A homecoming and a glorious opening day
Good morning, folks.
I probably should have guzzled a Red Bull (although I’ve never so much as tasted one) because it’s quite a slow morning here in Chicago.
Anyway, doesn’t mean this can’t be good since it includes a whole bunch randomly selected unrelated events …
If you’re looking for something specific to watch tonight (and I’d be surprised if the game itself provided a huge amount of drama) take a close look at James Johnson.
Remember the first game he played for the Raptors? A start against his old Chicago team back in Toronto? He had one of those “I’m going to get those guys back for treating me with disrespect” attitudes on and it hasn’t really dissipated in the intervening six weeks or whatever it’s been.
“I’m playing every game like I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I haven’t played in about a year and a half – real basketball, these kinds of minutes – so to me it feels like I owe to myself, I owe to my family and I owe it to this organization who brought be here on a leap of faith.”
Not bad, eh?
I don’t mind that kind of attitude at all, in fact I think it should be more publicly prevalent.
The question, of course, is how long it keeps up?
Once a guy gets settled and a bit comfortable, do we see some kind of complacency set in? Haven’t seen it from Johnson, hope we don’t well into the future.
And his coach warned him about what might be coming this evening.
“If you’ve been somewhere and maybe not played, it becomes something like, ‘okay, I have to show these guys they made a mistake.’ He was very fired up for that game and I’m sure they’ll be very fired up to get him back there. I talked to James a little bit about that today, I said ‘they’re going to come after you and you better be ready.’”
Why do I think Butler might run the Picket Fence in the Final Four semis tonight?
(That’s too easy for you, isn’t it?)
Anyway, the two games are rather compelling – Butler-VCU and then Kentucky-Connecticut – and if you’re not going to be able to watch, don’t worry.
It’ll be VCU and Connecticut in Monday’s final.
You’re welcome, Sherm.
Bulls win relatively easily in Detroit on Friday (did you see the get-up Dennis Rodman wore for his jersey retirement ceremony?) and here’s how KC chronicled it.
Quickly from the mail?
Q: Hi Doug. It's a safe assumption to say that a lot of NBA players got into basketball because they love the game. That means that they were probably basketball fans when they were growing up, and maybe even had a favourite NBA team. But now that they are professionals and are actually part of the game, do you know if they remain fans at all? Say, as an example, does Demar still cheer for the Lakers (or maybe the Clippers...) when they're not playing the Raptors? Or do the players lose that once they turn pro because they're part of the competition?
Gabriel M, Waterloo
A: Every player I’ve talked to is more a “fan” of a friend, rather than a team. They want to see kids they grew up with or played college with do well, as opposed to cheering for a team they had an allegiance to in their youth.
(And I use “youth” knowing these kids are hardly grizzled old men to begin with).
So I guy sits down at a very good local establishment – thanks, Mother Hubbard’s – and it’s like TV overload.
Bulls-Pistons over there, Celtics-Haws over there, some pucks game down in the corner and right there in front of me?
Glorious Jays Home Opener Victory!
162-0, I tell ya. 162-0.
Okay, this just in:
I (Heart) Porter Air!
Left the Air Canada Centre about 12:45 p.m. after practice and was at the lounge sipping a coffee and eating a cookie by about 1:20, plane was super comfortable, flight got into Midway half an hour earlier and it was one of the easiest travel days of the year.
They really need to fly to other NBA cities, please.
Of course, the doofuses who run the airports in the GTA and Air Canada are going to screw up the island airport by adding more domestic flights and creating congestion but, for now, it’s like travel heaven.
Speaking of mail, could some of you still send me some?
I have a slow-ish day here, with some shopping planned, maybe a Magnificent Mile Walkabout, an NCAA women’s Final Four story to do but there’s time built in for answering your heartfelt questions.
What a huge, red-letter day for some of us on Friday.
Last practice of the season most likely!
With games today and tomorrow they probably won’t work out Monday, with games Tuesday and Wednesday they may not work Thursday and a week from today they might practice but I doubt I can make in back from Philadelphia in time.
Then it’s another back-to-back on the following Sunday-Monday which should mean the Tuesday off and the season ends on the Wednesday.
Feel good for me?
Okay, baseball’s great, it’s nice white noise when you’re sitting around some lazy night but, you know, as I watch the highlights there is one thing the game can do without: Shaving cream pies to the face during post-game interviews.
It’s like the wave, tres passé and should be banned.