Whatever you do, don't make Scottie Pippen angry. Why not? Because he will absolutely blast you on NBA.com. Seriously. After the Knicks traded for Steve Francis, Pippen laid waste to pretty much everybody who ever was. Himself included.

Angry pippen
Scottie Pippen: So very angry.

I don't know why Scottie's so angry. Maybe somebody took a huge, steamy dump in his corn flakes, or maybe Michael Jackson's plastic surgeon refused to fix his nose. It could be anything. But his rant reveals much of what goes on in a retired player's mind. First of all, he rags on Francis for demanding trades, even though Scottie himself demanded to be traded, many times, first from Chicago and later from Houston. He also said that Francis shouldn't have portrayed himself as a franchise player when he clearly wasn't one. Of course, didn't Pippen also portray himself as a franchise player? Someone will have to refresh my memory, because I forget how many championships Scottie won without you-know-who.

The best part of the rant was when he went after
Eddy Curry...and himself:
"Eddy Curry's success coming to New York has been about as good as my success coming back to Chicago when my career was pretty much done."
That is totally freaking awesome! I'm shedding a tear even as I write this. I may have that quote tattooed across my left butt-cheek or something. It's so true, and so sarcastic. The fact that Pippen busted on fat Eddy and himself, all in the same sentence...well, let's just say I may need to change my underwear.

My second favorite part came after Scottie tried to make sense of the Knicks bizarre personnel choices. He finally lost it and said: "What are you going to do with these guys?" (The italization was retained from the original article.) Maybe Scottie has stock in the Knicks or something. But can't you just imagine him yelling out that line, then dropping to his knees, throwing his hands in the air, and then screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" to the heavens? Okay, maybe it's just me.
Three Guard (thre gard) noun. A guard who is allowed to both bring the ball upcourt and shoot at every opportunity.

Usage example: Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are the league's preeminent Three Guards.

Word History: From the book Hoops Nation: The three guard is a hybrid of the point guard (often referred to as the "One") and the shooting guard (often referred to as the "Two Guard"). The Three Guard's name derives from the fact that he not only brings the ball upcourt, the traditional duty of the One, but he also shoots it just about every time, shooting as much as the One and Two Guards combined (1 + 2 = 3, after 3, after 3). This type of guard is crucial -- even indispensable -- to any team that wants to make sure there isn't an overabundance of passing, chemistry, or team play on their squad.

Three Guard
You just know he's thinking "shoot".
And that should probably tell you how batshit it really is. After all, this is the same guy who thought he could improve a 59-win team that was about two minutes from reaching the NBA Finals by adding chemistry-killing shot mongers like Jason Williams and Antoine Walker. That's like garnishing a steak with moon dust and Smurfs. Sure it's crazy, but it's completey fucked up too.

This just in: Clowns are scary.

Riley doesn't just think the trade makes sense, though. He's freakin' excited about it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was humping somebody's leg when he said this:
"I'm going to tell you right now I think they've turned the corner. I really do. I know all of you look at this as one of the worst things going on in New York, but they've accumulated a tremendous amount of talent. That's all I know."
I'm pretty sure he said most of that in English, but it still doesn't make any sense. The Knicks have accumulated a "tremendous amount" of talent? Has he seen the their roster? Here's a quick quiz for you, Pat. Name one Knick player who would start for the Heat. Or the Spurs. Or the Pistons. That's what I thought. Sorry to disagree with you, Riles, but the only corner they've turned is the one that leads to a bloody and brutal fan revolt. And I hope it happens soon. Actually, no I don't. Watching Isiah Thomas broker bad deal after bad deal -- smiling like a gay elf all the while -- is one of the few things that make me happy in this world. And I'm never happy.

Brown suicide
Larry Brown wants to kill himself. But don't worry.
Soon he'll just want to kill Steve Francis.

I'm not buying whatever Riley's selling. Personally, I think he's just secretly glad there's someone in the league who makes worse personnel decisions than he did last summer. Because as long as someone out there is willing to pay Maurice Taylor almost $10 million a year, he can feel a little bit better about paying Antione Walker $7 million a year...for the next...six years...dear god, what has he done...
What is it with people selling the nasty stuff that once rubbed across a basketball player's sweaty body? First it was a bloody piece of gauze that fell out of Adam Morrison's nose, now it's a game-used towel. A dirty, bloody, game-used towel.
"This is a game used towel used in the NBA!! The towel shows AWESOME usage with dirt, sweat and blood stains. Very unique item to add to your sports collection!!"
game-used towel
Okay. That's nasty.

I'm sure this is totally legit, too. Because no one could buy an NBA-licensed towel and cover it with dirt and grime. They don't even bother saying what game it was used in, or, for that matter, who supposedly used it. But forget that insanity. I want to know what sort of crazy freak would buy this thing. No one, apparently. Zero bids so far.
Phil Jackson is an asshole. Almost every time he opens his mouth, it's like little, wailing demons come pouring out. He always has something caustic to say, whether its about the officiating in a particular game, an opposing team, another coach, or even an entire city. I mean, he once made a video that compared Rick Adelman to Adolph Hitler. Adolph freaking Hitler! What's more, he even wrote a book devoted to trashing his team and its star player. Which is pretty funny, considering he's the same guy who once said "Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart." I guess that "compassionate heart" thing doesn't apply to Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers.

I don't know what the history is between these two guys. Maybe they've been involved in some kind of secret feud. Maybe T.J. had an affair with Phil's
Native American headdress. I don't know. But in one recent exchange, Phil accused Simers of wife-beatery:

Simers: "I just marvel at the way you've developed young players, so what can you do with Kwame Brown? Most people in town don't think Brown is going to amount to anything. Do you agree or disagree?"

Jackson: "I'm not going to answer that question. Agree or disagree, when did you stop beating your wife? It's a situation where a guy has to find some successful experiences to build on, and that's where we are."

Jesus, Phil! Somebody asks a legitimate question about player development and you respond by asking if he thugs his wife. That seems like a bit of an overreaction, don't you think? Simers, like most of the free world, thinks Kobe Bryant should let Lamar Odom take a couple shots a game. After hearing Phil say sort of the same thing, Simers noted it...and got blasted.
Simers: "Have you come around and started thinking like me now -- getting more points out of Lamar Odom?"

Jackson: "I hope I never have to think like you. For sure, my relationship [with Jeanie Buss] would end quickly, I wouldn't have any friends and I'd be alone in this world."
Wow. That, my friends, is superdickery.

Jackson dick
YOU...are an asshole.
White Gunner (wit gun'-ur) noun. A white basketball player who embodies the stereotypes typically associated with black players: natural athleticism, innate speed, superior leaping ability, a shoot-first mentality, and so on.

Usage example: Tom Chambers is the prototype White Gunner.

Word History:
Chuck Klosterman recently wrote an article called White Like Larry for ESPN Page 2. In it, he discusses how author Malcolm Gladwell developed the "White Gunner Thoery," which explains that there are certain "athletic" qualities traditionally applied to black players and certain "old school" qualities traditionally applied to white players. The following is is a brief summary of Gladwell's theory.
"The black/white stereotyping in basketball crudely breaks down somewhere along these lines: fast/slow; me-first/team-first; leaper/smarts and footwork; shooter/passer; ability/effort. The key psychological term here is attribution -- that is, 'What reasons do we use to account for someone's achievement?' So if we take a white player and a black player with exactly the same statistics, we might nonetheless explain their success very differently.

"More significantly, this means we ignore aspects of someone's achievement that contradict the stereotype. Hence the 'White Gunner' -- a type of player we struggle with because he is white yet simultaneously embodies all the stereotypes we've reserved for blacks. Tom Chambers is the White Gunner poster child. Rex Chapman was another example.

"In basketball, the 'face' we're familiar with is black. We code black players by feature, so we can make endlessly subtle distinctions between players: There is a David Thompson 'type,' which is quite unlike a Grant Hill 'type,' which, in turn, is quite unlike a Gary Payton 'type.' But I think we code white players by category. They are simply 'white,' and we don't make the same kind of sophisticated distinctions among them. So we miss the 'White Gunner.'"
The theory certainly explains why nearly every talented white player -- from Michael Smith to Tom Gugliotta to Adam Morrison -- has been proclaimed to be "The Next Larry Bird"...an almost guaranteed career-killer and possibly as destructive as being tagged "The Next Jordan."
The good news: Your constant sandbagging, pouting, and whining has finally paid off. Now you got yourself a one-way ticket out of town, and away from the 5th worst team in the league.

The bad news...

The general consensus seems to be that Adam Morrison is, in fact, the next Basketball Jesus. You know, just like Michael Smith, Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and that white guy who "totally lights it up" at the local YMCA. Science is currently incapable of proving the theory that someone went back in time and cloned Morrison out of the DNA left in one of Larry Bird's old shoes, but here are the things we know for sure:
1. Adam Morrison is white.

2. Adam Morrison can play basketball. Really well.

3. See items 1 and 2 above.
'Nuff said. It goes without saying (but of course I'll say it anyway) that you'd better start stocking up on Adam Morrison memorabilia and fast. It won't still be this cheap after he's inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. And what would make a better starter piece for your collection than some bloody gauze that fell out of Morrison's nose?

Morrison gauze
You can't tell because of the gauze, but Adam
bleeds sunshine and puppy dogs.

The auction description reads as follows:
"This is the game used gauze pad covered in blood from Adam Morrison. During the final 4 minutes of the first half of the NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and Pepperdine on Monday, February 20, 2006, Adam Morrison used this to clear a bloody nose as he continued to play. With seconds left in the first half, Morrison threw the pad to the sideline under the basket where I picked it up. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have."
I'm sure you'll all join me in saying: EWWWWW!!" I don't know about you, but when someone throws a bloody band-aid on the floor, I think it's usually a good idea to just leave it there. Not this guy, though. I really hope he doesn't attend WNBA games, otherwise we'll probably end up seeing Lisa Leslie's used feminine hygiene products up for sale. That would be so wrong.
eBay continues to turn our dreams into delicious candy. For only $1.99 (plus $6.00 shipping and handling), you can buy a piece of floorboard signed by Greg Ostertag.

Tag floor
Just look at that masterful penmanship...those long,
looping strokes. Greg truly is a man of many talents.

This auction is a little suspicious, though. The seller has never bought or sold on eBay before, and the auction description says:
"This was signed by Brown before the Rockets/Jazz game a couple nights ago."
What the...? Brown?! I know Greg plays like crap, but unless he is crap (and we probably can't be sure), I don't think "Brown" can be used to accurately describe him. It isn't his middle name, either. That's Donovan. Don't ask how we know this.
Wally Szczerbiak sure has taken a beating since he was traded from Minnesota to Boston. I mean, he was having a career year before joining the Celtics, but now his scoring average (20.1 to 16.6), field goal percentage (49.5 to 44.1), and three-point field goal percentage (40.6 to 32.4) are falling faster than Hulk Hogan's sagging man-boobs. And just last night he had to be carried off the court after colliding with Utah's Matt Palacio.

Wally hurt
Wally's fallen. And he can't get up.

The collision aggravated the mysterious injury to Wally's gimpy left knee, which apparently is held together by nothing more than some Scotch Tape and those foam packing peanuts. So...what happened? Why does Wally suck so much all of a sudden? The answer should be obvious to Celticologists everywhere. Wally's wearing Acie Earl's old number.

This signed pictured of Acie is only $0.99 on eBay. Get it while it's...hot.

Didn't anyone warn him? I know Red Auerbach isn't as involved with the team any more, and Danny Ainge is clearly engaged in a personal duel with Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale for the title of "General Manger Most Likely To Inspire Mass Fan Suicides." But still, letting Wally don the Big Ace's old number is like standing by and wordlessly watching your drunk friend go home with the fat chick. It's textbook superdickery.

Earltastic Extra: When Kevin McHale retired after the 1992-1993 season, the Celtics felt they needed a big man to replace him. At least, I hope that's what they thought, because they chose Acie Earl in the first round of the 1993 Draft over more talented guards like Sam Cassell and Nick Van Exel. As bad a decision as that was -- and it was bad -- it still wasn't as terrible as when they chose Michael Smith with the 13th pick in the 1989 Draft. Smith was yet another in the long line of white shooters tagged as "The Next Larry Bird", but he barely played and was cut after just two seasons. Even worse, the Celtics passed up future All-Stars Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, Vlade Divac, and Cliff Robinson to get him. They also passed up other not-quite-as-good-but-better-than-Smith players like B.J. Armstrong and Sherman Douglas (whom they would later trade for).
stat curse (stat kurs) 1. noun. The misfortune that occurs immediately after someone (usually a commentator) cites a positive statistical trend related to a given team or player. 2. verb. stat curse, stat cursed, stat cursing. Calling down evil or injury by citing a positive statistic related to a given team or player; the act of performing a stat curse.

Usage example: Marv Albert stat cursed Steve Nash last night by mentioning that Nash had hit his last six shots from the field. So of course Steve missed his next shot.

Word Trivia: How many times have you lived this experience? You're watching your favorite team play. Their star player steps up to the charity stripe for critical, game-saving free throws. The commentator casually mentions that he's 10-for-10 from the line in the game, and an 89 percent free throw shooter for the year. The player then bricks one or both of the 'throws. Yep, we've all been there. The stat curse is one of the most powerful enchantments the world has ever known. Anyone can invoke one: commentators, sideline reporters, fans, etc. However, you can't "trick" the stat curse. It only works if the invocation is a sincere recitation of an authentic statistic. For instance, you can't make
Greg Ostertag miss a free throw by saying, "Boy, Greg sure is a good free throw shooter." The stat curse knows better than that, and the dark powers may allow Ostertag to go on a free throw shooting streak, just to mess with you.

stat curse
Is Papa Shongo responsible for the
stat curse? We may never know.
Have you ever attended a live NBA game? And if so, did you ever find yourself thinking "what this game really needs is a troupe of dancing fat guys"? Because that's what the Chicago Bulls think you were thinking. How else can you explain this:

What. The. Fuck.

The Matadors are an all-male performance ensemble who sing, dance, and lead crowd chants during timeouts and selected half-time shows. According to the Bulls official website, these guys aren't just entertainers. They have huge...senses of humor!! Ha ha!! (That is secret code to say they are fatties.)
"The application for this entertainment troupe called for men with BIG energy, BIG enthusiasm, BIG pride for their favorite NBA team and, well, BIG trousers. The goal was to put together a team of 12-15 men who could bring Bulls fans to tears through laughter in the 90-second time frame that makes up what we call in this league, a full time-out. The necessary qualifications for such a mission required little to no fitness regimen, dance experience or shame."
Thank you for explaining what a "full time-out" is, puny fools. We just landed on Earth yesterday, and that was the last thing standing between us and the brutal conquest of your pitiful planet!! Anyway, I don't know how they can possibly say these proud men have no shame...

Matador tattoo
Matador Mike O. says, "Blllarrrgghlll!!"

...sweet holy Jesus!! My eyes...they burn!! Okay. They've got the "bring Bulls fans to tears" part down. Seriously, why inflict these shambling ham monsters on fans who pay good money to see an underachieving team lose night after night? Maybe they're trying to scare people into the stadium gift shops, or maybe they just enjoy making children cry. I don't know. Whatever the reason, this is a textbook case of superdickery.

Matador masked
Corie's nickname is "Fatman." His stomach is
"Robin." And no, I didn't make that up.

Corie is a security supervisor Joliet, Illinois. Accoding to his bio, he doesn't wear any underwear, probably because Hanes doesn't make a "beanbag" size. I figured since I had to suffer throught that terrifying mental image, then you should too. He claims that "grease is popping from the stove when someone is cooking" makes him feel sexy. I hate to tell him, but I think those popping sounds are probably just falling arteries.

Matador pharaoh
Egyptian civilization didn't decline. He ate it.

The Pharaoh here is a financial analyst from Naperville, Illinois. He symbolizes the grace and beauty of an ancient culture that was eaten by a giant fat man. And before you Matador groupies get any funny ideas, forget it. He's already married. Actually, most of these pork beasts are married. The part of my brain that clings to sanity is glad we don't have to see their wives, but another part of me is sort of curious. You know, the part that likes to watch the police scoop what's left of someone into a bucket after a car accident.
dunk face (dungk fas) noun. The facial expression someone makes before, during, and/or after performing a slam dunk. This is usually either a look of berserk intensity or hilarious absurdity.

Usage example: Shaq looks really goofy when he makes a dunk face.

Word Trivia: The notion of a dunk face has been around ever since
Darryl Dawkins first arrived from Lovetron to conquer our planet's backboards. However, Michael Jordan probably popularized the dunk face with his stupid stick-my-tongue-out thing. (Am I the only person who hoped he'd someday bite it off?) But now the dunk face isn't just reserved for the game's greatest dunkmeisters; now everybody -- and I mean everybody -- has a dunk face. Even Greg Ostertag [!!] has a dunk face, which I refuse to show here (mostly because I've already used that picture seven or eight times before). You can even go over to Sprite.com and create your own dunk face. Don't get your hopes up too high, though. Their system tends to freeze up a lot.

dunk face
Just call him The Big Dorktastic.
Who says Vince McMahon isn't running the NBA? This was a throwback weekend in the truest sense of the word. Seriously, you couldn't have scripted it any better than it actually played out. What am I talking about, you ask? Okay, here we go.

In 1986,
Larry Bird -- the tallest, whitest guy in the Three-point Shootout -- won that contest. A little later, Spud Webb -- the shortest player (at 5 feet 7 inches) in the league -- won the Slam Dunk Competition.

In 2006, Dirk Nowitzki -- the tallest, whitest guy in the Three-point Shootout (who is, in fact, often compared to Larry Bird) -- won that contest. This despite the fact that he never should have made it out of the first round (his final shot came after time expired...but nobody except the announcers, the audience, and the other participants noticed).

The tallest, whitest, and ugliest
Three-point Champ since Larry Bird.

A little later, Nate Robinson -- the shortest player (at 5 feet 9 inches) in the league -- won the Slam Dunk Competition. And he did it by, get this, dunking over Spud Webb.

Yeah, it's impressive. I guess. But he is only 5'7".

I mean, come on. To have not one but both of these things happen on the same night would be one thing. But to have them happen on the 20th anniversary of the last time the same sort of thing took place? This can't be a coincidence. It just can't.

What made me absolutely sure that McMahon is running the show was
David Stern's interview with the TNT cast. Did you see him? He looked like a animatronic puppet. A cheap one. I'll believe Triumph The Insult Comic Dog is a real Yugoslavian Mountain Hound before you convince me that...thing...was the real David Stern. I know Bill Simmons supposedly interviewed Stern this week, but that's just part of the conspiracy.

Which might make for a different, much scarier point. Maybe Vince McMahon has nothing to do with any of this. Maybe it's all part of a
Terminator-style robot conquest of the planet. And if that's the case, we're in more trouble than I thought. So consider this fair warning. Don't get the wrong idea, though. I'm not trying to save the world or anything. If I gave a crap about saving the world, I'd be a parking lot attendant. Or a rodeo clown. No, I'm warning you now so that when robots are walking across the landscape of our laser-blasted skeletons, I can say "I told you so."
In honor of the 10 year anniversary of the original "50 Greatest Players" list, TNT's team of expert analysts and Doug Collins presented their amendment to the list in the form of the "TNT's Next 10" special.

Tim Duncan: Can't argue with this one. 8-time NBA 1st team, 7 All-Star appearances, 2-time MVP, 3 rings, and the best poker face ever. Moving on...

Kobe Bryant: What bothered me is that Kobe, at age 27, is younger at the time of induction than anyone else on either list (edit: except Shaq). I know, I know, "But the Lakers won 3 titles because of Kobe". Just like the Bulls and Pistons won 5 titles because of Rodman. "But Kobe is one of the greatest scorers ever." If you can make that assertion based on his 28 ppg over the last 3 years, fine. But is this a list of "greatest players ever" or "greatest players right now"? In 5 years, when the Lakers return to the playoffs, or Kobe is on the all-time scoring list, or has an MVP award under his belt, (or at least hasn't went down the path of Penny Hardaway) let's talk.

Note: Charles Barkley was the lone voice of reason, saying Kobe hasn't accomplished enough at this point, and refused to put Kobe on his list over Joe Dumars and Dennis Johnson.
Sir Charles rules.

Dominique Wilkins: For 'Nique, this is his official consolation prize, the toaster oven and dish set after losing the "Showcase Showdown" that is the last 20 years of his life. I honestly expected 'Nique to lose out to Derek Harper or Charles Oakley. He tends to find creative ways to get hosed.

Allen Iverson: I was on the fence with this one at first, but, to his credit, he's a former MVP and took that god-awful '01 Sixers team (old man Mutombo was their 2nd leading scorer. SECOND!) to the finals. And, after 9 seasons, he's in the top 5 all-time in career ppg and steals per game, so it's perfectly understandishable.

Bob McAdoo: Probably the greatest journeyman ever, I've only seen him play a few times with the Lakers, when he was well past his prime. But does it make sense to leave HOFers off this list? Just typing this makes this "Next 10" list seem somewhat pointless...

Kevin Garnett: The loneliest man in the NBA is a former MVP, 8-time All-Star, and is on pace to finish in the top 25 in career blocks and rebounds. And, by looking at the T'Wolves bench, he won't have anything to show for it anytime soon. But the stat dorks at 82games.com say he's the 15th most efficient player ever, and it's hard to argue with a stat dork.

Reggie Miller: I had a fairly intense internal dialog when Reggie made this list...

Crazed Pacers Fan: Reggie Miller...is a BASKETBALL GOD! The only
question now, is Reggie: A) a basketball god or B) the greatest player

Sane Human Being: Reggie was one of the panelists for this
list, and he apparently voted for himself 10 times. Love him to death, and
at least three of my favorite playoff moments involve Reggie and the Knicks. He's hit seemingly 100s of clutch shots over the years, but
Reggie's not a superstar. Over the course of a season, in his prime he
wasn't any better than Mitch Richmond or Reggie Lewis.

Crazed Pacers Fan: Sorry, "Not a superstar" isn't one of the
options. I'll put you down for "basketball god". Next!
Connie Hawkins: Never seen him play, but if he's a HOFer and he's in NBA Street, he mustcanshoot.

Jason Kidd: Kidd is already 9th all time in assists and 20th in steals, and is 4th in career triple doubles, behind Oscar Robinson by about 982. Kidd also has the distinction of having the 2nd worst career FG% since 1970!

Gary Payton: Was labeled a bust early in his career, GP is now 6th all-time in assists, 3rd in steals. GP was also a ground-laying forefather for all trash-talking and superdickery we enjoy in the league today. To his defense, I'd probably be an asshole too if I spent the best years of my career with Olden Polynice and Ervin Johnson.

The Honorable Mention list included
Adrian Dantley, Olde Alex English, Dennis Rodman, Walt Bellamy (former Hawks are constantly screwed out of stuff), Bernard King and Steve Nash (Doug Collins had the balls to say Nash, the MVP, is a young player that hasn't accomplished enough in his career just yet. Makes sense, but then he votes in Kobe.)

In the end, like the housecat that lovingly leaves a half-eaten sparrow at your feet, TNT meant well with the "Next 10", but you're somewhat disgusted by it. It just seems wrong to leave an MVP (Nash) off the list but keep Kobe and Reggie. And there are more than a few HOFers that weren't even mentioned, but apparently aren't as good as Payton, Jason Kidd, etc. I'm sure everything would've been OK if they somehow
got Rob Gordon involved...
The ever-prescient Bill Simmons had the following to say in his latest mailbag:
"The bottom line: [the Pistons] could have won four or five straight titles with this current nucleus if Dumars didn't pass up three of the top-eight young assets in the league with that pick. As it stands, they're going to struggle to win two. That's why I believe that, other than Bowie-over-MJ, [picking Darko Milicic] was the most damaging draft-day decision of the last 20 years. And anyone who says otherwise is crazy."
We couldn't agree with you more, Bill. Or maybe you couldn't agree with us more, since we already made the Darko/Bowie comparison a month and a half ago in our Human Victory Cigar post:
"Darko was (infamously) selected by the Pistons in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft ahead of other All-Star caliber players such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade, making him the worst second overall draft pick since Sam Bowie."
Don't worry, Bill. We aren't offended or anything. You can quote us whenever you want. But please, next time, just give a little credit were credit is due. We could use the free publicity.

You took the words right out of
our mouths, Bill. Literally.
Scot Pollard is...a weird guy. Yeah, I know. Just call me Captain Obvious. But seriously, every time I see that dude, he's sporting a new, even stranger look. In fact, here's a quick quiz. Which of these famous people has Scot, at one time or another, looked exactly like:

A. Kojak.

Grizzly Adams.

Samurai Jack.

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.

Brittney Spears.

F. All of the above.

The correct answer, of course, is all of the above. What's that? You don't remember him dressing up like Britney Spears? Well, my friend, this is your lucky day. Or your unluckiest day, depending on your point of view. I give you: Scot Pollard in drag:

Scot Pollard - dress
Oops. He did it again.

Believe it or not, this happened while Scot was a member of the Kansas University Jayhawks basketball team. Apparently, they open each season with a midnight event called Late Nite. In addition to a scrimmage, the event features Jayhawk players singing, dancing, and, most importantly, "acting the fool." And honestly, who better to act the fool than Scot Pollard.

As crazy as this may seem, there was actually a point to him slipping into a lacy red prom dress. See, he was proposing to his then-girlfriend, Mindy Camp. I can think of few things more terrifying than Scot Pollard in a dress, let alone Scot Pollard in a dress proposing marriage to me. Transvestism must do it for her, though, since she said "yes."

But who knows? Pollard may have been on to something, because he became the first basketball player in KU history to score 14 points, grab 7 rebounds, and block 4 shots while wearing bright red polish on all 10 fingernails. It may be time for the Pacers to hit the "plus-size" women's section at J.C. Penney.

Pooperiffic Extra: Scot's player page at NBA.com may be the saddest, most shameful thing I've ever seen. And remember: I followed Gheorghe Muresan's career, so I know sad and shameful. Here are a few of his "career highlights":
  • Ranked 37th in Blocks in 2000-01.

  • Ranked 35th in rebounding in 2001-02

  • Made three playoff appearances, totaling 13 minutes, two points and four rebounds.

  • Missed 40 games in 2002-03 with a lower back stress fracture, and 14 games due to a fractured right hand.

  • In the final game of 2003-04, had a season-high eight points on four field goals.

To sum up, Scot's career highlights include breaking the top 40 in rebounding and blocks, playing a total of 13 minutes during the playoffs, missing half a season, and scoring 8 points. If I was Scot Pollard, I would beg the NBA to remove the career higlights section from my player page. And if that didn't work, I'd start killing people. Because I'd rather be remembered as "hard-assed mass murderer" than "lame, cross-dressing basketball player." But maybe that's just me.

Last year, former NBA player and current ESPN columnist Paul Shirley wrote an ongoing blog that was published on the Phoenix Suns' official website. After a game against the hapless Atlanta Hawks, Paul made the following observation:
"Here's the deal: When, after 60 games, the team being announced has a winning percentage hovering around the same area as most pitchers' batting averages, it loses the right to a grand entrance. No more dance team, no more theme song, no more dimming the lights. The players just walk onto the court and play the game. That's it."
While we will agree that Paul is something of a satirical genius, we must respectfully disagree with at least one component of his proposition. The Hawks deserve a dance team. Or, more accurately, the 10 or 12 fans that still attend Hawks home games deserve one. Because let's face it, watching a live Hawks game is the basketball equivalent of going to see The Constant Gardener with your girlfriend. Every moment is pure and unadulterated torture, to the extent that even the slightest hint of bare flesh might keep you from trying to scrape your eyes out with spork.

JeniThe A-Town Dancers are the best thing about the Hawks, and Jeni is the best thing about the A-Town Dancers. Maybe it's her girl-next-door good looks, or maybe I just wish to the gods above that the girl next door looked like her. Whatever the reason, I'm in love with Jeni. And no amount of anti-depressants or restraining orders can change that.

But she's more than just a pretty face and a smoking hot body...she's got one of those brain things, too. While most of the other dancers spend their free time teaching spin classes or accepting small donations in their g-strings, Jeni is an architectural designer and a project coordinator. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds really smart.

Jeni studied how to build large erections while attending classes at the
University of Florida. But like many of those nerdy types, Jeni can be a little bland. Her hobbies include a snore-arousing variety of mundane activities, such as "traveling, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and watching sports." Well duh, Jeni. You dance for a professional basketball team. We kind of figured you watched a lot of sports.

But come on. You can level with us. Anybody who looks and dresses like that has some spicy personal stories. We know those boots are made for...not walking. Please. Throw us a friggin' bone here. I mean, we can almost see your butt in that picture. Would it really hurt to describe what kind of underwear you have on? Okay. We'll stop now.

Just the color?
Microwave (mi'-kruh-wav') noun. Any player who has the ability to score a large number of points in a short period of time, usually immediately after coming off the bench.

Usage example: Tracy McGrady once scored 13 points in 35 seconds to beat the Spurs. He was a Microwave that game!

Word History: Let me set the stage for this one. It was May 5th, 1985. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The world champion
Boston Celtics versus the underdog Detroit Pistons in the steamy Joe Louis Arena. The Celtics were ahead 87-76 after three quarters and seemed destined to take a 3-1 series lead back to the Boston Garden for Game 5. That is, until Vinnie Johnson developed a terminal case of being on fire. Terminal for the Celts, anyway. In a miraculous off-the-bench scoring explosion, Johnson hit for 22 points (on 10 of 11 shooting) in the final period, leading the Pistons to a 102-99 win and tying the series. Danny Ainge, whose eyebrows were burned off during the brutal scorching, said, "If that guy in Chicago is 'The Refrigerator' (referring to former Chicago Bears defensive lineman William Perry), then Vinnie Johnson is 'The Microwave.' He sure heats up in a hurry." Unfortunately for the Pistons, Vinnie played more like The Styrofoam Container over the next two games. Not surprisingly, the Celtics closed out the series in six.

Vinnie Johnson: the original Microwave.
At 20-33, the Toronto Raptors are 13 games under .500. They're 4th (out of five) in the Atlantic Division and 11th (out of 15) in the Eastern Conference. Yet with 29 games remaining, they haven't been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. This is quite an accomplishment for the Raptors.

To what should we credit this amazing renaissance? The increasingly spectacular play of
Chris Bosh, the first-time All-Star who's establishing himself as a legitimate 20/10 guy? Nope. It's that guy the Raptors traded to the Knicks...what's his name...oh yeah, Jalen Rose! Before his new team faced his old team, Rose had to give credit were credit was due: to himself.
"I think they're hitting a good stretch of basketball and I think I take a little bit of credit because I played in a couple of those games."
Yes, Jalen. It was all you, man. Without you, the Raptors would be, like, 17-36. And they will never forget you for that.

Jalen Rose (pictured left): now making things better in New York.
Karl Malone once said, "That Greg Ostertag, he ain't worth a damn." And even though we have a deep and profound sense of respect for The Mailman, we're going to have to return that comment to sender. After all, Greg makes our lives better each and every day...just by being Greg. So this is our tribute: in no particular order, ten reasons to love that great big, goofy guy.

Tag - tux
1. Greg looks great in a tux.

Tag - slap fight
2. He's The Man in a slap fight.

Tag - pits
3. He keeps his pits trimmed and clean.

Tag - poster
4. He's willing to be "The Other Guy" in the poster.

Tag - ref
5. He never lets the referees intimidate him.

Tag - listens
6. Greg always listens.

Tag - not Kobe
7. Greg Ostertag is not Kobe Bryant.

Tag - media
8. He's (usually) friendly with the media.

Tag- hunts
9. He's a rugged, boar-hunting man's man.

Tag - video game
10. Greg always sucks. Even in a video game.
Most people will agree when I say that eBay so totally rocks. Do you need a new outfit for your Six Million Dollar Man doll? They've got you covered. Looking to make an addition to your shrunken head collection? You're in luck. Or are you just a pervert who wants sexy pictures of someone's pregnant secretary ex-wife? Not a problem. Anything you could ever want or need is probably being sold there, and you can usually get free shipping when you use the "Buy It Now" option. And let me tell you that nothing feels better than avoiding the shipping costs on your brand new fetus-shaped doughnut.

But be wary. Some things on eBay are entirely lame. For instance, someone is
charging $49.99 (plus $15 S&H) for a pair of game-used shoes that were once on Toni Kukoc's sweaty feet.

Kukoc shoe
If you hold them up to your ear, and listen very
closely, you can still hear Toni sucking.

I guess since Kukoc won those championships with the Bulls, his shoes could be considered at least somewhat noteworthy. You can't say the same thing about the auction for Corey Maggette's shoes. After all, they never walked anywhere near Michael Jordan's shoes. In fact, considering these shoes were worn by a Los Angeles Clipper, we can't even be sure they were ever a part of a winning game.

Maggette shoe
We call it "Musk of Corey Maggette." Go ahead...take a whiff!

Like the Kukoc pair, these shoes were given to the seller by a ball boy after a game. Do NBA players know that the ball boys are stealing their shoes? I mean, guys like Lebron James and Tracy McGrady have big time shoe deals, and they probably go through 20 or 30 pairs a game. But players like Toni Kukoc and Corey Maggette...these are not marquee players. They might actually need their shoes. They could be living in them someday.

Another fun little item up for sale is
a jersey issued to Kenny Anderson for the 1994 NBA All-Star Game. I couldn't believe that Kenny Anderson even made the All-Star Team, although I guess this auction is proof. But this line in the description section pretty much says it all: "This jersey was game-issued to Kenny Anderson (Nets) for the 1994 NBA All-Star game but never used." Now I get it. The jersey was never used...just like Kenny!

Andersen jersey
Kenny Anderson made the All-Star Team?!

And while it may be kind of respectable to buy someone's All-Star Game jersey, you would have to have had your sense of self-esteem surgically removed to buy a piece of the floor from an All-Star Game. But that hasn't stopped someone from trying to sell one.

All-Star floor
I'm floored someone would try to sell this. Floored. Get it? I'm sorry.

There are are only ten of these things available (at a mere $49.99 per), so you'd better act fast. The description makes the following outrageous claim: "Look at any other All-Star game floor, from any year and I believe you won't find one with more detail on it." That's kind of like a circus promoter promising that you'll never see a fatter Fat Lady than the one at his circus. Maybe it's true, but you would have to be fantastically subnormal to go out and start making comparisons.

Last, and most definitely least, is an auction for a game-worn shoe signed by Greg Ostertag. As the description says:
"I decided to sell this shoe so somebody else can enjoy it! This was signed by Greg Ostertag. The shoe is size 18 HUGE."
That's right folks. The shoe is HUGE. Just like Greg's game. The seller has requested a starting bid of $24.95 and plans to charge $20 to ship it (which is probably a bargain, since the nasty thing is the approximate size and weight of a Sherman Tank). Strangely enough, there are currently zero bids. We can only wonder why. But take a close look at the posted picture of the shoe. It accurately reflects the total worth of a shoe decorated only by Greg Ostertag's autograph.

Ostertag shoe
I'd buy that for a dollar! Actually, no I wouldn't.
whirling dervish (wurl'-eeng dur'-vish) noun. A term used to describe a player immediately after he has performed a spinning, twirling, or otherwise gravity-defying move to score.

Usage example: Did you see that 360 degree slam dunk?! Lebron James was a whirling dervish!!

Word Trivia: If you watched professional basketball from the mid-1980s into the early 1990s, you probably heard guys like
Dick Stockton and Brent Mussberger call someone a whirling dervish at least millionbajillion times. If that was before your time, go watch Michael Jordan's 63-point game (which the Bulls lost to Larry Bird and the Celtics) on ESPN Classic sometime. It was used a record 42 times that game. While it may sound like the name of a roller coaster or maybe a piece of farm equipment, the term "whirling dervish" is actually used to describe the Muslim equivalent of a monk or friar, some of which perform whirling dances and vigorous chanting as acts of ecstatic devotion. How it came to be used to describe anything related to basketball is a mystery modern science has yet to answer.

Tag falls on head
For the record, Greg Ostertag is not, nor
will he ever be, a whirling dervish.
You can find a lot of goofy things on eBay, but this listing is one of the goofiest things I've seen. Today, anyway. It's a used Gatorade bottle, but not just any used Gatorade bottle. Michael Jordan once wrapped his sweaty lips around it.

"You are bidding on a Gatorade bottle that Michael Jordan drank from during a game from the 1998, 62-game winning season with the Chicago Bulls. The game was on February 11, 1998 versus the Charlotte Hornets, at the Charlotte Coliseum. The Bulls won the game by a score of 92-90. This is a great piece of NBA memorabilia that was not only in the hands of, but also used by Michael Jordan. The bottle was retrieved by one of the ball boys after the game and has been kept in the same condition, without being cleaned or washed. Shipping is $3. Payment is due within 7 days of the auction's closing. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask. Thank you."
It's never been cleaned or washed?! Sweet!! Maybe some of Jordan's backwash is still in there. Maybe scrapings will yield some DNA samples, and we can create an army of Michael Jordan clones. Which we will then have to destroy, purely for scientific purposes. Or maybe drinking his 8-year-old spit would, like, make us better basketball players. I mean, wasn't there a movie where some kid became an All-Star by just wearing a pair of Jordan's old sneakers? This could be the Holy Grail of basketball artifacts. His used saliva could cure everything that's wrong wtih basketball. Or it could just be a fake.

I don't mean to call the seller a fraud or anything, but there's no conceivable way to prove whether or not Jordan ever sucked his sports juice out of this thing. Based on the posted picture...

Jordan Bottle

...it looks just like any other generic Gatorade bottle. You can buy the same thing at just about any sporting goods store in the country. So I'm going to need some kind of verification that this is, in fact, a relic of the Jordan Era. I suggest sitting the bottle on the ground directly against a basketball. If the ball starts to quiver and then immediately rockets towad the nearest basketball goal, you can probably assume it belonged to Jordan.
cap killer (kap kil'-ur) noun. A player with an expensive, long-term contract who has little or no current value (and is therefore untradeable) but whose salary effectively prevents his team from signing any quality free agents.

Usage example: Anfernee Hardaway was once "The Next Michael Jordan," but now he's just a cap killer.

Word Trivia: With a salary of $19,125,000,
Allan Houston is the second highest paid player in the NBA. You could make an arguement that Houston was never worth that much money, and you'd be right. But it's especially true now, considering he doesn't even play basketball anymore. Houston retired prior the the 2005-06 season, due to various injuries that had forced him to miss 94 games over the previous two seasons. Fortunately for Houston, and unfortunately for the Knicks, his money is guaranteed. Not only is he still getting paid, his salary still counts against the salary cap. Of course, the cap -- and the luxery tax imposed for surpassing it -- isn't much of a concern for the Knicks. Case in point: at $15,750,000, Anfernee Hardaway is the Knicks' second highest paid player and the 13th highest paid player in the league. That's a pretty hefty price tag for a guy who's averaging 2.5 points on 28.6 percent shooting and has only appeared in four games this season. Oh, and he only played 37 games last season too. Other notable (in the bad sense) Knicks include Stephon Marbury ($16,453,125), Jalen Rose ($15,694,250), Maurice Taylor ($9,100,000), and Shandon Anderson ($6,733,000). So it should be no surprise that the Knicks' league-leading $125,959,263 in player salaries is almost $30 million more than the next highest team. That's a lot of money for 14 wins. On a final note, Allan Houston is due for a pay raise in 2006-07; he'll be making $20,718,750.
The Pacers really know how to show their fans the love. But not with that "winning" thing that seems to be so popular around the NBA these days. No, instead they forced Peja Stojakovic and Scot Pollard to host a live chat. On Valentine's Day.

Pacers VD
Peja and Scot will always love you. Always.

You may be asking yourself "What do Peja Stojakovic and Scot Pollard have to do with a greeting-card inspired romantic holiday?" This answer may surprise you: I have no freaking idea. But they did it, and the results are equal parts insane and hilarious. I've randomly posted some of their more "inspired" answers without the benefit of the associated question. Don't get the wrong idea or anything. The answers don't really make any more sense if you know the question. I'm just lazy.
Scot Pollard: "Peja says he feels very good. He is especially happy because he is the best-looking player on the team. Personally, I'm happy to be reunited with the best-looking man in the NBA and I will continue to try and pull down as many rebounds as possible."

Peja Stojakovic: "I have a guy, Neil, who is my hairdresser in Sacramento."

Scot Pollard: "If your name is Bart, does that mean your father's name is Homer. Any person named Bart in the 20th century...that is really some cross to bear. Nice job, there, Bart."

Peja Stojakovic: "I like small serbia in Chicago!"

Scot Pollard: "In Serbia they play Donkey."

Scot Pollard: "Peja is perfect and women just wants to please him so he never has any problems. My Valentine's Days are spent mostly just basking in Peja's glow."

Peja Stojakovic: "I also pay the American taxes!"
There you have it. We now know that Serbians play "Donkey" (I just had to suppress an involuntary shudder) and Peja pays American taxes. Many thanks to the Pacers organization for answering these and two or three other questions I never had about two completely uninteresting men. Maybe next time they'll let us chat with Jeff Foster and Eddie Gill. That would rock.