H-O-R-S-E with a Globetrotter

H-O-R-S-E with a Globetrotter


Editor's Note: CSNBayArea.com NBA Insider Matt Steinmetz will suit up for the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters Saturday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Ive been ridiculously lucky when it comes to my job and basketball. As a hoops junkie, I couldnt have asked for a better career than the one Ive had.

Ive been hanging around the NBA for almost 20 years now, and I never take for granted the opportunities and experiences Ive had.

Now, theres another memory:

Meeting Harlem Globetrotters icon Curly Neal, and getting to take on one of his players in a H-O-R-S-E competition on Monday at the Presidio YMCA in San Francisco.

If you dont know who Curly Neal is youre either not a basketball fan or youre under 30 years of age. Neal and the Globetrotters are world famous, and back in the day they were nothing short of a phenomena.

They played to sold-out houses, they were featured in cartoon and television series, they met presidents and first ladies and once they even played in front of an audience of one: the Pope. This weekend theyll be in the Bay Area for appearances at HP Pavilion, the Cow Palace and Haas Pavilion.

So, when Neal and current Trotter Wun The Shot Versher walked into the gym Monday, I cant tell you how pumped I was. But there was still a H-O-R-S-E game to win.

First things first, though, which was a trip down memory lane with Neal. He might be 67, but hes lost nothing when it comes to exuberance and positivity. You talk to Neal for five minutes and you realize how it was probably easy for him to entertain millions of fans over his 22-year Globetrotter playing career.

Neal talked fondly of his friendship with Warriors legend Alvin Attles, shared stories of playing in front of 42,000 in Manila and stated matter-of-factly that he could have played in the NBA. Of course, he spun a few balls on his fingers -- and head.

I had some jitters when it came to going up against Versher, who is 6-foot-5 and played at Arizona State. But once he agreed to a No Dunking rule, I knew that I had the window I needed.

You can watch what happened on the accompanying video -- the one Neal and Versher tried in vain to confiscate.


-- Matt Steinmetz

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs


Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”