Odd summer news in the Association
There often is not much news about the goings-on in the NBA during the summer and even less now that the league has entered a lockout.
But summertime doesn’t have to be a drab affair, as recent news from the NBA is proving.
Artest applies to have his name legally changed
Ron Artest, the player who became infamous for sparking the brawl in Detroit back in 2004, has decided that he needs a new name to match his new demeanor. That is why he has formally requested to have his name legally changed to Metta WorldPeace.
Artest follows in the footsteps of Lloyd Bernard Free (World B. Free), Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Chris Jackson (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), and Olivier Saint-Jean (Tariq Abdul-Wahad) as NBA players who changed their names and more recently, Chad Johnson (Chad Ochocinco) in the NFL.
While Artest hasn’t listed any grand reasoning or social statement behind the name change, this seems to be his latest foray into trying to make a positive change in the world. Last December, he auctioned off the 2010 NBA Championship ring he won with the Los Angeles Lakers to aid mental health programs for children.
For those curious, Metta comes from Buddhism and roughly means loving-kindness.
Nash on the mend
Steve Nash struggled through the second half of the NBA season with an injury described as pelvic instability. So less than a week after the season came to an end, Nash was busy getting some physical therapy on it from a trusted name in medicine…er, music.
On Apr. 19, Nash was pulled up on stage during a concert and received a lap dance from Nicki Minaj. Not much information exists on the incident, but the most obvious explanation is that Minaj heard about Nash’s ailment and felt that a little TLC from her derriere, Mr. Miyagi style, would do the trick.
It seems to have worked since Nash has since hosted and participated in his annual Showdown in Chinatown soccer tournament in New York on June 22 that benefits the Steve Nash Foundation.
Pelvic instability. We all should be as lucky.
Tanguy Ngombo: International man of mystery
This past NBA draft had a lot of question marks, and is seems that Tanguy Ngombo accounted for many of them.
The first question that popped up (after “Who is this guy?”) was what his name actually was. Some reports had his name as Tanguy Ngombo; others listed him as Targuy Ngombo. It eventually was learned that his name is Tanguy, not Targuy.
But this led to another discrepancy — and a much more significant one at that.
According to several FIBA Web sites, his age at the time of the draft was 26, not the 21 initially stated. The problem is that if he were 26, he would have been ineligible to be drafted.
International players who have either not declared for the draft or withdrawn as so-called early-entry candidates automatically become eligible at age 22 (in the year of the draft, not necessarily on draft day). If they go undrafted, they again automatically become eligible a year later at 23. They can’t pull out, and if they go undrafted, they can only make a roster as a free agent.
Therefore, if Ngombo is in fact 26, he would have been eligible for the draft four years ago in 2007, and again in 2008. After that, he’d only be eligible to join the NBA as a free agent.
The NBA has not made a formal statement on the matter (likely because it has more pressing, lockout-related matters to attend to), but Ngombo’s rights have been traded a few times since being drafted June 23. If the NBA were to rule him ineligible, any trade he was involved in would be voided and further penalties could be handed down to teams trading the ineligible Ngombo.
Gilbert Arenas & Dwight Howard go ‘planking’
What do millionaire athletes do with their summers? If you guessed lie down in odd places stiff as a board, photograph themselves doing so, and post them to the Internet, congratulations!
The two biggest contributors to this latest Internet craze are Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas. The two teammates have started a friendly competition with each other and have even teamed up for a few. Arenas had posted pictures of himself, among other places, “planking” at a toll booth, while Howard had “planked” on a fast-food counter. The two have upped the ante, however, and recently posted new images of themselves “planking” in even more creative places. Howard was photographed on the wing of a plane, and the pair teamed up to lie down on top of a Waffle House sign.
Other athletes have tried “planking” with varied success. Ron Artest, the soon-to-be Metta WorldPeace, took a “planking” picture of himself reclining in an inflatable lounge chair in his swimming pool. It was a poor attempt to say the least.
A bigger concern should be what the pair may have time to come up with if there is an extended work stoppage in the NBA. After all, the two have only been on vacation for two months. What will they come up with in September? “Planking” on the toilet?
On second thought, scratch that. They don’t need any more ideas.
By: Eric Lorenz
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