Jack: I know I'm not the first person to comment on this, and I'm sure I won't be the last, but...what happened to Jack Nicholson? Seeing him these days just makes me sad. It used to feel so cool to see Jack courtside at Lakers games, but now he just looks like a pervy old man who doesn't quite realize how old and pervy he looks.

Now, one could argue that he doesn't care, but this is the same guy who freaked out when Heath Ledger was cast to play the Joker in the new Batman movie. If Jack really thinks that he's fit to play the Joker again -- and he's pretty clearly not -- then there's little doubt he genuinely believes that he's as suave and sexy as he's ever been. But in reality, he has officially become That Guy. A rich, famous, and rather untouchable That Guy, but That Guy nonetheless.

I posted this same picture on my NBA Closer column and got some pretty funny comments:

schtickless: Jack Nicholson is starting to look like Diane Keaton.

RachelRayIsTheDevil: He's starting to resemble Dyan Cannon too.

Weed Against Speed: It was quite the coincidence when Jack Nicholson showed up wearing his "More Viagra Please" t-shirt the same night Kobe was presented his MVP award.

UkraineNotWeak: I was thinking Medically Vitalized Penis.

Arriaga_II: After being in the Staples Center and the Departed, Jack's the man if you want a lifetime achievement award.

MattinglysSideburns: It's nice to see Skeletor was momentarily able to abandon his pursuit of Castle Greyskull in order to attend a basketball game.

Weed Against Speed: "Who sticks his index fingers and thumbs out like pistols, does whatever he wants whenever he wants, snorts assloads of coke and bangs women 1/3 his age? This guy!!"

Sh!tShow: "When asked to comment, Nicholson said, "Good times. Noodle salad."

UkraineNotWeak: "I am the fucken shore patrol."

(Note that last comment apparently refers to a t-shirt Penny Marshall was seen wearing at a Clippers game earlier this season.)

Chamomiles Davis: He eats breakfast 300 yards away from 14 Mexicans who are paid to do his landscaping.

Alonzo Mosely: Were the NBA, and David Stern, a little too fucking giddy in their showering of praise over an anal rapist? Fuck LA, fuck Bill Simmons, and fuck that guy who played a werewolf in some fucking lousy movie, you fucks.

Kobe's MVP: I've gotten several comments and e-mails from people who are disappointed that I didn't blow an O-Ring over Kobe's Lifetime Achievement Award. But what can I say? It didn't bother me nearly as much as it would have at any other time during his career. Mostly because -- other than for the first few weeks of the season and another handful of notable exceptions here and there -- he was playing basketball the way it's supposed to be played.

Of course, Kobe has almost always played at an amazingly high level...after his first couple seasons, anyway. He just hasn't been able to be both the selfless facilitator and scoring assassin at the same time consistently without subtly (and not-so-subtly) disparaging his teammates, coaches, GMs, owners, etc. He actually managed to do that for almost 80 percent of this season. I really didn't think he had it in him.

And for those of you who have been saying, "All Kobe needed was good teammates," I call shenanigans. He had those in spades during his first several years in L.A. and he was still a selfish, brooding superstar who seemed more concerned with being The Man than winning. Wait. That's not quite right. He was concerned with being The Man and winning, and he was willing to shake the Lakers franchise to its very foundations to make that happen.

Well, he did it. And now, years later, it finally paid off. He's The Man, and the MVP, and his team is a front-runner to win the championship. His team and the entire basketball world is finally revolving around Kobe Bean Bryant. That, apparently, was all it took to bring out the best in him.

My thoughts on it? KG should have won, hands down. And then, for my money, CP3 should have come in second. I still feel the Lakers basically got better around Kobe. They brought in Fisher, who's been more of a calming, veteran leader than Kobe. Then guys like Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic blossomed. By the numbers, they have the best bench in the league. And when Bynum went down, Kobe was handed an established All-Star in Pau Gasol. Note, too, that Odom was at his best this season only after the Gasol trade, so one could argue that Pau's presence made Lamar better, not Kobe. Oh, and there's also the little matter of L.A.'s Hall of Fame coach and that fantastic offensive system known as the Triangle.

Meanwhile, Chris Paul made David West an All-Star and he almost did the same thing with Tyson Chandler too. He revived basketball in New Orleans without a bench and transformed Byron Scott into the Coach of the Year. Kobe's been great, better tan he's ever been. But I'll always believe that Chris Paul was more valuable. This season, anyway.

But props to Kobe. He's transformed himself. And while I may not necessarily think he deserved it, I certainly think he earned it.

Mike D'Antoni: It looks like Mikey is in contention to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls or possibly the New York Knicks. Trust me, his first choice is going to be the Bulls. If he gets offered both positions, he's taking the Chicago job. Say what you will about his run-and-fun offense in Phoenix, but it relied on both focus and discipline. Do you really think he's going to get those two things out of the guys on the Knicks' roster? Hardly. By contrast, the Bulls players showed a high degree of those characteristics until the milk went sour under Scott Skiles. I bet D'Antoni believes he can revive that.

Evil Ted recently asked me what I think about D'Antoni as Bulls coach, because we both live in Chicago and therefore follow the Bulls pretty closely. Honestly, I'm cool with it. Very cool with it, even. I think it'll breath life into a group of players who have become increasingly lifeless over the last season(ish). The Bulls have a bunch of young gunners who are probably dying for a little freedom and offensive creativity, which is exactly what they didn't get under Skiles and then Jim Boylan (who was too paralyzed by a desire to keep the head job to really shake things up).

Seven Seconds or Less will never be as successful in Chicago as it was in Phoenix because Kirk Hinrich is no Steve Nash. He's not even a homeless person's Steve Nash. But there are fresh legs and three-point shooters galore here. So while I doubt that bringing in D'Antoni will help the Bulls overtake the Cavaliers, Celtics, Magic or Pistons, well, it'll be a lot more fun watching them score 100+ points and lose than it has been watching them score 80+ points and lose.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dude - it's OK to be a Kobe hater - just acknowledge that you hate his guts for being selfish, etc., etc. and we're cool. Much love

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I am so tired of the MVP debate. I have been for months. Kobe had a great season, as did Garnett, Paul and LeBron. My feelings were if any one of them won it, I'd be happy with it since you could make cases for any of them. Well, one of them won it and the other 3 got all the rest of the 1st place votes. Makes sense to me. The MVP doesn't mean shit anyway, since there's no firmly established criteria to tell us what you need to win it. It's subjective crap that doesn't deserve anywhere near the amount of discussion it gets.

I loved the noodle salad quote though :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"By the numbers, they have the best bench in the league."

"Meanwhile, Chris Paul made David West an All-Star and he almost did the same thing with Tyson Chandler too."

So, Chris Paul gets the credit for making David West an all-star but Kobe doesn't get the credit for making the bench guys the best bench in the league. It was his will, determination, criticism and love of winning that gave them confidence and made the bench guys who they are. And if by the numbers, they have the best bench in the league, why weren't they the best in the league last year? The bench was the exact same last year. I'll tell you why: Kobe Bryant, the 2008 NBA MVP.

Blogger Tonewise said...
Man, I like what Jack has become, the guy is priceless! yeah he is old, but he is having a great time with it. He loves the sport, and goes to a ton of games and i really don't think he does it to get on TV... but what do I know.

I just know when I'm that age I hope I don't wear corduroy pants, cardigan sweaters and fuck women only my own age!

drugs booze and TV time are just icing on the cake.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
tonewise -- Don't get me wrong. I would love to live Jack's life. Just like I'd love to live Hugh Hefner's life. But I hate seeing my heroes turn old and crusty in front of my eyes. But I can only hope I'll have the money to live a fraction of The Jack Life when I'm 70.

Blogger Unknown said...
... that's alleged anal rapist by the way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i dont get the people who say, how can you give a mvp award to a rapist. rapist or not (which he was never convicted of), he was still a good basketball player. he didn't get the sportsmanship award (billups did for his charity work), he didn't get any moral superiority award, he was awarded for being a good basketball PLAYER. not for being jesus like. And there have been other non moral MVPs such as Charles "i'm not a role model" Barkely, Shaq, who has cheated on his wife like kobe. and just because someone hasn't been caught doing immoral things, doesn't mean they dont do it. but thats besides my point.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Billy Knight has resigned. That surely will deserve some WoTN love? Or at least a Random Thought?

Especially considering the Hawks are considering replacing him with Billy King?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I find it extremely funny when a bunch of people who have really accomplished nothing get together and throw insults at Jack Nicholson.

How good do you guys think you're going to look at his age? Think anyone will care what shirt you're wearing at a basketball game by then?


I suppose it's human nature to be jealous and throw insults at someone who consistently support a team (even through the 3 ears post-Shaq when everyone was down on the Lakers).

Any fan of basketball should be a fan of Jack. He knows the game. All the announcers and coaches love the guy, and even talk to him during the game.

You guys and your franchises would kill to get fans of that loyalty and magnitude stick around, but you can't. So, you hate on the guy.

I'm sure this barrage of negativity is going to make him miss the next Lakers playoff game and just stay home, because some random people with internet balls and names like 'MattinglysSideburns' are talking badly about him.

Or, he'll consistently show up to his seat, where you homers wish you could sit every time.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
wreckchord -- I'm sorry you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. I suggest duct tape. It'll keep you on the right side.

Jack is free to do whatever he wants...just as people are free to make snarky comments that some people find funny.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Billy Knight jumping ship now is like the guy in Vegas who kept losing at blackjack until 4 am, (2005-07 drafts) and kept thinking it would get better (draft lots of Forwards for box scores!), and whined about wanting a dealer change (Coach Woodson) until finally he doubled down for a win, (Horford) with the card count way in his favor (rebuilding success and a good playoff appearance) and decided to cut his losses there. Well I guess if your pride is that important to you...

How much worse can it get for the city of Atlanta? All we need is a leaked Braves clubhouse sex tape to completely destroy pro sports there.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Seeing wrinkled ol' Jack sitting courtside doesn't bother me nearly as much as when I see children sitting courtside or when I see empty courtside seats.

Wreckchord, it's all just in fun. Believe me, Jack shits on all of us and cares not a whit for what the internet thinks of him. It's OK to poke a little fun at someone like him. If he feels down about it at all, I'm sure his bed full of playmates can help console him.

Blogger David said...
Most of the improvement in the Lakers’ bench can be attributed to the progression of a few young and inexperienced players, and not the Midas Touch of Kobe Bryant.

Player, Age, Year of experience

Jordan Farmar, 21, 2nd year
Sasha Vujacic, 23, 4th year
Ronny Turiaf, 25, 3rd year
Trevor Ariza, 22, 4th year

Also, Vladimir Radmanovic and Luke Walton have been starters at different points in their careers (including Walton in all 60 games he played last year), so they’re both above average bench players.

Lastly, though he’s not a bench player, Andrew Bynum is 20 years old and is in his third season. Can we stop attributing his improvement to Kobe’s saying he sucked during the offseason (I’m talking to you, Sports Guy)? What, if Kobe hadn’t thrown him under the bus, he would have reached his peak as a raw, athletic, unpolished 19 year old?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sour grapes all around from Basketbawful (learn how to spell please) to the rest of you low lifes in here (Talking about Jack like you are good enough to snuff his jock) What can i say, It sucks to you guys right now, no? Life Time Achievement Award, my bollocks, we got the award baby and it reads MVP 2007/2008. Suck on that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think D'Antoni would do a nice job in Chicago- for several reasons:

1)Kirk Hinrich does not suck. BUT he needs to get it out of his head that he can play 2-guard in this league. He has great vision and nice touch on his passes but it's tough to play pick-and-roll with their bigs (which is why I am GLAD Ben Wallace and his headband have left), and Chicago relies on lots of motion offense and cuts to the basket that draw defenders in and open up spot-up jumpshooters.

2) All Mike D needs to do is 1)take Kirk OFF the other teams best scorer (whom he defends almost every night) and 2) instill the same confidence in him and the rest of the Bulls that he has done with every other player he has coached.

Skiles and co. were very straight-laced and bottled up their own offense by never allowing their players to push the ball quickly. You live there, you have to agree, 'Bawful- it is painful to watch them run up the floor, stop at the arc, set up, then settle for a 'J.

Hopefully that changes. Maybe they could send an "I'm sorry" letter to Tyson Chandler? Think he'd come back?

Blogger stephanie g said...
Wild yams: Of course there's no firmly established criteria. The NBA wants as many media sources as possible talking about their stars at length. That's what drives me crazy about this whole MVP thing, everyone is just falling into their trap. Who cares who the made up award winner will be?

The Black Mamba: Kobe doesn't make his team mates better. But that's OK, since no one makes their team mates better. Not Paul, not Nash, not Magic, not Jordan, not Wilt...no one. Basketball players, on the whole, are remarkably consistent over time under different teams. If players become better it's usually due to young players developing in the first 4-6 years of their career, recovery from injury, or (sometimes) different systems where they are expected to different things.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe shouldn't get too much credit for the improvement of the Lakers' bench. By the same token, Paul shouldn't get too much credit for the the Hornets' improvement either individually or in record.

West scored 2.3 pts more than last year with a PER roughly equivalent to two years ago. What changed this year to make him an all star? He played in 20 more games at about the same level as in previous years.

Peja's scoring is below his career average. His 3 point percentage is a career high, which could very well be b/c of Paul but it also could be an aberration to some degree. It could also be partially due to him being healthy. He only played in 13 games last year, and he was a former MVP candidate.

Chandler? He scores about 2.3 more points per game on the same percentages with everything else being about the same. It's about time people realise that he is a solid player.

Paul did improve a good deal himself (over his already impressive previous level), but it looks like good health is what really turned the Hornets around. Of course, Kobe's team (which is deeper) has not had good health.

Btw, LeBron should have been MVP despite not leading his team to the same turnaround as Garnett (+42 wins), Paul (+17 wins) and Kobe (+15 wins).

Blogger Shrugz said...
development of younger players who don't usually play too much is usually on the coaches and practices that they hold. Any improvements (like Bynum) should be credited to the mentor that he has with him not kobe. (unless kobe can teach bynum how to be a bigman)

once I heard Bynum had Kareem teaching him I knew it was only a matter of time

and I can only hope that Raptors get a good teacher for Bargnani to do the samething

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Let me see if I understand you. Kobe's teammates improved, because they got better "around him"? And as for the Hornets' improvement, that's because Chris Paul made them better. Okay, got it. I think.

Blogger The Third Heat said...
I think the Lakers for the most part got better around Kobe too (but there's no way Pau, Lamar and Bynum shoot near 60% for large stretches of the season without Kobe drawing all the attention) but I'm disappointed that even bawful has bought into the garbage that Paul made West an All-Star. I know he watches the games so it baffles me how anybody who does could say this guy's play is dependent on any one guy. David West can flat out play and Paul is credited with an assist often even when it's West creating his own offense with jab fakes, dribbles and tough shots.

Peja is having an absolutely historic season and while it's Paul getting him a lot of looks, there's been no player in NBA history besides Peja that's hit on so many threes at a 44% clip. The guy is shooting something like 60% from three point land in the playoffs. He's one of the best pure shooters this game has ever had and Paul is lucky to have him and vice versa.

And of course, there's Chandler. For some reason, I don't buy that Paul made him the best offensive rebounder in the league. The Paul to Chandler alley oops aren't just amazing because Chris seems to have a sixth sense about where and when to throw the pass but because TC is amazing at connecting with Paul on those plays with his strength, athleticism, cutting and nose for the ball. There's a reason Paul doesn't connect with anybody else on the team with those plays with any where near that kind of consistency and it's because what Tyson does to finish those plays takes a good amount of skill as well.

Lastly, Scott has been every bit as good as a Hall of Fame coach this season. Paul isn't the one closing out on every shooter, he isn't the one that has the Hornets being Spurs-esque in their rotations, he's not the one who shut down the lanes for both Manu and Tony for two consecutive games, and he's not the one making the Hornets believe because he's been there before. Paul's been brilliant, but Scott's fingerprints are all over this team.

Don't get me wrong. What Paul has done for a team that didn't have a homecourt for half a season is absolutely incredible. Right now there isn't a single player in the league I like watching more. He deserved an MVP every bit as much as Bryant did. I'm just saying that this team is as perfect for CP3 as much as CP3 is perfect for this team. Kidd would have killed to have a cast like this in his prime.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i dont get the people who say, how can you give a mvp award to a rapist. rapist or not (which he was never convicted of), he was still a good basketball player.

Then let Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame already!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The poster who said that no basketball player makes teammates better is just flat out wrong. Beyond the obvious such as a PG who knows how to run an offense, get teammates open looks (which builds confidence) and runs fast breaks in such a way that allows players to showcase their athleticism, there are also intangibles: players who are more like coaches on and off the floor, players who build team unity by force of personality, etc., etc. There are myriad ways that a player can contribute to his teammates playing better.

Obviously, this is not Kobe's strong suit. The only way he makes his teammates better is by drawing defenses who have to respect his tremendous skills. Team unity, naah. Coach on the floor, naah (unless you are talking about a total dick coach, who belittles players for making mistakes, thereby undermining their confidence, you know, like Scott Skiles). Kobe is a great individual player, but he is selfish and egotistical. A worthy MVP, sure, he's that good at what he does. Undisputed MVP? No freakin way! Any one of the top 4 could have won this year's MVP.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
KG= OVERRATED. let me know when he wins a championship (or even gets to the finals) and i will change my mind. in the meantime get off his cock

Blogger Unknown said...
The only reason I read blogs as opposed to regular shit is because I want to get away from uninformed weirdoes trying to get me to buy their BS point of views. If this blog is going to turn into this bash Kobe shit place, I will soon be gone and so will others like me. Except your whole plan all along was to write for you and your nine friends, you are doing yourself a disservice. You have a point of view and I respect it even when I disagree but this heavily and irrationally slanted dog vomit you have been pouring here lately is too thick for me to use as gravy. Fan view authorship this is what I thought this place was about, rabid hatemongering is a whole other genre, and I would rather not be a part of it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The homerism on this site is getting very Simmonsy.

Kevin Garnett wasn't the MVP this year. He had a great year and he did overhaul the defense (and won a quite deserved Defensive Player of the Year award), but Paul Pierce is the most important player on that team. And even without KG, that team would've made the playoffs in the East. Everyone makes a big deal about the turnaround, but they don't ever mention the fact that Boston was tanking on purpose. Pierce didn't even play for a long stretch. Doc Rivers kept his job (and his seat wasn't even warm) despite a terrible year because he did what he was supposed to do..put Boston in position to get Durant or Oden. Now, they're winning more games now that they're trying. Big surprise.

Chris Paul, Kobe and Lebron were all above KG this year. Lebron gets unfairly penalized because his team isn't good. Paul's great, phenomenal, but he's doing exactly what Steve Nash did...excelling while having one other great player (West) and a bunch of really talented roleplayers (Chandler, Peja). Kobe didn't get his MVP despite dragging crap teams to the playoffs three times by himself, and now that he's playing the #1 option on a good team, people are saying he's not the "best" player and therefore can't win. either we give it to the best players on the great teams (Dirk) or we give it to the most amazing player (Paul or Lebron this year, Kobe the previous three years). But we can't change the rules every year just to keep the award away from Kobe.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
the wondering mind: I bet basketbawful is losing sleep over your threat to stop reading his blog, you are that important!

KG was the number one reason that the Celtics when from crap to best regular season team. It has been well documented how he has changed the culture of that team from losers to focused professionals on a mission. He is simply awesome. He would have been a worthy MVP, and if I had a vote he would have had my number 2 slot after MVP Chris Paul and just above numbers 3 and 4 LB and KB.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Obviously, this is not Kobe's strong suit. The only way he makes his teammates better is by drawing defenses who have to respect his tremendous skills. Team unity, naah. Coach on the floor, naah (unless you are talking about a total dick coach, who belittles players for making mistakes, thereby undermining their confidence, you know, like Scott Skiles)."

See, this type of meaningless drivel is really irritating. If you had a rational argument against Kobe winning the MVP (and there are many), sure I would listen and give it some thought. But if you're just going to regurgitate soap-opera hate stirred up by mass media, just don't say anything. You sound incredibly stupid and incapable of forming a thought without the assistance of ESPN.

I'll give you a free pass because I assume you don't live in LA. So you probably don't know much about the day-to-day events of Lakerland other than the big "scandals" that hit national news.

But if you actually knew the player's personalities and their great team chemistry, you would know how wrong you are. Not subjectively wrong like saying pie is better than cake. Like, massively and colossally wrong like not believing in gravity or insisting the world is flat.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"KG was the number one reason that the Celtics when from crap to best regular season team."

I think not losing games on purpose played a big role as well.