NBA in London: Two CNN features and one Yahoo podcast

 

Two NBA features and one NBA podcast in five days. Bam. Now that’s what I call a busy week. But that’s what happens when the NBA comes to London; everything stops and I’m scrambling to go to open practices, conduct interviews, and eventually go to the big game itself — which was a thriller. Toronto beat Orlando in overtime at the O2 on Jan 14.

Both articles were Toronto Raptors related and featured an in-depth interview with team president and GM, Masai Ujiri. Ujiri was born and raised in Nigeria, played low-level college and pro hoops, yet is running an NBA team. Wow.

I don’t want to get all cliche, but honestly, he’s inspiring. If he can do that, then anyone can do anything if you work hard enough and set your mind to it. Seriously, the man overcame some massive obstacles, but had persistence and smarts to get to the top — and good on him.

First feature focuses on the Raptors being the NBA’s first truly global team (one Nigerian GM, seven international players, and one Sikh superfan: the Turbinator):

Click here to read CNN Story

The second feature is on Ujiri’s vision for an NBA populated with talented Africans — much like today’s European soccer leagues:

Click here for the story

Finally, last but certainly not least, is my podcast with the legendary Elissa “Big E” Walker Campell from Yahoo Sports Radio. We’re talking all things Raptors, New York Knicks (IE Porzingis) and Eastern Conference basketball in 10 minutes of riveting dialogue.

Listen to the podcast stream here:

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Between Michael and I, we’ve racked up 6 rings.

 

 

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Talkin’ NBA Free Agency on Yahoo Sports Radio with Big E

Hello All,

Last week I had the pleasure of returning for a guest spot on the Big E Radio Show with Elissa Walker Campbell to discuss the NBA off-season. We hit on Deandre Jordan’s back and forth with the Dallas Mavs and LA Clippers, along with the Knicks questionable first round pick, Kristaps Porziņģis, the Spurs rebuilding effort and a bunch of other topics.

For a print journalist, it’s always special to be able to discuss your thoughts on air, and I value these spots a great deal. In fact, the show has recently been syndicated on Sirius Satellite Radio, meaning it’s beamed out to millions of listeners all over the United States. Not bad for a kid who played high school ball at the American School of Kuwait!

The show was broadcast in two segments, which you can stream here:

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

Thanks everyone, and please chime in with any feedback, it’s always welcomed and appreciated!

Lastly, please check in to my Twitter account for updates on new articles I’ve written.

In case you missed them, I had two features that ran for CNN World Sports in July.

One was in-depth look at the off-court lives of professional tennis players outside of the top 10.

The other was a light-hearted profile of the 10 types of people you’ll see in a yoga class.

Enjoy and have a great week!

This crazy-ass beard just got me  a $200 million contract from Adidas!!

This crazy-ass beard just got me a $200 million contract from Adidas!! I’m the richest hipster in the world!

Knicks fan blows $25,000 watching nightmare season — my feature for CNN World Sport

Hello all,

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending the annual London NBA game on press row. I got to meet one of my boyhood idols, Walt Frazier, for the first time since I was 8, and saw a bevy of celebs courtside (most of the Arsenal and Chelsea players, along with a ton of UK rappers who I’m happy to say I had never heard of).

More to the point, however, I interviewed unfortunate Knicks superfan Dennis Doyle for a CNN feature which filed today. Dennis is following the Knicks around to every single game in their historically putrid season. He’s a great guy, and clearly someone I could relate to, on the basketball barnstorming tip. Here’s the article:

Basketball fan blows $25,000 watching Knicks’ nightmare season

(CNN)The greatest sports franchises in the world all share one thing in common: superfans so passionate they will travel far and wide to watch their teams exult in victory.

Dennis Doyle has experienced all of the travel and exactly none of the joy.

When the 32-year-old New York Knicks lifer first drummed up the plan to follow his beloved NBA team at every stop — including London — for an entire season, he had no idea it would be a historic one.

Sadly for him, it was historic for all the wrong reasons.

“This is the worst basketball that I’ve seen this season,” says Doyle, while exiting the O2 Arena after the Knicks were blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks for their 16th loss in a row.

Doyle arrived in London (via Iceland) on Saturday to watch the Knicks as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative.

“I was hoping they would win close to 40 games, sneak into the playoffs and see what could happen,” he says.

Instead, the Knicks are on course to have their worst season in franchise history with a 5 — 36 record at the halfway mark. The failure is extreme, even for a team that has battled a revolving door of personnel changes and off-court controversy for well over a decade.

Read the whole article here 

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You’d be scowling like this too if you’re team was trailing by 20 in the second quarter….at nearly every game.

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