"I'll always be number one to myself."
~Moses Malone

The story: Moses Malone was one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. He won three regular season MVPs (in 1979, 1982, and 1983), and he was also named Finals MVP in 1983 when he lead the Philidelphia 76ers to a four-game sweep on the Los Angeles Lakers. But for much of his career, he was an arrogant, irritable, grumbling brute of a man who had an unfortunate habit of bragging himself up while badmouthing his opponents (see below). And although Moses, by all indications, has chilled out in his later years, he'll always be number one...for me to go number two on.

"Moses does eat shit!"
~Larry Bird

The story: The Houston Rockets were playing the Boston Celtics in the 1981 NBA Finals. With the series tied at two games a piece, Moses stated pooped all over the Celtics in the press, stating emphatically that he had no respect for them. He even went to far as to say that he could pick any four guys off the playground in his hometown of Petersburg, Virgina, and the five of them could easily beat the Celtics. Moses soon learned that just like you shouldn't shoot a grizzly bear in the ass with a BB gun, you also shouldn't piss off Larry Bird and the Celtics. Boston went on to win Game 5 by 29 points, and then they finished off the Rockets in Houston in Game 6. During the championship rally back in Boston, a fan held up a sign that said "Moses eats shit". Larry smiled when he saw it and loudly agreed...much to the crowd's delight.
I've always thought of Joe Namath as a real "man's man." I mean, this is Broadway Joe! He's the kind of guy who'd wrestle a mutant grizzly bear or dive into the ocean to kill a shark with his bare hands...right?! Well, turns out he's actually the kind of guy who would dress up in pantyhose and show off his sexy legs in a nationally televised commercial.

Wow. And they say Peyton Manning will endorse anything. I was particularly amused at how they tried to validate Joe's masculinity by having some random babe lean in and kiss his cheek at the end of the commercial. But why stop there? Why not just have him scream "I'm a heterosexual!!" and start humping the chick on camera? Oh yeah...it'd probably take him to long to peel his hose off.
Thanks to the magic gremlins at YouTube, we now have direct video evidence that Kobe did, in fact, intend to hit Manu Ginobili in the face last Sunday.

In the interest of fairness, I removed my "I hate Kobe" baseball cap, my "Kobe sucks" t-shirt, my "Kobe eats live baby kittens" zubaz pants, and even my "Kobe Beefsteak" underwear (don't ask). Once I was ready to be completely impartial, I watched the video about 20 times. It breaks down like this: Kobe uses a shot fake to get Bruce Bowen into the air, drives past, elevates for the shot, has the shot stuffed by Ginobili, and then, as the players are coming down, Kobe swings his arm into Manu's face. Look, folks -- that was no "unintentional elbow," especially considering the fact that Kobe had to swing his arm wide right to clip Manu (who was beside him, not in front of him). I've played enough basketball, taken enough jumpers, and thrown enough elbows to realize that arms don't accidentally flail that way. They just don't.

And everybody should have seen this coming, considering Kobe's history of elbowery and the currrent "violence sensitivty" in the league (particulary in the wake of the Knicks/Nuggets brawl). Gone are those joyful days when Kevin McHale could clothesline Kurt Rambis and Robert Parish could sucker punch Bill Laimbeer three times in the face in front of the ref without being called for a foul. (Although it should be noted that Parish did serve a one-game suspension for that service to humanity.) The league isn't messing around this year, even if you are a marquee player: Carmelo Anthony got 15 games for his bitchslap-and-run, and Kevin Garnett even got a one-game suspension for throwing an air punch at Antonio McDyess. Furthermore, Golden State's Baron Davis, Chicago's Andres Nocioni and Phoenix's Raja Bell have all been suspended for rough play. So once again, the moral of this story is "Throw elbows at your own risk."

Unnatural Acts? Not allowed: Stu Jackson, the league's vice president in charge of discipline, provided a clear explanation of the suspension: "There was contact made with Ginobili above the shoulders. This particular action by Kobe was an unnatural basketball act. After he followed through with a shot, he drove a stiff arm backwards in a hard motion and struck Ginobili in the head." Yeah, that's pretty much what happened all right.
The Mighty Boot of Justice gave Kobe Bryant a swift kick in the ass today: L.A.'s leading chucker received a one-game suspension for rocking an atomic elbow on Manu Ginobili's dough-like face during the Lakers' 96-94 loss to the Spurs last sunday.

Shock and Awe: The announcement met with the predictable amount of bewilderment and outrage in Lakerland. In a television interview, Kobe described himself first as "surprised," then "shocked," and finally "blown away" by the league's punishment. He continuously said the blow was an "unintentional elbow," a simple accident which "happens all the time in basketball."

Of course, coach Phil Jackson immediately contradicted his star player by saying, "When a guy's going up for a shot, he's being contested, you want to draw contact...to draw the foul."

So, uh, which is it? Was it completely unintentional, as Kobe claims, or was it done in an effort to draw contact, as Phil explained. I mean, one or the other, guys; choose a story and stick with it.

Was there precedent? Said Kobe: "I haven't seen a precedence for this. There's unintentional elbows that take place in a game all the time."

Actually, there's plenty of precedent. Defenders have been complaining about Bryant's flailing elbows for the last two or three seasons. He split Mike Miller's head like the Red Sea during the 2005-06 season, and we got to watch endless replays of Kobe playing Wack-A-Mole on Raja Bell's face during the first round of the 2006 playoffs. So the league is acutely aware that Kobe likes to throw elbows, both early and often.

He isn't the first "name" player to do this. Guys like Bill Cartwright and Karl Malone used to fling elbows all the time, either while grabbing rebounds or on shot attempts. And yes, those guys -- among others -- were suspended from time to time, particularly if they drew blood or the victim was otherwise injured, as Manu was (cut to gratuitous shot of bloody Ginobili...NOW).

Manu hurt
Jesus, Manu...where doesn't it hurt?!

There was a little gamesmanshit on the part of the Spurs, as well. As soon as Kobe's elbow drew blood, Manu was rushed to the Spurs' team trainer, who tended to Ginobili's leaking schnoz in full view of TV cameras and the courtside press corps. The Spurs know that the league is keeping a close eye on things, and they aren't afraid to make an example of a star player now and again to prove a point.

Where's the star treatment? Said Jackson: "I have been a little disappointed with how Kobe has been treated as a premier player." This one little statement goes a long way in explaining Phil's worldview. He is always incredulous if his star players don't get the majority of the whistles. When the Bulls were playing the Pacers in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals, Michael Jordan tripped over his own feet while trying to set up for a potentially game-winning shot. Despite the fact that the replays clearly showed that Jordan wasn't fouled, Jackson was livid afterward. In his mind, superstars get those calls...whether they're warranted or not.

Go back and read the recap of any major playoff loss when he was coaching the Bulls or Lakers. He almost always blamed the officiating (unless it was a blowout). And he usually felt like his superstars got stiffed, even if they got 10 to 20 freethrow attempts.

Suck it up, Phil. The bottom line is that your player needs to stop throwing elbows. The league is watching everybody, and they're going to suspend players -- even players named "Kobe" -- when things get to rough. Or, if he's going to keep throwing them because it's "part of the game," then you need to accept the suspensions as part of the game, too.
Take a video camera and a couple of Laker fans from Orange County High and have them talk hoops for a few minutes. Then give them a basketball and a blue screen. Hilarity ensues.

In case you lived outside the Los Angeles area, didn't subscribe to NBA League Pass, or were forced to change the channel due to Kobe's unbearable smugness, you probably missed out on these commercials from a while back. But you also didn't have to watch Kobe, so you still made the right choice.

And whoever else you wanna name (and hoo-ev'-er els yoo won-uh nam) Waltonism. A generalization commonly used to validate a radical/inane/factless statement.

Usage Example: "Dale Davis is one of the greatest clutch performers in the history of our sport...quite possibly in all of sports. Right behind the legendary Rick Barry, and whoever else you wanna name."

Word History: This saying was brought to our attention during the 2006 playoffs, when Bill Walton semi-sarcastically addressed Dale Davis mechanically draining two fourth-quarter free throws, despite his sub-.500 free throw percentage. The idea is to protect yourself from looking like an asshat by giving your audience the opportunity to mentally list the 328,951 players that just might be better clutch peformers than Dale Davis.

The power of "And whoever..." as a catch-all disclaimer is rivaled only by "The Jeopardy Rule", which is the art of phrasing a completely ludicrous statement in the form of a question. (e.g. "Is Earl Boykins one of the best defenders in the league today?" or "Is Bob Costas a habitual pedophile and heroin user?").
Winner: In a game that could have provided legitimacy to the Lakers' questionable status as a Western Conference contender, starting point guard Smush Parker submitted a truly "gack"-worthy performance: 4-for-12 shooting, zero assists, five turnovers. Oh, and he basically stood by and watched as Tony Longoria scored seven of his 19 points in overtime to propel the Spurs to a big road win. Congratulations, Smush! We hope you keep up the bad work.

WoWknd - Smush
Uh, you're not supposed to just watch him, Smush.

Runner up: The Celtics dropped a 105-91 decision to the Washington Wizards on Sunday. While the 14-point margin was bad enough, what makes it truly horrific is that it was the team's 11th consecutive loss overall, and their 9th straight loss at home. To put this in perspective, the Celtics didn't even play this badly when Rick Pitino was coaching the team. Ouch. The only reasons this tragedy didn't rate "Worst Of" honors are because 1. Paul Pierce has missed most of the season foot injury and 2. we hate the Lakers.

WotWknd RU - Celtics
The Celtics' fall from grace continues unabated...
I've lived through the Bill Laimbeer era, the Dennis Rodman era, the Vlade Divac era, the Derek Fisher era, and now the Manu Ginobili era. Ergo I've witnessed the evolution of the flop from "gritty hustle play" to "a crime against humanity that should be punished by a brutal and public castration." And no, I really don't think I'm overreacting.

Don't get me wrong. Flops have always been infuriating, especially in the playoffs, where they can (and do) alter the outcome of a pivotal game. But until last year, I had more or less just chalked it up to "gamesmanship" (or, as Wilt called it, gamesmanshit). Then one night during a Heat/Suns game, I watched Steve Nash run into Shaq and send The Big Pastry cartwheeling into the front row.

Now, according to his official NBA.com bio, Steve weighs 195 pounds (and I assume this means "soaking wet and carrying a bag of rocks"). Shaq, on the other hand, is listed as a robust 325 pounds (and I assume this means "with only one foot resting lightly on the scale"). I'm no expert in physics, but I don't need a giant, pulsating brain to tell me that shouldn't be possible. What made it particularly ironic (and shameful) is how often (and loudly) Shaq has complained about the flop-ternity of defenders he's been dealing with over the years. And yet there he was, the biggest and strongest guy in the NBA, getting launched into the crowd by one of the smallest.

That's when I knew something had to change. I immediately called my buddies (i.e., Statbuster) and began bitching about how the refs should start doling out technical fouls on the obvious flops. Well, a story I read today confirmed my suspicion that David Stern has secretly bugged my house and hangs on my every word, because it looks like the league is finally going to crack down on flops.
[NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Stu Jackson] said the NBA is considering whether to allow its officials to impose technical fouls for flopping, which FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, allows its referees to do. Other sports, such as hockey and soccer, also allow referees to penalize players who flop.
No timetable has been given as to when the new rule may or may not come about. My guess is that there won't be any changes until next season.

Famous Fights: Since I couldn't find any really good pictures or videos of flopping, here's one of the best sissy fights in NBA history...Greg Ostertag versus Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

AK47 and Kobe

Who’s better: the Utah Jazz (28-15) or the Los Angeles Lakers (27-15)? The teams’ won-loss records are virtually identical. The Jazz have better players at key positions (Deron Williams over Smush Parker, Mehmet Okur over Andrew Bynum, Carlos Boozer over Luke Walton). The Lakers have a superstar and a deeper bench. Both teams are well-coached and play hard. So…who has the edge?


Utah Jazz: The Jazz are scoring 102.3 PPG, while shooting 47.9 percent from the field, 74.5 from the line, and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc. They dish out 25.0 APG while turning the ball over 15.5 times, giving them a 1.6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. It should be noted that they are ranked second in the league in assists behind Phoenix. They also grab 12.2 offensive rebounds per game, which is 5th best in the league.

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers, on the other hand, score 104.8 PPG on 47.5 percent field goal shooting, 74.3 free throw shooting, and 36.4 three-point shooting. They average 23.2 APG and 16.1 turnovers per game, which is a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. They rank 6th in assists. They grab 10.7 offensive rebounds per game, which is 20th in the league.

Bottom Line: The Lakers score a few more points, and the Jazz do a better job of distributing the ball and crashing the boards.

Edge: Even


Utah Jazz: The Jazz allow 99.5 PPG. Their opponents shoot 44.8 percent from the field. They grab 30.6 defensive rebounds per game, and their rebounding totals of 42.8 per game tie them for 5th overall in the league. They also average 7 steals and 4.5 blocked shots per game.

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers surrender 103.1 PPG. Opposing teams shoot 46.7 percent from the field. They grab 30.1 defensive rebounds per game, and their total rebounds (40.8) put them at 20th in the league. They average 7.1 steals and 5.4 blocked shots per game.

Bottom Line: Despite their much-publicized difficulty in defending 2-guards, the Jazz are forcing their opponents to shoot a lower percentage and score fewer points.

Edge: Jazz


Utah Jazz: The Jazz have a PPG differential of 2.8 (meaning that, on average, they outscore their opponents by 2.8 points per game). This is tied for 5th in the league. Their FGP differential is 3.1 (tied for 2nd best in the league). Their APG differential is 6.2 (they rank 2nd). Utah’s RPG differential is 5.5, which is best in the league. They’re also 1st in defensive rebound differential (3.4) and 3rd in offensive rebound differential (2.1). Their SPG differential –1.0 (29th).

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers’ PPG differential is 1.7, which ranks 9th in the league. Their FGP differential is 0.8 (11th). Their APG differential is 1.3 (9th). L.A.’s RPG differential is –0.7 (19th); their defensive rebound differential (0.3) ranks 14th and their offensive rebound differential (-1.0) ranks 25th. Their SPG differential is –1.4 (last in the league).

Bottom Line: Differentials are a better indicator of team success than the raw numbers, because they illustrate how a team performs relative to its opposition. And, according to the differentials, the Jazz play better against opposing teams than the Lakers do. Relative to their opponents -- and keep in mind that both team play in the Western Conference and therefore face the same foes -- the Jazz score better, shoot better, and rebound better than the Lakers.

Edge: Jazz


Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan are two of the best in the business. They both get the most out of what they have. Jackson may have the rings, but then again he’s always had the star power to win out.

Edge: Even


The Jazz are a more physical team. Despite the presence of a well-known creampuff (Okur), the Jazz have a number of players (Boozer, Andre Kirilenko, Matt Harpring) who are willing to bang bodies and play rough…and that’s exactly how Jerry Sloan wants it. The Lakers have a couple bangers in Bynum and Kwame Brown, but most of their players (particularly Lamar Odom and Walton) rely on finesse rather than brute strength.

Another important point is that the Lakers have a superstar in Kobe Bryant. That means they have guy who can get clutch shots and (more importantly) clutch calls.

Edge: Lakers

What does it all mean?

Even though the teams are in a dead heat based on the won-loss records and raw data, the Jazz have much better differentials than the Lakers and are a better defensive team (despite the fact that 2-guards have been lighting them up). Night in, night out, the Jazz perform more consistently than the Lakers, who have shown an alarming habit of under-performing against inferior opposition. On the other hand, the Jazz will have a major defensive liability as long as they continue to start Derek Fisher’s corpse at the 2-spot.

With the Jazz, you get the same thing every night: physical play, ball movement, lots of pick and rolls, and a solid inside-outside game. The Lakers are more of a conundrum. Their second-best player has missed a significant chunk of the season due to injury, and their performances are up and down…they’ll beat Dallas one night and loose to the Hornets the next night. Sometimes Kobe defers to his teammates and sometimes he freezes them out. They can beat anybody and lose to anybody.

The biggest problem the Jazz face is their lack of a superstar. They don’t have a closer, and they don’t get calls in critical situations. Take three of their last four losses. Two were in overtime (one of which was decided by a buzzer-beater at the end of the overtime session), and another came on buzzer-beating 3-point shot from waaaay downtown, courtesy of Gilbert Arenas. Earlier this season, the Jazz lost to New York in overtime on a buzzer-beating layup by Stephon Marbury, and they lost two other games by one point each. If they have a closer, that’s a potential six game swing in the won-loss column…which is huge.

My final word is this: The teams are very, very close. Overall, I think the Jazz are the better team but the Lakers have a trump card in Kobe Bryant. If they get matched up in the first round, either team could win, but, as much as it pains me to say this, I see the calls…and the series…ultimately going to the…

Forget it. I can’t say it. But I think the numbers prove that this Jazz team isn't a fluke or a fraud. They're going to be in the mix all season, and once the playoffs get here, well, anything can happen.
I reeeeally wanted to make fun of Jerry Stackhouse's rendition of the National Anthem. But it's actually pretty good. Who knew?

I wonder how this happened. I mean, was Jerry asked to sing the anthem or did he just, you know, walk up before the game and announce "I'm doing this"? Because we all know Jerry is a little, well, psycho. Remember when he ambushed Jazz rookie Kirk Snyder outside Utah's team bus a couple years ago? Or when he beat up Christian Laettner on the team plane when the two were playing together in Detroit? Look, if a guy like Stackhouse wants to sing, you let him sing...no questions asked. After all, it's easier to put up with crappy singing than have extensive dental reconstruction.
Kobe pain 2
Our prediction? Playoff pain for Kobe and the Fakers.

Our buddy Craig over at The Association quite gleefully pointed out that the Phoenix Suns -- who are 33-8, have won 30 of their last 32 games (with the two losses coming in overtime on a 54-point explosion by Gilbert Arenas and at the buzzer on a killer Dirk Nowitzki jump shot), and have had winning streaks of 15 and 14 (and counting) games -- are 0-4 against the Western Contenders. In this case, "Western Contenders" refers to the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers. I have a few problems with this definition:

Problem 1: The term "Western contenders" is, by its very nature, absurd since the Eastern Conference doesn't have any championship contenders this season. Yes, yes, I know...a team from the East is going to make it to the NBA Finals by default. But let's be honest: that team has as good a chance of winning the title as I do of travelling back in time and wrestling away Britney Spears' virginity from noted pop star and weenie-boy, Justin Timberlake. It just isn't going to happen. So let's stop pretending that there are Eastern and Western Conference contenders. There are contenders, period, and those teams are all in the West.

Problem 2: Craig lists the Lakers among the contenders. He wisely clarifies that pronouncement by stating "I know the Lakers are more like a distant 4th best team in the West." I feel the need to refute this proclamation on a couple different levels. For instance, shouldn't the Jazz be considererd the 4th best team in the Western Conference? After all, they have a better record than the Lakers, and they've notched wins against all the West's best teams (Mavs, Suns, Spurs, and Lakers). The Jazz also have a winning road record (13-10), whereas the Lakers are sub-.500 away from home (8-11). Go back and find an NBA champion who won less than half their road games (here's a hint: there isn't one). It should also be noted that the Jazz have played more games on the road than at home, whereas the Lakers have played more games at home than on the road. So if the Jazz have a better record, have wins against the other "contenders" (including the Lakers), are a better road team, and have played more road games than the Lakers...shouldn't they rightly be considered a better team?

Craig doesn't think so. He said, "I'm not counting Utah as a contending team in the West. Since the 12-1 start they are 16-13 and can't keep guys from dropping 50-spots on them...they are a fraud!" Those are harsh words, and not entirely justified. Let's apply this reasoning to the Lakers. They started out 14-6 and have gone 13-9 since. Statistically speaking, there isn't much of a difference between 16-13 and 13-9. And don't forget that the Lakers got to play 15 of their first 20 games at home, which played a huge part in their quick start. As for guys dropping 50-spots on the Jazz, I seem to remember Gilbert Arenas dropping a 60-spot on the Lakers...with one of the league's "best defenders" Kobe Bryant guarding him (and then making pouty comments to the press afterward).

Anyway, yes, the Jazz have given up four 50-point performances this season. But here are a few factoids on those games: 1. they all happened when the Jazz were the road team, 2. the first two (from Michael Redd and Kobe Bryant) came on the second night of back-to-back games (and teams tend to surrender more points on "second-night games"), 3. the third one (from Ray Allen) came in overtime (and he didn't eclipse 50 until the extra session), and 4. the fourth one (from Gilbert Arenas) didn't happen until Arenas hit a buzzer-beater to win the game (and thereby reach 51). So in those four games, the Jazz went 1-3, all on the road, with one loss in overtime and another on a buzzer-beater. Not to mention the fact that that the scoring explosions all came from shooting guards, who since last season have been put under some kind of federal protection (and if you're wondering, those players combined for over 60 free throws in those four games). Frankly, considering these circumstances, and the fact that these guys were being guarded by Derek Fisher's corpse, the Jazz did a good job holding the dudes under 70.

All defense of the Jazz aside, I don't think Utah can contend for a title. They're a well-coached team with a lot of sturdy, above-average role-players, but they don't have the star power to be a serious contender. The Lakers can't, either. By the numbers, they're ranked 5th in the West, and depending on who you ask, they're probably the 4th or 5th (or possibly 6th if Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady get healthy) best team. They're well-coached, have a group of hard-working players, and have the league's best scorer. They're going to give someone a good tussle in the first round of the playoffs. Heck, if they get matched up against the Jazz, they might even make it to round two. But that's where the dream will end. The Lakers don't have the talent up front (Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum? Seriously?) or the floor leadership (Smush Parker? Uh, no.) to contend for the title this year. They just don't. It would take serious injuries to Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tim Duncan for me to raise my estimation of the Lakers, and I can't see all three of those guys going down.

As for the Suns: I agree with Craig that the Suns shouldn't be put into any all-time great lists just yet, and honestly, I haven't seen as much of that as you'd expect...especially from an over-eager press corps that is ever-ready to crown a team showing even the faintest glimmer of greatness (and the Suns are showing much more than a glimmer right now). I believe there are two reasons for this. First, I'd like to think that what happened with the Pistons last year taught the prognosticators a few lessons. Second, the Suns are neck-and-neck with the Mavericks right now, and there's little to choose between the two teams. With both of them on a roll, hyperbole becomes even more ridiculous than usual.

But as for the 0-4 record against the "contenders," well, I take that with a grain of salt. First off, they still have seven games left against those teams -- four of which come in the last two weeks of the regular season -- so there will be several opportunities left to make a statement. And secondly, they could go 0-11 against those teams and it wouldn't matter. It's all about the playoffs. The 1983-84 Boston Celtics were swept in the regular season by both the Philidelphia 76ers and the Lakers, the other two "contenders" for the '84 crown. It didn't matter. The 76ers were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Celtics downed the Lakers in seven games to with the championship. Or how about the 1994-95 Houston Rockets? They were 1-5 against the contender Spurs, 2-3 against contending Jazz, and 0-2 against the Eastern contending Orlando Magic. Yet they beat all those teams en route to the 1995 title. If you want a more contemporary example, well, you made a big deal about the Miami Heat's record against contending teams last year, and yet we now live in a world where Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, and Jason Williams can correctly be called...champions. And even though a part of my soul died to admit that, it's true.

The Suns have every component necessary to win a title. They are wonderfully coached, blessed with a truckload of talent (especially with the return of Kurt Thomas and Amare Stoudemire), and have the two-time MVP Steve Nash playing at his absolute best. And yeah, I ditched the quotes you used, because Nash is the real deal. If you can't see that by now, then you're either lying to yourself or you just don't know basketball. Forget the 19.5 points and 11.6 assists; we've seen that before. But he's shooting 54 percent from the field (including 49.8 percent from 3-point range)...as a point guard! (Meanwhile, Lakers fans and the press are ooohing and aahing over how Kobe is shooting a career-high 47 percent from the field...which, frankly, isn't nearly as impressive considering Bryant's comparitive physical gifts.) Nash's assist-to-turnover ratio is 3.2. He rarely ever takes bad shots or throws bad passes...at this point, he's like a basketball machine, and he's playing the game as well as it can be played.

Does this mean the Suns are going to win it all? I have no idea. We're only halfway into the season. Nash could break his ankle tonight, or next week, or a month from now. Of course, so could Dirk, or Tim, or Kobe. Frankly, I'm not going to bother with making predictions until a little closer to playoff time. Right now I'm just going to enjoy watching the games, reading the box scores, and taking my nightly bath in goat's blood while I relentlessly stab my "number 24" voodoo doll and cast evil wicca curses on the Lakers.

Basketbawful's Playoff Guarantee: Craig thinks that the budding Suns/Lakers rivalry and combined with L.A.'s size gives the Lakers a legitimate shot of unseating the Suns in the playoffs. No way. Did the Lakers front court give the Suns problems in the first round of last year's playoffs? Absolutely. But it should be noted that 1. the Lakers still lost, and 2. the Suns now have Thomas and Stoudemire healthy. The Lakers size is no longer an issue. If for some reason these two teams meet in the playoffs, I personally guarantee that the Suns will prevail (barring major injuries to key players). If the Lakers somehow pull off the upset, I will wear a Lakers t-shirt for a week.

It goes without saying that Reggie Miller is a God among men, and His every action -- be it a game-winning three-pointer or even a simple fart -- should be given lordly praise and due reverence. Well hark and listen, mortal fools! Shortly after the Indianapolis Colts defeated the New England Patriots to earn a trip to Super Bowl XVILZwhatever, the clouds parted and the heavens shook with the power and majesty of His mighty voice:
"All the pressure is on [Bears quarterback] Sexy Rexy. I don't think [the Bears] have enough offense. All the pressure is off Peyton, because his arch-nemesis, his Lex Luthor, his Kryptonite, has been Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They have solved that. Now in South Beach, on a neutral site, in warm weather, you are not going to stop Reggie Wayne and Marvelous (Marvin) Harrison. You're not going to stop those two. It won't even be close. They're going to destroy Chicago. Destroy Chicago. It won't even be close."
So speaketh The Reggie. Okay. Maybe He was a little drunk when He said all that, but can you blame Him? Historically speaking, life as an Indiana sports fan is like being a heterosexual male at a lesbian biker bar: sure, they'll let you into the party, but you're only going to get your ass kicked and go home with an inoperable case of blue balls. So when your team finally gets to go home with the lipstick lesbian who was just kind of confused about her sexuality, a little celebration is perfectly justified. Anyway, feel free to get a second mortgage on your house and bet it all on the Colts...the almighty is on their side.

Miller also touched on another point that the press hasn't been talking about: how Tom Brady is a classless douchebag failed to congratulate Peyton Manning after the game.
"I'm a little miffed that when the game is over and Peyton is looking for you, that you run into the locker room. I'm a little miffed at that, knowing how hard this man has struggled and you've been the guy who has always knocked him down. C'mon. Show Peyton a little love."
It's true, too. After the game, Brady just turned around and stalked off the field without a backward glance. Our clumsy human words can't begin to describe what a dick move that was. Here's a guy who's won three Super Bowls, and he can't just suck it up and be gracious in defeat? It's sad. Do a quick Google image search for "Tom Brady and Peyton Manning" and you'll find several pictures of Manning congratulating a victorious Brady after the Colts' past playoff failures. Manning stood tall and took his medicine -- and heaps of criticism for "choking" in big games -- but Brady wouldn't.

And how was this not news? After getting sacked into oblivion in last year's playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Manning stated the obvious: the Colts had protection problems. Going into this year's playoffs, the press was still skewering him over that comment. And the so-called "Manning Face." And about how he throws his arms in the air and shakes his head when he's frustrated. These things have been used repeatedly as Exhibits A through Z in the case of "Peyton Manning is a choke artist." Yet when Tom Brady yells at his receivers for dropping balls, or when he throws his water bottle down in disgust, or when he stomps off the field like a spoiled child who just had his Optimus Prime taken away...the press either looks the other way or uses it as further proof of how badly Brady wants to win. Why?

Simpy put, there's a double-standard in our society for "winners" and "losers," and it carries over into the sports world. If you lose and complain about something, you're a whiner. If you win and act like an asshole, you're just "intensely competitive." For example, when the Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers, they mocked their fallen foes by imitating San Diego's Shawne Merriman and dancing on the Chargers' team logo. When the Chargers' superstar and league MVP LaDanian Tomlinson -- who's a real class act, by the way -- complained about it, he was immediately labeled a sore loser and the Patriots antics were more or less dismissed as the "exuberant celebration of a team that had just won the biggest game of their season."

It's the same kind of hypocrisy that allowed Michael Jordan to relentlessly abuse his teammates without taking a significant hit in popularity. So what if he beat up on teammates and made them cry... he just wanted to win! Even if it meant punching out Steve Kerr over a game of Tiddly Winks. And in America, nothing is as important as winning and being a winner. After all, if you don't win "the big one" (whatever that may be), you will be remembered as a loser and all your accomplishments rendered meaningless.

I guarantee you that, if situations were reversed, if New England had prevailed and Manning had left the field without congratulating Brady and the Patriots, he'd be getting eaten alive in the press, and we'd never hear the end of it. It would be brought up year after year...until Manning finally won a critical game, of course. Which is what he did on Sunday, and now all the critics are backpeddling and talking about Peyton's redemption and how he's finally achieved greatness. Well guess what, people? Manning was always great. Just like Dominque Wilkins was, and Charles Barkley was, and John Stockton and Karl Malone were, and Jim Kelly was, and Dan Marino, and so on and so forth.

And yeah, Brady's great too. But greatness shouldn't give you the right to be a bad loser. Hey, everybody called out the Pistons in 1991 when they walked off the court without congratulating the Bulls for finally beating them en route the the NBA Finals. Brady should be called out too...and I guess that's what I just did.

Photo-tastic Extra: Since I can't show you a picture of Tom Brady shaking hands with a victorious Peyton Manning, Here's a picture of Brady getting sacked by a Colts defender. It's my favoritest picture right now. Is that because it looks like Brady's being anally violated? I think I'll keep that to myself...

Brady F'd
Suck it up and give the man a reach-around, Tom.

Coaching Superdickery: Where did Brady come by his superdicker? Could it be...his coach, Bill Belichick? Watch "The Genius" (apologies to the late Lenny Poffo) totally ignore Peyton Manning and then give the least helpful post-game interview of all time:

Let's not forget about how he brutalized that camera man a few weeks ago:

And afterwards? He dropped an F-Bomb while explaining the assault:

We really should expect more from a winner. But we don't.
scalper's night off (skalp'-uhrs nit ahf) noun. Any regular season game that is of little or no interest to the general public and even most hard core fans. As a result, an ample supply of legally attainable tickets are readily available.

Word Usage: It's scalper's night off, so we should be able to get tickets to the Bobcats when we get to the arena.

Word Rant -- Miami Heat Edition: The Miami Heat have played on national television more than most teams in the league, and in most cases the result has been textbook "scalper's night off"; empty seats galore, Shaq sporting a giant honking windsor, and Jason Kapono playing 40 minutes a game. We've speculated that Pat Riley and the boys have already taken the first half of the season off and, by glancing at the stands, it seems as if the fans have followed suit.

Thankfully TNT and ESPN spared us the sight of last night's Heat/Knicks game, complete with an apathetic Isiah Thomas and a gimpy-kneed Stephon Marbury. This was compounded by Dwayne Wade sitting out with a bum ankle. The wrath of Udonis Haslem quickly buried Zeke and friends with a 40-12 first quarter clubbering and, unless you're some sort of machochist, you stayed far away from this one.

scalper's night off
Want a romantic evening alone? Go see the Bobcats.
You have to love anything Gheorghe Muresan does...except, you know, actually playing basketball.

Myheritage.com helped us out with the casting for the never-to-be-released Cleveland Cavaliers movie. As soon as we find a script, budget, producer, director, cinematographer, editor, dolly grip, key gaffer, Screen Actors Guild representative and dog handler, I think we'll be ready to roll.

Chris Tucker as LBJ: Unquestionably talented and entertaining to watch, but we frequently catch ourselves trying to find a reason to be completely annoyed by what we're seeing. And then there's Chris Tucker...

Bob Saget as Zydrunas: Too bad Craig Ehlo isn't around. He'd make a great Joey Gladstone.

WWE's Carlito as Anderson Varejao: You also have two guys who get paid to travel the country and trade elbows with sweaty seven-footers for 15 minutes at a time. But at least Carlito gets cheered for it.

[hat tip: hoopsvibe.com]
Hollywood rumor mill Mediatakeout.com (also known as Drudge Report for dummies) reported last week that romantic sparks are flying between Yao Ming and actress Nia Long, citing reliable sources. If by "reliable sources" they mean from the depths of their own rectum. From Nia Long's perspective, Yao's irresistible Shanghai-ality would be a significant upgrade. C'mon, she can do better than a convicted felon or a jokeless comedian in a fat suit. But Yao, who reportedly fell in love with Nia while watching "Fresh Prince" reruns on Nick At Nite, was quick to squash the rumor...

''Isn't it too ridiculous?'' Yao told a Beijing paper. ''I saw the news on Internet. The writer is so good at hoaxes. What's that? She's only 1.57 m. (5 feet, 2 inches). I'm [7-6]. Does it sound reasonable?''

Yes. That is the only thing that makes this sound unreasonable.

Don't get your hopes up. the Hollywood couple of "Ni-Yao" won't be following in the footsteps of Brangelina, Bennifer, Vaughniston, Tongoria, Quandy or Filliam H. Muffman. We'll have to settle for pastry-stealing centers and mohawks to get our entertainment fix. Sigh...

The caption is Chinese for "not f'n likely"

Public Relations Nightmares: As a Pacer's fan, I was willing to give Stephen Jackson away. And they kinda did. Some may say Stephen Jackson's game has "steadily regressed" since his Atlanta days. He also isn't someone you would call "fan friendly" or "coachable", and some would even say he "scares small children" and "may be mildly retarded". Mike Dunleavy compounded his disappointing play in Golden State by being a douche, but at least he hasn't shot anyone lately. Advantage: If the Pacers get 10ppg out of the biggest douche in the league, I'll call this a draw.

Jump Shooting Big Men: Everyone gushes about how versatile Al Harrington is, which is understandable. A big man that can shoot the J and play all three frontcourt positions is an intriguing prospect. But he's always been on my overrated list since he doesn't block shots and is a shaky rebounder. Not to mention he can be wildly inconsistent (a guy in the fantasy league went so far to call him "bi-polar"). Troy Murphy got 14 and 10 when playing starter's minutes last season, and should compliment Jermaine nicely since he has no interest in scoring in the paint. Advantage: Golden State, but it's closer than you think.

X-Factor: Sarunas Jasikevicious has been completely misused in the Pacers system. He's better suited for a Jeff Hornacek-like combo guard role, but Rick Carlisle seemed intent on keeping Sarunas on the bench while Jax and Marquis Daniels took turns posting incredibly mediocre numbers at SG. He may become a forgotten man in the Warriors backcourt logjam. Using some "dumb math", if Ike Diogu stayed at his career averages and played starters minutes, he's almost a 20-10 guy. At age 23. Take that for what it's worth. Advantage: I like Ike's upside. Pacers.

Marginal throw-ins: Josh Powell and Keith McLeod will enjoy having front-row seats for the next 3 months.

Take a few people that have a passing knowledge of pro basketball. Then casually mention to those people that the Charlotte Sting, one of the WNBA's inaugural franchises, has officially closed shop this month. You can already expect plenty of "Who?"s, and you may even get a "didn't they move to New Orleans?" or even "there's still a WNBA?"

You'll never hear WNBA execs speak about how successful the league has been, because they would be lying. Although the league expanded to 14 teams last season, their overall attendance is down nearly 10% since 2004. The Chicago Sky kicked off their debut season by averaging a record-low 3,000 heads per game..lower than professional lacrosse and the Arena Football D-league! People like to call the WNBA a "niche sport", but that niche isn't getting the bills paid.

It never fails. Sometime around April or May, you will find your typical NBA broadcast peppered with those stubborn "girl power" WNBA ads
that target a demographic that doesn't really exist. These ads fail miserably in getting the average joe any more interested in the product than he was in 1997. It's like seeing a commercial for another Air Bud movie.

Although the WNBA has cornered the lucrative 18-45 year old lesbian market, their marketing to the casual sports fan has been disastrous. It seems as if no one in WNBA headquarters is asking a very simple question: "Why aren't guys watching?"

One dunk every five years just doesn't cut it. The average woman in the US is about 5-6 inches shorter than the average man. As a result, the women's basketball is smaller than the men's ball. However, the rim is still set at ten feet. I can understand the cost of adjustable rims, but the WNBA (or college for that matter) shouldn't have this problem. This basic mechanic causes the women's game to seem limited, even to the most casual viewer. It's like what the NBA would be if there wasn't a single player taller than Steve Blake. As a result, the WNBA isn't very highlight-friendly, unless you enjoy seeing a perfectly executed pick-and-roll. Above the rim play is what rejuvenated the men's game in the 1970's, and it can do the same for the women's game.

Probably the closest thing we've seen to this is Houston's "Comet Girl"
, which combines superheroes, skimpy outfits, blondes, and dunking. Sure, you have to wait until halftime to see a dunk during a WNBA game, but yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. (By the way, do NOT type Comet Girl into a search engine. You've been warned.)

Stop refusing to be sexy. Occasionally a player makes a half-hearted attempt to emerge from the asexual WNBA yawnfest, but it never goes anywhere partly because former president Val Ackerman has staunchly stood against using sex to sell an unsellable league. Winners of Playboy's sexiest WNBA player contest have all balked when offered to pose, or later posed for an Australian magazine no one's heard of. Hell, Sue Bird offered to let a Seattle radio station spank her. But that's the extent of it.

The WNBA has shown little interest in making the "sexual awareness" jump that both women's tennis and the LPGA (the friggin' LPGA!)
have successfully made years ago. Seriously, if I'm seeing more upper thigh at a Utah Jazz game than a WNBA game, something is horribly wrong. I'm not calling for a gimmicky fix like spandex uniforms (aka basketball-kinis), but for now can we at least put a restriction on the length and bagginess of the uniforms? And then we work our way up to the WNBA swimsuit calendar, or the spread in Maxim? (and I hope Chantelle Anderson is listening...)

Don't get me wrong. I want the WNBA to succeed, but I'm realistic. Sports are a form of entertainment. And, in that regard, the current WNBA falls painfully short. But any change to the core WNBA product causes traditionalists to scream "gender equity" and declare such revamping as a blow to women's basketball as a whole. But isn't it a bigger blow to women's basketball if the WNBA, the most ambitious professional women's league in history, collapses due to its refusal to innovate and win over a market that refuses to watch?
"Something bad must have happened to me as a child with dog poop."
~Kobe Bryant

untradeable (un-trad'-a-buhl) adjective. A word used to describe a basketball player who cannot be traded, usually because the cost and length of his contract are far greater than his actual value on the court.

Usage example: Since Chris Webber was untradeable, the 76ers had no choice but to buy out his contract.

Word Miscellany: You know, 11 PPG, 8 RPG, and 3 APG aren't bad numbers...for your 6th man. But if you're paying this person $21 million for the current season and you still owe him $22 million for the next season, you may feel as if something large and uncomfortable has been shoved -- without the benefit of any lubrication -- into your rectum. Particularly when the guy is 33 years old (going on 80), chokes under pressure, hasn't played defense since puberty, has 0.7 knees left, has missed 11 of your last 14 games with I-don't-want-to-play-itis, and is the kind of douchebag who can't even show up on time for fan appreciation night. Did I mention he's only shooting 38 percent from the field? At this point, he's not even a shell of the shell of his former self.

And it's even more incriminating that an infamous ballhog like Webber wouldn't play even after 40+ shots per game became available via the Allen Iverson trade. Now he can every American's dream: being paid millions to do nothing. There's no doubt his agent is scrambling around to get him signed up with a "contender" (although I guarantee none of the two or three teams with a legitimate shot at the title will actually want him). I'm sure Webber will say that it's all about winning. That's only partly true. It's all about getting his shots, getting paid by two different teams, and getting a sort-of-maybe chance to win. Screw you, Chris.

Hey Chris...that's the sound of no one wanting your sorry ass.
Jason Kidd, who once beat up his wife Joumana over a french fry "while holding a container of yogurt in his hand," has filed for divorce. Apparently, Kidd was the beaten man, a victim of "extreme cruelty" and spousal abuse. Joumana's abusive behavior included, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Making him look bad in front of his kids

2. Spilling paint on his golf clubs

3. Sitting on his car (making him late for practice)

4. Waving his cell phone and punching numbers

5. Taunting

6. Lavish spending
I can only imagine the kind of personal hell Jason's life has been through all of this. I mean, have you ever tried to hit a ball out of the sandtrap with paint on your clubs?! But we live in a society that doesn't protect men from spousal abuse. The law just kind of laughs at you while shaking its head condescendingly, and complaining to your buddies that your wife is kicking your ass on a regular basis will only make you sound like a huge, flapping vagina. I once complained about a girlfriend punching me and received a tube of Vagisil from my roommate. So what's an abused man to do? I have a few possible suggestions for Mr. Kidd, in case he changes his mind and decides to reconcile with Mrs. Kidd:

Suggestion 1: Avoid physical confrontations: This may be difficult for normal people, but Jason's job requires him to travel for six to eight months out of the year. Of couse, that still leave four to six months of intolerable pain and suffering, but Jason...you're rich! Buy one mansion for her, and one for yourself. And hell, why not buy one for the kids, too? You've got the cash. In fact, you could probably hire a scientist to create a clone or robot duplicate or something. Let that poor sap absorb all the abuse, then you can swoop in for the make-up nookie.

Suggestion 2: Going to a domestic violence shelter or women's refuge: If you go to a domestic violence shelter or women's refuge, you can receive heartfelt support and psychological counselling with full confidentiality guaranteed. And even if the social workers tell you that your marriage is a hopeless mess that's best left abandoned, at least you'll be surrounded by scores of vulnerable hotties who are probably looking for a new relationship and won't make too many demands.

Suggestion 3: Turn the other cheek: Before Jesus began baking bread out of his own skin, he gave a Sermon on the Mount
. It went something like this:

"But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Look Jason, I'm not telling you to just go and start giving alway all your tunics and cloaks to just anybody. That's crazy. But this is your wife we're talking about. I'm pretty sure you signed a "for better or worse" contract when you bought her. So when she bitchslaps you across the right cheek, just do what Jesus said and turn your head so she can get a shot at the left cheek too. Because if you don't obey the Bible, then Saddam will come back to life and the terrorists will win.

(Here's a true story. When I was in college, a buddy of mine went to Sweden to attend Bible school. While he was there, he and several of the other students went down to the town square and sung hymns. Some of the local tough guys didn't like that, and so they started heckling the group, which was comprised mostly of women and the kind of men who go to Bible school -- interpret that however you want. Anyway, my friend confronted them, and, despite the Swedish history of wartime neutrality, one of the tough guys bitchslapped my friend. But being a God-fearing man well-versed in scripture, he remembered Jesus' advice and turned the other cheek...only to have that one bitchslapped as well. He turned his cheek again, and he got slapped again. This went on for several minutes, until my friend collapsed into unconsciousness. Afterward, he called me from Sweden -- which, at that time, was something like $153 per minute -- to proudly tell me about getting his ass kicked in front of his friends, just like Jesus would have done! This story always cheers me up.)

Suggestion 4: Learn self-defense: Okay, even if you become a lethal weapon of justice, it's still not okay to punch women. But being a karate master is still pretty cool, right?

Suggestion 5: Grow a pair: Far be it from me to call a legendary professional athelet a wuss. But Jason, seriously, grow a pair. Paint on your golf clubs? Lavish spending when you're worth over $100 million? These things do not qualify as "extreme cruelty." Extreme cruelty is when you wake up tied to your bedposts and realize your penis was cut off
in the night. Now that's cruel. Your wife telling the kids' that Steve Nash is a better point guard? Not so much. So take back your nutsack and suck it up. And if you don't want her to spend your money or use your phone, tell her no. Once she's done screaming at you, tell her no again. Then drink a glass of warm milk and take a nap. When you wake up in the emergency room with your you-know-what dangling by a single strand of tattered skin, then you'll have learned an important lesson: do not take advice from bloggers. And that's a lesson that will last...a lifetime.

Fun penis facts: Did you know that Wikipedia has an entire entry devoted to penis removal
? Or that the penis removal entry leads to an entry for penis panic, which is a condition in which an individual is overcome by the belief that his penis is retracting into his body? But don't worry; there are no medically documentated cases of penis retraction. You just have a small cock. Sorry.

Fantastic Bitchslap Extra: Google's image search feature can sometimes uncover a comedy gold mine. For instance, here's a picture of Mr. Fantastic, leader of the Fantastic Four, bitchslapping his wife, the Invisible Woman.

Fantastic Slap
Confessing to your affair with Aquaman? Not a good idea.

I don't know why I find this picture so amusing, but I do. You have to wonder, though, how does Mr. Fantastic get away with spousal abuse? Is it his genius intellect? Is it his status as a superhero? No and no. It's because he has absolute control over the size and shape of every body part. Superman might be able to reverse time by flying around the Earth, Batman might have a utility belt full of Bat-vibrators and Bat-nipple clips (just ask Robin), and Spiderman might be able to spin a web of lust. But can they hit the g-spot every time?

Mug-tastic Extra: The Kidd divorce saga is obviously getting a lot of coverage, and most of the stories are featuring pictures of Jason and Joumana together. This is all good and well, but wouldn't a mug shot be even more fun? I think so. Remember how I mentioned Jason bludgeoned his wife after a heated french fry debate? Yeah, well, he got arrested for that...

Kidd Mug
Trouble in paradise, Jason? Get it? Paradise? I'm sorry.
I'm sure you've read all over the basketblogosphere, Diddy threw Gilbert Arenas an insanely overproduced birthday bash over the weekend. Complete with an ice sculpture in his image and Vanilla Ice, this was a party that would make any spoiled 16-year old from Beverly Hills totally jealous...mainly because Diddy sampled most of his party ideas from My Super Sweet 16 season one.

I found this intriguing not because it was booked by some acne cream spokesman, but because when eye-witnesses described Gilbert as "a kid in a candy store", it just re-emphasizes the fact that Gilbert still doesn't completely realize this could be his everyday life..if he wanted. Gil tends to come off like a slightly eccentric person, at least in the typical NBA player sense. Think Adrian Monk, combined with Comic Book Guy with a dash of John Kusack from High Fidelity.

For starters, on road trips, Gilbert goes into full hermit-mode in his hotel room...and it's not even to watch porn!

"There's nothing out there for me. I don't know those cities....I'll watch three or four movies. I'll watch infomercials. The last thing I bought was this colon cleanser. I just got talked into it. I'm like, Man, he makes it sound so good."

So then one would assume that, at home he would be surrounded by his harem while lounging in one of his diamond-encrusted swimming pools, right? Not before he stops at Best Buy on DVD Wednesday...

"I have so much entertainment going on in my house that I don't need to go out...I don't need to go to the movies if I own all these movies. I don't need to go out to a game because I've got all these video games. I don't have to leave my house to have a conversation because I just hop online and have fun with my friends, talk trash, and do whatever we're gonna do right there."

As I sit in my pajamas eating a Fig Newton, I grow concerned for Ol' Gil's social life. I mean, is it possible that a bachelor who happens to be a pro athlete with unlimited income not be interested in the half-naked groupies on his doorstep?

[interviewed while playing two-man Halo in his bedroom]
GILBERT: You can't see very good. I'll sit down on the floor if you want.
TOM: No, I can tell you like to play on the bed. I'll stay here.
GILBERT: I just started sleeping in this bed after three years. I used to sleep over there.
TOM: Where? On the couch?
GILBERT: Yeah. I trained myself to sleep on the couch.
TOM: Why would you do that?
GILBERT: You know.
TOM: Not really.
GILBERT: I don't like women all up on me, touching me. So I get up and go.
TOM: Yeah?
GILBERT: Then they get up and go. [points to the video-game screen.] Stay there. Wait for me behind that door.
TOM: What door?
GILBERT [shaking his head]: I discovered that women don't like that much.

[hat tip: Esquire]
Okay, this happened eight months ago, but I couldn't not comment on it here. Last May, our good buddies Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were hanging out at the Bellagio nightclub in Las Vegas. They were doing what you'd expect a couple rich guys to do: hanging out, sipping expesive drinks, smoking cigars. But before you could say "Holy homoerotic hijinks, Batman!", the two legends were dancing on a table. And by "dancing" I mean "grinding on and humping each other." Yikes. Kinda gives a new perspective on Jordan's upcoming divorce.

Go to SilverJacket for the full story, and watch the video evidence...if you dare.

Anybody watching last Friday's Mavs/Spurs showdown was treated to yet another classic Waltonism. Midway through the third quarter, Manu Ginobili hit a nice driving layup to give the Spurs a 76-73 lead...and Bill Walton once again lost his mind:
"The Spurs are literally unbeatable!"
The Spurs would go on to be literally beaten 90-85. Which, much to my dismay, led to Mark Cuban doing the "sweaty groin rub" thing with Josh Howard.

groin rub
Winning can be very...gay.
There are certain things that are treated by comedians and comedy writers as universally funny. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Farts or poop (sights, sounds, and/or references)

2. Midgets

3. Men getting punched, kicked, or otherwise hit in the groin

4. Monkeys

5. Men dressed as women

6. Fat people (usually falling down or comically eating fattening food)

7. Male prison rape (or the threat thereof)

I'm completely serious. These things are always used for the cheap laugh...and they usually succeed. Next time you go to a comedy movie, I guarantee that at least three of these things will occur. Remember the farting scene in Blazing Saddles? The midget in Happy Gilmore? The prisoner snuggling with Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary? The entire plot of White Chicks and Little Man? I'm not sure why this is. Either there's something written in our very DNA that makes it an absolute biolocial imperative for us to laugh at a fatty falling off a treadmill, or we laugh simply because we know we're supposed to laugh at certain things, like Hulk Hogan in a ballerina costume.

Anyway...if you enjoy the most basic tenets of comedy, the you should enjoy watching Bear, the Jazz mascot, destroy his genitals and then try to play it off.

swag (swag) noun. A very high degree of belief in one's own abilities; extreme self-confidence.

Usage example: Gilbert Arenas really let his swag hang out when he dropped a 32-foot, buzzer-beating, game-winning bomb on the Milwaukee Bucks last night.

Word History: Swag is a shortened version of the word "swagger," with a slightly modified meaning. It was seemingly coined by Gilbert Arenas about Gilbert Arenas. After
downing the Bucks at the buzzer with an improbable shot from area code range, Arenas said, "My swag was phenomenal." Said teammate Antawn Jamison, "We call it swag. Gil has a great amount of swag out there." But was is swag, exactly? You can't call it confidence, because it's more like a sublime and otherworldly self-assurance. It isn't overconfidence, because Arenas really has been walking the walk lately (just ask Kobe about the 60 Gilbert "chucked" on him, or ask the Suns about the 54 that ended their 15-game win streak, etc.). It isn't arrogance either, because Arenas hasn't been rubbing it in or degrading his opponents. In the end, having swag is just being really freaking good at what you do, knowing it, and enjoying the hell out of it.

That, my friends, is pure swag.

Update: We received a comment from an anonymous reader that said:

"Good definition, but definitely *not* coined by Gilbert. The word has been around for years--it's a hip hop word that is slow to be discovered by the usually overwhelmingly non-hip hop blogosphere. See, for example, Jay-Z's (even then, mainstream rap) song Dec. 4 (released 2003). In fact, 'swag' is just short for 'swagger,' which the OED defines as "the action of swaggering; external conduct or personal behaviour marked by an air of superiority or defiant or insolent disregard of others." Sounds like Gilbert."
Wow. Now I totally feel like an out-of-touch, uninformed cracker. I thought "swag" was probably some sort of hip hop slang, but I was too lazy to do any research. I just checked Urban Dictionary, where one (of the many) definition of swag is "To move over an area of surface with C.A.S (confidence, appearance, and style) by taking steps with the feet at a pace slower than a run." That's the closest match they had, and it kind of describes what Arenas does after he hits a big shot. I also checked several online rap and hip hop dictionaries, but none of them had any entries for swag. If only we could get a definition from Gilbert himself...
Let's see here. The Miami Heat are currently a very disappointing 13-17. That's "good" for ninth place in the dreadful Eastern Conference, a couple games shy of making the playoffs -- if, you know, the playoffs started today. The team was already without Shaq (knee surgery) and Dwyane Wade (his vagina hurts), and now Antoine Walker and James Posey have been deactivated indefinitely because they didn't meet a team conditioning goal (that's basketball parlance for "thier fat asses couldn't break the doughnut habit").

And just when you thought that things could be get any worse for the defending champs, Pat Riley is taking
an indefinite leave of absence because of ongoing hip and knee problems.

Uh huh.

Look, I don't mean to be cynical here, but this is the same guy who a few years ago dumped his coaching duties on Stan Van Gundy during the pre-season when it was obvious the team sucked. But then Wade ended up being much better than expected, and the team recovered from it's 0-7 start to win 42 games. Then they got Shaq. And, well, you know the rest.

Now things kind of suck again, so Riley is taking a page out of Shaq's book and going on vacation for the not-so-fun part of the season. I can just imagine The Big Coffee Break having a meeting with Riley and saying, "Dude, just take 20 or 30 games off like I do. You'll come back refreshed and ready to dominate. Seriously."

I know he's a coaching legend and all that blah-diddy-blah. But at this point, Riley seems like he has a bad case of basketball-related Attention Deficit Disorder. He got tired of coaching a bad team, so he quit coaching. He got upset when the team didn't win a title in Shaq's first year, so he replaced pretty much everybody but Shaq and Wade (and yeah, I know it worked, but still...). Now the team is old and sucking, and suddenly he needs some time off to soak in Ben Gay. Funny how his physical condition wasn't an issue before the team started falling apart. I mean, his hip and knee weren't hurting him a few months ago when he was doing his victory dance...