OK everyone, Basketbawful is a indisposed for a while, so I, Evil Ted, must subject you to my hijacking of the site again (don't be fooled by the "by" line above - it's me). Anyway, as I toddled around some of bawful's incomplete "draft" posts, I found this writing about our playing once again on the road in my old league. It is incomplete, but I have recovered and published what I can. It's kind of like the museum display of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Well, it's actually nothing like that at all, for the writings of bawful, even the incomplete ones, are much more sacred than anything else ever published (please send all religious hate mail to: P.O. Box Bite Me, Wilmington, Delaware).
So here's what I found:
"Well, Evil Ted and I returned to the scene of the crime last night: The All-Hackers Pickup League. Before we left work, ET told me: "Tonight, let's keep our mouths shut and just play the game." I laughed and replied: "Hey, I wasn't the one who went off last time." To which he said: "Okay, fine. I'll keep my mouth shut and play the game."
I showed up about a half hour early to warm up and shoot around. I was feeling pretty good, light on my feet. And I suppose I should interject something here. Last winter, I suffered a bad foot injury in a pickup game. I limped around for a week or so before finally going to the doctor. He said it was most likely a strained or torn muscle on top of the foot...the kind of thing that couldn't really be treated. It would have to heal on its own over time. My first question: "Can I keep playing basketball?" He told me yes, that it probably wouldn't make the injury any worse. So I kept playing twice a week.
But I struggled. I wouldn't tell anybody about my injury because, frankly, when other pickup ballers play the injury card it feels like a cheap excuse.
Hubie Brown always likes to say that when a player can"
And this is where bawful's post ends, tragically cut short by either apathy, or dread that the post was going nowhere, or perhaps, just perhaps, the hope that this post would someday be discovered by a courageous band of men in search of a Holy Grail...
I issue this challenge to you, readers of Basketbawful. Complete the Hubie Brown sentence. Be serious, be funny, be creative, be annoying...be any of these things, but be interesting (update: kneejerknba has started you out with an outstanding example). And hell, if you can actually figure out what bawful was going to say for real, maybe you'll get a prize (but don't count on it).
All I can add to this is my perspective of the evening in question. After having complete gone super Evil Ted in the league on the previous visit, I felt compelled to be super nice and ultra courteous. Needless to say, my team lost all night. We were bad, I mean "lose to a drunken band of midgets" bad. There's something about being a nice guy and winning that doesn't seem to mesh well together (see Steve Nash's career). But don't worry, I am certain in the coming weeks, my concern for what others think of me will evaporate, and the evilness of Evil Ted will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes (but nothing like the Phoenix Suns - again see Steve Nash's career).
I shall be on a golf course all day, but upon return I shall post all of your fabulous entries. Don't disappoint me, you little bastards - oops, Evil Ted's little vacation is over, it appears.
Human words cannot do this justice. So I'll use these words instead: Ba weep gra na weep ninny bong. Okay, now watch this video. But beware: After viewing it, nothing else in the universe will ever seem awesome to you again. Thanks for the link, Nick.
Back in the 1960s, professional athletes didn't have blogs...but they did have Sports Illustrated. Guys like Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn and Wilt Chamberlain (among others) wrote various first-person articles for SI describing (for instance) the psychology of the game, how to run Red Auerbach's seven plays and why it sucks to be The Villain. In October of 1965, Russell authored a piece called The Psych...And My Other Tricks. Russell refers to this as his "master's thesis on The Psychology of Basketball, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Spook the Opposition."
In the article, Russell details the various mindgames that he and the other Celtics used against their opponents. Running underneath a jump shooter (without touching him), pretending to be tired when you're not, acting like you're fresh when you're actually exhausted, asking a hotshot player why he's not getting more shots...things like that. He also talks about how playing angry and becoming overconfident can hurt your game. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Paul Pierce.)
At point, Russ says: "You say these are minor league tricks? Maybe. But you'd be surprised at how often they work." And it's true. I can't speak for professional players, obviously, but a lot of these schemes work in pickup ball. For instance, in addition to hoops I also run half-marathons. And I make sure the people I play with know this. It creates an image in their mind of a tireless opponent. I try to enhance this image by never, ever breathing heavily during a game...no matter how tired I am. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a defender tell me something like, "Man, you never get tired" or "There's no way I can keep up with you." And as soon as they say that, I know I've got 'em.
Similarly, I try to never react to negative plays. Many times when a guy is missing shots or getting them blocked, he starts showing signs of frustration, hanging his head, cussing, swiping a fist through the air. That always gives the defender a boost, and when the man I'm guarding starts acting out, that's when I turn up the pressure to make him crack or give up. Conversely, I try (although I'm not always successful) to never look down or rattled no matter how many shots I've missed, or how ugly a turnover I just committed, or how violently my shot just got blocked. Otherwise, you've given your defender an edge.
One other scheme -- and I try to avoid this one, personally -- is to fake an injury. For instance, how many times have you seen a guy limping around on defense only to blast off downcourt as soon as his team gets the ball back. This tactic dupes the man he's playing against to go easy on him on offense and then slack off a little on defense. It may only work for a couple possessions, but sometimes that's enough to decide a game.
Here are Bill Russell's four laws of the psychout, as presented in his article.
Russell 's First Law: You must make the other player do what you want him to do. How? You must start him thinking. If he is thinking instead of doing, he is yours. There is no time in basketball to think: "This has happened; this is what I must do next." In the amount of time it takes to think through that semicolon, it is already too late.
Russell 's Second Law: You got to have the killer instinct. If you do not have it, forget about basketball and go into social psychology or something. If you sometimes wonder if you've got it, you ain't got it. No pussycats, please. The killer instinct, by my definition, is the ability to spot—and exploit—a weakness in your opponent. There are psychological subrules in this category.
To wit: always try a rookie. If you score on him and he thinks that maybe you scored because you are Bill Russell the superstar, he is yours forever after and you can wear him like a bauble on a charm bracelet.
To wit, further: always try a veteran. In my first year in pro basketball I came up against veteran Johnny Kerr , now with Baltimore . I blocked so many shots on him that first night—perhaps you remember—that he was wild with rage. He was so fired up they had to take him out of the game. That is frustration. That is also psychology. (And I might point out that as soon as he calmed down enough that season Kerr deliberately changed his style of shooting when he played against Boston . That is a kind of reverse psychology.)
Russell 's Third Law: Be cute but not cuddly. I mean, you should be nice at all times, but there is a lot to be said for an elbow in the chops when all else fails. This is forceful psychology. Last resort stuff.
Russell 's Final Law: Remember that basketball is a game of habit. In getting good at it, we develop certain habits. Therefore, if you make a player deviate from his habits—by psyching him—you've got him
All right. You now have an honorary Master's Degree in The Psych. Go use it.
Originally, I was going to leave this subject alone. After all, it's already been covered by Deadspin, TrueHoop, the Sporting News, the Wall Street Journal, et al. However, my approach of non-responsiveness changed this morning when I read about the feminist uproar brewing over the upcoming Sony video game Fat Princess. The game's premise is to force-feed a previously dainty princess a high-calorie diet -- probably rich in candy, butter and delicious gravy -- in order to make it more difficult to capture her (or rescue her, depending on which team you're on). Upon rescue, princess fatty magically becomes thin again...restoring order to a video game universe in which "fat" is only okay for Italian plumbers.
One writer at the political/feminist blog Shakesville immediately freaked out over the game, sarcastically congratulating Sony with the following vitriol: "I'm positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes. It's not often I have the opportunity to congratulate a cutting-edge tech company on such splendiferous retrofuck jackholery. Way to go! The Fat Princess of Shakes Manor salutes you." This well-reasoned argument is then underscored by a photo of the author giving Sony the one-fingered salute. And this is probably going to shock the hell out of you, but the author is -- are you ready for your socks to go flying off? -- an obese woman.
The one thing her witty repartee failed to do is, you know, describe the catastrophic damage that this video game will wreak on fat princesses worldwide. I hate to break this to her, but video games -- even the really good ones -- aren't some sort of all-powerful cultural force. According to Wikipedia, the Grand Theft Auto series has produced nine stand-alone games and sold over 70 million copies worldwide. If something as lame as Fat Princess might create "a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative assholes," then the GTA games should have already transformed most of us into solitary gangsters who play by our own rules while car-jacking and killing just for kicks. In which case -- BLAM!! -- we should all be dead right now.
But these knee-jerk reactions aren't about making the Earth a better place. Not really. It's about getting offended as quickly and completely as possible. People seem to genuinely enjoy the process of becoming angry and lashing out at any and every slight, whether real or imagined. This is the world we live in, folks. It has become literally impossible to create anything without pissing somebody off. I can't publish The Worsties or let a fan joke about the size of Kobe's laptop without receiving angry emails full of "screw you" this or "you're an assface" that. And all I do is clown on silly stuff that happens within the realm of professional basketball. It's a good thing I don't create video games or shoe ads.
Society spends way too much time telling us what we should and shouldn't do. Do not use in the shower. Do not use while sleeping or unconscious. Do not use near fire. Do not iron clothes while on body. Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand. Do not drive cars in ocean. This is not underwear; do not attempt to put in pants. And not only have we been given Life's Little Instruction Booklet, we've been given a green light to become filled with unreasonable rage any time the rules are broken.
At what point in human evolution did we lose the ability to make our own decisions? When did it become impossible to differentiate between playful, harmless fantasy and reality?
Which brings me to the subject of Nike's Hyperdunk ad campaign. As you probably already know, this campaign previously included a series of billboards that illustrate two of mankind’s most primal emotions: The fear of being defeated in fierce athletic competition, and the horror of having someone's dangling genitals forcibly rammed into our face. But Nike has pulled the ads because of their obvious homophobic undertones.
No, seriously. People think these ads are homophobic. You should read some of the comments at that Hyperdunk campaign link I posted above. Several people claimed that, in response to the perceived offensiveness of the ads, they will never buy a Nike product again. (Although, honestly, I'm willing to bet they weren't buying Nike to begin with.) One commenter said: "This toothless, comfy, hate-mongering would not have survived a relatively conscious basic design class...twenty years ago. Shame!"
You might be tempted to ask, "Are these people serious?" The answer is: Yes, they most certainly are. But the bigger question, for my money, is, "Do they even understand what they're so upset about?" I tend to believe that any person of average intelligence would be able to interpret these ads correctly and realize that they harm no one. You could argue about whether or not they're funny, sure, but whether they're offensive? How? Because a heterosexual male doesn't want to be dunked on and get teabagged at the same time? This presupposes...what exactly? That gay men actively desire for this to happen to them, and therefore portraying it as a negative thing is somehow hurtful to their pro-dunking/teabagging stance? That seems like a stretch to me.
But then again, my perceptions are colored by the fact that I'm a heterosexual male in a hetero-centric world. So I decided to poll a friend of mine who is both gay and plays basketball. My question was simple and to the point: Do you find Nike's Hyperdunk ads to be homophobic? Here is his unedited response: "They don't seem homophobic to me. I could be naïve, but all I see is the guys getting dunked on. I guess they could have included the basket in the pictures and not just the groin to the face."
I know that one gay male basketball player is a relatively small sample population, but you see my point. I have yet to read or hear of one rational argument that has made me think, "You know, these ads could be kind of homophobic if you look at it like this...."
This isn't a new thing, by the way. Back in 2000, Nike pulled an ad that showed Olympic runner Suzy Hamilton escaping a chainsaw-wielding killer. It was an obvious parody of horror movies like Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but some feminist groups actually believed that the ad was a gross display of violence against women. So then, like now, Nike gave in.
I don't believe that Nike -- or anyone else -- should blindly give in or be forced to give in to the masses of people who see it as their solemn duty to fight ignorance and injustice with ignorance and injustice. The Hyperdunk ads are not harming gay people. They are not making gay people feel badly about themselves, nor are they making heterosexual people hate gay people any more (or less) than they already did. Watching a man dunk on another man, even if that man is me, will not make me gay. And although I might resent the man who did it, it won't be because of his sexual orientation, but because I don't like getting dunked on and I don't like people I am not currently having sex with ramming their crotch in my face. And that's pretty much where this entire story should have ended.
You know what would help reduce the world's vast supply of homophobia? If people stopped looking for it so hard.
The following picture was sent in by Alexis-RS, who said: "Is Kobe Bryant going broke? Investors say "no," but I say "yes" judging by the craptastic nature of his laptop pictured on the NBA.com homepage. Holy Kendrick Perkins is that screen small! To make things funnier, it doesn't even look like it plugs in, so once the battery goes dead we can assume he's going to spend the rest of the flight to Macao belittling his teammates and reading about squirrel-proof birdfeeders in Skymall."
Hm. I'm not sure the laptop is really as small as it appears. I think this is a textbook case of forced perspective, which is the film technique Peter Jackson used in the Lord of the Rings movies to make Gandalf's hat look extra pointy. And although you can't see it, Kobe's laptop is connected to a wire that leads to a small compartment in the hull of the plane where several midgets power it by running on midget-sized hamster wheels. Those same midgets are later crushed into paste and fed to Kobe's dogs. Which sounds cruel and inhumane, I know, until you remember that midgets killed your father.
Important note: Despite what you might be thinking, I am not getting paid for this post. I was offered one free product and the opportunity to give some of them away to readers. If I hadn't liked the product, I wouldn't have mentioned it. This is most certainly not the first in a line of product-related posts.
Like many pickup ballers, I recently starting shaving my head. Originally, I simply used an electric razor to release my hair demons about once every other day. Then I was sent a free sample of the Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer. I figured "What the hell?" and gave it a try. It kind of rocked, actually.
To be honest, I haven't used a "standard" razor for years. I have exceptionally sensitive skin, and shaving with a non-electric razor usually means burns and bumps and annoying little cuts that won't stop bleeding for hours. But the SQTT sliced through my head stubble -- about two days worth of growth -- as efficiently as Ash's chainsaw arm cut through the Evil Dead. Only with, uh, less screaming and blood-spurting. On the first go-around, I didn't even use shaving gel. And although I don't recommend doing that on a regular basis, it did illustrate (for me) the smooth shaving ability of the SQTT.
As with many of today's next generation razors, the SQTT uses a four-blade system. It seems like that's the only way to upgrade shaving technology: Add another blade. How long will it be before our razors have five blades, or 10, or even 20? By the year 2015, shaving with a manual razor will probably be like sticking my face into a wood chipper. But in this case, the four blades were pretty effective; I got a clean, close shave on the top of my head and my face...sans bumps and cuts.
Moreover, the SQTT has a handy little battery-powered trimmer (AAA battery not included) with an adjustable comb so you can trim your beard/goatee to the desired length. You can even manscape with it. Unfortunately (for some of you anyway), as of this writing the SQTT does not come with a back-shaving attachment.
The company that sent me the SQTT has authorized me to give away up to 10 of these bad boys to my readers. So the first 10 of you who submit a piece of Karl Malone-related trivia to the Basketbawful email address will receive a free SQTT. Just be sure to include your snail mail address.
Update! It appears all 10 razors are now spoken for.
Honestly, I think that -- for the moment anyway -- this whole "The NBA is going to start losing all its players to overseas teams" issue is a little overblown. This isn't a new thing, folks. Did you know, for instance, that Kevin McHale almost never played for the Celtics? He nearly went to Europe to play for an Italian team before his rookie season because he felt the Celtics weren't offering him enough money (they weren't). Boston coach Bill Fitch famously said "Let him eat spaghetti," but Kevin ultimately chose to stay in the U.S.
Almost a decade later, Brian Shaw played one season for the Celtics before leaving Beantown to sign with the Italian team Il Messaggero Roma. (He returned a year later and signed a five-year deal with the Celtics, but then tried to renege and return to Italy. The Celtics sued him, won the case, and forced him to return stateside.) Danny Ferry also played for Il Messaggero (rather than play for the Clippers) before signing his infamous 10-year contract with the Cavaliers. And guys like Bob McAdoo and Dominique Wilkins spent some time playing Euro ball at the end of their careers. Robert Parish considered doing the same thing.
Honestly, I won't be truly worried until one of two things happen: We lose a truly big name player in his prime (LeBron, Kobe, D-Wade, or someone of that stature) or a whole bunch of relatively accomplished / borderline All-Star players in a relatively short period (such as, for example, if Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace, Jose Calderon, Kevin Martin, Leandro Barbosa, Rudy Gay, and Tyson Chandler all signed with European clubs in the same offseason).
Yeah, yeah, yeah...the Euro is worth more than the Dollar, the players wouldn't have to pay taxes, and Globalization is starting to blah blah blah. You know what? I don't care. This just gives NBA players an extra bit of leverage in their contract negotiations. There is still, on average, more money and benefit to playing in The League than anywhere else on planet Earth. The Atlantic Ocean isn't parting for some mass European exodus just yet. Sure, we lost Josh, and we might even lose a Carl (although I doubt it) or a Sasha (still doubt it). But that's it.
Is it a hint of Things To Come? Maybe. Shoot, I'll even upgrade that to "probably." But it's only a hint, and those hints have come and gone for years. So, for the moment, I'm going to hold off on building that wall around the country to keep our NBA players in.
Update!Carson left the following comment on this post: "One thing I don't really see people mentioning is that Childress is going to be the HIGHEST PAID PLAYER in the Euroleague. Yes, Josh Childress -- the sixth man on the eight seed in the East -- is going to be the best compensated player in the entire Euroleague. It's not like they have big money over there to sign away stars to play against their weaker competition. A lot of the teams in Europe don't even make that much money, which is why they have so many sponsors...it's more of a way for corporations to get good PR. They're making a truly lucrative run at anybody who's good (Josh, you're solid but there's a lot of players better than you) in the NBA."
Indeed. According to ESPN, Childress' deal "is the most lucrative current contract in European basketball and the biggest in Euroleague history." And it's worth about $20 million (after taxes) over three years. Good money, no question...but how many really, really good NBA players would that buy? Plus, seeing as how it's the largest Euroleague payout of all time, I don't think you'll see a lot more Euro contracts like it any time in the near future.
And here's another couple important points. First, Childress can opt out after the first two years of the deal. Second, there's no buyout clause in the contract, which means he could decide to walk away...pretty much whenever. And check out these comments: "I signed this deal with the intention of playing with Olympiakos for the duration, but obviously, if an opportunity comes up in the NBA I'm more than willing to have my ears open to it. I'm an NBA player and I think I've proven that. This is a little change-up." Uh huh.
Like I mentioned a few days ago, I've gotten a handful of amusing submissions that I hadn't had time to do anything with. So I figured I'd mash them all together into one big basketbawfully stew...kind of like a nice Hungarian goulash.
First, here's O.J. Mayo getting a little booty love after a very manly dunk on the Hornets in summer league action. [From Caleb.]
Next up is an example of what happens when somebody hijacks a Wikipedia page. See if you can figure out what's what with Tim Duncan's biography. It has since been fixed. You can go here for a larger version. [From Michael.]
Did you know the WNBA keeps track of who's hot and who's not? I presume they're talking about stats and not, uh, other stuff, but still. [From Rich.]
Is Dirk Nowitzki a fan of the movie Men In Black? Because he's got Will Smith's subtle flip-off technique down pat. The question is: What did Chris Kaman do to piss Dirk off? Maybe he's just jealous that Chris gets to play for the Clippers. [From Anne.]
This next one is from Martin, who said: "We know nobody likes the Pacers and the Oklahoma team needs a logo and all. I guess that's the reason the SI team decided to stick Oklahoma season ticket holders story to the Pacers' tab. Or maybe after Bennett stole a whole team, now he will just steal another team's logo."
My buddy Craig from The Association -- a big-time Lakers fan -- was a little, shall we say, displeased when he ran across this t-shirt. "I am constantly haunted by the 2008 NBA Finals. I saw this and other Celtics gear at the Adidas Outlet near my house...IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!! You can use this email as evidence against me after I firebomb the place." That, my friends, is what we call bitterness.
BadDave emailed me this link to a blog post called The Utah Jazz: A Stiff White Retrospective. Funny stuff. The most stunning thing about the post, however, is that I hadn't already written it. To celebrate that post, I submit a Greg Ostertag man love special. (I'm not sure, but I think he might have found the link at Ball Don't Lie. Update! Actually, he found it at TrueHoop.)
And finally, here's a screen capture of the official Web site of NBA officials. [From Stephanie G.]
And now, Part 5 of this year's NBA Worsties. We've gotten through March now. Only three long months and several more reader nominations to go...
Dwyane Wade calls out...Reggie Miller?!: With the Heat sucking and D-Wade clearly not playing up to his pre-injury standards, Reggie suggested during a TNT broadcast that Wade was playing at about 60 percent capacity. This illicited unexpected rage from Pookie, who said: "Tell Reggie to meet me at the gym in Miami and see what percentage I am. We'll go from there. I'm not 100 (%), but I'm not 60." Sure, Dwyane. Because (as I said at the time) going one-on-one against a 40-something retired player whose body looks like a bunch of wire hangers covered in Saran Wrap is going to prove that how exactly?
Jason Kidd opens mouth, inserts foot: After scoring a season-high 21 points against the Kings, Kidd tried to explain why he doesn't score 20 every night: "My brain is wired differently I guess. Scorer's have more of a tunnel vision. Maybe I should get blinders like horses wear and be more of an 'I' guy, in a good way." However, Basketbawful reader flohtingpoint was quick to dispell the myth of Kidd's selfless non-shooting: "Riiiightt...as it stands right now, Jason 'Jumpshot' Kidd has more career three-point attempts (3962) than Mad Max (3931), Glen Rice (3896), The Rifleman (3370) and Dan Majerle (3798). If anything Jason needs to shoot alot LESS. The only person who launched more ill-advised shots over his career than Jason was 'Toine Walker." Update! According to Basketball-Reference.com, Kidd finished the 2007-08 season with 4,025 career three-point attempts...only 239 behind Antoine Walker!
Dirk Nowitzki and Erick Dampier do the Dance of Dumb: If you want to know why I haven't finished the Worsties yet, it's because I spend at least 17 hours of every day rewatching this video.
Kobe hits an old lady in the face with a towel: Sure, it was an accident and everything...but isn't it funny how so many of these "accidents" happen in Kobe's approximate vicinity?
The Heat's worst weekend ever: The weekend got off to a rough start with a 35-point home loss to the Golden State Warriors. Then, on Saturday night, they lost not once but twice to the Atlanta Hawks in a matter of hours. And I'm not even exaggerating. First, they replayed the last 51.9 seconds of the infamous "dispute game" and lost 114-111 (and since they lost this game 117-111 the first time, that means they lost the same game on two differenct occasions). Then they went out and lost their regularly scheduled game to the Hawks 97-94. So that's three losses in two nights, including one game they got to lose for the second time. That could be considered a four-loss weekend, which has to be some kind of NBA record. Yay team.
Joakim Noah loses touch with reality: I'm going to go ahead and assume that Joakim Noah was suffering from a serious headwound after the Chicago Bulls' 116-109 loss to the Detroit Pistons...at least that would explain his bizarre post-game comments, which were ridiculous in any and every context imaginable: "With our style of play, there's no reason we shouldn't have beaten that team. I think Detroit's a great team, but I still think we are better than them, really. I feel like we're a better team." Ooookay. I guess Joakim didn't learn very much in that extra year at college. No time for class. Too sleepy.
Chris Duhon puts the "Me" in "Team": C-Du was fined and suspended that Bulls loss to the Pistons I mentioned one paragraph ago for missing the team's morning shootaround. Now, you'd probably assume that a roleplayer who's trying desperately to cling to the remains of his NBA career would be at least somewhat humble and apologetic after an incident like this. But you'd be totally wrong. Said Duhon: "It wasn't my fault. I didn't get my wakeup call." Now there's a heaping helping of personal responsibility for you. But it didn't stop there. "I haven't been playing the last six or seven games," said Duhon, conveniently forgetting the 25 minutes he played the previous Friday night against the Celtics. "Ususally, I don't play anyway, so it doesn't have that much of an effect on me." Of course, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordan both picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of the Pistons game, and Thabo Sefolosha was still out with a strained left groin. In other words, the Bulls needed Duhon, but Duhon wasn't available. Of course, he was available to fly to North Carolina to watch Saturday night's Duke-North Carolina game, which didn't end until 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. And the daylight-saving time changover made the night an hour shorter. Duhon chartered a flight to Detroit, but he still got in pretty late, which, you know, might have made him a little sleepy. Keep in mind, though, it's still not his fault. He didn't get his wakeup call. And he hasn't been playing anyway. So get off his back. (Sidenote: He is going to fit in so well with the Knicks this season...)
Kiss fight!: Who would have seen this coming? I mean, a kiss fight during Washington Wizards television broadcasts? Oh yes. It started when Steve Buckhantz (play-by-play) kissed Phil Chenier (color commentator) on the arena's Kiss Cam during a game, and Phil responded by kissing Steve back during a pre-game segment. Here's the first kiss:
And here's Phil's insideous revenge kiss:
Mark Cuban wages a one-billionaire war on the great Blogging Menace: Cube Steak officially banned "bloggers" from the Mavericks' locker room. And in a move that was more ironic than having 10,000 spoons when all you need to kill Alanis Morissette with is a knife, the announcement was made on his blog. This was, of course, a response to the "Fire Avery Johnson" campaign. A petulant and immature response, but a response nonetheless. And it wasn't the first time Cuban pooped on bloggers. Why does Cuban hate bloggers so much, when he, himself, is a blogger? I can only assume it must be a sign of his own deep-rooted self-loathing. Or, I dunno, maybe he's just a big douche.
John Hollinger's stat wizardry:In his review of the Bulls/Cavs/Sonics trade, Hollinger made it seem as if Cleveland GM Danny Ferry was making off like some kind of cartoon bandit: "This one works, big time. Answer me this: Would you rather have Hughes (12.0 player efficiency rating) or Szczerbiak (16.0)? Brown (8.5) or West (10.1)? Marshall (8.5) or Wallace (12.1)? Gooden (12.8) or Smith (17.4)?"
I thought this assessment was a wee bit bogus, mostly because Hollinger fiddled somewhat with the comparisons. After all, juxtaposing the PER of Shannon Brown and Delonte West didn't seem particularly fair, considering that Brown had appeared - and briefly - in only 15 games while West had played in 35 and gotten more minutes. Furthermore, Marshall was a seldom-used reserve who had made a mere 11 cameo appearances for the Cavs, whereas Ben Wallace was a starter who had played 50 games at a rate of more than 32 minutes per. And wouldn't Wallace versus Drew Gooden had make a better one-for-one comparison anyway? I guess what I'm saying is that, at the time, if felt as though Hollinger arranged the player matchoffs so he could use his PER numbers to support his "Cleveland won this one" argument.
But here's a little post-script to Hollinger's "This one works, big time" declaration. Wally's PER plummetted from 15.7 to 10.3 while Larry Hughes' initially soared from 11.3 to 15.3 before eventually settling at 12.4. Oh, and Drew Gooden's PER went from 12.7 to 17.4 with the Bulls...which is much better than Wallace's 12.4 PER with the Cavs. So, based on these numbers, was Hollinger wrong, big time? Particularly since the move didn't really do much to improve the Cavs (or the Bulls for that matter)? PER is just another number, folks. And like any other stat, it only tells part of a much larger story. Sorry.
Phoenix Suns bench flees in terror: Shaq goes running after a loose ball, and the Suns bench...well, I'd say they fled in terror like a bunch of little girls, but that would be an unfair insult to little girls everywhere.
Antoine Walker defies logic, refuses buyout: Kevin McHale may be an idiot, but he proved he wasn't stupid enough to pay Antoine Walker's for doing nothing. And 'Toine wasn't happy about it. "Obviously, they're rebuilding, and obviously I'm not in the future plans, so I felt like maybe there was an opportunity for me to leave. They wanted money back that I wasn't willing to give back. It didn't work out that way. We'll just have to play it out, six weeks, and then we'll see what happens in the summer." Walker, who was averaging 8 PPG on 36 percent shooting, was making $8.5 million for the season. He said that the team "low-balled" him, offering a buyout he felt was unreasonable and "ridiculous, actually." The only thing that would be ridiculous would be offering Walker anything more than cab fare and a swift boot to the butt.
The Clippers prove they are who we thought they were: First, they let Sam Cassell bully them into a buyout. Then they replaced Sam-I-Wasn't with...Smush Parker! Wooooow. Basketbawful reader Wild Yams, who drew my attention to the signing, uttered prophetic words when he said: "Are the Clippers trying to get Elton Brand to opt out this summer or something?"
Rafer Alston versus Sasha Vujacic: Near the end of the Rockets 104-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers -- Houston's 22nd win in a row -- Rafer Alston went all NBA Street on Sasha Vujacic, Sasha hacked him for it, and Rafer responded by sticking a finger in Sasha's mug before getting restrained by a referee. It's kind of a shame that Alston had to transform back into Skip 2 My Lou at the tail end of his best game as a pro. It's also kind of a shame that Vujacic is such a douche.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor accuses Kevin Garnett of tanking: Sometimes the best way to draw attention away from your crappy stewardship of the crappy team your crappy GM assembled is to take a cheap shot at your former stuperstar player. That way you're not a bad judge of basketball talent, you're just an idiot. And boy oh boy did Taylor let his stuperosity take center stage when he suggested that Kevin Garnett laid down on the job last season. In responding to a reporter's suggestion that the T-Wolves had tanked last season, Taylor said: "I don't think that. I don't like that so much. I don't like that. It was more like KG tanked it (for missing the final five games of the regular season). I think the other guys still wanted to play. But it sure changed the team and didn't make us (as good)." Now, some people think that experts and fans baby Garnett, and maybe we do...to a degree. But in this case, I'm going to let KG's intensity and work ethic speak for themselves. I mean, Garnett missed only 23 games in 12 seasons as a Timberwolf. Dude straight up brought it.
T.J. Ford freaks the hell out: Looks like the Pacers landed a real "character guy" this summer...
Drew Gooden's ego goes crazy: After a 31-point, 16-rebound game -- Gooden's ninth double-double in the 16 games since he was traded to the Bulls -- Drew was asked whether he could keep it up. Said Gooden: ''Yes, I can. And I will continue to work to get better at it. This is something that's not new to me, but I've got to brush off some of the old tools and put them back into use. Because I have had a couple years [playing with LeBron James] where I was the guy that goes out, works hard and grabs rebounds and becomes a defender with offensive capabilities." In case you need a Gooden-to-English translation, that means playing with LeBron was holding him back, and not that it's easier to put up big numbers when you're on a lousy, lottery-bound team. But Gooden's mouth wasn't finished. Not by a long shot. "I possess the tools. I don't want to sound cocky, but I think I possess everything. I feel like I can pass, block shots, play great defense, play help defense, shoot threes." No, not done yet. There was more. ''I believe that I can do it all. And confidence is the number one factor when it comes to offense. I can score in the post; I can score with my back to the basket, face up.'' You go, Drew. I look forward to watching you win the MVP next season. Look out, NBA! (Sidenote: Gooden had 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting in his very next game.)
Dirk auditions for a broadcasting job: The best part is near the end, when he says "Short bus!" in response to a terrible shot.
Andrew Bogut high-fives himself: One truly is the lonliest number.
Shaq versus Pat Riley: Ever notice how often Shaq always gets in these little Quote Feuds with former coaches and teammates? The latest War of the Words came after Shaq made the following statement about his new home in the Valley of the Sun: "I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys. We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again." Of course, these comments only served to depress old Sad Sack Riley. "It's sad that he says those things. We shared so much here, together, for three years, good and bad, 3 1/2 years. I just think it's sad that he's got to do that." Sadder than making Shaq spend his golden years playing alongside Ricky Davis and Mark Blount? I don't think so, Riles. When told of Riley's response, The Big Expletive-slinger said, "I don't give a shit how he interpreted it." After being reminded that the reporters couldn't use that quote because he cussed, Shaq said, "Sure you can. You can quote me, brother. You can put an 's,' then the tic-tac-toe, the 'at' sign and then the other symbols." He may no longer be the MDE, but he is and will always be the MQE (Most Quotable Ever).
Chris Webber wimps out: Why did he finally decide to retire? In Webber's own words: "Rehab is so hard. So monotonous, so boring. I really didn't want to try to rehab and come back this season because I don't think that's possible." And doesn't that statement just sort of epitomize the most frustrating aspect of Webber's career? The idea that there was more there and he simply didn't have the heart and/or strength of will to make it happen. Maybe rehabbing the absolute living hell out of his knee wouldn't have changed anything, but mabye it would have...? But we'll never know. Just like we'll never know whether the 2001-02 Sacramento Kings might have won the title if only Webber wouldn't have gotten a case of the yips during all the close games. Sometimes playing The What If Game can be fun. But as it pertains to Webber and his career, it's just painful. And kind of depressing.
Basketbawful reader Jon sent in a link to this old Adidas commercial where Kobe goes one-on-one with a hapless child. Mamba goes after the kid with the kind of pitiless rage I would expect from King Leonidas, slapping his shots halfway to Abu Dhabi and dunking over him. Note that the title to this post is only a joke. Kobe doesn't hate kids. He hates everybody He's a competitor.
Note: I've received a lot of good submissions over the last couple weeks that I haven't had the opportunity to post. I'll probably do a compilation of them soon. And then I'll finish the Worsties, and then I'll cure cancer, and then...man, I need a vacation.
Let's see. A fight broke out during a basketball game in Detroit. Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn were prominently involved. Mahorn got ejected. Yup, that sounds about ri...wait, what?! This happened during a WNBA game? You bet your vintage collection of Kobe Bryant Nutella it did.
As Hubie Brown might say, things got a little "chippy" late in the game when the Detroit Shock's Cheryl Ford committed a hard foul on the Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker, after which the ladies had to be separated. This was clearly the first mistake, as grappling women should never be separated for any reason. Let them work out their aggression in a natural, healthy manner. But be sure to supply baby oil and a small wading pool first.
One possession later, Parker and Detroit's Plenette Pierson were battling for rebounding position when Parker judo-tossed Plenette to the floor and, in the process, fell on her exceedingly firm and supple backside. Then -- in true Bad Boys fashion -- Pierson walked right into Parker as she was trying to get up...and all hell broke loose.
Parker threw a punch at Pierson right before getting tackled by Detroit's Deanna Nolan. Players and coaches from both teams waded in and it turned into a battle royal. During the scrum, the still very scary Mahorn knocked Lisa Leslie to the ground like a tiny insect. But unlike his playing days -- when his rough and tumble ways earned him the nickname "McFilthy" from Celtics radion broadcaster Johnny Most -- Mahorn did his damage while trying to keep the peace.
"I was trying to protect the whole game, the integrity of the game. The WNBA is very special to me because I have four daughters. I don't even raise my hand to them, and I would never push a woman. This game, I love this game too much." Dear lord...Rick Mahorn spawned?! Man, if I was dating someone and she took me home to meet her dad, and her dad was Rick Mahorn, I'd quickly call 911, knock myself unconscious, and let the paramedics sort things out. I would probably also wet myself at some point. But I digress.
Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer insisted that this little case of domestic violence was simply his attempt to make things better. "Rick Mahorn is known as a peacemaker, from even the brawl we had here with Indiana. He went out there to get people off the pile, and to get people to stop the confrontation. That's who he is, that's what he does." Yeah, right. What guy hasn't dreamed about wading into a pile of struggling, heaving women?
At least one person took exception to Mahorn's peace-keeping tactics: DeLisha Milton-Jones shoved and punched Mahorn after he unintentionally thrashed Leslie. She was ejected, along with Mahorn, Parker and Pierson.
To put a dollop of whipped poop on this crap sundae, Ford -- who sort of helped precipitate the whole thing with that hard foul on Parker -- sprained her right knee while trying to restrain Pierson, and left the floor Dwyane Wade style (i.e., in a wheelchair).
Here's the video. Watch it fast. I'm sure the YouTube Nazis will be taking it down shortly.
Back in the day, when the "Internet" was a subscription to America Online and "blogging" was complaining to a group of twenty people in the alt.basketball.sucks newsgroup, the Basketbawful crew had a vision. And a VHS camcorder and a ridiculous amount of free time.
And now, for your Oscar consideration: "Basketball's Greatest Rivalries": An insightful and thought-provoking narrative on the pervasive influence of corporate sports marketing, and it's trickle-down effect on the psyche of America's youth. The "Lamont" character represents the children of tomorrow. The "Boris" character is just kind of a dick. Adjust your speakers, the audio isn't the best.
BGR made a few rounds on public access (the YouTube of 1995) and drew enough attention to spawn a slightly more ambitious (and much more criminous) sequel. This time Josh squares off against a returning Boris, who has become notorious for his hatred of talentless ball players and breakfast cereals.
The response to BGR was enough to encourage us to move into motion pictures. That is, until we actually tried it. In true Joel-Schumacher-Batman-And-Robin fashion, it killed the Basketbawful series dead for many years. Here is the movie trailer we shot, starring Josh and a thinner and more asthmatic Mr. P, and a slew of ad-libbing strangers. (Note: never ask strangers to ad-lib anything. Ever.)
You've gotta love this Mountain Dew Code Red commercial sent in by Basketbawful reader AK Dave. It kind of reminds me of the time I blocked the hell out of a 10-year-old's layup attempt during a pickup game. From now on, I will refer to all merciless blocked shots against unsuspecting and/or inferior opponents as "Code Reds."
Donyell Marshall's wardrobe malfunction: Marshall amused his teammates and horrified fans in attendance when he took off both his warm-up shirt and jersey while subbing into a game. Good times. Now watch Lebron go absolutely bonkers over it. I mean, sweet breakdancing Jesus, he was laughing so hard you'd think that Marshall had just gotten a pie in the face and then slipped comically on a banana peel.
Reggie Miller invents a word: On January 31, 2008, Miller coined a term during the third quarter of the Suns' 84-81 loss to the Spurs. After Manu Ginobili dropped Raja Bell with a cruel nutshot, Miller said: "It looks like it's an inadvertent...inadvertent shot...to the man...region." Marv Albert quickly jumped in and tried to amend Reggie's totally sweet new term to the much more boring "groin area." What a wet blanket.
Kobe Bryant has a career lowlight: Mamba scored 39 points (a team high) and grabbed 10 boards (another team high) in a 90-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons. Brilliant game, right? Sure, if you overlook his severe case of fumbleitis. For much of the game, Kobe handled the rock like somebody had replaced his hands with two honeybaked hams. He coughed up the ball a career-high 11 times -- 7 of which came in the first half -- on his way to his first career triple bumble. He also unleashed some of his trademark "subtle" criticism of his teammates: "What are you going to do when guys are open? If I catch the ball, what am I going to do, go one on three? We made the right play, we just didn't complete it." I ran this one through the Kobe-to-English translator in my Batcomputer, and apparently that comment means, "Hey, not my fault. Go talk to Lamar. He airballed the final shot." But this also begs the question: When has Kobe ever shied away from going one-on-three?
Christmas comes early for the Lakers: You know that sinking feeling you get in your stomach the moment you you realize something disastrous just happened? Well, we had that feeling for a full weekend after the Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers for Kwame Brown. Did Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace accidentally click "accept" in his Yahoo Fantasy NBA Trade Manager? The world may never know. Needless to say, the Lakers made off like bandits, but what did Memphis gain from this? An expiring contract, a backup point guard, a slow-footed low-jumping center, and two bench players to be named later. Thank goodness that Kevin McHale saved him by handing over O.J. Mayo (and, er, Antoine Walker...).
The Phoenix Suns trade machine: With the best record in the Western Conference, the Suns become a statistic in the tsunami of 2007-08 panic trades, getting The Big No-Longer-Sherrif-in-Maricopa-County Shaq for Marcus Banks's bloated contract and an inexplicably disgruntled Shawn Marion. Result: limping into the playoffs as a 6th seed and a quick first round exit. [Submitted and written by anacondahl.]
The trade didn't quite work out how Kerr and the Kool-Aid drinking faithful (myself included) had hoped. Instead of finally slipping on that elusive championship ring, the Suns were bounced in the first round by you guessed it, the Spurs, and are now left with the lyrical stylings and massive contract of the one and only Big Cactus. [Submitted and written by Mark of Black Jesus Disciples.]
For knifing fans of the game by trying to become Spurs II. [Submitted and written by jaz.]
And finally, from Brandon of Ballerblogger: "If it works, I'm a genius," Kerr said. "If it doesn't, I'm a moron, I guess." - Steve Kerr
Bonus quote: "In my experience, it takes two or three years to get a group of guys together that could possibly get it done,” O’Neal said. “When I was in Orlando, we had a group of guys who couldn’t get it there, and we added the piece in Horace Grant and it took us over the top. I think I was the piece that they (the Suns) were missing. Next year, we’ll have a full season, and things look pretty good."
"Over the top?" Is he referring to his win over the Birmingham Baron Bulls in 1995? Or the toal humiliation he suffered at the hands of Hakeem Olajuwon in the next round?
Extra info that you might find interesting: Kerr and company brought O'Neal in to be a force defensively. Tim Duncan averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and shot 50% from the floor in San Antonio's 4-1 first round victory.
And let's not forget that O'Neal has two years ($40 million) left on his contract, while Marion's deal expires after the coming season. The Matrix's deal will either come off the books and Miami will have $17 million in cap space. Or they'll trade his expiring contract for young talent.
Update! Shawn Marion's wish is granted: Despite the fact that he was the highest paid player on a team that included both Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire and was a legitimate championship contender, Shawn Marion wanted out, out, out. Despite being the team's biggest money maker and second-leading shot getter, Shawn felt unloved and disrespected by Robert Sarver, Mike D'Antoni, his teammates, the ballboys, fans and the media. Did I miss anybody? Oh yeah, he didn't get the endorsements he deserved, either. The previous season, during an interview for ESPN the Magazine, he was asked if he'd rather be an MVP candidate and a 30-point scorer on a lesser team than hooping it up alongside Nash and Stoudemire. Here's what he said: "Wow, that's interesting. I've never been asked that. That would be an interesting situation to be in, to really show people what I can do. [Pause] But we'd be in the playoffs, right?"
Then, before the next season could even start, apparently angered by hearing his name mentioned in trade rumors, Marion demanded a one-way ticket out of The Valley of the Sun...even suggesting a deal with the hated Lakers. And this is what the drama king had to say: "Sometimes, it's just time, and it's time to go. It's been like a nightmare. It hurts me making this phone call. It's hurting me in my stomach. I'll do what I've got to do. I'm a professional. I'm not bitter. I love the fans but I've got to take care of me."
Nothing happened at the time; Marion shut his mouth and played, and Suns fans watched and waited for the inevitable move. And then it came: Shaq arrived in Phoenix and Marion was shipped to Miami to play for what would end up being a 15-win team. He ended up averaging 14 PPG and 11 RPG in 29 games with Miami before shutting it down for the season due to Pat Riley wanting his team to tank a cryptic back ailment. And now it looks like he'll be on the move again, with the greatest liklihood being that -- if he is moved -- he'll wind up playing for a non-contender and performing well below his ceiling with the Suns. Congratulations, Shawn. I hope the weather is nice in NBA Hell.
Isiah continues to lose his grip on reality, Part 17: With his team squatting on a 14-35 record -- the fourth-worst mark in the league -- and in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, the Baby-faced Assassin claims the Knicks are improving. "You can say we're not getting better because we haven't won games, but I think over the last couple of weeks we have gotten better as a basketball team." And that, my friends, is what we like to call denial.
Allen Iverson waxes poetic regarding his ink: In an interview about his tattoos, The Answer said, "I put shit on my body that means something to me." He puts shit on his body?
Brad Miller versus Brian Cardinal: The two former Boilermaker teammates face each other on the court. Hilarity ensues.
Devean George blocks Mark Cuban's cock: This was something nobody could have seen coming. The Mavericks pull off a blockbuster trade for prodigal son Jason Kidd, only to have the deal blocked by one Devean Jamar George. George had a "virtual no-trade clause" that allowed him to reject the trade because he's on a one-year contract and would lose his "Early Bird" rights. That's a stipulation that would allow Dallas -- and only Dallas -- to go over the salary cap to sign him. Basically, it would maximize his money should Mark Cuban decide, after the season, that he wants to go balls out to sign George to another, more lucrative contract. Yeah. Not gonna happen. But he may get signed by the Celtics?! Because, yeah, he's the next best thing to James Posey...
D-Wade has skillz (but not really): The NBA All-Star Skills Challenge turned into a somewhat exciting battle of one-upsmanship between two emerging superstar point guards, with Deron Williams setting a new even record (25.5 seconds) to upset Chris Paul in the finals. However, Jason Kidd and Dwyane Wade just embarrassed themselves. Kidd's woeful lack of shooting touch was on display when he clunked all five three-point attempts and got tossed after round one with a time of 39.7 seconds. Wade, though...Wade had a full-on ego-ectomy. After electing not to even practice the course, the two-time defending Skills Competition champion lost his dribble out of bounds, botched four straight jumpers before just giving up and flinging the fifth at the hoop, and then missed two layups before ending the round with a score of 53.9 seconds...a time even Stephen Hawking could have beaten. [Nominated by dumbgenius.]
Steve Nash doesn't give a @#$%&! about the three-point contest: Nash admitted before the Three-Point Shootout that the only reason he was taking part in the event was because the Collective Bargaining Agreement says he has to. (Said Nash: "They hold me to it every year.") So naturally he went out and performed like a man who didn't care and wanted it to all be over as quickly as possible, hitting only eight of 25 shots and scoring a lowly nine points. Maybe that'll teach David Stern not to force unwilling former MVPs to compete in meaningless contests they couldn't care less about.
Dirk gives a @#$%&! about it, but fails: He was a late addition to the Three-point Shootout because of Kobe's tender mangina sore pinkie finger...but Dirk was shooting 29 percent from three at the time. So why'd they add him? Star power, baby! But not quite enough. He failed early and often.
Reggie Miller says "titty" on national TV: Oh yes he did.
The Knicks redefine "team unity": During a timeout, Zach Randolph threw a cup of water at Nate Robinson. Nate then threw a towel at Zach. In other words, it was just another night at the office for Team Dysfunction. Rather than disciplining his players, coach Isiah Thomas praised their "feistiness" and "nastiness," which is kind of like praising your crazy ex-girlfriend's "passion" after she burns down your apartment building. Amazingly, the Knicks transformed their malaise into a 113-100 overtime win, proving that, at least once in a while, insanity works. Reactions below. [Nominated by karma.]
Danny Ferry's "blockbuster" trade: I'm pretty sure this trade was not what LeBron James had in mind when he asked for more help. Kobe threw a hissy fit and got Pau Gasol, while LeBron played the good soldier and got Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West. Doesn't give King James much of an incentive to play nice next time, does it? I've heard that the deal was a "win now" move for Danny Ferry and the Cavs. Win now? In the D-League, maybe.
John Paxson's "blockbuster" trade: Well, he got rid of Ben Wallace...for Larry Hughes. Oh dear God.
Candace Parker's career move: Candace Parker announces that she will leave college early to play in the WNBA! So she should be making six figures for, oh, about five seasons. I hope she invests wisely.
Anthony Parker praises the Knicks: He had some...interesting things to say after his team lost to the Knicks: "I don't think you can look at their record and say, 'Oh, it’s a bad team.' I think they’'e shown they can go into D.C. and get a win. They are capable of going into Philly and getting beaten pretty badly. They've got a lot of talent and a lot of options. I think they played well tonight." I don't know about you, but I can look at a 17-win team and say TThat's a bad team." I can even say, "They're a very bad team." In fact, I can say "They're a crap-coated poopsicle" and not feel as though I've overstated things.
The worst basketball possession of all time: Thank you, Zach Randolph. [Nominated by pretty much everybody, link from sun devil.] Update! It has been suggested that I undersold this entry. So let me recap it for you:
1. Randolph, New York's titular big man, receives the ball outside of the three-point line. This is the point where you would expect ball rotation...from any team not called "The Knicks."
2. He attempts to break down his defender by dribbling the hell out of the ball, sort of like Isiah Thomas circa 1989, only without the mad handles. I promise you that a small piece of Hubie Brown's soul died that night.
3. He totally loses the rock like a retarded child trying to use the freestyle control on NBA Live during a seizure and has to run almost out to halfcourt to retrieve it. For the record, this is what happened to me back when I was using Austin Croshere (then with the Pacers) while playing NBA Live 2004. It's like the programmers thought Croshere was born with rusty coat hangers for hands.
4. Then, instead of passing the ball to a teammate, he shambles to the arc and launches an airball...with seven seconds left on the shot clock!
The best part is when the camera pans to Isiah, who looks about ready to choke a bitch. Can you imagine what would have happened to Scott Hastings if he'd ever pulled something like that when he was on those Bad Boy Pistons teams? I promise you he'd still be digging atomic wedgie out of his butt crack.
More personnel problems for the Pacers, Part I: A woman was allegedly raped at Marquis Daniels' home during a "small gathering." According to the police, Daniels is not a suspect. Said Daniels: "I don't know what happened. I wasn't involved." He wasn't involved in a small gathering held at his own house? What, did a roving band of criminals break in and decide to throw a rape party? I doubt it. Brawls, shootings, more shootings, mascot assault and battery...am I the only person who's tired of seeing random Pacers in the Indianapolis police blotter? Or am I the last Pacers fan alive? Anyone out there? Anyone? Bueller?
The Spurs' first quarter explosion: On February 25, 2008, the defending champs scored five points -- five points!! -- in the first quarter, setting new franchise lows in points, field goals made (1-for-17), and field goal percentage (6) in a single 12-minute session. Of course, they were playing the Atlanta Hawks, so they won anyway.
Ron Artest gets quote-tastic: Regarding a proposed trade to the Denver Nuggets that fell through, Ron-Ron said: "They were trying to get government cheese, and I'm Kraft." Awesome.
Pat Riley gets quote-tastic: The Heat end an 11-game losing streak and Riles gives us a classic quote: "I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I know what to do. I just don’t know where to start." And I feel like a dog in a backyard trying to decide whether or not to eat my own poop.
More personnel problems for the Pacers, Part II: According to the AP game recap, "Pacers F Shawne Williams (personal reasons) left at halftime and didn’t return." Well, here are those reasons: "A man wanted for murder in Memphis, Tenn., was arrested Wednesday night after leaving the home of Indiana Pacers forward Shawne Williams on the Northeastside, according to Indianapolis metropolitan police." It doesn't get much more "personal" than harboring a murdering fugitive from justice, does it. For his part, Williams said, "I feel like I let my organization (and) my teammates down, along with the Simon brothers (team owners Mel and Herb) and my family." Williams also said that he "wasn't very close" with Rollins, and would be more careful in the future. Mind you, this incident came only a few days after a woman was allegedly raped at Marquis Daniels' home (though not by Daniels) during a "small gathering." Man, the Pacers really need to start making better friends.
'Toine's "passport problems": Basketbawful reader Jochem de Graas was quick to pick up on the rather laughable pretext for Employee #8's absence from the Timberwolve's matchup against the Raptors: "The reason Antoine Walker didn't play last night: Minnesota forward Antoine Walker didn't travel to Toronto because of what Wittman called 'a passport problem.' On the bottom under game notes. That's more creative then flu-like symptons." True enough, Jochem. If the NBA ever expands to Europe, I predict that "passport problems" will become the new "flu-like symptoms." You heard it here first, folks.
I know, I know...I still have to finish the NBA Worsties. I originally intended to get through them by today. But, sadly, my Clark Kent job has been kicking my butt this week. So here's my lazy Friday offering: Some of YouTube videos of blown dunks. Let's begin with an Einsteinian edit of Chris Andersen's infamous ego-ectomy at the 2004 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Here's a Vinsanity Classic: Watch as Half-Man, Half-A-Season bones an off-the-backboard alley-oop in his college days.
Now watch in wide-eyed amusement as Tony Parker gets his dunk sent back by the rim. I imagine this is sort of how things go at home when he asks Eva for a little somethin' somethin'.
Think that was bad? Then watch Kobe blow two consecutive dunks...during an exhibition. If only there had been an Aston Martin in the way. A wag of the fingers goes to the idiot fans in attendence, who chant his name instead of mocking him the way he deserved.
Here's a fun one: Former slam dunk champ Nate Robinson discovers that it's harder to flush the ball over Richard Jefferson than over Spud Webb.
This is my all-time favorite missed dunk, even though it was totally staged for the purposes of selling delicious carbonated beverages. To this day, whenever we see a missed dunk, me and Statbuster say to each other, "Grant Hill drinks Sprite..."
And finally, the missed dunk that inspired this post, as sent in by Mister P. The best part is how the kid comes up short after jumping on a trampoline and then throws the ball at the hoop. White Man's Disease indeed.
This is part 3 of our ongoing Worsties coverage. It runs through the end of last January. More parts to follow.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part I: A day after 2007 gave way to 2008, Isiah Thomas had this to say about his godawful team: "I believe that one day we will win a championship here. And as I sit here and I say it today, I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done. And I'm not leaving until we get it done." Emboldened by their coaches strong words, the Knicks promptly went out and got blown out at home by the Sacramento Kings (13-18), who were without Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and Mike Bibby. After the game, Thomas altered his stance ever so slightly: "I don't necessarily just want to win a championship. I want to leave something that's going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave tradition. I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play, and how they coach and how they respond when they put on the Knick uniform. And I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person that walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there's a certain pride that they carry. And I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy." Seriously, I know people who got put in padded cells for less crazy than this.
Knicks try to stifle "Fire Isiah" movement:A 22-year-old college student was arrested outside Madison Square Garden for selling t-shirts that said, "Don't Hate The Player Or The Game. Hate The Coach." The man in question, one Ivan Cash, thinks the arrest was meant "to put a lid on all the demands by fans for a new coach.'' No kidding? erhaps we should just tattoo "Duh" on his head and get it over with.
Scottie Pippen requests head coaching position (world laughs): During the 2006-07 seasons, Pippen wanted to come back and play in the NBA, even going so far as to say, "The fans who understand the game, the GMs and coaches, I think they'd rather have a Scottie than a Michael [Jordan]. Because I'm an all-around player. Coaches would rather have a Scottie-type player than a Michael. I was an all-around player. I made people around me better." Surprisingly enough, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- was interested in his services. In 2008, Pip decided he wanted to coach the Bulls. "What's my disadvantage? No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles' record with the Bulls wasn't that great. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do what you've done your whole life. I've played basketball, run teams and won. They didn't put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn't the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn't a point guard. But I knew how to run a team." Actually, I seem to remember guys like John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper, and even Steve Kerr playing point for the Bulls back then, but whatever. Pippen continued: "With a guy [Jordan] who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control. That didn't come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I'd find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren't running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place." Uh, yeah. I don't really want to hear about Pip getting other players off. Beyond that, his assertion that it was he, and not Phil Jackson or Jordan himself, that reigned Jordan in is patently ridiculous. As is most of everything else Pippen is saying these days. Particularly when you consider that, right after announcing he wanted to coach the Bulls, he started ripping into the players. On Tyrus Thomas: "He doesn't know how to play the game. He's great from the neck down." On Ben Wallace: "You don't pay a rebounder $15 million. OK, they did. He doesn't know the game like Dennis Rodman did." On Kirk Hinrich: "He's not that talented...you can't have midgets running your backcourt." On Luol Deng: "he's trying to show 28, 29 teams what he's about instead of going out and playing." On Andres Nocioni: "He's turning into Rasheed Wallace with the kinds of things he does on floor." I don't care about his six championships or his place in the 50 Greatest NBA Players. He's an idiot if he thinks talk like that is going to land him a head coaching job anywhere in the NBA, let alone for the Bulls. Does he really think the players would listen to him after he blasted them in the press like that? Ben Gordon sure wasn't listening. "I don't really care what Scottie has to say. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn't have anything to do with anything."
Chauncey Billups gives us a sign of things to come: "Mr. Big Shot" missed three freethrows in the fourth quarter of the Piston's 92-85 loss to the Celtics. He also missed a critical three-pointer in the closing minutes that could have given his team the lead (he was 3-for-9 from three-point range for the game). Then, rather than giving the Celtics credit afterward, he tried to diminish the impact of their victory. "They're a little more happy than we were when we won our game at their place. It was just a regular game for us with two good teams playing. They were kind of playing like it was the Super Bowl. There was probably a little more at stake for them and their psyche than it was for us." And see, that's why the Pistons have failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the last few years. That arrogant, lackadaisical makes for great soundbytes...and disappointing playoff exits.
The Suns' Achilles' heel revealed by...us: Frustrated by the Suns' relative underperformance, I wrote a letter to them to please stop sucking. In that letter, I disclosed that they were, by far, the worst rebounding team in the league. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't written this letter. I'm not saying Steve Kerr read it or anything, but if he did, it's the kind of thing that could push a GM into making a panic trade...
Pat Riley starts eyeballing the "Quit" button: Even as the Heat lose their ninth game in a row and fall to 8-28, rumors start circulating that Riles might retire after this season. Somewhere, Stan Van Gundy laughs in equal parts delight and bitterness.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part II: The NBA's walking punchline continued to deliver. A few days after stating his intent to win a championship in New York, he was quoted in the New York Daily News as giving himself "two votes of confidence" in his dual role as the Knicks coach and general manager. ''There could be smarter people [than me], but in terms of determination and passion to make it right, I know I'm not going to find anybody [better] out there. I am determined to fix this and make it right.'' He then basically conceded that this season sucks big time, but that ''...you stick around long enough, it happens. You just have to fight your way through it. Through these tough times, you still have to set the example and be the leader. Because there's a locker room full of men looking for direction, and my job is to provide that.'' Isiah then went out and provided that example by coaching the Knicks to yet another home loss in which he got ejected for (possibly) making contact with an official. What terrible crime against humanity compelled Isiah to rush out onto the floor and get himself tossed? He felt Yao Ming should have been called for a three-second violation. Way to choose your battles there, Isiah.
Gordan Giricek earns does not earn respect: After getting traded away from the Jazz, Giricek announces that he was not respected "as a man." He then goes out and averages 3.3 PPG on 26 percent shooting in his first several games with his new team, the Sixers, who suddenly realize, "Wait, we traded Kyle Korver for this guy?!"
Saint Louis Billikens remind me why I hate college basketball: I'm not a big fan of college basketball (unless it's my alma mater or March Madness), but I couldn't not mention this travesty: The Billikens set a modern Division I record for fewest points in a game with 20. Saint Louis went zero for their first nine shot attempts. At one point, they missed 23 consecutive shots and finished 7-for-48 (14.6 percent) from the field, including 1-for-19 from 3-point range. They had scored only 7 points by halftime, a performance that made their 13-point second half look positively scintillating. What does a coach even say to his team after a performance so historically dreadful? Well, Rick Majerus, the Billikens' coach, noted after the game that this was his first year with Saint Louis and that he did not recruit the team. "It's like being a stepparent. I didn't pick them. They didn't pick me." Wow. Feel the love.
Update! Basketbawful reader deej pointed out that our boy Larry Hughes was a Billiken, and Johnny Drama provided this wonderful and related link. Turns out the Billikens were, in a way, paying tribute to their most famous son.
The Dark Lord is stunned as it snows in hell:Seriously.
The inmates start running the asylum in Chicago: First, Joakim Noah screamed at assistant coach Ron Adams at practice, after which interim head coach Jim Boylan suspended Noah for one game for his behavior. Then a cabal of Bulls players -- led by Ben "I am killing this team with my huge contract and lousy play" Wallace and Adrian "He's still on this team?" Griffin -- vote to suspend Noah for an additional game. Stunningly, Chicago's coaching staff and management supported this move. Bulls GM John Paxson appeared on the Mike North Morning Show on WSCR-AM (670), and said that everyone in the Bulls' organization, including team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, thought that the players' group decision to bench Noah was ''outstanding.'' Mind you, these were the same players who tuned out and quit on Scott Skiles, leading to the "coach who turned things around" getting fired on freakin' Christmas eve.
JamesOn Curry decides the entire world is his bathroom: The Bulls rookie, best known for a gratuitous capital O in his first name, added a big P to his arsenal of extraneous letters last night. Curry, who was serving a stint with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League, was urinating in an alley near the Hampton Inn in Boise, Iowa, when he was spotted by a police officer. As the officer approached in his patrol car, Curry saw him and started to walk away (only after holstering his boomstick, one hopes). The officer turned his emergency lights on and Curry bolted. He went into the Hampton Inn and was stopped by a locked door (d'oh!). Curry was then taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor counts of urinating in public, resisting arrest, and being a damned fool. The biggest tragedy to come out of this is that Curry -- due to suspension -- was forced to miss the Zooperstars performance during halftime of the Energy's next game against the Austin Toros.
Lakers fans turn on Kwame Brown: During L.A.'s 106-98 loss to the Suns, Lakers fans played The Giant Falling Anvil to Kwame Brown's Wile E. Coyote, booing him with a pitiless rage that would make even Hannibal Lecter a little uneasy. Kwame played so badly -- 3-for-8 shooting, two blown layups, one missed dunk, and 7 turnovers -- that one wonders whether he has the manual dexterity necessary to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, like using a remote control or unwrapping a piece of gum. Update! Basketbawful reader dunpizzle provided some video.
And it happened again.
More Knicks drama unfolds: Former Knicks coach Larry Brown revealed that management had spies "throughout the arena" to keep in eye on him. As a result, he never felt fully comfortable viewing Internet porn in his office. I mean, he still did it and everything, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as it could have been.
Shaq's wallet fuels our economy: Thanks to his ongoing divorce issues, the press gives us an insider's view of The Big Spender's monthly expenditures: $1,500 for cable TV, $110,000 for vacations, $17,000 for clothing, $26,500 for babysitting, and $23,000 at gas stations. Man, I need to quit my job and get hired on as Shaq's nanny. That has "hit sitcom" written all over it.
Tony Parker's dark secret revealed: Eva Longoria finally admitted to something that everyone who follows the NBA already knew. No, not that Tony Parker has a very small penis (although that's true too). The dude totally fakes fouls and injuries. Gee, I'm so very shocked. Remember in last year's playoffs when Parker obliterated Steve Nash's nose with his bulbous head? I mean, Nash's poor beak freaking exploded, yet he just stood there and took it like a man while Parker was writhing around on the court in totally bogus agony.
Magic Johnson makes bold (read that "stupid") prediction: The man who gave us harmonism and fundamativity has now offered up the following insane prognostication: The New York Knicks (who were at that time 14-31) were going to make the playoffs. In fact, Johnson said, "I think that they’re going to be a tough eight or seven seed, too." Why would Magic think something so, you know, stupid? "Because you can see that they’ve turned the corner. Now everybody knows their roles, their minutes. I watch every game." Well, there you have it. Magic watches every Knicks game. No wonder he's lost his damn mind.
Chris Webber returns (waaaah waaaah waaaaaaaah): [The following was submitted and written by Justin from Birdmonster.] Warrior fans have a long, hate-flavored memory. And while I will always have a special place in my charcoaled soul for Mike Dunleavy, Todd Fuller, and the unforgettable Uwe Blab, only Chris Webber had the ability to pull his shorts past his bionic knees and crap all over our faces twice.
A brief history: Webber famously forced a trade after his first season in the Bay, a trade which netted the Warriors the unstoppable manbeast known as Tom Gugliotta. C-Webb would become a perennial all star and the cornerstone of those enjoyable turn of the millennium Sacramento teams while Tom Guglitta would earn the nickname "The Grub."
Then, last season, right before the Shaq & Pau trades, our lovable Warriors signed Webber after more than a decade of wear and tear. Warriors fans enjoyed the hallucination that Webber, with his smooth passing and crafty old-man-game, could be a valuable piece in Don Nelson's ever fluid line-up. I know I talked myself into it.
Then I saw him play.
It was a tragedy.
Webber played a staggering nine games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds a game before his android joints rusted. While Warrior fans begged to see us some Brandan Wright, C-Webb got 14 minutes a night to bog down the Warriors offense and make a defense built on scrappiness into one built on crappy-ness. I was actually upset he was taking minutes from Austin Croshere.
So thanks CWebb. We'll let you know when that statue outside Oracle is up.