Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: October 13, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:49 pm
 

ESPN's Drazen Petrovic doc drawing rave reviews

ESPN's documentary film about former NBA players Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac is garnering great reviews.

Posted by Ben Golliver

On Tuesday night, ESPN premiered "Once Brothers ", their latest entry in the "30 for 30" film series . The film looks at former NBA players Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac and how war in the Balkans during the 1990s strained the relationship between Croatians and Serbians.

The heavy Twitter hype last night was apparently not misplaced: cruising through cyberspace today, "Once Brothers" is drawing unanimously positive reviews. Here's a sample of what the critics have to say.  
Eric Newman of Dime Magazine calls it "the best basketball documentary since Hoop Dreams."
As someone who grew up watching Petrovic and Divac from their first days in the NBA, this was an incredible piece to watch. It was no accident that these two left their mark in the NBA, as the flash and charisma of both players made them fan favorites. It is what came between them that also made this story so sad. Reliving the tragic death of Petrovic in 1993 and learning that Divac has been carrying around the burden of never sitting down with Petrovic to settle their differences was emotional to watch, to say the least.
Writing on TrueHoop, Zach Harper says it was his favorite of the 30 for 30 series .
However, outside of the beautiful basketball we saw a tempestuous glimpse into the overall message of what was lost and how easily worlds can be torn apart. It left me feeling fairly sad about the entire project. Some may criticize the use of Vlade as the film’s simultaneous muse and a narrator, but I found it to be the only way to dive into the events of what happened and the emotional dissonance that rose from these friendships being put on hold -- some permanently.
John Scheibe of the Los Angeles Times praises the movie's visuals .
In part, "Once Brothers" has the look of a foreign film, with subtitles and beautiful photography. Tolajian focuses on Vlade Divac, shadowing him on a journey from Belgrade to Zagreb, Croatia, where the former Lakers center tries to comes to grips with the death of his teammate, Drazen Petrovic, who died in a car crash at age 28.
Sean Highkin of Rip City Project loved the geopolitical exploration .
But basketball aside, the real story here is the way that the friendship between Petrovic and Divac was thrown into turmoil by the breaking up of Yugoslavia. Divac is Serbian, while Petrovic (and several other teammates) were Croatian. This didn’t affect their relationship in the slightest before the start of the civil war, but the tension mounted as reports came in of the gunfire and destruction in their home country, coming to a head immediately after Yugoslavia’s defeat of the Soviet Union in the 1990 FIBA championship game, when Divac yanked a Croatian flag away from a fan who ran onto the court to celebrate. Divac claims it was a gesture of support for a unified Yugoslavia, but Petrovic and his Croatian teammates grew increasingly distant from the Serbian big man. Divac tried repeatedly to make amends with Petrovic, but was unable to do so before Drazen’s death. The country of Croatia still hasn’t entirely regained its trust of Divac, as we see in one particularly powerful scene in which he visits Zagreb for the first time since the beginning of the war.
Dan Devine of Yahoo!'s Ball Don't Lie says the film's honesty and seriousness of its subject helps it succeed.
The emotional toll that the war took on the former national team members, both individually and collectively — the national division (plus one controversial action that, as the film plainly shows, still damns Divac in the minds of many) severely damaged the relationships among the Serbian Divac and his Croatian teammates Kukoc, Radja and Petrovic — is palpable throughout the film. Their honesty in discussing it is perhaps the greatest asset of a film teeming with them. As near as I can tell, this is exactly the kind of presentation "30 for 30" was meant to produce — an enthralling recounting of a forgotten or underappreciated story about how sports and capital-letters Real Life interact.
David Cassilo of SlamOnline enjoyed the discussion of international players adjusting to life in the NBA.
What makes this a must-see for any NBA fan is that within the main story is the story of how an international player adjusts to the NBA. Divac and his former Yugoslavian teammates express all of the obstacles that are in the way for a foreign-born player, including style of play, language and the lack of belief by others that they could actually cut it in the NBA.
I just spent like 14 hours reading about this movie and I don't think I came across a truly negative paragraph. Given that this is the internet we're talking about, that's pretty impressive.

If you want to judge for yourself, "Once Brothers" re-airs tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN 2.
Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:22 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:47 pm
 

Yao Ming takes baby step back to normal in China

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming shows nicely in an NBA preseason exhibition game against the New Jersey Nets in Beijing, China.

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Pardon my pessimism, but the early reports regarding Houston’s plan to impose a strict playing time limit on center Yao Ming, who is returning from a lengthy rehabilitation after undergoing foot surgery, had me spooked. A body that big with a base that potentially fragile is a ticking time bomb, and it’s one that comes with any number of psychological hurdles to go along with the physical ones. Watching Yao play well in Houston's 91-81 exhibition win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday morning in Beijing, then, came as a pleasant surprise.

Yao’s first-half play was solid, noteworthy for the smoothness of his gait and his activity level on both ends. On offense, Yao extended out to the three-point line to set high screens with ease and he extended smoothly to provide help defense as well. As is often the case during preseason, the game was an up-and-down affair with plenty of quick triggers. Yao kept pace with mobile Nets center Brook Lopez, one of the league's best young big men, thanks in part to the relatively short length of his stints in both the first and second quarters.

It was during the first six minutes of the third quarter that Yao really distinguished himself. He drew two quick fouls on Houston defenders, hit a 20 foot face-up jumper, and continued to effortlessly set high screens for point guard Aaron Brooks. He was perhaps even better defensively, playing the passing lanes to grab a steal, starting transition play with two outlet passes and positioning his body effectively to defend and frustrate Lopez on the low block. Although he appeared to tire slightly and didn’t commit to rebounding on every possession, his impact was unmistakeable.

Yao’s third-quarter run ended with a thud, as he bowled over Nets guard Devin Harris, who cheekily stepped in front of his path in transition, and came crashing to the court. Man down! Cue panic response. But Yao rose quickly and with a wry smile, clearly disagreeing with the player control foul but not letting it spoil his good humor.

Taken together -- his movement, his mood -- it's fair to call Yao’s 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals effort in 18 minutes a baby step back to normal.

Posted on: October 13, 2010 8:12 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:48 pm
 

Shootaround 10.13.10: KG will cut you off

Posted by Ben Golliver

  • Paul Flannery of WEEI.com with a monster Doc Rivers quote  about Kevin Garnett."Kevin is great. Kevin tries to help every big in here. If that big doesn't listen to him one time, he'll never speak to him again. Literally one time. That has happened a couple of times. Those two guys that he did that to are no longer here and that may be one of the reasons. That's Kevin, when you talk about the Celtic Way, whatever that is, just say Kevin Garnett, and you're pretty much there."
  • Panic briefly struck in Miami Tuesday night, as LeBron James suffered leg cramps during the Heat's exhibition game against CSKA Moscow. James left the court in the third quarter and will be held out of Miami's Wednesday night game, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst .
  • Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger reports  that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, often referred to as "the most interesting man in the world", is up on his nicknames. "And there was Nets shooting guard Terrence Williams, who went up to his team's new owner - one of the 40 richest men in the world, with a net worth of nearly $14 billion - and introduced himself, receiving a most familiar greeting in return."Hi, I'm Terrence Williams," he said."Hello, T-Will," Mikhail Prokhorov replied."
  • CJ Hempfield from BulletsForever on Wizards center JaVale McGee during last night's Wizards/Hawks preseason game: "One disturbing trend is that JaVale McGee often appears to be flying in the opposite direction of the flight of the ball on rebound attempts."
  • IndyStar.com's Mike Wells writes that Pacers lottery pick Paul George is struggling from the field because his head is spinning. "Coach Jim O'Brien said George is taking shots within the system, but George is having to soak in as much information as he can, affecting his focus while shooting."When your mind is occupied with where you're supposed to be prior to getting the ball, how to set your man up for a screen down, it can be a little overwhelming," O'Brien said. "There's so much going on in his mind that it prevents him from playing in a natural flow. When you're not playing with a natural flow, you're not going to shoot the basketball as well as you normally would."
  • The Warriors like what they see from guard Monta Ellis defensively against big guards like Tyreke Evanswrites Rusty Simmons . "You have to have toughness, and I think (Ellis) has shown the ability to fight," head coach Keith Smart said. "There are going to be some guys who are just too powerful, but he is going to be able to compete against top guards in the league. We have to be creative enough to find ways to do it on the nights when he can't do it one-on-one."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com