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Andrew Friedenthal

Andrew’s Airtime Weekly: I can see clearly now

Sports fans will be aware of last Sunday’s announcement that the NBA players association would be reuniting and that a tentative agreement was on the horizon. After seeing the proposed agreement, one thing became clear as crystal: Billy Hunter read my last article “A Year without the NBA.” Obviously, this is why he agreed that a 50% split of league revenue (BRI) was the answer.Ok, maybe I am a bit a delusional. Perhaps the players finally came to their senses without my guidance. In any event, the clouds are finally gone and the skies have cleared for NBA players to take flight in 2011. The gaping hole in my heart can finally repair itself on Christmas day and we NBA fans can rest easy knowing that NBA.com’s daily top 10 will be waiting for us.Billy Hunter and the player’s association (NBPA) decision to relinquish their anti-trust lawsuit and make concessions to save the season could not have come at a better time. After a failed attempt in late November by the owners to save a full 82- game season, it appeared as though the players would not budge and that the NBA season was truly lost. However, cooler heads prevailed and construction has begun on a new CBA. The ballers’ status the highest paid athletes in the world looks as safe as ever.New details of the CBA are slowly emerging to the public. As the compressed 66-game NBA schedule is released, basketball fever is beginning to take over. Highlights of the new CBA include: an amnesty clause, helping teams drop one contract per year for a period of up to 4 years in order to meet the new soft salary cap, and shortened contract sizes making it harder to keep franchise players like Kevin Durant on lockdown.As far as the… Read More

Andrew’s Air Time: Weekly NBA Heat-Check

Disclaimer: The use of the words “heat-check” may lead some fans to assume that one is talking solely of the Miami Heat, maybe because it’s all over ESPN (personally, I watch Jay Onrait on TSN) or because everyone is obsessed with the Miami Heat. I must also admit that although I am somewhat of a Miami Heat fan, I am from Toronto and am a true Raptors fan, but am first and foremost a fan of basketball. This article is not all about the Heat. I am biased, and this is an NBA editorial.If you enjoyed reading this article, please comment and spark discussion, or make suggestions for next week’s topic: The All-Star Preview/Blake Griffin Show.Two weeks from the 60th anniversary of the NBA All-Star game, more than halfway through the 2010-2011 NBA season, it would seem suitable as the appropriate time and opening article to reflect on what teams have been on fire and what teams are as cold as ice.Temperatures began to rise on the night of July 8th before the NBA season had even started, when LeBron James (the self-dubbed king) decided to take his talents to South Beach to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Predictions and banter followed, laying the foundations and building anticipation for the “hottest” season yet (even acclaimed coach Phil Jackson believed the Heat would shatter his 1995-96 Bulls’ 72-win season record). As a new, better tripod emerged thanks to the masterful manipulation of Pat Riley, the schedule for the NBA season was finalized and Game 1: Heat-Celtics set the 2010-11 season to be a barnburner. The Celtics, after losing a heartbreaking Game 7 to the Lakers, made some of their own additions in the off-season, (a small man named Shaquille O’Neil, AKA The Diesel, AKA Big Aristotle, AKA Shamrock) and were prepared and pumped… Read More

Andrew’s Air Time: NBA All-Star Preview (The Blake Griffin Show)

First and foremost, I would like to nullify the D-League dream factory/All-Star Game and the BBVA celebrity all-star game from my column. Nobody cares about the D-league, I have yet to witness a miracle come out of the dumps of the NBA, in fact I would rather watch the Israeli all-star game, which would have much more heart and hustle. As for the celebrity all-star game, someone would have to pay me to watch Justin Bieber do anything, let alone watch him play basketball against the great Bill Walton (dammit Bill, just stuff him). Although it would be quite entertaining watching Phil Dunphy of Modern Family (Ty Burrell) make it rain, any true “baller” would either get out on the court, or at least play some 2K11 instead of wasting their precious weekend time.The only event worth mentioning on Friday the 18th of All-Star weekend is the T-Mobile Rookie challenge, which features rookies John Wall and the one and only “Rim Rocker” Blake Griffin. Returning sophomores include the elusive Stephen Curry (leading sophomore scoring averaging 18.9 PPG) and Demar “Double-D” Derozan, who is emerging as the new shining star of the Raptors (2009-10: 8.6 PPG; 2010-11: 15.7 PPG). After last year’s rookie takeover led by Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings, I believe that this year will follow suit. Griffin will most likely either break the rim or backboard, and compiled with John Wall’s athletic ability and Landry Fields’s full-package skill set, I believe the young bucks will walk away with their second consecutive victory.Saturday is arguably the most anticipated day of All-Star Weekend, as the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest eclipses the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and Foot Locker 3 Point Contest. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is always entertaining, and has shifted its format: fans vote for 8 players to… Read More

Andrew’s Air Time: NBA All-Star Weekend Review

It’s 11 p.m. Pacific, the All-Star festivities are sadly over, and I am sitting in my hotel room in San Francisco reflecting on a somewhat lacklustre weekend of basketball. Maybe it’s because I went 2 for 7 in my predictions, or maybe it’s because LeBron had to pass away an easy 3-pointer that would have made it a one point game to Chris Bosh (who somehow passed up an open lane for a difficult three). Or maybe it’s just because Justin Bieber’s lame fans have way too much time on their hands and decided to each vote three times for him as the Celebrity Game MVP. Regardless, I would like to apologize to my “huge” fan base; who must think that I am a pretty bad basketball reporter after putting up a weak 28.5% record in predicting the winners of the NBA All-Star Weekend. Regardless, Andrew’s Air Time will continue, and I have some things that I would like to clear up.Friday was a somewhat interesting part of the NBA All-star Festivities, the Rookie-Sophomore game, which featured multiple alley-oops and gravity defying dunks, while some incredible passing from John Wall was entertaining and a great showcase for the league’s young talent. I would like to thank John Wall and Demarcus Cousins for maintaining my integrity, providing me with my first of two correct predictions on the weekend. However, I would like to acknowledge my failed prediction of Blake Griffin as the game’s MVP; he was held to less than 15 minutes in the game, due to more pressing commitments (the Dunk Contest) which I failed to take into consideration. Also, John Wall is beginning to prove that he is the point guard of the future, an assist machine and a pure scorer; I predict he will be the NBA’s best… Read More

A year without the NBA

I am a sports fan first and a student second, and when the first official cancellation of NBA regular-season games was announced on 11 October, my life took a turn for the worse. Amidst the overwhelming feelings of rage, sadness, and pure disappointment, I realized that this meant that I could finally put a serious effort into my studies.This was not the case, however; instead of burying my head in my books, I began to look elsewhere, joining fantasy leagues in football and hockey in order to fill the gaping void in my life. Still, my heart will remain desolate until I have my full-court Dwyane-to-LeBron alley-oops back.After hearing David Stern’s announcement, as he declared, “We just have a gulf that separates us,” and cancelled the first two weeks of regular-season games (up to 14 November), I realized that this was really happening. I could no longer deny the inevitable. Every report that the two sides would meet made me optimistic, but in the back of my mind I always knew the NBA’s most fundamental issues could not be resolved unless games were sacrificed.People simply don’t understand the importance and value of something until it is lost.  The only problem is that NBA players are still playing in leagues around the world and most owners are still enjoying the fruits of their labour, while we fans are left with nothing but charity-game highlights to satisfy our need to witness gravity-defying athleticism.Just as the NBA’s popularity was hitting new highs, it has become increasingly clear that fans’ sentiments toward the league are now about to hit rock-bottom. The main issues surrounding the lockout (a hard salary cap, revenue sharing between teams and players, and the distribution of revenue among teams) are problems we fans can only dream of worrying about.The debate… Read More