BASKETBALL PARTY TWENTY THREE!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode TWENTY THREE wraps up its first season as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. We discuss the stages of grief following the Cavs loss in Game 6 of Finals, what the proper response is when dealing with a loss, Steph Curry’s mouth guard, LeBron’s physical specimen, KFC concept stores and just what will happen in the future because we are twin Kreskins. We’ll be back for a special draft/trade deadline episode later this summer!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She will be spending the offseason trying to lay off the intense emotions about basketball. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. Her offseason plans include freelance unpaid concepting for a new KFC at that intersection in Louisville.  You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

Through the Lens: A Photographer’s Perspective

Posted on by

“Do they really need to be that close to the action?”

This question was recently posed by National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michelle Roberts after LeBron James sustained a gash on his head as a result of slamming into a cameraman during game four of the NBA Finals.

It’s a fair question and the short answer is “yes.”

Before I get into why cameras need to be so close, I wanted to give a little background on my experience with NBA photography. I used to be the staff photographer for one of the Cavs’ sponsors and through this job I received photo credentials for a few games each season. Sadly, most of the games were during the lean years led by Lester Hudson and JJ Hickson, thus I missed the opportunity to have LeBron in my viewfinder. I’m far from the most experienced NBA photographer, but unlike many of the people criticizing the cameramen; I’ve been in their shoes.

Tristan Thompson gets help off the floor.  Picture taken by the author.

Tristan Thompson gets help off the floor. Picture taken by the author, Jared Perry

Technically Speaking

One of the main reasons photographers are so close to the court is purely technical. Despite the amazing advances of today’s cameras, they still need light to produce the best pictures. It’s the same reason why your Galaxy and iPhone cameras take decent pics at the beach, but shitty pictures in the bar.

Quicken Loans Arena, the only NBA venue I’ve shot in, is actually very dimly lit. It doesn’t look like low light to the naked eye, but to the camera’s sensor, it’s dim.

Dim light affects how your camera operates and explains why photographers need to be close to the court with as much available light as possible.  When the light is dim, the shutter speed slows down, and when the shutter speed is slow, action shots are blurry. Nobody wants blurry pictures, of course.  How do you add more light to speed up the shutter? You increase a function on the camera called “ISO”.  But, when you increase the ISO, the pictures become grainy. You can smooth out the grain in post processing, which is what many photographers do. It’s a constant battle all photographers and cameramen wage in real time. Next time you watch an NBA game, notice how many immediately look at their camera after the action goes the other end. They are checking settings (or just admiring their work).  I can’t reiterate enough how tough it is to properly dial in the settings on your camera to ensure sharp photos, while battling low light and the incredible speed of an NBA game.

The most obvious way to add light is to use flash.  As you can imagine, every court side cameraman employing their own flash isn’t feasible. Not only would that be hugely annoying to the players and fans, but it would also ruin every other camera’s shot. However, the flash on smartphone cameras is not an issue. The light they produce is inconsequential compared professional flashes. The equivalent to a drop of water to the ocean.  It is worth noting that there is a house flash located in the rafters. However, it is only available to the Cavs’ team photographer and is remotely triggered by his camera.

Kyrie Irving puts Jeremy Lin on skates. Photo taken by the author, Jared Perry

Kyrie Irving puts Jeremy Lin on skates. Photo taken by the author, Jared Perry

On The Move

Let’s say you give people their wish and move cameramen off the court. Where do you put them? You are now limiting the angles available to television broadcasts and photographers who provide content to the millions watching at home. Do you really want to see an entire broadcast from a static aerial view like C-Span? NBA television contracts are insanely lucrative and the billions line the pockets of the league, owners and the players. Is it really in anyone’s best interest to water down the television product?

Even with this new space around the baseline, do you believe for a second that billionaire owners won’t add an extra row of seats to monetize it?  They have already split the scorers’ table in half and sent bench players to the floor in front of the revolving baseline ads (yes, where the cameramen are located) and halfway up the tunnel.  And speaking of fans in the front row, they are also at risk but never seem to be asked to move back. There are way more fans sitting court side than cameramen.  Oh, and the cameramen are not any closer than the fan on sitting court side along the sideline.

Dion Waiters portrait. Photo by the author, Jared Perry

Dion Waiters portrait. Photo by the author, Jared Perry

Move, Bitch, Get Out the Way!

In regards to the LeBron James incident, I’ve seen many people on Twitter screaming at the cameraman for not getting out of the way.  It’s really unfair to blame him. He sitting cross-legged, with a 30-pound camera on his shoulder and fans behind him. It’s impossible to be mobile enough to quickly move out of the way of the 270-lb man barreling down on him. Plus, he has to answer to his boss, a producer in the truck outside the venue, about why he bailed out and didn’t get the shot.

A quick anecdote on the speed of these NBA players. I don’t think you can fully appreciate how quick NBA players are until you sit baseline. The first Cavs game I ever shot was against the Bulls. Derrick Rose was running an isolation play at the top of the key, which I saw coming, and suddenly he was at the rim. I only took two shots (frames). My camera shoots 10 frames per second. Needless to say, I learned to anticipate the action even more.

Derrick Rose takes it to the rack. That Cavs team was pretty gross. Photo by the author, Jared Perry

Derrick Rose takes it to the rack. That Cavs team was pretty gross. Photo by the author, Jared Perry

Solutions

I think it’s only fair that if I criticize the possibility of banning court side cameras that I also propose some solutions that will keep the players safe and give the cameramen the access they need to produce quality work.

  • An easy thing that all photographers and cameramen could add are padded wraps for their lenses and camera bodies.  A lot of wildlife photographers add padded wraps to protect their gear in the outdoors. There’s no reason cameramen at NBA games couldn’t do something similar. If anything, I would soften the blow and probably eliminate many of the sharp edges on the equipment.
  • Quicken Loans Arena could enforce its own policy about credentialed cameras requiring rubber lens hoods. It’s right there in the rules; yet, nobody checked or questioned me during the games I shot. I didn’t make the investment because I knew I wasn’t going to be shooting many NBA games. I ended up just not using a lens hood during the games.
  • Give the cameraman at the scorer’s table (this cameraman seems to only be used as part of nationally televised games) an escape route. When LeBron turned his ankle on the cameraman during the Hawks series, there was just nowhere for that guy to go. Let’s put him on small scooter and have a production assistant pull him back through a gap in the scorers’ table if the action is getting too close. The cameraman can’t possibly focus on his job and also judge when he needs to bail. Looking through a lens is like a car’s sideview mirror — objects are closer than they appear.
  • They could find a way to re-arrange some of the seating around the baseline and fan out the still photographers. You probably aren’t going to be able to move the TV camera person from underneath the basket stanchion, but you could try to swing out the still photographers a bit to clear space under the basket.  And, many photographers would probably welcome this move because they wouldn’t be blocked out of plays in the opposite corner by rotating refs and the basket.  Better yet, the owners to could agree to take out a few of those prime seats at mid-court and put photographers there. (Yeah, right.)

To me, the whole LeBron James incident was just really unfortunate.  The cameraman was doing his job and so was LeBron James. I think there’s room for improvement in increasing player and cameraman safety. But, I don’t think it’s fair to ban cameras from the floor.

TrizGallo, aka Jared Perry, can be found on Twitter and Instagram under @TrizGallo.  The former Clevelander now lives in Denver. Check out his other pictures on his nature photography site, AlpenGlowFoto

BASKETBALL PARTY TWENTY TWO!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode TWENTY TWO maintains its position as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. We are joined by long-suffering Cavs fan Jeff Miller, author of the Nerdy Dozen, to talk Finals excitement levels, coach firings and whether or not Steve Nash is right about Steph Curry or trying to stay relevant. We lose Kim for awhile, but she magically reappears just in time for us to discuss the Cavs texting service that begins today at 5pm. Get ready to pre-game with Basketball Party!!

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She hung her Cavs jersey at her desk today because you gotta let ’em know. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. She will definitely be receiving a lot of basketball emoji texts from Erin (and Dr. Naismith) very soon.  You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

Slacking Off: A Conversation about Nintendo and Splatoon

Posted on by
 On the morning of the NBA Finals, of course Charty McGraph and I took to I GO HARD NOW’s social media dungeon to argue about Nintendo. This all started when our fearless leader said it would be inappropriate to have Mario in Nintendo’s new IP, Splatoon. Then this happened:
Charty: Although I don’t know if “inappropriate” is the word. I just think Splatoon should stand up on its own without gimmicky throwing in classic Nintendo characters.

Nintendo hasn’t had anything original that’s not using nostalgia as a crutch since Pokemon came out if I remember correctly.
 
I don’t recall seeing anything in recent memory that didn’t involve nostalgia making me go “Damn, I need that new Nintendo console!”.

Spacefunmars: Wii Sports sold Wiis, but not to the die hard base, so Splatoon is new in that way.

Charty: Bought a gamecube because of Zelda (and Cubivore), bought a Wii because of Smash, bought Wii U because of MK and Smash.

Spacefunmars: The Metroid Prime series was amazing, but you could say that involves nostalgia even though that series was probably Nintendo’s best batch of games (and appealed to hardcore gamers) in the last fifteen years.

Charty: And yeah, Wii was cool cuz it had the motion stuff that allowed for sports, that was a selling point too. But it didn’t involve any cool new characters.

Spacefunmars: They consider the Miis and the Mii island a franchise of its own. They’ve said so, and they have branching Mii-based games based on that.

Charty:  Meh.

Spacefunmars:
 Well, meh for sure, but it is a brand.

Charty: I’m just saying stuff that can bring someone to a console, something with that much pull.

Spacefunmars: And honestly, I’d rather be playing as a Mii that turns into a squid than an Inkling or Mario.

Charty: If they put Mii into it, that’d be awesome, I wouldn’t complain. Seeing a custom character in games is neat, and across multiple games. So yeah, Mii being unique to Nintendo is something that’s good for them. Not sure how strong the brand is going forward in getting interest, though. It’s more something that I view as a bonus to having a Nintendo console, not a reason to get one.

Spacefunmars: Right. I would say of original IPs that have come out since Pokemon, the best are Advanced Wars, Pikmin and Splatoon. All are great…. Only Advanced Wars and Splatoon sell consoles.

Well, Advanced Wars sold a bunch of Gameboy Advanced handhelds, but that still counts. They actually have a lot of IPs people would consider in hardcore genres if you consider those three franchises plus Metroid and Zelda. But they haven’t carried that rep.

Charty: I consider Metroid and Zelda to be nostalgia brands, not new. Anything that’s survived from NES. I’m not saying the new games for any of the old characters/franchises are bad, they’re actually quite great, but you’re not getting (m)any new people to buy your console in most cases.

I got sold on DS by Dragon Quest remakes and 3DS by Ocarina and Starfox. And Virtual Console games. But that might be  irrelevant as it feels like portable consoles are kinda dying out thanks to phones/tablets.

Nintendo just feels stale to me. That’s the point I’m trying to get across. Splatoon feels like something new, cute new characters and fast, engaging game play. And it makes great use of the giant view controller.

Spacefunmars: The thing about Metroid Prime especially is they sold it on the nostalgia of Metroid, but in terms of gameplay, it had very little to do with the previous 2D titles. I wonder now if they would have been better served to make it a new IP and get people excited about a “new Nintendo.”

You see it now with Splatoon. I don’t think people would be this excited if it was Mario and the gang from the start. It feels like a new Nintendo. I think Metroid Prime and the sequels would have benefited from that new branding. Those games were all-time great games, and @cavsfangelo is the only dude I know who has actually played them.

AKA – Prime didn’t sell consoles when it should have.

Charty: Prime lost me when Metroid went to 3D, so a long time ago. That’s a “me” problem probably, but I wasn’t feeling the 3D nature of it when it came out. Now, I play tons of 3D games, but for some reason when Prime came out for gamecube I was strongly against it. Probably because I loved Super Metroid so much.
Spacefunmars: It’s definitely a you problem, but that shows the issue with branding here. If they didn’t hide behind the Metroid brand, it wouldn’t have had to work against the nostalgia of fans. It’s a case where nostalgia and it being a series whose name doesn’t sell consoles worked against it.

If they called it something different, I think it could have been imagine changing for the Gamecube, which Nintendo was trying to use to get back into the hardcore (look at Resident Evil 4 and other shit like that).  I guess it doesn’t ultimately matter too much, but the lack of popularity of the Prime brand may have led to no Prime for Wii-U, which is a Prime crime.

Although, part of the genius of Splatoon is that while it feels like a step forward into the shooting genre, it has all the trappings of a Nintendo brand. It has its feet set in two words (hardcore shooter and typical Nintendo) without sacrificing either parts. Even Prime under a different name wouldn’t be able to equal that.
But buy the Prime Trilogy on Virtual Console. It’s like Zelda in a shooter form… Except better than any Zelda since N64.

Charty: Splatoon is kinda perfect as a step forward. It’s got Nintendo charm while being something fresh. And amiibos! I do like what Nintendo is doing with those, even if they fuck up my budget.

The problem is, it’s spent so much time as a nostalgia and kiddie brand, might be hard to shake that.

Spacefunmars: I agree, and I wonder how they capitalize on this to move forward. I know it goes back on everything we’ve both just said, but I think if Star Fox can really NAIL it, they can reach a whole new intermediate audience of shooter lovers who want pure-fun shooting action.

Charty: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against nostalgia, but there are a lot of people who don’t give a shit about it so they’re not looking at the console. Something like Star Fox, if done awesomely which is totally possible (remember when they changed StarFox for the Game Cube and almost ruined the damn franchise?) could be a draw. People love shooters. People love space. SpaceFunShooters.

Spacefunmars: Have there been super popular shooters with a more child-like backdrop like Splatoon or Star Fox but on other consoles? I’m trying to think if there’s a recent precedent for this. I guess Ratchet and Clank is similar?

Charty: That’d probably be the closest. Nothing else comes to mind.

Spacefunmars: That’s not a bad audience to target. I hope they use Splatoon as a jumping off point, but knowing Nintendo, they won’t.

Charty: Appeals both to kids and adults…Win win!

Why The Cavaliers Will Win The NBA Finals

Posted on by

The Cavs are going to win the NBA Finals.

Or, rather, the Cavs SHOULD win the NBA Finals – unless the Universe simply decides they won’t.

What I’ve done below is unskewed the stats leading into this series to remove all of luck-based outliers and get an idea of the TRUE match-up we can expect.

For example:

LeBron James is shooting 17.6% from three-point in the playoffs. He’s taken 68 three-pointers and only made 12. If he were shooting at his regular season rate of 35.4%, he would’ve made 24 out of 68. That means the universe owes him 12 three-pointers.

Add into that the fact that Kyrie Irving is averaging 18.7 points per game in the playoffs – but he missed two entire games – which means there are 37.4 pts floating out there that he didn’t score.

If you add the points the universe owes LeBron (36) and Kyrie (37.4) and spread it over a seven game series, that is more than 10 points per game. Add that to their playoff average point total (101.4) – the Cavs SHOULD average 111 points per game in the Finals. If not, as my math has just proven, it will solely be because the Universe has an anti-Cleveland bias.

Meanwhile, Stephen Curry is averaging 29.2 points per game in the playoffs – after averaging only 23.8 points in the regular season. Obviously luck. If you subtract that extra 5.4 points per game that Curry doesn’t deserve from their average playoff point total of 104.3, suddenly they are only scoring 98.9 points.

The Cavs, as a team, are allowing opponents to shoot only 28.1% from behind the three-point line. The Warriors have shot 38% from three in the playoffs. Obviously the Warriors can expect to shoot under 30% from three when facing a defense as stout as the Cavaliers. If you take the Warriors’ average three-point attempts per game (30.3) against the percentage the Cavaliers allow (28.1%) instead of the obviously lucky number they have been shooting (38%) it equates to three less three pointers per game. Or nine points.

So take the Warriors point total down from the 98.9 points per game number we found by subtracting Curry’s complete and total luck, and take away nine more points to factor in Golden State’s luck as a team – and you’re down to 90 points per game. It’s kind of staggering that a team only averaging 90 points per game was able to make the Finals.

As we’ve already established, the Cavs should be scoring around 111 points per game. The Warriors, as undeniably proven, should only score 90 points per game. That means, on average, the Cavs should win each game by approximately 21 points – assuming, of course, that these flukey, lucky trends even out and this series is played solely based on skill.

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL-STAR BONANZA FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS – Episode 20

Posted on by

ighnradio2

Episode 20 – Finals Preview

The squad all got together to preview the finals the best way we knew how: making fun of Mike for all the static in his mic and deciding which Cavs and Warriors players we would fight.

BASKETBALL PARTY TWENTY ONE!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode TWENTY ONE maintains its position as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. Erin threatens to scream out of joy this entire episode after the Cavs make the Finals for the first time in eight years, we discuss what kind of house divided situation will occur with a Cavs-Warriors Finals, stuff that makes you an adult, a free service to pump up Cavs fans, and plenty of other nonsense.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She can be found screaming with joy and mildly talking trash against the Warriors for the foreseeable future. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. She is working on sewing a half-Cavs/half-Warriors jersey in order to remain neutral in her personal relationships.  You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

BASKETBALL PARTY TWENTY!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode TWENTY retains its position as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. We delve deep into what the future holds in Eastern and Western Conference Finals, discuss whose child is the OG of the presser, and wonder why Beyoncé was wearing a DRose leotard in the “Feelin’ Myself” video, as well as a sneak preview of what we’ll be talking about if we end up with a Hawks-Rockets finals.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She still hasn’t had Lebron’s Mix this playoffs season and she is mad about it. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. While she’d probably drink a Lebron’s Mix now that she’s a Cavs fan (sorry Bulls), she prefers Radlers.  You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.

Chris Paul Falls Short of Greatness

Posted on by

chris-paul-tony-allen-2013-nba-playoffs

Chris Paul will play for a chance to make it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in his career later today.  Regardless of if he achieves that goal, one thing will always be true: he will never be an all-time great player.

Think of the unquestionable all-time greats: MJ, Magic, Bird, LeBron, Russell, WIlt, Kobe, Duncan, and Shaq. Maybe you include Hakeem and Abdul-Jabbar. Maybe you include Malone or Robertson. It doesn’t matter who you include on that last. Chances are, they have something Chris Paul doesn’t have.

They are much taller than the average person.

Jordan was 6-6. LeBron is listed at 6-8 but might be taller. Shaq was extremely tall. He was and still is 7-1. That’s over a foot taller than loser nobody stupid head Chris Paul.

That’s right. Chris Paul is listed at 6-0, but come on. He’s probably more like 5-10 or 5-11. That’s a really unimpressive height. Even recent MVP winner Steph Curry had the foresight to be 6-3, which is a good three to five inches taller than Paul.

I don’t know what other accomplishments these greats had, and I don’t care. If I wanted to watch some average-height guy play basketball, I would keep watching myself play ball in the mirror. No matter how much my wife said it was “weird.” I can do that any time I want.

Basketball is about watching guys who are much taller than me do stuff. Of course, someone my own height has the coordination to not fall on his face when trying to run. Humans were designed to be a Chris Paul height.

But to watch a guy like Hakeem not fall on his face — that’s amazing. That guy is seven foot flat. Try being coordinated at THAT height, Chris Paul. What? You can’t? That’s because you are not an all-time great, dummy face.

But it’s not too late. If Paul actually decided to work on this weakness in his game, he could ascend to the level of point guard all-timer Magic Johnson. That’s right, he could be 6-8. All he would have to do was try.

He could use one of those devices they used to use to torture people where they tied ropes to their hands and feet and stretched their bodies. It was called “the rack,” and it could be the perfect device for Chris Paul to train himself into being taller.

Or he could learn to play on stilts. It would probably be against the rules, but if he made his shorts long enough to cover the stilts, nobody would notice. He could tell them he had a growth spurt. A similar option would be shoes with extremely thick soles (sort of like basketball versions of platform shoes).

If “the rack” method doesn’t work and he wants to be truly a tall guy like the greats were, he could try some sort of aggressive surgery where they add bones from some bone doner into his legs. Maybe even replacing his existing bones with the bones of a much taller person.

There are options out there for Chris Paul to raise his game from average to at least 6-6, but so far Paul has been unwilling to take that path. I don’t want to call him lazy. I don’t want to call him soft. But the previous two sentences had the words “lazy” and “soft” in them, so those words are out there. Who am I to argue?

If Paul wants to keep his career below the threshold of greatness, I guess that’s on him. I can’t force him to take the leap into being taller. That’s something he has to decide on his own when he’s ready.

BASKETBALL PARTY NINETEEN!

Posted on by

BASKETBALL PARTY!

BASKETBALL PARTY episode NINETEEN returns from its life changes and upheavals as the premier NBA podcast featuring two adult women talking to one another. As we discuss playoffs thus far, we get into the very satisfying removal of inevitability in the Eastern Conference, wonder whether or not the West is actually in play, and debate the merits of billboard advertising when it comes to winning over fans. And just for good measure, we wonder who else will possibly get fired this season.

Erin M. Routson is an art director & freelance writer newly living in Los Angeles, CA. She traditionally listens to Jay-Z’s “On To The Next One” with the bass jacked up when the Cavs advance. Follow her running commentary on Twitter @dietcokeforever.

Kim Huston is a copywriter based in Louisville, KY. When the Bulls get eliminated, she mourns to the soothing melody of Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry.”  You can attempt to follow her on Twitter @kimpossiblydire.