Hardwood Jazz

5-6-19 - Andy
Earl the Pearl

5-6-19 - Warriors
NBA Champions

5-6-19 - Andy
Bob Cousy

Andy Dolich -- 2015

All that jazz, be it in a sports arena or a night club

By Andy Dolich

In gyms and jazz joints, the only question that matters is: Can you play?

MJ, Dr. J, Big O, Magic, Kareem, the Iceman, Kobe, Hakeem, Tiny, Wilt, the Logo, Elgin, Larry Bird, Russell, Duncan, Moses, Earl the Pearl, Clyde and Cousy, every one of these hip hoopsters made his own music.

Billie Holiday, Charlie Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Etta James, Charlie Parker, Ella, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke, Cannonball Adderley, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis. Who is the absolute best ever from this group?

Steph Curry is the NBA's MVI (Most Valuable Improviser). He bounces to lyrics, arcs, riffs, notes, glass kisses and angles that nobody else sees. He is hip with hops and chops.

Innovative instrumental artists and kings of the court follow the same path to greatness: their own dynamic DNA.

When these All-stars aren't being judged by the media, their contemporary challengers, stars of another time and fans, they are always working in some fortress of solitude, improving on skills that are already special.

NBA courts, no matter where the arena may be, are all the same: 94-by-50 feet with two 10-foot baskets. Over the years, hall-of-famers wrote their own masterpieces on different parts of the hardwood. A basketball arena, like a jazz club, is a three-dimensional world of creativity.

Wilt, Shaq, Bill Russell and Dikembe made the paint a place where you couldn't play any music in their house. Cousy, Stockton and Nash were happy to drop you a dime, with no questions asked. Magic, Bird, Iceman and Curry were riffing all over the court, like the best jazzmen.

The quintet on the courts resemble the great jazz groups of five. Stars don't shine as brightly without superior sidemen of skill. Talent and teamwork are in perfect balance when the magic begins.

Curry and the Dubs always amaze. Steph has redefined the game. He plays the Spalding as a finely tuned instrument. He can launch from another Zip code or lay the highest, softest, sweetest kiss higher off the glass that anyone's ever seen.  On the occasional off night or tight playoff series Steph can just nod, "KD, you feeling fifty, go for it."  Dray time to wreck the other teams rhythm. Iggy go get Jiggy with it when they aren't paying attention.  Klay time for the sweetest J in the NBA, time for some string music. 

Maestro Steve Kerr keeps his talent on a Riffing Road Trip to greatness that very few have ever seen on the hardwood bandstands of arenas around the country.

Every gig or game is an opportunity to create something never heard or seen before. That's what masters do. Even hardened veterans of the hardwood or jazz sessions know when a new frontier is being crossed. Miles Davis liked to say, "Don't play what's there. Play what's not there," or "Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself." That's how the album "Kind of Blue" was created by Davis and the Warriors riffed to four consecutive NBA Finals with two championships.

The game, like the music, has seen many virtuoso performers who bring their audiences wonder, joy, surprise, tears, purity and beauty. Whether you are listening to Charlie "Bird" Parker or watching Larry Bird, there is a special sauce that these artists know how to whip up, lay down and spread out.

It does not matter whether you are Curry breaking ankles before launching a step back three from another Zip code or John Coltrane wailing outside the musical lines, these hoop hipsters and musical magicians are the coolest ever. Whether the lights go up in the arena or down in some jazz cavern, these cats are pure and in a zone that others just dream about.

                                                        *          *          *          *
Andy Dolich has over five decades of leadership in the sports industry, including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. Presently Dolich is COO of the Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. Dolich is also co-author of the new book:
3-6-17 - Pops

Michael King (left), with an associate from USF (center), and Karla Granadino-King, are pictured at the Olympic Club in San Francisco,  proudly sharing with the world their  Pops Premium Rumpopo. A King family secret, Pops Premium Rumpopo is a  delicious rum cream liqueur recipe brewed in the family tradition.  The award winning recipe is a Belizean family favorite and now available at all Total Wine & More stores in California and Bay Area retailers.
For more information, visit https://www.bzecheers.com/rumpopo

Pops - Original
Pops Back Label