Mad Ants!.. Charlie Bell in Africa… Led Zeppelin Olympics video

NBA.com reported this week that the Bucks have switched Development League teams, losing their affiliation with the Tulsa 66ers when the team was purchased by the Oklahoma City Thunder (yep, that's officially the Supersonics' new name — apparently the Seattle-fleeing cowboys weren't too impressed with the Bob Boozer Jinx proposal, the Rawhides).

The Bucks will now send their 1st and 2nd year players to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where they'll join the invasion of …

The Mad Ants.

"Ants are ants" … "NOT these ants."

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants, also the affiliate of the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, are promoting last year's D-League star Bucks guard Ramon Sessions with the Bucks switch but Ramon won't be anywhere near that picnic. Rookie small forward Luc Mbah a Moute, the Bucks 2nd round pick, might do some time as a Mad Ant and it's possible 1st round pick Joe Alexander could find himself in the D-League if Mbah a Moute is more NBA-ready at this point (don't scoff — if Alexander doesn't find his game, no reason to keep in Milwaukee). In either case (and it would be one or the other to Fort Wayne but not both) it does appear that being a Mad Ant would be a lot more fun than sitting on the bench in Milwaukee …

Mad Ant mascot The Madam Ants

The NBA's Basketball Without Borders Africa kicked off yesterday (Sept. 3) in Johannesberg, South Africa as NBA players, including Bucks guard Charlie Bell and Racine native Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards, toured the city's Apartheid Museum and visited an AIDS hospice.  Today, the sixth annual Africa camp — a Special Olympics camp — opened and the players rolled out the pill, with former Buck and NBA hall of famer Bob "the Dobber" Lanier, now special assistant to NBA commissioner David Stern, doing the honors.

Here's Charlie doing something that wouldn't be allowed around the lions at the Milwaukee Zoo.

Charlie Bell in Johannesberg

Notice that he's not quite touching the lion cub, though it's apparently well fed and deeply sleeping … but that's still good work, Charlie. How often does anyone get to sneak in on a sleeping lion?

I have a feeling Charlie's role as Michael Redd's back-up will be more expansive this season than last. I foresee trouble ahead between coach Scott Skiles and Redd, who's not one to warm up to the concepts of team play or defense. Charlie should get some opportunities, and with Richard Jefferson and Joe Alexander on hand he won't be called on to play small forward as much as he was last season.

Last season was a forgettable one for Bell, as then-GM Larry Harris neglected Bell's contract negotiations but then surprised him by matching the free agent offer he received from the Miami Heat. Despite not being too happy about being a Buck and mired in a season-long shooting slump, Bell's defense and toughness earned him minutes under coach Larry Krystkowiak and will probably impress Skiles, too. He is a Flintstone, after all. Look for Charlie to have a solid, productive comeback in 2008-09.

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The British did the world a fine thing by commissioning Led Zeppelin guitarist and maestro Jimmy Page to compose its London 2012 presentation for the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony. The eight-minute piece – which featured Page, singer Leona Lewis and a reworked version of "Whole Lotta Love" – created quite a buzz all over the planet and earned a thumbs up from the toughest of critics — Led Zeppelin fans, who were more than a little anxious about how it would come off. Page called it as "a wonderful, compact statement of why we're all here, which is London '12"; and raved about Lewis, describing the staging as "so her, so classy" and her vocals "dazzling."  

And if there are any lingering doubts about how cool it was to Zeppelin-ize the Olympics, check out this video montage put together by Zep fan Videofleet.  Beijing, basketball and Led Zeppelin!  Brilliant!!!

I'd watch that vid a second time before scrolling down further …

Someone sent me a picture a few days ago

in my email

and

I've been trying hard

to

forget it

ever since.

Would be VP Sarah Palin

On second thought (well, it won't load to the site for some reason) … it seems the basketball gods have conspired with the Led Zeppelin gods to ensure your unfettered enjoyment of those two fine things in life.

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