Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

(White) House of Pain

What is US President Barack Obama thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Probably modern medicine! President Obama is likely spending the weekend with a bag of frozen peas pressed up against his face after a tough day at the office on Friday…

The O-bomb was left needing stitches following a game of pick-up basketball at Fort McNair where he took an “inadvertent elbow” to the lip! According to the Washington Post, he arrived back at the White House a few hours later and checked into his crib’s Medical Unit, needing a total of 12 stitches!

So, you ask, whose elbow was it? The guilty party’s name is Rey Decerega and he is a (former?) member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Can you imagine popping the President of the United State in the face with an elbow?! I wonder how many red dots suddenly appeared on him!

No word from the White House on what Obama’s stats were for the day.

The OTHER LA Team

Los Angeles must be a strange place to live for a sports fan…

At the top of the pile, you’ve got the Lakers winning trophies every year. The Kings should be a good hockey team, but they aren’t quite there yet in terms of dominance. The Galaxy are pretty good, but MLS isn’t that popular and they haven’t been around long enough. The Dodgers are an average ball team, but average just doesn’t cut it in the Major Leagues. Then, you’ve got the LA Clippers.

If you didn’t know any better, you might think the Clippers were the feeder team for the Lake Show, but no, they’re just not very good. If you happen to be a Clippers fan though, I’m here to tell you that there’s hope!

His name is Blake Griffin.

LA drafted the Oklahoma Sooners prospect first overall in the 2009 draft, but fans would have to wait a whole year to see him debut because of a knee injury that didn’t heal properly. I’m sure some people though “oh herrrrrrre we go” when they heard that he’d be missing the entire 2009-10 season…but now that we’ve seen him play at the NBA level, it’s safe to say that this guy is the real deal!

In his first 17 games, Griffin is averaging over 19 points and 11 rebounds while playing about 35 minutes per game. His best performance so far came last Saturday in a 124-115 loss to the NY Knicks – the 21-year-old put up 44-points and 15 rebounds, including these two thunderous dunks:


Are you kidding me?! Oh, to be Timofey Mozgov or Danilo Gallinari…

Another Setback for Oden

I’ve often written about the horribly sad story that is Greg Oden of the Portland Trail Blazers – earlier when I said that some Clippers fans might have been worried when Blake Griffin missed his first season due to injury…Oden’s story would have been why.

I began following his progress after seeing a feature about him on TV: Oden hurt his dominant hand, so he learned to dominate with his other hand and came back with a vengeance. He wound up becoming so amazingly versatile that he was drafted first overall in 2007, ahead of Kevin Durant.

Ironically, that’s when things started to go downhill for the 7-foot wonder.

Oden needed microfracture surgery on his right knee before his pro career even started which kept him out for an entire season. As a rookie in 2008, Oden averaged 8.9 points per game and 7 rebounds in 61 games. More importantly, he only missed 21 games due to injury!

The following season though, Oden played 21 games and missed 61 after fracturing his left patella (basically, he broke his knee).

I know what you’re thinking, it can only get better right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case in this fairy tale. The Trail Blazers announced last week that Oden needed another microfracture surgery – this time on his left knee.

In four NBA seasons, Greg Oden has missed 246 of a possible 328 games, or 75 percent of his ‘potential’ career.

It’s not all bad though – NBC’s Out of Bounds reports that Oden has earned about $50,000 per basket in the 82 pro contests he has featured in. How does that compare with other pro ballers?

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I know that some people will say they have a very hard time feeling sorry for a guy who has earned over $19-million playing a bit of basketball, but I can’t help it.

He seems like a good guy who just can’t catch a break – well, minus that ‘break’ he caught when he signed a big-money contract!

Other stuff…

The Miami Heat’s top rebounder is out, maybe for the season. No, not him, or him…or him.

LeBron James says he’s not worried about going, going, back, back to Cleveland, Cleveland

You’ll never guess who Kobe Bryant says his biggest mentor was…I’ll give you a hint: He’s Bad, he’s not my son and his best advice was to look at the man in the mirror…

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