Recent Articles

Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer


The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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NBA playoffs are coming

It disappoints me greatly to say that the Timberwolves (38-38) have missed the playoffs again. After nine straight years in the NBA lottery, they were a lot better this year but not close to being good enough. The Western Conference again is loaded with deep-talented teams even though the Eastern Conference has delivered the NBA Champion back to back with the Miami Heat the last two years. I believe the NBA Champion in 2014, however, will come out of the rugged Western Conference. They have five teams with 50 wins or more. Continue Reading →

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Playoffs for the Wolves? Forget about it!

The Timberwolves have already guaranteed themselves a better season than last year when they won just 31 games. Not many teams can say that in this town — not the Vikings, Twins, Gophers men’s basketball, Gophers women’ hockey. As for the Wild, we’ll see. The Timberwolves with 34 wins are hanging around the .500 mark. That is good for 10th place in the rugged NBA Western Conference. Continue Reading →

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Nielsen report reveals racial divide in sports media viewership

Blacks, Latinos and Asians on average spent more time visiting sports sites on the computer and watching sports videos on the computer last year than the U.S. average, says a new Nielsen report. Nielsen’s 2013 Year in Sports Media Report found that “television is not the only medium where sports consumption is on the rise. The average amount of time spent visiting sports sites and accessing sports content on mobile phones in April 2013 increased by double digits compared to 2012.”

It also showed a 10-year growth in sports programming from 35 billion available hours in 2003 to over 116 billion in 2013. Sports consumption by Blacks, Latinos and Asians, however, fluctuated last year in the following three categories examined last year, according to the Nielsen report.  

Visiting sports sites on a computer (hours:minutes)

• April 2013: U.S. (1:25); Blacks (2:12); Asians (1:47); Whites (1:19); Latinos (1:02)

• September 2013: U.S. (1:45); Asians (1:56); Whites (1:47); Blacks (1:45); Latinos (1:17)


Watching video on a sports site on a computer

• April 2013: U.S. (35 mins.); Blacks (46 mins.); Asians (43 mins.); Latinos (36 mins.)

• September 2013: U.S. (36 mins.); Asians (1:05); Blacks (47 mins.); Whites (33 mins.); Latinos (30 mins.)


Accessing sports content on a smart phone

April 2013: U.S. (1:08); Latinos (1:31); Whites (1:10); Asians (1:00); Blacks (44 mins.)

September 2013: U.S. (1:32); Latinos (1:45); Asians (1:42); Whites (1:35); Blacks (1:15)


Watching sports on TV

The Nielsen report also broke down fan viewing demographics by race/ethnicity. Continue Reading →

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Que(e)rying Michael Sam’s timing to come out

When NBA center Jason Collins came out last year, it was the moment the professional sports world had been waiting for: a gay athlete currently playing in a major league who comes out publicly. And what many may not have known is that the professional sports world had also hoped it would be an African American male. What the African American community and the professional sports world of football and basketball (which is comprised of a brotherhood of predominantly men of African descent) desperately needed was an openly gay male professional athlete, one who would bravely dispel the myth that there are no queer athletes in those sports, while assisting the NFL and NBA leagues in their attempts to denounce homophobic epithets, bullying and discrimination. With Jason Collins, the NBA got their Great Black Hope. And if Collins had any worry of what his coming out moment would do to him career-wise he didn’t say. Continue Reading →

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Nets’ Anderson hoping for a turnaround




While local media types flew to a former Minnesota Timberwolves player in town, asking him once again what it’s like to play against his former team, this reporter opted instead to hang around a native Minneapolis player’s locker. Alan Anderson played his prep ball here, his college ball at Michigan State, and now is in his fifth NBA season with New Jersey. “I’m blessed,” admitted the 6’-6” guard/forward after his 11-point effort in a bad loss to the host Wolves. Anderson signed as a free agent with the Nets in July after one year in Toronto. He logged his “basketball years” in China, Russia, Croatia, Israel and Spain as well as in the NBA Development League. Continue Reading →

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A fast start, a final game, and a superstar returns

This week’s column features a perennial state boys’ basketball power off to a fast start, a former boys’ basketball state champion and top football prospect playing his final collegiate game, and a former boys’ basketball standout who returned home to face the Timberwolves in an NBA game.  

St. Paul Johnson off to a fast start

Defending St. Paul City Conference boys’ basketball champion Johnson got off to a fast start in their season opener, defeating visiting Lakeville South 83-60 before a capacity crowd. PIERRE CONWELL, a 6’-3’ forward, led the way with 26 points, including a powerful two-hand dunk. Continue Reading →

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High-scoring Timberwolves now 7-4

Will this be the year the Timberwolves make a run for a title? Will they return to the playoffs for the first time since Kevin Garnett-Sam Cassell-Latrell Sprewell drove the franchise to the Western Conference Finals? This is year 25 for the Timberwolves to celebrate a quarter of a century of no banners. When I started covering sports in this town back in 1978 the NBA did not exist. After 11 games, the 7-4 Timberwolves are one of the league’s most entertaining teams. They get up and down the floor. Continue Reading →

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The Washington mascot solution is simple: Change the name!

No U.S. professional team since 1963 has established new mascots or nicknames that use racial stereotypes. Yet the Washington pro football team, which played here last week, continues its offensive nickname and logo. Current team owner Dan Snyder, when asked last May, told USA Today that he will “never” change the team nickname. His refusal, as well as virtually ignoring a new resolution by the District of Columbia City Council urging the team to change its name, as well as a U.S. House bill introduced that would amend the 1946 Trademark Act, banning the term and canceling all trademark registrations of the current nickname, is downright disappointing and insulting. We condemn Mr. Snyder’s stubbornness, greediness or both along with his argument against changing a name that originated and maintained for over eight decades, since 1932, “a legacy of racism” by the team’s late founder George Preston Marshall in. Continue Reading →

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