Big East going south?

For my fellow Hoya fans: On one hand, we have Jeff Green’s dunk in the Celtics’ win over the Mavericks last night.

On the other, we have word that the Big East is on the brink of breaking up:

According to reports from the Providence Journal and, the seven Catholic schools in the conference are on the verge of breaking away from the Big East Conference and going their own way. Both reports said the seven schools would have a conference call with Commissioner Mike Aresco Thursday and then announce their plans within the next 24 to 48 hours….

Sources told that it “would be an upset” if the Catholic schools remained in the Big East.

When asked if the Catholics were splitting, a separate Big East source told, “It sure appears that way.”

The ongoing conference realignment has been frustrating to follow, especially for fans of basketball schools without legit football teams. But I’ve been insisting to my friends that as long as Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova stuck together, they’d play in a decent conference. I suspect it’ll still be a while before all the dust settles, but I think those basketball programs are too good to be drowned in the wake of big-conference football.

A new conference of small Catholic schools would hardly be the Big East, obviously, but whatever’s slated to exist as the Big East next year wouldn’t really be the Big East either.

As with most things, I blame Syracuse for all of this.

And here’s the best ad campaign ever

It’s a video game featuring Dikembe Mutumbo and a talking-bear sidekick named Science the Bear. Why is Old Spice much better at advertising than everybody else? I don’t know, but it’s probably why I’m currently wearing Old Spice. Sorry, but I’m a sucker for stuff Terry Crews does. See you in a few hours:

(I originally had the game embedded here, but it turns out it autoplays [hilarious] music every time you open the page and it got annoying. So go check it out elsewhere.)

For what it’s worth, I met Dikembe once when he came to speak at Georgetown my junior year. Seemed like an awesome dude. My roommate and I even posed for a photo with him, one of us in each of his outstretched arms. We had such big plans for the photo, too; we co-hosted a TV show on campus cable, and we hoped to blow it up to poster size and use it on our set. But I went to college before digital cameras, and the photo didn’t come out. It looks amazing in my mind though.

Did you know that Dikembe Mutumbo speaks nine languages?

Via Scott.

Important NBA research

Spin Magazine puts together a comprehensive team-by-team ranking of the NBA leaders in rap shoutouts.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for roughly 15 years, no joke. Why? “Triumph,” one of the Wu-Tang Clan’s most recognizable singles and (though not really my favorite) certainly among their most epic performances, ends with a seemingly random reference to Rod Strickland.

Strickland’s from New York, so maybe Raekwon was showing some civic pride. But it seemed funny to me that this otherwise ethereal song should end with a shoutout to a pretty good basketball player. And I’ve always wanted to figure out which athlete benefited from the highest ratio of mentions in rap songs to actual ability, but it’s not something I have the wherewithal to figure out.

Lyrics NSFW:

Via Deadspin.

The Gangnam Style video to end them all

This site has been open in its appreciation of former Georgetown Hoya hero and current Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, one of our nation’s most awesome individuals. Check out his appearance at the Pacers’ Meet the Rookies event at an Indianapolis-area shopping mall. My understanding is that no one was expecting this.

That’s impressive footwork for a 7-foot-2 man.

Via Scott.

The prophecy fulfilled

New York Knickerbockers Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed free agent forward/center Rasheed Wallace to a contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

– Knicks press release

I was keeping mum because I didn’t want to jinx anything, but it’s official: The Knicks are the silliest sports franchise in the city. Sorry, Mets, Jets and Islanders. Better luck next year. It was a good game, both teams played hard.

I don’t even know if it’s a bad move from a basketball standpoint, for what it’s worth. It’s just, he hasn’t played in two seasons and it’s Rasheed Wallace.

Tyson Chandler’s photography available

Last year, a photographer named Ari Marcopoulos published a fan “zine”—a print publication circulated to a small audience—about Tyson Chandler, from when Chandler played for the Dallas Mavericks. He didn’t know if Chandler would even see it. As it turned out, Chandler was flattered by it….

And their unlikely friendship will be on display Wednesday at a Unicef benefit auction of Chandler’s photographs. The show’s 15 pictures include a portrait of ex-Knick Jeremy Lin and one of Carmelo Anthony in a towel. There is a print of Team USA’s locker-room whiteboard from the Olympic gold-medal game and even shots of exotic wildlife. The exhibit, called “A Year in a New York Minute,” was curated by Marcopoulos.

Ben Cohen, Wall Street Journal.

Good read from the Journal on Chandler’s foray into the downtown art scene and his relationship with Marcopoulos, a one-time associate of Andy Warhol’s.

For me, all tall-man art exhibits start and end with Shaq’s, but good for Chandler for pursuing an off-court interest.

You too can live like Salvatore Ferragamo (assuming Salvatore Ferragamo eats really delicious ice cream in Brooklyn)

INSTEAD of peanut M&Ms, think Tumbador’s PB&J chocolate bar, handmade in Sunset Park. Instead of Häagen-Dazs, think Blue Marble ice cream. Instead of Tostitos, chips from the Brooklyn Salsa Company. This is the new Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets with food about as local as stadium fare gets….

The final selection is a mix of Brooklyn standbys like Nathan’s Famous and L&B Spumoni Gardens and newer artisan entrepreneurs including McClure’s Pickles, Brooklyn Cupcake and Calexico.

Sophie Brickman, N.Y. Times.

Good read from the Times on the food that’ll be available at the Barclays Center. It’s probably worth noting that local businesses who hook up with Ratner and the arena risk alienating some portion of their existing customer base, since there are a lot of people in the area pretty upset about the arena’s construction.

As for the food: I can’t vouch for all of it, as the Brooklyn foodscape changes pretty rapidly. But I can say that McClure’s Pickles and Calexico are delicious, and Blue Marble ice cream is without a doubt the best ice cream I’ve ever had.

A Blue Marble opened up on Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights when I lived around the corner on Lincoln Place. It seemed like a pretty random spot for an upscale free-range grass-fed fair-trade type ice-cream spot at the time, on a block dotted with old Chinese-food places, shabby bodegas and empty storefronts that appeared to be storage spaces for people’s random old electronics.

Since there were so few places to get food in the immediate vicinity I went to check it out soon after it opened. About one spoonful in, I realized it was better than any ice cream I had ever tasted in my entire life. It’s so unbelievably creamy and tasty, but not greasy or heavy in the way that Coldstone Creamery’s ice cream is. A couple days later I spotted my friend who lived around the block on her way out of Blue Marble with a cup of it, and at first she was kind of cagey and acted like she was just trying it for the first time. But when I said it was the best ice cream I had ever had she admitted she felt the same way, and copped to the fact that she had already been there three times in the week since it had opened.

So check that out, is what I’m saying.

It’s ya boy

Suite owners will have access to a Champagne bar serving Armand de Brignac, an expensive bubbly that Mr. Carter promotes and in which he holds a financial interest, according to a biography by a writer for Forbes. The arena will contain a 40/40 Club, an iteration of his sports-bar-style nightclub chain. There will be a Rocawear store, selling his clothing line, on the arena’s exterior. Even the advertising agency used by the Nets, Translation, is half-owned by Mr. Carter.

There is also an important intangible asset, particularly for a rapper: the bragging rights that Mr. Carter has enjoyed as a part-owner since Mr. Ratner’s group paid $300 million to acquire the Nets. His slender stake was enough for Mr. Carter to thump his chest in his lyrics, promising to “bring you some Nets.”

Mr. Carter has capitalized further on his Nets investment by extending the Jay-Z brand into endorsement deals normally reserved for elite athletes. He stars, wearing a Nets cap, in a Budweiser TV commercial that was broadcast during the Olympic Games. And he was named executive producer of the basketball video game, “NBA 2K13.”

David Halbfinger, N.Y. Times.

Good read from the Times on Jay-Z’s role in the Nets’ move to Brooklyn and vice versa. Bonus points because it refers to the Jiggaman as “Mr. Carter” throughout.

I reserve the right to write more about this in the future, but I suspect I will take up some rooting interest in the Nets this season and likely abandon whatever minute attachment I still have to the Knicks. You may think this makes me a sellout or a bad fan or whatever, but I wasn’t a very good Knicks fan to begin with, fandom doesn’t seem to operate in any rational way, and I feel way more excited about the new-look Nets than the same-old Knicks.

Here’s what I’ve got off the top of my head:

Reasons to like the Nets
Play a few blocks from where I lived for five years, still hang out sometimes
Cool uniforms
Jay-Z affiliation
Tickets more likely to be available/inexpensive (?)
Brand new arena
Arena easier to get to from my home by subway
Not the Knicks

Reasons to like the Knicks
I liked them in the ’90s

Am I wrong?