his new book. “The players do not have the economic wherewithal to sit out one year.”
Falk’s comments will surely irritate the players union and many of his fellow agents. But then, his new book is called “The Bald Truth” for reasons beyond his smooth head.
In 35 years as an N.B.A. agent — and for much of that time, its most powerful agent — Falk has earned a reputation for brutal honesty. In fact, Chapter 3 of his book is titled, “Blunt is Beautiful — Stay True to You.”
In recounting the twists and turns of his career, Falk critiques N.B.A. owners, other agents, former clients and even his mentor, Donald Dell, who gave Falk his start at ProServ in 1974.
Nothing is as striking, however, as his bleak assessment of the N.B.A.’s economic system. Falk’s view matters more than most. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, he was the N.B.A.’s top power broker, as the adviser to Jordan, Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and a host of other stars. He sold his agency, FAME, for $100 million in 1998, but he reopened it in 2007 as a boutique agency.
Falk despairs over the current state of the agent industry, saying “there’s rampant cheating going on” and “the quality of the representation is low.” He blames the union, which certifies agents but provides almost no oversight. A union spokesman declined to comment.
While Falk is no longer the most active agent, he remains highly influential. He is still close to Jordan — now a minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats — and represents a handful of stars, including Mutombo, Elton Brand and Mike Bibby. (His client list also includes Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and the former Georgetown coach John Thompson.)
Sometimes a foe of Stern, Falk is also an unabashed admirer, calling him “the greatest commissioner in the history of professional sports.” Falk does not seem nearly as impressed with Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. The two have had a tense relationship. Falk foresees a rout in the next round of negotiations.
In a joint appearance during All-Star weekend, Stern and Hunter acknowledged the dire state of the economy and its effect on the N.B.A. Stern said publicly for the first time that the salary cap — which is tied to league revenue — would probably decline next season. Privately, league officials are bracing for a major decline in the cap in the 2010-11 season. Stern and Hunter said they had begun preliminary talks for a new labor deal.
Their conciliatory tone sounded promising, but Falk seemed skeptical. In his view, the union botched negotiations in 1998, which led to the three-month lockout, the only labor stoppage in league history. The union tried to stave off a luxury tax and maximum player salaries but ultimately had to accept both in order to strike a deal in January 1999 and save the season.
“The players lost 40 percent of their salaries, and they got a worse deal in January,” Falk said. “So as we approach 2011, my overwhelming feeling is, let’s not make the same dumb mistake as in 1998.”
The players, he said, must recognize that the owners have the ultimate leverage. Many are billionaires for whom owning an N.B.A. team is merely a pricey hobby. Some of them are losing “enormous amounts of money” and would rather shut down the league for a year or two than continue with the current system.
So Falk is urging the union to take a more cooperative approach.
“And if we don’t do that, in my opinion, there’s an overwhelming probability that the owners will shut it down,” he said.
Naturally, Falk has strong opinions about what is ailing the league. He believes too many average players make too much money, while the stars — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade — do not make enough. Falk would eliminate the cap for the superstars and, at the other end, abolish the midlevel exception, which allows teams to give $30 million deals to role players.
Unlike most of his peers, and the union leadership, Falk is an advocate of the age limit, which Stern won during collective bargaining negotiations in 2005. Falk said the limit, now 19 years old, should be raised to 20 or 21.
His reasons are purely practical. The influx of underclassmen to the N.B.A. has eroded fan familiarity and the quality of play, Falk said. An age limit will create more polished and prepared rookies, while the N.C.A.A. provides free advertising for future N.B.A. stars.
“The single biggest factor contributing to the success of the N.B.A. over the last almost 30 years has been the N.C.A.A tournament,” he said, listing a dozen great moments in tournament history. “Every guy in that era, from ’79 to about ’95, who came in the N.B.A., all the fans knew on a first-name basis. It got to the point, when Duke won twice in the ’90s, people said they knew how Grant Hill wore his socks.”
Changes to the salary cap and the age limit sound like sacrifices from the player’s side. Falk does not see it that way. To understand his view, consider an early chapter from his own career.
Early in his relationship with Jordan, Falk offered to drastically cut his marketing fee in exchange for an upfront payment on his negotiating fee. Jordan was initially resistant, but he agreed when he realized the arrangement would save him $10 million over the long term.
As Falk tells it, his boss, Dell, was aghast. But to Falk, the gesture was about gaining Jordan’s trust and loyalty, which would pay dividends in the long term.
“There wasn’t anything better I could have done with $10 million at that time,” Falk writes.
That, essentially, is the message he has for the players union. The players and the owners have effectively been partners since the salary cap was instituted in 1982. The players’ earnings are dependent on the league’s financial health. And in Falk’s view, the players will have to make short-term concessions if they want the league to thrive.
“The only logical way over the next 25 years that players are going to make more money is to grow the pie,” Falk said.
Of course, in his opinion, the players will have little choice but to give the owners what they want. The situation, Falk said, is analogous to the negotiations he conducted on Jordan’s behalf with the Chicago Bulls in 1984. Jordan held all of the leverage, and the Bulls knew it.
Falk recalls the statement made by Rod Thorn, then the Bulls’ general manager, on the occasion of Jordan’s signing: “There was a lot of give and take in these negotiations. We gave, and they took.”
The cause was complications of Type 2 diabetes, the team said in a statement announcing his death.
Miller had a heart attack in June 2008, then spent nearly two months in the hospital for complications of diabetes. He was in a wheelchair after his release from the hospital and had his legs amputated six inches below the knee in January.
A tireless worker with a knack for the most minute details, Miller started his career in an auto parts shop, then built a car dealership empire that made him one of Utah’s most recognized and influential people.
“Every citizen in our state feels a little empty today,” Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah said in a statement. “Larry was Utah and Utah was Larry. He inspired many and served countless. We all have been made better by his extraordinary life.”
Miller expanded his realm in 1985 when he bought a 50 percent share of the Jazz as the team appeared on the verge of moving to Miami. Miller bought the rest of the team a year later, declining an offer that would have sent the team to Minnesota.
The Salt Lake Tribune quoted him as saying, “It was an opportunity, I realized, to give a community and a state that I care a great deal about something that maybe nobody else could give them.”
Miller sat in his courtside seat, wearing khakis, a golf shirt and tennis shoes, for nearly every game, giving his players and the fans an unobstructed view into his emotions. The team made two straight appearances in the N.B.A. finals, in 1997 and 1998.
by FOXSports.comThe feel-good story of the 73-year-old man who put a spin move on Father Time by playing basketball for a Tennessee junior college has taken another unusual turn. Apparently, Spanish isn't Ken Mink's favorite subject.
Mink, who made national headlines by making the men's basketball team at Roane State College in Harriman, Tennessee, has been ruled academically ineligible by the National Junior College Athletic Association, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. His team will be required to forfeit one game, the paper reported.
The NCJAA reportedly ruled that Mink had not maintained the minimum required number of credits an athlete must pass in a semester in order to remain eligible to participate in sports.
"I told coach (Randy Nesbit) early on that I was having trouble in Spanish," Mink told the News Sentinel.
Fearing he might fail the Spanish class, Mink said he enrolled in a Sociology class on another campus, hoping that a passing grade there would give him the credits he needed to retain his eligibility. But that class was apparently completed too late to apply to the semester in question.
|Ken Mink's dream of playing college hoops took a rough turn this week. (Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel / Special to FOXSports.com)|
"This is not an academic issue, it's an administrative issue," Mink wrote in an email to the News Sentinel on Friday. "... the NJCAA is ruling me ineligible because the NJCAA contends Roane State did not follow administrative procedures in restoring my eligibility after the NJCAA had questioned whether or not one of my courses was completed within the fall semester.
"Coach Nesbit supplied the NJCAA all the documentation proving my academic eligibility. Coach Nesbit knew I had met the requirements and restored me for play, but the NJCAA has contended the coach (or school) had not checked with the NJCAA a second time before restoring me to play."
Nesbit and Mink are appealing the ruling, but Mink said the appeal process may not be complete by the time Roane State concludes its season. Mink played in a Feb. 7 game against Hiwassee, scoring two points. That's the game the NJCAA ruled Roane State must forfeit.
Mink said his college career at Lees Junior College in Kentucky was cut short in 1956 when he was wrongly accused of spraying his coach's office with shaving cream and kicked off the team. He said he realized he could still hoop it up when he was shooting baskets in his driveway last fall.
He wrote to some coaches seeking the chance to play, and Nesbit gave him a shot. Mink spent the summer getting into shape and playing with a senior team from the area in three state tournaments.