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How competitive is the Philippines in acquiring, growing and retaining talent?

The post How competitive is the Philippines in acquiring, growing and retaining talent? appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource: bworldonline bworldonlineMar 1st, 2018

How competitive is the Philippines in acquiring, growing and retaining talent?

The post How competitive is the Philippines in acquiring, growing and retaining talent? appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsMar 1st, 2018

Jets McCown still leads, competes even as Darnold emerges

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Josh McCown is still No. 1 on the New York Jets' quarterback depth chart. At this point, though, he might as well be No. 100. With each practice, it appears increasingly likely that rookie Sam Darnold will be the starter when the regular season kicks off in three weeks. Not that McCown has done anything on the field to hurt his chances of retaining the job. It's simply a matter of circumstances. McCown is 39 and been there, done that. Darnold is 21, was the third overall pick in the draft, has immense talent and is considered the future of the franchise — and that future could be now. He has shined in his last several practices and will likely start Friday night against the Giants in the team's third preseason game. "Like I said the whole time, obviously, we traded up to (No.) 3 to draft a quarterback to get Sam because there's a plan in place," McCown said. "So we understand that." That "plan" has been to give Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater the bulk of the work in the preseason and see how they perform. So far, so good — and that means McCown could slide down the depth chart very soon. Coach Todd Bowles hasn't announced a regular-season starter yet, and says he might not do so until after the fourth preseason game. From all indications, it's trending in Darnold's direction. But McCown isn't necessarily reading into the fact Darnold is getting the bulk of the first-team snaps and that is causing the perception that the rookie will be the starter. "No, I mean, obviously, he's younger," McCown said. "I was taking these kind of reps when he was 4 years old." Actually, Darnold was 5 when McCown was in his first NFL training camp with Arizona in 2002. But, point made. "He needs the work and it's good for him," the veteran said. "Every rep is a great rep for all of us, there's no doubt about it." Sure, he wants to start, but McCown is a realist. He knows his days as an NFL player, let alone starting quarterback, are dwindling. "My goal for this is for the quarterback room to play well," said McCown, who signed a $10 million deal in the offseason to return to New York. "And if that's me playing out there, I want to play the best football that I can play. If that's Sam or that's Teddy, whoever that is, that's the ultimate goal." Last summer, McCown also saw limited action in the preseason as the Jets tried to give Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty the opportunity to seize the starting gig. Neither could and McCown was the clear starter. Darnold and Bridgewater have provided a different type of competition, a three-man race that is quickly becoming a two-man show — with McCown in the background. "It's fun to be out there playing and there's no substitute for that," McCown said. "That's why we do it. At the same time, when you look at things from that prospective, if you can help be a part of finding that guy that can be that guy for this franchise for a long time, that means something to me, that's competitive to me. That's what we get up for work to do, that's what makes it fun. "I don't feel like the forgotten guy because we're busy every day working, and working on those things. That's all that matters." McCown has been in just about every situation imaginable throughout his professional career, which is entering its 17th year. He has been a third-round pick, an up-and-coming passer, a backup, a starter and a place-holder in his stops with 10 teams. He spent one year out of the NFL and played in the United Football League. McCown has also spent time as a volunteer coach for a high school team in North Carolina. He has graciously handled the many ups and downs during his career. Those experiences help McCown balance his competitive nature and the willingness to help those trying to take his job. "I think for me, it's just a personal thing," McCown said. "At the end of the day, you go to work and you work as hard as you can and you help as many people as you can. And when you lay down and you can have peace in your heart at night, and you know that I did all I could that day, and then you sleep good. That's what I learned growing up and that's all I know." McCown takes nothing for granted and that's something he has stressed to the young players in camp, and not just the quarterbacks. He's the closest example of a player-coach you could find in the NFL, a mentor who seems destined to be in charge of a team someday. McCown's days of leading from the huddle might be about over, though. And, he's OK with whatever happens next. "At this point in my career, I don't know how many more years of this will happen, so you treasure every moment," he said. "I think when you keep those things in perspective, there are days — nobody is perfect — there are days when you want to take every rep and you look back and you go, 'Man, I wish I was just starting out again,' but (you put it) all in perspective. It's been fun and I enjoy being a part of this group. Todd sets a great tone and tempo every day for us and it is just an honor to be a part of it. "So that is really what keeps me going and what allows me to come and enjoy it and not get caught up in anything else.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 20th, 2018

7s Football League Match Day 2: Tondo FC, Super Eagles, Deportivo Matu, Ghana FC and Delimondo remains undefeated; Bohemians bounces back from first game loss

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px} The Philam Life 7s Football league is back at the McKinley Hill Stadium this week with its matchday 2 for both its youth and seniors division. Once again, youth teams had proven that football in the country is growing and that youth talent only need an avenue to practice their skills in the sport. Youth teams opened the matchday 2 of the league with an action-packed set of games with the Kaya youth teams seemingly dominate the league in all four age groups. Giving them a run for their money is the Simon Greatwich –led G8 and Bohemians Sporting Club. Over at the Seniors Division, the boys from Tondo had once again proven that they are a force to be reckoned with at the league as they whipped H&J All-Stars with an impressive 3-1 victory. Coming into the game, Tondo FC did make some adjustments, mainly getting reinforcements from players from Marikina, something that Coach Mark Balbin is thankful for. “Kasi in Tondo, we play the attacking side so more of us specialize in dribbling which makes the defensive side our loophole. The ones na kinuha namin from Marikina, mga defenders, we know yung caliber nila kaya ni-recruit namin sila as part of the team. Yung squad namin is composed of 14 players and sinabi namin is we know those players [H&J All Stars] who are not young, unlike some of our players na mas bata sa kanila who are more technically and physically good," said Balbin. "Sinabi ko na lang sa kanila is to pressure kasi may mga subs naman na pwedeng pumalit so all out kapag nasa field, wag magpipigil sa sarili and pagurin yung sarili nila. Kahit yung mga subs ganun din sinabi ko, all out din kapag nasa field. Yung lang ang ginamit namin na tactic against sa kanila. Tactically speaking, sa loob, wala kaming ginagawa masyado kasi alam naman namin na mabibilis kami so all out lang ng all out.” After being down 0-1 and then 1-2 at the end of the first half, Bohemian made an epic come back at the second half and score the equalizer that sent the game to extra time. The extra five minutes is all that they need to regroup in order to score the golden goal to seal their comeback with the win. “A come from behind win is always difficult. I think we started out a little bit too relaxed, Real Amigos came out with intensity, came out really with high pressure, I think out players were a bit too relaxed but then we got the first goal - unlucky because it was a rebound, they scored one goal, but you know that’s football, breaks of the game. But like you’ve said, we’ve kept our game, we continued to play our game, eventually, we were able to come back and get to 1-1. Then they were able to get to it again at 2-1 and then at the second half, I think we put on much pressure or intensity. We picked it up and we got to get the equalizer. In the last few seconds, they gave up a 6th foul and that’s a penalty so we got to 2-2, then I didn’t know that there was extra time. Anton was saying that there’s still 5 minutes of extra time and then we were able to get that golden goal and the victory.” Says Coach Mikee Carrion At the second set of games scheduled for matchday 2; Superbad became the next team to have fallen into the Super Eagles’ prey. The defending champions led as much as 3-0 at the end of the first half and were even more resilient in protecting their lead at the second half, scoring five more goals to prove that they are determined to win the league title for the third time in a row. “I think it was just hard work and determination. We are the defending champions and we are committed, we really want to win again. I don’t need to say that they will fall into our prey because it is all about 7 versus 7 but in the game of soccer, anything can happen. But I just want to assure you that Super Eagles is going to win, there is no doubt about it, we are going to win.” A very satisfied Coach Prince says On the other side of the field, Delimondo-Laro FC and Ceres FC were inseparable at the first half, giving the fans present at the stadium an all the more exciting game as they anticipate which of these two teams will draw first blood. Ceres FC went on to take the lead at the beginning of the second half, but Delimondo-Laro FC was able to equalize not long enough. Another goal scored by Ceres broke the lead but it was not for long as Delimondo-Laro FC was able to bounce back, scoring another goal from the penalty area and then eventually scoring another one to seal off their come from behind win. “We pushed a bit more, then they got the lead then we pushed again to pressure them after they got the lead again, we kept on pushing. I think our game tonight was more entertaining in the second half compared to the first one,” says Joaco Canas at the post-match interview For the last batch of fixtures of match day 2; Ghana FC lived up to their statement from opening day that they will give each team a run for their money as they led against Stallions FC at the end of the first half. However, Stallions tried to make a comeback at the start of the second half only to fall short against the league runner-ups. “It was a very intense game, Stallions is one of the professional teams in the Philippines and they even started training before the season began, they prepared really well. Playing against them, you know, it’s really going to be tough. Our game plan today was to play 3 defenders, 2 midfielders and one attacker, first half, we scored the only one which we tried to hold down to the 1 up until halftime and then we got another goal at the start of the second half, which is really a good goal. Then when we conceded a goal, we started panicking especially when we conceded a penalty, good thing our goalie saved it, and then less than two minutes later, another penalty which our goalie saved again. We have to give all the glory to our goalkeeper for saving those two penalties.” Coach Ayi Bimbo narrates “It was so hard, really wasn’t easy. 2 players down and our Coach is out. It’s very frustrating but we came together, we played together as a team and focused at the game, played how it is.” Sam Yakubu, who scored the winning goal added. Deportivo Matu, on the other hand, lived up to extend their winning streak as they trounce the Futbol Fanatics with a clean sheet; 5-0. “Great feeling, obviously, especially being here, great people, a lot of people supporting us. It started off really rough. First half, I think we manage to have a lot of composure when Nico starting, obviously and we managed to keep the ball quite well, we managed to keep them out of our 6 meters because it is the most important thing for us – starting off and then we capitalized it on the second half so we’re quite satisfied with that.” Coach Chris Johnson says after the game.   Complete Game Results are as follows: Youth Division [U9]: FFast vs. Loyola (0-1) BSC vs. FFast (2-0) G8 vs. FFast (1-1) Kaya vs. FFast (5-0) Sugod vs. G8 (0-8) Kaya vs. Ceres (2-0) Sugod vs. Loyola (0-0) BSC vs. Socceroo (0-0)   Youth Division [U13]: Loyola vs. Super Fanatics (0-1) BSC vs. Futbol Funatics (3-0) Kaya vs. Fanatics (5-0) Soccerro vs. G8 (0-1) Kaya vs. Ceres (2-0) Socceroo vs. Loyola (0-0) G8 vs. Fanatics (1-0) BSC vs. Ceres (2-0)   Youth Division [U11]: Loyola vs. FFast (0-1) BSC vs. Kaya (0-0) G8 vs. FFast (0-0) Kaya A vs. Kaya B (2-0) Socceroo vs. G8 (0-0) Sugod vs. Kaya (0-1) Loyola vs. Ceres (2-1) BSC vs. Sugod (0-1)   Youth division [U15]: Loyola vs. Futbol Funatics (0-0) Kaya vs. Futbol Funatics (2-2) Voltes vs. Futbol Funatics (0-1) Kaya A vs. Kaya B (1-4) Sugod vs. BSC (3-0) Kaya vs. G8 (6-1) BSC vs. Loyola (0-3) BSC vs. G8 (2-1)   Seniors Division: BSC vs. Real Amigos (3-2) Tondo FC vs. H&J All Stars (3-1) Delimondo-Laro FC vs. Ceres FC (3-2) Super Eagles vs. Superbad (8-0) Ghana FC vs Stallions FC (3-1) Deportivo Matu vs Futbol Funatics (5-0).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 11th, 2019

KAI-vals Series: NU s counter Carl Tamayo

It has become some sort of a cliché now that Kai Sotto is not yet done growing. Indeed, Ateneo de Manila High School’s 7-foot-1, 16-year-old still has three more years, including this one, to tower over the competition in high school. That doesn’t mean, however, that the rest of the competition will just take that lying down. Here, we take a look at the players who are more than capable of challenging Sotto’s dominance – now and even onto the future. --- Carl Tamayo has only played four games in his first year for Nazareth School of National University no thanks to a nagging right ankle sprain. There was one game he wasn’t going to miss no matter what, however – the Bullpups rematch with Ateneo de Manila High School which bested them for last year’s championship. “Yung pagmamahal ko sa team, siyempre, kailangan nila ako so I played through the pain,” he said. Not only did he play through the pain, he actually lived up to the hype of being a match for Kai Sotto, the Blue Eaglets’ 7-foot-1, 16-year-old. Sotto had 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two steals in their head-to-head matchup, but it was Tamayo who came away with the win on top of a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double. For NU’s own towering teen, though, it wasn’t the prospect of facing off with the Philippines’ biggest hope in basketball that motivated him. Rather, it was being on the floor and doing battle alongside his teammates. “Naging motivation ko, yung teammates ko kasi kailangan nila ako,” he shared afterward. “Kasi nga, malaki si Kai so pag nandun ako, alam kong magiging malaki rin contributions ko.” Indeed, for two years, Sotto is yet to find his match in the UAAP Juniors where only Raven Cortez comes close to his talent and potential. Most of the country’s young prospects have risen over in the NCAA Juniors in the likes of Warren Bonifacio, Aaron Fermin, and Will Gozum. Enter Tamayo, the UAAP Juniors’ Rookie of the Year right before Sotto was hailed as the top newcomer. Tamayo won Rookie of the Year while displaying an inside-outside game that was still quite rare for a big man. Now, he is only continuing to develop the all-around game he already has. This continued development is made even more impressive by the fact that the now 17-year-old has only been playing basketball for around five years. Yes, back in his hometown of Cebu, he was a tall kid, but nobody will find him in basketball courts and instead, he was most often playing billiards. “Hindi pa talaga ako naglalaro (ng basketball) nun. Bilyar talaga ako,” he said, recalling his time as a 12-year-old who already stood 5-foot-10. That was until coach Goldwin Monteverde came over to Cebu and ultimately convinced him to put his height to good use. “Meron kasi kaming kapitbahay, player nina coach Gold dati, tapos kinausap niya yung ball boy na may malaki nga raw siyang kapitbahay. Yung ball boy naman, kinausap si coach Gold tapos timing, pumunta sila sa Cebu, ayun, kinuha nila ako,” he shared. Of course, a little encouragement in the form of a ticket to watch San Miguel and idol June Mar Fajardo played a part in convincing Tamayo to move to Manila. From there, not only did the now 6-foot-8 versatile big man prove to be a prized prospect, he would also turn out to be a big piece for the Bullpups as they try to put a stop to Ateneo’s dynasty in the UAAP Juniors. “Nung una, ‘di ko alam paano maglaro so ensayo lang nang ensayo,” he shared. He then continued, “Kahit papaano, nag-improve naman nang nag-improve.” And now, Tamayo only vows to keep doing what he had always done – get better and better. In particular, he wants nothing more than to weaponize his outside shot to that Sotto and other opposing big men will be forced to go with him to the perimeter, leaving the paint open for slashers such as Gerry Abadiano and Cyril Gonzales to attack. As he put it, “Ang tine-train namin ngayon, to play outside. Magiging malaking tulong sa teammates ko yun kung na-develop ko yun.” --- Tamayo and Sotto will go head-to-head for three seasons, including this one, in the UAAP Juniors. They go at it once more just as NU and Ateneo will go at it once more as the second round of the UAAP 81 Juniors Basketball Tournament begins on January 13 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. And for the first time ever, that matchup will be LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on S+A, S+A HD, LIGA, LIGA HD and via livestream. Tip-off is at 3:00 PM. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 4th, 2019

UAAP Finals: Matty Ice extinguishes flames of red-hot UP

Safe to say, the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament hasn’t gone according to plan for Matt Nieto. Ateneo de Manila University’s court general, now in his fourth season, has only averaged 6.4 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds after playing only 11 out of 15 games. Once he went on the biggest stage and under the brightest lights of the tournament, however, the real Matt Nieto showed up. Scoring a career-high 27 points built on four triples, the heady guard keyed the Blue Eagles’ convincing victory versus the University of the Philippines in Game 1 of the Finals. He did all of that, in the face of the red-hot Fighting Maroons, who were backed by a rowdy crowd. Of course, if there’s one collegiate team which knows how to persevere through that, it’s Ateneo – and if there’s one collegiate player which knows how to persevere through that, it’s “Matty Ice.” “Yung mindset namin as a team, paglabas namin sa MOA, nakita namin yung crowd, sabi ko, ‘Hindi ba naranasan na natin ‘to,’” he shared. “Yung Jones Cup experience namin, naranasan na namin yan so sabi ko, we were overpowered by the Taiwanese (fans) when we were up against them. This is nothing new for us.” During the 2018 Jones Cup last July, the Blue Eagles flew to Taiwan to take on national and club teams from other countries. There, Nieto also hit a memorable game-winner against Chinese Taipei Blue. Since then, he has had to power through a left pinky fracture as well as dengue – injury and illness that have slowed down his current campaign. That is exactly why, now in the Finals, the 6-foot playmaker was nothing but thankful for retaining the full faith of head coach Tab Baldwin – in what has been a down season for him.  “I credit Coach Tab and my teammates for trusting me in that situation. I just want to win because I’m a competitive person and I don’t want to lose to any team,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018

Nike celebrates Manila s basketball culture with Battle Force Manila , Iconic Air Force 1

This season, Nike celebrates the undeniable passion of basketball through Battle Force Manila - the ultimate expression of basketball culture within its community in Manila. With Battle Force Manila, Nike calls on Filipinos to be bold and let their passion manifest through basketball, dance, rap and art by giving them an arena where hard work, competition, creativity and self-expression can shine.  Battle Force Manila kicks off with a series of activities helmed by selected iconic personalities who have their passion and influence spread to their communities, inspiring people to let their inner potential and ambition shine through.    The line-up of these iconic personalities – Katrina Guytingco and Thirdy Ravena for basketball, Gab Valenciano and AC Lalata for dance; Loonie for rap and Kayo Casio for art - will enable participants with crafty tips and motivation through a series of videos that will be released, to refine their talent and prepare to battle. The battles will culminate in a grand finale where finalists will showcase the results of their hard work, grit and determination and battle it out to emerge as champions of basketball, dance, rap and art. This year, the brand calls for greater participation among women in all the battles with their sheer presence and growing voice of strength and empowerment in their communities. In support of this rallying cry particularly in sport, female ballers will experience training programs tailored especially for her at the Nike Hyper Court for the first time ever, alongside other activities to compete in and unleash her love for the game.   At the heart of Battle Force Manila is the iconic Air Force 1, serving as a source of inspiration with its legacy immortalized in the basketball arena. This year, Nike commissioned Blank Canvas Collective – an invitation to a curated group of creatives - Kayo Cosio, Lari Gazmen, Jade Suayan and Quiccs - to showcase their labour of love of basketball culture through reimagined expressions of the iconic sneakers. Tribute to the Nike Air Force 1 will continue throughout the month with a new unique design dropping every Friday for the entire month.  “Basketball is an integral part of Filipinos’ lives. With Battle Force Manila, Nike celebrates how the game has influenced the culture and lifestyle of athletes, artists, dancers and musicians; on and off the court,” says Jino Ferrer, Country Marketing Manager of Nike Philippines. “With the talent and influence of local iconic personalities, the reimagining of the Air Force 1 alongside our call-out for a stronger participation of women this season, we aim to invoke self-expression while pushing boundaries of ambition and creativity.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 31st, 2018

NBA Asia Managing Director Levy: We don t take the Pinoy fanbase lightly

The Philippines is unique, among the countries Scott Levy, NBA Asia Managing Director, handles. Tasked to oversee the development and expansion of the NBA's strategic initiatives in Asia (with the exception of Greater China and India), the Philippines is a different situation for Levy, compared to say, Thailand, or Malaysia. Unlike other countries in the region, basketball is well-engrained in the local Philippine culture, as is the NBA. In that regard, the job is easy. But diehard fans, and this country is full of diehard NBA fans, want different things, and want much more of it. And Levy and the rest of the NBA Asia office know it's important to keep them happy. Speaking to reporters as part of a roundtable Q&A session, Levy admitted that satisfying Philippine demand continues to be the biggest challenge. Citing the league's local TV partners, which include ABS-CBN, Solar, and FOX, as well as the implementation of League Pass via mobile companies Smart and Globe, Levy said, "We want to make sure that there are enough games, and that there are enough outlets [to get those games], that people can continue to interact and really get to know [the NBA] beyond maybe what the scores are. "We want to bring more players here, bring the real experiences. So we bring NBA players during the year, we bring NBA legends (the league directly brings around 3-4 players and legends to the country each year), we have dance teams, we have mascots [so that] people can get very close to the game." This differs very much from other countries in Asia. Whereas in other countries, NBA Asia devotes resources to growing the game, often teaming up with local governments' sports ministries, there's no need to teach the basics here. "That just means we take a higher level approach to coaching and make sure that there's another step that they may [take]," said Levy, who cited the example of bringing in Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat into the Philippines to help impart higher-level coaching techniques. Because the country is further down the line in terms of hoops techniques, the league's Jr. NBA program which is presented in the Philippines by Alaska, has played a huge role in recent years. "Nearly two million kids have come through the program...to improve their skill level. Many of our players have moved on to play in the UAAP, in the NCAA. Some are now in the PBA. So we want to contribute to the existing strength of the basketball community here," Levy said. It hasn't always been smooth sailing though. Recently, ventures like the NBA Cafe and the NBA Stores in the Philippines saw their licenses expire and close. For Levy though, it's similar to the familiar "shoot your shot" maxim in hoops. "We're willing to try things and if they're successful, great, we'll continue them," he said. "But if we think there are better ways to engage, we'll do that." Levy added that while the physical stores may be gone, fans can still purchase NBA merch through NBAStore.com, and other places like Nike, Toby's and Titan. Levy also applauded how knowledgable local fans are with regards to players and teams. While it's often thought that a large chunk of Pinoy fans are Lakers fans, Levy said that when you look at the data, it's winning teams that are able to capture the attention of Filipinos, with the obvious exception of teams in areas with large Filipino communities, such as San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors. "For me, here in the Philippines, we don't have to do much more than just make sure the players and the teams are exposed, because Filipino fans understand great play, and they understand great players. And when teams win, or players do amazing things, they become popular here," he said.   Looking ahead to the future, Levy believes that mobile will still be the way to go, though with a caveat. "As the streaming speeds continue to improve...then we'll be able to deliver more content," Levy said. "We'll continue to adjust the delivery of our product as the speeds improve." He added that the league wants to look into more basketball mobile games, even locally or regionally developed ones, to help educate fans on players and give them more ways to interact. To sum it up, Levy once again reiterated that the Philippines is "incredibly important," to the Association. "It probably is the market with the highest fan affinity for basketball, and that's daunting. To satisfy everybody, that's a full-time job. "We don't take the fanbase here lightly. We are focused on making sure that everybody is happy with what they have available and we're listening for the things that we need to do better."   Without a doubt, that's music to the Philippine fans' ears. SIX SHOTS Here are six other topics Levy touched on during the interview: 1. On the Philippines hosting another NBA Global Games "The challenge with [the Global Games] is always, there's 15,000 people in that building, and there's a hundred million Filipinos that we're trying to engage around the NBA. So while the games are great, we are really spending our time figuring out how we can engage a hundred million Filipinos. "But it's always in consideration and hopefully at some point in the future, we'll be able to bring the game back here again." 2. On the impact of a full-Pinoy player making it in the NBA "That question has always perplexed me, because the fanbase here is so strong already. I mean clearly Jordan Clarkson is very popular here, but he's not the most popular NBA player [in the Philippines]. So would a Filipino player be the most popular player? If he was the best player in the NBA, he'd probably be the most popular player, but if he's not, I think Filipinos will follow that player, and will continue to follow the best players in the NBA because that's the expectation here in the Philippines - 'I'm looking for the best players and the best teams and that's who I want to follow.' "But [by] the number of people who are playing in this country, I think it's just a matter of time before we have multiple local Filipinos playing in the NBA. It's definitely going to happen. The game is getting better, the coaches are getting better, the level of talent in the PBA continues to go up, and there are more Filipino players coming to the US and playing in university [NCAA] so it's definitely going to happen." 3. On the passing of FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann "I personally knew Patrick and there was nobody that spent more time and energy and basically dedicated their life to the sport of basketball and had such a great impact on the sport of basketball around the world. It’s a tragic loss. Personally, I will miss Patrick and he worked very closely with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. They had just seen him in a FIBA conference in Xi’an, China a few days before and typically with Patrick he was off in Argentina in another basketball event. I mean, he just, he was tireless in his efforts and he had tremendous success and it’s a tremendous loss to the entire basketball community." 4. On the NBA expanding the game towards female fans in the Philippines. "[For the Jr. NBA PH program] our goal is always 50-50, boys-girls. We haven’t yet achieved that here in the Philippines but again, working closely with the schools, working with Alaska, working with SM...the percentage continues to increase. I'm not exactly sure what the [numbers are] last year, but it's still too low. "I think that’s why it’s a little bit of frustrating here. In countries like Thailand and Indonesia, where, well Thailand has more than 50 percent girls, and in Vietnam and Indonesia it’s over 40 percent right now. So, again, our goal is 50-50. This sport is gender neutral, we bring WNBA players into market, we’ve done that many times already and now we’re going into schools to really try to encourage young girls to play the game." 5. On giving tips to local leagues to become more successful "We’re not here to dictate how a league should be run. What we’re trying to do is understand where we can be helpful, if they’re looking for assistance in building an arena, we’re happy to help with that. If they’re looking [at] how to enhance ticket sales, how to expand the live in-arena experience. Whatever it is that they may ask for our assistance, we are here to help. We support local basketball in every way we can but we’re not being prescriptive in saying this is how you should run a league in the Philippines. There’s way more knowledge on the ground here in the country than we have about what’s successful here." 6. On sports stars from other leagues interacting with NBA players "Our players are incredible. They are global icons, they’re incredible on social media which continues to grow their fanbase….because our players are active on social and they’re interested, personally interested in fashion and technology and gaming, and music and they have relationships with Jay-Z and with Usher, with every other top performer and other athletes are also interested because they’re fans. So when we do an event in London, we get calls from players on Chelsea, and on Tottenham and on Liverpool and on Man U and say “Hey, we wanna come to the game because we wanna see these athletes play. "So, anytime there is an athlete that is a fan of the NBA we will look to engage them. We work with all other sports leagues and we’re also fans. Our players are fans. There’s an opportunity to go to Camp Nou in Barcelona, our players want to be there. So, this is more driven by the players, their personal interests in other sports and other athletes and luckily our athletes are generally pretty popular around the world, and we’ll encourage that engagement and facilitate some particularly social media moments where Neymar comes into the locker room and exchanges a jersey with Steph Curry. We had Ronaldinho wearing a Carmelo Anthony jersey, dribbling a basketball on his head. All these moments are really special for the crossover fans from one sport to another. But it’s really driven by our players’ personal interest or other athletes’ personal interest in basketball.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 25th, 2018

Comm. Silver, NBPA say competitive imbalance not a problem

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com LAS VEGAS -- First came the backlash. Next, backlash to the backlash. By Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), much of the whipsawing over competitive balance -- or more accurately, imbalance -- as an NBA problem rising to the level of crisis had calmed down. Yet powerful voices from the league’s summer nerve center could not dismiss it entirely as an issue meriting closer inspection. “I'm not here to say we have a problem,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday after the Board of Governors meeting. “And I love where the league is right now. [But] I think we can create a better system.” Neither Silver nor Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sounded an alarm in their separate news conferences about what many see as a widening gap between the league’s haves and have-nots. Roberts, in fact, seemed to feel that all is well and that talent inequality is in the eye of the beholder. “Competitive balance, it almost depends on what your favorite team is,” said Roberts, who was rehired as head of the players union in another four-year contract announced Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “I don’t hear anybody in the Bay Area worrying about competitive balance. I also don’t hear the people in Philadelphia worrying about competitive balance, or Houston. “We’ve got great teams. And it’s never been the case, as far as I’m concerned, where I was not able most of the time to predict what teams were going to be in the Finals.” The topic came up in precisely that context before the Finals last month when Silver was asked about Golden State and Cleveland meeting in the championship series for the fourth consecutive year, a first in any of the major professional sports leagues. It reared its head again this month soon after free agency opened on July 1, with events conspiring to make insiders wonder about a growing disparity among teams. LeBron James’ signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was the biggest move in what appeared to be a continuing shift of strength into the league’s Western Conference. That was followed by the news that DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans’ All-Star center, had joined the champion Warriors. That signing sparked the initial backlash, a rich-getting-richer cry that pointed not to Cousins’ one-year deal for $5.3 million in 2018-19 salary but the fact that the Warriors will spend in excess of $20 million for it when luxury taxes are counted. Golden State had the NBA’s fattest payroll in 2017-18 of $137.5 million, despite a $99 million salary cap, thanks to various exceptions in the prevailing “soft cap” system. “I don't necessarily think it's per se bad that the Warriors are so dominant,” Silver told reporters, not long after discussing the “competitive landscape” with the owners. “As I've said before, we're not trying to create some sort of forced parity. What we really focus on is parity of opportunity. And a fair point could be made in the tax system, when certain teams are spending significantly more than others, that that's not parity of opportunity.” The counter-backlash came from folks who rushed to the Warriors’ and Cousins’ defense, correctly noting that neither did anything wrong, conducting their business within the rules as specified by the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players. That CBA is the object of endless study and imagined revision, with amendments possible if negotiated prior to the end of the current deal after the 2023-24 season. Shooting for a “hard cap” likely would be a tough sell to players accustomed to the freedom of movement they currently enjoy. “It's not necessarily [Roberts’] issue,” Silver said in response to the union director’s characterization. “I think it's on me and our Labor Relations Committee, ultimately, to sit with the players and their committee and convince them that there may be a better way of doing things.” Silver mentioned Charlotte owner and legendary NBA superstar Michael Jordan, chairman of that Labor Relations Committee, as a valuable resource in addressing owners’ and players’ competition concerns. Both sides have valid arguments. Interest in the NBA never has been higher by almost any metric chosen, from selected TV ratings and licensing revenues to the game’s growth globally. Attendance at the MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League keeps pushing higher, with fans eager to see top rookies, second-year players and relative free-agent unknowns chasing their pro hoops’ dreams. The valuations of the 30 NBA franchises, of course, all have soared beyond $1 billion, according to Forbes.com, with the Knicks, the Lakers and the Warriors all estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. Longtime NBA observers such as TNT’s David Aldridge wrote a column this week that argued on behalf of dominant teams, anyway, saying that they actually drive rather than depress fan interest. As for any inability to win games or titles, he laid the blame for that on poor franchise management. The Knicks and the Clippers have all sorts of big-market advantages but haven’t won any championships lately (or at all in the Clippers' case). For Roberts, whose players reap 51 percent of NBA basketball-related income that tops $7 billion annually, business is good, period. “I’m excited about this new season,” she said Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). “This free agency, there’s been a lot to write about so we’re all, I think, looking forward to what’s going to happen come October. “To the extent that people are predicting the end of the game, I just don’t think so. I would be surprised if Adam called me to say, ‘What the hell are we going to do?’ I think he’s as happy as I am. ... I think we’re in good shape.” Critics note Golden State’s on-court dominance in winning the last two championships. It only took nine NBA Finals games --one over the minimum -- while facing arguably the league’s best player in LeBron James. But those same critics seem to foget that the Warriors were pushed to the full seven games in the conference finals, and actually faced elimination twice before beating the Rockets. “I recognize what Michele's saying,” Silver said. “But at the same time, if you talk to players in the league, and I've talked to plenty of individual players as well, they want to be in the most competitive league possible too.” For every player on the Warriors' roster -- or the Rockets, the Thunder, the Celtics or the Sixers -- there are five or six on teams that realistically have no chance of chasing a ring or the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Cleveland went to four straight Finals thanks to James; no one envisions the Cavaliers getting back any time soon. “Maybe there are some players who think they’re on a second-class team,” said Sacramento wing Garrett Temple, one of the NBPA vice presidents. “But most players I’ve played with or been around, their thought process is, ‘We’re gonna get our team to become one of those first-class teams.’ It’s more of a challenge. More so than, ‘We need them to disband so we can make everybody equal.’ Because we’re competitors.” That really is the crux of the issue. Silver and some franchises want most of the competition to come on the floor, in games, in full view of fans who believe their teams can sufficiently compete. The league’s current title contenders are fine with a system that allows them to compete all the way to the top, with an owner stroking gargantuan checks to crowd out rivals. “Let me make clear that under the current system we want teams to compete like crazy,” Silver said. “So I think the Warriors within the framework of this deal should be doing everything they can to increase their dominance. That's what you want to see in a league. “You want teams to compete in every way they can within the rules.” Silver addressed a variety of topics that were came from the BOG agenda, including: -- Change is coming on multiple fronts, most notably in the league’s age limit. That seems likely to be re-set back to 18 years old from 19, permitting players to enter the league from high school. It’s a move that the NBA should be better equipped to handle with a near 30-for-30 farm-system affiliation with its G League. It also fits with the findings of an NCAA task force that cites dissatisfaction with “one-and-done” college players. Said Silver: “My personal view is that we’re ready to make that change.” -- The start of free agency, annually triggered at midnight ET on July 1 (12:00pm, July 1, PHL time), will be moved to a daytime or prime time opening bell. It’s one of those traditions that no one thought to change, Silver said. -- The league’s investigation into the Dallas Mavericks’ sexual harassment issues should be completed by the end of the month. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2018

I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The MBA vs. the PBA

What is it about sports leagues and why can't two actually exist at the same time in the same territory? The National Basketball Association has no real competition in the United States. The National Football League? Powerhouse. And while the World Wrestling Entertainment is not exactly as sports league, it's main competition is on the other side of the world. You can argue that the New Japan Pro Wrestling is not even competing with WWE. In the Philippines, there's the PBA. We can't really count the Asean Basketball League as a rival to the PBA can we? The PBA stands alone. 20 years ago though, that wasn't the case. With the Metropolitan Basketball Association, the  old and mighty PBA finally had a worthy rival. That's what it seemed like and that's what many people thought. But is it that actually true?   THE GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING While it's understandable, due to a lot of reasons, that people thought that the MBA was going after the PBA, that was never the case. The people behind the MBA never thought about competing in the PBA. In fact, they wanted to help them. Oh yes. "We did not want to rival the PBA," Ramon Tuason, CEO of MetroBall, Inc., the mother company of the MBA, told ABS-CBN Sports. "As a matter of fact, before we even started, I went to June Bernardino, who was [PBA] Commissioner, and I asked him and I said I have a system and it will reduce your salaries by over 50 percent in the first three years," he added. Wait, what?   THE LITTLE BROTHER With the MBA taking on a regional format, Tuason thought that his league could serve as the PBA's developmental territory. The MBA will scoop up players from the farthest of areas, let them hone their skills in the MBA, and when they're ready, allow them to move on to the PBA. "So in other words we would be like the draft, they would have to come to us, play for two years and can only then move to the PBA. So we would be getting regional players, develop them into our type of play, which is more rough, faster, stronger, and they would be then ripe for the picking of PBA teams through a draft," Tuason said. "It's going to be like in the States, they had the ABA before, which merged with the NBA, but it was the lower league, developing players for the NBA," he added. The idea seemed so simple and good-natured. However, the PBA didn't bite it. And so the supposed little brother decided to come after the big bro. For real this time. "They were very confused with what we wanted to do, they thought we were going after them. So when they declined us, we decided let's go full blast and turn professional," Tuason said. "Because our first thing was amateur muna, we would be developing the players and then moving them up as professionals. That's how the PBA would be able to save money," he added. "[The MBA] was not created to compete directly with the PBA."   IN THE SERVICE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE While ABS-CBN failed to strike a deal with the PBA, the MBA was never intended to be the vehicle that The Company would use for revenge. People can think otherwise but PBA vs. MBA was never the case. "We did not," Peter Musngi said when asked if ABS-CBN saw the MBA as a possible competitor for the PBA. "The superstar players were with the PBA so what we wanted to have then was a second-tier league that can be a developmental league but at the same time, be able to avail of the services of the new college graduates, the stars of college basketball, and at the same time discover the talents in the far-flung areas who otherwise would not even be visible to the PBA." "It’s grassroots, but at the same time it’s also giving more opportunities for the college kids, the new graduates, to further their career in basketball. We were very excited with the idea and since ABS-CBN was practically present in all the regions in the country, it was a natural decision to say yeah, in the service of the Filipino, here’s something to cheer about, here’s something to entertain you," he added.   LONG-TERM POWER The MBA was never intended to be a rival to the PBA. However, in time, the MBA could have definitely challenged the PBA. Ramon Fernandez, the four-time PBA MVP who became the first MBA Commissioner, certainly thinks that way. He saw that the MBA could one day give the PBA a worthy fight. "Definitely," Fernandez said with hesitation when asked in he saw the MBA as a potential rival to the PBA. "That's why I said we should look at this league in the long term. Look at this league 10-15 years from now, wag this year lang. There should have been a longer vision, dahan-dahan. Because nakaka-motivate sa kabataan na maglaro ng basketball para makasama sa liga na to. Meron nang choice, hindi lang puro PBA. There was another league growing," he added. Unfortunately Fernandez only lasted for about two seasons as a Commissioner and the MBA didn't last 10-15 years. Not even close. What is it about sports leagues and why can't two actually exist at the same time in the same territory? After directly competing with one another, the American Football Leaue and the National Football League merged, retaining the NFL name. At one point, WCW was beating the WWE in the Monday Night Wars. The WWE ended up purchasing WCW. The American Basketball Association, which was a lot like the MBA in many ways, ended up merging with the NBA, allowing the NBA to rise as the most powerful basketball league in the world. In the Philippines, no such merger happened. The PBA is still good on its own after 43 seasons and the MBA died a slow death. A slow death that could have been prevented... (to be continued)   *I Love You, This Game is a series celebrating the Metropolitan Basketball Association's 20th anniversary. Stay tuned for more! READ PART 1: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The logo that started a basketball revolution READ PART 2: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: The Passion of the Nation READ PART 3: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Trouble from Lakerland READ PART 4: I LOVE YOU, THIS GAME: Death threats and 5-peso coins, the MBA was crazy   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2018

Seaoil partners with Caltex Australia

CALTEX AUSTRALIA Petroleum Pty Ltd. is acquiring a 20% equity interest in Seaoil Philippines, Inc. in a deal that the local company said is intended to be a long-term partnership between the two independent oil players. “We have long sought for a strategic partner to complement our capabilities and competitive advantage, and we are optimistic […] The post Seaoil partners with Caltex Australia appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsDec 21st, 2017

Jett Manuel out to prove he belongs with likes of Kiefer, Jeron

In the 10 months since his last game in the UAAP, all we have heard about Jett Manuel was that he passed the engineering board exam. Now, the one-time leader of the University of the Philippines is out to make an impact on the basketball court once again. Manuel is part of the 12-man team that will represent the Philippines in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Backed by Bounty and Chooks-to-Go anew, the Filipinos will go all-out in the tournament commencing on Saturday (Philippine time) in Chenzou, China. And for the licensed engineer-slash-basketball player, getting to don the blue, red, yellow, and white is an honor. “It’s a blessing na I’m here. I’m thankful for the opportunity,” he said. He then continued, “I wanna know what it feels like to represent the country. It’s always been a dream of mine and I’m just really excited that I’m here already.” Without a doubt, Manuel is relishing the opportunity to once again play on the basketball court while also, for the first time, playing for his homeland. On a more personal note, however, he also wants to prove something to everybody and more importantly, himself. “I always knew I had the talent to play at this level. I trust all the work that I put in and all the sacrifices I made,” he said. He then continued, “So I just want to prove that I belong. I’ve always thought that I can.” Just being included in a lineup led by Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng, the pride of State U has already proven his worth. Ravena and Teng were the two biggest names of the just passed generation of the UAAP. And while those two brought Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University, respectively, to glory, Manuel’s goal was simply to put UP in the conversation. That, he did, and the swingman left Diliman with a team with a bright future. Now, Manuel joins forces with the best of the best of his UAAP generation to bring back a championship for the Philippines. “Dati, when you’re up against them, there’s pride involved. Now, we all have a common goal and the same team name in front of us,” he shared. Fortunately for the 24-year-old, he made sure he wasn’t getting left behind even though he hadn’t been involved in a competitive basketball game in 10 months. “Even during my preparations for the board exam, I was training everyday. I didn’t take any days off studying and working out,” he shared. Now with Ravena, Teng and the rest of Chooks-Pilipinas, Manuel believes all of them will only get better after this battle. “The experience na you compete against them everyday in practice pa lang, for sure, you’re gonna get better,” he expressed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2017

Worth the wait: UST rookie Eya Laure dazzles in collegiate debut

MANILA, Philippines---The two-year wait is over and Eya Laure was finally able to showcase her skills in the collegiate level of the UAAP as a full-fledged member of University of Santo Tomas. Laure was quick to display her abilities as she led the Golden Tigresses to a five-set win over Adamson University, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 24-26, 15-16, in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. Starting in her first collegiate game, Laure put up 17 points on 13 spikes, three blocks, and an ace in a moment she waited patiently for. "I'm just thankful because I was able to showcase the talent that coach Kung Fu [Reyes] built up when I played for him...Keep on reading: Worth the wait: UST rookie Eya Laure dazzles in collegiate debut.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2019

WATCH: Filipino nurse gets standing ovation in ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0O81FkIx58 MANILA, Philippines --- Despite feeling extremely nervous, Filipino nurse Rodelle Borja gave a stirring performance that earned him a standing ovation in "Ireland's Got Talent," singing his own version of a song popularized by Elvis Presley, "Can't Help Falling in Love." In a video uploaded on the show's YouTube channel on Feb. 16, the 29-year-old Borja said that, while he did not feel confident in expressing himself through words, he could do so through songs. "I applied for 'Ireland's Got Talent' mainly because I want to inspire other people, especially all the stutterers around the world since I'm also a stutterer myself," he said i...Keep on reading: WATCH: Filipino nurse gets standing ovation in ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 17th, 2019

Updating the MDT

Last year, Defense Secretary Del Lorenzana proposed the idea of reviewing the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States in light of the growing tension between the US and China, as seen when a Chinese Luyang-class destroyer came within 45 yards of colliding with USS Decatur that sailed close to 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratlys while conducting freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) last October......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2019

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

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