Posts Tagged ‘Harlem Globetrotters’

Darryl Dawkins dead at 58


VIDEO: The Inside the NBA crew remembers Darryl Dawkins’ backboard dunks

HANG TIME BIG CITYDarryl Dawkins, the supersized NBA big man with an even larger personality, died today at the age of 58, according to the New York Daily News.

In 1975, the 6-11 Dawkins was drafted directly out of high school in the Orlando area with the fifth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers, making Dawkins the first prep-to-NBA player in history. He was athletic for a man his size, but his youth required a few years of development before he could play regularly. Dawkins broke into Philadelphia’s rotation in the 1977-78 season. As the Sixers, led by Julius “Dr. J” Erving, established themselves as contenders in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, Dawkins became a starter and established post presence.

In 1982, the Sixers traded Dawkins to the New Jersey Nets for a first-round pick, where in 1983-84 he averaged a career-high 16.8 points per game. After missing most of the 1986-87 season due to injuries, Dawkins had stints with the Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons, but wasn’t able to stay healthy enough to contribute regularly. Dawkins played several seasons in Italy, and then a year with the Harlem Globetrotters before retiring.

Dawkins showed tantalizing flashes of brilliance, but struggled to sustain that type of brilliant play. This was perhaps best exemplified by Dawkins during 1979, when Dawkins broke backboards during slam dunks two different times. (He later claimed to have also broken two backboards in Italy.)

Dawkins seemed to have an innate understanding of the type of self-promotion that many players didn’t embrace until years later. Dawkins went by the nickname “Chocolate Thunder,” which was purportedly selected by Stevie Wonder, and Dawkins claimed to hail from the planet Lovetron. After shattering a backboard above Kansas City Kings forward Bill Robinzine, Dawkins named the dunk, “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam.”

In recent years, Dawkins dabbled in broadcasting and coached in several basketball minor leagues, and most recently coached at Lehigh Carbon Community College. He was also a fixture at the NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend events, always wearing vivid suits.

Those suits may have been colorful, but they could never match the personality of the man himself.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Worm?

 

HANG TIME, Texas — Let’s just say the quaint notion of Felix and Oscar as The Oddest Couple went straight out the window the moment that Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un exchanged hugs. As bizarre meetings go, it wouldn’t have been out of place at the Star Wars Cantina.

Rodman: “Guess what, I love him. The guy’s really awesome.”

Never mind that Kim rules over one of the most reclusive countries in world, a place that during Rodman’s NBA playing days would never have tolerated his iconoclastic lifestyle.

Bridal gowns? Leather-and-chain ensembles? Tattoos? Lip and ear rings? In the Peoples Republic of Korea, the runway fashion has perennially run toward the ultimate in “throwback jerseys,” military gray.

If NBA commissioner David Stern’s rule was always considered to be a bit dictatorial for the Hall of Famer, what might he have thought of life under the supreme leader’s Kim dynasty — including his father and grandfather — where “technical fouls” may have meant trips to a work camp, or worse?

Yet here we are in these early days of the 21st century when the intransigence of American politics brings government to a halt and is no less a comical sight than Kim and Rodman sharing yuks and sushi as they watch the Harlem Globetrotters play.

So with North Korea occasionally sending up test missiles over the Sea of Japan and constantly rattling its sabers at the United States, maybe it makes perfect sense to send in Rodman under the clownish cover of the Washington Generals where the other Washington generals have failed to make headway.

Wouldn’t it be a kick if The Worm turned out to be a mole? At the very least, it would be a very memorable photo op to see Rodman show up at the Pentagon for a debriefing wearing more metal on his face than the Joint Chiefs of Staff have medals on their chests.

According to Choe Sang-Hun and David E. Sanger of the New York Times, the U.S. government might welcome any insights that Rodman could provide into Kim’s personality and the North Korean regime.

And while the choice of Mr. Rodman might seem odd to some — he is known for cross-dressing and was visiting a conservative nation where long hair for men and short skirts for women are forbidden — Mr. (Bill) Richardson said in an interview on Friday that it was not surprising given Mr. Kim’s love of basketball. (Mr. Richardson said he was asked by North Korean officials in recent months to persuade Michael Jordan to visit.)

Even though Mr. Rodman is no diplomat, Mr. Richardson said the visit could be valuable given the lack of good intelligence about Mr. Kim, a man whose nuclear arsenal and visceral anti-Americanism makes him a threat.

“Any information about Kim Jong-un, his mannerisms, his ability to speak English, his personal assessment, is valuable,” said Mr. Richardson. “He is their leader, and in our visit, he had lots of support.”

The State Department was not nearly so sanguine. Despite questions about the trip and whether the government would debrief Mr. Rodman on his return, a department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, did not suggest a visit to Foggy Bottom was in the offing.

“We haven’t been in touch with this party at all,” he told reporters Thursday, leaving out Mr. Rodman’s name. “If there are Americans who after traveling in North Korea want to get in touch with us or have something to share with us, we take the phone calls.”

So did Rodman go into Pyongyang with a nose ring microphone or a spy camera implanted in a gold tooth?

Looks like we’ll have to watch the upcoming series produced by Vice Media for HBO to find out if he’s Agent 0091.

Rodman. Dennis Rodman. He’s always liked everything shaken and stirred.

Dennis Rodman in North Korea: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

North Korea fired an underground nuclear test a couple weeks ago and has threatened the United States and South Korea with “miserable destruction” if they moved forward with joint military exercises in March, so of course this is the perfect time for noted diplomat Dennis Rodman to arrive on the scene.

Somewhere, Phil Jackson is smiling at Rodman’s involvement in world issues. Or building a fallout shelter.

Rodman landed in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Tuesday with three Harlem Globetrotters and a documentary film crew with the expectation of playing exhibition games and the hope of meeting leader Kim Jong-un, said to be a basketball fan. Because if there’s one thing Rodman is good at, it’s stabilizing situations.

“There ain’t no timing of it,” the Hall of Fame power forward said in a video on the Web site of the British daily The Guardian. “We got invited and we’ll just come over and have some fun and hopefully give you some fun.”

The New York Times noted that Vice media founder Shane Smith, who has made two previous trips to North Korea to film documentaries, said a ball signed by Michael Jordan, given to former leader Kim Jong-il by then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 2000, is prominently displayed at the national museum. Former brutal dictator Kim Jong-il, the father of current brutal dictator Kim Jong-un, was portrayed as obsessed with the Bulls of the 1990s.

“It’s weird because when you go there, it’s all very anti-American,” Smith told the Times. “North Korean kids are fed anti-American propaganda from pretty much the day they are born. But it’s OK to like American basketball,” adding: “It is a bizarre place. And this is a bizarre idea.”

It was not immediately clear whether he meant the trip or any involvement with Rodman.

The American contingent expects to spend four or five days in the country, the paper reports, including visits to a children’s sports camp and games against North Korean players. The visiting team is Rodman, three Globetrotters and a Vice correspondent.