Author: Kurt Helin

courtesy Gran Flannel Auctions

Michael Jordan’s 1984 Olympic gold medal game shoes go up for auction


Yes, Michael Jordan wore Converse.

That’s what the team wore when he was winning a national championship at North Carolina, and that’s what he wore as a college member of the 1984 USA Olympic Basketball team.

Now you can own the shoes Jordan wore in the USA’s Gold Medal game win over Spain (the USSR and it’s Eastern Bloc countries boycotted those games). Gray Flannel Auctions has put them on the block, as noted at NBC’s Olympic Talk and first reported by Darren Rovell at ESPN.

The shoes are white Converse, the brand Jordan wore at North Carolina, thanks to a $10,000 a year deal that was given to his coach, Dean Smith, at the time.

Grey Flannel’s Michael Russek said the auction house verified the chain of custody of the shoes by confirming that the consignor was indeed a ball boy and being presented with photos of him in the locker room in Los Angeles. He said that Jordan signed the shoes at the time before handing it to the consignor.

Those Olympics were Jordan’s coming out party — he led Team USA with 17.1 points a game, on a team that had Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, Sam Perkins, Steve Alford, Wayman Tisdale and Leon Wood among others. That was back when the USA still sent college players to the Olympics, Jordan would be part of the 1992 Dream Team that changed that.

Right after the 1984 Olympics, Jordan signed a shoe contract with Nike.

The Converse 1984 shoes will go on the auction block in October. Grey Flannel Auctions was in charge of the sale of Jordan’s “flu game” shoes last year, which netting $104,765. This likely doesn’t go for quite that much, but it will not go cheaply.

Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried threw it down on Ukraine (VIDEOS)

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Four

After all the no-shows and injuries on paper Team USA looked like a perimeter-based team heading into the World Cup. Anthony Davis and Kenneth Faried had another idea — they tore it up for Team USA in group play. Through five games Davis has led the Americans with 15.8 points a game on 62 percent shooting. Faried was a ball of energy averaging 13.8 points a game on 79 percent shooting, plus pulled down 7.8 rebounds a night.

What they have done better than anything else is just relentlessly run the floor.

That included against the Ukraine when both made big plays. Above Davis not only made the steal but took it the length and finished it.

Below Faried ran the floor in transition, took the pass and finished with authority.

Spain thought they would own the front court against the USA in their expected eventual gold medal meeting. That may not be the case.

Carmelo Anthony wants to be “the digital athlete”

Puerto Rico v United States

Carmelo Anthony stayed in New York for, among other reasons (I can think of 124 million of them) to be closer to his business interests.

What does that mean?

To him being a pioneer athlete in the tech world. Succeeding in that business world the way players like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan have in others.

Anthony spoke at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York this week and among the things he discussed was his desire to be the first star athlete to really take advantage of the digital age. The New York Post has the quotes.

“I want to brand myself as the digital athlete,” Anthony said Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in Manhattan. “Nobody really took that place. There’ve been athletes that came before me that were doing what I’m doing and there are going to be people after me that are doing what I’m doing. But I really want to be the pioneer for that digital athlete, and when it comes to tech I want to be the face of that space…”

To that end, Anthony and business partner Stuart Goldfarb, former VP of NBC, launched Melo7 Tech Partners this summer. The company invests in startup firms specializing in digital media, Internet consumer ventures and technology-based operations.

“At the end of the day, we all know what’s my day job: basketball,” Anthony said. “That’s what my brand is built on, but I’m trying to take my brand to the next level, make it bigger, make it stronger.”

The company has already invested in a few projects such as “OrangeChef” for the smart kitchen, or SeatGeek ticket buying search engine. There are other investments as well.

Good for Anthony. I have no idea how well these investments work out, but good for Anthony for broadening himself beyond the court. We in American have a fascination with singularly minded, tunnel-vision people who focus on one things. We generally applaud those people.

But frankly that makes a dull person. Anthony and his family are better off with him having other interests. So long as the Knicks and his game remain a top priority (behind family). I don’t think that will be the Knicks problem.

FIBA World Cup knockout round bracket set

Anthony Davis, Eloy Vargas

The U8 girls AYSO “everyone gets to participate” part of the FIBA World Cup is over. (Not to knock U8 girls soccer, I’ll be coaching one of my daughters in it for the third straight year starting Saturday, but the goals there are just a little different than the professional level.)

We are into the 16-team, win-or-go-home knockout round. It’s a straight 16-team tournament now that will culminate on Sept. 14 in a gold medal game. Featuring the undefeated teams of the USA and Spain. Well, technically we don’t know the participants yet but if you’ve watched the group play it’s clear there are two super teams and about six others who could potentially win the bronze.

The USA opens the knockout games Saturday at 10 am Eastern taking on Mexico in Barcelona.

Below are the bracket matchups for the next round of the FIBA World Cup (if/when the USA beats Mexico it takes on the Dominican Republic/Slovenia winner, and so on). If you’re first instinct is “man the USA lucked into the soft side of the bracket” your instinct would be correct.

Barcelona bracket


Dominican Republic

New Zealand


Madrid bracket





Adam Silver: NBA may consider occasional 10 a.m. tip-offs someday to accommodate Chinese market

Adam Silver

I’m sure you remember one of the challenges of the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the timing — it’s a 12 hour difference between the East Coast and Beijing, so an afternoon event at 2 p.m. went on in the middle of the night. Even a prime-time event at 8 p.m. was an early morning occasion in the states.

Now the NBA is dealing with that in reverse — China is a growing part of the NBA market but the games are on at terrible hours. You have to be a pretty diehard fan to wake up and schedule your morning around an 8 am NBA Finals game.

So how would Boston/New York fans feel about a 10 a.m. Knicks. vs. Celtics tip-off?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke with Bloomberg’s Stephanie Ruhle and Cory Johnson from the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit and said it could happen to some games down the line:

“I think the biggest challenge (to growing the game internationally) is the time zone differences. I mean, for example, in China, roughly 12 hours different from the East Coast. So prime time games are on early in the morning, so you have to figure out whether we need to create new products, condensed games that are shown later, whether it becomes a business of highlights, whether it’s equivalent of tweets and other forms of social media.

“I think that’s sort of — part of the biggest challenge. I mean, ultimately, whether we should consider time-shifting some of our games. Once the audience becomes big enough, maybe it’s not so crazy to ask a team once every two months to play a Saturday morning game….

“Yes, maybe when the audience gets big enough China and you’re reaching 100 million people in China to say so maybe once in a while a team will play at 10:00 on Saturday morning.”

Silver admitted the NBA isn’t there yet. Frankly, it’s not close. He said the short-term goal for the NBA might be to partner more with the existing Chinese Basketball Association and help them grow.

Besides, have you watched the Knicks’ 1 p.m. tip-off games at Madison Square Garden? They do a handful every season. The players look like they’re sleepwalking for the first half. The level of play drops noticeably. Now you want to move some games up three hours?

But this just shows you how much Silver, like David Stern before him, is thinking about the overseas markets. There certainly can be more growth of the game domestically, but that market does not come close to the overseas growth potential. The NBA is the premier league in a sport growing in popularity worldwide.

It’s all about the money, and while the players would hate it if moving some games around generates more money in international television revenues, you think the owners won’t sacrifice the quality of the game a little? I’m not sure they’d blink.