It's all about Valanciunas, on and off the court
In a fun turn of events, we got in to see a fair amount of practice yesterday – mainly because they were working on the main court where there’s the physical room for the prying eyes of the media that doesn’t exist in the practice court – and Valanciunas kind of stood out.
Not sure what he’ll be like in a real game but you can see tremendous talent regardless of the circumstances. He’s quick – watching him run full-court sprints long before Monday’s game was eye-opening, he’s not a plodding 7-footer by any stretch – and he just seems to always be around the ball all the time.
I’m not about to laud him as some budding all-star but I can’t see how he doesn’t give this team something special; it’ll take some time to figure out the game and his teammates but the raw talent is undeniable.
Speaking of Valanciunas …
Got a chance to see The Other Dream Team the other day, the 90-minute movie about the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team at the Barcelona Olympics, the one that won the bronze medal in the first major competition after the tiny country broke away from the Soviet Union.
Powerful, powerful stuff and I don’t know if or when you’ll get a chance to see it but if you do, do it.
Valanciunas (and his mom) plays a role, kind of prominent because he’s the first international “star” to be born after the country gained its independence and it’s interesting to see how highly he’s thought of in his homeland.
But it’s far deeper than that.
I’ve mentioned before how seriously basketball is taken in that small country so that fact shouldn’t surprise you. But to hear about the first major event, the emotion that accompanied it and to hear the words of men involved in that time really is incredible.
I don’t think it resonates with anyone here as strongly as it should. We’ve never been “occupied” and never had to answer to masters far away who held our fate in their hands. It’s life and a time not many of us can fathom and you can see the emotion in their eyes and hear it in our voices.
And the role basketball played was huge. It was a rallying point for a small country trying to find its way; a game that truly brought a country together. Great stuff.
Plus there’s all kinds of footage of Arvydas Sabonis when he was young and among the very best basketball players in the world.
If you can, see it. You won’t be sorry.
Remember the IGBT? Let’s get it started again tonight, shall we?
I think I remember how to do it – the other night’s twitter-fest was something of an aberration and not close to interactive enough so be here around 7:30 p.m. and we’ll see how things go.
Oh, and if you’re so inclined, we should probably start the mail thing.
You know you want to.
Yep, Super Son’s working on the Jungleland sax solo and getting it down pretty well.
He gets this one in his repertoire next and home’s going to be that much sweeter.
Bob Seger’s got some music chops, doesn’t he?
Yes, I would love to tell you how Kyle Lowry feels in his own words, would like to have added a few paragraphs to the Valanciunas story yesterday with Lowry letting everyone know how his leg felt but, nope.
The kid back-doored us at practice yesterday, got out before doing what is basically an obligatory media thing and, yeah, we’re a bit ticked as a collective.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that Lowry is not the most communicative or accommodating player with the media, he’s generally sour with gusts to surly and that’s fine. That’s his personality and we don’t want it to change, nor should it.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t, or shouldn’t, come out and grunt his way through a three-minute interview every now and then, especially when there’s a legitimate story developing.
It’s part of the gig when you’re a pro athlete and if it’s distasteful, well, tough. Suck it up, do the right thing and answer a few questions.
We’ll try again tonight and see where it goes; the one thing we know for sure is that he’s not going to play. But he needs to talk.
If you can wade through all the Tigers stuff on the local sports thing, you’ll find this about the Pistons.
The Pistons were dead last in attendance last season, I can’t see how they’ve demonstrably improved their team, this is their first pre-season game and the Tigers are playing a huge AL playoff game at 9 p.m.
If there are 5,000 people in the Palace, I’ll be stunned.
A four-baseball game day?
Too bad that pesky basketball game is going to get in the way because it could be a great one.
But I have to tell you, on the long drive down here with a couple of other grunts, we were listening to the Reds-Giants until we lost the signal and if you think Chris Berman is tough to take doing baseball play-by-play on television, you can’t imagine what it’s like when a great game is raging and he’s doing radio.