Tag Archives: sports blog

How the Grizzlies made the NBA fun again

16 May

The Grizz’s stunning playoff run that ended Sunday against the slightly more experienced Oklahoma Thunder, threw us back to the basketball of our youth the way the DeLorean provided Marty a cooler version of his parents.

So here’s how the Grizzlies have made the NBA fun again:

They share the ball

It’s a novel idea, I know. On the break, the rock travels from sideline to sideline, or down the middle with a single bounce, or over the defense with a lob. Bottom line, it changes hands, and it’s so very refreshing.

They defend as a team

It’s not about attention-seeking spikes into the front row or two-armed roughhousing across the body of the scorer. They step into charges, scrap for loose balls and flush dribblers into turn overs. They crowd the key, disrupt the flow of perimeter attackers and jab their paws into the flight of passes. And it works because everyone buys in.

Their guards play guard, not hybrid ball

Mike Conley likes to shoot, sure. But he balances it by looking for open teammates, hitting the entry pass into the post if it’s there, or if not, bouncing it to the wing. He’s getting better at these decisions. Meanwhile, Vasquez is an effective slasher and Tony Allen’s size rattles opponents into submission. He also charges the floor and finishes with flair. Then there’s OJ Mayo who leaps into a fray and somehow leaves with points.

Z-bo is playing like Bird

Zach Randolph has, after years of frustration and futility, turned into a guy you can root for. He catches everything in the post. He spins by, steps past, and head fakes defenders with McHale-like pedigree. He drops in short corner fades, usually, when they’re most needed. And he forces the defender into committing and fouling when nothing else is working. His offensive onslaught these playoffs has been nothing short of Larry-esque and you can’t help but cheer.

The Memphis crowd love their guys

It’s a passionate and raucous clientele at Fed Ex Forum, even when the scoreline looks bleak. They wave towels, wear playoff white and yell their lungs out to a Memphis Beat. Who said this would be an unsuccessful NBA market?

They have energy

The Grizz never settle. They anticipate steals and visualize fast breaks. They scurry and scuttle plays, sapping the clock and the strength of their opponents. Perimeter defenders shift with urgency. Forwards throw themselves into the key, eager to collect a pass or find a rebound. It’s high energy, Red Bull-infused sort of stuff.

This team is likable

These big Bears play more like bats out of hell. They’re fast and furious, without Diesel’s extra bulk and Walker’s distracting looks. They have fun, and it all starts with Randolph being at ease and loving his job again.

Friday logos…oh, and games

6 May

Baseball logos are often similar, it’s true. But they seem especially similar when, seemingly all at once, clubs with like logos go head to head on the same day. It’s like the big baseball in the sky suddenly aligns with the sun or something, and just like that and a few beers later, you can’t tell who has more runs, them or the home team.

Case in point, some of Friday’s fixtures:

Cincinnati Reds Cap Insignia.svg vsChicago Cubs Cap Insignia.svg

Colorado Rockies Cap Insignia.svgvsSan Francisco Giants Cap Insignia.svg

Seattle Mariners Insignia.svg

 

It’s not easy being green

5 May

Despite ridiculous debate about their wall climbing antics, Vancouver’s Green Men will be back in full force for Game 4 of the Canucks – Predators series. And their glass work will likely arouse more fanfare than usual seeing as they’ve become media sensations.

The Province reported yesterday that the pair had this week done CBC, ESPN, local Nashville print and radio, and even the Jim Rome Show and Pardon the Interruption. All that’s left for the boys is a spot on The View. Now that’d be a show!

Erin Andrews ZigTech deal zagged

4 May

Erin Andrews’ Reebok ZigTech deal has certainly raised a clamoring around the web. If you missed it, Andrews’ employer, ESPN, recently requested that the reporter conclude her Reebok endorsement at the end of 2011 due to conflict of interest.

As The New York Times reported, ESPN’s concern here is a loss of credibility when its talent is seen to be endorsing products associated with the sports they report on. It’s a valid concern, but is Erin Andrews wearing ZigTechs in her own time truly a conflict of interest when she roams the sidelines of a basketball court?

Certainly her deliberate comments about Nike cleats at the Rose Bowl didn’t help matters but if ESPN’s policy simply vetoed on-air comments about brands then there wouldn’t be a need to ban such endorsement deals. Right?

Detroit’s TV friendly ballpark

3 May

Comerica Park in Detroit comes up trumps on TV doesn’t it?

In yesterday’s fairly one-sided affair between the Tigers and the Yanks, 23,000 fans seemed to be really enjoying the ballpark – and what’s not to love? The grass looked a treat, the diamond pristine and the stadium concourse full of jungle surprises. It’s simply a great backdrop for a TV game.

Portland Timbers have a cool logo

4 Apr

File:PortlandTimbersMLSLogo.png

One of the new additions to Major League Soccer in 2011 is the Portland Timbers, who are bringing their rich tradition and trail-blazing fans to the pro ranks.

Beyond good soccer and proud fans, the Timbers have also honed their logo, a combination of heritage imagery and slick design. The axe clearly references the Pacific Northwest’s logging industry and the three chevrons organized to resemble a pine tree, point to the Timbers’ membership in three separate leagues: the original North American Soccer League, the United Soccer Leagues, and Major League Soccer.

The colors are ponderosa green and moss green, and represent the state of Oregon’s forests.

It all makes for a simple, yet attractive emblem, evoking the region’s history and strength.

Check out this great launch video below.

Tampa Bay goes vintage

15 Feb

New Lightning jersey

The Tampa Bay Lightning recently unveiled its new look to more mixed reviews than a Super Bowl anthem singing.

Numerous news sites and blogs have run fan polls about the new flash digs, with those in favor hardly overwhelming the detractors.

I find this strange because the new jersey is all class. I’m no Armani but I don’t know how you could conjure something better – even with Giorgio himself leading the design team. Some fans are tough to please I guess.

The two-tone uniforms with simplified lightning bolt logo hark back to another era. And that can only be a good thing. Let’s face it, the old jersey was caught in that early 90s design vortex that has hurt so many hockey team identities – as well as teen idols like Luke Perry and various R&B stars.

General Manager Steve Yzerman and the club consulted strategic brand development firm SME to develop the new brand, with an emphasis on a “classic” and “iconic” look.

And I think they succeeded. The blue and white incarnation is reminiscent of classic Maple Leafs uniforms, which hopefully for Tampa’s sake, inspires classic Leafs-like victories.