Author: Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Lakers Media Day

Injury updates: Lakers Ryan Kelly, Jazz’s Carrick Felix both out for a while

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Training camps mean injuries, it can’t be avoided. General managers everywhere just say a little prayer and hope the injury bug decides to pass them over this year.

We have a couple early ones already (aside Andrei Kirilenko’s back keeping him out of a couple practices).

First, Lakers backup stretch four Ryan Kelly is now going to be out for a while, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

When you’re a young player on a team with a new coach and you’re trying to show why you deserve minutes, this is a real setback. Not sure how long he’ll be out, but hamstring injuries linger and can reoccur if you come back even a little too early.

There’s worse news for Utah guard Carrick Felix.

Felix missed a chunk of last season with a sports hernia and now gets a setback in training camp — and again a team with a new coach trying to figure out rotations. Felix has a lot of competition for minutes at the guard spot in Utah and this is not helping his cause.

LeBron co-producing children’s show about beginnings of himself, other top athletes

LeBron James
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There are a lot of inspiring stories out there about professional athletes who achieved their dreams despite having to overcome numerous, large obstacles.

LeBron James thinks those story would make a good television show for youth, so he is co-producing it for Disney XD.

And he will be the subject of the first episode, something detailed in the story by the Associated Press.

The NBA superstar is co-producing a half-hour TV series called ”Becoming,” which will showcase the journeys of some of today’s top athletes. The pilot focuses on James, his struggles growing up in a single-parent home in Akron, Ohio and his rise to become one of the world’s best basketball players.

The show premieres Oct. 26 on Disney XD. It’s co-produced by Springhill Productions, James’ company operated by close friend and business partner Maverick Carter, and ESPN Films….

“Sports and athletes were my inspiration growing up,” he said. “When I learned that they had some of the same struggles and challenges I did, it made everything seem possible. That’s what `Becoming’ is all about.”

If you want to see some rare footage of LeBron playing AAU ball and in high school, tune in (check your local listings).

It’s not a bad idea if the shows are well done, although I can see this getting tiresome quick as the shows will likely all follow the same rough arc. Think “Behind the Music.” That said, there are a lot of worse things your child could be watching.

Man sues Madison Square Garden saying he was ejected from Knicks game for saying “Carmelo, you stink”

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks
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I’ll say up front, I’m skeptical of the claims here.

The claims come from a New York stock trader who says he was tossed from a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden last January simply for saying “Carmelo, you stink.” That eventually led to him losing his job of the last dozen years over the incident.

Bloomberg has all the details.

Former ING Financial Services trader Anthony Rotondi was booted from Madison Square Garden (MSG) this year for yelling “Carmelo, you stink.” Security wasn’t amused, and neither was his employer. He said he was ejected, arrested and fired after 12 years at ING.

Now, Rotondi is suing the arena’s owners, seeking pre-litigation information, specifically the names of security guards who tossed him from the Jan. 7 game against the Houston Rockets. Criticizing New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony shouldn’t have led to his ejection, he argued in a filing yesterday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan….

Madison Square Garden Co. said in a statement that the suit is frivolous and it’s considering a countersuit against Rotondi.

Rotondi, his supervisor and two ING clients went to the game using the firm’s tickets. The suit claimed that someone from MSG called ING the next day complaining of his language and behavior and that led to him getting fired.

Two thoughts here.

First, Carmelo did not stink that night. He had 34 points on 24 shots (.660 true shooting percentage), he was 6-of-7 from three, and he hit the free throws late that sealed the Knicks win.

Second, and more to the point, the MSG security has a reputation for being a bit prickly, but this would clearly be over the top if it went down as stated in the suit. A person in the arena has the right to yell at players and say what they want — within reason. There are lines of public decorum that would be offensive to those around the heckler and if someone crosses said lines security has the right to step in and act. Knicks fans certainly can be passionate.

Obviously, I was not there and do not know how this situation went down. I’ll just say that my BS detector goes off if the guy is there with his supervisor and clients and he gets canned two days later and the worst thing he says he said was “stink.” I have a suspicion there was a lot more going on here. If you’re going to a game with clients, you’re working and should behave as such.

But hey, it’s America and this is our legal system at work. Some lawyers are about to get paid, if nothing else.

UPDATE:
Not long after I tweeted out this story Michael McCann, the sports law expert (and law professor) who writes for Sports Illustrated tweeted this:

You want more Dirk Nowitzki singing David Hasselhoff? We’ve got you covered.

Dirk Nowitzki
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A couple of weeks back Dirk Nowitzki whipped out an accoustic guitar on a German talk show and belted out a little David Hasselhoff’s “Looking for Freedom.” And he wasn’t half bad.

Fast forward to Dallas Mavericks media day. Nowitzki is walking down the hallway and gets asked what song he would sing for American Idol auditions (which recently came through Dallas) and you know Dirk went to the Hoff.

The man knows what he likes.

(BTW, if you want to see a funny but obscenity-laced, NSFW comic rant by Hasselhoff about his greatness, follow this link.)

Phil Jackson compared J.R. Smith to Dennis Rodman. Smith likes that.

J.R. Smith
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Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are bringing the triangle to New York.

J.R. Smith is about the least triangle-style player in the league. Throw in Smith’s antics — untying players shoes during free throws was a fun one last year — and he seems a square peg for Jackson’s Zen triangle holes.

In a Q&A recently with the New York Post Jackson made this comparison with Smith.

“I don’t know if (getting through to him is) possible or not. He might be one of those guys that’s a little bit like Dennis Rodman that has an outlier kind of side to him. But I’m gonna get to know him as we go along, and we’ll find a way to either make him a very useful player on our organization, or whatever.”

How did Smith like being compared to Rodman? Loved it, of course. He said so Wednesday at training camp, as reported by the New York Daily News.

“Last time I checked Dennis Rodman’s got what three, four rings?” Smith said Tuesday about the Worm, who actually won five NBA titles with the Pistons and Jackson’s Bulls during his career. “I’m not offended by that. It’s an honor. He’s a Hall of Famer. And to be put in the same words as a Hall of Famer is something special. So I’m not offended at all.”

Well, that’s one way to spin it.

Another is that Rodman won those rings with the Bulls for a reason (and not just the Jordan reason).

Rodman fit in the triangle because of his energy on the glass and how he moved off the ball (people tend to forget just how athletic Rodman was). Plus Rodman was a lockdown defender. Smith has some work to do on those counts, plus he can be a ball stopper on offense (Rodman rarely saw the ball on offense).

Smith is under contract for this season plus has a player option for $6.4 million next season (one he likely picks up). If Smith can’t fit into the triangle, that’s a moveable deal. There are going to be a lot of Knicks roster shakeups over the next couple years.

But Fisher will get a chance to fit Smith into the system first and see if he has a little Rodman in him. The good parts of Rodman, anyway.