Courtside view: Pacers vs Rockets in Taiwan

October 20, 2013 in Basketball, Best Of, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Sport, Taiwan

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Outside Taipei Arena before the game

I’m usually not into hyperbole, but last Sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. Yes, that’s right — I sat courtside for the Indiana Pacers/Houston Rockets game at Taipei Arena on Oct. 13.

Allow me to put that in perspective. It’s not easy being a Pacers fan (because there are so few of us, or so I thought), especially one growing up in Australia. The Indiana Pacers remain the only NBA team I’ve ever followed, and this upcoming season marks the 20th year I’ve supported the blue and gold. I’ve checked the box scores of — and in technologically improved times, followed live or watched — every single Pacers game since the 1994 season. I was such a hardcore fan that I used to call some stupid hotline that cost like 5 bucks a minute to listen to the scores.

I was on a high when the Pacers made their one and only NBA Finals appearance in 2000 (even though I knew they didn’t stand much of a chance against Shaq and the Lakers), and I was at an all-time low after the Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004 (which I happened to catch live on TV). I scheduled my whole honeymoon trip to the States around the Pacers’ visit to Washington DC in 2008, just so I could watch them in a meaningless game up close from the third row, even though Reggie Miller had retired, the team had missed the playoffs, AND it had David Harrison on the roster (he is still trying to get back into the league but couldn’t get a Summer League invite this year).

David Harrison, by the way, was at the game (right), along with the crazy hardhat guy who attends every Pacers game

Former Pacers first round pick David Harrison, by the way, was at the game (right), along with the crazy hardhat guy

And so I practically gave myself a heart attack when I read a few months ago that, as part of the NBA Global Games, the Pacers were coming to Taiwan in October to play an exhibition against Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets. It’s actually not the first time the Pacers have been to Taipei, as they played an exhibition against the Denver Nuggets in 2008, when I was studying in the UK (I remember lamenting the missed opportunity back then). My guess is that the Pacers are being picked for Taiwan because they’re a small market team that holds some cache in Taiwan because of Reggie Miller, while the marquee teams, like the Lakers, are sent to the big markets like China (like they were this year). I’m not complaining.

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Jeremy Lin’s ass

Though generally speaking Taiwanese people are not great at basketball, they loved their NBA and I knew the tickets would be gone as fast as they would for a Jay Chou concert. So on the day the tickets were available for sale (only through machines at 7Eleven), I made sure I got there early and reserved myself a machine. I was all hot under the collar when the sale began, and I started getting nervous when I kept being booted out of the system due to traffic overload. It happened about three times before I gave up on the cheaper tickets and just went straight to the most expensive — which I was lucky to get through to — and bought 2 tickets. The crazy part is that you then have to print out this little receipt and take it to the cashier so you can pay them IN CASH, which is outrageous considering how much the tickets cost (I refuse to divulge this information, but it was more than I could afford). Freaking out, I had to go to the ATM three times just to get enough cash out to pay for them, and I had to do it within 10 minutes or else the seat reservation would get automatically cancelled. I nearly had an out-of-body experience that afternoon.

I started to regret spending the money as soon as the tickets (the actual tickets) were printed out and placed in my hands. But after some self deliberation I decided it was worth it. After all, I didn’t foresee a trip back to the States in my near future and this was still cheaper than getting a plane ticket to fly over there. Most importantly, the Pacers are title contenders this season and I love all the guys on that team, and I would be able to see all of them — courtside! So I decided it was worth it, and this was even before Dwight Howard joined the Rockets and made them a contender too.

The game was on at 1:30pm local time at Taipei Arena, which had been modified into a bona fide NBA arena with the same backboards, rings, floors, and so forth. I had heard some people complain about the 2008 experience (Pacers-Nuggets) being somewhat underwhelming, but I think this year they really put in a lot of effort to make it as genuine as possible. After all, they had flown over not just the entire roster of players and coaching staff, but also the team owner (Herb Simon), team president Larry Bird (just my favourite non-Pacers player of all time), team mascot Boomer and the Pacemates, the team’s official cheerleading squad.

The Pacemates made it to Taipei

The Pacemates made it to Taipei

Having had to take my eldest son to the doctors in the morning and get everything settled, my wife and I were in a bit of a rush to get to the arena. We left early but went for a nice lunch at the nearby Ruth Chris Steak House (I’ll review it soon), which the Rockets apparently visited just a couple of days earlier. Strange choice to have US steak when Taiwan has some of the best food you can ever imagine, but maybe the players were feeling homesick or something.

We arrived at the arena just after 1pm. The outside was packed with people, most of them wearing Jeremy Lin jerseys and Dwight Howard T-shirts, though I was surprised to see how many there were in Pacers blue. Perhaps I was wrong about all Taiwanese ballers being bandwagon fans. Then again, the Pacers are pretty good now, and they have a legitimate two-way rising star in Paul George, currently tied with George Hill and David West as my favourite Pacers players.

George Hill is just a flat out stud

George Hill is just a flat out stud

The stupid thing about the arena is that it is strictly no food or drinks allowed. They had some stall inside selling beverages, but you couldn’t even bring your own bottle of water in. “They have bubblers inside,” is all the security guys told us. If they wanted to halve their revenue, then I guess that’s their choice.

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou got the best seat in the house, right next to the Rockets bench

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou got the best seat in the house, right next to the Rockets bench

Even stupider was the lax security screening and bag checks. I say that because I just wandered in without them checking my bag, which made me feel unsafe, but also because it meant I didn’t have to scull that 600ml bottle of water I just had with me.

Having bought the most expensive tickets available (with the exception of a NT$200,000 special package — that’s about AU$7000), we were ushered to the bottom level and walked straight onto the area surrounding the game floor. By the time we walked in there the Pacers stunt team were already doing acrobatic dunks off trampolines. The atmosphere was incredible and I could feel the excitement rushing through my veins, so much so that my hands were beginning to tremble (sad, I know).

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I thought our seats were slightly to the side, but as it turned out they were right on the halfway line, directly behind the scorers and announcers. In this sense the seats weren’t as good as the ones across on the other side of the court, situated right next to the sideline, but I suppose those were the NT$200,000 tickets I could only dream about.

I used the spare time to allow the moment to sink in, and that was when I spotted ex-Pacer Jalen Rose sitting at the end of the empty Rockets bench. Security wouldn’t let me get too close, but I got close enough to say hi and get a nice response from him. I’m not exactly sure why he came, but he did, along with Clyde Drexler, Robert Horry and Yao Ming, and all of them were trotted out during a break for some reason. All I recall is that Yao is a BIG dude, the biggest human I’ve ever seen, and he made the 6’8″ Jalen Rose look like a kid.

Jalen Rose

Jalen Rose

The most unfortunate thing about the whole day was that my camera, which I thought had been fully charged, was completely out of battery, meaning I had to rely on my iPad to snap photos. In retrospect, it was probably a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to focus more on the game and savour the experience rather than worrying about photos.

Yao Ming, Jalen Rose, Robert Horry and Clyde Drexler

Yao Ming, Jalen Rose, Robert Horry and Clyde Drexler

The moment the Pacers took to the floor was a stop-breathing moment. Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Danny Granger, each of them looking remarkably…normal. I don’t know what I was expecting, but they looked just as I had imagined them. Granger was the only guy I had seen in person before (2008 in DC), and this time his role on the team has changed significantly, from franchise high-volume scorer to doubted former All-Star recovering from knee surgery.

Paul George taking a jumper during warmups

Paul George taking a jumper during warm ups

I tried calling out to the players from the sideline to get their attention, but the arena was so noisy that most of them didn’t hear, or heard and didn’t respond. The only guy who looked over and nodded was Lance Stephenson. He was Born Ready to acknowledge his fans.

Oh, and before I forget, there was another team that day — the Houston Rockets, led by local favourite Jeremy Lin. Like Aussies, Taiwanese people grab on to anything and anyone with a remote link to success, and Lin is no different. The Harvard grad’s parents are from Taiwan, and so even though he’s an American born in America, to Taiwanese people it’s as good as a local product making it to the NBA. I was fascinated by the whole Linsanity thing last year like everyone else, so it was good to see him in person, but for me it was more exciting to see James Harden, Dwight Howard, and of course, coach Kevin McHale, arguably the craftiest post player of all time and former teammate of Larry Bird.

The Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets

Lin of course of the biggest cheer when the players were introduced, and he and Paul George even showed off a bit of their Mandarin before the game (Lin obviously more so than George, who said “hello” and “thank you”).

Paul George and Jeremy Lin address the crowd

Paul George and Jeremy Lin address the crowd

Before I knew it, the game started, and I remember the first basket vividly — a two-handed put-back slam by Paul George off a missed layup by George Hill. The first Rockets basket was by — who else — Jeremy Lin, who sank a wide open three. Lin actually played really well on the day, almost like it had been scripted. He had 17 points in 35 minutes on 6 of 8 shooting before foul trouble forced him to sit and the bench warmers played out the rest of the game with the Rockets firmly ahead. He would have bee player of the game no matter where the game was played.

Jeremy Lin hits Houston's first basket of the game

Jeremy Lin hits Houston’s first basket of the game

To avoid the risk of this post going on forever, here are some general observations I had about the game and the players and the teams in general:

  • Watching the game on TV is great in terms of getting to see everything and getting replays if you miss stuff (in slow motion as well), but I do understand why people shell out lots of money to be at the games despite the hassles of travel and getting sandwiched by the crowds. The atmosphere is just different, especially when you are that close.
  • I always got the feeling that the courts felt bigger on TV and that the players, as big as they are, have more room to navigate the floor space. In person, you realize that the people are huge and the court is just as big as the ones normal people play on, and the ring is still 10 feet tall. It looks real crowded inside that three-point line and shows how just impressive these players are in being able to drive straight to the rim.
  • The only guy who got a bigger ovation than Jeremy Lin on the day was none other than Larry Legend himself when he was introduced at some point during the game. I got pretty close to him as they headed out to the locker room after the first half and was tempted to tell him how much I love him.
Larry Legend in the background

Larry Legend in the background

  • Everything about the game was pretty authentic except for the arena announcer who had a horrible accent when trying to speak English. George Hill became “Joe Heer” and Roy Hibbert became “Roy Heeber”. Seriously.
  • I reckon I could be a pretty good NBA coach because most of the things I was shouting from the sideline was similar to what Pacers coach Frank Vogel was saying (eg, “That was a flop!”, “Bad call!”, “Get back on transition!”).
Pacers coach Frank Vogel

Pacers coach Frank Vogel

  • The Pacers are going to be very good this year, even though they are not quite there yet. Paul George looks confident and ready to be a two-way superstar, and David West is just as reliable as he has always been. I don’t know if Roy Hibbert’s offense has improved much or if the improvement will manifest on the stat sheet, but his defensive game is still solid and I hope to see him in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. Danny Granger, whom I saw stretching behind the bench before checking in, is the X-factor. Jalen Rose apparently said Granger looks DONE as an elite player and he’s probably right, but it doesn’t mean he can’t still be productive in a contract year.
Danny Granger stretches behind the bench

Danny Granger stretches behind the bench

  • In a year when Miami is looking to three-peat, Derrick Rose is back in Chicago and Brooklyn has added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, my guess is the Pacers could finish as low as fourth in the East in the regular season, meaning they could face the top seed in the second round. As long as that top seed is the Bulls and not the Heat I think they might actually be better off. The Pacers will struggle at times during the regular season because they don’t have a bailout superstar like Lebron or Rose (unless Paul George develops into that guy), but this is a team built for the grinding style of the playoffs. Larry Bird said they’re “all in” this season, and I think the Pacers’ window for a championship will be pretty narrow, as in the next two or three years. And to win it I think they will need some luck, like a key injury to one or two of their main rivals.
  • Jeremy Lin is a god in Taiwan, which he would frown upon since he only believes in the one true God.
Jeremy Lin is a god in Taiwan...no, not THAT god

Jeremy Lin is a god in Taiwan…no, not THAT god

  • Houston is going to be dangerous this year. I’m not sure if they are contenders in the West with the likes of San Antonio, OKC, Memphis and LA Clippers, but they are definitely up there with the Golden State Warriors in terms of contention potential. If Dwight Howard meshes well and Omer Asik stays on the team and complements Howard well, then the Rockets could be really dangerous.
  • Don’t get me wrong — James Harden is awesome, practically unstoppable one-on-one, but he is also one of the biggest floppers I’ve ever seen. On literally every drive to the basket he would stick his arms out in front, flail and do this exaggerated head jerk like he had been hit by a bowling ball in the face — and more often than not he would get a foul call and two shots from the line. No wonder he led the league in free throw attempts last season.
  • Dwight Howard looked really good out there in terms of his speed and athleticism. Last season he felt a step slow, but in the 24 minutes I saw him play he was definitely a difference maker at both ends of the floor. He had a pretty poor game by his standards (10 points on 5 of 13 shooting) but he was so much quicker and more agile than the 7’2″ Hibbert (who has been working on improving his athleticism) it shocked me a little bit. If only Kevin McHale could impart some of his post moves to him…
Houston's gonna be a pretty good team this year

Houston’s gonna be a pretty good team this year

  • I got my wife to buy me a Pacers cap and David West jersey between the third and fourth quarters because the line was too long during halftime, part of it because most idiots didn’t start contemplating what they wanted to buy until they got to the front of the bloody line! Taiwan!!!

The final score was 107-98 in favour of the Rockets, which was not a big deal to me because it was a preseason game that didn’t count for anything. The only disappointment I had was that I didn’t get to see new addition Luis Scola play. Frank Vogel was resting him.

Overall, it was an amazing experience, one I will always remember. My still hope to one day head over to Indiana and watch a live playoff game (preferably a game 7, but a game 4 as they go for a sweep is good enough), but for now this will have to do.

By the way, when the game ended and the players finished exchanging hugs I decided to stick around and see if anything else was going to happen before they walked off the court. Good thing I did, because otherwise this wouldn’t be displayed in my glass cabinet at home right now.

Yes, I caught Paul George's game shoe

Yes, I caught Paul George’s game shoe

Defending Reggie Miller’s Hall of Fame credentials

April 7, 2012 in Basketball, Best Of, Indiana Pacers, NBA, Sport

This is an article first published on Pacers Pulse.

I can’t believe I am doing this, and the fact I feel I need to infuriates the hell out of me. But here I am, defending Reggie Miller’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Last year, Miller didn’t just miss out on being a first-ballot Hall of Famer — he missed out on being on the finalists’ ballot completely. At the time, some said it was fair. Others called it a travesty. He may not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he certainly deserves to be on the damn ballot. At the end of the day, however, no one really thought it was that big of a deal, as long as Miller’s name eventually ends up in Springfield.

This year, Miller is headlining the class of inductees, which also includes, amongst others, coach Don Nelson, former NBA champ Jamaal Wilkes and ABA star Mel Daniels. And all of a sudden there are now people who are suggesting he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame at all? Seriously?

If you want to criticize anything, criticize the HOFs selection guidelines, or lack thereof, not the people that get selected because of it. It’s not Miller’s fault that they are letting in so many people most fans have never even heard of.

Inductees are voted in by a small committee based on subjective considerations of merit, meaning whatever they think is relevant. It’s not based on how many championship rings they’ve won, how many All-NBA First Team selections they’ve earned or their career Player Efficiency Rating. And while we’re at it, please remember that it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not a list of the greatest or most dominant players to have ever played the game.

Miller may not have any championships (neither does Barkley, Ewing, Malone or Stockton), an All-NBA First Team honor (he has three Third Team selections) or a higher career PER (18.4, according to Basketball-Reference.com — good for 116th in NBA history) to his name, but is he any less deserving than the people that have been selected before him (say Bailey Howell, Maurice Stokes, Adrian Dantley or Chris Mullin)? Is he any less deserving than the people selected for the class of 2012 (a class he is freaking headlining)? The Basketball Hall of Fame needs to be accepted for what it is, not what people think it should be or want it to be.

In any case, let’s take a look at Miller’s basketball career as a whole.

Miller’s raw numbers speak for themselves.

  • 11th overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft
  • 18 seasons for the Indiana Pacers (retiring in 2005)
  • 5 All-Star appearances (90, 95, 96, 98, 00)
  • 3 All-NBA Third Team selections (95, 96, 98)
  • 1 NBA Finals appearance (2000)
  • 6 Eastern Conference Finals appearances (94, 95, 98, 99, 00, 04)
  • regular season career averages: 18.2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.7 turnovers
  • regular season career shooting averages: 47.1% FG, 39.5% 3P, 88.8% FT
  • playoff career averages: 20.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1 steal and 1.8 turnovers
  • playoff career shooting averages: 44.9% FG, 39% 3P, 89.3% FT

Very good, but not flashy, right? And before I forget, let’s throw in numbers from his college and international careers as well, since it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame (which doesn’t exist).

  • 4 seasons for UCLA (graduating in 1987)
  • NIT championship (85), Pac-10 championship (87)
  • college averages: 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 54.7% FG, 43.9% 3P, 83.6% FT
  • FIBA World Championship (1994) gold medal; All-Tournament Team selection; 17.1 ppg
  • Olympic Games (1996) gold medal; 11.4 ppg

These raw numbers and achievements probably won’t blow anyone away, but his career looks a lot more impressive when you start to put them in perspective.

NBA regular season

  • 14th all-time scorer (25,279)
  • 2nd all-time in three-pointers made (2,560; surpassed only by Ray Allen in 2011)
  • 9th all-time in free throw percentage (88.8%); 12th all-time in free throws made (6,237)
  • 3rd all-time in Offensive Rating (121.48)
  • 6th all-time in True Shooting Percentage (61.39%)
  • 7th all-time in games played (1,389)
  • 3rd all-time in games played with one team (1,389); 2nd all time in seasons with one team (18; behind John Stockton’s 19)
  • 11th all-time in Win Shares (174.40); 7th all-time in Offensive Win Shares
  • Led the league in free throw percentage 5 times (90-91, 98-99, 00-01, 01-02, 04-05)
  • Led the league in three-pointers made 2 times (92-93, 96-97)
  • Led the league in True Shooting Percentage 2 times (90-91, 93-94)
  • Led the league in Offensive Rating 4 times (90-91, 92-93, 93-94, 98-99)
  • Career-high 57 points (@Charlotte in 1992)
  • 1 of 5 players in NBA history to have had a 50-40-90 season (ie, to have shot 50% FG, 40% 3P and 90% FT — others being Larry Bird, Mark Price, Steven Nash and Dirk Nowitzki)

NBA Playoffs

  • 20th all-time scorer (2,972)
  • 1st all-time in three-pointers made (320)
  • 9th all-time in free throw percentage (89.3%); 15th all-time in free throws made (770)
  • 11th all-time in True Shooting Percentage (60.1%)
  • 11th all-time in Offensive Rating (119.21)
  • 19th all-time in Win Shares (19.9); 8th all-time in Offensive Win Shares (16.18)
  • Career-high 41 points (vs Milwaukee in 2000)

Indiana Pacers

  • Franchise leader in games, points, minutes, field goals, three-pointers, free throws, assists and steals
  • One of 5 Pacers to have jersey retired (others being Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Bobby Leonard and George McGinnis)
  • First franchise player to start in an All-Star game

UCLA

  • 3rd all-time scorer, 3rd all-time in field goals made, 3rd all-time in 3P%, 4th all-time in FT%, 2nd all-time in free throws made, 8th all-time in steals
  • 2nd all-time in single season points (behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
  • Holds single season records for league points (1986; 500), league scoring average (1986; 27.8), free throws made (1986; 202)
  • Holds single game record for free throws in a game (17) and in a half (13), and points in a half (33)

Team USA

  • 2nd leading scorer at 1994 FIBA World Championship (behind Shaquille O’Neal)

Miller’s numbers start to speak a lot louder when you consider the company he is in. While you ordinarily wouldn’t put Miller in the same category as some of the all-time greats because he wasn’t the type of player that regularly dominated the game, some of his numbers and records suggest otherwise. In particular, Miller’s Similarity Score at Basketball-Reference.com, which finds players throughout NBA history with the same career quality and shape, puts him in the same league as guys like Kobe Bryant, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Jerry West, Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson — all current or future Hall of Famers.

One of the most common arguments critics use to discredit Miller’s career is that he was “one-dimensional” or that he was a poor defender. I even read a recent article which claimed that all Miller did for 18 seasons was curl off screens. Sorry, but you don’t become the NBA’s 14th all-time leading scorer by just curling off screens. The Knicks’ Steve Novak is one dimensional. Former Pacer James Posey, in his last season, was one dimensional.

But anyone that has watched Miller play, especially during his prime, will know he had a surprisingly wide offensive repertoire. Defensively, his weight and lateral movement gave him problems against bigger, quicker guards, but his height (6’7”) and length troubled them too. And what do you think chasing Miller around all game did to their stamina?

In any event, being an all-round player or a wonderful defender are not prerequisites for the Hall of Fame. That’s like saying Dennis Rodman doesn’t deserve to be in it because he is not a great scorer or because Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t a good free throw shooter. If Rodman can get in for being one of the greatest rebounders of all-time, then why can’t Miller get in for being one of the greatest, if not the greatest three-point shooter of all-time?

But to debate whether Miller deserves to get in on his three-point shooting or any other of his records is missing the point entirely. The Hall of Fame should, and does, go far beyond numbers and statistics. Miller’s fame (this is the Hall of Fame, mind you) and the impact he has had on the game of basketball, especially in Indiana, the Hoosier state, puts him right up there with the all-time greats.

Miller was the face of a franchise for almost his entire career. He was Indiana’s best player for more than a decade. How many players in NBA history can say the same thing?

If you ask anyone to name a single player to have played for the Indiana Pacers, even now, chances are they would say Reggie Miller. If you ask any New York Knicks fan which player has tormented their team more than any other, apart from Michael Jordan (and possible Carmelo Anthony — kidding), chances are they would say Reggie Miller. If you ask who they would want to take a last second three-pointer with their team down by two, Reggie Miller would likely be in the top five, if not number one.

Miller might have had a couple of championships but for the guy on his left and a prime Shaquille O'Neal and a rising Kobe Bryant in 2000

If you ask someone to name the most memorable moments in NBA playoff history off the top of their head, chances are they will include Miller’s 25-point fourth quarter against the Knicks in the 1994 playoffs, and if not, certainly his 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the Knicks a year later. And what about his game-winning three-pointer over Michael Jordan in the 98 East finals, or my personal favorite, the 39-foot buzzer-beating bank shot to force the first overtime, and then the two-handed dunk to force the second one against the top-seeded Nets in 2002? How many players outside of Michael Jordan has had so many defining moments in their careers?

I get it if people want to diminish Miller’s achievements because he’s not the type of player traditional fans like. He plays for the small market Pacers. He looks like an alien and is so thin he might slip through the cracks in the floorboards; he flops a lot, likes to talk trash and enjoys playing the villain. And yes, he pushed off Jordan and then danced around in circles like a little girl (and that was because he was playing with a badly sprained ankle, for those who don’t remember). But he also struck fear into the hearts of his opponents like only the greats could.

He was a truly unique player, the kind the NBA might never see again. For that, and the impact his remarkable career had on UCLA, the Indiana Pacers, the NBA, Team USA and the sport of basketball in general — for more than two decades — no one should question Reggie Miller’s rightful inclusion in the Hall of Fame ever again.

Taiwan, Bleacher Report and Other Updates!

December 30, 2009 in Blogging, On Writing, Travel

Taipei 101 on a gloomy day (which is most days)

I’m having a blast in Taipei, eating and shopping non-stop, with a bit of time to write in between.  I am starting to get concerned that the eye bags I developed in my last few weeks of work will still be there when I return!

I saw Sherlock Holmes (the movie not the sleuth, which I am yet to review), and I have been diligently recording all my scrumptious meals, each of which I will deliver a post on when I get around to it (hopefully soon)!

I am also looking forward to buying a few new books here to read as they seem to be a lot cheaper than back home (anyone with tips?).

Lastly, a bit of exciting news on other fronts.

First, I have become a reviewer at 7Taven, which is a website that reviews movies, games, amongst other things.  So thanks to the guys there for giving me this opportunity!

Second, my new Pacers Pulse website is going to be launched shortly, with a brand new design, new layout, new desinger banner and new web address!  Stay tuned because even though the Pacers suck, Pacers Pulse is going to rule!  Thanks to the guys at Bloguin for that opportunity.

Lastly, I have become a reviewer at Bleacher Report, and I have put up 2 opinion pieces.  The first is a basketball article (which is what I was asked to write about by the guys who invited me to write there) entitled “How Losing Danny Granger Can Help the Indiana Pacers“.   Hopefully in a few articles I will become a stable writer for the Pacers there.  The second I did off my own initiative and is another opinion article on the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao blood testing feud enitled “Mayweather-Pacquiao: Time to Stop the Bleeding“, which has done surprisingly well, earning me a ‘Hot Read’ medal in less than 12 hours!  Check them out!

Pacers Pulse!

September 7, 2009 in Basketball, Blogging, Indiana Pacers, On Writing

IndianaPacers

Support my new blog!

Update: Pacers Pulse has moved to Bloguin!  Check out the new site here.

Well, it came out of the blue, but I’ve been invited to be the blogger at Pacers Pulse, an Indiana Pacers blog which is part of the MVN (Most Valuable Network).  As a Pacers fan, I accepted the invitation with glee, and as an aspiring writer, I was ecstatic.

To be honest, I am still quite lost when it comes to blogging.  I only started in January this year (with this blog), and it was more of a creative outlet than anything else.  I’m still trying to get around the technical side of posting (and my, WordPress is so much easier to use than Movable Type – thank goodness MVN is moving to WordPress next month!).

The opportunity literally came out of nowhere – the old blogger there (who had apparently built up a decent following) left to blog somewhere else, and the administrators must have come across my blog, which has a few Pacers posts but is certainly not a Pacers blog.  With the dearth of Pacers fans out there, I suppose they didn’t have much of a choice!

I am working ‘pro bono’ on this (ie free), but I felt it was a great chance to meet more people in the blogosphere (god I am such a geek), get more experience as a writer and expand my readership.  Most of all, I wanted to get a sense of what it feels like to ‘work’ as a writer.  You know how they say you may love something as a hobby, but when you do it as a job, it instantly becomes a chore.  Well, so far so good.  4 posts and counting and I’m still loving it!  It’s still a little while before I return to full-time work (which will certainly change the dynamics a bit) but I look forward to continuing blogging on a regular basis, and eventually, transitioning to a career in writing.

And so, all my new Pacers posts will now go directly onto Pacers Pulse from now on, meaning I will no longer write about them on this blog (I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief).  If you like the Pacers (and/or if you have a heart), please check out Pacers Pulse!  Oh, and also check out Always Miller Time – I owe this opportunity to the guy who left Pacers Pulse to go there (thanks)!

Pacers finally get rid of Tinsley!

July 30, 2009 in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA

Tinsley will have to earn his money 'on' on the court now

Tinsley will have to earn his money 'on' on the court from now

Yay!  A little overdue, but I thought I’d express my glee.

The Indiana Pacers have finally reached an agreement with disgruntled guard Jamal Tinsley (who took up a roster spot and ate up over $5 million last season doing literally nothing) and waived him at last.  Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  Nothing against Tinsley personally.  He had some personal problems, didn’t work as hard as expected and was fragile – but when you look at the Pacers lineup now you realise he couldn’t have made things much worse.

I’ve always said it was the Pacers’ own fault for not getting rid of Tinsley earlier – by publicly banishing him from the team and disclosing his weaknesses they killed whatever trade value he had left.  Sure they got some trade offers, but they must have been offering chump change in return, which explains why he never went anywhere despite the optimism the Pacers were spinning.

The good thing for the Pacers is that they can finally move on from the whole Detroit-brawl saga (as Tinsley was the last remnant).  It’s been a terrible few years and fans might start returning to the financially troubled franchise.  The team needs all the help it can get after an offseason where little was done to help Danny Granger and the team while other teams made significant signings and upgrades.  They lost one of the few bright spots on the team, Jarrett Jack to free agency, and only picked up ex-Thunder guard Earl Watson in return.  They also refused to re-sign Marquis Daniels.  Mike Dunleavy Jr’s future is still in doubt and the team doesn’t have enough money (or is unwilling) to spend on big name free agents.  Looks like another lottery year for the Pacers.

Tinsley, on the other hand, is reportedly in the best shape of his life and will no doubt be swiped up by a team in need of a decent PG.

In other news, ex-Pacer bust Jonathan Bender is contemplating a return.

 
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