<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks

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

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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.

Hey John Wall/Dion Waiters, Stephen Curry says Warriors have best backcourt. And he’s right.

Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry
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There’s a lot to like about the John Wall and Bradley Beal backcourt in Washington. Wall is an All-Star who has learned how to harness his insane quickness and is a top five point guard in the NBA now, while Beal is an emerging sharpshooter that pairs well with him.

Wall thinks he and Beal are the best backcourt in the NBA. Over in Cleveland Dion Waiters said that he and Kyrie Irving are the best (they’re not, and Waiters is the guy holding it back more). Wall and Waiters have had a little sniping match back and forth from training camps.

Later Tuesday the best backcourt in the NBA actually claimed the title — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of Golden State. However Curry said this with a rational discussion of the topic, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“What was he supposed to say? I would have said the same thing (about us). It was just like the thing with LeBron this summer. What are you supposed to say? I would say we’re the best backcourt. He’s going to say it. Russell (Westbrook) said he was the best PG yesterday. Everybody has got to be confident. If he would have said he had the second-best backcourt in the league, I probably would have gone over there and ragged on him all day.”

Curry is flat out the best shooter in the league and Thompson is at least top five, they defend pretty well as a unit, and Curry can create off the bounce for himself and others. They can play in transition or in the halfcourt. As a combo they are the best — and they each have a gold medal from the World Cup this summer to show for it.

For fun, my Top 5 would be:

1) Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
2) Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
3) John Wall, Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
4) Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
5) Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Houston Rockets

Then you would have Tony Parker and Danny Green with the Spurs, and Russell Westbrook and whoever the Thunder start at the two (Anthony Morrow?) knocking on the door of that list. The Cavs backcourt is in the honorable mention group also, along with Ty Lawson/Arron Afflalo in Denver and Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan in Toronto.

It will be interesting to see how much the presence of LeBron James and the attention he draws makes Irving and Waiters look better.

Roy Hibbert texted Tim Duncan to learn how Spurs do what they do

Indiana Pacers Media Day 2014
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There are 29 other NBA coaches who want their team to have the ball movement San Antonio showed in the NBA Finals.

They aren’t alone, some players would like their teams to share the rock like that. Take Roy Hibbert of the Pacers for example.

So he asked Tim Duncan how to do it, reports Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

Roy, let me help:

All you need to do Roy is keep the same selfless core together for a decade or so with a coach willing to adjust the system to fit his talent, and then get everyone — from stars to role players — to put aside their concern for personal stats and glory (and additional money) for the betterment of the team.

Piece of cake.

But good of you to ask.