Zeke apparently thinks the $10 million dollar sexual harassment lawsuit looming over him is just an over-budgeted episode of "Punk'd". Teflon Thomas laughs in the face of adversity. Literally. Don't you know who he is?!?

"$10 million? Hah! I owe Jerome James, Malik Rose and Jared Jefferies $20 million this year, and I only got a BJ from one of those guys."

Zeke later set some sort of record by offending both blacks and whites in under 30 seconds via videotape! This brings up an interesting question. If Jason Kidd called Mariah Carey a b*tch, would it offend everyone equally? Are Edward Najera and Wang Zhi Zhi capable of offending anyone?

Fun Fact: Cracked.com took a long hard look at the unmitigated failure that is the New York Knicks and ranked it as only slightly less disastrous than the Star Wars Holiday Special from the 70's. Which makes sense. One premise is centered around a family of 7-foot tall statuesque sloths. The other is based on the Chewbacca family.

The Hollywood equivalent of the New York Knicks.

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Tim "I hate gay people" Hardaway has changed his anti-butt sex stance. In fact, he's done a complete 180. Thanks to the wonders of modern spin control education, his public image freefall has been halted by a soft, fluffy pile of gay love. And he has the perfect answer on how to keep transgender children safe. I have no idea what that answer is, but Tim has it. Just another sign that the NBA cares.

Seriously. You can't hate this.

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Ever wonder what kind of questions the non-superstars get asked at the All-Star Game? Then this video should enlighten you. We may not know what it's like being Adam Morrison, but now at least we know that sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not...and that's everybody, you know?

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The new season of "Dancing with the Stars" kicked off this week, and I'm beginning to wonder if they should rename this show. If the only "stars" you can immediately recognize are Wayne Newton and a retired Spice Girl, they are just misleading people.

Anyway, Mark Cuban debuted last night, and for those who didn't know who Mark Cuban was, Kim over at televisionwithoutpity.com summed it up better than I ever could:

"He explains that he started a site called broadcast.com, which sold for billions of dollars, and now he owns the Dallas Mavericks. He also clearly thinks a lot of himself, and I kind of hate him."

Cuban, catatonic grin and all, upheld the tradition of proud dancing NBA personalities and pulled off a surprisingly not-horrible performance. And all of this on a surgically repaired hip! But, if you're familiar with the rules of pickup basketball, you can't just mention an injury...you have to sell it.

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There are a lot of things that irritate me about playing basketball. Bad shots, errant passes, cheap fouls. Those are just occupational hazards that are part and parcel of the sport. But there are plenty of other petty annoyances that can suck the fun out of your weekly pickup game. Here are my top ten pet peeves that have nothing to do with actually playing pickup basketball.

1. Man stink: Back in the 1960s, The Jetsons showed us an amazing future rife with technological marvels: Flying cars, robot maids, and jobs that consisted entirely of pushing a single button all day long. Guess what? Hanna-Barbera lied to us. I sat in Chicago traffic for over an hour last night, then I had to go home and do my own laundry, and a quick glance at my keyboard tells me my that job is 104 times more difficult than George Jetson's. Nevertheless, there are at least two technologies that we've mastered since the 60s: Deodorant and mouth wash. These are simple products available at almost any convenience store. Better yet, they take only seconds to use. However, there are always one or two guys that reek of body odor and halitosis. I guess stinky people can't detect their own foul stench. But this isn't Europe. Daily showers are pretty common in this country. Aren't they?

man stink
Yes. You stink.

2. Untrimmed fingernails: Basketball is a very physical sport. Factor in the general clumsiness and lack of coordination of the average pickup basketball player, and it's highly likely that you'll get thugged at least once during a game. That thugging will be even worse if your attacker is armed with unsightly man claws. I've walked away from pickup games looking like I got a Swedish massage from Freddy Krueger. Look, if you're not a reasonably attractive woman and we aren't engaged in an aggressive display of physical intimacy, I don't want your fingernail tracks down my back. Clip those freaky things.

long nails
Please trim those before you guard me.

3. Shirts and skins: Thanks to the wonders of Mighty Science, we now have bionic suits for the handicapped, robot nurses, flying beds, clothing that can give us a hug, and machines that can create drinking water out of thin air. But despite these modern miracles, the best method we've devised for telling two teams apart in pickup basketball is for one of the teams to be half-naked. You know, I once played in a pickup league where you had to have two shirts: One light and one dark. Once the teams have been determined, one group put on the light shirts, and the other group put on the dark shirts. Yet despite the amazing simplicity of this system, I've never managed to implement it in any other pickup league. The most common reaction is, "I'll never be able to remember to bring two shirts." It's amazing these junior Einsteins can even remember how to tie their shoes or drive their cars to the gym. The only thing I can figure is that they enjoy seeing the bare, bloated bodies of the hairy, middle-aged men they hoop with.

shirts and skins
There has to be a better way...

4. Body hair: I'm not talking about manly tufts of Chuck Norris-style chest hair; I'm talking about stringy, carpet-like, Teen Wolf-style pelts. Maybe I've been conditioned by years of seeing hairless men on the cover of Men's Health, but I find sweaty, matted hair disgusting, particularly when it's rubbing against me in the low post. Now, I'm not suggesting that my fellow players should endure the crippling pain of waxing or the embarrassment of a full-bodied shave. But a little manscaping would be nice. Here are some basis questions that will help you determine whether you have a body hair problem. Does hair poke out of your collar and sleeves like it's trying furiously to escape? When your arms are pressed firmly against your sides, is a clump of armpit hair still clearly visible? Can you braid your back? If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, it's time for a trim.

body hair
Unless it's Halloween, I suggest some
serious manscaping, immediately.

5. Showing up late: Sometimes a latecomer is welcomed with open arms. This happens, for instance, when you've got nine guys and need a 10th for a full-court, five-on-five game. However, there are other times when some schmuck shows up and causes a chain reaction in which the teams have to be totally restructured to fit him in. This inevitably leads to you getting removed from a good team and "traded" to a team full of guys who shoot granny-style and constantly dribble off their own feet. Look, if your tardiness is going to screw over everybody else in your pickup league, you're honor bound to turn yourself around and head home in shame.

6. Injuries: Last week, I was helping a friend move. Some idiot had parked in front of his car carrier, so we couldn't back the moving truck up to it. Since we're men, we didn't bother to knock on doors so we could find the driver and ask him to move his car. No, we decided to just drag the 1,500-pound car carrier over to the moving truck. Suffice to say, I blew the hell out of my back. I still went to my weekly pickup league, even though I couldn't stand up straight and could hardly walk. Naturally, I made a fool of myself and received from fellow players what every man hates: Pity without mercy. In other words, they gave me words of sympathy right before they took it right to me. Injuries can suck in other ways, too. Like when you have exactly 10 guys and somebody twists a knee or sprains an ankle. You try to act like you care about his health, but what you're really thinking is, "I hope this dude gets back up so we can finish the game."

Nothing throws a wet blanket on
the night quite like an injury.

7. Water fountains: Physiology tells us that the human body is about 70 percent water. Basketballogy tells us that number can drop to as low as 10 or 15 percent after a few pickup games. This means that rehydration is of the utmost importance. However, unless you brought along a bottle of water or some Gatorade, you're at the mercy of your gym's drinking fountains. And that's not a good thing. Drinking fountains were designed by sadists to provide a weak, flimsy dribble of lukewarm water. Technically speaking, it provides enough water to sustain you, but it never satisfies. Is it that hard to design a drinking fountain that emits a full stream of cool, refreshing water? Apparently so.

drinking fountain
Expect water. Don't expect satisfaction.

8. Sweat: The human body is an amazingly efficient biological machine. You eat food and it becomes energy. You drink water, and it becomes...well, it becomes something really important on its way through your body. However, the downside is that what's left of the food and water has to come out. Normally, this only affects your poor toilet. But if you're a volume sweater, it affects everybody you play basketball with. Your nasty man juice will get all over the ball, defenders, and teammates you bump into on your awkward drives to the hoop. Hey, I'm a sweater too. I know you can't control the amount of perspiration your body spits out. But you can bring a towel and mop yourself off from time to time.

9. Ass gas: Men are not, by nature, healthy eaters, and I know a few guys who like to power up with a pre-game repast that consists of a Big Mac or a few burritos from Taco Bell. Unfortunately, such a meal typically results in regular bursts of noxious flatulence. Walking into a warm cloud of another man's musty butt vapor is bad enough under normal circumstances, when you can at least hold your breath until the ass fumes fade peacefully away. But sprinting up and down a basketball court tends to leave people out of breath, which means you end up sucking in two or three solid mouthfuls of some dude's anal emissions. Not pleasant.

Neat trick. Don't bring it to the league.

10. The weather: Men like to keep things simple. We tend to go to and return from our weekly pickup forways wearing what we play in. Unfortunately, that often means trudging through puddles of water and drifts of snow wearing shorts and a tank top. Then we end up tracking water, snow (which quickly becomes dirty water), and mud all over the court, turning it into a cold and slippery deathtrap. And don't forget, walking all hot and sweaty out into the chill of winter is a good way to end up with a crippling case of pneumonia. Of course, these annoyances assume you actually get to play inside somewhere. If you play outside, well, you're just screwed.

Yep. You're screwed.

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Sometimes, something happens in your life that reminds you there are still some good folks walking amongst us in the human race. That happened to me, Evil Ted, over the summer.

But let me take you back: years ago, I would annually attend one of my local art fairs. One of those years, I met Jerome Fulton, an artist whose work drew me immediately for its unique style, not to mention it's basketball angle. Jerome would take pro basketball imagery and integrate it into his painted outdoor scenes...tough to explain, easier to show...

Here's one of Jordan, rightfully head and shoulders above Barkley and Rodman.

One year, I said to Jerome "You should do that with Larry Bird. It's a perfect style, with Larry being a country boy from Indiana and all." (I quietly added "and with me being a huge Larry Bird fan and all."). Jerome told me to find him some cool pictures of Larry, and said he might give it a try. On the off chance that something would come of it, I noted Jerome's address on my receipt, left the pictures in his mailbox, and forgot about it.

Jerome disappeared from my local art fair very soon after, moving on to bigger and better things. Then, one day a few months ago, I received a call. It was Jerome. After lo those many years, he re-opened an envelope he hadn't touched since after he had first received it. Inside, he found those Larry Bird pictures, a note from me, and some inspiration. The rest is history.

On the phone, Jerome told me of an art fair where he was presenting that weekend, and he wanted me to have the original painting he had made from the pictures I had left in his mailbox so long ago. I was stunned and thrilled.

"Art In Motion"

Look close and you'll see Larry and Magic fighting for position on the lower right, Larry and Dr. J on the lower left (Basketbawful loves the image of Larry grabbing at Dr. J's wrist, as it shows some of the "dirty work" Larry had to do). What does Mona Lisa have to do with basketball? Beauty. Art. The art of the game. Call it what you want. Larry's playing was a work of art to me, so the connection easily holds up.

Thanks to Jerome. And to the rest of you bawful readers out there, I hope you have the good fortune to come across at least one Jerome in your lifetime.

Jerome (http://www.fultonsart.com/) told me he would manage to ship orders to anyone who is interested in purchasing a print. And if you tell him Evil Ted sent you, he will give you a whopping zero percent discount.

Ok, time for me to slither into a corner, weep like an infant, and watch Little House on the Prairie.

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An extreme sports enthusiast interviewed Greg Ostertag a few years ago and posted the "results" on YouTube. Greg, as it turns out, responds to questioning about as well as he played defense, but we do learn a few juicy tidbits that add to The Legend of Ostertag. These morsels include the fact that he won't impersonate Jerry Sloan (probably out of abject fear), loves Halo (so he must be geeked), can't participate in extreme sports (because he's too tall), and thinks Denny's "happens to be the American...uh...pastime." Also: The fine for missing Jazz practice? $25,000. No wonder AK47 wants out.

The interview starts at about the one minute mark.

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shug (shug) noun. A simple gesture of good will that begins as a handshake and seamlessly transitions into a hug-like, semi-embrace. This act should last no more than one to three seconds, and it is often accompanied by a firm slap on the back and whispered words of affection, encouragement, or challenge. Also referred to as a "man hug," this gesture is used both as a pre-game greeting and as a sign of post-game celebration (with a teammate) or courtesy (for an opponent).

Usage example: Today's NBA players always shug before the opening tip.

Word Trivia: I could write an expansive list that outlines the do's and don'ts of shugging another man, but what's the point? Let your schlong be your guide, my friends. If your Buster McThunderstick remains as cold and unmoving as an ancient Egyptian obelisk, then all is well. If, however, your purple-headed meat scepter begins to shrivel and squirm around like a kitten dropped into a bucket of acid, then something has gone terribly wrong and the shug should be aborted immediately (if not sooner). In case you're a eunuch, here are a few simple examples that may assist you in future shugging endeavors.

Wrong: The following shug starts out with far too much intimacy. Gazing longingly into another dude's eyes is more like the prelude to sweaty, man-on-man action than a stouthearted sign of virile camaraderie.

"I'll never forget those sunny Dallas
days...or those hot Dallas nights."

Right: You can see that Manu Ginobili is about to slap Tony Parker on the back -- always a plus -- and that his eyes are rolled up in a disdainful look of "I do not enjoy touching other men in this way, but sportsmanship demands it." This is a textbook shug.

Shug 2
"I am doing this only because I must."

Wrong: Here Kevin Willis commits the cardinal sin of shugging: Going too far too fast into a double-armed bunny hug complete with his head dipping down onto Tim Duncan's shoulder. You can tell Tim is trying to disassociate himself from this womanly act, as well he should.

"Uh, you need to get off me man..."

Right: Michael Jordan wasn't just one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, he was also one of the best shuggers of all time. Notice that his hands never open during the shug; they remain resolute fists of fury that can, if needed, be used to bludgeon his fellow shuggee into a shapeless, pulpy mass. Note also that he's sharing a few words with Reggie Miller, probably something along the lines of "I hope you're ready for a serious ass-kicking."

shug 4
"You know I have to kick your ass now, right?"

Wrong...and right: This is a full-bodied, head-gripping embrace between Kobe Bryant and former teammate Robert Horry wacko-madman Stephen Jackson. This is about as wrong as a shug can possibly get, short of the two men actually grinding their genitals together. However, astute observers will notice that Kobe is clearly wracked with anguish and (!!) crying. And there's everything right about that.

Kobe cries
"It's so cold. Please hold me."

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calorie cap (kal'-uh-re kap) noun. A theoretical limit on how much weight a basketball player can gain before he loses the ability to compete and/or fails to reach his potential.

Usage example: Michael Sweetney was waaaaay over the calorie cap last year. And the year before that. And the year before that...

Word History: The term was coined by the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls to describe Stacy King's colossal ass. According to Steve Smith's The Jordan Rules: "[The Bulls coaching staff] felt [King's] upside remained substantial, even if his backside did, too. The players would taunt King about staying under the 'calorie cap.' 'Calorie cap problems,' someone would invariably say to him during practice." King was indeed a rampaging pork beast -- by 1991 standards. However, Oliver Miller came along a few years later and created a new Gold Standard for NBA obesity. And then he ate it.

Other notable calorie cap offenders include post-Seattle Shawn Kemp, post-Milwaukee Vin Baker, Robert "Tractor" Traylor, Jerome James, and Shaq.

Update: How could I forget William Bedford (thanks Josh), Eddy Curry, and Zach Randolph (thanks anonymous)?

calorie cap
Oliver Miller remains the Gold
Standard for fat basketball players.

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Got one

If the NBA has taught us anything, it's that basketball players don't commit fouls. Oh sure, fouls get called all the time -- at a rate of about 22 per game last season -- but nobody ever actually commits one. All body contact is totally legal and that slapping sound was all ball. Tim Duncan's goggly-eyed stare has become the defacto symbol of a world in which fouls are like Easter Bunnies and zombie movies that aren't awesome: They don't exist.

Well, monkey see, monkey freakin' do. Pickup ballers emulate their NBA counterparts by expressing indignant disbelief whenever a foul is called on them. Winning an argument over a foul is like lawyering in a high-profile murder case: You have to convince everybody, beyond a shadow of doubt, that your defender is guilty.

The Basics

1. Make a pained facial expression: Star Trek's Mr. Spock has always been one of my favorite sci-fi characters. The cool thing about Spock was that he was completely unfazed by human emotion. You could tell him that you anally violated his pet Tribble, and he'd just raise an eyebrow and say, "Fascinating." But despite the cool haircut, pointy ears, and greater-than-human strength and endurance, Spock never got laid. This is partly because Captain Kirk was banging everything that wasn't tied down or on fire. But mostly it's because it's impossible to trust someone who doesn't emote with their face. Let me put it this way: Do you trust zombies? Killer robots from the future? Dick Cheney? Of course you don't. But it isn't because they want to feast on living brains and conquer your feeble human world. It's because their facial expressions never change. And that's just creepy.

2. Grunt and/or cry out: When Bruce Willis takes a bullet in the face, he doesn't scream. He doesn't even wince. Instead, he dramatically sticks his foot through the bad guy while rasping out something totally rad, like "Yippee ki yay, [demeaning expletive of choice]!" But here's the thing: You aren't Bruce Willis. What's more, everybody knows you're not Bruce Willis. So nobody's going to believe that you got fouled if you endure it in grim silence. You don't need to go all William Shatner -- "Oh...my god...I've been...fouled!!" -- but you'd better bring a little noise.

3. Call the foul: This is absolutely essential. In most cases, it won't matter how obvious the foul is; if you don’t call it, it didn’t happen. Period. Your head could explode in a grisly shower of blood and brain chunks, and the other team will just boogy downcourt while what's left of your body is twitching on the floor. Call it out loud and clear, immediately after the fact. If the ball makes it to half court, your chance may be lost.


4. Glare: Never underestimate the power of a hateful glare. Look at your defender like you just found out he slept with your sister and your girlfriend. At the same time. The glowering hatred oozing out of your pores will convince most of the other players that something truly unforgivable has been done to you.

5. Warm them up: If you miss a couple shots or get bumped off some rebounds, mumble under your breath about how you got fouled but you're letting it go. That way, when you finally do call the foul, everyone will be expecting it.

Advanced Tactics

1. Get mad: Showing frustrations doesn't work, and being merely irritated just won't cut it. You have to get full-on "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" mad. It helps if you're big and scary to begin with. If not, you might have to do something more elaborate. You'll need the following supplies: Green contacts, some old clothes, a body builder, and a bucket of green body paint. Before you go to your pickup league, paint the body builder green and dress him in torn purple trousers. Have him stand outside the gym door. The first time you get fouled, bend over and shove in the green contacts. Spin around with your eyes wide open and start groaning. Stumble out the door while yelling, "No! Nooooo! I'm changing again!!" Once out of sight, start ripping your old clothes while making a "nreeeeeeeeeerrrrr" sound. Have the body builder growl menacingly, then storm in and start rampaging around. It would be best if he knocks over something big and throws at least one person (preferably the guy who committed the foul) across the gym. Then he should flex at everybody and run down a deserted alleyway (although you should be gone by then). I personally guarantee that nobody in your league will mess with you ever again.

2. Curse...early and often: The well-timed swear word can be indispensable during a foul pitch. Just make sure you sound thoroughly disgusted as you say it. Visualization is key. Pretend somebody just dumped a bucket of writhing insects down your shorts, or that you found a human finger in your Big Mac. You should also use curse words selectively. "Damn" should be used to indicate you would have hit the shot had you not been fouled. "Shit" denotes a generic sense of disgust regarding your defenders cheap tactics. "Fuck" is a sign of growing rage at your continued mistreatment. "Goddamn it" will let everybody know that you're mad as hell and you aren't going to take it anymore.

3. Drop, flop, and roll: Most of the time, a foul that doesn't result in major bloodshed or the loss of a significant appendage is considered ticky-tac, and will result in a notable loss of manhood. You might as well tell everybody you're wearing a pink lace thong under your hoopty shorts. It'll help if you took a Theater 101 course in college, and thus understand the basic tenets of method acting. However, watching some old pro wrestling DVDs will teach you everything you need to know (I suggest The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection). When possible, try to wheel your arms around and then hit the ground with a loud, solid thunk. The crazier your fall and the harder you hit, the easier it will be to believe you just got thugged. You'll probably have to limp or shuffle around for a little while afterward, otherwise people will totally know you were faking.

4. Fake a serious injury: There’s no better way to get somebody off your back than to drop to the ground, grab the body part of choice, and scream out something like, "Noooooo, my ankle!" I've found joints are the best "serious injury" body parts, particularly the knee and ankle, since that could be a "career-ending" injury. Screw up your face, moan like a little girl, and writhe as much as possible. However, you cannnot recover quickly from this one. Limping up and down the court won't cut it. You'll need to leave the court and maybe sit on the sidelines for a while. If you hammed it up too much, you might even have to leave for the night. But trust me, your effort will not have been in vain. Your team will be given the ball back, no questions asked.

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If there were two guys in the 80s you wouldn't have expected to find dunking on each other in a solitary game of one-on-one, it would have been Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge. But Reebok begged to differ, to the point where they made an entire commercial that centered around such a dubious scenario. The "dunks" are filmed in that sad, look-away manner that suggests poor DJ probably had to jump off a folding chair just to reach the rim.

The best part of this particular commercial is the ending, where the two men smile and pull into an embrace that's gayer than a fanny pack full of rainbows. I guess Danny is just a better man than me, because I'm not sure I could hug a guy who just dunked all over me.

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Thanks, Red.

I know this sounds strange, but Greg Oden's season-ending injury isn't just a heaping helping of poop gumbo for the Portland Trailblazers. It's a clear sign from God that the Boston Celtics' Curse has been lifted.

Think about it. Had the Celtics won the draft lottery and gotten the number one pick -- as they'd hoped, wanted, and tanked for -- Danny Ainge would have selected Oden and kept everything else pretty much the same. Which would have meant that, once Oden's knee spontaneously disintegrated, the Celtics would have fielded the same craptastic team that won only 24 games and had an 18-game losing streak last season. That would have been as catastrophic to the Celtics and their fans as Oden's health has been to Oden's career.

Speaking of which, isn't it ironic that the Trailblazers won the draft lottery and selected the one player that, while it's probably still too early to tell for sure, is starting to look like the new century's Bill Walton, the team's last number one overall pick? Seriously. Like Oden, Walton had unlimited potential and could have become one of the greatest centers ever, but injury after strange injury limited him to five and a half season's worth of games over a 10-year career. In Walton's first two seasons alone, he broke his nose, foot, wrist, and leg. He once broke his foot (for the umpteenth time) while riding an exercise bike -- which is better than breaking your knee sitting on a couch, but still. Even in his great MVP season of 1977-78, he played only 58 games due to injury (imagine how the blogosphere would erupt if something like that happened today).

Although, truth be told, Oden's case is even worse than Walton's. At least Big Bill had four reasonably healthy seasons at UCLA, during which he was one of the best college players of all time. Oden didn't have a single healthy season at Ohio State; he had wrist surgery before his freshman year even started. He still played very well for the Buckeyes (15.7 PPG and 9.6 RPG), but certainly not great (which everyone blamed on the fact that he wasn't fully recovered from his wrist injury). Then he missed most of the summer league because he had his tonsils out, and now he's not even going to play his rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his knee. And that kind of surgery means that he might not ever be as good as he possibly could have been. The final book on Oden is far from written, but...wow.

The poor Trailblazers sure have had some rotten luck over the years. You can put this tragedy right up there with their failure to defend the title in '78 (thanks, of course, to a Walton injury), drafting Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan in the '84 draft, Clyde Drexler's evisceration (by Jordan) in the '92 Finals, and of course the infamous 2000 Western Conference Finals meltdown.

Everybody's talking about how fortunate the Supersonics are for getting Durant instead of Oden. And they are. But the Celtics are the real winners here. Instead of a relatively unproven, seemingly injury-prone center with a huge question mark hanging ominously over his career, they dealt for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Which, as I pointed out, means the curse is officially over. If it wasn't, the Celtics would have won the lottery, selected Oden, and everybody would be comparing this to Boston's many doomed draft picks (Len Bias, Michael Smith, Acie Earl, etc.). I'm telling you, Red Auerbach's ghost is behind this. He sacrificed himself to break the jinx. I will always believe that.

As a final note, Evil Ted just came by my cube and said: "I hope you're writing about Greg Oden." After I told him I was, he said, "Good. Tell everybody we were right. That dude's 40 years old if he's a day. Microfracture surgery at 19? Yeah, right. The man is middle-aged, and this is what happens to middle-aged men who play professional basketball."

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This classic television commercial for the Converse "Weapon" had a little bit of everything that made the 80s so great: A shoe named after something deadly, famous athletes trying to dance and rap, and Larry Bird's majestic feathered mullet.

Worst shoe:Magic Johnson's yellow and purple abomination. People in the 80s were not ready for something so hideous.

Best performer: Bernard King was the only guy in the commercial that had a semblance of rhythm and didn't sound like he was rapping straight off a cue card.

Most questionable appearance: Every player in this group at one time or another placed in the top 4 in MVP voting...except Mark Aguirre.

Best moment: When Kevin McHale sets his shoe on Isiah Thomas' head. Note the utter disdain in McHale's withering glance.

Best line: Larry's "You already know what they did for me...I walked away with the MVP," delivered in that odd drawl that only Bird could pull off. Note his rather strange pronunciation of MVP.

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The Man
Only The Man could bogart Red Auerbach's cigar.

The Man (thuh man) noun. The best player and/or undisputed leader of a particular team, division, conference, and/or the entire league.

Usage example: Tim Duncan is The Man in San Antonio. And pretty much everywhere else, too.

Word History: The term "The Man" originated in America around 1918 as a code word for a prison warden. Over the years, The Man has come to represent the government, leaders of large corporations, and other authority figures in general (such as the police). The Man is colloquially defined as the figurative person who controls the world. The Man is also often used as a symbol of racial oppression, as well as the boss of a blue-collar worker, and the enemy of any counterculture.

Within the world of professional sports, The Man refers to the player or players who are renowned and feared above all others. Every team has it's own The Man, and most leagues have a chosen handful of players who are the subject of "Who's The Man" discussions. In the NFL, for instance, there has been a nearly continuous "Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady" debate over the last five years or so. In the NBA, The Man candidates range from Tim Duncan (The Lord of the Rings), Kobe Bryant (the scoring machine), Steve Nash (the ultimate teammate), and Lebron James (the possible heir to the throne).

The Man Test: Do you think your favorite player might be The Man but aren't totally sure? We at Basketbawful have used the power of Mighty Science to create an infallible test that's guaranteed to tell you whether that player is indeed The Man, a strong up-and-comer, or simply a woman with unsightly facial hair. If you doubt the accuracy of this test, you obviously know nothing about basketballogy, and probably couldn't calculate your way out of a bucket full of Science.

Worth 1 point: Have you...

Scored 50 points in a single game?

Grabbed 20 rebounds in a single game?

Dished 20 assists in a single game?

Averaged at least 20 PPG, 10 RPG, or 8 APG for one season?

Lead your team in scoring, rebounds, and/or assists for one season?

Hit one game-winning shot during the regular season?

Been an All-Star reserve?

Been named to the All-NBA Third Team?

Punched a teammate during practice?

Signed a dubious, non-shoe-related endorsement deal (e.g., Icy Hot, Payday Loans, etc.)?

Appeared in a basketball-themed movie (e.g., Space Jam, He Got Game)?

Appeared on the cover of your team’s media guide?

Been featured on an Episode of NBA Inside Stuff?

Been anointed "The Next Michael Jordan"?

Been called a "future Hall of Famer" by a questionable source (e.g., Bill Walton, Magic Johnson)?

Received a low-end shoe endorsement (e.g., L.A. Gear, Fila)?

Released a rap album and/or video?

Worth 2 Points: Have you...

Scored 50 points in a game more than once?

Grabbed 20 rebounds in a game more than once?

Dished 20 assists in a game more than once?

Averaged at least 30 PPG, 13 RPG, or 10 APG for one season?

Averaged a double-double?

Lead your team in scoring, rebounds, or assists for multiple seasons?

Lead the league in scoring, rebounds, or assists for one season?

Hit multiple game-winning shots during the regular season?

Been an All-Star starter?

Been named to the All-NBA Second Team?

Signed a max contract worth at least $50 million?

Gotten a teammate traded?

Been mentioned on "Pardon The Interruption"?

Been featured on a bobble-head doll?

Had your jersey appear in the video of a prominent rap artist?

Dated a recognizable model or actress?

Worth 3 points: Have you...

Lead the league in scoring, rebounds, or assists for multiple seasons?

Averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds or assists?

Hit one game-winning shot in the playoffs?

Been on multiple All-Star Teams?

Been the All-Star Game MVP?

Been named to the All-Defensive First Team?

Been named to the All-NBA First Team?

Signed a max contract worth at least $100 million?

Gotten an all-star teammate traded?

Gotten a coach fired?

Regularly referred to yourself in the third person?

Hosted MADtv?

Appeared in a pregame promo (coming off the team bus, shooting around, etc.)?

Appeared on the cover of NBA 2K?

Appeared on the cover of ESPN the Magazine?

Received a high-end shoe endorsement (e.g., Nike, Reebok)?

Guaranteed a championship or deep playoff run despite the fact that your team sucks?

Been mentioned in the song of a prominent rap artist?

Been "rested" at the end of the regular season?

Worth 4 points: Have you...

Been a 50 / 40 / 90 guy (50 percent FG shooting, 40 percent 3P shooting, and 90 percent FT shooting)?

Been on multiple All-Defensive Teams (first or second)?

Been on multiple All-NBA Teams (first, second, or third)?

Been Defensive Player of the Year?

Been Finals MVP?

Been the regular season MVP?

Signed multiple $100 million contracts?

Gotten a superstar teammate traded?

Gotten a great coach fired?

Appeared in the video of a prominent rap artist?

Been "rested" during the regular season (e.g., Shaq)?

Worth 5 points: Have you...

Been Defensive Player of the Year more than once?

Been Finals MVP more than once?

Been the regular season MVP more than once?

Hosted Saturday Night Live?

Appeared on the cover of NBA Live?

Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

Gotten a legendary teammate traded?

Gotten a legendary coach fired?

Been the subject of a "Why hasn’t he won the MVP?" discussion?

Been called a "future Hall of Famer" by a well-regarded source (e.g., Steve Kerr, Dr. Jack Ramsey)?

Forced your team to trade you for little or no reasonable return (effectively crippling your former team for years to come)?

Driven your GM / team owner to alcoholism (e.g., Jerry Buss)?

Worth 350 Points: Have you...

Created and maintained an independent blog about the best of the worst of professional basketball?

Scoring ranges: Now that you've calculated the numeric value of your player's accomplishment(s), compare his total to the following scoring ranges to determine his relative manitude:

0 - 49 Points: Are you kidding me? Any player that falls within this range is not The Man. He might not even be "a" man. A comprehensive medical examination would likely uncover girl parts under his compression shorts.

50 - 99 Points: This player definitely has a Y chromosome and a faint, musky aroma. However, his voice still cracks from time to time, and his balls haven't dropped yet. The main cause of his undescended testicles may be due to repeated playoff failures or the presence of a bigger, badder, Alpha-er male. The Boy? Yes. The Man? No.

100 - 149 Points: You know how they say "Every high-powered CEO was once a hard-working mailroom clerk who had to murder his way to the top"? Well, they say it, okay? And your player is that serial-killing clerk, cutting a swath through the league and challenging the gods. He's the young Turk on the verge of manhood. Not quite The Man yet, more like The Muhhhhhh....

150 - 210 Points: Is this player The Man? Yes, ye gods, yes! People drop to their knees and spontaneously combust when he walks by. Tiny universes are created each time he flexes his manly pecs. Instead of a single penis, he has an entire bushel of peni that can be launched like missles at hostile countries. A single drop of his sweat can spawn a full-grown leprechaun in under six seconds. What I'm trying to say is: No human words can describe the utter manliness of this man among men. Praise his name, mortal fool!

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pickup 2

Many pickup basketball players live under the laughable delusion that they could be playing professional basketball right now...if only they'd had better coaching in high school or maybe started playing at a younger age. This fundamental misapprehension is the source of great confusion and frustration for the legions of Ground Jordans across the country. After all, it's hard for them to make sense of the fact that they regularly shoot 2-for-20 in a pickup league when, under ideal conditions, they'd be going head-to-head with Lebron.

Make no mistake: The delusion is entirely necessary. The confidence it brings -- while preposterous and completely unfounded -- is probably the only reason they keep playing. After all, few people have the testicular fortitude to continue participating in an activity at which they actively suck. But that's what excuses are for. A well-crafted excuse allows a pickup baller to maintain his delusions of grandeur and yet explain away his consistently poop-like performances. Here are the top 20 excuses you're likely to hear while you're playing pickup basketball.

1. I was fouled: On every play??

2. The other team cheated: Scorekeeping in pickup basketball is kind of screwy, so it's completely possible your team got cheated out of a point or two. But that doesn't really explain why you shot 0-for-11.

3. I haven’t played in a while: This isn't the NBA Playoffs. Shoot around for ten minutes and you'll be as prepared as anybody else.

4. I just ate: Did you really think scarfing down two Big Macs on your way to the gym would help your game?

5. It's gotta be the shoes: There's always some guy playing in trail running shoes, or in shoes that don't have any traction left. If you don't own basketball shoes or can't remember to bring them, it's a safe bet you weren't any good to begin with.

6. It's gotta be the ball: It's flat. It's over-inflated. It's too slick. It looks funny. It's filled with flesh-eating slugs. You may be right. But we're all playing with the same ball.

7. It's gotta be the gym: Yeah, the lighting is bad, the floor is pockmarked, the rims are tight, and there’s no air-conditioning. But we're all playing in the same gym.

8. I've got a nagging injury: Sore knees, gimpy ankles, and aching backs are common reasons for uncommon suckitude.

9. I got hurt a couple plays ago: Isn't funny how after getting totally embarrassed, guys will suddenly start limping or massaging their lower back? Strangely enough, they stop hobbling around after they hit a couple shots.

10. My teammates suck: They can't shoot, they don't pass, or they don't get you the ball where you can be effective (wherever that is). Blah, blah, blah. I’m sorry, but look around. We all have sucky teammates. This is also referred to as the "Washington Wizards' Michael Jordan / Post-Shaq Lakers' Kobe Bryant Memorial Excuse."

11. I'm too short: Uh, nobody else in the league is over 6'3", so I don’t think being 5'10" is that much of a handicap.

12. I'm too old: And yet you're spry enough to plant an elbow in my back and shove your knee up my ass week after week after week...

13. I'm out of shape: We already know you're fat. Now explain why you suck.

14. I'm no good: It always helps to lower expectations from the get-go.

15. I ran five miles earlier: With all the old, out-of-shape, injured guys that are already playing, your running fatigue shouldn't really matter.

16. I played ball for, like, four hours last night: This is supposed to mean the person is too tired to play well tonight. But with all that extra practice, shouldn't they be better?

17. I just got done lifting: Your muscles are very impressive. I'm happy for you. But I've lifted weights before, too. Stretch out for a few minutes and you'll be fine.

18. I’m drunk / hungover: If you're too liquored up to play amateur basketball, then you should be in a 12-Step program, not a pickup league.

19. I wasn't "into it" tonight: Aww, poor baby. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

20. I just can't find my shot tonight: Check the trash can.

[Inspired by "Mr. Excuses" from the 11 Guys You Always Meet Playing Pickup Basketball video.]

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Camera of Shame (kam'-ruh uv shaem) noun. The camera shot of a basketball player or coach's frustrated reaction to a questionable call, embarassing mistake, or humiliating loss.

Usage example: Yao Ming got benched after a couple of cheap fouls, and he was pissed. They caught his reaction on the Camera of Shame.

Word Trivia: I love the Camera of Shame. It's given me some of my happiest moments, like James Worthy flopping around on the floor after a non-call in the 1984 NBA Finals; Bill Laimbeer sitting stunned on the Boston Garden parquet, blood trickling out of his mouth, after Robert Parish clocked him from behind in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals; Detlef Schrempf jumping around like an 8-year-old girl after a call went against him in the first round of the 1992 Eastern Conference playoffs; and last but certainly not least, Kobe Bryant crying after the Spurs eliminated the Lakers in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals. Good times...good times.

There are so many variations of the CoS shot. There's the stoic "I don't give a crap" reaction, the arrogant "I meant to do that" reaction, the "It's not my fault" denial reaction, the "Yup, that was my bad" reaction, and of course the complete and total meltdown (see The Collected Works of Ron Artest -- thanks mrberg).

Here's a short clip of Yao Ming dropping an F-Bomb after getting benched.

And here's the classic video of Dirk Nowitzki's infamous post-game Blitzkrieg after the Mavericks lost Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals: Dirk drop-kicks a ball into the stands, tries (and fails) to push over an exercise bike, and then karate-kicks a wall. If watching this video doesn't make you happy, then your mom was right: You'll never, ever be happy.

And Lee, you were right: This post wouldn't be complete without at least one Rasheed Wallace freakout.

This one is for starang...watch Brad Miller's reaction.


This video is so awesome that it might just take your virginity. And if you aren't a virgin, it will magically restore your virginity and take it again. Spectacularly missed dunks, hilarious faceplants, painful nutshots, tragic falls, and one mascot leaving the arena Dwyane Wade-style (i.e., in a wheelchair). I never knew the life of a mascot was so freakin' dangerous.

[From Unibrow.]

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Shaq hair
"The Big Elvis" in action.

I guess you can add "The Big Divor-say" to Shaq's seemingly endless list of nicknames. The Miami Heat center has officially slam-dunked his five-year marriage to wife Shaunie, with whom he shares four presumably giant children. To help celebrate his newfound freedom from marital bliss, here's a list of Shaq's best nicknames.

Editor's Note: When discussing the all-time worst nicknames, I stated that Baron Davis holds the world's record for most nicknames with seven. I stick by that claim, since most of Shaq's nicknames were self-invented and thus don't count.

1. Shaq: This nickname has been used so universally for so long that some people actually don't know that "Shaq" is short for his given name of Shaquille, which is Arabic for "Little Warrior."

2. Superman: Shaq is obsessed with the Man of Steel. He has a Superman tattoo on his arm, a Superman logo on several of his cars, a logo etched onto a leather jacket, and he can often be seen wearing Superman t-shirts, necklaces, and other paraphernalia. He even starred in Steel, a crappy movie about a man who was himself a cheap Superman knockoff. The dude flat out wants to be Superman. Sure it's crazy, but are you gonna tell him "no"?

3. Diesel: Also spoken as "Shaq Diesel." This nickname supposedly indicates that he has the power and endurance of a diesel engine. Or maybe it's because of the weird burning smell that follows him everywhere.

4. Daddy: Also spoken as "Shaq Daddy" and "The Big Daddy." Although he's estranged from his biological father, Shaq is extremely close to his step-father Phillip Harrison (whom O'Neal credits for making him the monstrous, hulking man he is today). Shaq himself has fathered five children and likes to act as a sort of big brother/father figure to his younger teammates.

5. M.D.E (Most Dominant Ever): Shaq began referring to himself as the M.D.E. after leading the Lakers to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002. Despite missing a slew of games during those years and of course being very fat, Shaq was virtually unstoppable in the playoffs and especially the Finals (where he averaged close to 40 PPG). People use this nickname to mock him now, but back then it was pretty hard to argue against it.

6. The Big [Whatever]: Shaq loves giving himself new nicknames that begin with "The Big" and end with a grandiose reference, usually to some other famous person or thing. These nicknames have included the "The Big Aristotle" (as a reference to the consistent greatness that won him the 2000 NBA MVP) , "The Big Maravich" (for making nine free throws in a row against the Portland Trailblazers in the playoffs), "The Big Felon" (for making a game-saving steal against the Orlando Magic), "The Big IPO" (because his stock was way, way up), and "The Big Baryshnikov" (comparing his low post moves to the dance work of famous Russian ballet artist Mikhail Baryshnikov).

Basketbawful Fun Fact: Elgin Baylor sarcastically referred to Wilt Chamberlain as "The Big Musty" because the huge center rarely showered or washed his uniform. It is unknown whether that nickname influenced Shaq, or whether Shaq himself takes showers.

7. L.C.L. (Last Center Left): One of Shaq's biggest complaints -- and there are many -- is how the center position has been almost totally redefined. Instead of huge, indomitable pivot-men, today's NBA centers are smaller, faster, and more "versatile" (i.e., they shoot threes instead of posting up strong and taking it to hoop). For this reason, Shaq feels that he is the last true center in the NBA, and perhaps the world (that sound you just heard was Yao Ming's heart breaking).

8. Wilt Chamberneazy: This nickname was coined by former teammate Kobe Bryant as a sort of homage/comparison to Wilt Chamberlain. Shaq considers it his favorite nickname and even had it printed on his baseball cap.

9. Doctor Shaq: This nickname was invented in 2005 as a way to dis Andrew Bynum, Shaq's "replacement" on the Lakers. Bynum claimed that he was similar to Shaq, except that he made his freethrows. Never one to take insults lightly, Shaq responded thus: "Tell him Shaq doesn't respond to juvenile delinquents without a college degree. Tell him to get his degree and we can talk. In the meantime, he should call me Dr. Shaq because I'm working on my PhD." Shaq originally stated that he was going to earn his doctorate in "either criminology or art history," but instead opted to accept honorary degrees in Shaq-Fu and Kazaamology.

10. Shaq Albert: Back in 2003, Mark Cuban tried to give his Dallas Mavericks an edge over the Lakers by playing a specially prepared cartoon on the team's jumbotron during a timeout. The cartoon depicted Shaq's face on the body of cartoon character Fat Albert and was accompanied by a voiceover that criedout, "Hey, hey, hey, I'm Shaq Albert!" Instead of killing Cuban with one clubbing blow, Shaq laughed until he was doubled over. Which obviously was hard for someone as fat as he was.

11. The Big Deporter: (This should be included in number 6, but it deserved its own entry.) In 2000, after eliminating Arvydas Sabonis and Rik Smits from the playoffs, Shaq dubbed himself "The Big Deporter" (both players were outspoken about returning to their native countries after getting eliminated).

12: Osama Bin Shaq: Shaq gave himself this nickname "for terrorizing Keith Van Horn under the boards" during the 2002 NBA Finals.

13. The Big Banana: (Again, this one deserved its own entry) After getting gangbanged with criticism for his "Osama Bin Shaq" nickname, Shaq renamed himself "The Big Banana" because "I peel the life out of the Nets."

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I was going over Greg Ostertag's career stats the other day -- and that alone probably says something frightening about me -- when I noticed that he hit exacatly one three-pointer (out of 10 attempts). Ostertag hitting a three is only slightly less believable than him blocking a shot or actually grabbing a contested rebound. In other words, almost completely unimaginable.

Amazingly, this improbable moment is actually posted on YouTube. It happened during the 2001-02 season with the Jazz playing in Portland. Ostertag actually intercepts a full-court pass and hits a last-second shot from half court. The best part is the digusted reaction of the Blazers, particularly Arvydas Sabonis (who threw the intercepted pass).

And just for fun, here's a clip of Ostertag getting posterized by Amare Stoudemire.

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Air Jordan. Doctor J. Larry Legend. Magic Johnson. Pistol Pete. A good nickname inspires awe and ensures that you'll be enshrined in the Pantheon of Basketball Legends. A bad nickname, on the other hand, is like genital herpes: It's a stain on your life that can never be removed. Here's a list of what I consider to be the worst basketball nicknames of all time.

Big Country: According to Wikipedia, Bryant Reeves was was nicknamed "Big Country" for his size and the fact that he grew up in the very small Oklahoma town of Gans. According to me, he's called "Big Country" because he almost single-handedly ruined basketball in Canada (which is a big country). Just an embarrassing, shapeless, blob of a man. Vancouver will never forgive him.

Big Country
There's your 6th overall draft pick, folks...

Buffet of Goodness: Channing Frye gave himself this nickname to highlight his all-around skills. In doing so, he committed one of the cardinal sins of nicknaming: You cannot nickname yourself (unless you're Gilbert Arenas). Giving yourself a nickname comes off as cheesy and arrogant, and it usually only catches on in a sarcastic way. Especially when you choose something as retarded as "Buffet of Goodness."

Captain Crunch: Jalen Rose got this nickname when he was leading the 2004-05 Toronto Raptors to a 33-win season. How many games would they have won without his crunch-time heroics? Probably around 27, which is how many they won after he was traded during the 2005-06 season. The name is also synonymous with a cereal that turns to goop in milk and tastes like soggy cardboard. Blech.

Captain crunch
Yeah, real cool nickname...

Du: No offense to Chris Duhon, but I wouldn't want a nickname that can be used as a synonym for bodily waste.

Grandmama: Larry Johnson became famous for dressing up as his eldery grandmother to sell Converse products. Think about that for a second: A man dressed in drag, old lady drag, and got called "grandmama" while playing professional basketball. How was that ever considered cool?

Kobe Stopper: Remember Ruben Patterson? Yeah. I didn't think so. And it makes no sense. Look, I hate Kobe Bryant, but even I have to admit there's no such thing as a "Kobe Stopper." You might as well call him "Santa Claus" or "The Leprechaun."

The Black Mamba: Prior to the 2005-06 season, Kobe Bryant decided to give himself a nickname, but he screwed it all to hell. First, he broke the rule that says you can't give yourself a nickname. Second, he chose a name that sounded like a professional wrestling villain. Third, he ripped it off directly from Kill Bill: Volume 2. And fourth, the character he ripped it off from was a woman. And finally, it's a goddamn poisonous snake. Way to enhance your image, Kobe. This nickname has spawned countless jokes, and you'll notice that Kobe has never, ever mentioned it again.

The Mailman: I don't know about you, but every mailman I've ever seen has been a pasty, bloated white guy who never gets out of his truck and won't deliver the mail if there's a car parked within 20 feet of the mailbox. This does not inspire awe.

I, for one, am not impressed.

The Spider: How did John Salley get this nickname? Apparently because he has the proportional sucking ability of a spider.

TP: Tony Parker is so unremarkable, the best the nicknamers could do was string his initials together and create a nickname you can truly wipe your ass with.

He is kinda soft like toilet paper...

Zeke From Cabin Creek: This was Jerry West's nickname before he became known as "Mr. Clutch." It not only has nothing whatsoever to do with basketball, it also reminds me of the hillbilly rapists from Deliverance. And that's not a good thing. Even worse, it's not even technically accurate; West actually grew up in Cheylan, West Virginia.


Fun Nickname Fact #1: Baron Davis holds the world record for most nicknames attributed to a single basketball player. His nicknames include: Baron, BD, B-Diddy, B-Dazzled, Boom Dizzle, Bulletproof, and Too Easy. Seriously, does anybody need seven nicknames?

Fun Nickname Fact #2: Rik Smits stood 7'4" and was known as "The Dunking Dutchman." However, he averaged only 6.1 RPG for his career. There were games -- critical playoff games -- in which he would pull down only one or two rebounds. And he was 7'4". I'm sorry, but how is that even possible?!

Fun Nickname Fact #3: Coach Don Nelson started calling Sarunas Jasikevicius "Jazzy Cabbages" because he couldn't pronounce Sarunas' last name.

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