As a born & bred NYC boy and a huge fan of “Mad Men,” I enjoyed Kevin Arnovitz’s TrueHoop article on the recent episode that involved a company wanting to tear down the then-Penn Station for what at the time would be a “new” Madison Square Garden. He writes:
The original Pennsylvania Station was eventually demolished, and rail traffic was sent underground, beneath the arena we now know as MSG.
More than forty years after Madison Square Garden was opened above the new, dingy Penn Station, we regard it as basketball’s holiest site — a place whose mystique inspires basketball greats such as Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James to their greatest heights. These NBA titans rhapsodize about the Garden.
That being said, by ending on that note one is left with the impression that in the end it was “worth it.” Instead I wish he’d ended with a comment he makes in the middle:
It’s hard to argue that the demolition of Pennsylvania Station for an arena that could’ve been placed elsewhere didn’t make New York City a slightly lesser place [...].
While I was watching the show I also couldn’t help but wonder about the arena the Nets are trying to build in Brooklyn. Many locals are vociferously opposed (my brother-in-law has even volunteered to help stop it), although I’ve always been excited about it ‘cuz I’m a bball nut. I wonder if it does get built, isn’t it likely that in 40 years it’d be a huge source of pride to Brooklynites? Hell, my dad still talks about Ebbets Field in reverent tones. Excluding the Lakers’ regular post-championship riots, don’t sports usually bring communities together?
Anyway, on a totally different note, Ball Don’t Lie has many fun Top 10 lists of things from the past decade. First there’s the 10 Worst Signings: Of course the Knicks figure in 3 times there, but I dunno why it’s not four after they bid against themselves to give Allan Huston that $99 million contract. Sure, that was pre-Isaiah and it’s more fun to bash him, but they were fairly dysfunctional before him too. Also shockingly omitted are Darius Miles and Raef LaFrentz (who The Sports Guy turned into a running joke by referring to him solely as “Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract”).
The Top 10 Lottery Busts is mostly uninteresting with the expected faces of Darko, Kwame, and the Clips’ very own Yaroslav Korolev. However, it’s saved by rightly referring to the entire 2000 class as a bust:
You can’t pick a single bust-worthy standout. Sure, Stromile Swift(notes) (taken second overall) has disappointed greatly, but what were the Grizzlies’ options? Darius Miles(notes)? Marcus Fizer? Chris Mihm(notes)? DerMarr Johnson(notes)? Do you want me to go on? Or do you want me to just mention Jerome Moiso’s name and move on with it?
Probably the best and most interesting one is the 10 Best Teams To Never Win A Championship. Another nice article is the Best Defenders ‘cuz it makes ya remember how good the likes of Eric Snow and Jason Kidd were at defense before they became huge liabilities.
Lastly, a great article on Washington’s new coach Flip Saunders, how he learned from his experience in Detroit, and how he’s already reaching out to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I’ve always felt Flip is hugely underrated. After he leaves Minnesota, the T-Wolves no longer make the playoffs with KG & spare parts like they did every previous year. Everyone blamed Iverson and the loss of Billups as the reason why Detroit completely fell off the map last year, but I think the loss of Saunders was just as big. I think the Wizards are gonna be much better this year than people are expecting.