Monthly Archives: April 2008

Insomnia For Sale

For the past 14 years, a couple of grandparents have owned and lived in a piece of movie history. Now, desiring to spend more time with their grandkids back east, they are selling that history for the bargain price of $2.5 million dollars.

The house that Sam and Jonah Baldwin lived in when they moved to Seattle following the death of Sam’s wife and Jonah’s mother has just been added to the real estate market.

So, if you’re interested in moving to Seattle, WA and living in the Sleepless in Seattle house, now’s your chance.

Obama and the Pick-up Game

Senator Obama played a pick-up game with the Tar Heel basketball team this morning following a rally last night in Chapel Hill. Watch video of it here.

Note: This is in no way an endorsement of this candidate.

The World According to My Brother

My brother went to New York City this past weekend to witness the NFL draft live and in person. (Yes, I’m jealous.) He brought Lincoln a little present when he got home last night. He also believes that Lincoln will be the #1 pick in 2030 NFL draft as a quarterback from Harvard University.

Commercial Appeal

There aren’t enough words or enough MB of space on this blog to explain what Michael Jordan could do on a basketball court. There were times I wondered if he was human (see The Flu Game), and there were times I wondered if the word “quit” was in his vocabulary. He pulled the Bulls onto his back more times than I can count and made them believe in hard work as a means to an end. All along the way, he built his Jordan Brand empire at Nike known as Jumpman 23. During the NCAA basketball season you can see little Michael Jordan’s embroidered into jersey’s across America, and his annual Air Jordan shoe release (this year is #23) gathers more press than Christian Louboutin could ever hope for.

Over the years, the Jordan Brand has produced some great commercials with Michael doing the narration on the ones that have a voice over. I’m a sucker for a good commercial. Make me laugh or make me cry, and I’ll consider it a great commercial. But, give me chills and you’ve won me over completely. The latest series of Jordan Brand commercials is called BECOME LEGENDARY. In each one, Michael talks about a different aspect of a person’s game: remembering how far you’ve come, overcoming obstacles, hard work and preparation, and not giving excuses. I don’t know how many more there are, but right now there are four, and I have included them below. The last one I saw for the first time on Friday night during SportsCenter (oddly enough right before ESPN came back from commercial to report on Tyler Hansbrough returning for his senior season). It gave me chills. Note the part near the end when you realize that Michael is talking to a group of what appear to be high school basketball players. Note especially, the kid who swallows hard. That’s how I felt when I saw it for the first time and immediately picked up the phone to call my mother.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SHOES

LOOK ME IN THE EYE

CLOCK TOWER

MAYBE IT’S MY FAULT

Oh Happy Day

Note: Roy Williams confirmed earlier in the week that Danny Green was not part of the group that was mulling over going or staying. Therefore, this post is Tyler, Ty, and Wayne’s decisions. [UPDATE: Danny Green and his father decided it was best for Danny to test the NBA waters.ย  Watch out for the Sharks, Danny.]

If you listen quite carefully, you will hear the Hallelujah Chorus emanating from Chapel Hill, NC and from Tar Heel fans all around the world. I make no effort to hide the fact that I now have two favorite Tar Heels of all time: Phil Ford and Tyler Hansbrough. Tyler was never going to change that fact based on whatever decision he made, but boy is he ever trying to win my heart over completely. I always wanted all three of the players to announce that they were returning, no questions asked, but realistically, I knew that probably wouldn’t happen. It still could though.

You see I still remember the pain of the day that Sean May, Raymond Felton, and Marvin Williams held their press conference to announce they were all leaving for the NBA. I’ll admit it. I cried. I wanted so badly for them to at least attempt to be the first Tar Heel team to repeat as National Champions. So, ever since that day, I try to convince myself that a player is leaving early whenever one is considering whether to leave or stay. It cuts down on the pain just a little bit…not completely…but a little bit.

And then today came…2 days left to the deadline…20 days since the Final Four game…20 days of trying to convince myself to be ok with the idea of them all leaving. I got to the point where I was making bargains in my head. Ok…Give me Lawson and Hansbrough. Give me Ellington and Hansbrough. Finally I came down to Just give me Tyler…I’d like all three, but if I have to choose…just please give me Tyler for one more year. And that is what I got most definitely today at about 3pm. I’ve been waiting for 20 days to see the words scroll across the bottom of my television: “Tyler Hansbrough will return for his senior season.” And when I got home today just in time to see the 6pm SportsCenter, there they were…those 8 little words…well 7 cause Hansbrough’s kind of a long word. I almost cried, but this time for a good reason.

I’m so doggone proud of that kid and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because he’s the very definition of what college basketball players should be. Maybe it’s because he’s telling the NBA that right now college is more important than the rest of his life. Maybe it’s because I now know that he will finish his college career both academically and athletically. Maybe it’s because I can’t bear the thought of him not playing Carolina ball until he’s exhausted his eligibility. Truth is, I believe it’s all of those reasons. Roy Williams has said time and time again what a special kid he is. And over the last three years I’ve watched a lot of press conferences and read a lot of quotes from Tyler Hansbrough (a kid from Poplar Bluff, Missouri who went to public high school and not a basketball farm). Roy Williams knows of what he speaks. But this quote from Tyler…yes, this quote takes the cake:

I am returning to school for my senior year as a Tar Heel and will not be applying for the NBA Draft. I love playing at North Carolina and still have big dreams to realize here, including graduating. Of course I look forward to playing in the NBA some day but not next year. I love my collegiate experience and want to finish my four years here, then move on to my next dream of playing in the NBA. I am very relieved that this decision is behind us and I can concentrate on my academic work and improving my game for next season.

I can’t get Tyler out of my head, and in fact, I feel like I’m in a dream. The night of the Final Four, it felt surreal. Like I was in some kind of nightmare and couldn’t wake up. Today felt surreal, again. Only I was in a dream come true and couldn’t wake up…and this time I didn’t want to wake up. I keep asking myself if it really happened. If he really said he was coming back. And then I smile because I know it’s true.

With Tyler’s announcement also came the word that Ty and Wayne would declare for the NBA draft, but not hire agents. If you don’t know, this is something the NCAA has allowed all underclassmen to do once during their college career. They can declare and not hire an agent in order to attend NBA draft camps and meet with teams. Sort of like a try out without either side committing to anything. These underclassmen have the right to pull out by a set date before the actual draft and return to school without losing their amateur status or eligibility. However, the NCAA added a new element this year. Players not hiring agents are allowed to go to EVERY SINGLE NBA team for a 48 hour tryout that includes the team picking up the tab for their lodging, travel, and meals. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit. Who wouldn’t just go see what was out there for free if given the option. So, I can understand Ty and Wayne doing this. Heck, I would have understood Tyler doing this. It’s beneficial on many levels not the least of which is finding out first hand from the teams and scouts what you need to work on in your game in order to up your draft stock.

This year, Ty and Wayne have until June 16th to decide if they want to stay in the draft or return to school. I am incredibly hopeful they will return to school because that was my dream scenario from the beginning. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, while at the same time thinking that maybe they’ll just go find out what the NBA wants to see in them during the next NCAA season in order to jump up in the draft. As it stands now, I can’t even wrap my brain around the idea of Tyler, Ty, and Wayne returning, which would mean every scholarship player from this season with the exception of Quentin Thomas returning to the lineup. It’s unfathomable to me what they could accomplish with that much veteran leadership and one of the best recruiting classes in the country arriving in the fall. But that’s many moons away, so let’s not go there just, yet.

Until a final word comes from Ty and Wayne and until Late Night with Roy Williams kicks off the season where Tyler will get a special introduction as a senior, I will be searching the dictionary and thesaurus for any word that can come close to how happy I am right now.

Daydream Believing

Counting today those guys have 5 days to decide if they are going to declare for the NBA draft (whether they’re hiring an agent or not). It’s been 17 full days since we lost to that team that shall remain nameless in the Final Four. To say those 17 days have been excruciatingly painful is an understatement. I just want to know. Last Thursday night the end of season awards banquet was held where this video was shown and all of them were mum about their decisions. At that point, I had resigned myself to believing that they were all leaving.

Well, let me back up. Three of them were mum, one of them we had no idea we should have been concerned with. Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Wayne Ellington have been bombarded by the media (Tyler and Ty moreso than Wayne) about their decision, but this week we learned that Danny Green, our very capable sixth man, is mulling a decision to stay or go as well. So then, we get to ring our hands and go back and forth in our heads about not just 3, but 4.

Through this whole thing, I’ve had daydreams about their meetings with Coach. I keep picturing all of them walking into his office together and saying, “we’ll all come back on one condition: you get [that team that shall remain nameless] on the regular season schedule for next season.” Coach says he’d never schedule THAT TEAM during the regular season. They’d have to meet in the tournament as they did in the Final Four. That’s one day dream. Other daydreams are simpler, and they just consist of them coming in one by one and saying they want another shot at the title, they think they have unfinished business, they love Carolina too much to go just, yet.

And then I snap myself back to reality and run through THE LIST: James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Joseph Forte, Marvin Williams, Rashad McCants, Sean May, Raymond Felton, Brandan Wright…..

I know there are tons more who left early besides those listed above, but I don’t have time to run through the whole list in my head every time I snap out of my daydreaming. Part of me just wants to know one way or the other. Just tell us already. And then part of me only wants to know if the decision is that they’re coming back. Worst case scenario in my opinion (completely taking out the what ifs about next season if they stay or go) is that any number of them declare for the NBA draft and don’t hire an agent. This gives them almost two more months before they would have to withdraw their declaration. And that would be pure agony.

As a fan, I want them to return because I want them (at least Tyler and Danny who are juniors) to get that one last shot at a title run…to exhaust every bit of their eligibility so they don’t have to wonder if they would have won it all by returning. But, usually feelings and emotions don’t get in the way when it comes to these decisions. I want what’s best for them and if they each can sit down and say they have, in their opinion, done all they can at the college level, then ok. I don’t have to agree with them, but I will certainly support them.

In the meantime, these five days are hurting my heart.

In other news:

Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts organization for being named the #1 franchise for fans in all of sports in the 6th Annual Ranking of Sports Franchises by ESPN the Magazine. The reasons they were named #1 are many of the reasons why I fell in love with the entire organization. They just know how to do it right.

I’m sad today because the Seahawks decided last night to release Shaun Alexander. I know Shaun felt from the moment that he moved to Seattle that it was home, but I personally never felt like that city embraced him. I also know that he is NOT sad today because he’s one of the most upbeat, positive people I’ve ever met. He’s probably looking at it as a new opportunity, a new place to grow, and a new place to spread God’s love. But, still, I’m sad that they gave up on him because I don’t think he EVER gave up on them.

The Good Old Days

I miss the good old days of the NFL draft when we rung our hands until the Commissioner stepped to the podium and announced the first pick of the draft. With this announcement, a new trend is appearing where the first pick is signed before draft day. I look forward to my one day a year when I get to spend a solid 10 hours in front of the TV to watch the draft, and having the first team sign their pick before the Commissioner even thinks the words “on the clock” just takes some of the novelty out of the whole thing.

I get that the Dolphins were never going to be able to trade that #1 pick because no one wants to pay #1 pick money (OT Jake Long’s contract is for five years, $57.75 million, with $30 million guaranteed.), so they should just go ahead and sign whoever they want, but come on…for us little people, let us have this one shred of enjoyment of the whole process.

On a different note about the draft, I just saw that it isn’t starting until 3pm this year. In past years it has started at 10 or 11 in the morning, even noon. But now, the draft coverage is starting at 11am and the actual first round doesn’t start until 3pm. (Rounds 3-7 start at 10am on Sunday morning) I understand that they have reduced the amount of time the teams have for each pick, but seriously…What is the world coming to?!?! I think the NFL just ruined my weekend…and that’s usually something only the Patriots can do.

Romance

This past weekend I watched Lars and the Real Girl. I think this may be the most bizarre movie I have ever seen. It was, however, hysterical on the surface. The underlying story was thought provoking. Basically, it’s a story about a guy who doesn’t really know how to be social in this world, so he develops his own way of working himself into society. If you get a chance to see it, I recommend renting the DVD so you can see the special features…just as funny as the movie. I’ve enjoyed Ryan Gosling’s work since Remember the Titans (with the exception of the way too drippy The Notebook), and his acting in this film just fully impressed me. I’ve got a few others of his to see: The United States of Leland and Half Nelson, but he is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors.

In other news, Eli Manning got married this weekend. Sorry ladies, but he’s off the market. He has now joined his father and brothers’ lead as all of them married their respective college sweethearts. And you thought he joined the family business by becoming a quarterback. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations to Eli and Abby.

Triplets

The three Roberts:

Lincoln’s First Spring Break