Are holograms set to revolutionise sport?

Without question, the final weekend of Coachella will be remembered for Tupac’s computer-generated resurrection. But while this event not only made those in attendance think they were using the best hallucinogens ever made, it also marked a tipping point for all forms of entertainment.

After most Americans changed their shorts from climaxing at the sight of a life-like hologram interacting on stage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, a few realizations set in.  First of all, it can almost be guaranteed that the Super Bowl’s half-time show will be even more gaudy and obnoxious now that life-like holograms exist.

Also, going forth, the likes of Dave Matthews Band, U2, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers – and any other mega band that can afford to spend multi-millions on the technology – will be able to perform multiple shows in multiple locations on the same night.  I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.  Just imagine the number of 17 year-olds that will be able to pay $75 for a field seat and lose their virginity to CGI Dave Matthews in Seattle… all the while, the real Dave Matthews is actually facilitating the theft of a whole other group of 17-year-olds’ V-Cards in Madrid.

DMB, yet to crack the lucrative Australian V-Plate market

Though the impact of hologram technology on the entertainment world will be monumental, its use in the sports arena could be even greater.  For instance, such technology would do wonders for the NFL’s head trauma issues.  If both teams were holograms, it is fair to say that the bodily harm attributed with playing professional football would decrease exponentially.  That said, the league would never go for it as the NFL is facing a interesting catch-22: the same issue that is literally killing its players is exactly why the sport is so overwhelmingly popular.  However, I digress…

There is a higher calling for the same hologram technology that brought Tupac back to life.  Both the NBA and NFL now have the opportunity to bring to life the video games that dominated my youth – NBA Jam and NFL Blitz.  In the mid to late ‘90s, MTV came as close as possible to making this dream a reality with its Rock ‘N Jock events.  However, now that technology has freed us from the restraints and limitations of the human body, these wet dreams can become reality.

NBA Jam, where the Nets can actually appear competitive

Two-on-two basketball and seven-on-seven football with the bone-crushing hits, earth-shattering dunks and once-in-a-lifetime matchups that previously were restricted to the worlds of Nintendo 64, Playstation and Xbox are now possible.  Technology has created a world where HE’S ON FIRE is more than just a fond memory of my childhood.  No longer do I have to watch a 25-year-old tape of Lawrence Taylor snapping Joe Theisman’s leg in half.  Previous to Tupac’s appearance at Coachella, the laws of physics prevented someone from taking off from mid-court and shattering the backboard while doing a 1080 dunk.

Tupac’s virtual renaissance is just the start of what will be an entirely new dimension of entertainment.

By R.J. Karas  

March Madness, the Final Four showdown

As New Orleans prepares for the 2012 Final Four this weekend, many are tipping that the University of Kentucky will continue its decisive march to a national championship – and rightfully so.  The Wildcats are a machine comprised of four soon-to-be first round drafts picks, one of which, Anthony Davis, will be the first player selected.

So how dominant is Davis? Throughout the regular season and first four games of the NCAA tournament, Davis is averaging five blocks a game.  Don’t focus too much on the 15 points and 10 rebounds he is also putting up; but rather, consider how demoralizing it is to know that before stepping onto the court, Kentucky’s opposition already knows that Davis will single-handedly deny them of at least 10 points.  ‘The Big Blue’ – as they are referred to – do not simply beat teams, they back teams into a corner and make them submit.  It is almost fitting that the University of Kentucky had to play their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Atlanta, a city that once saw such physical destruction as the Wildcats are putting on their opponents.

Atlanta, set for another devastating showdown

For those of you who are not students of the American Civil War – and I will assume that most of you are not considering the majority of you are Australian – Ulysses S. Grant, General of the Union (the winners)* forces, decided that the only way to beat the Confederacy (the losers)* was to physically destroy everything that remained.  In doing so, according to Grant’s theory, the Union would crush the resolve of the Confederacy. This theory took shape as Major General William Sherman marched from Atlanta to Savannah in late November and early December of 1864.  Sherman burned everything in site.  When Sherman reached the sea six weeks after he had left Atlanta, there was literally nothing but ash and rubble in his wake.  Sherman, himself, estimated the damage at $100 million in 1864 – in today’s dollars that’s well over $1 billion.  The Confederacy surrendered in the spring of 1865.

But while Kentucky is not leaving any physical damage or a body count in its wake, its opponents are left simply stunned at the team’s sheer military-esque domination.  In their most recent game, an Elite 8 match up against Baylor University – a team that boasts two future first-round draft picks – the two teams were tied 10-10 after seven-and-a-half minutes of play.  Over the next two minutes, Kentucky scored 11 unanswered points to lead 21-10 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half.  By half time, the score was 42-22 and Baylor was left dumbfounded by what had just occurred.  Kentucky would go on to win by a comfortable 12 point margin, leaving many resigned to the fact that coach John Calipari would have to wait only seven days for his first national championship.

Calipari, grooming tomorrow's NBA stars

Calipari, a man who admittedly takes more pride in seeing his players go pro than winning national championships, is the University of Kentucky’s ‘General Sherman’ – proudly watching his team dismantle anything that stands between them and New Orleans.  By understanding that an 18 year-old wants to be in the NBA as opposed to staying in college to win a national titles, Calipari is able to hand-pick the country’s best talent.  Calipari’s unique understanding of the role of NCAA basketball, more of a means to an end as opposed to the end that many other coaches see it as, has created one of the most dominant forces ever seen at this level.

By R.J. Karas

* I say ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ because depending on who you ask you will get a different answer for who the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ are, regarding the Civil War. Seriously, to this day some Americans refer to the Civil War as the ‘War of North Aggression’.


Jeremy Lin brings Asian skills to NBA

If you are an Asian-American with an Economics degree from Harvard, breaking ankles in the NBA is not the natural post-graduation career path.  Actually, you don’t even need the stereotypical degree from an Ivy League school.

Previous to this year, if you were of Asian-American descent, the closest you got to seeing NBA action was when William Hung performed at halftime of a Rockets/Warriors game in 2004.  Asian-Americans playing NBA2K12, well… that’s another story; but what Hampsterdam was to the affluent white population of Baltimore in HBO’s The Wire, the NBA was to Asian-Americans… until Jeremy Lin arrived.

The Wire, not aimed at the Asian-American demographic

Prior to a week ago, Jeremy Lin had spent time with the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors – and shockingly enough, William Hung’s 2004 performance didn’t do Lin any favors.  Lin also made multiple trips to the D-League and briefly spent time with the Chinese Taipei National Team prior to the 2011 FIBA World Championships.

But after going through three different point guard options – Baron Davis, Tony Douglas and Iman Shumpert – the New York Knicks, in desperate need of a facilitator, put Lin in the starting line up on February 4th against the New Jersey Nets.

On a ten day contract, living on his brother’s couch – a dental student at NYU – Lin has scored at least 20 points in each game he’s played.  Against the Wizards, he had 23 points & 10 assists (and humiliated Maurice Evens, who moved out of the way in order to avoid being on the wrong end of the Harvard grad’s poster); versus the Jazz, 28 & 8; and against the Nets, 25 & 7.  After the Jazz game, Lin’s first as a starter at Madison Square Garden, Knicks fans started an ‘M-V-P!’ chant for the Economics major from Harvard.

And as this goes to print, Lin has steered the Knicks to a clutch victory over the LA Lakers, dropping a career-high 38 points and seven assists on Kobe Bryant – a humbling experience for the Black Mumba, who admitted before the game that he had no idea who the hell this Lin guy was.

At this point, the only guy associated with Harvard who is more popular than Lin is Mark Zuckerburg – you know … that guy who started Facebook.

Just doing some coding before class

In fact, thanks to Jeremy Lin, Asian-Americans will no longer only be known for their brains, quick delivery service and impressive ratio of quality of service to cost.  Well, Asian-Americans are now… um… actually… still known for all those things.

Lin has proven is that the same skills needed for your company’s IT department, a Chinese food restaurant and a dry-cleaners are just as important on the basketball court. This guy has got the IQ to play in the NBA for years to come.

And I’m not talking about a “basketball IQ”, but a legitimate Harvard-honed IQ.

By R.J. Karas