Tony Parker, starring in the “Flop of the Night”

Since the great Vlade Divac left the NBA for charity work a decade ago, the prize for best flopper in the Association has been up for grabs. But last night, the ever-clever Tony Parker made a move to take Vlade's crown, transforming a slightly extended elbow brush-by into a flailing backpedaling collapse that took himContinue reading “Tony Parker, starring in the “Flop of the Night””

Gladwell: Owning an NBA team like owning a Van Gogh

From a fascinating new longform site devoted mostly to sports, Grantland, the famous analyst and writer Malcolm Gladwell argues:  Pro sports teams are a lot like works of art. Forbes magazine annually estimates the value of every professional franchise, based on standard financial metrics like operating expenses, ticket sales, revenue, and physical assets like stadiums.Continue reading “Gladwell: Owning an NBA team like owning a Van Gogh”

A ref for the ages: Dick Bavetta refuses to retire

Basketball is as difficult a game to referee as any, it's widely agreed, which is why refs able to take the pressure get paid the big bucks in the National Basketball Association. If they're respected they can work for years, far longer than players or even most coaches. This makes them in a sense theContinue reading “A ref for the ages: Dick Bavetta refuses to retire”

The science of NBA gesticulation

The Wall Street Journal tries to bring science to reffing the NBA…by calculating how many technical fouls would have been called in two big Lakers play-offs games last year. We looked back at two NBA Finals contests from last season just to see how often players committed what are now technical-worthy acts. Based on complaintsContinue reading “The science of NBA gesticulation”

NBA: Five weeks away

Mark Heisler has held down the NBA beat for The Los Angeles Times for the last quarter-century or so. SoCal is lucky to have him; he's as spiky and surprising as ever, with no sign of weariness. Heisler's also ahead of his time, stylistically. He's been mixing commentary into his league updates, which Times reportersContinue reading “NBA: Five weeks away”

Shocker! NBA Drops Unenforceable Rule On Traveling

During the new season beginning today, National Basketball Association refs will now allow players two steps after "the gather" before they must shoot, pass, or be charged with a violation. This has been the unofficial practice for approximately ever. Lakers coach Phil Jackson had a typically acerbic response to the change: "Well, I guess ifContinue reading “Shocker! NBA Drops Unenforceable Rule On Traveling”

George Orwell Pooh-Poohs the NBA Finals

Well, not exactly, but if he were here today, Orwell would no doubt mock it as part of "the lunatic modern habit…of seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige." Here, from a memorable essay called "The Sporting Spirit," in a newspaper column from December 14, 1945, Orwell speaks (taken from George Packer's great Facing UnpleasantContinue reading “George Orwell Pooh-Poohs the NBA Finals”