From Prep Basketball Star to Murder Charge: It All Started With One Unlucky Shot

Albert Samaha
Protesters at City Hall in April called on Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson to advance his review into convictions tied to Louis Scarcella.
Ronny Pondexter spent four years in prison for a murder he did not commit. In 1992, he had been arrested by Detective Louis Scarcella, the subject of last week's feature story. A woman testified that she saw Pondexter shoot a man below her window. She recanted her testimony shortly afterward and in 1996 the New York State Court of Appeals granted Pondexter a new trial. He was acquitted.

It is a wild and sad story. But the story Pondexter tells about how he ended up running the streets in the first place might top it.

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A Brooklyn Nets Fan Responds to "Gentrification's Team" Label

Two weeks ago, we called the Brooklyn Nets "Gentrification's Team." It wasn't a particularly enlightening revelation, of course, but it was now supported by cold hard unscientific data. More »

The Brooklyn Nets: Gentrification's Team

New York Times
Many of the basketball fans who grew up in Brooklyn cast their allegiance with the Knicks long ago. So the Nets had a smaller pool of potential supporters to begin with when the franchise moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012.

Earlier this week, the New York Times created a map showing the most popular NBA team in each zip code in America. It used Facebook likes as the metric for popularity.

Not surprisingly, the map showed that the Knicks remain the team of choice for all five boroughs (plus Long Island, Westchester County, and much of New Jersey). The Nets were the favored team in just eight of Brooklyn's 46 zip codes. A look at those zip codes, however, reveals that the Nets are indeed developing a core fan base.

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Brooklyn Nets' Minority Owner Values Franchise at $1 Billion

In 2003, real estate mogul Bruce Ratner bought the New Jersey Nets for $300 million.

Over the next 11 years Ratner sold all but 20 percent of his stake to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets moved into the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the NBA's popularity grew exponentially.

Now Ratner, who owns the development firm Forest City Enterprises, is looking to sell the rest of his stake in the team, and his company has set the Nets' value at $1 billion, the Sports Business Journal reported.

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Watch Jason Collins Play the Most Talked About Ten Minutes in the NBA This Season

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Kidd and Collins
Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Until this weekend, Collins, who is a free agent, had not played since he came out as gay in April in Sports Illustrated.

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U.S. Olympic Basketball: Will Gold Be Turning To Lead?


Four years ago in Beijing the American basketball world very nearly got a rude shock when Spain's national team scored 107 points and trailed by just two with four minutes to play. Our eventual 119-107 victory did little to ease the minds of American fans; all we could think of was, in effect, "These guys are good and they're getting better. And they're not the only ones."

On Sunday, in the game for the gold, Spain was throwing yet another scare into Team USA with about eight minutes left to play. With the score tied, the only good news for the US was that Marc Gasol was on the bench with four fouls - and that Ricky Rubio, still recuperating from a torn ACL and subsequent surgery, was unavailable.

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Not Everyone Loves Raymond (Felton)

Raymond Felton's coming back to the Garden -- and there's a good chance Jeremy Lin is not.

He's baaaaack!

Sifting through the blizzard of Lin-literature that surrounds the Knicks' upcoming decision, the most lucid analysis I've found is Ian O'Connor on "On the verge of firing Jeremy Lin just like the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets had done before, the Knicks threw him out there and watched one of the most improbable basketball stories ever told unfold on their watch. And now they're prepared to give Lin away for nothing."

Any successful business, O'Connor convincingly argues, needs to protect its prime assets, and the Knicks aren't protecting one of their own. Does anyone in the front office really think that Lin, by signing the Rockets offer sheet, was doing anything less than looking after his own best interests? Or do the Knicks feel that Lin has somehow betrayed them by trying to get the best deal he can?

If so, they need a refresher course in basic contract negotiations as well as basketball.

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The Nets Vs. The Knicks: The Basketball War for New York Love

Barclays Center: The home of New York's newest sports rivalry/shitshow.
While I was on the F train to Prospect Park, I noticed a structure in the distance as the subway came above ground around Carroll Gardens. It was a futuristic building of epic proportions; a huge MSG-like structure in the middle of Atlantic Avenue. For a second, I wondered what the hell this building was until I realized where I was: Downtown Brooklyn. 

This was the soon-to-be home of the mega-concert for Jay-Z and the European EDM spectacle, Sensation White. But, more importantly, the Barclays Center in the distance would soon host Brooklyn's first national sports team since the Dodgers: the Nets.

During my lifetime, I have never seen a new addition to my sports team inventory. The last major shake-up of athletic things (for me, at least) was when John Rocker of the Atlanta Braves started a war against the Mets and the rest of New York. Maybe Linsanity as a close second. But, now,  almost too coincidentally in regards to the happenings in the outer borough, Brooklyn is being graced with a sports team - the only missing cog in the quasi-Renaissance of the area. 

That means we will have two basketball teams playing with only a river in between them. Who cares about the Yankees/Mets rivalry? The Nets/Knicks is shaping up to be even more tenuous and the season hasn't even started yet.

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Where Is Mike Woodson's Contract?

Where's the contract?

Marc Berman of the New York Post seems fairly certain that James Dolan is on the verge of signing Mike Woodson to some kind of multi-year contract with the Knicks. We can then remove the "interim" from Mike's title. I wish I was as sure of this as Berman is, and I suspect Woodson is, too.

Why, exactly, has it taken Dolan so long to come to the conclusion - and that's assuming he's come to the conclusion - that a coach who got a team that was dead in the water to go 18-6 over the final 24 games is the right man to start the next season? I don't know, but it probably has nothing to do with any serious move Dolan might have been making on Phil Jackson - or, for that matter, John Calipari, who probably should have been tested for drug use had he decided to leave his national championship machine in Kentucky for the New York grind house.

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Phil Mushnick, Of "New York N-----s" Shame: I'm Not A Racist -- I Outed Marge Schott!

Phil Mushnick remains unapologetic about "New York N-----s" column.
New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick wrote a pretty idiotic column last week (part of which you can read below), in which he suggested Jay-Z should rename the Brooklyn Nets the "New York N-----s." Mushnick remains unapologetic -- since we reported on Mushnick's stupidity last week, he's hit us with a few scathing emails. The gist of his rants: we're assholes, and he ain't no racist. His proof: he claims he outed the deceased, racist, Nazi-sympathizing former owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Marge Schott.

"I'm never comfortable using that word [nigger]. That's the way I was raised. Shame on my parents," a sarcastic Mushnick writes. "The ONE time I spelled it out - for accuracy - I was widely condemned as a racist. So either way, I'm a bigot. I know what's in my heart and my head, the way I was raised, and the way I raised my kids. But you've painted me a racist. Good work, James. And good work, if you can get it."

As we pointed out to Mushnick, we never called him a racist -- not once. We don't know the guy and won't speculate on his racial sympathies. What we do know is that he used the word "n-----s" in a column, which is an incredibly stupid, insensitive things to do -- regardless of the context, or the race of the person using the word.

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