Sunday, September 28, 2008

Site news...BJD has moved

The day has finally arrived.

I'll be moving full time to Fanster, the site formerly known as AZ Sports Hub. Matt and Greg have been hard at work putting together a leaner and meaner site, and have done a great job with it.

Here is the direct link to BJD's new home. Please be sure and update your feed, your bookmark, or make a mental note, smartypants.

The season is almost upon us, so expect great things from BJD, Fanster, and hopefully the Suns.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fantasy Camp Fallout

Looks like I've caused a bit of a stir with my post from this morning.

Henry at TrueHoop ran with it, the great Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic noticed, and even Ziller from AOL Fanhouse picked up on it.

So what's all the hubbub, bub?

I had the pleasure of emailing a couple of times with Coro and then speaking with him for a half hour or so this afternoon. Great man, that Paul Coro.

Turns out Mr. Welts had heard about the blog post through the grapevine and gave Paul a friendly denial when he inquired further, that he meant Matt Barnes could start for Grant Hill down the road and not at the beginning of the season. Coro checked in with me to be sure I wasn't completely full of it and that I was certain I heard what I heard.

I'm very certain. I may not have recorded Mr. Welts' speaking, but my mind is like a not yet dull steel trap. I know what was said.

The moral of the story is, well, I'm not sure.

I do feel bad for putting Mr. Welts' in a bit of a tough spot. If Kerr and Co. have been discussing this move for some time as Coro said, I can't imagine Coach Porter is very pleased with the news coming out this way.

Needless to say, it's been a rather interesting day here at BJD. Now all I have to do is continue to tell myself to stay away from the comments on Coro's blog.

Bunch of savages in this town.

The funny thing is, as Stan from Bright Side of the Sun said, everyone is completely missing the point. Giving the Gorilla a two-handed high five is the real story here.

Tired Legs and Phoenix Suns Fantasy Camp

I was fortunate enough to attend a Phoenix Suns fantasy camp earlier this week. The best line I've heard so far about my participation in the event was from my coworker when she asked, "is that for adults?"

Think what you want about these type of things but know this: they're a good time. A really good time.

The day started off with registration and various legal mumbo jumbo. After assuring the corporate sponsor and the Suns that I wouldn't come back to haunt them if my hamstring exploded, a team representative led us downstairs to the visitors locker room.

After burying my desire to firebomb the room the Chicago Bulls celebrated a championship in, I found the locker with my name above it. There was a brand-spanking new, Shaquille O'Neal Suns home jersey in it. While I would surely prefer an Amare or Nash, or even Raja jersey, this was still pretty damn cool.

We head to the main court (did I mention we're in US Airways Center?) and are able to shoot around for a bit. Eventually, Tim Kempton, former Suns benchwarmer and current radio color analyst for Suns broadcasts comes to center court and gathers us around. Tom Leander (Suns play by play announcer for away games,) John Shumate (former Sun and current head scout,) and the great Alvan Adams soon join him. These four gentlemen will be our coaches for the afternoon.

We're broken up in two groups, orange jerseys and white jerseys. We white jerseys follow Shumate and Leander downstairs to the practice court, where we're divided into two more groups. Shumate will run us through defensive drills and Leander will run us through shooting drills.

We visited Leander after Shumate, and his part of the clinic was more casual and relaxed. Layup drills, pick and pop, things like that. Nice and easy.

Shumate, on the other hand, made us work, and had fun doing it. I haven't had to "break it down" since high school. I blame him for my still tired legs but can't hold a grudge. The man is a joy to be around.

Next up was Alvan Adams and some tips on passing and rebounding. Adams is about the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. He even ably handled a Laker fan in our midst (lets call her CT,) a woman who refused to wear the O'Neal jersey "because she HATES Shaquille O'Neal and LOVES Kobe Bryant."

Once our time was up with Alvan Adams, we moved down to Tim Kempton's side of the court where we worked on our ball-handling. Getting ball-handling tips from a 7-footer was a first for me, but Kempton did a nice job and moves much better than I originally gave him credit for.

The clinic portion of the day complete, we're given a much needed break. While myself and the rest of my fellow out of shape basketball fans are toweling off and attempting Gatorade IVs, Cedric Ceballos strolls to center court, and the Suns Dancers and Gorilla appear in the tunnel.

Turns out that before our full court, four quarter scrimmage, Ced will introduce us one by one, the lights will go out, and the standard Suns intro will play on the scoreboard and the speakers while the dancers gyrate and the Gorilla does his thing.

In the midst of grinning ear to ear and soaking it all in, I hear Ced bellow out my name, my cue to run to center court, give the Gorilla a high five, and pose for a picture with the Suns Dancers, the Gorilla, and our four coaches for the day.

To say this was the highlight of the day to this point would be selling it short.

Unfortunately, we were soon brought down to earth again, because it was scrimmage time. Four ten minute quarters, where despite plenty of substitutions and breaks in the action, my legs would turn to rubber and not one of my three attempted shots would fall.

By the fourth quarter every attendee save for a few with young legs was totally gassed. One of these young'uns broke free for an uncontested layup late in the game but to help keep things close and to probably knock this young man down a peg or two, Alvan Adams casually strolled onto the court, slapped the ball out of the kids' hands on his way up, and cool as a cucumber walked off the court. When you're in the Suns Ring of Honor you're allowed to do those type of things.

Last but not least, after cleaning up from the scrimmage, we were served delicious food and ice cold beer, while Rick Welts, the Suns President and Chief Operation Officer, spoke to us about the direction of the franchise on the business end of things and what to expect from the team this season.

Welts was fantastic.

After listening to him speak and engage us, it's easy to see how the man has been so successful in everything he has done. He's very, very excited for the upcoming All-Star Weekend, and looks forward to the Suns proving the media and their predictions wrong.

Welts explained that earlier in the day all the owners came to the arena to watch the team practice and after discussions with the coaching staff, they agreed the team had ably filled its three biggest holes:

-Robin Lopez is a big body in the paint who will bring energy, toughness, and rebounding, and will be a guy who can easily step in for Shaq if/when the big man goes down.

-Goran Dragic is better than advertised and there's very good reason the Suns' scouts have been drooling over his talent and what he brings to the table.

-in a roundabout way, Matt Barnes adds depth to the team, as he will be starting and Grant Hill will move to the bench this season.

This last point just about floored everyone in attendance, but it sounds like this is what Coach Porter and Hill want to do.

Once again, Welts was fantastic, and I very much enjoyed listening to him. What's more, he took a great number of questions and answered each and every one in great detail.

After he had the chance to knock a few softballs out of the park, I threw him another one and asked if there was any concern for Amare going elsewhere after exercising his early termination option in 2010, despite the fact that the collective bargaining agreement allows the Suns to offer him the most money.

Welts was very direct in answering my question, letting us know that Amare has always been part of the Suns family and always will be. The team will be taking a proactive approach to his next contract and hopes to get something done before the option can even enter the discussion.

Thrilled to have listened to Welts and been a part of a great day, I gingerly walked to my car, Shaquille O'Neal jersey and picture of me with the Suns dancers and those other guys in hand.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stalking Steve Nash: or How I Learned to Start Worrying About How my Wife Spends her Spare Time

For whatever reason, my wife decided to look Steve Nash up in a local directory this evening. It turns out he is actually listed. Thinking her behavior wasn't creepy enough already, she punched his address into Zillow, a popular online real estate site where satellite pictures of homes are often available.

According to Zillow, anyone can upload a picture to their site:

Anyone can upload photos of a house — owners, agents, neighbors — anyone! Since Zillow is a community site, we want everyone to contribute — even your neighbors or someone who has lived in the house 20 years ago. Photos uploaded by owners and agents will show up first. Also, community-uploaded photos cannot be deleted, but if you see something that doesn't look right or is inappropriate, please click the "Flag content" link and Zillow Customer Support will review it.
Here (warning: strange nudity) is the picture of Nash's home as provided by Zillow. Enjoy.

It definitely doesn't look right and I don't think it's all that appropriate, but I'm hesitant to "flag" the content. It's so utterly ridiculous, it almost deserves to stay.

edit: I removed the direct Zillow link that contained Nash's address because let's face it, that isn't cool.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I saw Robert Sarver at Dunkin' Donuts today

My daughters and I walked into the Dunkin' Donuts this morning at Scottsdale and Shea to find the man who signs the checks for the Phoenix Suns sitting at the front table, surrounded by a bunch of kids.

I'll admit that upon seeing him I momentarily froze, as the last person I expected to see enjoying a delicious eclair at my local donut hole was Robert Sarver.

He gave me a bit of strange look as I came in, perhaps because he'd never seen a Bad Brains t-shirt before. I can't imagine Mormon bankers are exposed to much hardcore goodness in their lives.

Either that or I was staring. I may have been staring.

He and his brood left soon after my daughters and I placed our order, but not until he meticulously cleaned the table they used. As I sat waiting for our deep-fried balls of sugared dough to be boxed, I knew I had made the right decision.

I thought to say something stupid like "keep up the good work" or "nice job with the Dragic deal" or even "I write a ridiculous Suns blog called Black Jesus Disciples, can I buy you a cup of coffee?" for about half a second, but thought better of it.

He and I didn't get up early on Labor Day to talk about the Suns, or in his case, tell someone to get lost. Our kids wanted donuts.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Stroll Down Memory Lane, Starring Tom Chambers, Steve Nash and Eddie House

I've had a few run-ins with various Suns players in my life. I've detailed a couple previously, and seeing as we're smack dab in the middle of the offseason and I'm doing nothing but sulking over not being in Vegas for the summer league, I figured today would be good as any to revisit a couple more chance encounters with members of the Suns.

First, the great Tom Chambers. I was just a kid so the details are pretty fuzzy, but my dad was able to get us a meeting with Chambers before the game in the depths of the Madhouse on McDowell. Now that I think about it, it wasn't all that exciting.

I remember thinking Chambers was some sort of giant but not much else stands out from the meeting. So I guess what I'm saying is, this post SUCKS so far.

Onto Steve Nash and his sidekick Eddie House. I'm at the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field, and the US is playing Canada. I started the game off sitting at Friday's Front Row with a friend from work and our boss, but as the game went on and my boss had to catch a plane, I moved down a bit.

Actually, I moved down a lot. A family friend has the best seats in the house: on the corner of the home dugout closest to home, first row, on the aisle. As I sat down with my dad and his two friends they told me to me look. over. there.

I glanced to my left to find Steve Nash and Eddie House enjoying the game with what looked to be a number of Nash's Canadian friends. I say these gentlemen were Canadian not because they were proudly flashing socialized healthcare cards, guzzling maple syrup, and sporting nothing but denim, but because they were letting the American players have it and cheering wildly for the Canadian players.

They were also drinking beer. Lots and lots and lots of beer. Well, at least Eddie was. For being a pretty slight man, he can put down $9 beers with the best of them. I don't think he quite drank a perfect game but it was a quality start nonetheless.

As for Nash, the guy was there having fun and enjoying the game. He was definitely in his element, as he and his friends were having a grand ol' time. When he took off in the 7th inning or so (Canada was still in control at that point,) he was escorted out by security because I kid you not, people were acting like he was Jesus and hoping to touch the hem of his garment.

And really, that's about it. Here's a quick recap:

-Tom Chambers - tall
-Eddie House - likes beer
-Steve Nash - Jesus

Sounds about right.

To read about basketball and the Suns summer league, be sure to check back with Stan at Bright Side of the Sun, because again, he's in Vegas, and we're not.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rodney Rogers: Mountain of a Man

6' 7", 270 pounds. That's what his NBA page says. The NBA must have some bad information though because my eyes have seen Rodney Rogers up close and in person, and I assure you he was ten stories high if he was a foot.

For a number of years, I worked at The Home Depot. One summer afternoon in 2001 I happened to run into the one and only Rodney Rogers as he shopped for tree stakes in the garden department. At the time, Rodney was my favorite Suns player, as Cliff Robinson had been unceremoniously exiled in the offseason for being too awesome.

It's not every day you get to see one of your favorite athletes up close and in person. As fans we're usually lucky if our seats are in the lower bowl. Yet here before me was the '99 Sixth Man of the Year, a guy who possessed a silky-smooth lefty shooting stroke and who was affectionately known (especially in college) as Monster Mash.

Rodney needed help with tree stakes, as it was monsoon season in Arizona. As he grabbed one I noticed what looked huge in a mere mortal's hands was nothing more than a toothpick in his. Rodney was a big, big dude.

Sadly, that was it. I answered a question or two for the big man, he thanked me and went on his way. Rather boring now that I've typed it out.

However, my point stands. Rodney Rogers was the man, yet another extremely likable player with a stop in Phoenix. I'd put him ahead of Sleepy Sam and Chris Bosh on the list of left-handed power forwards from the ACC (criteria are mine.)