Just in case you’ve forgotten that the NBA is locked out, let me do my absolute damnedest to remind you: we could be talking about actual basketball right now, but instead, I’m going to point you in the direction of E! Online’s listing of 15 “Super Sexy Basketball Hunks,” (via Tim Griffin of Spurs Nation). The slideshow is complete with the ability for you to voice your own opinion — via the “So hot!” and “So not!” voting button — on the purported dreaminess of the NBAers in question. The concept itself is glorious, but the real selling point are the accompanying captions, which are everything you’d imagine and more.
Some personal favorites:
Kobe Bryant: The Lakers shooting guard may be known for his skills on the court, but it’s that impeccable physique (and smile) that puts him front and center on our list of the sexist NBA hunks.
Quite a typo there. Also, a bit surprised there was no mention of “COUNT THE RINGS!” It’s the only argument you need, Shawn, even in matters of hunkery.
Paul Pierce: Stare into his eyes and try not to feel a love connection. Not only is [Paul] Pierce an incredibly attractive hunk of man (in case you couldn’t tell) but he’s also a nine-time NBA All-Star! Not too shabby, sir.
Gilbert Arenas: The Wizards point guard affectionately known as “Hibachi” (get it?) is more than just a super hot NBA superstar. Arenas is also known for his charitable nature and even mentored a young boy in need, taking his sexiness factor through the roof!
1. What? 2. Nothing sexier than this.
Carmelo Anthony: Not only does Anthony fill out that Knicks uniform incredibly nicely, but he’s also the owner of a shiny gold medal from the 2008 Olympics. Now if only he wasn’t married (sorry La La Vasquez).
This list quickly devolved into “NBA Players we know are connected with celebrities/quasi-celebrities.” Mark Jaric even makes an appearance!
Tracy McGrady: This seven-time NBA All-Star has had a long career in the NBA, but at the end of the day we still chalk it up to that rock solid physique.
That must be it.
UPDATE (7:24 PM): Per Howard Beck of the New York Times, George Cohen will not be coming back to the collective bargaining sessions after all. Plus, there remains no scheduled time or date for the resumption of talks. Delightful news all around.
2:18 PM: The negotiations to end the NBA lockout are not ongoing — in fact, at present, anything but going. Representatives of the league and the NBPA aren’t camped out in a room for marathon sessions, nor are such sessions even planned. Everything is quiet, and yet the revenue split between the two parties hangs in the air. The 2.5 percentage points of basketball-related income (BRI) that separate the NBA and the union nudge actual basketball just out of reach, and for the moment there aren’t even discussions on how best to deal with that gap.
Yet the leadership on both sides of the negotiations know that more talks are the only way to produce an agreement, even if there’s currently a bit of a stalemate. More meetings are an inevitability; we may not know precisely when the gang will get back together again, but we can say with confidence that they will.
And this time around, they may have another appearance from a recurring guest. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, George Cohen, the federal mediator who guided talks between the NBA and NBPA two weeks ago, may be brought back to facilitate further negotiations. Considering how quickly previous discussions seemed to implode once the subject of BRI was breached, I’d say some mediation — of the federal, or just about any other variety — is precisely what these negotiations need. Both sides have claimed a hard line, but waiting for the other party to break isn’t a negotiation at all. The NBA and NBPA obviously want a deal that’s financially sound from their perspective, but one has to believe that there is some middle ground that can be reached without one side or another “winning” the lockout negotiation outright by way of the other finally breaking.
Cohen isn’t likely to arrive to any negotiation with that solution in his pocket, but he could bring a new tone to a negotiation process that failed to capitalize on last week’s incredible momentum.
In its current form, the D-League is a sensible option for any player on the cusp — or targeting the cusp — of making an NBA roster. As Antonio Daniels and Antoine Walker showed last year, that group doesn’t entirely consist of undrafted rookies or former college standouts bouncing back after a few years in Europe; the D is a legitimate landing spot for outcast NBA talent in any form, even players who don’t totally mesh with the league’s developmental goals. It’s a very visible domestic league with explicit NBA ties, showcases for NBA personnel, easily watchable games, and a built-in PR machine in the form of the NBA itself. If those structural advantages don’t make sense for the Daniels’ and Walkers’ of the world, I don’t know what does.
In their vein, another notable NBA name will try their hand in the D-League this season: Jamaal Tinsley. We last saw Tinsley making his initial comeback attempt in 2009-2010, when he suited up as a reserve for the Memphis Grizzlies after not playing NBA ball for the previous year and a half. Now Tinsley will give it another go, this time by entering his name in the D-League draft, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
This could be a great opportunity for Tinsley to jump back into the NBA player pool (much like Daniels did last season), but he obviously comes with a few more red flags than the average call-up candidate. Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside explains:
A first round pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, Tinsley was injured often enough that he made it through just more than 53 games just three times during his eight-year NBA career — and that isn’t counting the fact that he sat out the 2008-09 season while exiled from the Indiana Pacers or this past season after not finding an NBA home due to a lackluster comeback season with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2009-10 season.
This isn’t to say that Tinsley won’t make the most of his D-League opportunity because it obviously takes quite a bit of humble pie to be able swallow one’s pride and announce to the world that the D-League is going to be the league you’re calling home. It does make me wonder if he’ll stick it out, however, knowing he’s been unhappy in much better situations in the past.
That last caveat is important: Tinsley has been through a lot, but none of that is reason enough for a D-League failure. He’s a talented player who deserves an honest shot at a back-up gig somewhere, and he appears to be earnestly striving for that goal. Nothing should just be given to him, but Tinsley deserves as blank a slate as he can get, even if it still holds the faint etchings of his former NBA life. Maybe he’ll burn out on the idea of the D-League. Maybe he’ll be tripped up by another injury. Maybe he’ll just inadvertently drive himself off of whichever team ends up drafting him. Those are all possibilities, but at the D-League level, does it really make sense to tie all of that baggage around Tinsley’s neck as a presupposition?