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Archive for the ‘TownBiz’ Category


6’10 Perry Jones Sickest Player In Vegas; Crazy Potential.

September 1st, 2009

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MACK HOUSE: Life & Basketball in Oakland

March 15th, 2009 has been following McClymonds High School boys basketball for the 2008-09 season. Check out exclusive videos clips as the Warriors defend their CIF state championship. Make sure you check the videos in High Quality b/c that’s how we roll @ TheHighPosts!!

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NBA Financial Doom: 2 related stories and what it means to NBA fans

March 15th, 2009

The economic conditions that are affecting most Americans will (if they haven’t already) affect the NBA and its teams.

There are several teams that have elected to accept the Association’s offer of financial support in order to survive, and many others are sensing the pending economic troubles and are cutting costs at a frantic pace.

Logical trades that would help teams on the court now and in the future have not happened because of the financial burden. One need only to look at the botched Tyson Chandler trade as an example of two teams (the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets) looking at their budget as opposed to putting the best teams possible on the floor.

For years, the league has had a robust bottom line, with grown predicated on corporate sponsorships resulting in advertising and luxury box sales. In most cases, teams have responded by constructing "state of the art" arenas and accommodating big budget companies and marketing opportunities, often at the expense of fans, who were pushed further from the action. Premium seating and front-row seats were sold first to "VIPs" or were priced too high for most fans.

Put simply, much of the expansion of the NBA in the past years was at the expense of the fan. But now that the the growth has become shrinkage, how are teams and the NBA going to respond?

The difference between expected income and the harsh new reality has to be made up somewhere, or situations like the Pacers’ will become more common:

"The Pacers and the Capital Improvement Board struck their current deal 10 years ago, and Early said they are in the early stages of renegotiating. He said the board can’t pay the operating cost because it already faces a $43 million shortfall, and he’s unsure who would.

"’That’s the big question,’ he said. ‘Really, we do not have the funding sources to allow us to be able to do this. We’ve contacted the state, the Legislature…we’re trying to figure out, are there solutions?’"

The Pacers’ response is typical of companies in crisis; looking for loans and/or government bailouts in order to stem the tide while attempting to operate with a "business as usual" attitude seems to be the norm.

But the reality of the situation is that "business as usual" will not do. The times are changing, and the NBA will have to make adjustments immediately in order to survive.

According to the Marketing Vox article linked to above, some startling information about corporate involvement with sports is being discovered:

- Nearly one-third (32 percent) of American consumers are paying "less attention" to corporate sponsorships than they were a year ago.

- The vast majority of those polled would like to see less spending on sports sponsorships by companies experiencing difficulties (62 percent), according to a Performance Research study (via MarketingCharts).

- Consumers think that companies accepting federal bailout money (68 percent), in particular, should spend less on sponsorships, the research found.

- Results indicate that this expectation is in keeping with consumers’ own behaviors, with the majority of respondents saying they are less likely to purchase a ticket for a favorite sporting event (67 percent), purchase a ticket to a favorite performing arts or cultural event (64 percent), or donate money to a favorite cause (55 percent) than they were a year ago.

- Only 13 percent say that increased sponsorship of their favorite sporting event would raise their opinion of corporate America, while 26 percent reported decreased sponsorship would raise their opinion (61 percent say that an increase or decrease would make no difference).

- Twenty percent say that sponsorship of their favorite cultural event should increase to raise their opinion of corporate America, while another 20 say it should decrease.

The decreased spending on sporting events runs slightly antithetical to typical recession-spending models. While guns (up 15 percent, according to the NRA), alcohol (up 10 percent), and pornography have all seen their usual increases (these being popular diversions in economic crisis), people have not been using games as an escape.

Many teams ignored their fan base in exchange for corporate dollars, decreasing access to players except in the most media-staged events. Now the relationship is changing, as teams are starved for the fans’ dollars, and the above numbers suggest that they may not show up to watch games

Further, with the rise of the internet, digital cable, satellite TV, and the access to instant information, it is realistic that fans can watch any game at any time.

So why would they go to the games and pay the price when you can watch games from the comfort of your home for 100 times less money?

The problem with the current NBA marketing is that they have standardized it for all teams, and that has made it boring. The NBA commercials are fun once but quickly become repetitive and droll. Individual team messages are "cookie-cutter" and typically lack imagination.

Here is what I think the NBA fan is going to see more of if the NBA and its teams want to save themselves:

- There will be a greater personal relationship between the players and fans, and this will inevitably lead to a greater emotional connection between fans and the NBA. It is the only way to keep fans coming to the games.

- We are going to see more web-based interaction, such as players on Twitter (ala @the_real_shaq), personal websites, blogs, and perhaps more webcasts. This is a low-cost way to meet fans in a virtual environment, essentially going to where the fans are rather than attempting to bring them to where the teams are.

And that’s a central tenet of marketing: find a need and fill it. Fans want to know their players and they’re online, so why shouldn’t they meet there?

After all, it was the rise of players as individuals and the subjugation of team identity exemplified by free agency that saved the NBA in the 1980′s, so why wouldn’t the same thing happen today? Personal interaction plus new media is the solution.

- I think we are going to see more "outside-the-box" marketing efforts aimed at increasing the interaction between the teams and the fans, with a specific attention to the player-"true fan" relationship. Perhaps not Bill Veick-style, but something that breaks the NBA template. With one club’s success, other teams will follow suit and break the current marketing vortex.

- Possible deregulation could occur so that teams can have stock offerings. Deregulation could lead to individuals as holders (ala the Green Bay Packers of the NFL), which would give the fans a direct voice.

Sure, the Packer comparison is slightly skewed, seeing as how Packer stock owners don’t have a vote; but they do have a voice and regular meetings at which they can hear the state of the organization and interact with management.

Now that teams have to listen to their fan bases, it will be interesting to see what types of interaction arise. It is about time that we, the fans, have a voice, especially after being priced out and seeing management and organizations seemingly purposely angering us (I’m looking at you, L.A. Clippers!).

The relationship has changed and those teams that want to survive will have to turn to the fan or succumb.

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Long Live the Legend of Ray-Lew

March 13th, 2009

I Am Legend: Raymond Lewis

The LA Basketball Legend Lives On Through One Man’s Passion for the Game
Long Live the Legend of Ray-Lew
This is a story about a player and another man’s passion for the game. This discussion is hardly about just any ordinary player.

This is the legend of Raymond Lewis.

There have been many articles written about Raymond Lewis in recent years. This time, chose to speak with the man whose admiration for one player’s game changed his life. Meet Dean Prator, the man largely responsible with bringing the story of Ray-Lew to the masses.

Dean Prator grew up in Los Angeles and has been in awe of Lewis’ hardwood dominance since Prator was in high school at Dominguez High School in Compton. Lewis, meanwhile, was holding court crosstown at Verbum Dei, where he lead the Eagles to a 84-4 record while in high school, winning three consecutive California Interscholastic Federation titles from 1969-1971.

But it wasn’t just in high school where Lewis dominated. In fact, the prep years were just the beginning of the mythical presence Lewis would play in the Southern California basketball scene for years to come. It is this storied reputation that lead Prator to build, a place where Raymond Lewis’ story and achievements in hoops could draw inspiration for the next generation of ballers.

What is it about Raymond Lewis that lead you to follow his life and career so closely?
Raymond was just ahead of his time. He was local to the LA-area so people here knew about him, but back then we didn’t have ESPN. You really didn’t get the chance to see and hear about these other talents from other places. You hear people say all the time that someone was the best player to never have played in the NBA. Most of them, though, don’t have the backing for those claims. We have newspaper clippings that show just how great Ray’s game was.

I never saw him play a basketball game. We were in high school around the same time, he was a year ahead of me. The thing about Ray is that most of the things that you hear about him are all well-documented. That is the thing about his story–it’s all right there and very real. You don’t see numbers like those. I just felt that Raymond Lewis was too good not to be known. When I Googled his name, a few articles would come up. There was no place that was dedicated to his whole body of work.

When did you start the website and what has been the response that you have received from people, particularly players?
I actually began the website in October 2005.  The response that I have received has been tremendous. I have done hundreds of hours in research and interviews. People tried to put movie deals together on him, but it never worked out. Players like Paul Pierce and Baron Davis were interested in doing documentaries on him, but that’s the thing. There is no video footage of him. So I really decided to create this website because I wanted his story to be told, especially to younger players. They need to know this man. Magic Johnson said to me that he was glad that Raymond’s story was finally being told. I have talked with people like Jerry Tarkanian, Michael Cooper, and Marques Johnson who all had different stories to tell about the greatness of Raymond Lewis. Jerry Tarkanian, who tried to recruit Raymond to play for him when he was coaching at Long Beach State, called Ray the best player he had ever seen. Keep in mind, at that time, Tarkanian was a top-dog coach then. His team at Long Beach State was ranked like number three in the country. Raymond initially committed to play at Long Beach State. Tark was his boy and he probably would have played there if Cal State LA and Bob Miller had not bought Lewis a brand new red Corvette. Once that happened, Lewis ended up playing for Cal State LA.

I have received emails from family members or people who played against him who are now dentists, doctors, and lawyers–all of them attest to just how great of a player and what an impact that he had on the game for that time. Freeman Williams, who played in the NBA for 10 seasons, said that he is the greatest player he had ever seen, even better than Michael Jordan.

So what do you feel was Raymond’s biggest challenge? If he had all of that talent, why didn’t he make it?

I think that it all came down to that contract he had with the 76ers. He got drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers near the end of the first round of the 1973 NBA draft.  He signed what he thought was a guaranteed three-year contract for $450,000. Actually, it was for $190,000. A $25,000 signing bonus, $50,000 for the first season, $55,000 for the second and $60,000 for the third. There were things in the deal that he signed that he wasn’t aware of, like the fact that he wasn’t going to get all of the money his contract was worth immediately. So he gets to camp and is going up against Doug Collins, who was the number one pick for Philadelphia that year. He was just torching Collins, and it became such a big deal because the Philadelphia media started writing that Lewis was killing Collins, the number one guy.

The Philly and New York sportswriters watching the game discovered that Lewis looked better than Collins, the star of the Olympic Games and the club’s and NBA’s number one draft choice who had signed a $200,000 per year contract. In one full-court scrimmage, Lewis reportedly scored 60 points by halftime and coach Gene Shue called off the second half so that the number one draft choice and million-dollar rookie Collins would not be further embarrassed by Lewis. Here is Collins, who was getting $200,000, looking weak against Lewis. After all the publicity, Shue refused to let Doug Collins guard Lewis, and that’s when Raymond decided he wanted to renegotiate his contract. He was like he was insulted because he was killing Collins. It was like he had that Watts mentality of ‘You gotta pay me.’

There are contrasting stories on what really happened. When Philadelphia refused to redo the contract, Lewis reportedly walked out. Lewis, however, had said that Shue told him to sit out a year and mature. Nevertheless, after the alleged walkout, Lewis wasn’t able to get his professional career on track. Most people say he got blackballed. In my opinion, if he would have just played the contract out, his career would have been much different. He didn’t play one minute in the NBA. He then tried to go to and play in the ABA with the Utah Stars, but 76ers officials showed up and threatedned to sue if Lewis went into the game because he was still under contract with them. He tried to get on with other teams, but no one would touch him. At that is about the time when he just started taking out his frustrations on players in pick-up games on playgrounds and in Pro-Am leagues throughout LA. I mean, he was 29 years old an averaged 54 points per game in summer leagues. He went to the Spurs camp and scored 63 and 81 points. Why wouldn’t you want a scorer like that on your team?

I talked to Gene Shue, the coach of the 76ers at that time. He said that as gifted a player as Ray was, there was just something missing with him personality-wise. I think that became evident over the years and hindered him in the long run. But that could never take away from the player that Raymond Lewis was. And that is why I wanted to do the website. I wanted people to learn about this great player and to he was the greatest player, and outside of those circumstances, I felt that people, especially young players, needed to know about his relevance to the game. He was the greatest player and a lot of people would never even know his name.

Dean Prator and Raymond Lewis’ daughter, Kamilah

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Mack Mashing through NorCals

March 11th, 2009

The mighty Mack House Warriors took to the court Tuesday evening at the NorCals, hosted at Cal State East Bay. This is the next stop on the road to the CIF Finals in Sacramento’s Arco Arena next week.

Tonight, Franklin High School, from Elk Grove, CA, had the defending champs on the ropes before McClymonds pulled away late in the fourth quarter, winning the game 65-53.

Next up will be Newark on Thursday night.

Three games stand between Mack and a repeat-state title and will be there for all of the action!! Make sure you check our exclusive video clips in high quality cuz that’s how we roll @ TheHighPosts!!

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All Eyes On: WCC Championship in Vegas!

March 9th, 2009

Monday night there is a monster match-up that many mainstream fans might overlook. True hoops heads will not let this fly beneath the radar as the Gonzaga Bulldogs will be facing off against the Saint Mary’s Gaels for the WCC Championship.

Gonzaga has won  eight of the last 10 WCC tournament titles, and finished the regular season 14-0 in conference play. Meanwhile, Both teams had the Gaels, namely guard Patrick Mills, are out for some get back against the Zags. Mills, the team’s leading scorer, broke his hand in a loss to the defending conference champs back in January, which resulted in him missing the remainder of the regular season. He just returned to action this past Saturday, getting 12 points in a win over Portland.

So it should be a good old Western shootouton Monday as Mills finally gets revenge against Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s sees if they can stop the Bulldogs reign.

 Nothing better than the drama of basketball in March. We are straight hoops fiends this time of year at!

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The Marbury Mess Finally Over in New York

February 26th, 2009

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It seems like the Great Eastern Standoff is finally over. After a dramatic tenure in orange and blue, Stephon Marbury was finally released by the New York Knicks. The two sides reached a buyout agreement, with Marbury forfeiting over $2 million in salary in order to part ways

It is strongly believed that Marbury will land in Boston Celtics. If that’s the case, how will the presence of Starbury impact the Celtics? Let’s keep in mind, the last game Marbury played in was January 11, 2008. Since that time, he has been more of a traveling sideshow as opposed to an impact player.

The Celtics could certainly use his versatility off the bench at point guard. But is bringing in Marbury into the locker room worth disrupting team chemistry? Aside from his recent antics, let’s not forget that Marbury and  Kevin Garnett are former teammates and close friends in Minnesota.

What happened? Marbury happened, that’s what!!

Is this gamble going to payoff for the reigning champs? Will Boston’s Big Three be able to influence the wayward Starbury? Or will his presence in Boston cause the Celtics to self-destruct? No one really knows but the playoff race just became a lot more entertaining in the East as all these unanswered questions linger.

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Trade Biz: 2.18.09

February 19th, 2009

The NBA trading deadline is coming faster than the Phoenix Suns in transition the past two nights. Here is what happened today as the teams get their schedules locked in before Thursday’s cutoff:

*The Kings have been very active in the trading scene this week. They just shipped Brad Miller and John Salmons to Chicago, and in return get Chicago’s Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden. Portland entered into the deal by trading Ike Diogu for the Kings’ Michael Ruffin. Advantage: The Bulls! The presence of Salmons (if he can get in the heavy-guard rotation) along with an experienced big man in Miller, who is a versatile scoring threat that adds enough versatility on the front line, could be the missing parts needed to power the Bulls into the playoffs.

*Remember yesterday’s deal that sent Tyson Chandler to OKC for Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith??? Can you now say "null and void?" It’s a strange twist but the deal got rescinded because Chandler failed a physical (the same big toe that kept him off Team USA) . Are we the only ones who just heard the collective sigh of relief come out of New Orleans? really wants to know just how big the elephant will be in the room when the players involved return to their respective locker rooms? I’m just saying…

*It looks like there will be no cousin swap as the rumors of T-Mac for Vince Carter quickly fell off today. Big surprise, sports fans: Tracy McGrady declared himself out for the season because he will undergo knee surgery. Too bad he decided to tell the media before his own team. will continue to bring up-to-the-minute trade info, complete with our no-holds-barred analysis (just how you like it!) until the deadline hits. Stay tuned…

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Trade Biz

February 18th, 2009

It’s back to business in the NBA this Tuesday, and the trade buzz is heating up as Thursday’s deadline is fast approaching. Here’s a brief recap on what has taken place, and what might still be down the pipeline.

*The New Orleans Hornets shipped Tyson Chandler off to Oklahoma City and picked up the Thunder’s Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith. Cash rules everything in the NBA, and Chandler’s contract was burdensome. Even still, something inside thinks that this move marks the beginning of a slide back to mediocrity for the Hornets. CP3 and Chandler had a certain rhythm on the pick and roll that will be hard for the tandem of Wilcox and Smith to fill in the last 30 games, as the Hornets attempt to position themselves for the playoffs. Advantage: OKC
*Terry Porter is out in Phoenix. But with interim coach Alvin Gentry’s promise of a return to the running and gunning in the desert, it looks like it will be Amare Stoudemire’s job to put the team on his mighty shoulders to make a solid playoff push in the final 30 games. The Suns are presently 9th in the West.

*The latest buzz on the wire is that the Houston Rockets and New Jersey Nets are in talks regarding swapping Tracy McGrady for Vince Carter along with Trenton Hassel. Now that would be interesting, considering that T-Mac and Carter are cousins and all. But seriously, the Rockets have to do something. Their "Big 3" rendition with McGrady, Yao Ming and Ron Artest is playing out more like a "Big Bust" at this point. There is talks that Artest and McGrady don’t get along and it appears that McGrady is the weakest link among them. It’s no secret that he is beyond injury-prone. Sadly, I just don’t foresee T-Mac leading a team out of the first round this year either. And that is no longer acceptable for a man making $22 million for 2009-2010. There are others in the hunt for Carter (Cavs, Mavs, Spurs) but it seems that Rockets are bringing the most heat at this point. Stay tuned to Trade Biz here on, where we don’t hold any punches in bringing the realest trade analysis.

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