Newman Throws Levingston Under the Bus

Check this out at March 29, at 19:00 minutes.

 Joe Newman absolutely goes after Andre Levingston and just pulls a hatchet job on the guy and busts out some definate lies/half-truth including:

Levingston stole $40 000 from Newman for the all-star game.  But the ABA will not pursue this money.

3000 people showed up for each of the two final Atlanta games and Levingston made a ton of profit off of these games (both obviously factually correct).

Levingston managed to get $50 000 from “the ministry” (no idea what this is) to pay for other teams flights to Halifax… and then Levingston pocketed it.

Every team that traveled here flew into Halifax on their own dime.

There’s more, but take a listen.  I have never heard a “CEO” of publicly traded company act in such an unprofessional manner in public…. unreal.

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Frost Heaves Win ABA Finals

Vermont defeated San Diego 87-82 in the finals of the ABA’s play off tournament this morning.

Congrats to a Vermont team that was ravaged by injuries and still beat some very good teams to retain their title.  As much as I think the ABA is a terrible league, there are a number of very good teams and very good athletes in the ABA and the ‘Heaves and their fans should be proud of the team.  In a lot of ways I think that Vermont and the Frost Heaves are exactly what you could dream for in a minor league basketball team.

The only thing that disapoints me about the Rainmen leaving the ABA is that there’s a chance that we will end up a league without the ‘Heaves.

Chad Lucas Bids the ABA Farewell

Chad Lucas has what he is calling his final blog post about the ABA up now.

 It’s balanced, well thought out and has at least one point where he catches Newman in a boldface lie:

In one of his emails this week, Newman told me that before the season Andre Levingston said he would arrange a “travel deal” that “would make flying to Halifax no more expensive than ground travel.” I mentioned this to Levingston and he said he told Newman he’d look into a travel discount but promised no such thing.

On the other hand, when Halifax hosted the ABA all-star game in January 2007 Newman told me straight-up in an interview that the ABA itself would help teams get to Halifax. Here’s what I wrote in a story the day after the game:

Newman said the league will subsidize travel costs to bring top teams into Halifax, not just eastern competition. “We’re so enthusiastic,” he said. “(We want to) make sure we get the very best teams to come to Halifax, because Halifax deserves no less than the best that the ABA can offer.”

It’s a good read.  Check it out. 

Chad Lucas Runs a Post-Mortem on Rainmen Season

Chronicle Herald basketball writer Chad Lucas has a year end review up on his blog.  Go check it out.  He and I agree on more than we disagree on and he has some good insights ranging from the insightful to the obvious.  Among the obvious:

Off the court, most of the Rainmen’s lowlights can be summed up in three letters and you already know what they are: A-B-A.

Lucas has had some of the funnier comments about the ABA that I’ve read this year.  Mostly because he’s a real sports reporter who simply can’t believe the things that happen.  What a crazy league.  I will actually miss it in a sick sort of way.

I’d offer more thoughts on Lucas’ blog entry but I am off to class.  Read it for yourself – he sums up the year well and makes a particularly good point when he says that Levingston needs to become even more visible.  That guy is one of the team’s best selling points.

I’ll try to get my year end report cards together sooner or later.  Hopefully sometime between school ending and my taking off for the first part of the summer.

p.s.  If anyone wants to hire me for late May to the end of August please let me know.

Crookshank Plays Well in All Star Game

I don’t have the stats but I’ve got to believe he was in the 15 point, 10 rebound, 3 steal, 3+ assist region.

The east were a lot better than the west.  It may be fatigue but it’s also just a matter of skill and physical ability.

 

The broadcast was really choppy on my end so it was hard to follow.  There looks to be a good sized crowd (at least 85% full) who are really enjoying the game and are very vocal.  They’re cheering both teams, but obviously are backing the East.  The broadcast is the normal high quality ‘Heaves broadcast.  I have been really impressed with the webcasts all season.

 

Crookshanks played really well and looked to be having fun.  He played particularly good defense that led to some easy baskets and threw down some big dunks.  Pretty much everything you can hope for in an all star game from Crookshank. 

 

Jerome Abel of the San Diego Wildcats somehow managed to get a Technnical for saying something to the refs.

 

We learned from the announcers that Will Voigt used to break down film for the San Antonio Spurs… if Halifax somehow make it into the D-League we need to offer Voigt the head coaching job.

 

The announcers kept saying things like “It’s too bad we won’t be seeing Crookshank or any of his Rainmen teammates in Quebec.  There are some internal problems with that organization.”  Yeah – there are.  There are in every sports team, particularly minor league teams.  But the reason Halifax won’t be in Quebec City has nothing to do with those minor internal problems.  It’s just aggravating that they keep getting it wrong.

Lewis Around Next year?

In my attempt to read all of the media coverage of the Rainmen’s departure from the ABA I actually managed to miss a hilarious/disturbing detail in the Halifax Metro story:

>> Rainmen owner Andre Levingston said Rick Lewis would stay on as head coach if the team’s bid to join the NBA Development League is successful. “This is my coach,” he said.

Wait… what?  Seriously?  This is a guy who was consistantly outcoached in the ABA.  He was outcoached by the owner of the Atlanta Vision.  He was outcoached by injured players.  Injured ABA players.  And you think this guy has the ability to coach D-League?  The D-League is designed to allow players to slide easily into the NBA and often times teams run systems similar to their NBA affiliates so that players can easily slide in if given the call up.  Lewis can barely execute ABA plays.  He also has proven to be incompetent when it comes to selecting a balanced team, and he’s enraged players all season with his poor coaching and poor player management skills.  He totally botched the development of Derico Wigington-Downey, too.  He can’t win games.  He can’t develop talent during the season.  And players don’t like or respect him.  Why would he possibly be back next season no matter what league the Rainmen are in?

That said there are three things that kind of temper my position:

1)  The D-League is the least likely possibility when it comes to what league to join.  Still – the guy was not even good by ABA standards.

2)  I am sure Livingston was just being nice.  He will boot the guy the second someone better comes along, I hope.  (that said – Levingston is nothing if not loyal)

3)  I actually think Lewis would be a fine assistant coach.  By all accounts he is excellent when it comes to physical training and getting players into game shape.

ABA Responds to Halifax Crisis in Press Release

Well… sort of.

In classic ABA fashion they sent out three press releases today.  Two of which were talking about a team which will play next year (the Nashville franchise) which is  a classic ABA move.  This is a league full of promises about what it will do next year, but it never worries about making sure that things are working properly right now.

The third press release is nothing short of hilarious.  You’re the CEO of a league.  Your best franchise leaves, the media are circling like buzzards, you need to rejig your play off format again. How do you respond?  If you’re Joe Newman you send out this press release:

ABA Super Savings Store Features Pioneer GPS Navigation System

Indianapolis, IN. “Earlier this week, we offered NASCAR Drivers’ official team jackets at a huge savings – and the response was fantastic,” said Joe Newman, ABA CEO. “So, now we’ll show another example of the type of savings you can get on name brand quality merchandise through the ABA Super Savings Store. We have Pioneer Avics2 Portable GPS Navigation Systems priced at only $399. Anyone who has been into major retailers can immediately recognize the incredible value. The Pioneer Avics2 is the idea travel companion. Consumers get three of the best features they look for in a portable device, a full navigation system, MP3 playback and Bluetooth hands-free. And this is only one of hundreds of great bargains to be found at the ABA Super Savings Store.” To check out appliances, electronics, jewelry, sporting goods, collectibles and other items, visit http://www.abalive.com and click on the ABA Super Savings Store banner.

The ABA:  Where stuff happens.

p.s.  It’s not even a good online deal. A quick google search shows that I could buy that elerctronic piece of crap for $100-$130 cheaper.  And that was after just clicking on the first google result.

Media Responds to Rainmen Move

Wow. The Rainmen have never gotten the kind of media coverage that leaving the league gave them over the last 36 hours.

I woke up this morning and read the Herald with breakfast. I was shocked to not find the Rainmen’s departure in the sports section… so I checked the rest of the paper and it was on the front page.  Chad Lucas’ blog on the Herald website also recieved 400+ hit on the post about the Rainmen leaving – most of his Rainmen posts get 100-200 hits.  This blog has gotten almost 1000 hits since the story broke, I usually get about 250 during the course of a given 36 hour period, even if there was a home game the night before.

The Metro ran it as the lead story on their website.

CBC ran the story on the radio and on their website. The Canadian Press also put the story on the wire, but I don’t know if it got picked up outside of Halifax. I know that the web edition of the Globe and Mail picked it up, but I don’t know if the print edition did.

The message boards are obviously having a field day with it. Mysterious ABA hating poster A1Sports is always inflammatory but often right, and he says that a ABA owners received an e-mail from Newman in which the ABA CEO claimed that the Rainmen would not have been welcomed back into the league because they were supposed to pay for flights for every single team to play in Halifax, and they didn’t. Unreal.

News 95.7 ran an article on their website and it appears to be the only one in which Joe Newman was actually quote. He suggests that this is good because now it opens up the opportunity for Moncton to have an ABA team. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would assume that having a Halifax 3 hours away to make for a built in rivalry, an easy travel distance, and an extra team for opponents to play on road trips would actually make Moncton a better candidate for a franchise?

By far the most scathing indictment of the ABA comes from Halifax sports curmudgeon, Alex J. Walling. He writes on the TSN website that he has “never seen such a sad, sickly, sordid, spectacle as this league called the A.B.A.” I have not always agreed with Walling, but on this he is definitely right. He also has a bit more reach than a lot of local reporters since his column appears on the website of Canada’s leading sports broadcaster.

This is probably the highest profile departure that the ABA has ever seen. If a terrible season wasn’t enough to kill the league then hopefully having national media attention (even if it’s just Canadian) might be enough to shut this thing down.

Crookshank to Still Participate in All Star Weekend

The Metro is reporting that Eric Crookshank will in fact be traveling to Vermont to play in the ABA All-Star game.  Fun times.

In other news I got 658 hits yesterday as the internet exploded with interest in the Rainmen, more than double my normal number of daily hits.

More Thoughts on Today’s Announcement

I threw the last post together in haste as soon as I read the press release from the Rainmen but there are some more thoughts about what exactly this announcement means after the jump: Continue reading

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