Category Archives: Cheap NBA Jerseys

Metta World Peace Jersey Signed

Metta World Peace certainly had one of the more colorful careers in the NBA. While the player formerly known as Ron Artest will likely always be remembered for his role in the “Malice at the Palace” brawl in 2004, his story is one of redemption. World Peace actually befriended the fan that threw a water bottle at him and later won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. After retiring, he appeared in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball challenge and works with the Lakers as a player development coach.

Now, World Peace is setting his sights on a new challenge: being an entrepreneur through his Artest Management Group company. His first product is XvsX Sports, which can best be described as the Airbnb of pickup basketball games. World Peace created the platform alongside a slew of tech entrepreneurs and fellow NBA players Al Harrington, Nick Young, Chris Copeland, Jermaine O’Neal, and Stephen Jackson.

Using a subscription model, XvsX Sports offers on-demand, competitive open runs for all levels of players, including professionals, semi-pros, competitive, and recreational players. That last demographic may prove to be the most important of all — with 23 million Americans fitting the “recreational” bill, it’s a great opportunity for growth.

The initial early access beta launch will roll out in the Los Angeles area, with additional cities throughout the United States joining the game after that. Players can meet others at their skill level, build up points, and participate in showcase games.

“There’s so many ways to get basketball to the consumer. Playing in the NBA for so many years, I’m used to playing a certain way — in front of people, getting paid, branding, endorsing,” World Peace says. “When the NBA’s gone, you don’t have that system, the people, or the machine in place. You become irrelevant. With XvsX Sports, I’m trying to revolutionize the game for people like myself. We love basketball and still want to play at a high level.”

It’s not World Peace’s first foray into business; he’s also an adviser for Butter Cloth, a men’s clothing company. In six months, the brand did $500,000 in sales. After an appearance on Shark Tank last October, which saw the company secure a deal with Robert Herjavec, Butter Cloth has now made more than $4.5 million.

As he moves into his second career, World Peace has learned three key lessons along the way.

Build a strong team and culture

The need to develop a strong culture is paramount for World Peace. He acknowledges building that culture can take time, and it can be frustrating to invest so much in overhead, particularly if you don’t have a lot of excess capital. But getting that foundation in place — especially when that team knows how the business should operate because they’re so heavily invested — will pay off in the long run.

“Culture and teamwork are the biggest things. You need to have a place where you trust your co-founders. Some people try to do everything on their own,” he says. “There are so many different types of entrepreneurs. Some have the background to operate or design, others are more focused on business. Building that team around you is super important.”

NBA player Metta World Peace speaks at the BET NEWS CONVERSATION: Mental Health in the Black Community panel
Jerod Harris/BET/Getty Images for BET

Creating XvsX Sports has presented several challenges, too. World Peace and his team have worked on obstacles like gaining market share, the logistics of setting up games across gyms, and developing customer personas while identifying which ones to target first.

“It’s a lot. I’ve been doing this for about four years, and you need a lot,” he says. “You need data scientists, chief revenue officers to figure out where the best locations will be at. You need digital marketing, you need to acquire players — you have to tell them why they should play on your platform. It’s not as easy as you would think it is to find games for people. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s challenging but it’s also fun.”

World Peace credits the strength of his team with keeping things running smoothly. And developing a basketball product is the right move for him, as he’s following his passion.

Invest in what you know and believe in

With a pro career spanning nearly 20 years, World Peace knows the game of basketball inside and out. He’s identified a problem area within the sport — an overabundance of players and unused courts, plus a strong desire for people to find quality competition. World Peace believes XvsX Sports can change how we view and play basketball.

“This will be like how fantasy sports revolutionized things,” he says. “We’re hoping to create a marketplace in the next year or two that will offer people a new type of playing experience. Whether you want to just have fun, or in case you’ve never played in college or professionally, we want to be the platform.”

Similarly, World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth stemmed from a chance fashion show while he was studying new trends in the advertising space. And once again, the passion for the product shone through.

“I was at (Los Angeles ad agency) MuteSix, learning about integrated and programmatic marketing,” World Peace says. “They told me, ‘Hey, put this shirt on.’ I put the shirt on and I melted from the love.”

It was love at first sight (or wear, in this case). And World Peace saw an opportunity because of how the shirt fit into his day-to-day schedule. He believes in products that he can actually use and benefit from.

“Business attire is not comfortable. I’d be at an investment meeting and be too hot, sweating under my armpits. This shirt made me feel different because I could actually add a business suit and be very comfortable.”

World Peace’s involvement with Butter Cloth has also enlightened him on running his own business.

Butter Cloth

Learn from your experiences

When Butter Cloth founder Danh Tran appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his company, he had an assist from World Peace, who made a cameo as the “in-house long-fiber cotton scientist.” A dunk while wearing a Butter Cloth shirt may have been a selling point for investor Robert Herjavec, but World Peace took the whole experience as a learning opportunity.

“The whole process taught me a lot about business and running a company. There’s a lot of number crunching, a lot that goes into it,” he says. “We went on the show and got a lot of returning customers. They don’t buy just one shirt. They buy 15 different shirts, which is amazing.”

Perhaps World Peace sees some of himself in Tran, as well. The Butter Cloth founder has also had a colorful career, with an ultimate tale of perseverance.

Tran grew up working in his family’s small tailor shop in Vietnam and was designing clothes by age 10. His family emigrated to the U.S., where he took fashion classes at a California college and landed a job at Mattel, designing clothes for Barbie.

He eventually enrolled at the Otis College of Art and Design, his dream school. Tran was recruited by several companies, landing at Affliction Clothing. He served as the company’s head designer for ten years before making a huge decision: He quit his job, sold his house, and cashed in his 401(k) to start Butter Cloth, going all-in on following his dream.

Tran’s story was instrumental for World Peace and is part of the reason he’s involved with the company. If World Peace has his way, his business book will follow a similar arc of success.

“Danh built Butter Cloth up from nothing, and it shows the confidence he has in his abilities. I want to be somebody like that as an entrepreneur.”

Kenny Sears Jersey Signed

We are inside of one month until the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, when the league’s many new superstar pairings will finally be unveiled. What better way to pass the time than to count down the final 55 days by arguing over who wore each jersey number best until we reach No. 00.

There are currently 12 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 12 best?

Shoutouts
Dick Barnett, aka Skull, a 1968 All-Star, two-time champ and fadeaway pioneer. His No. 12 is retired by the New York Knicks.

Ralph Beard, All-NBA in each of his first two seasons; banned for life as part of the 1951 NCAA point-shaving scandal.

Vince Boryla, aka Moose, who wore No. 12 for the New York Knicks in the NBA’s first All-Star Game in 1951.

Bruce Bowen, maybe the most annoying defender in NBA history, to put it kindly, wore No. 12 for all eight of his All-Defensive campaigns, including a trio of championship seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, who retired his jersey.

Don Chaney, a two-time champion and five-time All-Defensive selection, is the only player to have played with both Bill Russell and Larry Bird, wearing No. 12 during both tours of duty with the Boston Celtics and bookending a 12-year career.

Howie Dallmar, who led Stanford to an NCAA title as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player before winning a Basketball Association of America title as an All-BAA selection in a No. 12 Philadelphia Warriors jersey.

Vlade Divac, the Hall of Famer and Team Yugoslavia legend, wore No. 12 for the first nine years of his career, sandwiching his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Charlotte Hornets that sent Kobe Bryant to L.A. He made his only All-Star appearance for the Sacramento Kings, who retired the No. 21 jersey he wore for them in the early 2000s.

Mike Gale, a 1974 ABA champion and two-time All-Defensive selection who had a glorious Afro.

Derek Harper, a two-time All-Defensive selection who once pulled a J.R. Smith in the playoffs, has his No. 12 retired in Dallas.

Chris Herren, the inspirational motivational speaker, donned No. 12 for a lone addiction-plagued season with the Celtics.

Warren Jabali, a legend in Hall of Famer Rick Barry’s eyes, wore No. 12 for two of his four ABA All-Star seasons.

Fat Lever, a two-time All-Star and triple-double artist who once posted a playoff 19-16-18, has his No. 12 retired in Denver.

Press Maravich, the father of Hall of Famer Pete Maravich.

Pat Riley, the Hall of Fame coach, sported No. 12 in his six-year run as a player with the Lakers.

Kenny Sears, a two-time All-Star with the Knicks and the first basketball player to ever appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Evan Turner, quote machine.

Caveats
Michael Jordan, the GOAT, wore a nameless No. 12 jersey for a single game against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 14, 1990, when somebody stole his traditional No. 23 jersey. He scored 49 points in defeat.

Jo Jo White, a Hall of Famer, U.S. Marine and Dallas Cowboys draft pick, wore No. 12 for 13 games with the Kansas City Kings, two stops after making seven All-Star appearances and winning a pair of championships in a No. 10 Celtics jersey.

Dominique Wilkins, the Hall of Famer and dunk contest god, sported No. 12 for his lone season with the Celtics, a campaign that spelled the end of his string of nine-straight All-Star appearances and represented the start of his steep decline.

Currently
LaMarcus Aldridge, the self-proclaimed boring All-Star, has donned No. 12 for the entirety of his 13-year career, which makes him the choice for best active player to wear the number — ahead of guys like Steven Adams, Joe Harris and Terry Rozier.

Challengers
Dwight Howard, simultaneously a future Hall of Famer and massive disappointment, sported No. 12 for 13 of his first 15 seasons, including his eight All-Star appearances, three Defensive Player of the Year campaigns and 2008 slam dunk title.

Maurice Stokes, an All-Star in each of his first three seasons before a fall in the final game of the 1957-58 regular season paralyzed him, has his No. 12 retired by the Sacramento Kings. Supported by fellow Cincinnati Royal Jack Twyman for the remainder of his life, Stokes joins Twyman as both halves of the namesake for the NBA’s Teammate of the Year award.

Bobby Rascoe Jersey Signed

Rick Stansbury’s message to the Owensboro youth was simple Wednesday night: making the right decisions and working hard can lead to great success later in life.

Stansbury, the men’s basketball head coach at Western Kentucky University, was the keynote speaker at the 37th Annual Steak and Burger Dinner hosted by the Cliff Hagan Boys and Girls Club.

His coaching career dates back to 1981, with the most notable stint coming from 1998-2012 at Mississippi State University. There, he was the SEC Coach of the Year in 2004 after the Bulldogs won the conference in the regular season. He also led the team to two SEC tournament championships and five SEC Western Division titles.

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Other special guests were Bobby Rascoe and Owen Lawson, who both spent time in the NBA after standout careers at WKU. Rascoe was an all-American at Western Kentucky, while Lawson earned all-conference honors for the Hilltoppers.

After spending time talking about his excitement for the upcoming season, Stansbury sent a message specifically for the children scattered among the crowd.

“Nowadays, it’s not easy doing the right thing,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it’s a lot easier to do the wrong thing.”

Stansbury said he gives the same message to the young men each year on his college roster.

“I preach to our players that it’s not about what happens between the lines,” he said. “What happens outside those lines will determine what happens between them. We tell them to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it, and with the best effort and attitude possible.”

Stansbury said there’s no secret or magic dust that allows people to succeed. Instead, it’s all about focus and creating an atmosphere that promotes positive growth.

“You guys are facing a lot of bad situations,” he said. “When I grew up, we didn’t have all these distractions. You guys know right from wrong. Surround yourselves with people that will help you, people that want to do something with their lives.”

He also encouraged everyone to reach for their dreams — whether it was sports, college or a technical career — and not settle for anything less than their best.

“If you believe in something enough, have a love for it, have a passion for it, you can do it,” Stansbury said. “Sometimes college isn’t for everybody, and that’s ok. Go get a good skill. Whatever you decide to do in life, just be the best at it, no matter what it is.”

Kevin Brooks Jersey Signed

As part of NBA Australia’s new feature series, ‘NBA Passport’, former Denver Nuggets forward Kevin Brooks spoke one-on-one with NBA Australia about dunking on Michael Jordan, winning NBL titles with the Adelaide 36ers and his adulation for LeBron James.

After finishing at University of Southwestern Louisiana, how special was it to hear your name called out at #18 in the 1991 draft, which also included your soon-to-be Denver team-mate Dikembe Mutombo and Australia’s Luc Longley?

It was an awesome feeling. To be drafted from anywhere is a great accomplishment, but to do it from White Castle, Louisiana, a town of 2000 people, you’re seen as a small-town hero to get out of the hood. My agent, Bill Strickland, went to New York (for the draft) but I decided not to attend. I didn’t want to be sitting there in a nice suit that I might not be able to pay for!

You played 126 NBA games in three seasons with the early-90s Nuggets under Paul Westhead, then Dan Issel. Your reflections?

My experience was awesome. I only got three seasons when I initially wanted a minimum 10, but I have nothing but fond memories. Paul’s system was fun because he wanted to run and gun a lot. Dan slowed things down and worked around Mutombo, who was the league’s best shot-blocker.

What was Mutombo like?

A great guy and such a character. He’s very intelligent and had a helluva career. We’d tease him constantly that of the seven different languages he speaks, English was the worst one (laughs)! Mutombo would talk trash all the time with that deep, thick accent, but he also taught you how to get your shot off against a big shot-blocker because you had to go up against him every day at training. If he swatted you, he’d let you know about it all the way down the court.

Can you confirm that you once dunked on the legendary Michael Jordan in a match at Chicago Stadium?

I did, but I didn’t realise at the time. It was my rookie year and we were getting hammered pretty good. The Bulls missed a free throw and I turned, hit the left lane. Our point guard Winnie Garland kicked it out to me on the run. I grabbed it, left-hand speed-dribbled and took off for a two-handed dunk. After the game, (team-mate) Joe Wolf, who played with Mike at North Carolina, said ‘nice dunk rook, Jordan almost took your head off when he swung, trying to block you’. That’s my dunk on Michael Jordan, even though I didn’t know he was there. He’s the greatest player ever, so you gotta mention you dunked on him. That’s your moment!

Another highlight was when your eighth-seeded Nuggets came from 2-0 down to stun the top-seeded Seattle Supersonics 3-2 in the first round of the 1994 Western Conference playoffs. What are your memories from that shock win?

No-one gave us a chance. Our goal was to simply make the playoffs. We squeaked in and Seattle thrashed us those first two games. They led the league in wins under coach George Karl with stars like Reign Man (Shawn Kemp), Glove (Gary Payton), Detlef Schrempf and Kendall Gill. But we didn’t fear them simply because we were young and didn’t know any better.
When they came to McNichols (Denver), it was a different ballgame and we won Games 3 and 4. Then it’s like ‘why not?’. We didn’t have anything to lose and when you think like that, you can be pretty dog-gone dangerous. All the pressure was on Seattle and we played an unbelievable Game 5. Mutombo turned that series around. He got in Kemp’s head man – had him in his pocket!

Unfortunately, two members of that Nuggets squad would later suffer severe misfortune, Brian Williams, aka Bison Dele (presumed murdered), and Rodney Rogers (paralysed after a dirt bike accident).

(Pauses)I get instantly emotional when those names come up. I considered Brian, or B-Dub, a very good friend. The last time I saw him was in Perth where he was riding dune buggies with Luc Longley. Six months later he was gone. I have a lot of love for Brian, and Rodney likewise. I haven’t spoken to Rodney since the accident but I definitely intend to.

Basketball took you to France, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Poland and New Zealand, but it was in Australia with the Adelaide 36ers where you really made your mark, forming with Denver team-mate Darnell Mee one of the NBL’s best-ever import combinations and winning championships in your first two seasons (1998, 1999).

Darnell and I were thick as thieves; really good friends on and off the court, and still are to this day, even though we’re opposites. He’s introverted and I’m a bit of a show-off!

Darnell, who earlier played with Canberra, told me Australia is a nice country with a good basketball league and nice hotels. We both wanted to get back into the NBA, but we were just one of the guys. We celebrated those titles like they were NBA championships! Winning the grand final MVP (1998) made it extra special and I still feel honoured about it, although at the time I had no idea there was such an award here.

The 36ers coach then was Australian legend Phil Smyth, who was renowned for being a players’ coach. I assume his relaxed, free-flowing method suited your playing style.

Everyone enjoyed it, without question. Phil was a coach who players wanted to play for. He and SJ (long-time assistant Steve Breheny) were opposites but they complemented each other. They didn’t over-coach us or give us too much information. I don’t think they get enough credit for those back-to-back championships. Our style was very fun to play, entertaining to watch and one we could repeat over and over again.

You averaged 18 points and 40 minutes as an inside-outside scoring force in your 158 NBL games, which included a season with the Sydney Kings under current Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown. What was he like?

Brett was fun to play for. He had so much enthusiasm and energy. His preparation is what I took most from him. Brett put in the effort and got to work with Pop (Gregg Popovich) at a great franchise in San Antonio, and he’s gone on from there.

You’ve moved to coaching where you’re in charge of Central District’s women at State League level and working as a 36ers assistant under Joey Wright. You and Joey go way back, don’t you?

Our colleges played against each other and Joey tried out for Denver my second year there. When he got the Adelaide job, he asked if I’d like to help. Joey is similar to Phil in that the guys like playing for him, but Joey is more defensive-minded. And the language is definitely different – Phil didn’t curse, but Joey does a lot (laughs)!

Do you consider Adelaide home?

Yes. My wife and I had our first child here, a son, on September 24th. I’ve got family back in the States, but Adelaide is my home and has been for a while.

Do you still follow the NBA?

I do. I bought League Pass last season and boy, it’s awesome! I don’t know what I’d been waiting for. I just turn it on, punch a few buttons and I can watch all these NBA games, replays, strategies and learn from the best coaching minds in the world. I feel compelled to support LeBron James at Cleveland because I thought he got a raw deal from people hating on him. I was pulling for Miami the past four years and now that he’s back at Cleveland, I’m a Cavs fan. I want to see LeBron win one for this team and when he retires he’ll be the governor or the mayor of Ohio, whatever he wants. I think it’s a great story.

Brendan McCann Jersey Signed

The NBA Draft is tonight, and, no, there won’t be any St. Bonaventure players taken, but it seems as good a time as any to reflect on the 33 former Bonnies who did hear their names called on draft night.

The Philadelphia 76ers have the No. 1 pick in tonight’s lottery, having traded with Boston for that spot earlier in the week, the first of 30 first round selections being made inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The Bonnies have had four first-round draft picks in their history: Brendan McCann (No. 5 overall, New York Knicks), Tom Stith (No. 2, New York Knicks), Bob Lanier (No. 1, Detroit Pistons) and Andrew Nicholson (No. 19, Orlando Magic). They’ve had two players taken by the team with tonight’s top pick: Bob Barnek in 1965 and Glenn Hagan, who was taken by the 76ers in the second round (No. 43 overall) in 1978.

Once again, Kentucky is expected to have at least three of its young players taken in the first round. There has been one instance in which Bona had at least that many taken in a single draft: In 1953, when four of its starting five was taken.

One of those four players, Bob Sassone, remembers it well.

“In 1953, even though we had a 12-12 record, four of those five guys were drafted to the NBA,” the 86-year-old Sassone recalled vividly.

Sassone was taken in the third round by the Philadelphia Warriors, with Bill Kenville going in the same round to the Syracuse Nationals, Mike Bodnar (5th round) to the Fort Wayne Pistons and Bill Edwards (12th) to the Rochester Royals.

What was that like for Brooklyn native?

“It was a thrill,” he said, but …

“In the NBA (in those days), you only lasted two years most of the time. When I came out, I went to Philly and I talked to them. They said, since you’ve gone, we already got other guys to last two years. Even Sam Stith, I think he lasted only two years with the Knicks.”

Ah, the Knicks.

When Eddie Donovan left Bona to coach the Knicks in 1961, he wound up bringing a handful of Bonnies with him. Tom Stith (first round) and Whitey Martin (second round) were taken by New York in ‘61 while Fred Crawford went in the eighth round in ‘63. Sam Stith was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in 1960, but his draft rights eventually went to … the Knicks.

Sassone lamented the bout with tuberculosis that kept the younger Stith from truly pursuing an NBA career, but remembered a story about Tom from his days as an assistant coach.

“When he was a sophomore, he became very friendly with me; more friendly with me than with Eddie,” Sassone said. “And the reason was, we used to throw the ball into Stith, and Stith started throwing it out to Kenny Fairfield, who was a senior from Hinsdale.

“I said, ‘Tom, the whole offense is four guys around you. When the ball comes into you, do you know what you have to do with it? Shoot it.’ You know what he said to me? ‘Coach, I gotta keep the seniors happy, so I throw the ball out to Kenny.’”

The Knicks weren’t done at Crawford, however. Eventually, they’d also take Greg Sanders (8th round, 1978) and Mark Jones (4th round, 1983).

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Aside from the 76ers, the Lakers, Celtics, Suns and Kings all have top five picks tonight. That’s actually the same top four, in order, as last year. The Bonnies have had players drafted by all of those teams except Los Angeles.

The Celtics took Bill Butler in the eighth round of the 1968 draft while Matt Gantt went to the Suns in the fourth round in 1972. Fred Diute (3rd round, 1951) and Edwards went to the Rochester Royals, who’d ultimately become the Kings.

Bona has had players drafted by teams that moved or are no longer in existence: Paul Hoffman (1972), Carl Jackson (‘73), Glenn Price (‘74), Bob Rozyczko (‘76) all went to the Buffalo Braves while Kenville, Mal Duffy (‘55) and Bob McCully (‘62) went to Syracuse. Essie Hollis, a co-captain on the 1977 NIT championship team, went in the second round (No. 44 overall) to the New Orleans Jazz that same year.

Bonnies have gone to the current NBA champion (Greg “Bubba” Gary was taken by Golden State in 1971) and past champions (Earl Belcher was drafted by the Spurs in 1981) and everywhere in between: Leo Corkery and George Carter went to the Pistons in 1952 and 1967, respectively; Jim Satalin was taken by the Bucks in the ninth round in ‘69, Tim Waterman to the Hawks in ‘79 and Barry Mungar to the Wizards in ‘86.

St. Bonaventure’s first ever NBA draft pick? Ken Murray, to the old Chicago Stags in 1950.

As for Sassone? After the conversations he had with Warriors, he was ready to move on with his life; more specifically, into coaching.

“What they wanted me to do was go up to Scranton/Wilkes Barre and play in the weekend leagues,” he said. “There were guys from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and they played up there.

“I had a job with United Postal, I was married. I was working and making a lot of money. Then, I wanted to drop out of UPS. I put in for law school, figuring that’s where I’d go, and Eddie Donovan called me, and that changed my life.”

Bill Henry Jersey Signed

Nine-year NBA veteran Jeremy Lin is recognized everywhere from New York to his parents’ native Taiwan, but one Milwaukee security guard still refused to believe the 6foot2 guard was a member of the Toronto Raptors.

As he recently told the Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network, Lin was stopped by Fiserv Forum security as he tried to board the Raptors’ bus following the team’s Game 2 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Admittedly, the 30-year-old Lin did not have any identification on him.

‘After game two in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee Arena just screams at me,’ Lin explained, as quoted by the South China Morning Post. ‘He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What? Where’s your pass?”

‘”I don’t know what you’re taking about. I don’t have a pass” This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.’

Despite his experience, Jeremy Lin (left) is averaging only 3.7 minutes a game in the playoffs as Raptors coach Nick Nurse has primarily relied on Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet at point guard +6
Despite his experience, Bill Henry Jeremy Lin (left) is averaging only 3.7 minutes a game in the playoffs as Raptors coach Nick Nurse has primarily relied on Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet at point guard

Lin had a similar experience in 2015 after signing with the Charlotte Hornets.

‘Went to the Hornets arena for first time and tried convincing security I’m a player,’ he tweeted in September of 2015. ‘She said, ‘What team?!?’ lollll.’

Lin’s Raptors beat the Bucks in Saturday’s Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, who actually signed the former Harvard star as an undrafted rookie in 2010.

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He was later cut, picked up by the Houston Rockets, and waived again before landing in New York, where he became an international sensation for the Knicks in 2012.

After injuries forced him into action in early February, Lin led the injury-raved Knicks – losers of 11 of their previous 13 games – on a seven-game winning streak while averaging 20 points a game and earning the nickname ‘Linsanity.’
Bill Henry Jersey Signed

A knee injury ultimately derailed Lin’s breakout season that March, and he has struggled to stay healthy over the last seven seasons.

Walt Davis Jersey Signed

Klutch Sports and Anthony Davis envision the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks as the only fitting destinations for the All-Star power forward.

According to The Athletic, Davis narrowed his official preferred list of four teams submitted to the Pelicans at the 2019 All-Star break to only two. Still, Davis has no say in the matter based on his existing contract. He could choose to instruct Rich Paul and Klutch Sports to inform suitors he will not sign beyond next season, but the same message of uncertainty didn’t halt the Toronto Raptors’ 2018 pursuit of Kawhi Leonard.

In the meantime, the Pelicans are trying to get a grip on Davis’ market. Davis said during the 2019 All-Star break that he wouldn’t turn down a trade “anywhere” in the NBA but described his motive as “just wanting to win.”

–Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant was traveling to New York City on Tuesday for evaluations on the injury, league sources told The Athletic.

Durant was lost in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on Monday and Walt Davis likely for months to come with a ruptured right Achilles.

Durant, who is three weeks from another foray into free agency, played for the first time since May 8, when he strained his right calf. He exited in the second quarter in a game the Warriors won 106-105 to prevent Toronto from winning the series.

–MVP finalist Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder underwent left shoulder surgery to repair a small tear in his labrum, the team announced.

The surgery comes five weeks after George underwent right shoulder surgery to repair a partially torn tendon.

George, who is also a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, established career-best averages of 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals while sinking a career-high 292 3-pointers in 77 games this season. He also matched his career high of 4.1 assists per game.

–Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist underwent surgery for a chronic groin strain.

The Hornets said Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to be available for the start of training camp in September.

The 25-year-old Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 64 games last season (three starts). In seven seasons with the Hornets, Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 421 games (356 starts).

–The Memphis Grizzlies hired former Milwaukee Bucks assistant Taylor Jenkins as their head coach.

The Grizzlies fired J.B. Bickerstaff at the end of the 2018-19 season. Jenkins will be introduced at a Wednesday press conference.

Jenkins was assistant to head coach Mike Budenholzer for the past six seasons, five with the Atlanta Hawks (2013-18) and last year with the Bucks. Jenkins will oversee a reshaped roster in Memphis that could include dealing point guard Mike Conley as the Grizzlies hold the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft and are expected to select Murray State point guard Ja Morant.

–The Golden State Warriors, even without the injured Durant, were listed as a consensus three-point favorite Tuesday to win Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

Golden State opened as a 4.5-point favorite for Game 6. Westgate posted the Warriors with a 2.5-point edge on Tuesday. Toronto, leading 3-2 in the finals, is at -320 to win the best-of-seven series, according to FanDuel. Golden State is +230 to win the series, which would conclude Sunday in Toronto, if necessary.

It’s a two-man Finals MVP race, with Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard the favorite at -323 on FanDuel, while Warriors guard Stephen Curry is at +240.

–Hornets forward Marvin Williams exercised his $15 million player option for the 2019-20 season and will return to Charlotte.

Williams, who turns 33 on June 19, was the second overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 2005 out of North Carolina and played for the Utah Jazz before joining the Hornets.
Walt Davis Jersey Signed

In 75 games last season, Williams averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He has a career average of 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 1,014 games.

Clifford Lett Jersey Signed

Mark Cuban, the wildly successful entrepreneur, charming host of CNBC’s “Shark Tank,” and owner of the Dallas Mavericks is no shrinking violet. Mr. Cuban Clifford Lett has an opinion on, well, everything. College? He’s against it. NBA officiating? It stinks. President Donald Trump? He’s awful.

Yet when it comes to a matter rather close to Mr. Cuban’s own interests — the brouhaha involving another Texan NBA team, the Houston Rockets, the People’s Republic of China, and the mistreatment of Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey — he has uncharacteristically clammed up. His usually prolific Twitter feed has gone silent and he’s made no public statements on the matter.

That reticence continued Tuesday evening. Reached via his personal email account, Mr. Cuban would only tell the Washington Times, “‘ll refer you to Adam silvers [sic] comments.” NBA Commissioner Silver released a statement earlier this week declaring that “we have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the United States and China.”

Of course, Mark Cuban is hardly the only usually chatty NBA figure to go uncharacteristically silent on the China issue. Steve Kerr, the Warriors coach whose postgame press conferences tend to dwell more on politics than rebounds and the pick and roll, has evinced complete ignorance on the matter. LeBron James, the wildly talented forward for the Lakers who never shies from politics, has gone silent.
Clifford Lett Jersey Signed

But Mark Cuban’s silence is the most telling. When Mark Cuban — I repeat, Mark Cuban! — of all people declines to comment, you know how much fear of China there really is out there.

Red Dehnert Jersey Signed

Note: This was written before the Mets won the 2015 National League Pennant, and before Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame and the retirement of his Number 31 was announced. Other than that, it’s all still valid.

*

So the Mets beat the Yankees yesterday, 8-2. Matt Harvey (4-0) had his good stuff, and CC Sabathia (0-4) picked a fine time to not have his after pitching superbly in defeat in Detroit earlier in the week. Mark Teixeira hit a home run off Harvey in the 7th (his 8th of the young season), but that was hardly enough.

The series concludes at 8:00 tonight, with Nathan Eovaldi pitching against Jon Niese.

Yes, Harvey put the Mets on top yesterday, evening the series.

Do the Mets’ idiot fans think that this changes anything? Yeah, they probably do.

Well, it doesn’t. The Mets are still a joke, and nothing is going to change that anytime soon.

Top 10 Reasons the Mets Are a Joke

These are in chronological order. Not in order of lameness. Trying to put them in that order could take about 18 innings.

1. The National League. The main reason the Mets even exist is because fans of the stolen New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers could have a National League team in New York, alongside the American League’s Yankees. They specifically wanted a National League team.

What the hell is so special about the National League?

“Well, Uncle Mike,” you might say, “the NL doesn’t use the designated hitter. It’s real baseball.” The Giants and Dodgers moved after the 1957 season. The DH didn’t come in until 1973. It wasn’t even seriously considered until it became a Spring Training experiment in 1969. So that wasn’t one of the reasons at the time.

The NL is older. It was established in 1876, to the AL’s 1901. Is that really important? Not by 1957, it wasn’t; it certainly isn’t in 2015.

The NL integrated first, beating the AL to it by a few weeks, April 15 to July 5, 1947. The NL got lights first, beating the AL to it by 4 years, 1935 to 1939. The NL had teams on radio first, although television was about even.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what erstwhile Giant and Dodger fans meant from October 1957 to April 1962, when they had to get by in the New York Tri-State Area with just the Yankees.

Then there was the Continental League, which was announced in 1958 as debuting in 1960. In the end, it was a bluff, designed to get the established leagues to expand, which they did. If the CL had happened, and a “New York Mets” had debuted in it at the Polo Grounds in 1960, I don’t think the former fans of the Giants and Dodgers would have given a damn that it didn’t have official NL identification, or even the NL’s blessing.

I think the real reason is that these people just hated the Yankees. Why? Because the Yankees (nearly) always beat them? From 1923 to 1956, the Yankees played the Giants and Dodgers in a combined 11 World Series, and won 10 of them.

Getting the Mets didn’t help: They’ve now played each other exactly once in the World Series in 53 seasons (52 if you don’t count 1994, as that season didn’t reach its intended conclusion), and the Yankees beat the Mets in 5 games.

So it wasn’t all about the National League. They were just too chicken to admit, “We hate the Yankees.”

Also, look at the other teams that lost teams in the 1950s:

* The Braves left Boston, leaving the city to the AL’s Red Sox. Did New Englanders demand a new team in the NL? No.

* The Browns left St. Louis, leaving the city to the NL’s Cardinals. Did people in the Mississippi Valley demand a new team in the AL? No.

* The Athletics left Philadelphia, leaving the city to the NL’s Phillies. Did people in the Delaware Valley demand a new team in the AL? No.

These places just accepted that turning a “city” into a “metropolitan area,” as inner-city whites moved into the suburbs — some because they could afford to go to a nicer place, some because their neighborhoods were turning black and they didn’t want to get called out on their racism by their neighbors — meant that these places could no longer afford to support 2 teams each.

New York could afford to support 2 teams. Indeed, there’s been times, even since 1957, when it looked like it could afford to support 3 teams. (That may have been the case as recently as 2008, but I don’t think it’s the case now, judging by home attendance at both Yankee Stadium II and Citi Field.)

But there was nothing special about the National League then, or now. Nor was there anything unacceptable about the American League, then or now. And if you think the DH makes the AL unacceptable, then you’re an idiot who needs to enter the latter part of the 20th Century, because, apparently, getting you into the 21st Century is too much to ask. (I’ve mused on the stupidity of the Hate-the-DH argument before.)

So the fans who would be Met fans weren’t devoted to the National League. They were just hating on the Yankees. I’m fine with that — as long as you freely admit it, like the American League teams do. (Hell, on September 5, 1977, desperate for attendance as they’d fallen far out of the AL East race, the Cleveland Indians held “Hate the Yankees Hanky Night.” It worked: They got 28,184 fans waving hankies at the Yankees, and they swept a twi-night doubleheader.)

Or maybe these ex-Giant fans and ex-Dodger fans just wanted a team in the NL so that their old heroes could come back and see them. The problem with that is, by the time the Mets arrived in 1962, most of their old heroes were retired — or, as they saw when Gil Hodges and Duke Snider actually became Mets, should have been retired.

By the time Shea Stadium opened in 1964, there were no more Brooklyn Dodger heroes still playing (Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale pitched for the Dodgers before the move, but didn’t become stars until after it), and the only New York Giant hero left was Willie Mays. And he had already returned to New York to play the Yankees in the 1962 World Series.

2. Blue and Orange. The colors themselves, while a hideous combination, aren’t really the problem. It’s the reason for them. The Mets’ founders said that they were combining the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants.

That made sense. When the Islanders were founded 10 years later, the also used blue and orange, and, like the Mets, they still use them today. (They even kept the color scheme while wearing those ridiculous “Gorton’s Fisherman” jerseys in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons.)

Except… When the Knicks were founded, they used blue and orange. That was in 1946, 16 years before the Mets first took the field. Were the Knicks trying to combine the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants? No. The colors worn by the baseball teams were completely irrelevant.

New York City was founded by the Netherlands, as New Amsterdam, in 1624. The Dutch flag of the time was blue, white and orange. The City’s flag used the same colors. It still does, unlike the current Dutch flag, which is a tricolor of 3 horizontal stripes: Red, white and blue from top to bottom. The Dutch royal family remains the House of Orange, and the Netherlands national soccer team wears orange shirts at home.

And the Knicks were named after the title character in Washington Irving’s 1809 satirical novel A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker. From that point onward, “Knickerbocker” became a slang term for Manhattanites, and the caricature of “Uncle Diedrich” was modified for the Knicks’ 1st logo. So it made sense that the Dutch colors became the Knicks’ colors.

(A previous New York-based pro basketball team, the Original Celtics — aside from the name, there was no connection to the later Boston franchise — even had a star player named Henry “Dutch” Dehnert, although he was German, “Deutsch,” rather than descended from the Netherlands, “Dutch.”)

That the combination of the Dodger and Giant colors could be used for the Mets was nice, but let’s not pretend that they weren’t already being used by a New York team that had reached its sport’s finals 3 times — although they wouldn’t win their 1st World Championship until after the Mets, and even the Jets, had won their 1st.

3. Shea Stadium. Beyond the delays that meant that “the William A. Shea Municipal Stadium” wouldn’t open on Opening Day 1963, or in mid-season 1963, and was mere hours away from not being ready on Opening Day 1964…

It was billed as “the greatest baseball stadium ever built.” It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Not by a center-field-at-the-Polo-Grounds-long shot.

Oh, sure, it wasn’t nearly as cramped as the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field were. And it didn’t have ridiculous dimensions like those 2 parks. And, unlike both of them and Yankee Stadium, it wasn’t in a ghetto, and it had plenty of parking, and it didn’t have support poles blocking your view.

What it did have was seats that were properly angled for football instead of baseball, upper-deck seats that might as well have been in another Borough, back rows of decks that had overhangs from decks above them that cut off your view of fly balls (a worse obstruction than Yankee Stadium’s support poles), nasty wind that made a Met game in May as cold as a Jet game in December, and those planes taking off from nearby LaGuardia International Airport. (The ones taking off would go right overhead. The ones landing went on a different flight path, behind center field.)

Also, it was a lot harder to get an express train from Manhattan to Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. The D Train’s express from 59th Street/Columbus Circle to 125th Street (bypassing 7 local stops) made getting from Port Authority Bus Terminal to Yankee Stadium 5 stops, and about 25 minutes, even with the switch from the A to the D at 59th.

But to get from Port Authority to Shea, you had to first go through that dank tunnel with the nasty incline connecting the Port Authority and Times Square subway stations, then get the 7 Train, and 9 times out of 10 it wouldn’t be an express, so you had to make 19 stops! And it takes 35 to 40 minutes, considerably longer. Even the express makes 9 stops.

Shea, and now Citi Field, always had better parking and better food than Yankee Stadium, old and new. That’s it. The stadium itself was never better than Yankee Stadium, even in 1973, when Yankee Stadium was a 50-year-old uneasy relic with thick support poles in the ever-nastier South Bronx, and Shea was a multicolored suburban palace. The original Yankee Stadium was a baseball park that hosted football; Shea Stadium was a football stadium that hosted baseball.

4. The Reaction to Losing Tom Seaver. Yes, it was awful the way he was pushed out by M. Donald Grant and his grinning lackey in the press, Dick Young of the New York Daily News.

To be fair, Young was a strong advocate for black players, and for a new team in New York, either through the Continental League or MLB expansion. That was before he, like Frank Sinatra, got grumpy and conservative in his old age.

Yes, Seaver deserved better. Yes, you, the Flushing Heathen, whatever else I can say about you, you deserved better than to have “The Franchise” taken away from you in that fashion.

But… come on. Babe Ruth left the Yankees in 1935. Joe DiMaggio retired in 1951. Mickey Mantle retired in 1969. Reggie Jackson was not re-signed in 1981. Mariano Rivera retired in 2013, and Derek Jeter retired in 2014. On none of those occasions did Yankee Fans react like a child who had been told his dog was “taken to a farm upstate.”

There were 2 times when Yankee Fans did react like that. The 1st was for Lou Gehrig in 1939. Except he actually was going to die. The 2nd was for Thurman Munson in 1979. And he actually did die.

Great players leave. Great players come to take their places. Grow up.

Besides, it’s not like having Seaver would have appreciably helped the Mets from June 1977 to September 1982 anyway. He would have made the difference between the Mets being horrible (which they were) and the Mets being merely mediocre and not as good as the Yankees (which they already were from April 1974 to June 1977). He would have given Shea a few thousand extra fans every 4th home game. That’s it.

5. Retired Numbers. Yes, the Yankees have too many. I get that. We should give guys like Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada plaques for Monument Park, but don’t retire their numbers. Fine, Met fans, go ahead and make that argument. Especially now that you have your own team hall of fame in a room off the Citi Field rotunda.

(Actually, the Mets have had a team hall of fame since 1981, but it’s only since 2010 and the opening of that room that it’s been on public display.)

But the Mets’ retired-number policy isn’t much better than the Yankees’. It just stinks in the other direction.

Retiring 37 for Casey Stengel made sense for the Yankees: He managed us to 10 Pennants and 7 World Championships. It made no sense for the Mets to do it: He did nothing for you. He made you laugh? Then why haven’t numbers been retired for Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart? Or, for that matter, for Marv Throneberry, Frank Taveras, Oliver Perez? Or even Steve Somers, Joe Benigno and Doris From Rego Park?

(Yes, I am aware, they never wore numbers for the Mets. They can share Number 66, in honor of WFAN.)

Retiring 14 for Hodges made sense, as he was the manager who won your 1st title. Retiring 41 for Seaver made sense, as he was your greatest player ever.

But keeping 24 semi-retired for Willie Mays, a decision made by founding owner and former Giants part-owner Joan Payson, is ludicrous: He did next to nothing for the Mets. Not retiring 8 for Gary Carter, especially once you knew he was dying, was really crummy. (Although Bobby Murcer died of the exact same thing, and the Yankees also had lead time on that, and didn’t give him a Monument Park Plaque while he was still able to attend the ceremony, and still haven’t, 7 years after his death.)

And, certainly, 17 should have been retired for Keith Hernandez. Who made the decision that it shouldn’t be retired? Who does this guy think he is? Whoever he is, he hasn’t done as much for the Mets as the man who can answer that question, “I’m Keith Hernandez!”

And if Mike Piazza was so great, how come 31 hasn’t been retired for him? Are you waiting for him to be elected to the Hall of Fame? That wait wasn’t kept for Stengel, Seaver, Mays, or Hodges (who, unfairly, is still not in the Hall).

(And if you think Piazza’s not in the Hall of Fame because of his personality, well, that would be understandable… but that’s not why he’s not in yet.)

6. The Dynasty That Never Was. Under the current 3-divisions-plus-wild-card setup, putting the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central Division, the Mets would at least have won the NL Eastern Division every season from 1984 to 1990.

Instead, under the setup we had then, with only 2 Divisions, and only the Division Champions made the Playoffs, they won just 2 Division titles, riding a lot of postseason luck to winning the World Championship in 1986, and blowing the NL Championship Series to the Dodgers in 1988. That’s it.

Face it: The 1986 Mets were not that good. Yes, they won 108 games in the regular season, the most won by a New York team between 1961 and 1998, and still the most ever by an NL team in New York in 139 seasons. But, statistically, they didn’t match up well with any of the great Yankee teams, or the title-winning Giant and Dodger teams. Even the ’69 Mets were better, statistically speaking.

Granted, it wasn’t just drugs and booze. A lot of those guys (including the substance abusers) got hurt, and missed time for reasons that had nothing to do with drugs, performance-enhancing and not. But if the 1980s Mets were as good as you think they were, why only the 1 Pennant?

The competition was good? Yes, it was. So was the competition for the 1996-2003 Yankees, and in 8 seasons they won 6 Pennants and 4 World Series. In just 8 seasons, they won 50 percent more Pennants and twice as many World Series as the Mets have ever won in 53 seasons. And the 1990s Yankees had to survive 1 more postseason round than the 1980s Mets. If the Mets had to win a Division Series just to get to the ’86 Houston Astros, would they have won it, or gotten derailed? Look at all that talent the Atlanta Braves had in the 1990s, and the NLDS and NLCS that the statistics say they should have won, but didn’t.

If the 1986 Mets had to play the 1998 Yankees in a World Series, it wouldn’t have gone the full 7. It’s not like the ’86 Mets could, like the ’98 Yankees, call on David Cone, who didn’t arrive in Flushing until ’87.

But Met fans still hold up the ’86 team as exemplars of “Baseball Like It Oughta Be.” That’s because it remains their last title. But the way they went through the season, acting like Animal House in polyester? Maybe it was effective, but it wasn’t anything “like it oughta be.” And, starting the next season, it wasn’t nearly as effective as it should have been, either.

The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies (who, like the ’86 Mets, featured drunken bum Lenny Dykstra) are hailed as beloved, successful slobs. But ask a Phillies fan what meant more: The 1993 “Macho Row” Pennant, or the 2008 World Series title. He’ll tell you 2008. If the 1999-2000 Mets had been good enough to go all the way, they would have been far better as role models than the 1980s version. Though Piazza and Armando Benitez would have fit in well in ’86.

7. Bernie Madoff. Say what you want about George Steinbrenner, and he did some rotten things and made some boneheaded decisions, but he never would have been fooled by Bernie Madoff.

What’s that, you say? George got fooled by Howie Spira? That’s because Spira had something George was a sucker for: A hard-luck story. Something Madoff didn’t have. And getting fooled by Spira didn’t cause George to lose millions, forcing his team into 6 years of mediocrity. (True, there were 4 such years, but it wasn’t due to a drop in George’s finances.)

8. Sportsnet New York. SNY could have been a great sports network. And, I’ll admit, while it’s not as good as YES, it’s a pretty good sports network. But comparing it with YES, it falls well short.

Showing classic games? Most of those wouldn’t register as “Yankees Classics” if the Yankees had done the exact same thing.

Focusing on Johan Santana’s no-hitter? All that does is allow people to see that Carlos Beltran’s line drive was a clean, fair base hit, and that the “no-hitter” was bogus.

Showing regular-season wins by the Mets over the Yankees? You don’t see too many Yankee regular-season wins over the Mets on YES’ Yankees Classics — although you do see replays of the 2000 World Series’ Game 1 (a 12-inning classic) and Game 5 (the clincher, which wasn’t decided until the last swing of the bat).

Also, where’s the Met equivalent of Yankeeography? Then again, they did do a 50 Greatest Mets, whereas we don’t yet have a 50 (or 100) Greatest Yankees program.

Then there was that “broadcasters’ challenge,” the radio guys against the TV guys. It was shocking to see how little the Met broadcasters — including former players like Hernandez and Ron Darling — knew about the team for whom they broadcast. Even Gary Cohen, who grew up as a Met fan and should have known better, came up well short. That was embarrassing.

9. Citi Field. You guys had many years to plan this. Years to figure out how to get it right. And, I have to admit, nearly everything about it is an improvement over the Flushing Toilet. Except the planes: I think the noise from the planes might actually be worse.

But it really isn’t all that different from some of the other 1990s and 2000s ballparks. It’s basically a copy of Camden Yards in Baltimore, Globe Life Park in the Dallas area, Turner Field in Atlanta, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Petco Park in San Diego, and Nationals Park in Washington, with team-specific differences. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Coors Field in Denver, and Target Field in Minneapolis, with their 3 decks in right field and a bleacher section in left, are mirror images.

And it doesn’t have any spectacular features. It doesn’t have a warehouse like Camden Yards and Petco Park, the river view like Great American Ball Park, the bay view like AT&T Park in San Francisco, a monument like the Gateway Arch like the new Busch Stadium in St. Louise, or the view of the downtown skyscrapers like PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Even the minor-league parks in town can top it on that score: MCU Park in Brooklyn has a view of Coney Island’s landmarks, and Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island has a few of Lower Manhattan. As someone put it when it opened in 2001, it looks like the Statue of Liberty is playing a very deep center field.

But the most annoying part of Citi Field is your beloved Shake Shack: It has lines that cause fans to miss an inning or two. That sort of thing was supposed to be left in the 20th Century! The 1st time I went there, the game went to extra innings at 1-1, and I missed both runs while on line for Shake Shack!

(The shakes are pretty good, but not good enough to make anybody echo John Travolta’s line from Pulp Fiction about whether a milkshake is worth $5.00.)

The most embarrassing thing about Citi Field is the name. And I’m not even talking about naming it after a hated bank. It was understandable: Citi bought out Chemical Bank, which bought out Manufacturer’s Hanover, which was a big sponsor for the Mets (and, for a time, the Yankees, too). It’s a part of your heritage, just like Kahn’s hot dogs and RC Cola. (Although you seem to have abandoned those.)

But “Citi” can be rhymed. Some fans, reflecting the “Flushing Toilet” nickname for Shea Stadium, call the new park “Shitty Field.” I prefer to call it Pity Field, because the Mets have mostly been pitiful since it opened. But the name was just too easy to parody. The Met organization should have known better.

But then, if they knew better, they would not be the Mets. There’s always going to be a little bit of 1962, a little Marvelous Marv Red Dehnert Throneberry and Clarence “Choo-Choo” Coleman, in them.

10. “Take Back New York.” Tell ya what: Beat the Yankees in a World Series. Then you can say that you’ve taken back New York.

Until you do, nothing you do will mean you’ve taken it back. Even if you pull off another “miracle” and win the whole thing this season, it’ll still be 27 to 3.

You talked about taking back New York in 1999, and you couldn’t set up the real “Subway Series.” You talked about taking back New York in 2000, and you lost the real Subway Series. You talked about taking back New York in 2006, the one season since 1988 that you’ve actually gone further than we have, and you choked. You talked about taking back New York in 2007 and 2008, and we know how those seasons ended. Don’t we?

Now, you’re talking about “taking back New York” again. Based on what, exactly? David Wright? He disappears every September. Matt Harvey? He’d be the Yankees’ 4th starter. Jacob deGrom? He’d also be the Yankees’ 4th starter. How ya gonna take back New York with a 36-year-old Michael Cuddyer as your cleanup hitter?

No, “Take Back New York” is a joke. The Mets are a joke. Have been for most of their history. Have been continuously since 1992. Still are. Will remain so for the foreseeable future.

And I haven’t even mentioned Chico Escuela. Or Spider-Man. Or Sidd Finch. Or Bobby Bonilla. Or Steve Phillips. Or the marijuana situation of a few years ago. Or Warm Bodies, the film suggesting that zombies inhabit Citi Field — at least zombies are looking for brains. Or Sharknado 2. Or Jeff Wilpon firing a woman for being unmarried and pregnant.

Or how Jack Klugman would have been better off visiting Shea Stadium in character as Dr. Quincy, to perform an autopsy on the team, that he would have if he’d visited in character as Oscar Madison of The Odd Couple.
Red Dehnert Jersey Signed

The Mets are a joke.

(UPDATE: Even after winning the Pennant in 2015, the Mets spectacularly failed in the World Series, blowing leads in all 5 games, including the 1 they won anyway. The Mets are still a joke.)

Billy Hassett Jersey Signed

Brian Hassett is looking for the Capital Region’s Jerry Colangelo.

The Phoenix philanthropist and former owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks gave the first-ever $1 million gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.

That donation brought awareness to the nonprofit and helped Hassett, then the organization’s CEO, double the annual fundraising campaign to $48 million.

OK, $1 million donors may not be a dime a dozen here, but Hassett is on the hunt for new and bigger funding streams for the United Way of the Greater Capital Region. “I’ve always loved separating people from their money for a good cause.”

You were quite a handful in your younger years.

It wasn’t my background—my parents were upper middle class. I was hanging around with the wrong people. We were “borrowing” cars when I was 11 or 12. I think I’m the only one from the original neighborhood who’s living, or on the outside.

“Outside” meaning not in jail?

Yes. Here’s a Christmas story I remember: I was out of high school six months and my best friend was sent to jail. I couldn’t raise enough money for his bail, so I went to a Brother—I graduated from a Catholic school—and he put up the rest of the money. That friend wound up dying of liver cancer at a young age.

My attraction to nonprofits is, in part, because I grew up in places like the Boys & Girls Club. They were a big influence on me. I became a Big Brother in college and never really looked back.

Plus, philanthropy runs in your family.

I had two fairly famous uncles. The first, Buddy Hassett, played pro ball as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Braves and eventually the Yankees. One of his coaches was Babe Ruth.

The other, Billy Hassett, played for the first NBA championship team, the Minneapolis Lakers.

Both were very active in their communities. They’d raise money for their church, the Boy Scouts, whomever needed money.

Your LinkedIn profile shows you standing beside shock-rocker Alice Cooper. What’s the story there?

When I took over as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, the organization was in big financial trouble, and I knew we really needed to do something off the wall. I took ideas from two other places that had used similar techniques to raise money, and came up with “Guitar Mania.”

We got backing from [guitar maker] Fender, had a boat company build the guitars and enlisted all these celebrities to paint 10-foot Stratocaster guitars for a public art project. We auctioned the guitars and raised $1 million.

Alice Cooper, who lives in Phoenix and is nothing like his public persona, by the way, wound up chairing the project. He has his own Phoenix foundation, Solid Rock, for at-risk youths. He’s very spiritual, actually.

A lot of celebrities painted one of the Stratocasters: Eddie Van Halen and his son, Wolfgang; Nickelback; Wayne Gretzky; Sen. John McCain; Stevie Nicks, Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.

Dennis Leary actually drove his guitar up the hill to his house because the delivery driver wouldn’t do it.

Things were so bad when you took over that you were willing to put your own home on the line.

Let’s just say that I had a conversation with the bank that I would consider taking out a second mortgage. I’d just come on, and I wanted the bank to know I was committed to the organization.

The bank gave us a line of credit and became one of our biggest supporters.

What are your plans to grow the local United Way?

We raise $7.9 million through our annual campaign. I really believe we can raise that to $15 million in the next five years or so.

It all comes down to asking people. You can’t keep going back to Mr. and Mrs. Golub (owners of the Price Chopper grocery chain).

Only three or four local law firms contribute to the United Way. Only 300 local companies give to the United Way. I don’t want to paint a picture that people here aren’t generous. I don’t think that’s the case. They just have to be asked.

We also have to start thinking more regionally. People in Saratoga may not be so inclined to support a homeless center in Albany because the donor doesn’t understand what’s needed in the community.

The United Way spends the entire year looking at this. I’m working to increase our percentage of “unrestricted” funds, which would give us more ability to direct money where it’s needed locally.

How are things going in the three months you’ve had the job?

It’s a little tough in these economic times, but we’re making progress. For example, someone pointed me to a local individual who flies under the radar, but is very generous. I asked him to donate, and to please not designate the funds to a specific cause. He gave $75,000, which can be used at the discretion of the United Way.

We have only 15 $10,000 donors in this community. I think there are at least 200 to 300 people in the area that could contribute that much a year. My goal is to do better.

Really, though, Albany isn’t Phoenix.

We might not have the same celebrity contingent, but there’s plenty of potential.

I was told that the Saratoga Performing Arts Center was organized by a couple of families that wanted a world-class entertainment center. Look what happened.

Agencies really need us now. Everybody wanted less government. We’re getting it. And along with that comes casualties. This is America and hunger is a big issue in America. There’s something wrong with that.

There are 400 to 500 female war veterans in the Capital Region who are homeless. What’s going to happen when we pull out of Afghanistan?

About 80 percent of our donors are people who give $50 to $100 a year through payroll deductions. They get it because they’re often the people closest to the need.

One of the reasons you moved to Albany was to be closer to your son, Kevin. You’re also a cancer survivor who should stay out of the hot Phoenix sun.

It was diagnosed 15 years ago during a routine physical. There were big spots on my back that were taken care of, then they started showing up on my face and head.

I’ve had topical chemo where they burn off a layer of skin. I shave my head to keep an eye on things.

People in Scottsdale pay lots of money for what I’ve had done because it makes you look younger. I’m just trying to stay healthy. But if younger is a benefit, I’ll take it.

Quick info:

Brian Hassett
Age: 57
Title: CEO, United Way of the Greater Capital Region
Born: The Bronx, grew up in Utica
Resides: Clifton Park
Educated: Niagara University, bachelor’s in political science; University of Rhode Island, master’s in public administration