0

Keep Calm...

Posted by Alex W.C. on 9:50 AM
Yep.

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Balls.

Posted by Alex W.C. on 7:09 PM

By the numbers. That is what was expected today.

However, when the Phoenix Mercury walked away with the #1 pick, some fans were elated, others were in dismay, and some…well, were just downright pissed off.

The term, “tanked” was the most common word heard when referring to the Phoenix Mercury this season, many believing that they purposely threw in the towel to increase their lottery chances. That just doesn’t make sense, as the worst record has never been a guarantee to get a #1 pick – just ask the Tulsa Shock. Besides, with many of the starters on the bench from injuries this year, it is not like Phoenix had its talent purposely not trying to win. Plus, a new rookie point guard (which is a tough position to start in as a rookie, especially with a team like Phoenix) the Mercury had quite a challenge this year. When they were eliminated from the playoffs, even COO Amber Cox admitted to giving Taurasi a rest.

And let’s face it, if Taurasi wanted to play – she would play. So in my eyes, the decision was mutual. A less-than-stellar season was behind them, so they gambled and it paid off. After being eliminated from the playoffs, what exactly would they be trying to prove? 

Ok, ok, ok, you can stop with the “You’re a Mercury fan, so you’re biased” talk. Say what you want, but if Phoenix did purposely tank, they had just as much chance to end up like the Mystics did. Ok, example - 2008 in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls with a .017% chance (ninth on the list) nab the #1 pick. As a matter of fact, in the last five years in the NBA, the worst-record team has never gotten the #1 pick. It is also a rarity in the WNBA. All the teams with abysmal records this year were well aware that the balls may not bounce in their favor, no matter how badly they needed a #1 pick. 

Let the conspiracy theories begin!! 

Oh, and speaking of the Mystics, I personally think this is karma for that wonderful decision that the Mystics management made to get rid of Plank and Taylor. With that GM/Coach combo, they had a phenomenal two seasons – then they handed over the reins to Lacey, and traded or lost their Maryland and Duke players that appeal to local fans. This move left many long time Mystics fans wondering about the future of their team as they proceeded to follow this with two of the worst seasons in Mystics history. If the attendance this year is any indication, many of those fans have lost hope. Now with a 4th pick in the draft, the Mystics not only have to pick the right player, they have to find the right coach. *cough cough* Meadors *cough*

I know. Subtle.

Let’s not forget that the Mercury may not pick Griner. I know, the chances are slim, but the club has made some, shall we say, non-traditional choices with the #1 pick. Hello…Tangela Smith anyone? And yes, Tangela helped Phoenix get two rings, namely the two big 3’s in the 4th quarter in game 5 of the 2009 series. This kind of decision making is evident that Meyers Drysdale knows how to fill a need on the team as opposed to going for the popular choice, and she leans toward getting one particular blue hen by the name of Delle Donne. It is possible that Phoenix could make a deal with Chicago to send Griner to the windy city for Delle Donne, plus a future draft pick, or whomever they can snag. Crazy I know, but if it happens, I would not be the least bit surprised. Plus, AMD has shown to have a knack for wheeling and dealing; just look how the Mercury landed Dupree in a three team deal.

We’ll have to wait till April to find out, but if all the pieces fit right, and a majority of the players are healthy, the 2013 season is going to be quite amazing.

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Temeka's Choice book signing!

Posted by Alex W.C. on 2:30 PM
Hey everyone, especially Temeka Johnson and Phoenix Mercury fans!

Temeka has published her second children's book, Temeka's Choice, which is available now at Amazon.com. (Click here to buy her book!) She is going to be at the Hard Rock Cafe (downtown, across from the US Airways Arena) immediately following the game on 9/14 in Phoenix for a book signing! You can buy your book in advance, or buy your book there! Books will be selling for 10$, and cash/visa/mc will be accepted. Afterword, stay for a bite to eat and check out the "Chicks with Picks" performance as well! It will be a great time, so join us and bring a friend!

For a review of the book - (written by yours truly) check it out over at Fullcourt.com 



Check out the video with Temeka talking about her book.


0

Where are the words...

Posted by Alex W.C. on 8:38 PM

Father. Fan. Writer. Friend.

  When describing friendships, sometimes I can be at a loss for words. So, I decided that I would try to describe a particular friendship that I have by describing how I see this person – and this person is Stephen Litel.

  Stephen and I first “met” via twitter in 2009, when I had just announced my now infamous journey, reminding me to make sure to stop by press row and say hi when I was in Minny.  I assured him that I would.

  During that voyage in 2009, upon my arrival to the Target center I was then greeted by one Mr. Stephen Litel. We instantly bonded over WNBA chat and how my trip had gone thus far. Post-game, we continued our chat a local eatery with other Lynx fans. It was a quick visit, but still a memorable one.

Me, "reflecting" on meeting Stephen at the Target center in Minneapolis.
  It would be later on facebook that I would get to know more about Stephen, particularly the two things he is most fond of – his son and daughter. Obviously a very proud papa, he often posted pictures of his kids whenever he could get the chance, and brag about them as well. If you follow Stephen on facebook, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is the kind of pride that speaks to his character as a father – something I wish more fathers in this world would aspire to.

A playful "photo-shopped" rendition of Stephen after a twitter banter about  mustaches. 

  When the idea came to write a book about my journey, I called upon Stephen to contribute. He was more than willing and after a read of the rough draft (quite rough as a matter of fact) he sent me the review that I used for the back cover. The one thing I really loved about it was that it was quite objective and honest – and a few kind words didn't hurt either.

Stephen pointing to one of his finer works that adorns the back cover of my book. 
 This past July I was planning a journey on a smaller scale, one that would conclude in Minnesota. However, the day before I was to head out to the twin cities, I got a call from Stephen, and it wasn't good news. For reasons I cannot get into in this blog, he told me that he would not be able to make the game that I was attending.  I was somewhat consoled when we agreed to meet for lunch the next day. It was that afternoon over a very tasty bloody mary, that Stephen not only shared with me the situation he was facing, but that he was also considering hanging up his media credential…for good.

  It was after the reasons he gave, two of them to be exact, that it became perfectly clear what his priorities were.  He expressed how he was realizing that his children were only going to be young once, and it was time to do some reporting of a different kind, by taking the time to witness his children grow up. Just can’t argue with that.

  I assured Stephen that whatever he chose, I would be behind him, 100%. A few weeks later, I read the blog post that I knew was inevitable, but I was happy that he found peace.

Stephen is one of our own – a tireless supporter of the WNBA, a hard working dad, and a friend to all those alike.  His words will be missed by fans, and no doubt, the athletes in this league will miss his support. 

  This is not a goodbye, but a hello to a new chapter of life for Stephen. You can read up on Stephen at: http://stephenlitel.wordpress.com/.  Best wishes to you man; your words will be missed, but not forgotten.
Stephen and I, 7/7/2012


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Helping one of our own...

Posted by Alex W.C. on 6:22 PM
Hey All,
 Normally I wouldn't use my blog for trying to hock anything... (except for my book of course, lol! ) however, this is for a good cause. Friend, baller and fellow WNBA fan Caitlin is in need of financial support to attend a collegiate summer academic program for high school students. I am all for helping out a fellow W fan, especially if it is in the name of education!


  In order to help her raise money, she is auctioning off a pair of shoes - not just any shoes mind you - a pair of Nike Air Jordans - Maya Moore edition. Oh, and did I mention that they were autographed by the one and only 2011 WNBA Champ and Rookie of the year Maya Moore? Check out the pic below.


You can CLICK HERE to go to the Ebay page and bid on them. It's for a great cause and they are an awesome pair of shoes! 




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All I need to know about basketball...

Posted by Alex W.C. on 9:15 AM

Here we are, after much waiting, the "All I Really Need to Know About Basketball" T-shirts featuring several quotes & "Diana-Isms" are ready to order.

Click here to go to the t-shirt store.

Just wanted to note a few things:

1. You can choose which style of shirt you would like & color. The shirt I am wearing is an American Apparel basic T. They run small, so if you like your shirts baggy, I would order a few sizes up. There is also a sizing chart on the order page. There are men's, women's & kids styles available.

2. There is a dark shirt, a light shirt (white), a hoodie & a mug.

3. These products were not designed by or are they endorsed by Diana Taurasi. I am just a fan sharing my image for others who want to purchase it.

4. I do not set the prices on zazzle.com - that is up to the website. I am also selling them for no profit (which means I am not making any money off of them) - like I said I am just sharing my image if others want to buy it.

5. If you have any problems with your order, contact zazzle.com. They have pretty good customer service, and will make sure to correct any errors on the product, if needed.

Enjoy your t-shirt!! (or mug)

Click here to go to the t-shirt store.

0

Diana's bringing sexy back...or at least telling you where to find it.

Posted by Alex W.C. on 8:19 PM
Recently, the French women's basketball site LadyHoop posted an interview about Diana and her battle with the FIBA over the shorter-shorts. To get caught up with this, feel free to check out my previous blog post. Since it is in French, I decided to give it the run through on Google translate and post excerpts of it here. (For the original post in French, click here)
 
Headline:

The American player is mounted to the plate and denounces held "Slim" imposed by FIBA.

(Google translation - I think they might be insinuate that the new shorts are "slimming" and somehow, Diana is standing firm on her choice to play in long shorts. Either that, or they have permanently mounted her to a plate. I hope it's the former.)

 "If you want things sexy, read Playboy," she let loose in an interview with Spanish daily Ara.

I think this is kind of her way of telling the FIBA where they can stick their new uniforms. Not only that, she chose one of the more classier mens magazines as an example of sexy. Personally, I read it for the articles.

"It's been 20 years since I played with long shorts and I can not do otherwise. I know in tennis or volleyball, it's different [...] They want to show the sexiest basketball but basketball is not sexy, it's a sport. It is a physical sport that is played with speed. Our outfits are cultural and it's been years that we play like that, without tight jerseys. "
 
Nuff Said! Hopefully, the FIBA will stop trying to make it into a fashion show, and let them do what Diana and the other athletes do best...play basketball!

0

One day...

Posted by Alex W.C. on 9:35 AM
As February begins, trades and signings have been slowly trickling out across the league. From the Coleman/Quinn swap to Phoenix’s acquisition of Hornbuckle, these are the first, and by far will not be the last transactions we see happen before May.

So before I start commenting on said transactions, I’ll wait to see what shakes out over the next few weeks. It’s always a fun ride.

Earlier this week, in case you didn’t know (and if you are a regular reader of this blog and didn’t know, then shame on you!) National Girls and Women in Sports Day was celebrated. It was the 26th annual celebration of recognizing the significance of women in sports – not to mention on the heels of the 40th anniversary of title IX. It is a day when young girls can (and should) experience the joy of being an athlete and knowing they have the opportunity to live their lives as one, if they so choose.

As a guy who is a big fan of women’s basketball and many women’s sports (except probably lingerie football) I think it is important that all men should recognize this day. In every man’s life, women, on some level, have made an impact. Weather it is from a mother, wife, sister, girlfriend, niece, grandmother, aunt, or fiancĂ©e, men would not be here without them. (...and for the obvious reason). Men need to set the example that supporting women’s sports is an honor and something that should be encouraged. More men need to “come out” of the testosterone guys only sports closet and not be afraid to show some admiration for how hard female athletes work at their craft.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not insinuating that men should be forced to watch or be fans of the women’s game – far from it. Showing support doesn’t mean that you have to be front and center at every single women’s sporting event. (Although, I am not discouraging it) It just means that when you speak of women’s sports, it comes from a place of respect. When you are flipping though the channels and come across a women’s game, don’t spend time mocking it, but give it a shot, and if it’s not your preference, then move on. Supporting women’s sports is not making the moronic argument of “Well…they don’t have a MEN in sports day, do they?”

Actually they do, it’s called the Super Bowl.

I can really only speak from my experience with women’s basketball, but when it comes to support, it’s good to see guys out there at the games. It really shows that things are changing. Not to mention when more young women see men in support of women’s sports, (like their dad’s, brothers, and boyfriends) it shows them that not all men have a narrow view when it comes to women’s being viewed as the magnificently talented people that they are.

But alas, there is always those who persist to express the thoughts of their ignorant perspectives.

If you do a Google search of the words “WNBA” and “joke” – you’ll get back 433,000 results.

That’s more than Mitt Romney made in speaker’s fees last year. Scary.

As I try to often ignore the ranting, mainly because it is the same, tired, recycled, invalid argument, and I just get tired of hearing it. I did see a bit of a new slant, where one blogger, who wrote that, “I consider this post to be my first attempt at suicide” followed by referring to the WNBA as,”a financial drain on our society.” Yes, hard earned money buying WNBA jerseys and tickets are simply killing this economy.

Oh, why do these guys spend time writing this stuff if they dislike it so much? That is the eternal mystery. I think I will make this guy’s blog post the focus of one of my own…even though I would rather re-arrange my sock drawer.

But then I came across a tweet – one that caught my attention – and for all the wrong reasons. See for yourself.

@(name withheld) - If you watch #WNBA kill yourself!

Now, I am not sharing this guy’s twitter handle for one reason – anyone with an opinion like this is rarely convinced of otherwise. It would be a waste of time to even try to talk to him about the hundreds of ways this is wrong.

I am all for freedom of speech – but with it does come with responsibility. We live in a world of human beings, and words, as harmless as they may seem, make an impact. With this tweet, a message is being sent not only to WNBA fans, but to young women, all young women who read it. Since the guy who sent this only could do so within the confines of the 140 characters of a tweet – I’ll do him the favor of elaborating on the message his tweet conveys in an open letter: (which FYI is satire for those of you who don’t get the joke)

To: All Girls and Women –

In recognition of national girls and women in sports day, I decided to tweet a completely insensitive, ignorant message shrouded in the guise of honesty. This message is to serve as a notice that women’s sports, particularly the WNBA, have no right to exist - and that those who support this league should stop doing so, or end their lives. The WNBA actually serves to degrade the life of its fans and thus, should not serve to endanger anyone ever again. Let young women be inspired by anorexic super models, alcohol inflamed reality t.v. stars and other descent human beings.

Signed, I AM THE ONE!**

**actually taken from this guys twitter bio

The letter might have been satire, but it is a very clear message that is sent out every time a guy wants to express their "opinion" about the WNBA or women's sports.

Yes, the intent of the blogger and tweeter I mentioned meant to make a joke. These in themselves are not what concern me.

What concerns me more is – who was laughing?

3

Who wears short-shorts? Not Diana.

Posted by Alex W.C. on 11:51 AM
For most parts of the world (except Australia and a few other places in the southern hemisphere) the temperatures are a bit “brisk” and weather ranges from chilly to downright cold, and freezing in some cases. Thus, many of us are wearing winter wear, which can include layers of clothing in an effort to stay warm. No one would even think about donning skimpy summer wear just yet.

Well, except the FIBA.

As reported by lovewomensbasketball.com: “The FIBA Europe prior to this season accepted new regulations regarding uniforms in EuroLeague Women that state that shorts have to be at least 10 cm above the knee and there can be only two centimeters between the shorts and the skin.”

I guess the FIBA assumes that because the weather doesn’t affect the environment on the court, that short-shorts are perfectly acceptable. Now, those measurements for shorts are not exactly “hot pants” short, but they are noticeably shorter than previous uniforms. For most of the women playing in the EuroLeage, there was a little speculation, but for the most part it was business as usual after the change was implemented.



Except for Diana Taurasi.

Diana, not one for shorter shorts, opted for the more full length style she is used to. However, the FIBA disagrees, and has assessed Diana a “2000 Euro fine for every EuroLeague Women game she has played with Galatasaray due to not obeying the new uniform rules.”

It doesn’t end there.

“Diana Taurasi doesn’t care about that and is willing to pay the fines to wear the shorts she likes. For Galatasaray this season there are guaranteed 14 group stage games in ELW and 4 Final Eight games. That totals 18 games or 36 thousand Euro (~46k USD) income for FIBA Europe from Taurasi alone by the end of the season.”

That is quite a chunk of change.

One, it is ridiculous for the FIBA to fine Diana for improper use of shorts, and two, I like the fact that Diana is standing up for what she believes in. Keep in mind, it was not long ago that the FIBA was talking about other changes, such as lowering the rim. One wonders what the FIBA has in mind with these changes, if they are focusing more on visual entertainment values, or athleticism and sportsmanship.

Either way, by the end of the season, they’ll have some extra income thanks to Ms. Taurasi. Hopefully, they’ll spend it wisely.

In the meantime, I’m going to start wearing my full length basketball shorts to the gym, in honor of Diana…and because no one needs to see my pasty white legs in short-shorts.

Trust me, you don’t.

0

Who is Gary Kloppenburg?

Posted by Alex W.C. on 6:35 PM
Today the Tulsa Shock announced their new head coach for the 2012 season - Gary Kloppenburg.

While he may not exactly be a household name, Gary "Klopp" Kloppenburg is not a stranger to the WNBA, the NBA or just about any area of basketball.

According to usabasket.com, "He (Gary) coached at virtually every level of both college and professional basketball, ranging from his beginnings at a California Community College and intertwined with jobs in the NBA, WNBA, Continental Basketball Association and internationally. Coach Kloppenburg has also conducted basketball clinics in Greece, Belgium, Iceland and Japan."

Gary has had quite the career in hoops, here is just a snapshot:

Head Coach:
1988-1993: Lassen Junior College (NJCAA) women's team
1993-1999: Lassen Junior College (NJCAA)
2007-2008: Reno Sharpshooters (ABA)

Assistant Coach:
2000-2001: Quad City Thunder (CBA)
2001-2004: Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
2004-2007: Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
2008-2011: Indiana Fever (WNBA)

(For the full resume - click here)

Gary looks like, if anything, quite a logical choice for the Tulsa Shock, who are looking to make an impression after two struggling seasons.

Yet, just hours after the announcement, I was surprised to see Gary feeling the wrath of WNBA fans. On the WNBA's facebook page, comments like, "who's this Gary dude?", "It's not fair to Edwards." (referring to interm head coach, Teresa Edwards) and "They need to let a woman coach a women's team."

Seriously? The guy hasn't even gotten to use his parking spot, and already there is the casting of doubt. First of all, if you want to know about someone, read up (I did), second, Edwards stated several times that she wasn't sure if the position was something she was interested in. Third, it's a tricky argument when you talk about gender and coaching, but all I will say is that Gary can't help that he's a guy, and that the Shock picked him. Gender and sports is a debate that is for a whole other blog post.

C'mon people, the guy hasn't even been given a chance to coach a game, make a trade, or do anything that coaches do. I recommend two things. One - do your homework - here's a few places to start:

USAbasket.com
Hoopedia.com
Fanbase.com
wnba.com

Check out a video when Gary was assistant coach during the Fever's 2009 trip to the finals:



Two - give the guy a fair shot. He's got the resume, and the experience. Not to mention the monumental task of reconstructing a team that has been de-constructed and is just now being rebuilt, and without center Liz Cambage for the first half of the season. That is quite a hefty undertaking if you ask me.

Let's see what he can do. Then if the Shock start losing, then rip into him. For now, at least just let the man get comfy at his desk, or as I would prefer, behind the whistle.

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