No Gul­liver in Brob­d­ing­nag

Isa­iah Thomas, 5-foot-9, is the real story of the All-Star break and we can learn from him

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Sam Abra­ham

Isa­iah Thomas is the big story com­ing into this All-Star Game, if you’re will­ing to let the Rus­sell West­brook-Kevin Du­rant sto­ry­line go. The 5-foot-9 point guard is av­er­ag­ing 29.9 points per game this sea­son, and is chas­ing West­brook’s 31.1 points per game. He’s also on a 41-game streak of at least 20 points a game.

Cava­liers’ Kyrie Irv­ing was asked at the All-Star avail­abil­ity the day be­fore the game about the threat Thomas’ Celtics pose to the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in the East­ern Con­fer­ence. He spoke about how Thomas was mak­ing those around him bet­ter — and that has been the dif­fer­ence — and the plan, when the teams meet, would be to get to his game, but con­ceded that even­tu­ally he would “find a way to get his shot off”.

Now if ever young In­dian fans needed a role model — as we, in­clud­ing jour­nal­ists, are con­stantly ask­ing for­eign tal­ent about our lack of phys­i­cal com­pe­tence — Thomas would be it. He did have it dif­fi­cult early in the ca­reer, but surely the 28-year-old is on the way to con­sis­tent bril­liance.

While talk­ing to re­porters from all over the world, and more than one na­tion put for­ward the ques­tion of size vs skill (or ath­letic abil­ity), what came through was at­ti­tude. He did not sound like Gul­liver trapped in Brob­d­ing­nag. “Last year (I wanted) to be the great­est lit­tle guy to ever play the game,” Thomas was quoted as say­ing. “Now, things like they are, I want to be the great­est player to ever play. I know I’ve got a long way to go. I’m not even close, but you’ve got to shoot high.”

If that wasn’t enough, Mug­gsy Bogues — 5-foot-3 and 14 sea­sons in the NBA — had kind words for any­one wor­ried size and height. “(Fo­cus on) the game it­self. You know you al­ways got to start with the fun­da­men­tals of the game and then let your nat­u­ral abil­ity take over... Again, we con­tinue to let kids know that the game is (about) ath­letic abil­ity, so don’t get caught up on size. Re­mem­ber, I’m liv­ing tes­ti­mony of that.” An­swer sounds old? Maybe we should stop ask­ing.

(Si­de­note: It never gets old to see leg­ends of the game min­gling over the week­end fes­tiv­i­ties).

ADAM BE­LIEVES THE EARTH IS ROUND

NBA com­mis­sioner Adam Sil­ver is gung-ho about bas­ket­ball’s im­prov­ing global stature, and that also means keep­ing an eye out for travel bans. Here’s what he said: “For the first time this year, we made some­what of a sig­nif­i­cant leap in the num­ber of in­ter­na­tional play­ers in this league. We climbed from roughly 20 per­cent of the league, play­ers that were born out­side the United States, to 25 per­cent, and those num­bers are only go­ing to con­tinue to grow.”

So will a travel ban con­cern him? “We are a busi­ness based on global mo­bil­ity... We do a tremen­dous amount of busi­ness on a global ba­sis. So gov­ern­ment re­stric

tions on travel, I am con­cerned Thomas, about. It goes against the fun­dathe 5-foot-9 men­tal val­ues and the fun­damen

tal in­gre­di­ents of what make for point guard ,

a great NBA... My per­sonal view is av­er­ag­ing is from a league stand­point, we 29.9 points have to look out for our league per game this mem­bers. We have two NBA play­sea­son, and is ers born in the Su­dan.” chas­ing WestThe com­mis­sioner also had

to pro­vide an ex­pla­na­tion as to brook’s 31.1

why Irv­ing thinks the world is flat. “Kyrie and I went to the same col­lege,” he said to po­lite laugh­ter. “He may have taken some dif­fer­ent cour­ses than I did.

“But in all se­ri­ous­ness, as he made clear, he was try­ing to be provoca­tive, and I think it was ef­fec­tive. I think it was a larger com­ment on the sort of so-called fake news de­bate that’s go­ing on in our so­ci­ety right now in terms of what’s re­ported, and it led to an in­ter­est­ing dis­cus­sion. But per­son­ally, I be­lieve the world is round.” More laugh­ter.

COST-EF­FEC­TIVE JOUR­NAL­ISM

The many vari­a­tions of mo­bile tech has to be the fu­ture of cost-ef­fec­tive ‘jour­nal­ism’. The hum­ble ‘selfie-stick’ was con­verted to so­phis­ti­cated record­ing in­stru­ments with the ad­di­tions of mi­cro­phone at­tach­ments and cus­tom rigs to re­duce move­ment of hand­held de­vices (mostly smart­phones). One-man crews get­ting the lat­est out with a phone and a data plan.

The ‘me­dia ac­cess’ ses­sions over the week­end seemed a loose term to use. Though a ma­jor­ity of Isa­iah Thomas (R), who is just 5-foot-9, is the per­fect role model for In­dian fans — AP

those present were from tra­di­tional me­dia, there were also quite the num­ber of those of so­cial me­dia fame - walk­ing around talk­ing into their phones, try­ing to get the All Stars in the frame. And they were from all around the world too.

PS: The West beat the East in the All-Star Game, 192182. That’s a com­bined 374 points in 48 min­utes, or al­most 7.8 points ev­ery minute. D for De­fence?

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