ALL BALL NERVE CENTER —
Juxtapostition Juxtaposition, you guys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER —
Juxtapostition Juxtaposition, you guys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I wrote a post last night from the Draft about NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s final Draft, and how he seemed to really embrace the hate from the Brooklyn fans. Sitting there in the building, it was pretty hilarious to see him troll the crowd along throughout the evening. And now someone has put together a supercut of Stern drinking in the hate.
Stop! Stop! Don’t you see? IT ONLY MAKES HIM STRONGER.
If you been to an NBA Playoff game in the last few decades, chances are good you might have seen James Goldstein somewhere courtside. As NBA commissioner David Stern recently told Interview magazine, “James Goldstein is our largest investor in NBA tickets in the world. And, he’s the most uniquely dressed fan.”
Goldstein — or “Jimmy,” as he is known by many — not only holds floor seat season tickets for the Lakers and Clippers, but he spends his springs and summers flying around the country to get to as many Playoff games as he can. Equal parts hoops head and rock star, it’s not like Goldstein is easy to miss — a noted fashion fan, Goldstein can usually be found in his signature wide-brimmed hats and colorful skinny pants and jackets.
We caught up with the man who is arguably the NBA’s biggest fan last weekend in Miami, where he was, of course, courtside for the Finals, to talk hoops and style.
NBA.COM: So someone told me that this year you’ve been to 53 Playoff games?
JAMES GOLDSTEIN: How many did you say I’ve been to?
NBA.COM: I believe it’s 53 games?
JG: Well, that would be physically impossible, without being in two places at the same time. I’ve been to 31 Playoff games, which is right on par with what I’ve been doing for 20 years. I’ve seen between 30 and 40 depending on how long the series play out.
NBA.COM: When did you become an NBA fan?
JG: When I was 10 years old. So, a long time ago. I’ve pretty much seen the history of the NBA.
NBA.COM: I know you grew up in Milwaukee? What was it about basketball that grabbed your interest?
JG: Well, first of all, I loved playing basketball as a kid. I loved what I considered to be the finest athletes in the world, playing basketball. I loved the athleticism. So I started watching the NBA at a time when it received virtually no attention from the media. The audiences were typically a thousand people a game. They had to schedule double-headers with the Globetrotters appearing the first game in order to get fans to come. There was never anything in the newspapers about the game, so it was very hard to find out what was going on. And there were practically no games on television. That’s when I started out. I always championed the NBA as a high school student, and wrote my term papers about the NBA, and that kind of thing. And I had a job as an NBA statistician when I was 15 years old.
NBA.COM: In Milwaukee?
JG: Yes, I worked for the radio announcer. It was a non-paying job, but I sat at halfcourt, and it was my first courtside experience.
NBA.COM: When did you end up in Los Angeles?
JG: After graduating from Stanford University, I moved to Los Angeles, in the early ‘60s.
NBA.COM: And did you immediately start going to Lakers games?
JG: Yes, immediately. I also started going to Golden State games as well.
NBA.COM: Your love for fashion is well-documented. I was just curious, what do you make of the recent interest in NBA players and fashion?
JG: I think it’s a long time coming. It used to be there was a time when the players wore custom-made suits by tailors that weren’t very good, usually loose-fitting suits that weren’t very well made. Then they started all wearing a hip-hop look — baggy jeans and long t-shirts and jewelry. All the emphasis seemed to be on jewelry, and I could never understand why the players weren’t spending money on clothes. Finally, in recent years the players are getting very fashion-conscious, trying to show up at the press conferences wearing something special and unique. Which is where I’ve been coming from most of my life. So, I certainly relate to it.
NBA.COM: Where did your interest in fashion come from? Have you always wanted to be on the avant-garde of fashion?
JG: Yeah, since I was a teenager. I always was a step ahead of my classmates while I was in school. I started traveling to Paris in my twenties, getting really inspired by the style of the Parisians. I just kept expanding my fashion awareness as time has gone on, started going to fashion shows all over the world, started to become recognized for the way I dress, to the point where the Europeans now all know who I am because of fashion, not basketball. Where the Americans seem to know me from basketball, not fashion. It’s like I two different lives.
NBA.COM: Since you have such a connection to Europe and have been traveling there for so long, you’ve probably been able to see the growth of the NBA there the last few decades.
JG: As far as the international awareness, I’ve attended preseason games over in Europe, and I’ve attended a lot of international games such as the World Championships and European Championships, etcetera. So, I’ve certainly observed the growing interest in basketball in other countries, and I’ve been very happy about that. I think one of David Stern’s greatest achievements has been to help make basketball a worldwide sport.
NBA.COM: I know you have relationships with a lot of the players in the NBA, so I won’t make you pick a favorite, but which players do you think now are among the best-dressed in the NBA?
JG: I don’t want to make a complete list because just off the top of my head I won’t think of everybody, but a few that come to my mind… of course, Kevin Durant, Tyson Chandler, Russell Westbrook. I noticed in the last series I attended, Paul George seemed to be moving in that direction. Amaré Stoudemire I think was one of the first ones. Name a few more and I’ll tell you whether I agree or not, but I can’t just rattle them off…
NBA.COM: Dwyane Wade?
JG: Yeah, Dwyane Wade I should mention above all of them because he’s the one who actually made a t-shirt with my face on it and wore it to a Lakers game this season.
NBA.COM: What did you think when you saw that?
JG: Well, I was very pleased, of course. I thought it was the ultimate sign of flattery. I was very proud.
NBA.COM: With as many games as you get to, and as many places as you travel to, what is it you do for a living that allows you afford to sit courtside at so many places?
JG: It’s a very expensive hobby, as is the regular season, where I own a pair of floor seats to both the Laker games and the Clipper games. I’ve been fortunate enough to make some real estate investments in California that don’t require much of my time and provide me with a monthly income that supports my basketball habit.
NBA.COM: What was the greatest moment you’ve seen in person at an NBA game?
JG: There are too many great moments to say what was the one greatest, but I’ve had what I consider to be unique fan experiences, that I don’t think other fans have experienced. One of them that stands out in particular was when I was following the Houston Rockets around during their championship years in the ‘90s, and they sort of made me part of the team — I attended all the practices and games. And in a Conference Finals against San Antonio, after Hakeem Olajuwon had been outplayed by David Robinson, I pointed out a couple of observations that I made during the next day’s practice. And the following night he scored 45 points and gave me a huge hug after the game and thanked me for what I had told him. So that’s the kind of thing that stands out.
NBA.COM: That’s amazing, and that to me is what’s so unique about you: In a lot of ways you get to blur the line between just being a fan and being something a little bit deeper than a fan. You’ve been able to kind of become part of the teams or part of the League in a way.
JG: That’s the way I feel. I know so many people in the NBA, at all levels of the NBA, and it’s sort of like my family.
NBA.COM: Before I let you go, I want a Finals prediction from you, since you’ve seen so much of the Playoffs in person this year.
JG: (laughs) OK, well, you’re gonna put me on the spot with that. After watching all the San Antonio Playoff games this season, and watching the Miami Playoff games in the last series against Indiana, I have to make San Antonio the favorite. On the one hand, San Antonio swept Memphis, with a very strong team performance on offense, sharing the ball, and some tremendous defense against players such as Zach Randolph. Whereas Miami struggled against Indiana and had to go 7 games to beat them. Now, in the seventh game, Miami played vastly superior basketball, compared to the way they’d played in the previous six. Maybe they can sustain that in the Finals, and if so my prediction might be wrong. But as far as overall Playoff performance, I would say San Antonio’s been the strongest team in the NBA so far.
By C.J. McCollum, for NBA.com
When I saw the look on my Mom and Dad’s face as I crossed the stage at graduation, I knew all the hard work and late nights in the library were worth it! I graduated from Lehigh University a couple weeks ago, and not only did I feel a great sense of pride, but I had a lot of fun! My whole family was there to see me graduate. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Aunt, and almost all of my cousins were there. We did miss my brother, though, who is overseas playing professional basketball in Greece. I hadn’t seen my family since Easter, so it was nice to spend time with everybody and enjoy the end of a fun, exciting chapter and the start of a new one with them.
NBA TV was on-site documenting the whole thing. They started taping my family and me before we left the house in the morning and then captured more footage at graduation. They also interviewed my teammates and coaching staff at Lehigh. It’s supposed to air when it gets closer to the Draft. Oh, and I took a selfie with the school president as she handed me my diploma, which was hilarious – I hope NBA TV got that on film!
A lot of students and their families were asking for my picture and for an autograph. It took my Mom and I about an hour and a half to get from the field where we had graduation back to the car since I kept stopping to talk to people. It was definitely fun for me, especially because I can clearly remember a time when nobody wanted my autograph. In the last two years, as I’ve progressed in basketball and made more of a name for myself, I realize I get that request more and more often and I take a lot of pride in that.
The whole graduation experience was filled with mixed emotions. It was great to celebrate and get together with my friends one last time in a college setting. I felt content with my college career because I did just about everything I wanted to accomplish, except winning a National Championship of course. It was tough, but all of the hard work was definitely worth it!
Front Row At The Draft Lottery
I had a chance to go to the NBA Draft Lottery, which was awesome! I went with Anthony Bennett and Michael Carter-Williams, two fellow Draftees I’ve spent a lot of time with since I started training in Long Island. Not only were we sitting front row, but I also got the chance to meet Damian Lillard, who was the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year. We’ve been in contact over the last few years, so it was good to finally meet him in person. I had a chance to speak to him privately about his experience transitioning from a smaller school to the NBA. I also was interested in hearing how he stayed consistent and dealt with the ups and downs of his rookie season.
After I spoke to him on the side, NBA TV taped Anthony, Michael and I picking Damian’s brain a little bit, asking all kinds of questions about life in the NBA.
Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, top picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, were there too and it was real nice to meet them. They were cool and happy to share their experiences with us.
We also met and shook hands with Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner, soon to be Commissioner Adam Silver. I hope to be shaking Commissioner Stern’s hand again very soon at the Draft!
I’ve always watched the NBA Draft Lottery on TV, but to be there live and in a situation where the Lottery will dictate which team will Draft me … now that’s very interesting.
Eye On The Prize
We’ve been tapering down our training a bit so nobody gets hurt, especially since we’re traveling to a lot of team workouts. Of course we’re still getting in our reps, but it’s just not as intense.
It has been nice to see all of the positive feedback from teams and the media. Sometimes I look at the player rankings, but I don’t read into it too much or let it alter my mindset. The path to the Draft is a long process and all you can control is how hard you work and how well you prepare yourself and I feel like I’ve done a good job with both of those things.
It’s actually been easy for me to stay focused and on the right track because I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time. I’m almost there, I can taste it … the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, the NBA Draft Lottery, next thing I know it will be Draft night, so it’s all business right now. I have been able to enjoy myself a little bit though. Last week I took in a Yankee/Mets game, which was great. Special thanks to the Lehigh Alum who took care of us at the game. We have a great alumni network and I’m proud to now be part of it! Aside from the baseball game and a barbeque on Memorial Day, it has been all about basketball!
As for my mindset now, I’m fully recovered from my injury, and my body feels strong. I have my college degree. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity and hope to reach my dream of not only getting drafted, but also becoming an NBA mainstay and building a legacy in the league. I’ve worked extremely hard, and I’m ready for the next step!
I’m not sure if I’ll be blogging again before the Draft, so make sure to follow me on Twitter @CJMcCollum and on instagram and vine @3JMCCOLLUM to catch the latest on my journey. Wish me luck!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in New York City, a handful of NBA franchises looking for a little luck gathered in Times Square to try and beat the odds. That’s right, it’s the annual NBA Draft lottery, where the best of the worst vie for the first pick in the NBA Draft. I showed up and brought my cell phone camera along with me to see what went down behind the scenes.
Let’s get to the pictures …
I arrived in Times Square right around 6:30 p.m. and fought my way over to the ABC Studios, where they shoot “Good Day America” or “Today This Morning” or whatever they call it — one of those morning shows that airs when I’m still asleep. There’s never really a good time to be in Times Square, because it is consistently crowded and busy and bustling, but 6:30 p.m. must be just about the worst time. Add in that it was humid and in the mid-80s today, and Times Square felt a bit like being stuck in a mosh pit. Or at the bottom of a mosh pit. (more…)
by Micah Hart
David Stern is the best commissioner in professional sports, and I’m not just saying that because I work for the league (Ouch! Put that taser away!), or because I can’t believe the NFL is still thinking of going to an 18-game season. I say it because he does things like going on The Colbert Report to discuss basketball.
Stern appeared on Monday night’s broadcast for reasons I’m not sure of — he wasn’t plugging a book or the playoffs or anything — he was just there to talk hoops with the man still trying to Restore Fear and/or Sanity.
As with any guest on Colbert’s show, he had to try to answer many silly questions with honest answers while showing he was still in on the joke, and I thought he pulled that off fairly well.
Stern has many talents, but one of his best is his ability to give honest answers that most hoops fans would agree with (like the fact that the Heat aren’t doing as well as expected) without saying anything that’s going to cause any trouble.
Of course, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Commish did well; once you appear on the Hang Time Podcast, everything else should be a breeze.