|Irish Coffee: Celtics legend Bill Russell sues NCAA||10.06.11 at 11:59 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Dear Electronic Arts,
I’ve got good news and bad news for you.
I particularly enjoyed this quote from the Winchester, Mass. native: “If you were to take all those players and put them in a blender of greatness, you’d get strawberry milkshake, because they’re sweet.”
Now for the bad news. Bill Russell is suing you. And he’s suing the NCAA. It takes a lot to get under the skin of the greatest winner in sports history, but you’ve gone and done it. The lawsuit accuses the two conglomerates of using Russell’s likeness without compensation or his consent.
Russell’s claim argues that the NCAA violates antitrust laws by profiting from video of former student-athletes, like $150 videos of his two University of San Francisco championship seasons. The Celtics legend also accuses EA Sports of using his image in the “Tournament of Legends” portion of their college basketball game.
“Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” attorney Jon King told Bloomberg via e-mail.
Have fun arguing against a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree in court.
|Irish Coffee: Paul Pierce to the NBA rescue!||10.04.11 at 12:20 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Only two players attended Monday’s NBA collective bargaining session with commissioner David Stern and the NBA brass. One was National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher. The other? Paul Pierce.
Pierce isn’t a member of the union’s executive committee, although CBS Sports columnist Ken Berger suggested the Celtics captain and player representative has expressed interest in becoming the Joe Biden to Fisher’s Barack Obama. Regardless, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver cited Pierce as someone who actually brought tangible ideas to the table during labor discussions in New York City over the weekend.
Not only is Pierce expected to join Fisher again on Tuesday, but Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have reportedly been invited to join a small group of players in what might be the final negotiating window before the NBA starts canceling regular-season games. Imagine that. Lakers and Celtics on the same side of the ball.
Pierce’s presence is only magnified by the fact that his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is among a handful who encourage union decertification and drafted a letter urging the players not to accept a revenue share less than 52 percent — six points higher than Stern’s current offer and two points above what some believe could seal a deal.
Are those final two percentage points — a total of $80 or so million — worth destroying the momentum that two Celtics-Lakers finals and a Heat firestorm created over the last few seasons? It’s hard to imagine Pierce & Co. allowing these negotiations to devolve into decertification, as that could cost the league the 2011-12 NBA season. These are the issues that Pierce, Fisher, Garnett, Bryant and their colleagues face.
My how far Pierce has come since he got ejected from Game 6 of a first-round series loss to the Pacers in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, swung his Celtics jersey over his head at the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd and showed up to the post-game press conference with his head wrapped in a faux bandage.
If the 2008 NBA Finals MVP was Pierce’s defining moment on the court, this could be his moment of Truth off it. He could cement his legacy as not only a Hall of Famer but a power player in the NBA’s future for years to come.
For more on Tuesday’s pivotal NBA labor negotiations, WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery sets the stage perfectly.
|Irish Coffee: Celtics, Heat party in NYC’s meatpacking district (not that there’s anything wrong with that)||10.03.11 at 11:58 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Enough’s enough. The NBA might still be locked out, but Irish Coffee’s holdout has officially come to an end. It’s October, and NBA training camps should be in progress. Instead, the Celtics and Heat are partying together.
After the C’s swept the Knicks and got out-athleticismed (new word!) by the Heat in five games during the 2011 NBA Playoffs, did you ever think you’d be reading about Carmelo Anthony hosting Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen in New York City’s meatpacking district on Oct. 3? At least the Daily News reported that “the Boston boys and Anthony’s crew exchanged little more than ‘hi and bye’ pleasantries.”
Did you think Rajon Rondo would pledge to play alongside Wade, LBJ, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire at an event hosted by Isiah Thomas on Oct. 8? At least its for charity.
Did you think restricted free agent Jeff Green – the crux of the Kendrick Perkins deal that many believe killed the Celtics season faster than an unnamed Red Sox player can slam a beer in the clubhouse — would be discussing the oh-so-difficult process of making smoothies on some lady’s couch (see embedded video)? At least he’s staying healthy. (On an unrelated note, should we tell them that almond milk, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and ice isn’t a protein shake?)
|Would this 50/50 split solve the NBA lockout?||09.22.11 at 2:55 pm ET|
While NBA owners and players continue the debate on Thursday over a collective bargaining agreement to end the league’s lockout, let’s offer the two sides a fairly simple solution that took only a couple of hours to calculate.
Based on figures published by Forbes, teams raked in $3.8 billion in revenue during the 2009-10 NBA season — 57 percent (or $2.2 billion) of which went to the league’s players – yet 17-of-30 clubs managed to lose money that year. That’s not what Wyc Grousbeck & Co. are looking for, obviously.
But what if the players agreed to split that $3.8 billion in revenue down the middle, giving seven percent (or $154 million) in total salaries back to the owners? Such a 50-50 split would increase each of the 30 team’s operating income by $5.1 million — instantly chopping the number of squads losing money from 17 to 12. Not a bad start.
Too much of a concession on the player’s behalf, you say? Well, according to Adrian Wojnarowski‘s latest report, such a reduction appears not only possible but likely. Besides, a 50-50 divide is still better than the 53-47 split that favored NFL owners in their recent deal. Now, what to do about the 12 teams still losing money?
Let’s say the 18 NBA owners who are profiting agree to place 50 percent of their operating income into a revenue sharing system. That’s a grand total of $202.5 million. Divided up evenly, each of the 30 teams gets $6.75 million from that pool. Based on those 2009-10 numbers, only three teams would be left in the red: the Magic (-$11.3 million, because they stupidly paid Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter a combined $34.1 million), the Bobcats (-$8.2 million, because the league granted a new team to a city that failed to support the Hornets) and the Pacers (-$5.1 million, partly for overpaying Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy and T.J. Ford).
Still, based on the 2009-10 numbers, 27-of-30 NBA teams would be profiting from that system — in one of the worst economic downturns in the country’s history. That’s about as foolproof as you can get, right?
Sure, this hypothetical system means less money for the 11 most profitable teams — the Knicks, Bulls, Rockets, Lakers, Pistons, Raptors, Thunder, Suns, Warriors, Clippers and Blazers — but all of those teams benefited from either their location (a top-12 media market or Canada) and/or spending significantly less on player salaries.
In fact, the NBA could withhold all or a portion of a team’s $6.75 million in revenue sharing for failure to spend to the luxury tax threshold. That would provide an incentive for owners to put as much money back into their teams as possible — a spending floor, if you will — something that would surely please the players at the bargaining table. Such a concession might even open the door for players to consider the hard salary cap that the owners are so hell bent on securing during these negotiations.
Obviously, I understand that there are intricacies of a collective bargaining agreement that I’m never going to understand, but a 50-50 split of total revenue between the players and owners as well as a 50-50 split of total operating income between the owners and themselves seems like a pretty fair deal to me.
Discussions about owners and players dividing up millions and billions of dollars are understandably both confusing for those following them and infuriating for fans who just want to watch professional basketball again, so I offer this chart of the hypothetical revenue sharing system to benefit all parties involved …
|Delonte West opens up about weapons charges||09.21.11 at 11:14 am ET|
Celtics free agent Delonte West is an enigma. His blue collar approach on the court endears him to Boston fans, but his strange YouTube videos and the weapons charges from two years ago keep us guessing.
Well, thanks to a tremendous profile of West by SLAM’s Tzvi Twersky, we now have answers to at least a few of the questions that stemmed from that latter incident. For the first time, the two-time Celtics combo guard explains his side of the story on the the day he was arrested:
Tucked away in his fully finished basement, West’s studio is his sanctuary. Off limits to children, the sparsely furnished wood paneled room is his home within his home. All of that’s why he thought it was the perfect stash spot. Everything was fine — the guns remained safely hidden — until, on the night of September 17, feeling unusually tired, West went to his bedroom pretty early, took his nightly dose of Seroquel (a drug that treats bipolar disorder) and got in bed. Shortly after falling asleep, he was startled awake by shouting.
‘Ma Dukes came running upstairs into my room, cursing me, saying she wanted all these MFers out of my house,’ recalls West. ‘I came to like, What’s going on? I was already on my Seroquel trip. A few of my cats had found some stuff in the studio and they were living the whole gangsta life thing — guns in the air and this and that,’ continues West. ‘And I said, ‘Oh my God. What the fuck are y’all doin’ in here? Y’all got to go. Momma ain’t on that. Kids are running around upstairs. It’s time to go.’’
Gassed up from the commotion, West decided it would be prudent for him to relocate the guns to an empty house he owned nearby. So, with his other vehicles blocked in by guests’ cars, and expecting it to be a short trip, he haphazardly loaded up his Can-Am and placed the weapons in a Velcro-type of bag — ‘not a desperado, hardcase, gun-shooting-out-the-side type case’ — and set off.
‘I’m on the Beltway, cruisin’,’ West says, voice high, emotional and inimitable. ‘Soon I start realizing I’m dozing in and out. I open my eyes and I went from this lane to that. I’m swervin’, and by the time I wake up, I’m about three exits past my exit.
‘There’s this truck flying beside me –’ West pauses; this next part is crucial — ‘and I’m scared to death. So I seen an officer coming up and I try to flag him down. I pull up next to him. He slows down and I get up in front of him. I tell the officer I’m not functioning well and I’m transporting weapons. ‘¦ The rest of the story is what it is.
‘I’m not proud of it,’ concludes West, ‘but it looks way worse than it was.’
That’s the most telling portion of the story, but the entire article is filled with gems on West’s life. Before you read the article in its entirety, here are five quick things we learned about Delonte:
|10 Things I Heard About Celtics VII||09.20.11 at 6:35 pm ET|
On another slow Celtics news day, there’s still plenty to learn about Boston’s green men. Here are 10 more C’s links of interest we discovered over the past few days (‘10 Things I Heard About Celtics’ I, II, III, IV, V and VI) ‘¦
10. Taking time out from practice on the LSU campus, Celtics free agent forward Glen Davis recently traveled to South Portland, Maine to dedicate a pair of basketball courts and speak on behalf of a charitable venture.
The latter event provided us with two dichotomous Davis interviews courtesy of the local NBA affiliate: 1) the awkward exchange in the embedded video between a report intent on asking lockout questions and Davis, who clearly wanted no part of it; and 2) the poignant speech to Day One fundraisers about being raised by a mother with substance abuse problems.
We’ll start on the basketball side. The short of what Davis had to say was “I have no worry,” “Everything will be Ok” and “We’ll be back on the court.” The long of it:
- On the lockout: “The owners and the players are trying to deal with something, and they’ll make sure everything will happen the way it needs to happen. I have no worry. Everybody loves basketball.”
- On the lockout, again: “They have issues. We have to work them out. Everybody wants basketball. With everybody on the same ground, we can work something out. Everything will be Ok.”
- And again: “I think a lot of guys are working out and preparing themselves, but everybody’s at their house or doing something. We’re preparing like there’s going to be a season, and after everything gets worked out we’ll be back on the court.”
- And again: “We’ve got to work things out first. In the meantime, between time, I’m just affiliated with and doing other things, so I’m just waiting.”
Now to the human side. Here are a few touching tidbits from Davis about his childhood:
- On his hometown: “I grew up in a neighborhood where there were drugs everywhere. It was like walking zombies out there.”
- On his upbringing: “I had to face some things that I never could ever imagine that I would have had to face as a young child. I was put in situations where I had to grow up as an adult. I had to realize what life was really about.”
- On finding hoops: “In basketball, that’s where I found the values of life. It’s where I found that structure. It’s where I found that place where I can vent and be me, because I had to be someone else.”
The Portland Press Herald has more from the emotional Davis, who was introduced by Celtics legend Dave Cowens with this: “All the old guys I played with think he really knows how to play the game.”
|Celtics on eBay: Bill Russell’s signed parquet||09.16.11 at 4:03 pm ET|
It’s time to take you into the weekend with the eighth edition of Celtics on eBay. We ask, “Would you pay [a pretty penny] for [current or former member of the Celtics]‘ [eBay item]?” Confusing enough? Good. Let’s get started.
We’ve had some pretty hefty landslides in weeks past, but it’s always interesting to find out — for example — that 42 people would be willing to pay $275 for Brian Scalabrine‘s sweat-soaked Celtics practice jersey. Who are these people with that kind of expendable scratch, and how do I hang out with them?
Anywho, this week’s item is pretty straightforward: A 4×9-inch piece of the old Boston Garden parquet floor signed by Bill Russell, the greatest winner in sports history. Now, I’ve got to imagine more people would pay $300 for this than Scalabrine’s skivvies. But who knows? Anything can happen when it comes to Celtics on eBay.
Want to waste more time this weekend? Vote on these overpriced/awesome Celtics items from previous weeks: