HoopsHype Showbusiness rumors

October 6, 2014 Updates

Depending on whom you ask, Stephon Marbury's Chinese nickname (dulang -- the lone wolf) either came from his departure from the Timberwolves, leaving him a lone wolf wandering the NBA, or from his image as a selfish ball hog. Each Chinese fan I talk to insists that this selfish image is simply a misunderstanding. The performance to follow will make this very argument. Suddenly, explosions erupt on the massive projector screens behind the stage. A three-minute countdown begins. The P.A. system makes its standard plea discouraging the use of cell phones. In China, this is a ritual announcement that is religiously ignored, providing a glimpse of what the audience thinks is actually interesting. I join in as the lights dim, making sure my phone is ready to record. SportsonEarth

The next two hours of theatrical production are unlike anything I have ever witnessed. The story, which follows a pair of aspiring musicians trying to make it in Beijing, is a bizarre, comedic tale which forces basketball metaphors and wisdom from Marbury's life at every chance it gets. The protagonist duo is inspired to enter a musical competition after playing a game of pickup basketball with a completely random assortment of friends. The production's star, Mike Sui, an American actor in China with impeccable Chinese, implores, "We all have to work together, just like a basketball team." Moved by basketball's life lessons, the group of friends choreographs a musical dance performance with cheerleaders, basketball players dressed in Hawaiian-style uniforms, and an odd assortment of traditional Chinese costumes. SportsonEarth

October 3, 2014 Updates
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October 1, 2014 Updates

Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has signed on to be an executive producer of an inspiring film about a South Florida youth basketball coach with ALS. The film “Who is Lou Gehrig?” is being directed by Gil Green, who is well known in the music video business and also directs commercials and the Heat’s player introduction videos. Green’s lifelong friend, Jeff Vogel, has ALS, but continues to coach girls’ youth basketball at the North Miami JCC. The movie will focus on Vogel’s powerful imagination, which he uses as a coaching tool. Miami Herald

The finished film will be screened at this year's Borscht Film Festival, which is Dec. 18-21. The film will feature Haslem’s debut as an actor. He will play himself. Many of Vogel’s lessons as a coach revolve around his players imagining they’re playing for the Miami Heat. Haslem has donated $10,000 to the project, but Green is still short of his financial goal to finish the film. For more information about donating to the project please visit the film’s page on KickStarter.com. The deadline for donations is Oct. 9. Miami Herald

LeBron James' production company is working with ESPN Films on "Becoming," a Disney TV show for children, and the first episode will feature James. The partnership between Springhill Productions, James' company operated by long-time friend and business associate Maverick Carter, and ESPN was announced Wednesday. "Becoming" will feature star athletes and portray their childhoods -- beginning with James' upbringing in Akron. The pilot episode featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers' star forward will air at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 on the Disney XD cable channel. Cleveland Plain Dealer

September 30, 2014 Updates

Former NBA star Kenny Smith and his family will appear on a reality show on TBS in the spring. The 49-year-old Smith is a basketball analyst for Turner, TBS's parent company. The network said Tuesday it had ordered six episodes of "The Smiths." The show will follow Smith, his wife and five children between the ages of 2 and 20. USA Today Sports

September 29, 2014 Updates
September 28, 2014 Updates

PG: There’s your Showtime documentary, “Kobe’s Muse,” in November. What’s that? KB: You’ll see all the things I do, on and off the court. Every little detail, every tidbit, every improvement. And from that, we peel back the layers to get to who I am — because you can’t understand what I do without understanding who I am. PG: Sounds like a series. KB: That’s the vision. I’m the first “Kobe’s Muse,” then we’ll build it out. I want to know how Arianna became Arianna. I had this conversation with Hilary Swank once, and I asked about acting. And she broke down her process all the way to what would the character be watching on TV, what music would she listen to, how much money in her purse, how much change. I’m so interested in all those details. New York Times

September 24, 2014 Updates

Basketball superstar LeBron James isn't getting too far ahead of himself with his latest off-court project, the hoops-related comedy Survivor's Remorse (Starz, Oct. 4, 9 p.m. ET/PT). When friend and fellow executive producer Maverick Carter talked about possible stories for Season 6, half-jokingly assuming a long run for the half-hour series, James acknowledged TV success is no easy layup. At a Tuesday premiere screening at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, he reminded a supportive audience of an earlier statement he made about multiple NBA championships for his former team, the Miami Heat. "What (Maverick) said about Season 6 – Last time I said, 'Not one, not two, not three, not four …,' that … didn't go over too well," he said, drawing laughter with a reference to a memorable Heat rally with fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James, who recently signed a deal to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, led the Heat to two championships and four NBA finals during four seasons in Miami. USA Today Sports

September 19, 2014 Updates
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August 28, 2014 Updates

Stephon Marbury’s turbulent decade in the N.B.A. was marked by public feuds and lackluster teams, but in recent years he has found a better basketball life in China, where he has led the Beijing Ducks to two national championships. The mutual love affair between Marbury, 37, and his adopted home of Beijing will reach a new milestone this fall when “I Am Stephon Marbury,” a musical about his life in China, opens in the capital with Marbury on stage, playing himself. New York Times

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