FIBA, which is the French acronym for bored basketball fan civil servants, is floating the idea of introducing a three-on-three tournament for the 2016 Olympics, which leads me to ask a question.Who, other than these blockheads, thought this was needed?I mean, have you ever watched a basketball game and thought, You know, I like this, but there are just too many players to keep track of, and I get confused?Let me answer that for you. No. Nobody. Ever.What this is, the only thing it can be, is medal envy. There is one gold medal winner well, 12, actually, but only one event. Basketball. And since the U.S. usually wins it, nobody in America has ever felt the need to want more.But FIBA sees swimming, which has 130 events or so, and gymnastics, which has about 200, including the always popular stick-figures-waving-ribbons-and-hula-hoops to music you would only play outside houses with criminals inside whom you wish to draw out into the open.And there really is only one other basketball event. I mean, even they wouldnt offer up layup lines, or H-O-R-S-E, or play to 21 by twos. Not even the greatest H-O-R-S-E player ever would watch it, probably because he lives at a playground and doesnt have Internet service.In short, FIBA, having failed to provide an answer to Who Asked For This, Why? or Is This Something You Want To Propose Out In The Open With Your Names Attached To It, Really? doesnt have a compelling argument. True, we didnt ask for an endless series of shows about rich spoiled housewives trying to de-eye each other while wearing ball gowns on television either, but thats our fault for watching to begin with.This is beyond fathoming. 3-on-3 is best in its natural environment, the playground. You know, where you find the teeter totter and the monkey bars and the chain link fence and the round metal backboards and the sand pit and the hopscotch games. Somehow, with Brazil so far unable to provide most of the stadia required of it, this is the one thing they probably can manage.But thats still no reason to give people something they dont want, never wanted, and believe that there will be minimal competition.FIBA, at the very least, should be forced to show that there are other countries that could effectively challenge the U.S. in 3-on-3. I wager there are not there are certainly fewer than challenged the U.S. for gold in stodgy boring old 5-on-5.But once it manages to fabricate that evidence, it should then be forced to produce people who give a damn. That they will not be able to do, unless its by using the Hey, you want more rhythmic gymnastics on TV? argument. And even then theyll barely break even.Oh, well. Progress, I suppose. And now, back to Real Housewives of Council Bluffs, Iowa. This weeks episode, The Grange Meeting Pie Incident.
Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.
Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.
"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”
Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.
The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.
"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”
"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."
Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.
Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.
Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.
Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.
So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.
In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”
But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.
Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.
Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.
But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.
It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .
. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.