College Basketball

IUPUI coach goes shoeless for charity

About the only time Indian University-Purdue University Indianapolis gets any coverage in the mainstream world of sports is when people feel the need to make fun of the school’s acronym – IUPUI. But the Jaguars are getting some well deserved publicity after their coach put his best bare foot forward on Thursday, raising awareness for needy children in Africa.

IUPUI coach Ron Hunter was feeling footloose and fancy free as he paced the sidelines against Oakland (Mich.). Coaching barefoot, Hunter walked it like he talked it as he tried to collect at least 40,000 pairs of shoes to be donated to the less fortunate.

We’ve got great students here and I appreciate all of their support, not only from our students but from around the country. The people of this country have been so generous. I am really excited about it,” said Hunter.

“I’m hoping to reach 150 or 200,000 pairs. I would love to see us reach 500% of our original goal,” said Hunter.

That’s right, Hunter exceeded his 40,000 mark before tip off, collecting 110,000 pairs of shoes prior to the game even starting! There’s still no word from the Golden Grizzlies regarding whether the stench of all those shoes had an effect on their 82-69 loss in Indy.


[]: IUPUI coach barefootin’ for a good cause

Cleveland Cavaliers

Around the Rim: It’s gotta be the shoes

1. Tongue in cheek
LeBron James loves the Yankees. In fact, he loves them so much that his latest shoe, James’ Air Zoom V, are dedicated to the pinstripes.

Dominated by the team’s traditional blue-and-white color scheme, the Air Zoom LeBron V shoe features New York’s famed pinstripes as well as James’ No. 23. Under the tongue are the words: “Le-Bron Ja-Mes. Clap. Clap. Clap Clap Clap,” a nod to the cheer New York fans reserve for the Yankees; and on the strap is the phrase: “Fresh for ’08. Suckers!

2. Pass happy Nash gets offensive

Steve Nash is known for his passing prowess, but on Tuesday night it was his scoring that took center stage. The two-time MVP went off for a season-high 37 points on 13-of-23 shooting to go along with his traditional double-digit assist total (10). Nash scored 15 of his points in the fourth quarter, almost single-handedly matching the 22 points scored by the entire Bucks team during the final period of their 114-105 loss. The win improved Phoenix’s record to 30-5 against Milwaukee since the 1990-91 season, the best record by any team against another in that time frame.

3. Sactown rebound
For the first time this year, Sacramento had all their stars in the starting lineup and, boy, did it show. The Kings whooped up on the Nets 128-94 thanks to the on-court reunion between Ron Artest, Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby. All three were in the starting five for Sactown, combining for 61 points in the win. Artest led the way, scoring 27 while Martin put in 19 points and Bibby finished with 15 and seven assists. The Kings still have a long, long way to go before they start making noise in an unbelievable competitive Western Conference, but this game could be the start of an interesting second half of the season for Sacramento.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Steve Nash @ Milwaukee 37 min, 37 pts (FG: 13-23, 3FG: 5-9, FT: 6-7), 4 reb, 10 ast, 2 stl

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Los Angeles Lakers (27-12) @ San Antonio (26-13)
This isn’t the rivalry it used to be, but it is defiantly on the rebound. With the Spurs suffering through a minor slump and the Lakers playing their best ball since the Diesel drove cross country to Miami, this is once again a statement game for both clubs. Kobe Bryant continues to shock and awe fans by seemingly growing into a leader before our very eyes, making pedestrian players a vital part of the game plan. Of course, the loss of Andrew Bynum will play a major part in this contest as Los Angeles will be severely undermanned against Tim Duncan in the paint. San Antonio is currently sitting at sixth in the West, dangerously close to sliding out of the playoff picture after losing five of their previous 10 games.

Buzzer Beater: Talk about going from bad to worse. The Heat found out on Tuesday that Shaquille O’Neal will miss at least the next two weeks with acute inflammation in his hip and his quadriceps muscle. Just a former shell of himself, Shaq’s presence wasn’t exactly doing the Heat any favors, but his absence still hurts. With Alonzo Mourning done and Shaq riding the injury list, Mark Blount will most likely take over the starting center spot. Can you say 15-game losing streak?

NBA General

No. 23’s shoes turn 23!

Has it really been 23 years since the first edition of Air Jordan shoes hit the shelves? It seems just like yesterday we were raking leaves, mowing laws, washing cars and even selling off our prized Garbage Pail Kids collection just to get a piece of the action. Well, some things never change because later this month Nike is releasing the 23rd edition of the kicks and, yes, they still cost a small fortune.

The Air Jordan XX3 will be released in three hyped-up rounds from January to February, starting with a limited edition to be sent to only 23 retailers to be sold for $230 and concluding with the national launch at $185.

There had been talk at Nike about retiring the shoe at No. 23, because of his iconic jersey number. But company officials won’t say whether this will be the last of the line. Neither will Jordan.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Jordan said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

We probably shouldn’t do this, but we’re going to let you in on a little secret. There is no way that Jordan lets this cash cow be led into pasture. His Airness didn’t become a one-man walking bank by quitting while he was ahead.

And while we’re sure the Air Jordan XX3 will be some sweet kicks, you won’t be catching us pawning our prized possessions again just to get a pair. It took us years to come across another mint condition “Adam Bomb.” That’s why we’ve been selling our blood and plasma for extra cash. While the latest model is always packed with all the bells and whistles, for us, nothing can top the classics.

The Air Jordan remains the pinnacle piece for shoe collectors. The original Air Jordan 1 can sell for thousands of dollars, depending on various factors.

So, does anybody need a fresh pint of Type A+?


[]: Nike releases 23rd edition of the Air Jordan


Even John Amaechi says those are over the top

If you thought that ugly sneakers were strictly relegated to the hardwood during the NBA’s annual All-Star weekend, think again. In fact, the hideous footwear trend is about to invade the Master’s hallowed fairways and fringes.

Thanks to PUMA, Geoff Ogilvy and Johan Edfors will be sporting these gaudy golden shoes during the competition to “celebrate the first year of PUMAs golf collection.” Uh, with shoes like these there might not be a second year. But don’t think that PUMA forgot to accessorize. The lucky pair of golfers also get to don equally fashionable outfits that will compliment the kicks.

Apparently, PUMA doesn’t mind parading their boys up and down the links like a couple of lil’ Liberaces. Looks like Stephon Marbury was right, it is better to own than be owned.


[The Golf Blog]: Geoff Ogilvy to wear Puma golden shoes at Masters

Houston Rockets

Van Gundy says Yao’s shoes are the problem

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy is blaming Reebok for keeping his franchise center off the court.

This is a reoccurring issue with Yao’s feet, and he’s not getting the shoe on time from Reebok,” Van Gundy said. “He is not getting the shoe fitted properly so he doesn’t have reoccurring issues with his toe and feet. Yao’s got to be more demanding of this company. He’s not getting the results he wants. It puts him at risk.

It’s the same issue here this year. Nothing’s changed. It’s problematic. Some things can’t be prevented. This one I think can be with more attention to detail on the shoe he’s getting from the company that really should care about him.

Yao, having 8 million reasons to live defend Reebok, said that his shoes are fine — “I use the same kind of shoes. It never brings me any problems.”

[Houston Chronicle]: Shoes blamed for Yao’s toe woes