Posts from Sports

Video Of The Week: Allen Iverson’s Hall Of Fame Speech

My two favorite basketball players, Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson, are both products of John Thompson Jr’s Georgetown program of the 80s and 90s. Both went on to have hall of fame careers in the NBA and both were franchise players on teams that got close but never won an NBA championship. The thing Patrick and Allen have, more than anything else, is heart.

And Allen’s heart is on display in this rambling 30min acceptance speech he gave at the Basketball Hall Of Fame yesterday.

It’s about 25mins of him thanking people (his family, the people who shaped him as a child, his friends, his coaches, his teammates, his competitors, etc) and about 5mins of speech making. But in all of that are a few gems.

  • the feeling of stepping on the court against Michael Jordan for the first time
  • his relationship with the Philly fans
  • his relationship with the media
  • John Thompson Jr’s decision to recruit him to Georgetown and “save his life”
  • how he learned the crossover

Allen is far from perfect, as a player and as a person (who is?), but what you see in this speech is how he managed to hold it all together throughout a chaotic career and life. His reputation is now “solidified” as he says at the end of the speech. I am very happy for AI.

Let’s Go Mets

Last year the Mets woke up on the last night of July. I called it here on AVC. They went all the way to the Series, losing badly to the Royals.

This year it took longer, but anyone who follows baseball knows that the Mets are the hottest team in baseball right now. They’ve won eight of their last ten and something like fourteen of their past eighteen games.

I started watching closely a few weeks ago when they started to put back to back wins together. And I’ve tried to watch as many games as I can since then.

They took a lot of hits in the first half of the season, most notably the loss of their ace Matt Harvey, but they have hung in there. If Cespedes does what he did last year and Curtis stays hot after a lousy year at the plate, then we’ve got a chance to make the playoffs and then anything can happen.

The Cubs and Nationals look like the better NL teams this year but the if the Mets stay hot we could be playing baseball in October in NYC. And although I’m a Yankee hater, they also might pull off a late charge. There is nothing quite like the cool fall nights in NYC with postseason baseball in the air.

Streaming, Ads, and Subscriptions

Yesterday’s post on streaming the Olympics vs watching them on TV produced some great comments. 

A lot of them were about the crappy video quality and heavy ad load on the stream. I am not sure what to take from that but it is clear that NBC has not yet made their streaming experience as high of a priority in terms of user experience as they could and should.

But the more interesting conversation to me was about the business model for streaming the Olympics on phones, tablets, and smart TVs. A number of readers pointed out that the streams use the same business model (advertising) as broadcast TV and so the ad loads will be the same and just as annoying.

But I think the broadcasters like NBC have an opportunity to take a page out of the playbook of the streaming music companies like Spotify and SoundCloud and offer both free ad supported streams and subscription streams that are ad free and offer offline sync (record and playback later).

Would you pay for a $19.99 in-app upgrade on your NBC Sports app to remove ads and get offline sync for the entire 17 days of the Summer Olympics? I know I would but I also know that I am less price conscious than most AVC readers. Please weigh in on that in the comments.

The broadcast television companies have been advertising supported businesses for the most part. In recent years they have been able to get retransmission fees and start getting paid for their programming from the cable operators but I think the subscription opportunity in the streaming world is significant for them, particularly when it comes to big events like the Olympics.

I looked around for a subscription based app for NBC Sports and found something called NBC Sports Gold but that looks like an experiment that doesn’t support the main events like the Olympics. I hope we will see the main events make it onto something like that in the coming years. I think it would be great for viewers and for the broadcasters as well.

Olympics: Streaming vs TV

My friend Patrick told me yesterday that I should check out Team Handball. He said its a lot of fun to watch. I immediately thought “I should find out when they are streaming a Team Handball match.”

My daughter posted on social media that she can’t deal with the non stop advertising that NBC is running on their main channel. I can’t either.

The combination of being able to watch when you want and how you want with the incredibly annoying experience of the main NBC broadcast tells me that this may be the Olympics that streaming starts to beat TV.

So when I saw this Variety headline this morning, NBC Universal’s Olympic Upset: Streaming Trumps TV, I clicked on it and read it.

There isn’t enough data in that article to conclude that streaming has, in fact, passed TV as the dominant way we watch the Olympics.

But I can tell you that the streaming experience definitively has.

Fun Friday: What’s Your Favorite Summer Olympic Sport?

It’s fun friday. Time for more talking and less reading.

The opening ceremony is tonight. We have a fortnight (ish) of sport to watch. This is one of the very few gatherings of the entire world in one place. It’s a celebration of what brings us together. The opening ceremony is such a beautiful thing. The flags, the garb, the pomp and ceremony. The torch. I have to say that I love the Olympics, warts and all.

So for fun today, let’s discuss what our favorite sports are to watch at the summer olympics.

For me, it is swimming. I particularly love the relays.

How about you?

Fighting The Fight

I watched the second half of the Warriors Cavs game with my son Josh last night.

I woke up thinking about this play:

The Cavs have an uphill battle. The Warriors sure feel like a dynasty right now. But LeBron and his teammates, notably Kyrie and JR, showed up last night and put up a fight. That was missing in the first two games in Oakland.

There is something about this photo and that play. It shows that LeBron is not going to take this sitting down. He’s is fighting the fight. I said I thought the Cavs would defend home court throughout this series. They sure did that last night.

Fun Friday: NBA Finals

It’s easy to say this series is going to be a blowout after watching last night’s game.

But I’m not ready to do that.

I think the Cavs will defend their home court and this will go seven games.

What do all of you think?

When Teams Get Hot

Right now the OKC Thunder look unbeatable. They made the Spurs look old and they are now making the Warriors look slow. That’s quite something to accomplish. Let’s see if they can keep this up. It isn’t easy.

I am reminded of the Mets last fall. They went on a hot streak that quickly took out the Dodgers and the Cubs. Then they came back to earth for the series and got beat soundly by the Royals.

How does a team get hot? And how do they stay hot? And is there anything to learn from this phenomenon for teams that operate in the real world?

For the Mets, I think it went all the way back to the walkoff home that Wilmer Flores hit on the last night of July. That combined with the arrival of Cespedes lit that team up and they stayed lit for three solid months.

For the Thunder, something has changed in the playoffs. I’m not entirely sure what changed but I watched a lot of Thunder games this regular season and they were not the same team. Something has changed and very much for the better if you are a Thunder fan like me.

But one thing is for sure. When teams get hot, when they have confidence running through their veins, when they trust each other and know where the other person is going to be great things happen. It’s something to behold.

Video Of The Week: Kobe’s Last Game

Steph Curry is the future of the NBA, but Kobe Bryant was the best player in the league for most of the past twenty years and the way he went out this past Wednesday was pretty special.

If you are an NBA fan and haven’t seen it, take five minutes out of your weekend and watch this highlight reel.

The most amazing part is he had to hit two free throws at the end to make 60 and I am sure he was feeling the pressure of needing to make them. He did.

Enjoy.

Bring Back Pat

I read the other day that Patrick Ewing would like to be considered for the currently vacant NY Knick head coach role.

I think that’s a terrific idea. Companies like Apple and Twitter have gone back to their early leaders to rejuvenate the company.

The Knicks have started down that path by bringing Phil Jackson back as GM. They should complete the effort by bringing back Patrick Ewing as head coach.

I arrived in NYC a couple years before Patrick showed up in 1985. And for the next fifteen years there was an energy and a winning attitude at the Garden that honestly hasn’t existed since then.

While Patrick doesn’t have a ring, he has about almost everything else on his resume that a basketball player can accomplish. And he has been one of the most respected assistant coaches in the league for years.

Patrick has the heart of a lion. The Knicks need that, badly.

I’m going to the Garden tonight to close out the season, yet another losing one. I am thinking about bringing a Bring Back Pat sign with me.