Maurice Brooks checks in on the NBA and WNBA players who stood out in the crowd with his weekly Race to the MVP column.
Time to Pass the Baton(March 28, 2008)
Like graduating college and having to get a real job or paying less than three bucks per gallon for gasoline, all good things eventually come to an end. With that being said, today is my last day at the NBA.
I'm Not Doing That(March 25, 2008)
While sorting through my weekly I-can’t-believe-someone-actually-wrote-that-to-me e-mails, I ran across this pleasant one from Rob in Ohio: “Mo, every week you try to tell us why so and so should be the MVP this season. You know what would be interesting, why don’t you tell us the reasons why so and so are not the MVP of the league this season.”
Who Else Can Win?(March 11, 2008)
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little bit tired of debating the greatness of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on a daily basis.
Sure, the first 50 or so times I wrote about the two best players in the world knocking heads for the biggest individual prize in the game was exciting, but now, just like supersizing value meals at McDonald's and watching reruns of Seinfeld, it is time to move on.
Cool To Be A Sixers Fan Again(March 8, 2008)
During Allen Iverson’s last four seasons in Philadelphia, friends and family members used to blow up my phone like a telemarketer working on commission with requests for tickets. Since Iverson got shipped out of town, I haven’t been able to give Sixers’ tickets away.
KB24 vs. LBJ23: By the Numbers(March 4, 2008)
With the Lakers' Kobe Bryant and the Cavaliers' LeBron James on top of the Race to the MVP list, it appears that won't be the case this season. Here is a quick look at some of Bryant and James' on-the-court accomplishments with the help of numbers.
Sticking Up For Deron Williams(February 28, 2008)
Although she may not be on the same level as legendary sports heckler Robin Ficker, there is a reader from Illinois who has been attacking yours truly on a regular basis via e-mail.
Here are some of Brenda from Springfield's greatest hits:
Real Experts Weigh In(February 26, 2008)
Week after week, I’ve given you my Race to the MVP selections. Here are some up-to-the-moment picks from a trio of players who are a lot closer to the action than I’ll ever be.
James Improvises an MVP Performance(February 17, 2008)
Surrounded by an abundance of friends and family members, LeBron James was the center of attention at the postgame photo shoot following Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.
Most Creative Dunk Contest Ever? Yup(February 16, 2008)
Midway through the Rookie Challenge on Friday, Dave McMenamin came up to me wearing the type of grin normally reserved for a fan who snuck down from the 300 level to a courtside seat.
"Dwight Howard said he is wearing a Superman cape tomorrow at the dunk contest."
"So. I wouldn't care if he was naked as long as the dunk was hot."
Fact or Fiction(February 12, 2008)
The addition of Pau Gasol moves Kobe Bryant closer to winning an NBA title, but also pushes him further away from claiming his first MVP trophy.
Simple Mathematics(February 5, 2008)
Last night after dinner, my son, who is in second grade, asked me to check his math homework. Although it has been many years since I did greater than, less than, I had no problem pointing out that he had one of the 20 equations incorrect. That got me to thinking: With no clear-cut favorite emerging in the Race to the MVP, I could use greater than, less than to figure out who occupies the No. 1 spot for this week.
Unedited Race to the MVP Inbox(January 31, 2008)
My official title at NBA.com is Senior Editor, therefore, I can't help but edit the e-mails that fans send me so that they make sense in print. Call me lazy if you want, but today, I just don't feel like it.
2007-08 Midseason Awards(January 29, 2008)
With the regular season at its midway point, there is not a better time to see how those preseason predictions are holding up and to honor the best of the 2007-08 campaign to date.
NBA All-Star 2008: The Reserves(January 24, 2008)
Maybe I’m reaching, but I think it is time to put being a voter for the starters in the NBA All-Star Game in the thankless job category next to being a police officer, teacher and stay-at-home mother.
Time For A Pop Quiz(January 22, 2008)
With the NBA season at the midway point, it is time for a quick quiz to see if you have been paying attention.
NBA All-Star 2008 Ballot(January 21, 2008)
The starters for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game will be officially announced on Thursday. Here are the players that the one-man Race to the MVP committee feels should be packing their bags and heading to New Orleans next month.
Finally, Bryant Rises to the Top(January 15, 2008)
Not that I’m into politics, but I’m sure that after this column, if I announced my intention to run for mayor of Los Angeles I would receive enough support to be considered a serious candidate.
Doubting Kevin Garnett(January 10, 2008)
For about seven hours, I was feeling pretty good about having Kevin Garnett in the No. 1 spot for this week's Race to the MVP. Then the Celtics went out and lost to the Bobcats and just like that, I started second-guessing myself.
Second Annual My Bads ...(January 9, 2008)
With over a third of the NBA season complete, I thought now would be the perfect time for the Second Annual Race to the MVP My Bads ... If you have ever read my column, you know I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong.
So without further ado...
New Year’s Resolutions(January 2, 2008)
I have some advice for those of you who work out. Stay away from the gym for the next two weeks. Health clubs everywhere will be overcrowded by people who made the New Year’s resolution to get into shape.
It normally takes the equivalent of a pay period for these good-intentioned people to break their commitment and stop exercising. Trust me, I know. Been there, done that.
Sophomore of the Year: Roy(December 18, 2007)
Back in June when the Blazers selected Greg Oden with the first pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, speculation ran wild that Portland would be challenging for the Northwest Division title in a few seasons.
Apparently Brandon Roy didn’t get the memo. And if he did, he has decided not to follow it.
Race to the MVP: 1961-62(December 14, 2007)
The point guard or the center? The creator or the finisher? The most versatile player the league has ever seen or the most powerful player the league has ever seen? Through the first six weeks of the NBA season, the Royals' Oscar Robertson and the Warriors' Wilt Chamberlain are slugging it out to see who takes home the MVP trophy at the end of the season.
R2MVP Mailbag: Canada's Holiday(December 13, 2007)
Once a season, I get hammered by the good people in Canada for not paying enough attention to Raptors big man Chris Bosh. I don’t know who was in charge of coordinating this unofficial holiday, but somehow all Canadians knew the week of Dec. 10, 2007 was the chosen date this year.
T.J. Ford Update(December 12, 2007)
In late July, I told my wife I was taking our 7-year-old son down to the local football field to sign him up for Pop Warner.
Water Cooler Talk: Iverson vs. Iverson(December 11, 2007)
Who would you rather have? The reckless, risk-your-body-for-the-love-of-the-game scoring machine that was Allen Iverson on the Sixers or the think-the-game-out-more Allen Iverson that is currently on the Nuggets?
Head Games: The Return of Flash(December 11, 2007)
Every Tuesday morning, I sit at my laptop and I begin writing Race to the MVP. From time to time, I find myself looking to squeeze a player onto the list. Today, the player I was trying to justify being on or off the rankings was Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
R2MVP Mailbag: Stephen Jackson(December 6, 2007)
I can’t lie. I thought Don Nelson had fallen and bumped his head when he decided to name Stephen Jackson captain of the Warriors prior to the start of the season.
Week 5: Fantasy, Anyone?(December 4, 2007)
I'm not one to brag (wink), but when it comes to fantasy sports, I'm known as "The Blueprint". Send me your e-mail address and I'll get you a copy of my championship-winning resume.
Water Cooler Talk: Celtics' Big Three vs. Spurs' Big Three(November 29, 2007)
Do you get it yet? I love jewelry. With that being said, it drives me crazy every time I hear a so-called hoops guru refer to Boston’s Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen as the best “Big Three” in the NBA. Last I checked there wasn’t a ring among them.
Week 4: Suggestion Box(November 27, 2007)
Humor me for a second. Go ask the next five people you see if they like the shirt you are wearing. And don’t be mad at me if you hear comments like, “It’s nice, but I wouldn’t have worn it with those pants”; “Is that your little brother’s shirt because if not, you should have gotten a bigger size”; or “Personally, I wouldn’t rock it, but I guess it is OK for you.”
Water Cooler Talk: McGrady vs. Yao Ming(November 23, 2007)
Last week's Water Cooler Talk featured a matchup of San Antonio's Tony Parker and Phoenix's Steve Nash. According to the e-mail responses I received, it was a one-sided victory in favor of the two-time MVP. Today, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming go head-to-head.
Week 3: Fortune Teller(November 20, 2007)
I watch as many games as possible on television, read every article and column that I can get my eyes on and study box scores with the same intensity as a straight “A” student attacking a text book in an attempt to be as accurate as possible in the Race to the MVP.
Water Cooler Talk: Parker vs. Nash(November 15, 2007)
In the Nov. 8 Race to the MVP Mailbag, I went back and forth with fellow editor John Jacobson over who was better, Utah's Deron Williams or New Orleans' Chris Paul. This week I knock heads with colleague Josh Cohen about San Antonio's Tony Parker and Phoenix's Steve Nash. Enjoy.
Week 2(November 13, 2007)
I have bad news Celtics fans. You know that championship parade you were planning for downtown Boston after acquiring Kevin Garnett this summer? I wouldn’t go out and buy any confetti or balloons just yet.
Temporary Celtics Fan(November 7, 2007)
Like most kids, I grew up playing all sports. And while my mother, Eva, sported face paint and held up hand-made signs at all of my games from Pop Warner to college, my father’s attendance rivaled that of a child going to the dentist. In other words, he didn’t show up unless my mother made him.
Race to the MVP: Early Observations(November 6, 2007)
The NBA season just tipped off a week ago, but here are some observations that may or may not hold up for the entire six-month grind.
Race to the MVP Mailbag: Kobe vs. LeBron(November 1, 2007)
After sorting through my normal slew of e-mails, you guys have made one point abundantly clear: If Kobe Bryant and LeBron James swapped uniforms, the Cavaliers still would have advanced to the NBA Finals and the Lakers still would have lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Race to the MVP: Training Camp Edition(October 9, 2007)
Somebody call the cops, I've been robbed. And no, this has nothing to do with whoever turned on my water hose and stole the ceramic squirrel and frog from in front of my house this past weekend. Who does that?
WNBA Player Rankings: LJ Is Still the One(August 29, 2007)
You know that feeling you get in your stomach from the top of the roller coaster when you realize you are about to go from zero to 100 miles per hour in less than five seconds?
I had those same butterflies as I watched the Storm’s Lauren Jackson get swept out of the playoffs at the hands of Diana Taurasi and the Mercury a couple of days ago.
On the Green With Zo and Shaq(August 20, 2007)
Two years ago, Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O'Neal teamed up to help the Miami Heat win an NBA title. On Monday, the twin towers, along with Donald Trump, hosted the 4th Annual Zo's Million Dollar Shootout at the Trump National Golf Club. NBA.com hung out with the two legendary centers on the 13th hole, between Mourning hitting the ball into the water and O'Neal swinging and missing.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 13(August 14, 2007)
On Monday I walked into my daily morning meeting and was blindsided worse than when the Redskins' Joe Theismann had his leg broken and his career ended by the Giants' Lawrence Taylor in 1985.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 12(August 8, 2007)
People lie, OK? Politicians trying to get elected. Children trying to keep from getting in trouble with their parents. Criminals trying to avoid jail time. They lie.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 11(August 1, 2007)
Quick, name the player that has led her team to the top record in her respective conference, is one of the league’s best guards and is a strong candidate to win the WNBA MVP?
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 10(July 25, 2007)
The gap in the Race to the MVP between Seattle's Lauren Jackson and the rest of the field was already huge. After LJ's performance on Tuesday night, the only thing left to do is make sure they spell her name correctly on the trophy.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 9(July 20, 2007)
If you poll the WNBA general managers and coaches, the majority of them would tell you that this season's Race to the MVP is a two-woman competition between Seattle's Lauren Jackson and Indiana's Tamika Catchings.
What I Did on My Summer (League) Vacation(July 16, 2007)
When I was asked to cover the NBA Summer League presented by adidas, I had two questions. A) Are the Blazers' Greg Oden and the Sonics' Kevin Durant going to be there, and B) Where is it being held?
Race to the MVP: Nate Robinson(July 15, 2007)
Moments before the Knicks took the floor for their last game at the NBA Summer League, I walked up to Nate Robinson and asked him one question. About 10 minutes later, I finally got around to asking him a second one.
Rockets Hit It Big With Brooks(July 14, 2007)
At the 2007 NBA Draft, the Rockets weren't one of the teams with a lottery pick. Still, after drafting Aaron Brooks with the 26th overall selection, Houston feels as if it has the winning ticket.
Race to the MVP Mailbag: Al Thornton(July 13, 2007)
One question into interviewing the Clippers’ Al Thornton, I knew he was the type of player that I would love to have on my team.
One-On-One With Mike Conley(July 12, 2007)
Known for his blazingly-quick first step, the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley is capable of getting past any defender. NBA.com’s Maurice Brooks was able to box in the No. 4 pick from this year’s draft following Memphis’ 100-76 victory against the Cavaliers in Day 7 action of the NBA Summer League presented by adidas.
Race to the MVP: NBA Summer League Style(July 12, 2007)
Maybe that is why even though I have been in Las Vegas since July 4, I didn’t decide to write an NBA Summer League presented by adidas version of Race to the MVP until three this morning. This is something I should have thought about doing days ago.
D.J. Strawberry: Better Late Than Never(July 11, 2007)
Some things in life simply go well together. For example, bald men and baseball caps, homemakers and soap operas, and flat-screen televisions and surround sound. You can add D.J. Strawberry and the Suns to that list. The athletic Strawberry was born to play in Phoenix’s run-until-you-drop system.
Oden’s Summer Learning Experience(July 10, 2007)
Finally you find out that Oden-Durant: The Original is off because the Blazers have decided that Oden's swollen tonsils need to come out because they are obstructing his breathing.
Louis Williams Q&A(July 10, 2007)
In the first game of the NBA Summer League presented by adidas, Louis Williams put the finishing touches on a Sixers' win over the Spurs with an emphatic dunk with 29 seconds to play. The point guard has been on a roll ever since, averaging 25.8 points, 4.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds in four games. NBA.com's Maurice Brooks caught up with the elusive guard for a few minutes after Philadelphia's win Tuesday.
Rodney Stuckey: Ready to Compete(July 9, 2007)
Trailing by six entering the final period, Pistons summer league coach Terry Porter made a game-changing adjustment. He decided to put the ball in Rodney Stuckey’s hands and let him use his athleticism to make plays.
Kyle Lowry: On the Mend(July 9, 2007)
Although this will officially be Kyle Lowry’s second year in the NBA, the former Villanova star probably feels like a rookie. Again.
Coby Karl: Only the Strong Survive(July 8, 2007)
Ask any player in the NBA and they will tell you that in order to make the league, you have to get some battle scars. Karl has his as a result of having cancerous lymph nodes removed from his throat almost three months ago.
Work In Progress: Darius Rice(July 7, 2007)
The destination hasn’t changed for Darius Rice, just the highway he has chosen to drive in order to get there.
The Duel: Yi vs. Gay(July 6, 2007)
Still, in a day full of sparkling performances by players trying to show the crowd inside Cox Pavilion what they could do, the Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay and Team China Basketball’s Yi Jianlian were the biggest stars
The Wright Stuff(July 5, 2007)
Julian Wright, the 13th overall selection at last week's NBA Draft, is used to grueling practices from his days as a star at Kansas.
Wheelin’ and Dealin’(June 28, 2007)
No, Kobe Bryant wasn't traded by the Lakers. And no, the Timberwolves' Kevin Garnett did not change his address either Thursday night. While the two biggest names rumored to be dealt remained with their respective teams, trades were still an overwhelming theme at NBA Draft 2007.
The Great Debate: Oden or Durant(June 26, 2007)
On Blazers.com they ask who should be selected with the first pick of the NBA Draft on Thursday: Ohio State's Greg Oden or Texas' Kevin Durant? NBA.com's Maurice Brooks and Stefan Swiat have decided to weigh in with the answer. Read their takes and then send your thoughts on the topic.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 6(June 26, 2007)
"If I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere. It's up to you, New York, New York."
I normally don't run around quoting songs but in this case it was a perfect fit. In her eight seasons in New York, Becky Hammon emerged as a fan favorite thanks to her outstanding play.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 5(June 19, 2007)
You know how high school and college teams schedule easy opponents to make sure they have a good Homecoming? Games against Chicago had that kind of feel to them. But all was not lost in their inaugural season. Candice Dupree, the team’s first pick out of Temple, emerged as an All-Star after averaging 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 4(June 12, 2007)
And that is how I got my honorary membership card into the Holdsclaw Fan Club. In truth, my boys left me no choice.
After hearing that the forward elected to retire from the WNBA on Monday, it got me to thinking about everything she accomplished on the court.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 3(June 5, 2007)
As I looked over a couple of WNBA-related forums, I found it pretty interesting that there were some fans who disagreed with the inclusion of New York's Erin Thorn in last week's Race to the MVP.
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 2(May 29, 2007)
And holding down the fourth position is Erin Thorn. Wait... "Who?" you ask. Erin Thorn of the Liberty, the guard that has ...
Hang on, how exactly did a Honda Accord end up in a parking lot full of Mercedes Benzes?
WNBA Race to the MVP: Week 1(May 22, 2007)
After writing Race to the MVP for NBA.com from November until May, yours truly thought he was going to get the summer off to recharge the creative battery.
My boss, on the other hand, had a different plan. He thought it would be a good idea for me to write a WNBA version of Race to the MVP. And you know what? I agree.
Dirk Nowitzki Q & A(May 15, 2007)
Less than two hours after ending Suns guard Steve Nash's two-year reign as the league's most valuable player and becoming the first player from Europe to capture the award, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki took a couple of minutes to chat with the one-man Race to the MVP committee.
Nowitzki Officially Named MVP(May 15, 2007)
Imagine earning an “A” or “B” on every quiz and test for an entire semester but bombing the final exam and getting an “F”.
When you get your report card you are surprised to see that one test could bring your overall grade down so much – you receive a “D” for the class. That is the way that the professors, in this case the media, have treated the student, in this case Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, this season.
Random Thoughts - Mailbag Week 24(April 20, 2007)
From the opening tip in late October to the final shot Wednesday night, I watched a lot of basketball this season. A whole lot. Unlike the casual fan, I kept a notebook by my side to write down interesting tidbits I noticed from the games.
Here are a few observations.
And the MVP Is - Week 24(April 17, 2007)
There won't be a three-peat this season because the winner of the Haier Race to the MVP is Dirk Nowitzki.
Kobe vs. Nash - Mailbag Week 23(April 13, 2007)
Yours truly can be found in front of a television watching the game between the Suns and Lakers at 10:30 ET on ESPN. And no, the only reason I'm tuning in has nothing to do with the fact that I'm on the schedule to work.
Iverson and Anthony - Week 23(April 10, 2007)
Oh, so this is what the Denver front office had in mind when it paired Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson.
Nash vs. Dirk - Mailbag Week 22(April 6, 2007)
This week I received e-mails from fans who live as far away as Australia and as close as New Jersey and lots and lots of people in Arizona.
I got the typical immature e-mails calling me an idiot, stupid and dumb. I received extreme, irrational e-mails that bad-mouthed me because of my race and questioned my sexuality.
Dirk Is Still No. 1 - Week 22(April 3, 2007)
The contest was supposed to decide whether Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki won his first MVP or Phoenix's Steve Nash captured his third.
But instead of swinging the momentum in favor of Nowitzki or Nash, the game did little, if anything, to change the outcome in the Race to the MVP.
What Is An MVP? - Week 21(March 27, 2007)
Hey, listen up. Hopefully this will be the last time I have to say this.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is the most-gifted offensive player in the game. Kobe Bryant is arguably the most-talented player in the NBA. Kobe Bryant is capable of winning games almost by himself. Kobe Bryant is not the MVP.
Special Friday Edition - Kobe Again(March 23, 2007)
I got to come clean. After reading my colleague Dave McMenamin’s piece about Lakers guard Kobe Bryant being arguably the greatest scorer ever, I clowned him.
Iverson Is Rolling - Mailbag Week 20(March 23, 2007)
For most of the season, the Race to the MVP committee has had numerous reasons why Denver All-Star guard Allen Iverson didn't deserve a place in the Top 20.
Kobe, Kobe, Kobe - Week 20(March 20, 2007)
Although I can't really be sure when it happened, I believe I received the first wave of e-mails from the unofficial Kobe Bryant fan club somewhere between his 38th and 40th point against the Blazers on Friday night.
Look In the Mirror - Mailbag Week 19(March 16, 2007)
John in Toronto: And by the way Maurice, you gotta take your picture off the Race to the MVP page because you're the ugliest guy I've ever seen.
Brooks: John, do me a favor and ask your girl what she thinks. Anyway, all of the things you said about TD are correct and he is slowly moving up the rankings.
Special Thursday Edition - Letter to Dirk(March 15, 2007)
An open letter to Dirk Nowitzki.
The MVP trophy was right there for the taking Wednesday night and you may have let it slip away. You had the opportunity to put some distance between yourself and that thorn in your side, Steve Nash.
My Bad - Week 19(March 13, 2007)
Hey, nobody is perfect, right? Luckily, it is never too late to admit a mistake or two or in my case five. With that being said, here are the First Annual Race to the MVP My Bads ...
Yao Returns - Week 18(March 6, 2007)
Rewind back to Dec. 23, the day when Yao Ming broke the bone under his knee and brought an abrupt end to what was supposed to be a run at the championship for the Rockets.
Letting Off Steam - Mailbag Week 17(March 2, 2007)
Before you waste your time hitting the letters on your keyboard in an attempt to write me an e-mail full of insults, remember, I’m just following the guidelines set forth by you the fan.
McGrady Surging to the Front - Mailbag Week 16(Feb. 23, 2007)
There was an overwhelming amount of e-mails this week calling for Rockets' swingman Tracy McGrady to move up the Race to the MVP player rankings. And you know what, I agree.
Time to Go Back to Work - Week 16(Feb. 20, 2007)
The extravaganza that is the NBA's All-Star Weekend is in the books and now it is time to get serious about who the contenders and pretenders are in the Race to the MVP.
Break Up the Raptors - Week 14(Feb. 6, 2007)
I challenge you to find one person outside of the Toronto front office that thought the Raptors would win the Atlantic Division this season.
Go ahead and ask around. I'll wait.
Allen Flying Under the Radar - Mailbag Week 13(Feb. 2, 2007)
How does a perennial All-Star, who ranks eighth in the league in scoring, manage to fly below the radar?
That is the question that the Race to the MVP readers want answered about Sonics sharpshooter Ray Allen.
Who Says KG Isn't Clutch? - Week 13(Jan. 30, 2007)
You know how every season an NFL team wins its first eight or nine games and everybody jumps on the bandwagon thinking they are going to match the 1972 Dolphins as the only undefeated squad ever?
Webber Goes to Detroit - Week 11(Jan. 16, 2007)
Chris Webber, who in high school was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan and went on to lead the University of Michigan to a pair of NCAA title games, is coming back to Detroit.
Will Nash Three-Peat? - Mailbag Week 10(Jan. 12, 2007)
It’s not supposed to be this easy.
Really, it’s not.
I mean come on, 14 assists for Steve Nash -- in the first half -- as the Suns rolled to a 109-90 win Thursday over the visiting Cavaliers.
All Systems Go for T-Mac - Week 10(Jan. 9, 2007)
The transformation was pretty much complete. The Rockets were Yao Ming's team. And whether you want to believe it or not, Tracy McGrady was cool with it.
Suns and Nets Put On Offensive Show - Mailbag Week 5(Dec. 8, 2006)
Two days a week, I can be found at my local YMCA giving guys twice my age the business on the court (you’d be amazed at how easy you can score when the 60-year-old person covering you has no interest in playing defense).
Carmelo Moving On Up - Week 4(Nov. 28, 2006)
Everybody should have seen this coming.
After watching him turn the FIBA World Championship into his own personal playground this summer, it was obvious that Denver forward Carmelo Anthony was primed for a career season.