وزارد او دا وستساد
VIZITOR TO THE VESTSIDE
an
American blog of Iranian dissent

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The NBA season has tipped off, and this year the marketing departments of local teams are try to tap into ethnic communities. This is a trend across most pro sports franchises in multiculti America. The LA Dodgers employed a marketing strategy that involved Los Angeles' bicultural communities.

I mentioned Hamed Haddadi last year at this time as he first entered the league. Couple months ago he hosted a summer camp in the Valley which he conducted with the help of new Lakers forward Ron Artest, who threw down a few dunks and a few Farsi words too. No word on when Artest will be getting a designer haircut from Melody Eh$ani with Persian calligraphy carved around his temple.

It's good that marketing departments are acknowledging the presence - and purchasing power - of Iranians in their locales. The trend really started with Yao Ming making a splash in the league. But it's worth noting that many young Chinese-Americans don't feel a particular allegiance to Ming because he's from China, not America. They say if there was a Chinese-American star it would be different.  I think I feel the same way about Hamed. He's a nice guy, a young dude, but his appeal is with straight-up Iroonis, not really relatable to us Iranian-Americans who've grown up here.

Former Cal-Berkeley coach Ben Braun has made another imported Irooni hoopster his prize recruit. Although Arsalan Kazemi was born in Iran -- the first athlete to play NCAA Division 1 basketball born in Iran -- he went to high school here. A Top 100 recruit from the Class of 2009, Kazemi turned down scholarship offers from the likes of the University Maryland, a traditional powerhouse. That decision was rather disappointing, with U of M's huge Persian student population, but I guess Rice is a fitting name of a school for a Persian to attend.

Props to Golden State for doing this - Haddadi doesn't even play for 'em for crissake. Zahmat kesheedan. According to their website the event is already sold out, but head to its Facebook event page to see if you can squeeze in. They may be the Bay Area's NBA franchise, and not the Lakers, but all can still show the big man some California Love.

UPDATE:  Okay, turns out Hamed didn't even suit up. Sat at the end of the bench for the entire game with some injury. He's their Twelth Man anyway (sounds like 'Twelth Imam', lulz!) AndTehrAngles hearthrob Farshid Amin got to sing the National Anthem at the Oracle Arena. In the clip there you'll see him nearly forget the words, but recovered nicely without jeers or a Roseanne crotch-grab.

UPDATE2: For a comprehensive, non-Persian recap on the night, read up on this heartwarming article from b-ball magazine SLAM.

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