No wonder Jay-Z sold his Nets shares.
(via The Brooklyn Game)
No wonder Jay-Z sold his Nets shares.
(via The Brooklyn Game)
By his very nature, Joe Johnson is a boring guy. It’s almost like when his parents named him one of the most default names possible, they were dooming him to a life of playing for four seeds and never smiling when he hits shots that would make every other player in the league at least fist pump. I mean, he’s such a blah kind of fellow, that when the Nets acquired him, they immediately changed to black-and-white uniforms. I refuse to believe this was coincidence.
But here is something that is interesting about Joe Johnson. So interesting, in fact, that you might not even believe it’s real. From Sporting Life Arkansas:
For Yonsan Johnson, formerly Yonsan Uranus, ne Zhu Yan-Qing (like many people in China, Yonson has adopted a more English-sounding name), the inciting event came in the form of the cover of an issue of Dime magazine he found in his military barracks in 2009—he looked down and saw the eyes of a resolute, dignified foreign warrior peering out at him.
The eyes belonged to Joe Johnson, then a forward for the Atlanta Hawks and an eight-year veteran of the NBA. Inside the magazine, Yonsan read about Johnson’s great love for the single mother who’d raised him, his quiet manner on the court, and how he’d rather stay home and play videos games than go clubbing. In Johnson, he had found a hero, someone who seemed to embody his country’s ancient ideals of patience, strength, and respect toward elders. Johnson became not only Yonsan’s favorite player, but a 6-foot-8, 240-pound prism through which he learned about American culture. Not long after he saw Johnson’s image, he founded the Chinese Joe Johnson Fan Club.
By day, Yonsan is an electrical engineer who ekes out the equivalent of $2,400 a year in a factory in northern China. By night, though, as founder of the JJFC, he manages the Joe Johnson Chinese Baidu Tiebar, which he describes as a forum that has 497 members. In this role he has accumulated and edited what is likely the world’s largest cache of Joe Johnson-related pictures and videos. His life’s dream is to one day speak to Johnson directly.
But wait, there’s more. These are emails from Yonsan Johnson to Evin Demeril, the author of the piece.
As you know I put URANUS in my last name.
yes, my english name is YONSAN URANUS.
one of them told me I should change the last name.he asked me to look up the meaning of URANUS… i know it is a star in the space.
it doesn’t mean anything. it just a designation.
in China, Uranus means: the great, the respectful… All the description are good..
So,can you tell me whats wrong with URANUS in your world? thank you.
… I found the reason… URANUS has another meaning”your butt”, so the man told
me to make a change… I really didn’t know this meaning… a little conplicated…
So, I think Johnson might suit for me,
it is a good name, and also show my great respect to Joe Johnson…
So not only does this guy love Joe Johnson enough to start up a fan club specifically “to let more people to know about Joe Johnson,” but he also changed his name to the sublime Yonsan Johnson in order to “show [his] great respect to Joe Johnson.” I’m not sure which of these is the greatest honor of all-time, but I’m sure one of them has to be.
It’s just so weird that this is all for Joe Johnson and not Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Tracy McGrady, who are all huge stars in China (though I am assuming those clubs exist too). Some people just appreciate an emotionless player always swishing impossible shots more than other people do. And those people, apparently, then start collecting all kind of pictures, videos and jerseys — even if it costs them months of saving their income — once they’ve decided on a favorite player. Who knew? There’s something out there for everybody, I guess.
There are a few different reasons why a team wouldn’t want to lose in the playoffs. Yeah, the fact that a postseason elimination pretty much totally annihilates any chance that a team could win the NBA championship is the main one, but there are definitely a couple of others. At least if you’re the Nets, who beat the Bulls in Brooklyn last night to keep their season alive.
The first reason for wanting to stay playing comes from Brook Lopez, which means it’s going to be silly. From NBA.com:
“I don’t really have a social life. I like hanging out with the guys here. So I definitely didn’t want the season to end.”
As discussed on the show today, it’s kind of surprising that Brook Lopez isn’t looking forward to summer. I mean, just look at how many comic book movies are coming out this year, including “Man of Steel,” which might be the DC-est of DC Comics that Brook loves so much. Not to mention, I thought all 13-year-olds loved summers, since that’s when they get to hang out at Tastee Treet, order a crunch-dipped twist cone and play “My Ding-a-Ling” on the jukebox all day. And also not to mention, as a Californian, I thought he’d love hitting the beach once the season was over. Plus, doesn’t he have a twin to hang out with? But just like when Keanu Reeves was a great Neo, I guess I had Brook Lopez all wrong.
“That stuff doesn’t mean anything. We wanted to win the game for us and for our fans and for a chance to extend our season. We didn’t want to go fishing. We didn’t want to be on TNT with the hats on, and Chuck talking about it.”
Now this I understand. If JaVale McGee has taught us anything — which he hasn’t, but still — it’s that being made fun of by Chuck and the bros is only fun for a little bit. No one wants to be a punchline, which is why Deron Williams should maybe also consider a new haircut but I digress. And considering the Nets have been a league-wide punchline for a great portion of their existence in the NBA, wanting to win a playoff series so that Charles Barkley won’t make fun of you is a pretty fair reason. I mean, the Nets literally challenged for Worst Team Ever three seasons ago then signed Sasha Vujacic and Johan Petro instead of LeBron James, so if they don’t want to be Photoshopped in funny hats, well then that makes a lot of sense. They’ve gone through a lot.
Though to be fair, I think a hat would do Deron Williams a lot of good.
What a game.
I don’t know if people really properly appreciated it while it was happening. Around the times of the second and third OTs, my Twitter timeline was mostly filled with NBA fans irritated that the game simply refused to end, while TNT simultaneously refused to find another home for the concurrent start of Game Four of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, of which national viewers ended up missing the entire first half. And it’s true that in the grand scheme of things, this game was almost completely inconsequential — barring the miraculous return of You Know Who for a second round series against the Heat, neither of these teams have much chance of surviving to the conference finals, thus making it more of a curious footnote to these playoffs, an amusing distraction amidst the actually important dramas of the first round.
Still. You won’t see a zanier, more entertaining, and in all likelihood, more unforgettable game for the remainder of this postseason than Game Four of Bulls-Nets, and probably won’t for a couple more to follow, either. By my estimation, it’s the best game we’ve seen in the first round of the playoffs since 2009, when the Bulls played the Celtics in a series that had three or four games as good as this, because that was the greatest playoff series ever. (Thibs was even asked in the postgame conference if this game reminded him of that series; unsurprisingly, he denied any such connection and looked pissed that the question had even been asked.) I gasped, I screamed, I jumped out of my seat so many times eventually I just kept standing. It was awesome.
Because there’s a chance that the team that wins the series — probably the Bulls, though I wouldn’t count out the Nets just yet — ends up getting blanked in the second round, and then NBA lore forgets about the game altogether, I wanted to make sure that there’s at least some sort of historical record of all the crazy crap that went down between the Nets and Bulls on Saturday. Here are the 10 things that’ll stick in my mind the most about this game.
10. The final score was Bulls 142, Nets 134.
Even though it was inflated with the three OTs, let’s not lose sight of how bizarre it was for so many points to be scored in this game, especially considering that the last contest between the Bulls and Nets ended at 79-76. The teams combined for 121 more points this time around, in just 15 minutes of bonus action. Even by the end of regulation, with the two teams knotted at 111-111, they had already outscored their combined total from Game Three by 67.
I saw the final score of this one flash across my screen a couple times on the TNT and ESPN tickers while I was watching the later games, and pictured how much my mind would be blown to see that final score for the first time completely out of context. Pretty hard to imagine.
9. In a game where five other players fouled out, Brook Lopez somehow ended up getting whistled just three times.
I didn’t even notice this until well after the fact. Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah all fouled out for the Bulls in this one — meaning Nazr Mohammed was playing crunch time in the third OT, actually making a couple game-saving plays, an Honorable Mention crazy thing from this game — as did Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans for the Nets. Yet Brook Lopez, the Nets’ seven-foot rim protector, who not only led the game in blocks (along with Noah) but leads the entire league for the playoffs with his 4.3 rejections per contest, plays 51 minutes and still ends with three fouls to give? How the hell is that possible?
Of course, most Bulls fans would protest that Lopez actually committed far more than three personals over the course of the game, but that referee Tony Brothers just wouldn’t blow the whistle on them. One no-call on a possible Joakim Noah and-one towards the end of the first overtime seemed particularly egregious, with Lopez clearly raking Noah across BOTH arms, and Noah seemed to draw enough contact from Lopez on a last-second drive in the second OT to get to the line as well. You’d think the home team would be the one to get the preferential treatment in a game like this, but the Nets got whistled eight fewer times than the Bulls over the course of this one, and Lopez didn’t get whistled once over three OTs, until an intentional end-of-game foul on Marco Belinelli. Bizarre.
Since Jay-Z is selling his Nets shares, I’m not sure if I’m legally still allowed to use his lyrics when describing things that are happening with his soon-to-be-former team. But even if I’m not, I have a feeling the Office of Blogging Rules and Regulations will give me special dispensation for this case, because calling the Nets’ playoff plan “all black everything” is just too perfect.
The Nets are doing all they can to build up the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2007 — and the first playoff appearance by a Brooklyn team since 1956 — as a must-see event. The playoff décor: black on black.
The blackout is the brainchild of the Nets’ chief executive officer, Brett Yormark. The hope is to create a unified (and intimidating) atmosphere: fans wearing black while sitting in black seats and watching the action on a court with black trim. And yes, even the players might be wearing black, even though the Nets traditionally wear white at home.
“The goal is to wear black at home,” said Fred Mangione, the team’s chief marketing officer.
The Nets would need permission from the Bulls to alter their designated uniforms, permission that is normally given without much issue. Mangione said black towels would be distributed to fans for Game 2.
Even if this would mean not seeing the Bullies in their fantastic red uniforms, I am fully on board with this blacked out mission. (And if it means red vs. black, even better.) The Nets’ black uniforms are way better than their white ones — the away blacks look tough and sleek, the home whites look like default create-a-team kits — and I’ve always wanted to see what they would look like in the Nets’ already-pretty-black arena, which is striking in its blackness. It’s the best of both worlds, shoutout to R. Kelly.
One concern I see with this, however, is the effect it could have on Deron Williams’ precious sightlines. If the players didn’t like shooting in the cavernous abyss that is the Prudential Center, imagine what they’re going to think looking out in to an audience that could be none more black. If they don’t like looking at a giant, empty stadium, imagine how disconcerting it’s going to be going to the line to shoot free throws and just seeing several thousand floating heads. Not only is it probably really trippy and sort of like a Blue Man Group performance, it probably makes it feel like you’re shooting a basketball in to a very creepy cave where instead of bats there are human heads. I’m just spitballing here, but for a team that spent the entire previous season complaining about their shooting backdrop, maybe making it nonexistent as they head in to the playoffs isn’t the best idea.
That being said, if it happens, it’s probably going to look awesome, which is really the most important thing. Well, that and performing well in their first playoff series since a Russian billionaire bought the team and guaranteed a title within five years, but same difference.
There isn’t much to add here that Tamica C, the woman who snapped this picture of a guy doing his taxes at the last possible minute while taking in last night’s Nets win over the Wizards, hasn’t said already.
this man filing his taxes at the Nets v. Wizards game
#Cantmakethisstuffup is right, but I guess the only thing worse than paying for Nets-Wizards tickets in April is paying for Nets-Wizards tickets in April while also having to pay late fees on your taxes. And with that being said, let’s enjoy a quick round of naming players after various tax terms:
Just five names. Not a big deal. Feel free to carry on in the comments.
(via D.C. Sports Bog)
When reports surfaced a couple days ago that rapper/mogul/all-everything-everything dude Jay-Z had sold his ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, I was absolutely shocked. Yes, I know he didn’t actually own that much of the team — though I would have guessed it was something like 3-5 percent of it, not like, way way less than 1 percent — but for him to jump ship after less than a full season since he ostensibly had a large part in moving the team across state lines and into his backyard, and when the Nets were still doing OK as a basketball team … it just seemed so anti-climactic for him to cut bait right before the playoffs.
But more than the surprise of him doing it at all was the lack of fanfare with which he appeared to do it. No big press release, no tearful press conference, no tweets or website posts, just an Adrian Wojanrowski report without an official comment. And for what? The chance for his Roc Naton company to represent NBA talent in the upcoming draft? Was that really such a critical next step in the life of a man with a net worth of about half a billion dollars that he was willing to shed his stake in a team he’d invested years (if not necessarily millions) in bringing back to national prominence, as if it was just a minor formality, just like filing the proper paperwork?
This seemed particularly insane to me on Tuesday, as I went to see my Sixers take on the Nets at Barclays Center. As usual at Barclays, there was never more than a fifteen-minute period without some sort of Jay-Z-related song getting played. “Public Service Announcement” alone appeared in different contexts at least three times. In addition to that, and the rest of the supposedly partly-Jigga-curated playlist for the evening, and the uniforms he supposedly helped design (and definitely unveiled), and the 40/40 Club located within the building, there was even a Jay-Z banner hanging in the rafters for the eight sold-out shows he played to open the building, like it took Billy Joel and Elton John decades to get at Madison Square Garden. Mikhail Prokhorov may own the team, but Jay-Z surely owns the building. (Ed. note: He also literally owns part of the building.)
What’s more, Hov always seemed to take a considerable amount of pride in the Nets, and in particular his bringing them to Brooklyn. He wore his own Nets jersey onstage at Barclays. The Zadie Smith profile on Jigga for the New York Times was called “The House That Hova Built,” even though the article only made passing references to anything basketball or Brooklyn-related. In his most famous verse of the 2010′s, Jay bragged about “moving the Nets to BK” and scoffed at the idea of the Nets going 0-82 (something that was disturbingly close to a possibility in ’09-’10) being a problem. (“And anyway, the worse the Nets do, the easier it’ll be for Jay to move them to Brooklyn. This man cannot lose!” comments the RapGenius interpretation of the lyric.) This was not just some silent partner, this is a guy whose largely unassailable public identity was now almost inextricable from the basketball team he owned .067 percent of.
So what happened? Did Jay-Z note the team’s relatively low playoff ceiling, uninspiring and uncharismatic roster, and seemingly permanently spoken-for cap space and decide to cut his losses? Was it strictly a dollars and cents decision, with the cash-money opportunities of entering into the sports agency game too considerable to remain attached to the Nets for sentimentality’s sake? And does Jay think that this really is all just a formality, and that he can continue on being the unofficial spokesperson for the Nets even after he’s divested himself from the team financially, in sort of a business/sports equivalent to “I really hope we can still be friends?” We can’t know for sure, since Jay-Z’s not even talking about it.