Sacramento and Denmark to duel for Guinness indoor sound record tonight

6 Comments

It’s not every day that an NBA basketball game becomes the site of Guinness World Record testing, and as you might have heard Sacramento Kings fans are wasting no time putting their grassroots organizations to work by attempting to break the indoor sound record of 106.6 dBA previously set by the fans of the Bucks (plus a few Clippers fans) at the Bradley Center in 2008.

The idea started when one of the leaders of #HereWeStay effort (@HereWeStayED), Kevin Fippin, started using social media to drum up support to target Friday’s nationally televised ESPN game for an attempt to break the record.

ESPN ruffled some feathers in Sacramento before the season after using a Seattle-based company to compile data that would eventually rank the Kings the worst franchise of all of the four major sports.

This prompted the team to issue a rebuke of the rankings in an ad campaign with the copy: “Hey ESPN. Nice Airball. New Era. New Swagger. The Best Fans Await You. 11.15.13

The rankings also caused former NBA Executive Vice President of Team Marketing and Business Operations and new President of the Kings to issue the following statement:

“We love ESPN, but think they could have given us the benefit of foresight in their rankings,” said Granger. “They know what we have going here. And, if they don’t, we’re going to show them when they visit us on November 15.”

So the gauntlet had already been thrown down when Fippin’s efforts on social media caught the attention of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, with a sellout already likely and enough compelling crowd shots to make the Kings’ point to the four-letter network.

“Think the Kings should get behind this cause and help us get our record back? Tweet @vivek and @cgkings yourself & let them know. #HereWeRoar,” tweeted Fippin, to which the billionaire owner replied playfully “can u speak a little louder please.”

By then Vivek and Granger saw the lightning in a bottle and decided to bring it all together by notifying Guinness.

“I guess a call to Guinness is the first line of business tomorrow morning,” tweeted Granger, who arranged for the adjudicator of random records to officially test Friday’s game for crowd noise.

It’s a neat little story for a fanbase that is still in the honeymoon phase after years of torture at the hands of the Maloof brothers, and it took a turn toward competitive on Wednesday when promoters for the WBA & WBO Intercontinental Championship fight between Patrick Nielsen and Jose Pinto in Denmark decided to issue their own challenge.

They’re going to try to break the record that Sacramento is expected to blow away just 12 hours earlier.

“Boxing is all about timing and countering,” promoter Nisse Sauerland said. “Should needs be we will land the decisive counterpunch and knock out the Kings´ record. Make no mistake, we wish them the best of luck. They have done a brilliant job with their viral #HereWeRoar campaign. But we´ll take it one step further – #HereWeRoarKO.”

The MusikTeatret Albertslund arena in Denmark seats just around 2,000 people, but like Sleep Train Arena the promoter says the acoustics give them a fighting shot.

“We´ve got experts with a high-profile decibel device, 2000 ear plugs and the support of Patrick´s wild fans,” Sauerland added. “They might be outnumbered, but the great acoustics at the venue will give us the chance for a big upset. May the loudest fans win.”

ESPN appeared to poke the bear on Tuesday, too, sending out a tweet directed at followers of the Kings’ official Twitter account. “@SacramentoKings If Kings fans are #ForeverPurple, prove it.”

A source told me that Kings fans actually beat the sound record in Wednesday’s game during practice testing (which doesn’t count), but now with wild card Denmark in the mix it’s a whole new ballgame.

“Knowing we have somebody hot on our tail is going to keep the energy high,” said Mike Tavares, who heads up the fan and advocacy group Crown Downtown. “Though I don’t think our fans need much extra motivation to go nuts.”

It looks like ESPN is going to get all the proof they need and then some.

Paul George on trade to Thunder: “I took it as it was a kick in the behind”

Associated Press
2 Comments

Paul George and Russell Westbrook — now with Carmelo Anthony — form one of the more interesting teams in the NBA in Oklahoma City. Deep with quality role players and a defense that should be top 10 (if not top 5) in the league, if the three big names can learn to sacrifice and mesh, the Thunder will be dangerous.

Paul George sounds motivated to take it all on… which he should be the first day of training camp. Still, it’s a good sign for Thunder fans.

George opened up to Sam Amick of the USA Today in a lengthy interview at the start of camp, and among the topics he discussed was the trade to OKC (after George’s camp told Indiana he would test free agency next summer). Did getting sent to the Thunder motivate him?

“I took it as it was a kick in the behind, like, ‘Go ahead and go try to beat the Warriors. Go play alongside Russ and get your butt kicked against the Warriors.’ That’s how I looked at how that trade went down, because honestly we had no idea OKC was even interested or was in the trade until the trade actually happened. But again, I’m not here to trash Indiana. They have some of the best people I’ve ever met in their front office and in that organization. I grew up there. I could go on and on (with) the positives in Indiana, but that’s where my thought process and my – that’s where I, I guess, my opportunity to leave had opened up.”

There was some “go ahead and beat the Warriors” in that trade — it looks, from the outside, like the Pacers did not want George to land anywhere he wanted to go.

Thing is, as human beings, we by our nature try to make the best of situations. Even people who suffer genuine personal tragedies often come out the other side saying that it changed who they were for the better and they are happy with their new life. This is just basketball. George will adapt — and he’s on a very good team. If the bar is “can they beat a healthy Warriors team in a series” then the Thunder will fall short, as will every other team. But the Thunder are on that next tier in the NBA and could be a threat.

Plus, competitors like George always look at a trade as a challenge.

It’s going to be a fascinating season for the Thunder. We’ll see if all that talent is willing to make the sacrifices needed to win at the highest levels of the NBA.

When will Zach LaVine return to court for Bulls? Think Thanksgiving.

Getty Images
1 Comment

When the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler — finally making a decision on the franchise’s direction — one of the centerpieces they got back from Minnesota was Zach LaVine. The wildly athletic two-guard had evolved into more than just a dunker, averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting 38 percent from three — he had become a legitimate scoring threat against any defense.

Then he blew out his ACL.

How that injury impacts his game remains to be seen… so when will the Bulls see him on the court? Coach Fred Hoiberg addressed that as Chicago started training camp, as reported by Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.

That’s just taking contact in practice. The Bulls will be cautious bringing back a guy they see as part of their future, so expect this to be closer to Thanksgiving or the end of the month before he plays. Which is the smart move to make.

Even then, ACL injuries take a long time to overcome, even for young players putting in the recovery work. It may be next season before we know if LaVine will continue on the trajectory he was on in Minnesota.

Magic Johnson shrugs off concern about Lonzo Ball realty series

Getty Images
4 Comments

Lonzo Ball has yet to play in one NBA game, yet he has his own signature shoe line, and he — along with his father LaVar Ball and the rest of his family — have their own reality show on FaceBook. Lonzo told me he doesn’t foresee this show, nor his bombastic father, being a problem with his teammates or on the court.

Magic Johnson agrees with that. At least for now.

The head of Lakers’ basketball operations said as training camp opened that he’s not worried about the show Ball in the Family being a distraction. If it is, he’ll step in, he told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Only time I am going to concern myself with what [Lonzo] does off the court is if it is affecting his play on the court,” Johnson said at the Lakers’ media day when asked about Ball’s reality Facebook series, “Ball in the Family.”

“Right now, I think it is awesome,” Johnson said. “His family is great. They came out Saturday, we had a big Laker picnic. … His dad is wonderful with me, and I am cool with him. … I think [Lonzo] is tired of all this [hype]. He is just like me; I just want to play and I think he wants to play, and then Saturday night [for the Lakers’ preseason opener], sold out, in Anaheim, wow!”

It’s Magic’s job to put a positive spin on things.

That said, he’s right. The Lakers (and every NBA team) have dealt with overinvolved parents before and know how to create some space for the player to focus on the game. Locker rooms have a way of sorting themselves out in these kinds of situations. Plus, the Lakers have been down the reality show road before (when Lamar Odom married Khloe Kardashian), and while that had an ugly ending, it wasn’t for lack of Lakers’ players and others in the organization trying to step in and help. (Odom just wasn’t yet in a place to accept help.)

Soon LaVar will be focused on his other sons and Lonzo, who appears practiced at tuning his father out and focusing on what is in front of him, will have the grind of the NBA schedule to worry about.

Former NBA player Chuck Person named in college basketball bribery scandal

Associated Press
4 Comments

The recruitment of major college athletes — and then the steering of the handful that get to go pro to shoe companies and agents — is a sleazy business. It makes HBO’s “The Duece” look like Disneyland. It’s something sports fans know but largely turn a blind eye to until it forces its way into the headlines.

It turned up in the headlines Tuesday when four college assistant coaches from major universities were charged by federal prosecutors in a bribery scandal along with a representative of Adidas and others to steer players to specific agents or a financial handler.

Former NBA Rookie of the Year Chuck Person, now an assistant coach at Auburn, was among those named in the scandal.

Person is making headlines because he’s the biggest name in the scandal. He is charged with accepting approximately $91,500 from a business manager, who has flipped and is working with prosecutors. This “business manager, offered bribes to Person to steer players toward his services, as well as another person charged in the scandal.

Person told prosecutors he gave $18,500 of the money he took to two players’ families, according to the filings.

Person was the No. 4 pick in the 1986 NBA draft and went on to win Rookie of the Year, followed by a 13-year NBA career. He made $22.9 million over the course of his career.