By now, most people know about how American celebrities love to do silly commercials on Japanese television...with awesome results. Heck, I can't get through a day without saying "Vroom vroom, party starter!" and doing the robot. And although this Dunlop tire commercial starring Dennis Rodman (circa 1997) didn't make Cracked.com's list of the most ridiculous celebrity cameos in Japanese ads, it's still mildly to moderately amusing.


As an added bonus, here's a rather bizarre American commercial in which -- inexplicably -- Mike Ditka, Jim McMahon, William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Dennis Rodman argue over which one of them is the real...Diana Pearl? No, that's not a typo. After watching it, I'm going to have to name Rodman the winner. If any of them is Diana Pearl, it's definitely him.


Okay, okay. Last one, I swear. In this commercial, we discover that Dennis Rodman had MVP feet. Seriously.

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Cheers, Basketbawful fans! Recently I finally decided to get off my lazy ass and learn a bit more about audio and video as my duty as Chief of Internet Operations. So I added a tool to my already dangerous Internet arsenal, the animated gif, which will be used heavily in this post. Besides, some of us have the un-luxury of having YouTube blocked at work, so how else can we use up that precious bandwidth? In 90's Internet style, (I will, however, spare you from the embedded and unstoppable MIDI), may I present to you the 2008-09 NBA Animated Worsties Edition. And in true AnacondaHL stream of consciousness style, I will throw in some random facts about the season.

October:
oct-Hack-A-Shaq3

Brook Lopez had more regular season dunks than LeBron James.

November:
nov-MJ-beat-at-own-camp

The playoffs FG% leader of those qualified was Marcin Gortat.

December:
dec-Darko-rips-jersey
I was inspired to slightly modify this next pic:
dec-Dirk-AK47-half1redo
Lets see that again at another angle!
dec-Dirk-AK47-half2
dec-Im-gay-for-Gilbert-Arenas

Shaq may be right saying he makes FTs when they count, as his 08-09 clutch FT% was 72%, compared to 59.5% overall and 52.8% for his career.

January:
jan-Crab-Dribble

Candyman Lamar Odom was resigned for good reason: He produced the third most net points, ahead of Dwayne Wade and Kobe, and behind King Crab and Chris Paul.

February:
feb-Chris-Paul-inbound-off-Kobe
feb-T-Mac-stuffed-by-rim1

Darius Songalia played better defence than Yao. Oddly, Jason Kidd also ranked high this year on Net defense on/off. The Vanilla Godzilla is still a beast.

March:
mar-BEST-DUNK-EVER-backflip3

Stephon Marbury's Hall of Fame probability is an uncanny 19.81%. Obviously, basketball-reference hasn't figured out a metric to adjust for career-ending crazy and Internet webcasts. Ron Artest's HoF probability is now 0.61%. Zach Randolph is at 0.49%.

April:
apr-SuperBadge
Cleveland?!

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basketmath
How good a pickup baller are you really? The answer may not
be obvious. It'll be even less obvious after you read this.

Since Basketbawful's tank is on Empty today (waiting for the season to start can be so very maddening), he asked me to expound on the pick-up basketball equations I introduced on Friday.

It's all very simple. You can't fudge physics or math, so just pay attention to these hard, fast rules and you too will be able dominate -- or at least understand why you're not dominating -- your next pick-up basketball game.

Basically, an average player in this system has a value of 1 and an everage team a value of 5.
A perfectly average team in this system is thus:

Team 1
1 + 1 + 1 + 1 +1 = 5

However, not all teams that equal 5 are treated equally:

Team 2
.6 + .6 + .8 + 1.5 + 1.5 = 5

This team equals 5, but it could be better, or it could be worse than Team 1. Specifically:

A. Will the .6's be able to distribute the ball to 1.5's?

B. Will their opponents play help defense and ultimately negate the 1.5's, who, for lack of a better offensive option, will have to attempt a bad shot in the face of a double team?

C. Are the 1.5's ball-handlers? If so, they can more easily minimize the number of times the .6's get the rock.

Result: Uncertain.

We must now consider other factors, such as the condition of the court. A badly swept court, which does not allow more talented players to make quick moves to the basket, may lower the quality of play more for better players. Now Team 2 above looks as follows:

.5 + .5 + .7 +1.1 + 1.1 = 3.9

Meanwhile, Team 1, comprised of average players who are equally affected by the poor conditions, looks like this:

.9 + .9 + .9 + .9 +.9 = 4.5

Result: Team 1 wins.

Now, playing outside can involve:

1. An uneven court, where (c) equals the number of cracks in the pavement

2. Wind, where (w) equals the wind gust mph and (z) equals wind shear.

3. Sunlight, where (s) equals the brightness of the sun as compared to (L) it's location in the sky as it relates to the backboard.

4. Distractions, where (B) equals the quality of babes watching from the sidelines.

The following equation should be self-explanatory:

3.9 - (c) * (w + z/2) / (s + L + B) = 4.5 - (c) - *(w + z/2) / (s + L + B)

Result: Obvious.

Also factor in the mental state of the players (m). For example, did Mr. 1.5 just have a fight with his wife? Did he lose his job? Are his kids driving him up a wall? This circumstance halves his ability in most cases:

1.5/2m = .75

Occasionally, however, a player uses pickup basketball as a glorious escape from the torture of his sorry life. This can actually improve his play marginally:

1.5 * m * kids' grade-point average / volume of wife's voice + (monthly salary - monthly mortgage payment) /result of on-the-side girlfriend's pregnancy test = 1.6

And, of course, even the best player can use bad judgement and have too much to eat for dinner (D) before basketball (Hey, I like lasagna. Sue me.), which can of course, adversely affect his speed and emotional state (yes, your emotions also take a hit when you constantly feel like you're going to vomit).

The equation that takes all of these factors into account is simple. Note that lesser players are not as adversely affected, because they already kinda suck:

((1.5/(D+m)) + (1.5/(D+m)) + (.8/(D+m-.75)) + (.6/(D+m-1)) + (.6/(D+m-1)))

And if they are playing outside:

((1.5/(D+m)) + (1.5/(D+m)) + (.8/(D+m-.75)) + (.6/(D+m-1)) + (.6/(D+m-1))) - (c) * (w + z/2) / (s + L +B)

Well, there you have it. Simple math. I hope I have managed to strip the essence of basketball down to its...uhm...essence...in a way that even Red Auerbach, the master of simplicity, never could.

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I got nothin' today. I started Livin' Large Part 22 (which will be published tomorrow) and another post about why I'm not worried about the LeBron-Shaq Cavaliers, but I couldn't finish either of 'em. So instead of fresh, new content, here's a video compilation of NBA Fail. I'm not saying I chose this one because it starts with Kobe boning a breakaway dunk...but that's totally why I chose it.

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talent redistribution


Talent Redistribution (tal'-uhnt re'-dis-trib'-yoo-shun') noun. When one or more players have to be switched from one team to another so that the level of competition will be (roughly) more equal.

Usage example: Damn. That team lost 21-4. Looks like they need some serious Talent Redistribution.

Word trivia: In my experience, most pickup leagues have anywhere from two to four teams competing on any given night. (The number of teams can be and often is greater than that during the prime times at local health clubs and open gyms.) Because teams are chosen by shooting free throws -- the first five to make it comprise team one, the second five team two, and so on -- the actual distribution of talent per team can vary greatly.

Generally speaking, the talent distribution is usually "top heavy," in that the better players tend to hit their free thows, and therefore the first one or two teams end up with better players than the other team or teams.

Of course, there are always situations that can alter this paradigm. For instance, a very good player who typically hits his free throw might miss on his first and even second attempt (assuming it takes that many rounds to shoot up the teams). Or, and this happens a lot in my league, either a very good or remarkably bad player will show up five minutes or so after the games have started. Most of the time, the honor system will kick in and the good player will go to the worst team and the bad player will go to the best team.

Now obviously all teams are not created equal. But sometimes a team sucks so badly that they can't even come close to competing. Like, they will lose every game by a minimum of 10 or more points no matter what they do (and this is using the traditional "1s and 2s" scoring system).

Once it has become clear that one team is going to be haplessly beaten time and again over the course of the night, someone will suggest Talent Redistribution. Sometimes this happens after their first game, but more often than not it happens after they have played at least twice to ensure that the first beating wasn't an aberration. It's standard procedure for members of the bad team to give members of a better team the opportunity to make a Talent Redistribution offer. However, if no offer is made, one or more members of the bad team will probably suggest or even demand it.

In leagues where most of the people know and like each other, Talent Redistribution is usually quick and fair. But nobody likes making their team worse, and Talent Redistribution can result in heated debate and bitter feelings in even the friendliest of leagues.

For instance, there's a player in my pickup league known as Super Mario (because he looks like Mario from the Super Mario Bros. video game). Several years back, Super Mario contracted a case of bacterial meningitis. It almost killed him. He survived, obviously, but the illness left him partially handicapped. Super Mario still plays basketball, but he's so physically limited that he's a liability on both offense and defense. For this reason, the team he's on almost always loses because they're forced to basically play four-on-five.

Some times, Talent Redistribution consists of switching Super Mario from team to team. This can be tricky, however, since he can transform a good team into an awful team. Not surprisingly, nobody wants to play with him, and some people (coughEvilTedcough) get really pissy when Super Mario is "gifted" to their team. This has caused many "day after" arguments. (You know, when you and your buddies discuss the events of the previous night's games over e-mail or in person.)

Talent Redistribution can hit a snag when nobody can agree on a fair and equal switch. In these cases, a trusted league "veteran" will usually step up and act as a sort of Talent Manager. In general, the Talent Manager must have the same basic attributes as a Points Negotiator.

One last note: pickup ballers get pretty upset when Talent Distribution upsets the balance so much that they are unable to win another game (and especially when they're beaten badly after the switchup). This inequity won't be forgotten and can be used in future Talent Distribution debates (e.g., "We got stuck with Super Mario last time and we sucked afterward. Give us Paul instead.")

Note from Evil Ted: Some players have a lack of talent so galling that it can actually eliminate the possibility of fair Talent Redistribution altogether. Instead of just being a "poor player," this person is actually a negative player (a.k.a. Nugatory, Minus Man, Captain Entropy, Anti-game, Boat Anchor, Vaporware). For example, a Super Mario has been known to take a dominant force of a team and turn it into a sad-sack loser. In such cases, said dominant team may actually need to have two players replaced in such a way as to actually strengthen the remaining four.

The Equation works thusly. The dominant team as it begins (with "1" being an average player):

1.2 + 1.3 +1.5 + 1.1 +1 = 6.1

The team with an overall strength of 6.1 can now be decimated by removing any one player and adding Captain Entropy, a fellow who plays no defense and pretty much can't run or do anything competant on the court:

1.2 + 1.3 + 1.5 + (-1) +1 = 4

Note how far the mighty have fallen. This team is getting it's ass kicked, not only because it's overall team strength is just 4, but additionally because the talent is no longer evenly distributed amongst the five players (A neg 1 is throwing the ball away, standing at half court on offense and defense, etc., where even a bunch of .8 guys are getting a hand in the face and the ball around the horn).

Ergo, we must actually bolster the supporting cast for the Minus Man by replacing the worst of the remaining group (Mr. 1) with someone better. The new team is as follows:

1.2 + 1.3 + 1.5 +(-1) + 1.4 = 4.4

This team is now competitive, and may become more so IF they force the Boat Anchor out of the offensive scheme and play help defense. If, however, the good players get dejected and lose their will, this team may still get it's collective ass handed to it repeatedly. This two-for-one paradigm shift may require the institution of a future word of the day: The Mario Rule.

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first night superstar

First Night Superstar (furst nit soo'-puhr-stahr') noun. A pickup baller who plays extremely well during his first night at a pickup league, but whose performance drops off significantly on subsequent nights.

Usage example: Man, remember how good that guy was when he first showed up? Now he sucks. I guess he was a First Night Superstar.

Word history: I coined this term a few years ago at my weekly pickup league. I couldn't help but notice that many times a new guy would totally clean up on his first night and then quickly devolve into an average (or below average) player. I think this happens for a few reasons.

First off, players tend to try harder and focus more when they're unfamiliar with the court, their teammates and their defenders. Many new players desperately want to make a good impression, so they'll hustle, take good shots, avoid bad passes, crash the boards, and so on. However, comfort tends to lead to complacency (at best) and laziness (at worst). So after these guys become accustomed to their surroundings, they often stop hustling and rebounding and start forcing up junk shots and making careless passes.

Secondly, defenders sometimes take a "wait and see" approach with a new player. After all, you don't necessarily want to scare the dude off on his first night. Furthermore, it's impossible to tell whether someone is going to snap and start a fight the first time they take a hard foul or get caught by a blindside pick. Then too, it can be hard to stop a guy before you figure out how good he is and where he likes to shoot from.

But eventually the defense will catch up with the newbie. After people start to learn his game, they figure out how to slow him up or shut him down. This can happen pretty quickly since most pickup ballers have only one or two go-to moves and/or pet shots. I mean, if someone always jukes right, dribbles left twice and then pulls up for a 15-footer...well, the effectiveness diminishes pretty quickly.

If the new player is genuinely skilled, the league's top defender (or defenders) will be dispatched to break their spirit. And other people will step up to provide quick help, because nobody wants a new guy to show up the regulars. My buddy Mister P refers to this stop-the-noob phenomenon as "feeding them their rookie cookies." One Wednesday night, a new guy came out and torched everybody with long-range three-pointers. (By "long-range" I mean triples taken four or five feet beyond the arc.) At one point, I was on my way to the drinking fountain when I overheard him asking if there was any "real competition" in the league.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to play against him again that night. But the next Wednesday, I dropped the hammer on him. And so did everybody else. Defenders were up in his face, and everybody jumped out on him on picks. You could tell he hated it, and he became increasingly frustrated as the night went on. I don't think he hit a three all night. And he never came back.

It's worth noting that the increased defensive intensity usually slackens over time, usually after the new guy's focus and intensity returns to "normal" levels. Then he and the other players settle into a comfort zone that rarely changes. Until the next new guy shows up.

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Darko jersey

Previous installment: November.

LeBron James versus Charles Barkley: No, this has nothing to do with AnacondaHL's review of Barkley, Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden.

With talk about the Great Free Agent Summer of 2010 reaching a fever pitch, it seemed as if half the teams across the league had begun shedding payroll in hopes of joining the LeBron Sweepstates. A few carefully chosen words from King James could have calmed the hornets nest. Instead, LeBron grabbed a nearby stick and started whacking the hornets next while screaming "nanny nanny boo boo!" Said James: "If you guys want to go to sleep right now and not wake up until July 1, 2010, then go ahead because it’s going to be a big day. It's probably going to be one of the biggest days in free-agent history in the NBA." Oh yes he most certainly did.

The majority of the media was content to, at most, give LeBron a tiny slap on the wrist for seemingly displaying a general lack of loyalty to his team and his team's city. Not Chuck Barkley. He took a jackhammer to the King's wrist. Said Sir Charles: "If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up. I'm a big LeBron fan. He's a stud. You gotta give him his props. I'm getting so annoyed he's talking about what he's going to do in two years. I think it's disrespectful to the game. I think it's disrespectful to the Cavaliers." Here, here, Chuck! I couldn't agree more.

LeBron responded with all the class you'd expect from someone who thinks slapping palms is for losers. Said the crownless King: "He's stupid. That's all I've got to say about that." Ooooooooooh, SNAP!

The elevator in Chris Bosh's condominium: Bosh made it to Air Canada Centre with less than an hour before the Raptors' game against the Hawks, but at least he had a good excuse: he spent 50 minutes trapped in an elevator at his downtown condo. Bosh said the car stopped, trapping him and two strangers, just after he got on at the 28th floor. Of his brief time in captivity, Bosh said: "I sat and reflected on life and just chilled." How very Zen-like. Note that Bosh said he tried to force the door open, but totally failed. "I tried my superhuman strength but it wasn't opening." Two words, Chris: weight room.

The Thunder's franchise-record losing streak: Mike Miller hit the game-winner with 0.1 seconds left as the Timberwolves sent the Thunder to a franchise record-tying 14th straight loss. That's some historic suck, right there. Said Kevin Durant: "It's definitely frustrating when you lose at the buzzer. It doesn't matter if you're not on a win streak. Any team would hate to lose like this." Yeah. But especially when the phrase "franchise-worst losing streak" is stamped on the loss, right Kevin?

Record-setting home cookin': During the Lakers 114-107 win over the Mavericks, L.A. recorded a mere eight fouls, the fewest by the franchise since it moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season. The previous low was nine (which happened on March 28, 1973, at Golden State). The Mavericks became the second straight Lakers opponent that didn't attempt a free throw in the first quarter. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Knicks versus Warriors -- a.k.a. The Night Defense Died: The 138-125 shootout was everything you'd expect from two utterly defenseless teams. The Knicks set a Madison Square Garden record for most first-half points (82), Chris Duhon had a franchise-record for assists (22), and David Lee had career highs in points (37) and rebounds (21). It was the first 30-20 game in regulation for a member of the Knicks since Patrick Ewing had 36 points and 21 rebounds against Philadelphia on January 23, 1994. How bad was it? Well, at one point, Lee alley-ooped to himself on the fast break. No, really.



Said Golden State's Jamal Crawford: "They had 82 points at half, so that's a lot." Yes, Jamal, that really is a lot, isn't it?

Ramon Sessions, defensive poster boy: Por Ramon. He became one of he earliest recipients of LeBron's monster at-the-basket swats.



Andre Miller's broken ankles: This catastrophic injury took place at the hands of Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose. But it was a veteran fall. Or was it...a veteran fail?


The end of Starbury's wedded bliss with the Knicks: Stephon Marbury -- the 2007-08 runaway winner of my Least Valuable Player award -- stunned the world by announcing that his "marriage" with the New York Knicks is over. Yeah. That's like walking in on your father banging the maid on your mother's corpse and then having him calmly explain that daddy and mommy won't be living together anymore: you probably had that one figured out already. Here's some of the choice quotage from Starbury's exclusive interview with the New York Post. Better sit down with a big box of Kleenex. This one's a tear-jerker of epic proportions.

"I sat there for three weeks and didn't say one word. I didn't hear one of my teammates say, 'Why isn't Stephon Marbury playing? This is a good system for
him, even to play with the second unit and bring more firepower.'

"When things got bad and then worse, guys like Quentin Richardson say, 'I
don't consider him a teammate. He let his teammates out to dry.' He didn't care
I was his teammate when I was banished. They left me out for dead. It's like
we're in a foxhole and I'm facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at
least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys
in my foxhole. And they didn't even give me an honorable death.

"Mike [D'Antoni] had no intentions of me playing basketball here. He gave
me straight disrespect. It was beyond disrespect. He put in (Danilo) Gallinari,
whose back is messed up and (who) didn't participate at all in training camp
ahead of me (in the season opener). That's saying, 'I'm letting you have it
right now.' He was sticking it to me. He knew I was in my contract year and did
everything they asked me to do. He's not trying to help me. He's trying to hurt
me."

Ah. Only Stephon Marbury could invoke "shot in the head by my own guys" imagery only days after New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a nightclub. And if history has taught us anything, it's that Starbury should keep his mouth shut during any and all NFL-related controversies. As well as every day of the week that ends in "day."

Bob Delaney, David Guthrie, Gary Zielinski: Things got a little wacky in Boston when the Celtics hosted the Orlando Magic and the refs demanded that everyone respect their authori-tah. I'll let Basketbawful reader Garron take this one: "The officiating crew last night was weird. The calls were fine, but technicals were everywhere. Eight were called in total, four by referee Bob Delaney. In fact, during a timeout Delane called a double technical on Sam Cassell, who was just sitting at the end of the bench and had to be sent out. Then during the next timeout there was a technical called on Rondo...in the MIDDLE of a timeout while Rondo was in the huddle. Other weird technicals were called on Stan Van Gundy (for arguing a call) and Rashard lewis who, after making a very difficult behind the backboard circus shot, pumped his fist in the air."

When asked why he received his technical, Rondo said: "I don't know. Everyone got a technical." Added Doc Rivers: "This was one interesting game. A lot of technicals. I better be quiet before I get a technical." Now, regarding Same Cassell...

Sam Cassell amazing technical fouls: Sam I Am did not appear in a single game during the 2008-09 campaign, which means he finished the season with more technicals (2) and ejections (1) than minutes played (zero). During Boston's December 1st game against Orlando, he was bounced from the bench for complaining about a foul that David Guthrie called on Perkins. Said Rivers: "I told him he took a bullet for me, because I thought it was on me and I wasn't saying anything, so I was upset. I think they were trying to clean the game up. There was a lot of complaining going on. Unfortunately, when that's happening, the first guy who talks gets the tech. And Sam was that guy."

Ron Artest, video blog superstar: Anything involving Ron Artest really has to be seen to be believed. So, you know, watch this.



Kenyon Martin, word-eating machine: Owned. Owned. Owned. Let me say it again. Owned. As Basketbawful reader Raza put it: "Since K-Mart said after the Nuggets beat the injury-riddled Spurs the classic quote "I don't let Tim do what he wants to do. Never have and never will," I was hoping you guys would bring up Duncan's stat line tonight (21 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks, and a steal) to go with that idiotic quote." Consider it done, Raza.

Miki Moore, awesome quote machine: Best quote ever: "Would you let someone go into your house, smack your wife around, make a sandwich and change the channel on your TV? We're disgusted with ourselves." If you need me, I'll be making love to this quote for the rest of the day. Thank you.

Big Crybaby: After Boston's starters had built a big lead at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Boston reserves sort of let the Blazers back into the game. During a timeout, Kevin Garnett grabbed Glen Davis by the arm and gave him a little ear candy, after which Davis sat on the bench with a towel over his head trying not to cry. Trying...and failing.


This is how Baby explained it: "I'm not embarrassed. I'm not embarrassed at all. I'm emotional about the game. That's one of my best features -- being emotional, playing out there with passion. Sometimes it's not always good passion. Sometimes it's bad, but that's just me being young. You have to learn how to funnel that emotion and keep it inside until you put it out. We had to call a timeout because of the lack of intensity we were bringing on the floor. And I was mad at myself that I had a big part (in that). I feel like I have a big part of funneling the defense and bringing the energy to the time. I held myself high and my teammates held me high and accountable for that. I'm just an emotional player, man. I kind of catch myself wanting to be perfect a lot, and I can't be perfect, so I kind of get upset with myself. I am an emotional guy. It's one of my upsides and my downfalls, you know?"

And this is what Doc Rivers had to say on the subject of crying: "If you took a charge in my career from (Charles) Barkley, you probably cried afterward." Awesome. Too bad Baby didn't take a charge from Sir Charles.

Al Harrington and Chris Duhon, last-second choke machines: The Knicks were down 3 points to the Hawks in Atlanta, but they had the ball and a chance to tie things up in the final seconds. Naturally, they failed in a typically embarrassing (read that: Knick-like) fashion: After a timeout, Harrington eschewed an open shot to drive and kick it out to Duhon, who himself passed up an open shot and shoveled it back to Harrington, who was had forced to rush up a last-second three that wasn't even close. It was a classic case of NBA hot potato, where nobody wanted to take the final shot. Check it (at the 1:57 mark):


Duhon admitted afterward that he should have taken the shot. "I just hesitated. I saw them coming at me real fast. For whatever reason, I just didn't shoot the ball. I should have shot the ball. It was a great play." Harrington also suffered some post-game non-shooter's remorse: "It was designed for me to catch and shoot. It was a great play, because I was open. I don't know, I just, when I turned and looked, I didn't feel comfortable enough so I tried to get it to somebody else." Fail.

Derrick Rose and the Apple of Doom: Rose was forced to miss a non-game-day practice after cutting himself under the elbow on his left forearm. In bed. From a knife he used to slice an apple. Said Rose: "Silly accident this morning. I went to get a bottle of water, forgot the knife was there and sat down and sliced my arm. I panicked when it first happened. I called [Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi]. We got it stitched up about 8 [a.m.]. It was a large wound, but they healed it up. I'm good. I could have practiced, but they told me to wait until [today]. I can still dribble, shoot, do all that stuff. I'm hoping they'll let me play."

Of course, a lot of people wanted to know what "really" happened, since Rose's story sounds too bizarre to be true (kind of like the time I got run over by a horse while riding my bike). But, in my experience, it's the weird stories that totally ARE true. And Rose isn't worried about what other people think. "It's the truth, so I'm not worried about [people not believing him]. I called my mom, and she was like, what are you doing? It was just a freak accident. I was very scared. I'm going to get somebody else to cut [the apple]. I'm not cutting it no more." Ah, to live in a world where, after a freak apple-cutting accident, you can respond not by simply being more careful next time, but by hiring someone to peel apples for you for the rest of your life. Awesome.

For further reading, see my comprehensive list of stupid basketball player injuries.

The Incredible Darko: This was one of the truly great moments of the 2008-09 season. I'll let some Basketbawful readers set this up. First, Brian S. said: "One minute, 24 seconds into the game, WHILE THE ANNOUNCERS ARE SAYING HOW WELL HE GUARDS YAO, Darko has committed 2 fouls and is now out of the game. He can't even do well during the one minute and 24 seconds people are talking nicely about him." Then Quinton A. said: "DUDE!!!! MILICIC!!!! JERSEY!!!! Just coming out of halftime, Darko picked up his fourth foul gaurding Yao, which he responded to by promptly getting a tech then going to the bench and ripping his jersey straight down the middle, Serbian Superman style." Oh yes he most certainly did.


Darko finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 fouls, and two jersey halves in 10 minutes. Although Victor correctly pointed out that: "Poor Darko. That's 15 and 15 if you extrapolate to 30 minutes!" He only needed more time. Alas. Also, Trev provided the following graphic, which he found on SpursTalk.com: The Incredible Darko. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. Or, frankly, any other time.

Darko Hulk

As a fun postscript to Darko's Hulk-out, the Grizzlies auctioned off his torn jersey. As always, I'm being completely serious.

I'm Gay (For Gilbert Arenas): How does something like this even happen?


Devin Harris and the Great Stat Curse of 2008: Devin Harris was so flipping happy about the Nets' 11-8 record that he uttered words that would soon become infamous on this site: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." Oh Devin...it was still early December and your team was only three games above .500. It might have been a little early to be talking about the postseason.

Vince Carter: Mr. "Stab 'Em In The Back" tormented his former team earlier in the season, only to completely fall apart the next time he faced them: 3 points on 0-for-13 shooting. It was the worst shooting performance of his career and the first time that he failed to make a shot from the field when playing at least 10 minutes. "Fail" doesn't quite do this event justice does it?

Vinsanity pouted his way out of the postgame press conference, leaving his coach and teammates to make his excuses for him. Said Lawrence Frank: "Unfortunately, you have nights like that. It's just one of those things where they have everyone in the paint, so they're giving you the jump shot. It's not just him. We couldn't buy a shot." Added Devin Harris: "He had a tough night. I know he probably takes this a little bit harder against his former team. We're all going to have those nights." Exactly. Everybody had a worst game of their career.

Elton Brand and the Philadelphia 76ers: When the Sixers spent ONE BEEEELION DOLLARS to acquire Elton Brand during the summer of 2008, they were supposed to challenge the Celtics for Eastern Conference supermacy. But by mid-December, the only "challenge" was their battle to reach .500. Then, as if to add more misfortune to the Sixers' season of woe, Elton Brand suffered a shoulder dislocation after attempting to block a shot by Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute Labia mud charm toucher. Brand went up, up, up and then fell down, down, down. Hard. The best part: he got whistled for the foul. Brand would play only six more games during the season. And, sadly, Philly ended up playing better WITHOUT him.

Toronto Raptors Bingo: Because their season really was this bad:

RaptorsFansBingo

Mark Cuban: I just love when this guy suffers. His Mavericks fell victim to a classic "See what you lost" revenge game when Devin Harris exploded for for 41 points, 13 assists, and 3 steals. As a result, the Nets crushed Dallas 121-97. Here's video of the New Jersey fans chanting "Thank you Cuban!" when Harris was removed with 2:11 remaining.


And here, courtesy of Stephanie G, is a beautiful animated .gif of Mark's reaction:

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Of course, in true Mark Cuban fashion, he had to try and get the last word: "I guess when you don't care about your own team you talk about someone on the other team, right? I guess that's what Nets fans are all about. I think the goal of everybody in New Jersey is to be a general manager. So I can understand why they want to share their expertise." Gee, Mark, that's pretty glib for a guy who ditched Steve Nash right before his back-to-back MVP seasons, then used the Nash money to give Erick Dampier a $73 million contract, traded Harris for the rapidly aging Jason Kidd, committed $32 million to DeSagana Diop in the summer of 2008, etc. I'm just sayin'...

Andrei Kirilenko: This was, by far, one of the most egregious flops of the season. I kinda hope his wife revoked that whole "once a year" deal based solely on this.


Kevin Fehr, Phil Robinson, Steve Javie: How is it that the three blind mice all missed this four-step travel by Thaddeus Young? HE TOOK FOUR FULL STEPS, GUYS. It wasn't even a close one. I mean, his first step was OUTSIDE the three-point arc. Don't take my word for it...


The New Jersey Nets: On December 29, the Nets dropped yet another home game, this time to the Chicago Bulls, a team that had lost seven straight on the road (and 14 of 17 this season) and hadn't won in New Jersey since 2001 (which totals 13 losses in a row there). The Nets -- who at that point were 5-12 at the Izod Center, the second-worst home record in the East behind Washington's 4-12 -- had then lost four in a row at home and seven of eight since Devin Harris' "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" proclamation. And they aren't dropping squeakers, either. During this stretch they've lost to the Wizards by 20, the Knicks by 12, the Raptors by 22, the Jazz by 11, the Rockets by 23, the Bobcats by 8 and now the Bulls by 13. You'll notice that four of those teams are sub-.500 (and three of them are VERY sub-.500). And the Bulls were without starters Drew Gooden and Luol Deng. Damn.

What does Vince Carter think about the New Jersey's home struggles" Said Vinsanity: "I try not to worry about it." Well, good. I'd hate for losing to be weighing on his mind or anything.

Celtics versus Blazers: One of the final games of 2008 had a circus-like quality to it. At one point, the Blazers had six players on the floor during the second quarter. They didn't notice it. The refs didn't notice it. KG sure noticed it, though. Didn't matter. Portland scored -- which'll happen when you have an extra-man advantage -- and was then assessed a technical foul. But, by rule, the basket they scored counted. Bizarre.


On top of that weirdness, we were treated to more superdickery from Garnett. First, he tried to elbow Travis Outlaw in the head after Outlaw flushed on him...


...then, a few plays later, he elbowed LaMarcus Aldridge. Twice.


That's a good way to end up on Santa's "Naughty List," KG.

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retired legenditis
Symptoms of Retired Legenditis may include becoming the target
of humiliating banners flown over southern California beaches.

Retired Legenditis (re-tird' lej'-uhnd-it'-is) noun. An acute psychological disorder that causes some (but certainly not all) NBA legends to lose their damn minds during retirement. At best, the ensuing erratic and unpredictable behavior embarrasses both them and their families. At worst, it sullies their legacy forever.

Usage example: Reggie Miller is the latest former NBA great to contract Retired Legenditis.

Word History: The term was coined last night (August 11, 2009) by Statbuster while we were discussing Reggie Miller's very public feud with Alex von Furstenberg, a Malibu surf shop owner and son of fashion legend Diane von Furstenberg. Apparently, Reggie spent several months flirting with von Furstenberg's fiancé -- clothing designer Ali Kay -- which caused von Furstenberg to go apeshit. It probably didn't help that Kay sent Reggie a couple sizzling pics via text message. Restraining orders were filled out by both parties but never filed, and von Furstenberg paid a small plane to fly a banner over the beaches of Malibu to warn Reggie off of married women. Bad times all around.

This mess was of course preceded by Reggie having a tramp stamp tattooed around his belly button and pouring vodka down the gullet of some barely-legal babe while wearing a ghastly sweater vest. Remember when NBA legends retired with dignity?

Oh, right. You probably don't. Not with Charles Barkley getting busted for DUI and then telling the arresting officer "I was gonna drive around the corner and get a blow job." (Later at the police station, Sir Charles told another officer "I'll tattoo my name on your ass" if he helped "get him out of the DUI.") Oh, and let's not forget Chuck's gambling addiction or that time he had a civil complaint filed against him for a $400,000 gambling debt he accidentally forgot to pay. He also joked about Isiah Thomas' alleged suicide attempt at a press conference (more on that below).

Hey, I guess it's tough being a basketball legend who doesn't play basketball anymore. Julius Erving made a sex tape with a woman who was not his wife, and that tape was mysteriously released during his messy divorce trial. Elgin Baylor spent a couple decades ruining the Clippers. (And after Elgin was FINALLY fired, he filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the Clippers, team owner Donald Sterling, and the NBA. He alleges that he was underpaid during his tenure with the team and then fired because of his age and race.) Kevin McHale completely McFailed as GM of the Timberwolves. Larry Bird is still running the Pacers into the ground. Magic Johnson made a couple ill-fated comebacks (the second of which featured an ejection and suspension for bumping a referee and then claiming the ref bumped him), embarrassed himself with an ugly 16-game coaching stint with the Lakers (during which the team went 5-11), and then totally bombed as host of The Magic Hour (after which he blamed his failure on a lack of support from African American celebrities).

Michael Jordan completely mismanaged the Washington Wizards (epitomized by his selection of Kwame Brown with the number one overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft) until he was fired by owner Abe Pollin. The sacking came despite MJ's two-season comeback with the Wiz, during which he "led" the team to back-to-back 37-win seasons and utterly failed to make the playoffs (despite guaranteeing a postseason berth). Things have gone only slightly better with the Bobcats...seeing as how Mike only wasted the third overall draft pick of the 2006 NBA Draft on Adam Morrison. But that's the sole improvement. MJ also likes bumping and grinding with the barely-legals. And here's some more evidence that his divorce didn't exactly break his heart.

And then there's Isiah Thomas. First, he destroyed the CBA. Second, he got fired as coach of the Pacers by his former rival Larry Bird. Then he became GM and later the coach of the New York Knicks...otherwise known as The Greatest Epic Fail in NBA History. Shortly after the Knicks finally canned him, Isiah apparently tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. He then claimed it was his daughter who tried to kill herself. The truth was never made clear, but when asked about the situation during a press conference, Isiah couldn't deny it was a suicide attempt.

The moral of this post? Maybe it's better NOT to become an NBA legend.

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Many years ago, when Bawful met my first kid, a toddler at the time, he chose to try to entertain said kid by jumping around and doing a monkey dance. I knew instantly this was a mistake. For the next hour, my son commanded that he "do the monkey dance." He soon learned, as I already knew, that apathy and distance is a far better approach.

Anyway, he wanted me to let you children know that Livin' Large should be back tomorrow. While a few of of you couldn't be content to let the guy take a well-deserved break, and chose instead to wise off to me, the vast majority of folks have been pleasant and understanding, and for that I am appreciative.

In lieu of Livin' Large (which will be back tomorrow - did I mention that?), here is our final bit: a couple of DVD Extras (if there were a DVD) - The continued search for basketball in Pisa soiled by ubiquitous graffiti (during which I show that I'm still reeling from a Xanax overdose), and a tribute to the seizure-like editing and direction of Matt Damon's Jason Bourne movies (particularly the third installment - "The Bourne Ultimatum").


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And now, the grand conclusion of the Basketbawful / Evil Ted Italian excursion. At this point in our video, we've completely lost our minds, and I've gone stir crazy to the point of having an unhealthy attachment to the real human hair mustache I purchased before the trip. Thanks Broadway Costumes!

In this installment, we scale the Leaning Tower, enjoy the outtakes, and answer a question raised in Part One.

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I hope you all didn't think I was joking. For your convenience, or to amuse yourself as we await our next fix of Livin' Large, Click Here to download IHopeRonArtestRuinsTheLaaaakeeeers.mp3

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The second installment of Basketbawful's and my trip to Italy is the most disturbing and creepiest of the trilogy (I hope). With mention of Italian gas chambers, a run-in with a naughty bidet, and ill-mannered disturbances at the Pisa Baptistry and Cemetery, here's where it gets weird.

Having pretty much given up on our effort to locate basketball in Italy, Basketbawful and I are now exhausted and punch drunk, only able to entertain ourselves with giant calzones, Stracciatella gelato (which is basically a high octane, kick-ass version of chocolate chip ice cream), and nightly doses of fun from our friends at Rifftrax. As a result of our growing weariness, our focus strays from basketball (mostly), and turns to childishness and chicanery.

Watch in horror. Don't say you haven't been warned.

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As some of you may already know, Basketbawful and I were sent by our Clark Kent job employers to the graffiti-strewn yet charming hamlet of Pisa, Italy for two weeks of grueling labor, peppered with brief glimpses of sweet, almost vacation-like freedom.

Bawful and I pride ourselves on being able to identify an opportunity, especially when said opportunity smashes us in the face with a shovel. This trip was, quite clearly, a rare chance to bring our special brand of mediocre entertainment to you on a global scale.

Here, we bring you Part One of our video, in which we conduct a not-very-exhaustive-at-all search for the sport of basketball in Pisa. Enjoy.

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While you are recovering from your Livin' Large hangover, here are a few Bawfulitos that are worth mentioning:
  • Blue-chipper Mark Madsen is stuck in the middle of a domain name theft investigation, after paying $111,000 for the stolen domain name P2P.com on Ebay. Some news stories are describing Madsen's involvement as "a good faith purchaser" of the stolen goods. Very similar to how the Timberwolves were "good faith purchasers" of talentless goods back in 2005.

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I just wanted everybody to know that the slight delay in Livin' Large posts is due to vacation-related chillaxing...which has been much-needed. Here's a blooper reel from the early 90s to tide you over. (And if this isn't enough, check out this airballs video.)

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