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Greg Oden Is a Heck of a Pitchman

Since he’s out for the season with knee surgery, he sure has a lot of time on his hands and ESPN the Magazine decided to wrangle the budding star for a commercial shoot promoting his appearance on the magazine’s cover recently. Though the commercial has been around for a while, it’s cracked me up to the point where I decided I had to post it — much like the Chris Bosh spot. Enjoy the subtle humor of one Greg Oden:

I love that guy. He may look like he fought in World War II, but Greg Oden is one funny ass young dude. He has such a warm personality and is definitely a guy I’ll be rooting for when he gets healthy. Here’s to a speedy recovery because that big man can sell.

UPDATE: Yet another reason to love Mr. Oden via SPORTSbyBROOKS

Kevin Durant Jersey Commercial Is Simply Fantastic

I’m not exactly sure what it is. Maybe it’s for the same reason people like seeing footage of their favorite athletes playing ball in the backyard when they were kids. Maybe it’s the way it tells the journey through the basketball life as a player. Maybe because it reminds you that before the players were superstars in the NBA, they were also on a middle school team just like me and you. Just watch:

I can’t describe it, but I love seeing that commercial. Every single time it’s on it captivates me. Maybe it’s just because it’s simply brilliant.

Knicks Had Spies on Larry Brown

At least that’s what Larry Brown is saying, and who wouldn’t believe him? Well after leaving the Knicks following a situation that developed into a hideous mess, Brown gave an interview to Philadelphia magazine. In the magazine, Brown says that the Knicks spied on him:

Brown, now a Sixers executive, said, “Imagine when you get to work, they don’t talk to you. They had security people standing close to me in press conferences, and spies throughout the arena.”

Brown got in trouble with owner James Dolan not just for the horrendous record but for violating media policies that forbid talking to reporters without a public-relations official present.

Without hearing another side of the story, I’m automatically inclined to believe Brown here. If Dolan wasn’t getting along with Brown and wanted to get rid of him, wouldn’t he have spies on Brown to dig up dirt to find excuses to get rid of the guy? Isn’t that how they reclaimed much of the money owed to Brown? And come on, these are the same Knicks that let Isiah continue employment after he cost them $10 million in a sexual harassment case. Do you really think spies are out of their realm of creepiness? I sure don’t.

Brandon iRoy! Greatest Promotion Ever

I happened to be watching some of the Blazers/Heat game Friday night on ESPN that Portland won, handing Miami it’s 12th straight loss. At one point, they cut to Ric Bucher who was working the sidelines for a report. Bucher proceeded to tell us about one of the best promotion efforts by a team that I’ve ever seen. According to Bucher, the Blazers are sending out an iPod with Brandon Roy’s face on it — the iRoy — to promote his case for the All-Star game. They have sent the iRoy out to all the NBA coaches, and I believe Bucher added that they’ll be sending it out to other people voting for the game as well.

While Roy certainly has competition in the Western Conference to make the All-Star team, he certainly deserves it. He might not command the same attention in terms of name value as Kobe, Iverson, Nash, and T-Mac, but he certainly has proved to be every bit as valuable as any of them. The Blazers are leading their division — one that has Denver and Utah in it — and that’s without Greg Oden. What they’ve done this year has been nothing short of astonishing, and Roy has been a huge catalyst for them. His numbers don’t speak as loudly as his competitors, but his team is leading most of them in the category that counts — wins — and he’s a big reason why. I’d vote for Roy and I don’t even need an iRoy to be convinced. (though it wouldn’t hurt).

Joakim Noah Not Working Out as a Pro

Back when those Florida Gators teams were busy dominating UCLA in the Final Four, I always thought Al Horford was the best player on their squad. That sentiment seems to be validated by the performance of all the Florida players in the pros thus far. One thing I will admit however, was that I never expected Joakim Noah to present this much of a problem in the NBA. This has actually been going on all season long for Joakim. If you remember a few months back I told you about Joakim screwing up on his rookie donut duty. Then after his first game, Joakim criticized his team’s effort and was muzzled by then head coach Scott Skiles. And now The People’s Princess has been benched for at least a game, as decided by his teammates. As you could imagine, Noah is not happy about it:

“They just told me what I did was unacceptable and I’m just going to move on from here,” Noah said. “I’ve just got to accept it. What do you want me to say? I’ve just got to move on. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

When asked if he believes the two-game suspension is too severe, Noah said “Ask the players who made the decision. I don’t know. … Do I agree with it? It doesn’t make a difference. I respect my teammates.”

Somehow I don’t think the proper response to being benched by your teammates is not “It doesn’t make a difference.” I’m not sure what the deal is with Joakim, but he’s starting to become more of The People’s Starbury than he is a princess. You better believe he’ll be out of Chicago soon as his contract is up. Can you say bust?

Isiah Thomas to Finally Be Fired?

Just as soon as he got crowned Deadspin’s Sportshuman of the Year, this story has to come out. Man, they just don’t let you enjoy your moment in the sun these days, do they? Apparently not, because Frank Isola of the New York Daily News writes that James Dolan is finally leaning towards canning Isiah at the end of the season:

Garden chairman James Dolan recently told confidants that he knows a coaching change must be made and that he is preparing to do just that, according to a source close to Dolan. No timetable was given, but the source indicated that Dolan is leaning toward making a change before the end of the season.

It is not clear whether Dolan would allow Thomas to continue in his role as the team’s highest-ranking decision-maker once he is removed from the bench. Such a scenario would seem unlikely, but Thomas’ survival skills should never be underestimated.

I guess all those rumors about Isiah having naked pictures of Dolan running a salad-tossing train with some trannies might not be true. Though the source of the report is anonymous and somewhat vague, I have to think Isola knows what he’s writing. Sure we all could have guessed Isiah would finally be out after the year, but now it finally seems as if his run could be over. Crazy that it might finally over after all the Isiah garbage and embarrassment Dolan put up with.

Celtics Already Breaking Down?

Is this the typical overreaction of a fan or what? The Celtics lose one game out of like 50, and you have losers on the internet already pondering whether or not they’ve broken down. Well guess what? That’s me right there for you. The Celtics are now 29-4 after losing to the Bobcats Wednesday night. That’s their first loss to a non-marquee team. Falling to LeBron, the Pistons, and the Magic is acceptable — those are the East’s elite. But the Bobcats? What’s that all about?

I know Boston won twice last month without Ray Allen, but man, doesn’t the alarm go off a bit after they dropped this one? That’s what was always said — the Celtics have a great 1-2-3 combo, but after that their depth is limited. Sure, their supporting cast has played well this year, but it was only a matter of time before one of their big guys broke down ruining the running triumvirate (yeah, that’s assonance AND alliteration for you in the same sentence, baby). I know, I know, it’s only one game. Still, I’m already worried that this could be an indication of how fragile the window for Boston’s success is this year. Would be shame to see them fall because of injury and I have a feeling the losses will start coming in more frequently from here on out.

(photo courtesy AP/Charles Krupa)