Silly Bandz. They are all the rage right now with anyone under the age of ten. I am not sure what is the draw to them - crazy shapes on your wrist out of rubber bands? Hmmm. So imagine my surprise when the Charlotte Bobcats are advertising "Bobcat Bandz" as a game promotion and I suddenly look for my wallet. Wonder what the shapes would be? Michael Jordan with his tongue hanging out or maybe Stephen Jackson going off the deep end. This is what he did, apparently, according to game officials working the Bobcat-Pistons game on November 5th. Bobcat Stephen Jackson has been fined $50,000 for what is being called verbal abuse of game officials according to Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. But the incident happened following the Bobcats' 97-90 loss to the Pistons Friday night. Hence the announcement coming down from top NBA brass. Really? If the incident happened the way officials said it did, why wouldn't Stephen Jackson just walk off the court and blow off steam in the locker room? This is making me more and more uncomfortable with the crackdown on NBA players. I agree some need an attitude adjustment, but is this going to be a "Mommy, he hurt my feelings" kind of a thing, to stand up to the big bad basketball-playing millionaire? Let's take a look at the game in question. Stephen Jackson led the way with 28 points for the Bobcats, including 10 points in the third quarter when Charlotte cut the lead to 59-56. Despite Jackson's efforts, the Charlotte Bobcats were having issues with turnovers - making 22, in fact. Plus, it didn't help that Detroit made 26 of 27 free throws while Charlotte made 7 of 11. So I can see where the frustration may have arose for Stephen Jackson. But I hope everyone falls into line soon because I really don't want to see David Stern issuing a strong 'use your nice words' or a 'time out'. Now lets move on to the love-hate relationship with LeBron James and Allen Iverson feeling appreciated again.
Back in the Saddle
So finally, Allen Iverson signs with Besiktas, that Turkish Club you have been hearing about, to a 2-year, 4-million dollar contract. Picture this: fans show up at Ataturk Airport to see Allen Iverson wearing a Besiktas jersey and a Philadelphia Phillies hat. This is where the confusion for Turkish basketball fans may begin. Sure, never forget your roots but when you are trying to show your new team your heart is in it, you don't wear your heart on your head the first day on the job. This is what kills me about the whole situation. Allen Iverson signing with Besiktas is the Turkish League's biggest signing, yet many see this as his chance to re-group and prove his NBA worthiness. Even Allen Iverson himself is calling his move to Turkey a chance to get back on track with his basketball career - still believing he can play in the NBA and is hoping this stint in Turkey will land him back home NEXT YEAR! Why on earth would Besiktas sign him when he really doesn't want to be there? Answer? Both sides are desperate. In his first television interview about arriving in Turkey, he is already looking at his departure, "Before I leave, I will be speaking a lot of Turkish". Is Besiktas managment hoping the light and music show they have planned for Iverson, as a sort of pre-match celebration, is going to make him change his mind? What will his new teammates think of this sideshow? Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.
The Same Old Song and Dance
You are driving along on the highway and see a car crash up ahead. You complain about all the rubber-neckers slowing down to take a look, yet as you inch closer, you want to see it for yourself. This is how I like to describe all those so-called basketball fans who love to hate LeBron James. Sure, comment on how he left Cleveland or his record so far in Miami but the booing - wait, let me qualify that - VICIOUS booing is really getting old. Do you know what I think is funny? Nobody is looking away from the Heat - not the casual naysayer or the rabid fan. People are showing up to games, tuning in and giving their playoff predictions. Over the weekend, I was doing some online Christmas shopping for Raptors tickets (shhh) and just for fun I clicked on Wednesday, April 13th when Toronto will be hosting Miami. Professionally, I have been court side for many a college game but never for an NBA game. So out of curiosity, I click to see how much one court side seat is going for to witness how Chris Bosh survives in his old stomping grounds. ALMOST $3,000 - are you kidding me? For one ticket? By the time I would buy two, I could fly down to Miami the next time the Raptors are in town and get the same seats for less. (In case you are wondering, I also checked out the Lakers' arrival in Toronto, too: $1,000 a ticket). This love to hate thing going on with LeBron James is responsible for ticket prices being jacked and opposing teams around the league promoting Miami games to cash in on the hate train heading for LeBronville. I know some of the biggest criticisms were directed at David Stern for defending LeBron's right to choose where he wants to play. But that's his job. An NBA Commissioner can't say whether a player's move to another club is good or bad - they need to remain neutral and defend a player's right to choose. Now, the casual or non-fan is intrigued by all this mess and comes back to the game with full force to see what all the fuss is about. This is the only silver lining I see to all those making Miami public enemy number one. But if there are some fans coming back to the game, they won't be able to sustain their curiosity because they can't afford a ticket. So, to all the Miami haters out there: for the love of all things holy -including this great game of basketball, please stop your whining - we can't afford it. Thank-you.
"Behind Enemy Lines"
We apologize about last week and a lack of post in the DNB's new Thursday feature "Behind Enemy Lines". We have tweaked a few things and will be ready to go this Thursday. I hope you can join me. See you then.