Bread City Basketball


The Leap by Cliff Dweller
April 26, 2012, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: ,

Shooting hoops,
you realize that
the spirit of the universe
swirls around you
like a gentle
blue light
The lowering sun beckons
your eyes and nothing else
This is all you need
This is your life,
that hunk of
one city street,
and you become
a thing of beauty
jumping through
the evening’s stillness
with this pumpkin
in your hand
You choose
to be outside
playing basketball
because you have
a small hole to fill
A net of darkness
that you love
more than a best friend
Street lights are shining again
in the shadow of the city
You’re in the middle,
catching the ball
before you leap
as high as Olympus
And suddenly you see
your fingertips
on the ball
growing older,
growing darker,
the very last drop
of immortality

by Cliff Dweller


photo via superbomba



Great Jams: Do The Du (Casse)
April 23, 2012, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Music, Photography | Tags: ,


A Certain Ratio – Do The Du (Casse)



KNICKS VS. BULLS BRAWL, 1994

It’s the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Knicks are rocking black sneakers for good luck. This is their shot. 1994: the year without Jordan. New York has to win now, while they can. Because whatever little fantasy MJ is living out at that moment – pretending to be a baseball player, Indian chief, astronaut, or whatever – they all know it won’t last.

And the Knicks are winning the series 2-0, when the scuffle breaks out between Derek Harper and Jo Jo English in Game 3. These teams hate one another. Pippen and Charles Smith had technical fouls before the game even started. Now the benches clear quick.

The fight goes down to the ground on some bad jiujitsu. Arms and legs everywhere. John Starks is about to throw a punch when Phil Jackson grabs him from behind. They both get tackled into the stands, and security bodies Starks up. Ewing and Pippen play the old hold me back, hold me back game. And Pat Riley’s not even mad until Derek Harper puts hands on coach’s suit.

But the best part? David Stern sits a few mere rows from the melee. He’s literally close enough to reach out and break up the fight himself, but he can’t move. The commissioner just stares, bug-eyed, into his own personal slow motion disaster reel, as both teams crush the heavy spenders sitting courtside.

New York went on to win the series in 7 games, and Jordan returned to basketball the following season.



Jeff Koons’ Basketball Poster Switch-Up

The Costacos Brothers’ awesome 1980s sports posters were hung on bedroom walls across the country with scotch tape and awe. And in 1985, they were also hung in a gallery by Jeff Koons, who went on to sell them for hundreds of thousands of dollars as his own work.

Call it a hostile art takeover. How else could Koons manage to appropriate six of the Costacos’ well-known basketball posters for Equilibrium, his first solo show? It was easy. He went to Nike, bought the rights for an undisclosed amount, and started printing the certificates of authenticity.

Curators can spin Koons’ conceptual power move this way and that. But here’s the real deal, straight from his 1992 Taschen book: “It’s about artists using art for social mobility…white middle-class kids have been using art the same way that other ethnic groups have been using basketball — for social mobility.”

In contemporary art and basketball, big personalities rule. Koons saw something of himself in the Costacos Brothers’ one-shot athlete mythologies. He indulged this superstar artist fantasy by finding a way to justify flipping the posters as his own product.

From the perspective of today’s age of 24/7 internet image curation, where support for authorship is zilch, the whole story doesn’t seem that shocking. The idea of cool images being re-contextualized is familiar to anyone who knows understands what “re-blog” means. But how many re-blogs have you heard of netting $150,000 at Christies?

Tracking down the Equilibrium posters on the web is difficult, these days. After all, creating scarcity is a key element of how Koons transformed them into expensive art objects. So like bedroom sunlight faded so many Costacos posters over the years, every blog hit devalues Koons’ work a tiny bit more. Enjoy.

Jeff Koons Basketball Poster

Jeff Koons Secretary of Defense



Mark Cuban vs. Italo Calvino
April 9, 2012, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City | Tags: , , ,

Noise vs. Lightness. Death to assisted resonance!



PARQUET EVERYTHING
February 21, 2012, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City | Tags: ,

BASKETBALL PARQUET

WOOD PARQUET FLOOR

PARQUET FLOOR



DEFINITION OF LINSANITY

via Got’em Coach a.k.a. the director.



MJ VALENTINE

Nothing says love like these deadstock Michael Jordan valentines, whether he’s dunking through the stratosphere or standing in front of a dead tree. Circa early 90s, when cool was king.

Michael Jordan Slam Dunk Valentine

Michael Jordan Valentine's Day Card

Love and Basketball



BASKETBALL IN IRAQ

I. American troops play basketball in Saddam Hussein’s occupied Birthday Palace. Tikrit, Iraq, 2004.

Iraq Saddam's Palace Tikrit Basketball
original photo by Paolo Woods

 –
II. The 1948 Summer Games in London was the first and only time that Iraq fielded an Olympic basketball team. They sustained five of the tournament’s worst defeats. Iraq lost to China, Korea, the Philippines, and Chile by an average of 86 points per game. The United States won gold.

Iraqi Olympic Basketball Team

kj
III. “The next week, back in Baghdad, I had a whiskey one evening with the Time bureau manager and a pair of reporters and told them about the killings at the basketball game… The bureau manager lit another cigarette as we sat in silence for a moment. ‘And especially, basketball being a pro-Western sport was nonsense,’ he said. ‘Iraqis have been playing basketball for fifty years, since long before all this. They love it.’”
– From The End of Major Combat Operations, by Nick McDonnell

Richard Mosse's Iraq
photo by Richard Mosse



The Lost Logo of the 1975 Giants

In 1975, the New York Giants were a team without a country. They were in the wilderness. Their stadium in New Jersey was still being constructed, and the Yankees (the Giants’ old landlord) had kicked them out to do renovations.

So the Giants had no place to play home games, and to make matters worse, they were terrible. Facing an uncertain future, the team did the only thing they could do. They designed a new logo: an italics-mixed-case-disco-racing-stripe-NY emblem of questionable decision-making. It was the NFL uniform equivalent of a drunk tattoo. It was awesome. And it only lasted for that single season.

The Giants ended up playing through the year at Shea Stadium in Queens. In 1976, the team moved in to their home at the Meadowlands, and wasted no time in changing to a logo that was NY/NJ-neutral. It was their banner through two epic Super Bowl victories. Here’s to one more: BEAT NEW ENGLAND!

best helmet ever



Best Side
February 1, 2012, 9:14 am
Filed under: Bread City, New York City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , ,

Hot bowl of pastina,
23rd Street and the river.
Subway grime patina,
shout to chopped liver.

Chelsea Penthouse NYC Photo
photo by Stephan Alessi



GREAT JAMS: SPOTTIE
January 30, 2012, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Bread City, College Basketball, Music, Sports Photography | Tags: ,


Hypnotic Brass EnsembleSpottie

NCAA DUNK CONTEST
photo via TGA



BILL BRADLEY: BASKETBALL POET

What attracted me was the swish, the sound of the dribble, the feel of going up in the air. You don’t need eight others, like in baseball. You don’t need any brothers or sisters. Just you. I wonder what the guys are doing back home. I’d like to be there, but it’s as much fun here, because I’m playing. It’s getting dark. I have to go back for dinner. I’ll shoot a couple more. Feels good. A couple more.
- From A Sense of Where you Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton, by John McPhee

The Knicks stole Bill Bradley in the 1965 NBA Draft. There was no frozen envelope, just a now-obscure rule known as the Territorial Pick. Between 1950 and 1966, NBA teams had first dibs on drafting any college player within 50 miles.

Bradley had graduated from Princeton as the Associated Press Player of the Year, the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and a two-time First Team All-American. And since Princeton, New Jersey is 1 mile closer to New York City than to Philadelphia, the Knicks were able to scoop Bradley away from the 76ers as a Territorial Pick.

The rest is history: Bradley played with New York for his entire basketball career – save for one season with Olimpia Milano – and his #24 jersey was retired by the Knicks in 1984.

Bill Bradley Knick