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NBA TV Commentator
|One of the WNBA's original players after leading the University of Connecticut to an NCAA Championship in 1995, Rebecca Lobo was assigned to the New York Liberty in January 1997. There, she played five seasons, winning All-WNBA second-team honors in 1997, before closing out her career in Houston and Connecticut. Off the court, Lobo is active in supporting breast cancer research and awareness as well as the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Children's Miracle Network and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.|
Talking Season Preview
The kind folks at WNBA.com asked me to do a season preview. Well, e-amigos, ask and ye shall receive.Posted by Rebecca Lobo - May 20 2004 2:11PM
The beauty with season previews is that no one really cares what they say. That is, except for coaches whose teams were picked to finish near the bottom of the conference. Last year, our CT Sun coaches brought Ann Meyers' WNBA preview to practice so they could show us she'd picked us to finish last. They wanted to motivate us. I read it and thought Annie had some valid points. I mean, who would've thought that Washington would be such a disappointment last season or that New York would miss the playoffs after losing Becky Hammon to injury? Not me... and apparently not Annie.
When I was playing for the Liberty, the coaches would scour the daily papers and dot-coms for even the smallest slight against our team so that they could blow it up poster size (I think they had an unlimited account at Kinkos) and hang it in the locker room. Sometimes each wall would have a quote pinned to it. I would often read them and think, "why would a player be so stupid to say something like this" (usually quotes from the same handful of people) and other times I'd realize that it was a slow quote day -- they were pretty innocuous.
The Comets' coaches never played the quote game... perhaps because no one ever said anything bad about the team. Or, maybe it just wasn't in their natures. I mean, Coach Chancellor would rather throw Jolly Rancher candies to the crowd before tipoff than deliver a fiery speech... that's just the way he is.
With all that being said, here's....
The Preseason Predictions WNBA.com wanted me to make
East : Detroit, Washington, Indiana, Charlotte
West : LA, Sacramento, Seattle, San Antonio
-Conference and overall champion
Detroit vs. LA with Detroit repeating
Diana Taurasi : She'll be the rookie asked to do the most on the team with the most room for improvement.
-Most Improved Player
It's impossible to pick this one before the season starts. I'll vote for Asjha Jones though because she'll get a lot of minutes now that she's in Connecticut.
-Most Improved Team
Washington Mystics : There was no reason for them to be so bad last year. Now -- with Alana Beard and Chasity Melvin -- there's no reason for them to be bad this year.
-Defensive Player of the Year
Sheryl Swoopes : Everyone knows how quick she is getting into the passing lanes... but everyone still makes the passes for Sheryl to steal.
Tamika Catchings : No one wants to guard Catchings because she goes so darn hard on every single possession. She's tough to slow down and almost impossible to box out.
-Coach of the Year
Michael Adams : Coach of the Year usually goes to the coach with the most improved team. If Holdsclaw stays healthy this summer, the Mystics will be much-improved. As a result, Adams should get the award.
The Preseason Awards I Wanted to Give Out
The Preseason Slight of 2004
USA Today's WNBA preview picked the Sun to finish seventh in the conference. Of course... the Eastern Conference has SIX teams. They weren't picked to finish in the basement... but whatever is below that. (Middle Earth, perhaps?) The good news is that -- according to USA Today -- Connecticut can only overachieve this season -- even if they finish in last place. -
The Preseason Huh? Quote of 2004
This week's ESPN The Magazine quotes Marie Ferdinand as saying she's tired of being called "explosive". Said Ferdinand, "It's not even a compliment anymore." I beg to differ. Some people (me) would be willing to wear Marie's black headband with the HUGE WNBA logo for the chance to be called "explosive". As long as it's not a description of your bowels or temper, "explosive" is a compliment.
That's my WNBA preview. It's not worthy of a locker room poster, but really... what is?
Draft Day: Behind the Scenes
Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Apr 22 2004 8:20PM
The first round of the draft went as expected. (I think I should get big props for predicting Toccara Williams
in the first round even though she fell to San Antonio in the third.) But, don't get too comfortable picturing some of the first rounders in the uniforms of the teams that took them. There will be trade activity at least until training camps start.
First round behind-the-scenes recap
1. Diana Taurasi:
We had some time left at the end of the first round so Kara Lawson was asked to interview D's mom. Of course, English is Lilly Taurasi's second language and she's not really comfortable answering things in English on TV. Right before they went on air, she clutched Kara and pleaded, "ask something easy."
2. Alana Beard:
Beard's been staying busy the past few weeks picking up all her Player of the Year awards. However, she is still going to graduate on time and asked me in the green room before the draft, "Do you think Washington will let me go to my graduation?" I think the Mystics can make that happen. And, Beard took a page out of LeBron's draft day book and wore a white suit -- nice touch.
3. Nicole Powell:
There was a lot of talk in days leading up to the draft that Charlotte and Minnesota would work a trade and Lindsay Whalen would be taken at #3. But talks broke off on Friday and the Sting got their girl. Powell will return to Stanford in the Fall to finish up her degree. (Stanford does quarters instead of semesters.)
4. Lindsay Whalen:
Whalen was the last player to arrive at the NBA TV studio in Secaucus, NJ because her flight didn't arrive until Saturday morning. This poor kid looked like her dog just died when she got drafted by Connecticut. She was obviously holding out hope that the Lynx could work a trade to keep her home in Minnesota. Who knows, while it's unlikely, it might still happen.
5. Shameka Christon:
In the green room before the draft, I had a chance to talk to Christon about living in New York City. She knows it'll be a big change from Arkansas and is nervous about driving in New York. I'm sure the Liberty vets will be happy to take her under their wing and show her the magic of the Metrocard (for subway and bus use in Manhattan).
6. Nicole Ohlde:
Tamika Williams was pretty excited before the draft knowing that the Lynx were going to use #6 and #7 on some posts to play alongside her. At one point she glanced towards Ohlde and whispered to me with a smile, "I think we're going to take her."
7. Vanessa Hayden:
Great pick by Minnesota because Hayden could be the steal of the draft at #7. She was the smartest player interviewed because she mentioned her new pointguard -- Teresa Edwards -- by name. A post always needs to remember who feeds them the ball.
8. Chandi Jones:
We were shocked that Phoenix picked Jones until we realized that they were drafting for Detroit (in a trade that would be announced later). Laimbeer told both Anne Meyers and me that he'd take Chandi Jones if he had the #1 selection in this draft. He got his girl at #8.
9. Ebony Hoffman:
The Fever had their eye on Hoffman from the beginning and were able to get their catch. Hoffman didn't attend the draft.
10. Rebekkah Brunson:
Everyone thought Sacramento would get a guard with 3-pt range with this pick. (That's what they need AND that's what they told everyone they were taking.) But when #10 came up and Brunson was still available -- they felt she was too good to pass up. Of course, you now have to wonder if they are going to trade Chantelle Anderson or DeMya Walker.
11. Iciss Tillis:
Tillis' mom was the definition of a proud parent on Draft Day. Her smile didn't leave her face from the moment her daughter was picked through the time she headed over to the ESPN Zone for the draft party.
12. Christi Thomas:
Thomas didn't attend the draft because she's trying to get caught up on her school work after missing time during the NCAA tournament.
13. Shereka Wright:
Detroit drafted Wright for the Mercury. She didn't attend the draft but will end up playing with Purdue teammate Erika Valek in Phoenix.
SECOND ROUND SURPRISES
The biggest surprise is that the first Penn State player taken was Jess Brungo
and not Kelly Mazzante
. Mazzante was the only player who attended the draft who didn't go in the first round.
NOTE TO COLLEGE COACHES:
Find out where a kid is going to be taken in the draft before you advise them to attend it in person. It was heartbreaking watching Mazzante as she waited for her name to be called.
I didn't think Lindsay Taylor
would be taken ahead of Stacy Stephens
at the post position. (Houston took Taylor but will trade her to Phoenix for Maria Villarroel
.) Stephens has a great chance to make the Houston roster even though she was the second-to-last pick taken.
There's nothing like game day during March. The hours of watching tape are behind you, the light morning workout gets you focused, and the scouting report has been memorized. You arrive at the gym two hours before tip-off, make sure the duds look sweet, and get set for the game.Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Apr 1 2004 12:15PM
Of course, when you're a 30-year-old retired hoopster, you spend the game wearing a headset and explaining why everything is happening instead of focusing on a mindset to make it happen. And if you're doing color commentary for a Duke game at Cameron Indoor Stadium -- as I did last weekend -- you call the game from a catwalk above the top row of bleachers, so that you and your play-by-play partner resemble those balcony cranks Statler & Waldorf of The Muppet Show.
But the training regimen is very much the same for an athlete and a broadcaster. You've got to pay attention at practice so you know what to expect during the game. You have to watch hours of film to have a grasp of the opponent. And you have to know where to go after the game to celebrate a job well done.
You actually watch more game tape now than you did as a player. The difference -- and it's a big one-- is that you have control of the remote now. And a coach isn't replaying a stupid mistake over and over like the Zapruder film while saying, "How could any player actually be that slow, Lobo?"
There aren't any more wind-sprints-- just long jogs around the campus or on the hotel treadmill. And if you feel like rinsing down a packet of Ring-Dings with a liter of Mountain Dew for breakfast, there's noone there to scold you. And you don't have to get weighed-in on Monday.
Travel is tougher. The chartered planes are gone and the ball-point pen salesman with the B.O. is once again spilling into your seat on the Continental Airlines flight to Lubbock. Instead of boarding the Peter Pan bus to the hotel, you wait in line at the Hertz car rental and wonder if maybe, just maybe you should take the collision insurance this time. But at least you don't have to share your room with a freshman. And the body doesn't hurt nearly as much as it used to.
After playing a game, you'd have ice on your knees and black-and-blue marks on your arms. Now, smudged ink on your hands is the only black or blue you deal with and if your knee is wearing an ice-cap , it's the result of a night cap : some ice chips must've slid off the bottom of your pint glass. It no longer matters who wins or loses and you don't have to commiserate with a disappointed roommate after the game(unless your husband is in town and he's missed the cutoff for room service.)
Of course, the best part is the worst part about trading in the hoop boots for dress suits. You no longer need to care who wins the game and you no longer get to commiserate with a roommate. There aren't battle scars on your arms or ice soothing a body that's pushed itself to the limit. While it wasn't a long walk, you've moved to the balcony from center stage.
You've learned something while climbing the ladder to the catwalk at Cameron Indoor. Remember, while Statler and Waldorf always seemed pretty grumpy in their perch, they had the best seats in the house. They also always got the last word. And, I now believe, they had the most fun.
Tracking the College Prospects
Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Mar 19 2004 1:48PM
The 2004 WNBA Draft
class has been called the best ever by WNBA coaches and GMs. (Of course, that means it's the best in the past 7 years --since the first draft was in 1997.) Diana Taurasi is the clear cut number one and Beard will be taken two. After that, it's anybody's guess. How the kids play in the NCAA tournament might effect draft position too. Here's how I see the top 10 shaping up right now...
1. Diana Taurasi (Connecticut):
She's a stud. The '03 Player of the Year has more confidence than Tony Siragusa at a pie-eating contest. Her numbers are down a little this year because she's been battling nagging ankle and back injuries, but no one is more of a big-game player than Taurasi. Every GM in the Draft would take her with the first pick.
2. Alana Beard (Duke):
Beard is putting up Player of the Year numbers (20 points, 5 rebounds per game) and is a terrific defender. She has added a decent jump shot to go with her stellar driving game. This shy Blue Devil has a strong, solid physique and will start right away for the team that takes her.
3. Nicole Powell (Stanford):
While Powell looks like she could be fellow Cardinal Tiger Woods' sister, I have no idea if she has game on the links. However, on the court, Powell could be the most versatile player in the Draft. She's 6'2" and can play any position on the floor. She does everything for Stanford (20 ppg, 11 rpg) and is a one-woman show in Palo Alto.
4. Chandi Jones (Houston):
Jones led the nation in scoring in '03 and her average this year is down to 22.5 ppg. She's a smooth player who can drain the deep three, hit the pull-up J, or take it all the way to the hole. Her jump-stop is very Swoopes-like and she can score in bunches like the WNBA MVP. She doesn't force shots and she'll keep her post players happy with her unselfish play.
5. Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota):
Whalen broke two bones in her shooting hand a few weeks ago, but hopes to be back in time for the NCAA Tournament. She's a tough kid who plays with the intensity of Allen Iverson (without the rows and tattoos). She can score from anywhere and will be a solid 2-guard in the WNBA.
6. Kelly Mazzante (Penn State):
She's the all-time leading scorer in Big 10 history -- men's or women's. She has NBA range and is Dan Marino-quick with her release. The 6'0" guard also has a decent handle and plays good D.
7. Nicole Ohlde (Kansas State):
She's an Ohlde-but-goody, a legit 6'5", runs the floor well, and can shoot from the perimeter. She can also put the ball on the floor. She's a pretty appealing prospect, especially for teams in the West who have to deal with Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, and Yolanda on a daily basis.
8. Vanessa Hayden (Florida):
Coach Carolyn Peck calls her, "the best center in the country." Her numbers against Georgia in the SEC quarterfinal: 26 points, 12 rebounds. She won't average those numbers in the WNBA, but she'll be a force in the lane.
9. Shemeka Christon (Arkansas):
The 6-1 senior was named SEC Player of the Year after averaging 21.8 points and 7 rebounds per game. She's athletic, can shoot the three, and gets to the free throw line. Unfortunately, we might not be able to track her progress in the tourney because Arkansas is a bubble-team.
10. Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown):
This kid can sit back and rest up for the Draft because her Georgetown team has as much chance of stepping on the dance floor as an ugly 7th grader with B.O. Even if she isn't dancing this March, Brunson can hoop at the highest level. She averaged 19 points and 12 boards a game and led the Big East in both categories. She's 6-3, lean, and has the body of a thoroughbred. She can play with her back to the basket or put the ball on the floor.
Others to keep an eye on:
Iciss Tillis (Duke)
Shereka Wright (Purdue)
Tera Bjorkland (Colorado)
Christi Thomas (Georgia)
Rebecca will be updating her prospect rankings each week until the 2004 WNBA Draft on April 17.
My Baloney has a First Name
Oscar RecapPosted by Rebecca Lobo - Mar 2 2004 8:07PM
The basketball portion of this blog comes later. First I must throw my two cents into Oscar's wishing well.
While Billy Crystal was good, as always, did we really need to see so many shots of his man-cans? The opening bit was clever, but at some point, the saggy man-boobies should have been harnessed and put away.
I was bummed that Lost in Translation didn't win best picture. Lord of the Rings is the only nominated picture I haven't seen, but I can't imagine anything better than Translation. I pulled for Bill Murray to win best actor. He gave a great speech at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards could have used some humor. Every winner this year was painfully boring in his/her remarks. Thank goodness for Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. They kept things entertaining while we sat and wondered who really cared about awards for costume and achievement in sound.
Of course, the question on everyone's mind : what color crayon in the 64 count Crayola box was Charlize Theron? She looked like she and the statuettes were spray - painted from the same can. I've never seen skin that shade of ... gold? Perhaps it's the sun in South Africa. And, did she really say, "everyone in South Africa is watching"? Somehow I don't think the Zulus and Xhosas were anxiously awaiting to see if her performance in Monster was recognized.
I spent the weekend at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY doing a couple Patriot League men's basketball games for the YES network. Hamilton is in the middle of nowhere (I mean, New York) and a 4 hour drive from my home. While traveling on the Mass Pike I stopped at a rest stop to get some grub. Plopped next to a McDonald's takeout counter was a Honey Dew Donut counter. Hanging proudly above the register was a sign that read, "Gift Certificates Available Year Round!" I was relieved. I thought they might only sell them during donut season.
Freshmen Kendall and Kyle Chones play for the Colgate Raiders. Their father Jim Chones played 10 pro seasons in the ABA and NBA. He won a championship with the Lakers in 1980. The 3rd triplet, Kameron, plays for Brown and their sister Kaayla is the leading scorer and rebounder at NC State. (She will be on a WNBA roster next season.) The oldest sister Kareeda played at Marquette and now works for the Milwaukee Bucks. Suffice to say, the Chones' have basketball in their blood.
As an aside : if you ever find yourself in Hamilton, you've gotta try the Toll House Pie at the Colgate Inn. It's the best I've ever had.
The Tangled C-Webb We Weave
The front page headline in May 2nd's USA Today sport's section read : "Webber's prep titles in doubt." Apparently, allegations that Chris Webber was paid money while at Detroit Country Day high school have caused his high school records to be erased from the Michigan High School Athletic Association record books. The association's executive director also urged his high school to forfeit the titles it won in 1989, '90, '91. If Country Day forfeits the titles, I picture dive bars in Detroit full of 30 year old men wearing their too small leather-sleeved letterman jackets, swilling beer out of rusted trophies, and celebrating the championship that should have been theirs 12 years ago.
Want a sure sign that the bobble-head craze has gotten slightly out of hand? Armed security personnel watched over the arrival of 10,000 LeBron James souvenir bobble-head dolls that were delivered in an armored truck to Gund Arena. The limited collection bobble-heads will be given away before Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. ARMED security personnel? ARMORED truck? So people can say they got a doll? You'd think they bet their man cans on it. And that everyone in South Africa was watching.
Party Like an All Star
Time to recap the All-Star extravaganza...
Rawhide and the Sweet RidePosted by Rebecca Lobo - Feb 23 2004 10:43AM
I spent Thursday driving around in the not yet released BMW 645. On March 26, the 6-series will be for sale for the first time in 15 years. The kind folks at BMW loaned me and my extensive NBA TV crew (Annette Riccutti) the $70,000 car for a day of shooting (video, not driveby) on Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard, and Santa Monica Pier.
While illegally parked on Rodeo, I had an on-camera chat with a scantilly-clad woman who was part of a PETA protest against fur clothing. (She didn't approve of the BMW's leather seats.) About a minute into our conversation, my new animal-loving acquaintance told me, out of the blue, "I'm a porn star." (She said it as if she was afraid I'd think she was only an animal-rights activist.) Before realizing the absurdity of my question, I asked her if that meant she wouldn't wear leather or fur in her movies. Obviously, what she wears isn't really an issue. To bring our conversation full circle, she told me earnestly, "I have a say in what I do. The animals don't have a say." (Of course, this on-air conversation ended up on the editing room floor. NBA TV wants to keep a G rating.)
Quick aside: If someone appears in a porn movie, does that make them a "star"? Is there such thing as a bit-player or character actor or understudy (for lack of a better word) in this profession?
Thursday evening's hot ticket was the tribute to Magic Johnson at the Shrine Auditorium. (This is the theatre where Michael Jackson's hair caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial and James Cameron declared, "I'm the king of the world" while accepting his Oscar for Titanic.) We saw performances by Jessica Simpson, Earth Wind and Fire, and Outkast. (Big Boi performed sans Andre 3000 and they took the stage separately at the All-Star game on Sunday. I was told that they won't perform on stage together anymore. Since I haven't read The Source in a while, I don't know if that's true.)
Wayne Brady was very funny while singing his own version of "This Magic Moment", and the guest of honor took shots all night long for, among other things, opening up a Starbucks in inner-city L.A. As Chris Tucker said, "Black people don't drink coffee."
After the show we hung out in the green room with Magic, Chris Tucker and Steve Harvey. (Well, the guys were in the green room... but I didn't talk to them.)
A Horse With No Name
I chilled at the Technology Summit all day Friday. Panelists and fashion statements ranged from Larry King to P. Diddy. It was interesting listening to Mark Cuban and James Dolan debate technology ideas. (When it comes to anything tech related, I'm putting my money on Cuban every single time.) It was also interesting to listen to "Charlies Angels: Full Throttle" director McG. -- just McG -- talk about the "horse building business." There was some analogy that involved the horse and carriage fading out after the advent of the automobile. How that got to talk of "horse-building" I don't know. I do know, however, that you don't build horses. I mean, I did watch Seabiscuit after all.
Tee it Up, Slam it Down
Saturday was spent golfing with the legends. Nykesha Sales and I took a trip into the mountains to join studs like Dr. J, Bill Russell, and Gerald Wilkins on the course. Wilkens was talking about his days competing in the dunk contest and how 15 big name guys would participate each year. He said the players loved competing and truly wanted to outdo each other for bragging rights. Everyone agreed that it's a shame that the marquee names don't participate anymore. It's also a shame that this year's winner was named after 2 missed dunks. They should've crowned Jason Richardson champ after his off the backboard, through the legs dunk... yikes.
Bright Lights, P. Diddy
With help from friends in high places, I sneaked into sweet seats for the game on Sunday. There was enough star power siting courtside to light the Sunset Strip. Serena Williams, P. Diddy, and Ashton Kutcher relaxed courtside while Nick Carter and Paris Hilton ogled each other. Jen Azzi talked to Jack Nicholson for a few minutes before the game. (I was happy to hear that Jack lived up to his reputation and immediately told Jen she was, "the prettiest one out there" during Saturday's shootout.) Ludacris sat directly behind me and Andy Garcia was at the end of my row. Fortunately for everyone, Janet Jackson kept everything covered while Jay Z watched Beyonce's halftime performance with eyes wider than Shaq's booty.
Immediately after the game, we went to Skybar for the Mitchell & Ness party. I hung out with Eddie George for about a half hour (well, he was standing about 5 feet away), talked with fellow blogger Jay Williams for a while, and spotted both Mike Dunleavy and Mike Dunleavy Jr. Sam Cassell gave a "wazzuuup" and Jonathan Silverman of Weekend at Bernie's fame said hello and talked to my husband for about 20 minutes. (Unfortunately, there was no mention of Andrew McCarthy. Or Molly Ringwald. Or James Spader. Whatever happened to James Spader?)
Around midnight the fire marshal shut down the party and refused entry to everyone in line including Derek Jeter and Christina Aguilerra. Yup, "the captain" and the pop star were waiting outside while I was partying like a rock star inside. Shoot, the only thing missing was a PETA protester... and a director to build her a horse.
This Boykins' Life
Here are my picks for All-Star Saturday Night.Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Feb 14 2004 2:42AM
I'm voting for Fred Jones to win the dunk contest this year. I wouldn't know the 6'2" Pacer if I ran into him at the In and Out Burger. But the guy's name is Fred. We should have a dunk champion named Fred.
Of course I'm picking Peja. But it's not because he's the reigning champ and best shooter of the bunch. I'm voting for him because early in my career with the NY Liberty I saw Peja going through a workout after the Liberty practiced at Arco Arena. Peja hadn't yet played for the Kings but he was busting his butt during an off-season workout. Gotta love a hard worker.
Earl Boykins. The guy is 5"5' and his last name is Boykins. 'Nuff said.
The team from San Antonio gets my vote because I really like the River Walk. And, Steve Kerr and Jennifer Azzi are recently retired so they'll probably be the only retired participants who won't be panting for air like a dog on a hot afternoon. Plus, Jen Azzi is tied with Ray Allen for best calf muscles in pro sports.
My Left CoastPosted by Rebecca Lobo - Feb 12 2004 3:16AM
I landed at LAX at 11:00 Sunday night. A friend of mine had a box at the Staples Center for the Grammy's but I couldn't go because I was doing the Marquette at DePaul women's hoop game for ESPN2 earlier that day. Yup, I chose airplay over Coldplay, telecast over OutKast, telly over Nelly (yeah, you get the point). For those who care, DePaul won by 2.
After deplaning (why isn't it called "de-boarding" or boarding called "planing"?), my husband (Steve) and I grabbed our bags and headed toward the exit. Steve gave me a quick jab in the ribs to point out that Jimmy Kimmel was at our carousel. (I couldn't see if he had a suitcase full of bikini-clad women jumping on a trampoline). At Avis car rental we walked past a line of Jaguars and Lincoln Navigators until we reached our sweet ride -- a mauve Ford Taurus. While I'd feel pretty silly sliding into a pimped-out Jag with 18s, nothing screams style quite like a Taurus. (It even came with a chunk of leftover sandwich in the cupholder.)
On Monday I was part of an all day Read to Achieve Caravan that visited 2 schools and the children's floor of a hospital. Swin Cash, Andrea Stinson, Nikki Teasley, Kara Lawson and I were there representing the WNBA. Shaunie O'Neal (Shaq's wife), Gary Payton's better half and a few other wives and parents of NBA-ers joined the tour as well. Shaunie was a lot taller in person than she looked on the MTV Cribs episode featuring her and Shaq's 64,000 square foot home. (I guess anyone would look taller when not standing next to the Big Aristotle.)
Notable Quotable (courtesy of the students)
"I can't wait to show Shaq's wife's autograph to my sister and say, 'In your face! In your face!'". Spoken by a pig-tailed third grader at Foshay Elementary.
"I would choose to be invisible instead of being able to fly so if someone tried to murder me, they couldn't see me." A 3rd grader from Miles Avenue Elementary's answer when asked what super-hero trait he'd like to have.
Do As I Say...
Wednesday featured a Mind, Body, Spirit event that included WNBAers and Nate "Tiny" Archibald emphasizing the importance of a good attitude, exercise, and nutrition. We spoke about healthy eating habits for an hour. Then, on the way out, we gave the kids burritos.
When we asked the 5th graders about their favorite recess activities, they mentioned kickball, dodgeball, and hoops. I can only imagine questioning a group of hoity-toity private schoolers and hearing them talk about yoga, pilates and squash. They'd debate the merits of the Atkins and South Beach diets. The Mind, Body, Spirit crew would then pass out pasta and bagels.
Lost In Translation is the best movie I've seen during the past year. (And I've seen a ton of movies.)
BBC America's The Office is the funniest show on television. The first season is available on DVD.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is the 2nd funniest show on TV. Larry David is ridiculous. He's also ridiculously funny.
I'm sure I'll have lots of crazy quotes and stories to report over the next few days. Thursday we head to Magic Johnson's tribute at the Shrine Auditorium. But that's just the beginning. We'll see a plethora of fedoras at events all weekend. I've gotta run... it's time to shine the jewel-encrusted pimp chalice. All Star 2004 is here.
"B"-Day, Belcher, and Brandy
As My World TurnsPosted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 31 2004 1:08PM
January 29,2004 was "Rebecca Lobo Day" in Connecticut. I'm not kidding -- there's photographic proof on WNBA.com. It was a swell honor that swelled my head. But, my sister asked the ever-important question, "What does this mean, exactly." I think it should mean that I can park where I want, drive as fast as I please, and smoke in restaurants each January 29th until I die. (I don't smoke -- but that's not the point.) For good measure, we'll throw in a day off from school for every girl over 6'2".
In preparation for the UConn/Seton Hall game that I was broadcasting on the YES network, I watched the Pirates' shooting practice on gameday. I sat in the bleachers and alternately watched the team run through press-breaks and the TV guys set up for the broadcast later that afternoon. While the Seton Hall coach was talking to her team, I heard a ridiculously loud belch from the Balcony in Walsh gymnasium. It sounded like the belcher had swallowed a bagful of Doritos while simultaneously sucking down 2 litres of Pepsi. It was so loud that I fully expected the aroma to fall out of the balcony in a cartoon cloud and hover around me until I fainted. I waited to hear a contrite voice whisper, "Excuse me. Pardon the interruption. Please take me outsided and spray me with a hose." Instead, much like airline passengers who pretend they are breathing clean air while they smell the toxic methane gas from the pharmaceutical salesman in 15C, everyone remained silent.
My NYC travelogue aired on NBA TV last week so it's time to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at Club 40/40-- Jay Z's spot. 40/40 features swinging chairs that hang from the ceiling, unisex bathrooms, and private rooms upstairs. Shawn Carter's VIP seat is on the stairs and faces a huge projection screen. When he's at the club (which is quite often), HOVA has control of the remote and watches all sports -- and roots for his New York teams. Signed jerseys adorn the upstairs walls and each one must be made out "to 40/40". Shaq, Jason Kidd and Teresa Weatherspoon all have framed jerseys hanging. My favorite is the size 40 Barry Bonds jersey because I don't think Bonds could squeeze his bulging biceps into anything smaller than a 44. (And I don't think I could've squeezed one more Jay Z nickname into this paragraph.)
The private rooms are sweet suites. The most interesting is the Remy Room. On a wall of the room is a glass case that contains 2 bottles of King Louis brandy -- a "complex yet mellow cognac that lingers on the palate". There is a numbered keypad that disarms the locked glass case and allows access to the brandy -- for $150 a shot. I suppose it guards against the desperate patron who sneaks into the room and frantically pushes four-zero, four-zero into the keypad with hopes of numbing his hard knock life.
These rooms have pool tables and big cushy chairs and couches. There is also a separate cigar room. The DJ wasn't spinning when we toured the club, but I think it's safe to assume that he goes heavy on The Black Album and light on Nas. Check out song #6 on Jay's latest (and supposedly last) album and you'll hear a reference to club 40/40.
The Nutty (and fruity) Professor
The following is a description of Remy Martin : "Only grapes from the best crus of the Cognac region are used - 85% Grand Champagne and 15% Petite Champagne. Aged in Limousin oak barrels. The cognacs used are an average age of 23 years. Top notes of jasmine and iris. Aromas of candied oranges, juicy prunes and ripe figs. Base notes of cinnamon and milk toffee".
I don't know whether to drink it or put it in my bath.
Since my Blog has replaced The World According to Me, I've been inundated with requests to add my Shout Out section here. So, back by popular demand, here's a shout out to :
* Kevin at Max a Mia : Enjoy the TiVo
* Brad : keep on buzzing
* The Kid : thanks for loaning me your pencil. Now, stop talking about people's moms.
* Bee-yotch : keep a lid on it. Your head, I mean
* Last name "Smith", first name "Word" : have fun with your 'copter
* Joey's pop : let the hair flow
* Bruce : God bless you all the weekdays of your life.
Attention KMart Shoppers
BOOGIE NIGHTSPosted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 25 2004 5:43PM
Just for "Vic-Boogie" we'll revisit the throwback dealio one more time. To put it simply-- Sometimes, when the mood strikes, it's nice to ignore the Vasse' suit and instead, jump into a Bill Russell #6 half-zip warmup top. You know, the days when you wanna make like Russ and laugh heartily, decline autograph requests, and try on the ring collection.
Anyway, Sir Boogie threw down a Big East/ACC challenge and I think it's time we put our money where our mouth(s) is (are). We need an intra-blog bet. Since Vic is a Carolina fan and I'm UConn all the way, we should see who does better in the tournament (men and women) and go from there. If UConn proves the Beast of the East, Vic should sport a Connecticut jersey for a day. If the Tar Heels do their thing, I'll wear a retro Jordan jersey with pride. Will Mr. Williams be the VICtim or VICtorious? The wardrobe won't lie.
BLOGALOGUE-ING IN PHILIP ROTH'S HOMETOWN
Before embarking on our NBA TV travelogues, a crack research team (Annette Ricciuti) and I determine the hot-spots and must-sees in each city. Finding places in Manhattan was easy. Jersey provided a tougher challenge. Fortunately, Kenyon Martin was willing to help out and share his choice for men's casual clothing store: Clinton Men in Newark.
We were welcomed to beautiful downtown Newark with a billboard that proclaimed : "Divorce $299 : Spouse's signature not needed". (If you want to really surprise your better half without spending much dough -- Newark is the place for you.) When we entered Clinton Men we were greated by both a uniformed police officer and piles of big-and-tall clothing. The owners of the store (Steven and Danny) gave us a tour and showed off some of KMart's favorites. (He buys XXXXXXL t-shirts by the boxful and likes the college throwbacks. He also found a leather jacket and grey Tims. A salesman told me, "Kenyon spent a lot of money in here, but he was still happy to find these Timberland's on sale".) Teammate Richard Jefferson found some jeans at Clinton Men as well. (They carry up to a 38 inseam.) For more on the long and the long of it, check out my travelong on NBA TV.
Note : Vegetarians need not read any further.
Folks haven't stopped eating beef since mad cow disease was discovered (even though humans risk developing Creutzfeldt-Jakob desease -- a brain-wasting illness.) A restaurant at The Hilltop Inn in Evansville, IN is still serving deep-fried cow-brain sandwiches. However, get them while you can because they might become harder to find since the U.S. Department of Agriculture banned the selling of brains of cattle older than 30 months. Too bad -- much like wine, cow brain gets better with age.
Don't forget to watch the St. John's/ Seton Hall women's basketball game on the YES network at 7pm on Wednesday. (Yours truly will be making another trek to Jersey to call the game with Spero Dedes.) It's sure to be a barnburner...
Old Jerseys, New Jersey, Instant Photo Etiquette
Notorious B.L.O.GPosted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 17 2004 4:36PM
I don't know what the Intra - Blog Squad rules are, and I don't want to get an East Coast/West Coast word war going, but my closet full of throwback jerseys compels me to reply to Victor Williams suggestion that throwbacks be thrown out(Jan. 16th). C'mon Vic, throwback jerseys are the best thing to happen to fashion since transvestites started donning heels. When men started wearing women's shoes, they created a bigger market for larger size pumps, heels, etc. As a result, women with big feet (like me) now have a much larger selection when shopping for cute coverings for the tootsies. I'd probably be trying to cram my size 12s into peach platforms if it weren't for a man named "Peach."
You Can't Win For Losing
My eight-year-old nephew, Jack, lives in Chicago and is a huge Notre Dame football fan. He goes to a lot of games in South Bend and suffered through this past football season along with every other Irish fan. On the basketball front, he started following the UConn women's hoop team last season and got hooked on them after bonding with the UConn coaches at my April wedding. Last week my husband and I took Jack, his sis Claire, and their posse to Notre Dame for the hoop game against UConn. We figured he'd finally get to root for a winning team in South Bend. Instead the poor guy met the UConn team, got his picture with Taurasi and the crew, cheered his lungs out (in a Taurasi uniform), and then spent the 90-minute drive back to Chicago in the same state of disappointment and loss to which he's grown accustomed. He did, however, see a great game in a fantabulous environment. (The ND women are legit and Jacqueline Batteast is a player to watch in the '05 draft.)
Prior to the ND game, we stopped by CJ's bar for some grub. I read the taxicab-yellow menu -- I've borrowed until my return trip to ND -- which boasts that CJ's was "mentioned in Sports Illustrated and Men's Journal." I took pause while thinking of other things "mentioned" in SI -- Pete Rose, for instance, or OJ Simpson -- but decided to order anyway. I avoided the "Golden Domer" which is a 20 oz. burger that comes with bacon, cheese, mushrooms and fries (all for the artery-clogging price of $13.95) but was told that a female finished the feast for the first time a few weeks before our visit. A hungry heifer? Nope -- a 5 foot, 100 pound chicklet. God bless her bloated soul.
(My favorite part of the menu? The I.D. Disclaimer that states, "CJs adheres to the techniques of alcohol management." Techniques?)
Hanging with Mr. Jefferson
As part of my NBA TV Travelogue, I spent some time hanging with Richard Jefferson at his apartment in New Jersey on Jan. 16th. What did I find out? RJ spends a lot of time playing Halo on his XBox. (He eagerly looks forward to the release of Halo2 in March so he can play others online.) He brings his XBox or Playstation with him on road trips. "When we're in a cold city like Milwaukee, I'll just come back to the room and play" he says. He doesn't like the electronic sports games but chooses the Nets when forced to play NBA Live or ESPN's NBA game. And, what does RJ think of his # 24 electronic counterpart? "I'm much better-looking in person" he says.
Like everyone else, I've been shaking it like a Polaroid picture while listening to Outkast's "Hey Ya". The always probing Entertainment Weekly asked a Polaroid spokesperson if a Polaroid picture develops faster when you shake it, shake it. The spokesmen said, "no". In fact, shaking a Polaroid can distort its picture. (Blowing on it doesn't help either.) No worries Andre'. I've got nothing but The Love Below for ya.
Traveling Marbury, Golden Ceiling, Italian Lessons
I'll keep my Stephon - speak to a minimum since the blogsquad is running into quite a blogjam when it comes to commentary on the Marbury trade to the Knicks. But I have to point out that NY backup Moochie Norris was the most impressive Knicks' point guard in their game versus Houston. It must be because the man below the 'fro honed his skills in the summertime while scrimmaging against the Comets. While his bald dome looks good, I miss his untamed tresses.Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 10 2004 8:06PM
And now, back to the Big Apple Blogalogue...
Next stop : Uncle Jack's Steakhouse
I visited Uncle Jack's because it is a favorite steak stop for many guys in the NBA. The restaurant got its name from the owner's uncle and godfather, Jack, who ran an Upper West Side speakeasy and steak joint in prohibition era New York. (Legend has it that there was an iron vault in the back room of Jack's place that guarded both the illegal Tennessee whiskey and Jack's special steak sauce.)
I got a tour of the swanky steakhouse(located at 34th and 9th) from its owner, Willie Degel. He showed me the booth where Latrell Sprewell enjoyed his kobe steak postgame while he was still with the Knicks. Willie also told me the story of Allen Iverson's $10,000 tab when A.I's dining party ate in the VIP room. (This room is called "The Library" because it has books adorning the back wall. It also has a 14k gold ceiling, $5,000 chandelier, and $300 per person minimum. There is no late charge for unreturned books.)
The upstairs balcony features former Mayor Rudy Guiliani's favorite table. According to Degel, if Guiliani comes into the restaurant, anyone sitting at "his" table is immediately evicted. When I asked him what he would do if current Mayor Michael Bloomberg was sitting at the table when Rudy came in, Degel was quick to say that Bloomberg would get the boot. "He passed the no-smoking ban. I don't like the ban."
SHAMELESS PLUG : You can check out Jack's Steakhouse and hear Degel's stories for yourself when my travelogue airs on NBA TV later this month.
I'm like so like sick of this buffoon.
Jason Allen Alexander's quote to Access Hollywood after his marriage and annulment to Britney Spears. "We were like this is a real pretty, beautiful night. It was cool and we were looking at each other and we were like, 'Let's do something wild and crazy and let's go get married just for the hell of it.'"
Oops I Did it Again
After eating lunch at a Bertucci's restaurant, I made my way to the restroom. I entered the door marked "Signori" and took a few steps before realizing that something wasn't quite right. I was standing in front of two urinals. I quickly left and went through the door marked "Signore". While I'm all for theme restaurants, this is a little ridiculous. We can figure out the difference between "Blokes" and "Sheilas"(Australian-themed steakhouses), and "Buoys" and "Gulls"(Florida seafood joints), but we shouldn't have to speak fluent Italian in order to go numero uno.
NBA Tats, Hall and Oates and Showers
Step aside Monday morning quarterbacks. I'm instituting my Tuesday morning two-guard. It's time to revisit the UConn/Duke game.Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 6 2004 11:41AM
Recap : Uconn outplayed Duke for 35 minutes. Then Duke applied a full court press. UConn had a harder time with that press than Bobby Knight has with the Press. The last five minutes were turnover-palooza for Uconn. The Huskies are now ranked #4 in the USA Today poll and Duke is #1.
UConn unveiled brand new shiny silver uniforms for the game. People in the Northeast are saying that the uniforms were bad luck (much like Notre Dame's green football uniforms two seasons ago). Call me wacky, but I think missing 12 free throws and refusing to cross into the frontcourt at the end of the game had more to do with the loss. That... and Geno's new tie.
What happens when you listen to AM Radio
I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard Charles Osgood say, "It's always tough being a kid. Just imagine being a kid with warts."
What happens when you listen to FM Radio
Sunday morning radio features VH1's "Behind the Music." While working out, my headset was tuned to a Behind the Music with Hall and Oates. I wonder if there was another person in America lifting weights while listening to "Every time you go away... you take a piece of me with you" -- and liking it?
1.) Did anyone else shell out $16.95 for Andrew Gottlieb's book In the Paint : Tattoos of the NBA and the Stories Behind Them? Gottlieb says that Jason Richardson has the word "ELITE" tattooed onto his right shoulder. "It stands for Enjoy Life Into The End." Huh?
2.) How is Lebron James the #4 vote-getter for guards in the All-Star balloting? I was sure he'd be voted a starter.
3.) Will Stephon and Penny take the Knicks to the Promised Land? (These days, what would be considered the Promised Land in New York? A playoff bid?)
My parents are in the process of redoing their master bathroom. They were excited when the plumber told them that it was possible to raise the shower head so that they would not have to duck (my dad is 6'5" and my mother 5'11"). With the shower head perched in its new mighty loft, my folks saw their new shower stall for the first time yesterday. Somehow, the height of the new stall is significantly lower than the one they used for the past 29 years. Both of my parents now have to limbo into the shower so they don't hit their heads. Then, once inside, their heads stick out above the wall -- M*A*S*H like. You can see their head and shoulders while they use Head and Shoulders. They look like Will Ferrell in his Elfin land. They were pretty ticked. I thought it was hilarious.
Disclaimer : The "Head and Shoulders" line was courtesy of my husband. He also wanted me to write that my folks are now getting loofahed by an Oompah-Loompah. But I think that's going too far.
Duke vs. Uconn
We'll take a regularly scheduled break from our NBA blogrolling and step into the world of women's basketball. The Uconn women play Duke on Saturday, Jan. 3rd in the most anticipated match-up of the young (but approaching pre-teen) college season. Last year these two teams played at Cameron Indoor and even though Uconn built a 28 point lead in the second half, the Dukies scrambled back to make it a great game. This year the game is at the sold-out Hartford Civic Center and will be shown on CBS at 2pm (I'll take a twenty second from blogging to do color commentary for the game).Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Jan 2 2004 10:58AM
The game features women's basketball's version of Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James : Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard. They are projected to be the one-two picks in the upcoming WNBA draft. Diana has unlimited range (describing herself as, "Jason Kidd with a jump shot") and Beard is a great slasher and defender. Iciss Tillis, a 6'4" forward for Duke is a versatile player who can shoot 3s and post up on the block. She's got a physique like Lisa Leslie and can dunk. If she boffs in the game, I'll have to be restrained from saying, "Throw it down Iciss. Throw it down." (Uhh, probably not.) She will be a top 10 pick this coming spring as well.
I anticipate a crowd barking louder than my foot after my husband spilled a boiling hot Chai on it at Washington Reagan Airport. Geno Auriemma recently criticized the Connecticut faithful for sitting on their hands and not cheering enough, so expect them to take a big bite of the bait. Coach A. also got the Cameron Crazies riled up last year when he said there are just as many Duke graduates waiting tables as any other school in the country. (The comment was precipitated by Brittany Hunter's decision to attend Duke over UConn because of the former's academic reputation).
Which brings two quick asides :
1.) CBS purchased my ticket from Florida to Connecticut so I could return from my vacation to do the game. I guess they not only Love Raymond, but they Love Rebecca -- putting me in first class. But since my husband (Steve) had a coach class ticket, I unselfishly (or stupidly) traded my real silverware and mini salt and pepper shakers for a small bag of pretzels and a seat cushion that's seen more gas than Dr. Kevorkian... just so Steve and I could spend the entire flight reading (Steve : Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Me : Duke notes and media guide) in closer proximity to each other.
2.) While both Duke and UConn grads could easily bring me a BLT, can one of them explain the BCS to me? Please.
So, since you won't be watching Star Wars Episode 3 at Loews (even though the Cameron Crazies called Diana "Princess Leia"last year), please, "sit back, relax, enjoy the show". It's going to be a good one.
NYC Travelogue: Part II
Welcome to my second blog. We'll call it a B-Log since my nickname in the hoop world is "B"(short for Becca which is short for Rebecca which is the only thing that's short about me).Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Dec 30 2003 3:13PM
Our first New York City travelogue visit was to Jakob the Jeweler. The second stop on the Blogologue :
Stop Two : Eat Street (Carnegie Deli)
We met Becky Hammon at the "World Famous" Carnegie Deli in Times Square for a bite of lunch. This past summer, Becky had a sandwich named after her called, "The Hammon Special". It is a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich stuffed in a roll. (Why they don't call it the Becky Hammon Egger, I don't know.) Of course, like everything else served at the deli, it is huge. Made with about 6 eggs, 3 cheese slices, and a few ounces of ham, it is sold for $9.95 and could easily feed four people. (If you haven't heard about the Hammon Special before, blame the East Coast Blackout. Becky had a press conference and plenty of media at the unveiling of her tasty treat, but the blackout happened later in the day. Somehow, the Carnegie's announcement fell slightly off the news radar.)
The owner of the joint (Sandy) gave us a tour and shared some of the history of the "world famous" eatery.
Photos of the famous cover every inch of every wall in the Carnegie Deli. Each picture is either signed or was taken in the restaurant. The Beatles stopped in after their appearance at the Ed Sullivan Theatre (the current home of Late Night with David Letterman) which is a few blocks away. President George W. Bush came by looking for... ribs... and was promptly given a sandwich. (Ribs clearly aren't on the Carnegie menu).
Bill Clinton ate a "Danny" (named in honor of the Woody Allen movie Broadway Danny Rose which was filmed in part at the Carnegie) and was able to finish the entire 1.5 pound sandwich. The 42nd President was one of the few people who earned Sandy's highest praise-- that of a "Good Eater". While talking about the famous faces in the photos which act as wallpaper, Sandy would occasionally linger for a second on a person that he clearly admired and, while using a tone of voice usually reserved for talk of Mother Teresa, say, "Aah... he was a good eater."
When we were leaving the Carnegie, I looked at the sandwich listings and realized that they had misspelled Becky's last name and called her delicacy the "Hammond Special". I brought this to Becky's attention and she shushed me. " They named a sandwich after me... let's not get picky."
You can check out the Hammon(D) Special and everything else Carnegie on NBA TV in the new year when my NBA Travelogue airs.
The World According to Me -- Blog Style
NBA.com welcomes you to the Howard Dean age -- minus the angry speeches and foreign policy. Posted by Rebecca Lobo - Dec 22 2003 7:45PM
I'll try to keep my blog chock full of info and entertaining stuff. If I can't do that, I'll just try to keep it chock full. Welcome, everyone, to The World According to Me -- Blog Style.
I will be doing an NBA Travelogue with segments airing on NBA TV in the upcoming months. We started our journey by visiting New York City last week and hit the hot spots. I'll give you a sneak peek all week.
Stop One : Bling Boulevard (Jakob the Jeweler)
We paid a visit to Jakob Arabo in his office above Diamond Quasar at 1196 Avenue of the Americas. Jakob makes all kinds of jewelry for an array of NBA players and rappers. He's got pictures on the wall of his office with P. Diddy, Stephon Marbury, David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, 50 Cent and many others. While there, he let me hold a 107-karat diamond that is worth $3 million. I also looked at a bunch of diamond-studded bracelets, pendants, and rings.
When Jimmy Jackson wanted to propose to his girlfriend a few years ago, he called Jakob and asked him to put a little something together. He wired the money to Jakob -- without seeing the ring -- because he told Jakob, "I trust your taste".
This past summer Jakob ran into Tracy McGrady while in the Bahamas. T-Mac asked to see the timepiece Mr. Arabo was wearing. After trying the watch on, Tracy asked Jakob if he could buy the watch right off his wrist. Jakob gave T-Mac the watch and trusted that a check would be put in the mail upon return to the States... it was. For Jakob, time really is money.
Jakob gave us more good stories and a lot more bling -- which you can check out on NBA TV in the new year.
The NY Giants Michael Strahan gave the best (and funniest) take on the Joe Horn cell-phone celebration.
"It's bush league. He's just trying to get on television. Things like that seem to find a way of evening themselvse out. Maybe he's trying to get a Verizon deal or something. Are you kidding me? It's like me getting a sack and pulling a potato sack out of my jock strap and draping it over myself. You should get noticed for a play, not a celebration."
That's all the blogging I've got for now. More later...