D.J Bennett from The Score returns for another visit to talk some Raptors and NBA. We talk about the future for the Raptors and all of the drama around Chris Bosh. The issues that face Bryan Colangelo. D.J also has his take on fans booing and all of that. He even takes us inside The Score studios and throws down a challenge to his fellow Score Co-Workers.
We continued on to talk about a special week of basketball at MSG. What was D.J's take on a exciting week of ball at MSG that included Kobe getting 61, James a triple double that was changed later and the Champs the Celtics all paying a visit to MSG.
D.J -"MSG is where amazing happens apparently. Everyone wants to play well on the biggest stage and you have all the stars there. Jay Z is in the front row talking to Lebron and Lebron is talking back to him. MSG is the mecca in sports and has the biggest concerts, boxing matches and crazy basketball games. We all remember the Reggie Miller shot with Spike Lee in the front row. The Jordan playoff performances against the Knicks. I think it is good that it is transferring on to this generation. That they get up to play at MSG. It just on of those things that has become inbreed in basketball."
D.J also made note of the fact that Jay-Z who is a minority owner in the Nets is seen at more Knick games than Nets games. He wondered what the players on the Nets felt about that whole situation. If it were to help him bring Lebron to the Nets in 2010, I would think pretty good. But it is a valid point D.J makes. Now nobody will every confuse the I-Zod Center with MSG. However that being said if you own something should you not be out there supporting it? Mark Cuban is always doing his part to support his Mavericks in fact some may say more than his part. It also makes you wonder is that Nets move to Brooklyn ever going to happen especially in these economic times? Not that Jay-Z is feeling the finacial crunch at all. But building stadiums are not chump change for anyone famous music artist or not.
I was able to liveblog the game that Lebron had a triple double that the NBA would later take away. During that broadcast which was based out of MSG, there was a lot of talk about the amount of love Kobe Bryant was getting from fans at MSG. Lebron also got a lot of love and the Lakers did hear when they visited the Raptors. What was D.J's take on all this love for the out of town stars in the visiting buildings?
D.J " The NBA has done a great job in marketing stars and not teams. You look at the marketing in the NFL everything is about the team. Fans are a die hard Steelers fan, Cowboys fan or Packers fan. So no matter where the stars go you still have your team that you support. The NBA in the era of free agency they market it differently. They market by who the famous players are, So it is I am a Kobe guy, a Lebron guy or a Chris Paul fan and so on and so forth. As guys move around you become fans of different teams. I think that is why the NBA is more of a global game. So if you are a fan in China it doesn't matter if Lebron is with the Knicks or the Cavs. You are a Lebron guy so you are buying his jersey whatever it is.
People in the NBA are more inclined to cheer for players as opposed to teams. So it just so happens that there are a lot of people in New York that like Lebron. They are hopeful he will be come a Knick in 2010 and beyond. They are going to ride with Lebron. So I think it is a bi-product of that. It is not about a disrespect towards the Knicks. When you go to Raptor games you see the same thing with a lot of jerseys for the other teams as well. Teams know this and they market accordingly. They will have Yao Ming on the tickets when the Rockets come to town. They know that a lot of the Chinese community is coming out to watch Yao Ming. I think is all part and parcel of the NBA's marketing plan."
Picking up on that theme in the 1980's the rivalry of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson was said to in some folks minds to have saved the NBA. It was the most storied individual rivalry in the history of sports. It ranked up there with Chamberlin and Russell. It was the biggest thing in basketball that truly crossed over sports and went directly into advertising and marketing. Converse, McDonald's and a host of others used the basketball rivalry to market there products as well and the players and the NBA. Speed ahead to 2009 and this past Sunday we saw Kobe vs Lebron. Is that the modern day version of the classic rivalry? What does D.J think about that?
D.J-" If it is not the NBA is sure trying to make it happen. But it is totally different. Bird and Magic back then it was real and it wasn't contrived. They had something going on that started in college and it carried on to the pros. They were around same age, they had comparable games, they were bout same size, you had the East vs West. The city kid versus the country boy, Disney could not have wrote a script any better. Lebron and Kobe other than being the two best players in the game, arguably, it is a little bit contrived."
D.J would go on to say that it was just not the same as Bird and Magic were guys that people could related to and choose sides and get behind. In the case of Kobe and Lebron they are actually really similar. Both straight out of high school and considered by some the heir to the Jordan legacy as the next one. But there was just more history to Bird and Magic and the contrast in styles as people. That was also evident in the Celtic and Laker rivalry that was a part of it. D.J seemed to feel that this was more of an NBA marketing creation than it was based in a true rivalry. There is no doubt no one at the league offices would complain about a Kobe vs Lebron final after last season's Lakers vs Celtics match up. D.J was not a believer in any conspiracy theories that Lakers and Celtics last year. He does not by into any for a Kobe and Lebron final this year. I agree with that as well. Sure the NBA has favourite match-ups they would root for. But even in those Bird vs Magic days. The odd time a team like the Rockets would find a way to get to the finals to break up the run of Celtics vs Lakers finals. That being said a Kobe vs Lebron finals would be fun to watch.
There has been a lot of talking about things from a league perspective with D.J. We also talked about a few other things that I am going to throw in the Dino Vault and pull out later. It is some All Star stuff and other goodies. But with all this talk of the league and grand scheme of things, it seems only fitting to link up an interview with the guy that runs it all. David Stern was on Toronto radio today talking with Jack and Doug on the Game Plan. Here is your link hook up.
David Stern On Game Plan
There was also an interview with Phil Lind on Prime Time Sports. He is one of the Vice President's at Rogers. Why this will be of interest for you is at the end of this interview there is some talk about the whole TSN 2 matter. It does not offer any hope of an kind but it does at least shed a little light on the issues that are going on in these business dealings that have left a lot of Raptors fans out in the cold for seeing games. The TSN 2 stuff is at the end of the interview.
Phil Lind on TSN 2 on Prime Time Sports
So that is a wrap for this Interview and a couple other interviews by others. I would like to thank D.J for coming back and talking with Dino Nation Blog again. Both he and Randy Urban have been very kind to me and happy to help out your Dino Blogger. It always takes the help of others to put together a lot of what I do. I am grateful for that help not just for myself but for all the readers of the Dino Nation Blog that benefit from it. Hopefully you all feel the same way. Tomorrow we have another guest as Matt Devlin is scheduled to hook up with the Dino Nation Blog from Minnesota. I look forward to that it has been awhile since we have had a chance to catch up with Matt.