always dude your best! said: the other day my friend slipped up and said "amar'e stoudemizer." i think this is the best place to start appreciating that nickname.
Your wish is granted. Here’s a possible example: Amar''''''s' defense will Stoudemize the Knicks' playoff hopes this season. And next season. And the season after that…
Kody said: Does the Javaris Crittenton murder situation change your opinion on Gilbert Arenas at all?
Not really. Agent "Now Plain" Zero still behaved like an idiot before, during, and after the incident, culminating in the idiotic finger guns that (in many ways) led to his exile from Washington and devolution into a low-grade role player.
Still, it makes me wonder: Did the NBA actually barely avoid a true -- and truly damaging -- tragedy? We don't have all the facts yet, and it's possible that Crittenton is innocent. But if he isn't innocent, then he's capable of killing in cold blood. What would have happened if he had gunned Arenas down in the Wizards locker room?
Can you even imagine? Would David Stern have canceled the season in response? Or at least part of the season? That’s one possible repercussion. Beyond the fact that Arenas could have ended up dead. It’s chilling on so many levels.
So I guess the only thing it changes regarding my perception of Arenas is that he's lucky to be alive.
-Josh said: There are some plays that are absolutely bawful for everyone because of the nature of the play, but I'm curious about what is your most personally bawful single play or possession.. I'm a blazers fan, so for me it's got to be the most recent time Greg Oden's knee shattered into a million glittering pieces. Like a disco ball (seems appropriate given his age). First off, it wasn't some big important play or a big important game. He wasn't laying it all on the line. There was no villain giving him a flying dragon kick to the knee. There was nothing even remotely redeeming about this injury. Just sheer tragedy. Things were finally turning around, he was putting together some good performances, the blazers were looking good then ...
Wow. It's hard (read that: impossible) for me to choose just one. So I won't. Here are five in chronological order:
1. Magic Johnson's junior skyhook in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals. It is impossible to quantify how hard I was rooting for the Celtics back then. Seriously, I'm still battling massive internal injuries from it. The Celtics were ridiculously injured and probably would have lost those Finals to the Lakers no matter what. But had Boston won that game, it would have tied the series, and who knows what would have happened? Instead, Kevin McHale bobbled the rebound off a missed free throw, losing the ball out of bounds and giving Magic a chance to steal the game. Which he did.
To make matters worse, he hit the shot over McHale, Robert Parish, and (sorta) Larry Bird, making the shot even more immortal. And, therefore, I have to relive it over and over and over.
2. Seven games into the 1987-88 season, in Cleveland of all places, Larry Bird attempted a behind the back dribble and strained both Achilles tendons. Bird would go on to have his best statistical season...but his legs where never right after that. By the time the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals, Bird's mobility was shot and he suffered through the worst playoff series of his career. And his problems became even more apparent the following season, during which he lasted only six games before having dual Achilles surgery. Larry never was the same again.
3. Yes, I blog about the Bulls, but in the 1998 NBA Finals, I was rooting all-out for my man Karl Malone -- and John Stockton and Jerry Sloan -- to win their first NBA title. And the Jazz were so close to forcing a Game 7...then Michael Jordan pushed off Byron Russell and hit the most replayed shot in league history. But it wasn't just that play. There were a whole sequence of painful plays that led to that final, fatal, nut-shriveling shot.
For the record, I'm still pissed at Stockton for passing that ball to Malone when Jordan was so obviously lurking behind him.
4. Larry Johnson's freaking four-point play in Game 3 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals. This one still kills me. I will probably die thinking about this damn shot.
As I once wrote about this traveshamockery: This was the game that finally convinced me: God hates the Pacers. Maybe Reggie sacrificed a newborn baby after every game-winning shot, or maybe the team was cursed by gypsies for trading away Chuck Person and Detlef Schrempf. I don't know. But nothing short of Satan's dark power can explain what happened that day. Michael Jordan had retired (again). The Bulls were gone. This was to be Year 1 of the Pacers Dynasty. They were even leading the game 91-88 with five seconds left. But Larry Johnson, best known for dressing up as his own elderly grandmother, got fouled by Antonio Davis, dribbled once, took three steps, and then hit a 3-pointer. Unbelievably, referee Dick Bavetta (known around the league as "Knick Bavetta") ruled it a continuation. Johnson hit the free throw to complete a 4-point play, and the Knicks won 92-91. Instead of eventually going up 3-1 (they won game 4), the Pacers never recovered and lost the series 4-2.
Because I hate myself, here's a documentary about that shot:
5. Robert Horry wiping out Steve Nash in Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals. Look, I don't care what anybody says, the Suns were ready to beat the Spurs that year. They were. It was gonna happen. I'm telling you. Then Horry checked Nash into the scorer's table, Nash put a little mustard on the fall, and Steve's teammates Stoudemire and Boris Diaw (STAT's backup) stood up to see what happened...and got suspended for Game 5. Which the Suns lost by three points.
The Spurs went on to sweep the Cavaliers in the Finals and Nash has (gak) joined Malone, Stockton, Charles Barkley, et al. in the list of great players to never win an NBA title. And he (double-gak) leads the list of great players never to make the Finals.
Lord Kerrance said: What effect (if any) do you see the lockout having on your personal enjoyment of NBA basketball? And how will a strike change your day-to-day since you won't have to watch all those games?
Honestly, after the lockout is over, I'll enjoy the NBA as much as I ever did. I'm an NBA lifer, and whatever naivety I had about the sport died during the last lockout, probably between the time Patrick Chewing said, "Sure, we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot, too," and Kenny Anderson complained that "I was thinking about selling one of my cars. I don't need all of them. You know, just get rid of the Mercedes. ... But it's like they say: the more you make, the more you spend. And right now, without my check, I have to start getting tight."
(For the record: "John Stockton was shouted down at a players' meeting in Las Vegas for suggesting there should be any limit to the percentage of league revenues that should go to the players.")
As for how the lockout would change my day-to-day life? I guess it would be similar to right now. I don't have to get up at 4 a.m. every day. I get to do recreational things like watch movies, read books, train for the Tough Mudder in November.
I have to admit, it's kind of nice. I also have to admit, I would kind of miss doing Worst of the Night and so forth.
Dr Brian said: I'd like to know...who would win in a frosting eating contest?
A) Shaquille O'Neal
B) Eddy Curry
C) Oliver Miller
D) Latrell Sprewell, since all of his money goes to raising his dozens of kids.
Wow. That contest would put a serious hurt on the world's frosting supplies. Children everywhere would have to eat frosting-less birthday cakes for years during the recovery. Here's my take: Shaq could get injured a few minutes into the contest and have to withdraw. After taking a surprising but substantial lead, Curry would inexplicably disappear without a trace. Sprewell is just too small. So the Frosting Contest King crown goes to...Oliver Miller.
Greg Ostertag. I don't have the numbers to back that up. It's just a gut feeling.
Which ref is the personification of bawful officiating?
Ooooo. Tough one. Here are my "Worst NBA Ref" picks:
1. Dick Bavetta
2. Joey Crawford
3. Bennett Salvatore
I have to admit, it was hard to put anybody over Joey "I will eject you for laughing from the bench" Crawford, but if anybody deserves a lifetime achievement award for officiating bawfulness, it's "Knick" Bavetta. As for Salvatore, he's just plain old lousy. I'll probably do a post about worst refs soon, so more on this later.
Who is your prediction for new member(s) of the 20-10-50 club?
First, I'd like to say a belated congratulations to Blake Griffin and Kevin Love for joining the 20-10-50 club last season. Bravo, boys.
As for potential new members...well, with all that's changed about the Jazz, I think Paul Milsap could seriously threaten. Additionally, I know David West is due to be a free agent, and I could see him getting overpaid by some crap team and then putting up the required 20-10 in a 50-loss campaign.
By the way, I will always feel somewhat cheated that Chris Kaman could never score, or rebound, or stay healthy enough in a single season to join the 20-10-50 club.
Does "the custodian" remain the doormat of the NBA?
No. I think he finally earned some street cred for thumping every Heat player who walked by him while the Mavericks were ramrodding their way to a championship.
Two potentials for next NBA doormat of note would be Keith Bogans and Joel Anthony. Not because they have bloated contracts, but because they have been thrust into too-big-for-them roles on championship contenders. ANd fans just love blasting those guys.
lordhenry said: One big question: When LeBron was in Cleveland the consensus was that Mike Brown held him back along with the supporting cast. Now that LBJ has the support he wants, and Mike Brown is with LA, who do you think will be more successful this season, providing we have one?
I think that Mike Brown is a terrific defense coach...and an abysmal offensive coach. What's going to happen to L.A.'s offense under Brown as it transitions away from The Triangle? And who's going to pull the reins on Kobe with P-Jax gone? Oh, wait, Brown doesn't pull the reins on his best player. He gives that player the ball and tells him, "Coach yourself, guy!"
Assuming there's as season, I think the Lakers are going to struggle, no matter what Ron Artest says. They'll likely become a much better defensive team, but they'll be a disorganized mess on the other end.
And, anyway, Kobe’s in decline.
Meanwhile, LeBron, D-Wade, and The RuPaul of Big Men are in their primes. The Heat will be better than the Lakers. Probably much better. Which, for me, is like watching Mega Shark defeat Giant Octopus. One terrible monster may be gone, but we're still screwed.
kazam92 said: Which "classic team" are you most excited to use in NBA 2K12?
Obviously, I'm excited to use any team with Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Beyond that, using the current list, here are the teams I'm most geeked about using, in reverse chron order:
Obviously, I loved the 1997-98 Jazz. I was a huge Hakeem fan. Playing as the Bad Boy Pistons is something of a morbid curiosity, plus I want to play Laimbeer 48 minutes per game and see if he gets injured. A Sixers team with Sir Charles, Doc J, and Moses Malone? Are you kidding me? The 69-win Lakers team is a no-brainer. Ditto for Kareem's championship Bucks squad. And I've always wanted to try the 60s era Celtics and Lakers teams. Bill Russell and Jerry West in their primes!
my-eyes-are-dim-I- cannot see said: Should players be allowed to wear different designs and colors on their team shorts? I watch the NBA on TV in Europe - having not been brought up watching basketball, I honestly find it hard to recognize players. Why not allow different colored shorts for guards, centers and forwards? A great opportunity to raise awareness and marketability.
I believe that uniforms should require a certain, well, uniformity. Not only because it just looks better, but for practical reasons as well. A big part of the rationale for common uniforms is so players can quickly and easily recognize teammates. If you play enough pickup ball, you've probably accidentally passed the rock to somebody wearing the same colored shirt as one of your teammates (I know I have...many times). It can also affect defense, if you're expecting somebody to switch with you on a pick but that guy's actually on the other squad.
I could be okay with teams selling a limited number of ads (assuming they were of reasonable size) on the jerseys and shorts, but they would need to be in a specific location that would be the same for all teams.
sixtyeight said: I consider some of the modern nba rules and regulations absolutely bawful and detrimental to the purity of the game, if you could change one to make the nba a better basketball league (and less of a WWE with balls and hoops) what would it be?
You mean other than superstar calls?
Honestly, I would like to see some consistency between how fouls are called inside versus how they're called on the perimeter. Guys like LeBron, Kobe, D-Wade, 'Melo, et al., benefit greatly from the hand checking rules that were instituted several years ago. I think some of the calls are a little ticky-tac, but whatever.
What about the big men, though? In many cases, hand-to-hand combat is still allowed down low. Look at the way the Thunder players were roughing up Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol in the Western Conference Semis. If anybody defended a perimeter player like that, the dude would shoot 30 free throws. It's reduced creativity in the post, becuase players constantly have an elbow in their back and a knee up their ass.
That's the real reason post play isn't what it once was.
DieblerFever said: Who do you like on Dancing with the Stars this year?
If you were trying to bait me into commenting on Ron Artest's impending presence on the show, it totally worked. Is there a better NBA baller to feature on DwtS? Of course not. Let's face it: Whether he can dance or not is inconsequential. Ron-Ron is crazy enough to absolutely throw himself into trying to dance. He has no shame whatsoever, so there's no dance he won't try. And the likelihood that he'll say or do something that's totally off-the-wall is around 100 percent and climbing.
"Do you realize that, 5-10 years from now, Ron Artest will be standing on that stage giving almost the exact same speech? Only he won't be getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, and security will have to remove him on live TV. I can't wait."
I just had to share that.
Editor's Note: What? Your question didn't get answered? It will be. It will be. I plan to use the remaining questions as fodder for another post, or multiple posts, or another mailbag. If you have more questions, or follow up questions to these answers, post 'em.