Basketbawful reader Jeremy sent me the following image in an email with a subject line of "Poor choice of words for a headline about the Olympics in China." Wow. No kidding. (Note: If I have to explain it, I'm not going to explain it. You know?)

olympics basketball 1

Jeremy continued: "I saw this on ESPN's homepage when Team USA beat Argentina. I refreshed the page a minute later and the headline changed to 'A Way In?'"

olympics basketball 2

I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes at ESPN. Like, how many people manage the Web site, how articles and headlines get edited, how quickly content can be changed, etc. Every time I consider it, I imagine an army of technicians flipping switches and spinning dials on complex machinery covered in multi-colored, blinking lights. Kind of like NORAD. It would be interesting to know how unintended mistakes like this happen, and how they get fixed.

Labels: , , ,

I know what you're probably thinking, but the answer is: No, LeBron doesn't have a mummification fetish. This image is from, and the caption reads: "LeBron James does his best Michael Phelps impersonation."

That's funny. I don't remember seeing Phelps covered in Saran Wrap during the Olympics...

James wrapped

Muchas gracias to Slava for the picture and link.

Labels: , ,

Since it's one of those crappy days on which I've got nothing better to offer you, here's something stupid I did last February right after Bonzi Wells and Mike James were traded from the Houston Rockets to the New Orleans Hornets. I had just picked up Comic Book Creator 2.0 and was having a blast messing around with it (which is why you might have noticed an explosion of word balloons here and in my Deadspin columns). This comic portrayal of the Hornets' post-trade press conference was originally created solely for the purpose of entertaining the Basketbawful crew...but since I'm suffering from a bad case of blogger's block, here you go.

Press conference 2

Labels: , , , ,

According to the world's leading proctologists, human beings are divided into two distinct mammalian subsets: Those who want to do something dangerously insane, and those who just want wrinke-free clothing. Well, a brick has finally been removed from the Wall of Hate and Confusion seperating these two proud peoples, thanks to the batshit crazy sport known as Extreme Ironing.

Iron Mountain
This is the 2002 Extreme Ironing World Champion. Ironing on the side of a goddamn mountain.

Wikipedia describes Extreme Ironing as "an extreme sport and a performance art in which people take an ironing board to a remote location and iron a few items of clothing." I know, I know. Sounds totally lame, doesn't it? That's the kind of crappy description you can expect from a free encyclopedia written by non-encyclopediologists. And let's face it, reading that definition certainly isn't going to convince otherwise normal people to iron their new suit from the back of mutant grizzly bear.

The description on the official Extreme Ironing Bureau FAQ does the sport a little more justice: "It is an outdoor activity that combines the danger and excitement of an 'extreme' sport with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt. It involves taking an iron and board (if possible) to remote locations and ironing a few items of laundry. This can involve ironing on a mountainside, preferably on a difficult climb, or taking an iron skiing, snowboarding or canoeing."

Holy hard nipples, Batman! If that doesn't make you want to go out and make sweet, wrinkle-free love to a hot iron on some desolate mountaintop, you probably don't even know where your genitals are. (Here's a hint: Look down.) I can't count the number of time I've been mountain climbing or skiing and thought, "Gee, I'd really like to get these creases out of my pants...right now!" But then, that's probably because I can't count.

Call me stupid, but I don't really understand the reasoning behind taking a mundane task and making it needlessly life-threatening. Why not just rig your toilet to explode when you flush it, or cut the brake lines on your car, or take a bath with your toaster. I guess what makes Extreme Ironing different is the fact that you might actually survive, even if your friends and family kind of hope you don't.

There was this once time when I made basketball kind of deadly. Evil Ted and I once traveled deep into the back alleys of Chicago looking for a pickup game, and somehow we ended up at a court where guys were playing ball in baggy jeans and wifebeaters...through which their guns were pretty clearly visible. For some reason, we actually stayed and played a few games. Evil Ted was pretty nervous, but I wasn't. See, I had protection. I'd stuffed a few girl scouts in my trunk just in case I needed to barter them for my life. Fortunately, that didn't have to happen, and you should have seen the look on those angelic little faces when I finally let them out of that hot, cramped trunk: It was like Christmas, a Barmitzvah, and Thomas Crapper Day all wrapped into one.

Iron Water
It's ironing, but underwater. Brilliant!!

I have to admit, I'm not entirely sold on the concept of Extreme Ironing. I mean, I already hate ironing. For me, "ironing" consists of stuffing my wrinkly clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes, or otherwise making someone else do it for me. It would take something pretty special to convince me to risk my physical well-being while doing tedious household chores. Like a tour of Area 51 or the recipe for Pizza King pizza. Until then, I'll just keep making those girl scouts do my laundry.

Labels: ,

white chocolate

The Redeem Team, besides that whole "restoring American basketball dominance" thing, proved to be excellent ambassadors during their stay in Beijing. I bet David Stern couldn't have been happier unless there were two of him. (Not an implausible notion, and it would explain a lot, but I digress.) Still, the overwhelmingly positive Olympic experience reminded me that there have been other not-so-great moments in NBA international relations. To wit:

On February 28, 2001, the Sacramento Kings visited the Golden State Warriors and ran way with a 122-101 victory. But what they won on the court was soon lost in the ensuing public relations nightmare: Sacramento point guard Jason Williams had gotten into a shouting match with some fans during the game. A particularly nasty shouting match.

The fracas started when a man named Michael Ching, who was sitting behind the Kings' bench, told Williams to "Get used to sitting on the bench." White Chocolate, known far and wide for his clever eloquence, responded with: "Are you gay? Are you a fag?"

Since it was entirely possible that Ching did not, in fact, prefer penis over vagina, Williams moved on to the next best thing -- racial epithets! -- calling Ching a "slant-eyed [bleep-bleeper]" and and saying that "I will shoot all you Asian [bleep-bleepers]. Do you remember the Vietnam War? I'll kill y'all just like that. Just like Pearl Harbor, do you remember that?" Then, to underscore his rather statement (which was rather dubious, historically speaking), Williams pantomimed shooting a machine gun at Ching and even made machine gun sounds with his silly mouth.

Unbelievably, the immediate followup to this confrontation was a visit from an arena security guard, who threatened to remove Ching and his friends from the game, claiming complaints had been made against Ching for the incident. Understandably outraged, Ching demanded to speak with someone from the Warriors' front office. He had to wait until the end of the game, but he finally got to speak with Robert Rowell, the Warriors' vice-president of Business Operations. Rowell promised that "something would be done."

Unsatisfied with that rather vague resolution, Ching wrote a letter about the incident and mailed it to Warriors owner Chris Cohan, general manager Garry St. Jean and Rowell; Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof; and NBA commission David Stern and deputy commissioner Russ Granik.

More than a week passed before Rowell got back to Ching. I bet Ching was expecting some sort of heartfelt apology. What he got instead was a stern reprimand for sending out the letter. According to Ching: "[Rowell] said, 'You know I don't appreciate you doing this, going to all this stuff."

Meanwhile, the story had hit the press...and Williams was completely unrepentant. "People say all types of things to me, curse words, talk about weed, everything. They can get personal with me, but I can't get personal with them, I guess. Hopefully, I'll learn my lesson one of these times."

Sounds like he learned a lot, huh?

And still no action was taken by the NBA front office. I know it seems hard to believe, since we live in an era in which players are punished for standing up off of the bench and Kobe Bryant has been suspended twice for accidentally smacking people in the face during jump shots, but it's true. Another week passed before the league finally took action, fining Williams $15,000. In response to the fine, Williams issued a written statement with a canned apology that was dripping with sincerity: "I did not intend any disrespect to the Asian community or any other community. I was wrong and I apologize."

Somewhat ironically, this incident caused Nike to cancel a Williams-centric advertising campaign which would have digitally altered the color of Williams' skin from white to black. (Said Nike spokesman Scott Reames: "The premise is that there's no black basketball and no white basketball. Jason's point is, 'I play basketball; it doesn't matter what color my skin is.'") Nike, of course, claimed that the decision was made before the Ching controversy. That's Nike for you.

It's unknown whether the league forced Williams to attend a diversity training workshop, but rumor has it that Shaq left a message with his agent that said: "Tell Jason, 'ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.'"

Labels: , , , ,

Having your marriage proposal cruelly rejected would be bad. Having it cruelly rejected at a live basketball game in front of tens of thousands of people would be even worse. Like "testicles caught in a piece of rusty farm equipment" worse. Take note.

This also "happened" (I'll explain the quotes below) at a Houston Rockets game. Notice Tracy McGrady's nervous, tittering laugh. If anybody knows what it's like to receive a brutal ego-ectomy in front of a stunned basketball crowd, it's T-Mac.

Before you start feeling too badly for these hapless and forsaken men, check out this entry at the Museum of Hoaxes. It appears that Local 6 -- also known as WKMG-TV Channel 6 (the CBS network affiliate for Central Florida) -- investigated the first video and discovered that the tragedy had been faked. According to Local 6, the proposal was nothing more than "an Orlando Magic marketing ploy to spice up the NBA experience." Mmmm, spicy! Brett Edwards of FanHouse uncovered that the proposal at the Rockets game was also staged.

A similar hoax was perpetrated at a Washington Wizards game in 2004. In fact, the Wizards PR department was so geeked that they proudly issued a press release about it: "Conceived in mischief, and executed without flaw, the Washington Wizards Game Operations department pulled off the prank of the year, simultaneously bewildering and wildly entertaining thousands that could not believe their eyes."

Hoo, boy, those NBA marketing teams are some HI-larious dudes and dudettes. I can't wait to see how they manage to raise the bar from this work of genius. Staged heart attacks? Fake animal rampages?! NBA's FAN-tastic!

Labels: , , , , ,


Note: The woman pictured above is Denise Milani. I didn't merely put this picture up to show off her...huge tracts of land. I was, for the most part, making the point that Kareem does pose for the occasional picture. He simply has, uhm, standards.

Back in the summer of 2000, I had the misfortune of sharing a flight out of Chicago with Rick "The Boston Strangler" Pitino. I should note, for historical purposes, that this occurred only a few months after his infamous (and exceedingly bitter) "Larry Bird is not walking through that door" speech. As a long-time Celtics fan, his very existence was (and, in many ways, still is) anathema to me. With Boston's 35-47 season fresh on my mind, my basketball mood was grim. (That mood was not helped by the fact that my "other" team, the Pacers, had just lost to my most hated team, the Lakers, in the NBA Finals.)

Pitino, naturally, was in first class. I, however, was not. Thus I got the chance to walk directly past him on my way to the dreaded back of the plane (which is almost invariably filled with seat-busting pork monsters and angry, screaming babies). I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I was unable to prevent myself from blasting him with a "Thanks for destroying the Celtics, Rick."

In retrospect, I wish I hasn't done that. Not because I was wrong or anything; Pitino most certainly ruined the Celtics during his tenure as President and Coach of the team. But it's unspeakably rude and unnecessary to harrass famous people during their private lives. I wouldn't want, for instance, to have somebody who follows this site to accost me on the street and tell me off for saying Kobe Bryant is a douchebag. I much prefer the anti-me statements to be limited to comments on this site and the occasional letter bomb.

Anyway, I'm way off the point here. I got to thinking about the Pitino story after a regular reader, bobgarz, sent me the following email:

So on the 21st of August, I was on a flight from Hong Kong to L.A., L.A. to Boston. On my second flight (and thankfully not wearing my Beat LA t-shirt) who do I see but the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar!

Wait a minute...


Ok, so as if seeing a 7 -footer in a tiny airline seat wasn't awkward enough, Kareem was staring people down and ignoring cheers from the L.A. crowd telling him what a legend he is. Further, as he was sitting at the first seat in economy and next to the bathroom, the stewardess announces that that bathroom has to be "shut down." Kareem sure doesn't want his company today.

Upon arrival, at the baggage claim I watch as Kareem rejects photography with myself, two very pretty LA-ites and a poor Asian kid and his girlfriend. But whatever, seeing him in person was cool enough. I grab my baggage and head to the taxi stand. Kareem is walking in front of me. But he doesn't go to the Hummer, doesn't go to the limo, doesn't even go to the taxi stand, but instead walks onto the Budget Bus.

Now I'm sure there's a logical explanation, but watching a generally nice Hall of Famer look depressed in a dirty (very dirty) blue NBA track suit sitting on economy and a budget bus has to make me wonder.

Even my cab driver went "Was that Kareem? Why the hell is he on a bus?"

Must be bad times indeed for Kareem.
An odd story, to be sure, but maybe not as strange as it seems. Many people don't realize this, but Kareem has had his fair share of crippling financial problems. In 1980, he lost "large sums of money" due to a particularly nasty divorce and "his own and his women friends' extravagances." In 1983, his Bel Air mansion burned to the ground, taking much of the $13 million in salary he had earned during his career with it. Then, in the mid-80s, Kareem's business manager, Tom Collins, abused his power of attorney to take out some $9 million in loans in Kareem's name. He had also used Kareem's money to pay other clients and lost many more millions of Kareem's cash "in a web of investments so complex and damaging that a team of Bushkin lawyers had spent months trying to extricate [Kareem]." Kareem's lawyers eventually sued Collins (among others) to recover damages which they said totaled $59 million. Ouch.

Here's just one example of Collins' chicanery:

"In 1984 and '85 Collins put together several limited partnerships involving his clients. One investment, according to court documents, was in a product called Heavyrope, a weighted jump rope that was manufactured by a small firm in Michigan. Collins put up $230,000 of Abdul-Jabbar's money, plus $145,000 of [Ralph] Sampson's, $120,000 of [Alex] English's and $60,000 of [Terry] Cummings', and led Abdul-Jabbar to believe that he would own an interest in the manufacture of Heavyrope and its distribution rights. One night in the summer of '85 he had dinner with Charlie Scott, the former NBA guard who was also a Collins client and another Heavyrope partner. Scott had gone with Collins to meet the manufacturers in Michigan and now, according to Abdul-Jabbar, Scott told him, 'We don't own the patent. We don't own anything. We have a very weak license.'"
And, believe it or not, Alex English sued Kareem for $150,000 because of the whole mess. That's how bad it got. Now, at that time, Kareem's Bushkin lawyer Leonard Armato said: "The idea that Kareem is broke and desperate for money is a fiction." Still...those kinds of losses can't be easy to recover from.

It's not like Kareem has been sitting on his hands since all that happened. He's worked as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics, and most recently for the Lakers, as a special assistant to Phil Jackson (to work with Andrew Bynum). He also spent time blogging for the Los Angeles Times, and he has authored several books. So we know, at the very least, that he's been employed. It's possible that he doesn't make much, and it's also possible that he simply lives a frugal lifestyle because of the difficult lessons he learned. Whatever the case, it is, nonetheless, obvious he isn't rolling around in Kobe Bryant money. Or even, it would seem, Josh Childress money.

Labels: , ,


Shaq's been served! With a (temporary) restraining order, that is. The crime? Terror, dear readers. Terror.

Alexis Miller -- a 23-year-old hippity-hop artist known as MaryJANE -- was granted a large stack of anti-Shaq paperwork based on her allegations that the Big Creepy "stalked her, threatened her with bodily harm and made harassing phone calls in which he breathed heavily into the phone before hanging up." (To be fair, the heavy-breathing may or may not have been intended as a threat. It's possible Shaq was on his cell phone and had just finished doing something very strenuous, like trudging up a flight of stairs or maybe walking ten feet.)

Miller, who's supposedly known Shaq for about a year and a half, has allegedly been "intimate" with him for the last six to eight months. (Quick question: What does she mean by "six to eight months"? That's, like, a two-month margin of error. Now, I've never had sex with Shaq, but it seems to me that being penetrated by his giant, terrifying dong is something that wouldn't easily fade from one's memory. I'm just sayin'.) Miller claims she ended their relationship last month, and that Shaq then threatened to pay performers $50,000 each not to work with her...even though many of them had already been doing it for free.

Miller's attorney, L. David Wolfe (isn't that a pefect lawyer name?), said: "It's been very difficult for her. Her fears are not only for herself, but also the people around her." (Apparently, he feels Shaq could be capable of brutal, multiple-victim rampage. And, now that I think about it, he's probably right.) Wolfe added that Miller is "pretty traumatized." Not just traumatized, mind you. She's pretty traumatized. (In legal terms, "pretty" is like a money multiplier when determining the eventual payout.)

Now here's the moneyshot: The court affadavit quotes an e-mail from Shaq in which the Big Shakespeare said: "I dnt no who the fuk u think u dealin wit u will neva be heard from one phone call is I gotta make now try me. Sho me."

No way was Miller going to put up with that. After all, her MySpace page clearly and emphatically states "No Bitchassness."

The restraining order prohibits Shaq from having any contact or even coming within 200 yards of Miller or her 19-month-old son. (Because Shaq is a notorious child murderer.) Miller and Shaq must appear before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson on September 4 to determine whether the restraining order should be changed from "temporary" to "longer than temporary." Call me crazy, but my Spider-sense is predicting an out-of-court settlement on or before that date.

[Thanks to Basketbawful reader Michael for the head's up.]

Labels: , ,

5-hour energy

A few months ago, I was in a checkout lane at the local Dick's Sporting Goods standing behind a woman with a shopping cart full of baseball supplies: Bat, glove, batting glove, a helmet with a faceguard, and a variety of other miscellanea. I think there was even a jockstrap in the pile, but it gave me chilling memories of sixth grade gym class, so I immediately blocked it out.

I figured she was a Little League Mom, and I was right because her demon seed showed up with an armload of these red, black and yellow bottles. The label read 5-hour Energy. He spilled the bottles into the cart -- there must have been at least a dozen of them -- and his mother immediately blanched. The following conversation ensued:

Mom: "Honey, you don't need that many..."

Kid: [Stamping his little foot] "Yes I do! I have five games next week and I need two per game or I can't play!"

Mom: [In a whiny voice] "But I don't like it when you take two at a time. You get all jittery and then you're up all night..."

Kid: [Balling his fists and scrunching up his face] "Damn it, mom!"

Mom: "Look hon..."

Kid: [Grabbing up the bottles out of the cart] "Screw it, then! I'll buy them myself!"

Mom: [Beat] "No. No, it's okay. I'll buy them."

This exchange made me think two things. First and foremost, that I loathe bratty kids and the parents who let them misbehave. (Seriously, if I ever go on some kind of bizarre rampage, it'll likely be the result of one too many whacks to the head by a kid's water noodle at the local pool, or maybe because some little rascal kept hitting me in the face with a basketball while I was trying to shoot around at the gym.) Second but still significant, what kind of a world do we live in when an 11-year-old kid needs a double-dose of performance enhancement for a Little League game?

You know, when I was 11, I had 5-hour Energy, too. It was called puberty. I woke up on my own at around 5 a.m., spent the day in an endless loop of constant activity, and then I'd still be up half the night fantasizing about Julie Newmar. (With all due respect to Eartha Kitt, Julie was and will forever be my favorite Catwoman. And I'm sorry, but Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry aren't even in the discussion.) I had more than enough pep for those brutal, daylong games of dodgeball, "smear the queer" (the sole goal of which is to take turns getting gang-tackled into a bloody pulp) and -- my personal favorite -- "climb as high as you can up a tree and then jump out." So why do today's kids need an artificial energy boost to play a game where you spend most of your time just standing around? I don't get it.

Still, I was mildly intrigued, and when I saw a 5-hour Energy display at Walgreens a few days later, I bought a bottle (it's about $4, by the way). 5-Hour Energy is different than Red Bull and other so-called "energy" drink in that it's not a mega-shot of caffeine and sugar. (There is some caffeine, but only about the amount you'd find in the average cup of crappy office coffee.) 5-hour Energy is mostly just a super dose of B-vitamins (like 8000% of the daily recommended allowance) and amino acids (the building blocks of life!). The bottle promised that I would get a solid burst of prolonged energy without the typical side-effects associated with most energy drinks: Namely, the initial shakes and the eventual "crash effect" (where you suddenly feel like all the strength has been sucked mercilessly out of your body).

I decided to use a bottle before going to play in my weekly pickup league. I had no idea how much time was required for the 5-hour Energy to take affect, so I drank it about a half hour before I left. That gave me time to sit down, relax and note the immediate effects. Within a few minutes, I started to feel a little flushed. Not jittery or anything, but it felt like my blood was flowing faster than if my heart rate was up (but only slightly). I also started to feel more focused and alert. I wasn't bouncing off the walls like I am after downing a Red Bull, but I was definitely energized.

I went to the league and played well, although I didn't really feel like it was an "enhanced" performance. Other than the increased alertness, which may or may not have helped me limit my turnovers, I think the energy boost was fairly negligible. Maybe if I'd been really exhausted going in it might have done more for me.

As an aside, my friends and I have discovered another valuable use for the 5-hour Energy. A group of us took it one night during a major bender, mostly so that we'd be able to stay up and drink longer. It certainly accomplished that feat. We closed out the bars and nobody fell asleep on the long drive back from downtown Chicago to the suburbs, which is a trip that usually results in most of the car passing out. (Don't worry; we use a designated driver.) And the post-drinking burritos never tasted so good, although, admittedly, that might have had more to do with the beer than the 5-hour Energy.

More importantly, nobody suffered a hangover. Not one of us. We didn't even get our usual case of group beersomnia. And mind you, one of my friends, G-Man, regularly suffers the worst hangovers known to man. No, really. He almost always ends up with a terrible migraine and spends the following day throwing up and crawling around in agony. That has not happened once since he started using 5-hour Energy in preparation for a night out on the town. Conversely, he has endured his typical hangovers the few times he has either forgotten or neglected to use it.

So 5-hour Energy (probably) won't improve your game, whether it's basketball, little league, or backgammon. But it could allow you to drink to excess without repercussions. And that's no small thing.

Labels: , ,

A friend and I were watching Team USA take on Spain last weekend when I noticed Chris Bosh groping the absolute living hell out of Rudy Fernández's butt during a blockout attempt. My friend immediately said, "You've got to put that on your site." But I hadn't TiVo'd the game and I couldn't find a picture of the grabtastic moment anywhere online. So that, it seemed, was that.

Enter Basketbawful reader Ray, who sent me the screen capture.


Dwyane Wade recently noted that he (and the rest of the Redeem Team) are able to go balls out on defense because, at most, they're only playing around 15 minutes a game. Which is a point. But take note, it also helps that the international rules allow for a lot more grabbing and clutching than the NBA does these days. And this butt-hug was a direct result of that. Is it any wonder that Team USA is enjoying so much success? If one team is bigger, stronger and faster than all the other teams, and they can use that physical superiority to their best advantage, what else would you expect to happen?

Labels: , , ,

Watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh win the Gold Medal in women's beach volleyball last night reminded me of this old Kevin Garnett/Brandi Chastain commercial. Yeah, I know it had nothing to do with the Olympics -- Chastain famously exposed herself during the 1999 Women's World Cup, not the 2000 Summer Games -- but what the heck. It's still funny and well worth another viewing.

In this ESPN interview, Mary Buckheit asked Chastain "Who won your foosball game with Kevin Garnett?" Chastain said: "I whupped him! I beat him so badly, he was really down about it. He told me if I was a guy he would have thrown the whole table right over. He had to get himself a table of his own so he could start practicing."

Huh. I wonder whether KG ever got a rematch.

Labels: , ,

The greatest and most important aspect of the Olympics is how they foster a sense of international cooperation and improved cultural understanding. The Games truly bring people together. Such as, say, Yao Ming and Ramunas Siskauskas (of Lithuania). If this doesn't make you say Citius, Altius, Fortius...nothing will.

Yao love

Yao love 2

Thanks (or should I say "Doh je") to Matraco, Quinton, and Slava for the pics.

Labels: , ,


Okay, okay. I've been promising Part 6 of the 2007-08 Worsties for a few weeks now. It's time to deliver. This installment covers the end of the regular season leading into the playoffs.

Creepy merchandising: The NBA marketing geniuses unveiled a series of mildly disturbing bobblepop dolls, the creepiest of which was, without question, the Steve Nash version (although the Dirk Nowitzki bobblepop came close). Poor "Nash" looks like the mutant love child of Pee-wee Herman and Annie Lennox. Which pretty much means it just looks like Annie Lennox. Sweet dreams are not made of these.

Shaq the seven-foot point guard: I guess the Big Ball-Handler's been drinking some of Zach Randolph's special sauce. And, for the record, that is not a good thing.

Autograph madness: Okay, seriously...who gets into a fight at an autograph session? Rashard Lewis fans, apparently. Lewis and his family were taking in a show at the Medieval Times in Kissimmee when a group of teenagers asked for his autograph. One thing led to another and a "mini-riot" broke out. The police were called and they soon restored order. Fortunately for everyone involved, the only casualties were a cell phone and a camera memory card. Nobody got arrested. Lewis said he was only trying to give his fans some love. "I was just trying to be a nice guy." That'll teach him that, you know, nice guys finish last in Medieval Times mini-riots. Or something.

Benny the Bull T-Shirt Cannon Sniper: Benny the Bull: The Chicago mascot sniped Kevin Garnett and James Posey from behind with a t-shirt cannon during the closing minutes of the Celtics/Bulls game. According to the Boston Herald report: "Garnett initially had to be restrained by a member of the officiating crew as Benny stood a safe distance away." Huh. What happens when a mascot pees themselves in terror? I guess we'd have to ask Benny that question today. This incident would have been a little more surprising if Benny hadn't gotten into a fight on The Jerry Springer Show earlier this season. Kudos to Posey (even though he sucks) for finding some humor in the situation. "I don’t know. I feel threatened. I don’t feel safe. They really have tough love here, but it was definitely an inside job. They made the mascot do it. I got hit in the back walking away. That spot on my back is sore. I might have to get treatment on it." Of course, I'm only assuming he's kidding.

The Bulls eventually tried to explain what "really" happened: "The Bulls apologized to the Celtics and explained that one of the members of the IncrediBulls -- a group that entertains during timeouts -- had tripped and his gun shot the shirts into the floor from where they bounced into the Celtics."

Nice story. A big load of, well, bullpoopy, but a good story. And KG, or one, isn't stepping in it. "Wow. That's a story. I just turned around and dude [Benny] had the smoking gun in his hands. I didn't see no lady. I didn't see nobody trip over a gun. You know what I'm saying?"

Chicago coach Jim Boylan gave his own humorous take on the incident: "It was against Posey so, it’s open season against him whenever he steps on the court in Chicago. I was proud of Benny, glad he took matters into his own hands. He orchestrated it behind the scenes." Ha, hah! Good one, coach. Of course, you know what they say. Many a truth is said in jest.

Donnie Walsh, the big, fat liar: Walsh has been a class act for years and years, which is why it was a surprise when news broke that he was about to accept a position with the Knicks...despite still being employed by the Indiana Pacers, who apparently knew nothing about the whole thing. Walsh and his agent, naturally, denied the hell out of those reports. Then, a few weeks later -- SURPRISE!! -- Walsh was named the Knicks President of Basketball Operations. I would just like to point out that, had this been Larry Brown, he would have been skewered. But Walsh pretty much got a free pass on this one.

As a sidenote, shortly after Walsh was named El Presidente, the Knicks gave up 130 points on 60 percent shooting to...the Memphis Grizzlies. Eight [!!] Grizzlies scored in double figures, including Kwame Brown. I feel very unclean right now.

Dwight Howard, thug: Watch Chris Paul become the latest victim of Dwight's wrath, joining the ranks of Tony Battie, Jameer Nelson, and Brian Cook. It's like he's Superman in a world filled with nothing but Lex Luthors.

The Great Returns: Elton Brand returned to the Clippers' lineup after missing almost the entire season to play in the team's eight final (and meaningless) regular season games. Jermaine O'Neal returned to the Pacers' lineup after missing most of the season to play in the team's final nine (and mostly meaningless) regular season games. The one common element in each situation? Both players had the opportunity to opt out of the contract over the summer. Can you say "auditioning for other teams"? It sure paid off for Brand, and O'Neal is now in Toronto prepping for a little Contract Year Phenomenon.

Speaking of returns...the Washington Wizards choked up a nine-point lead in the closing minutes of a game against the Bucks -- despite Agent Zero's emotional return -- and they couldn't make a defensive stop with 1.1 seconds left on the clock. Oh, and the game-winner got knocked in by rookie and D-League escapee Ramon Sessions. Nobody should ever lose to a man named "Ramon" unless his first name is "Razor." And what's worse: DeShawn Stevenson rolled his ankle and Antawn Jamison hurt his shoulder diving into the crowd after a loose ball.

NBA official Eric Lewis: This is a situation that would make Vince McMahon proud. T.J. Ford seemingly hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer -- off an amazing halfcourt lob pass from Carlos Delfino, by the way -- but after a lengthy video review, the officials determined that Ford released the shot after the clock had expired. It was on to overtime, where the Hawks prevailed over the Raptors 127-120. Just one problem. The arena's timekeepers Referee Eric Lewis shaved 0.1 off the clock, which deprived Ford of the split second he needed -- and deserved -- to complete the play. And here's the video evidence to prove that the ball hadn't even touched T.J.'s hands with 0.4 left on teh clock, anyway.

Ernie Johnson, the ageist: Andre Iguodala was a guest analyst on the NBA on TNT in early April, and Ernie referred to him as the "44-year-old" Andre Iguodala. Which wouldn't have been that silly of a mistake if Iggy didn't have the kind of babyface that makes you wonder whether he still gets his lunch money stolen by the big kids. The only theory I have to explain Ernie's gaffe is that he was thinking about Dikembe Mutumbo, who's been 44 for, what, the last three seasons? Now we finally have an answer to the age-old question: "Who wants to sex Mutumbo?" Ernie does.

Wally's awkward moment: Yeah...awkward probably doesn't quite cover it.

J.R. Smith's ego-ectomy: Hey, J.R. The rim is still 10 feet high, yo!

Mo Williams' ouchie in his man region: Yikes. I wonder if Cleveland knew about this when they traded for him?

Andrew Bogut make's, ahem, history: He earned the ever-elusive triple bumble in a game against the Celtics: 15 points, 15 rebounds and 10 turnovers. I wonder if he high-fived himself afterward?

Pat Riley mangles the English language: After a very rare win, against the Chicago Bulls, Riley described his players by saying: "These guys are unadulterated." I have no idea what he could possibly mean. But far be it from me to argue with words of wisdom from a Hall of Famer.

Jermaine O'Neal mangles the english language: The Pacers staved off playoff elimination (however briefly) by beating the Hawks...and it rattled something language-related in Jermaine's coconut. Said O'Neal: "We're starting to take a disposition about ourselves on both ends of the floor."

Joe Johnson's bitterness: After his Hawks lost to the Pacers (as mentioned above), Joe had some, ahem, choice things to say about it. "[The Pacers] just play harder than us every time we play them. It's nothing they're doing. It's not the players they've got. We didn't play hard, so we get our ass kicked. Point blank." Hold on. The Pacers "play harder" than your team does, but "it's nothing they're doing." Not sure I quite followed that one. But you have to love it when a player manages to both criticize his own team and demean his opponent all in one fell swoop. That's insult efficiency is what that is. Maybe John Hollinger should create a statistic to measure that.

Bruce Bowen does it again: Oh, and look...his target was Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns. I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

Isiah Thomas finally "does" it: With his team riding a three-game winning streak -- and yes, that was a season-high -- Isiah was all bright eyes and wistful smiles. "Finally the spirit of the team is good. The camaraderie of the team is good. I just think that they’re a team now. A little late, but nevertheless." Wow. It took him only four years and almost $500 million to make them a "real" team. Congratulations, Zeke.

Vince Carter, the languageologist: Vinsanity coined a new term: The triple threat negative.

Clay Bennett: We all already knew he was a lying, cheating bastard. But we have the emails to prove it.

FedExForum: Uh oh. "Three people were injured Saturday night before a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies when a small section of the stands at FedExForum collapsed. One man was taken away on a stretcher and two others were treated at the scene, arena officials said." Wow. I guess everything about the Memphis franchise is falling apart. Steve Zito, senior vice president of arena operations, said: "This has surprised us. We're going to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again." Gee...thanks, Steve.

Isiah Thomas, poet and philosopher: After a loss to the Celtics' reserves, Isiah addressed the uncertainty of his future with the Knicks. "There are certain times when you live in uncertainty and you're not comfortable with it, but you have to learn to settle and be patient and see what plays out. And we all want certainty in our life. However, in the uncertain times you have to sit with it and in sports there are a lot of uncertain times." Um, well said, Isiah.

The Stern Button: I did an extensive writeup of this mess for Deadspin, but let me sum things up: The Sixers were up by one point with a few seconds left. LeBron drove to the hoop -- and totally travelled, by the way -- before getting the ball knocked out of his hand. Devin Brown recovered it, forced a shot, missed it, and the 76ers pulled out a huge 90-89 win. Or did they? The referees reviewed the film and decided the "right call" was that Devin Brown got fouled on his last-second shot attempt. Brown sank the freethrows, and the Cavs won...setting of a ripple-effect throughout the Eastern Conference playoff pond: Cleveland clinched the fourth seed, Washington got stuck with the fifth seed, Toronto backed into the sixth seed, and Philadelphia fell to the seventh seed.

Forget the fact that refs don't make those calls in end-of-game situations -- the prefer to let the players decide the game -- if they really wanted to get things right, they would have called the travel on LeBron, which happened before the foul on Brown. And that should have been the end of the game, with the Sixers winning. But that's not how The Stern Button works, is it?

Carmelo Anthony, the designated drunk driver: Why's 'Melo so mellow? He's buzzed, that's why. I get the same way. Also: Hungry for burritos. Nice mugshot, by the way.

Carmelo Anthony's fiance: She wouldn't come and pick her meal ticket up from the police station? Damn. That's cold.

Ron Artest versus backyard serpent larva: Great googly moogly. Ron-Ron's scared of snake eggs. I guess the Sorting Hat would never put him in Slytherin, then.

Kyle Korver does it again: Seriously, Kyle. What's up with the "gay elf defense"?

Corey Brewer achieves the rare double ego-ectomy: Watch Corey blow his second dunk of the game, then grab the offensive rebound and miss a layup. What a way to finish the season, huh?

Dirk Nowitzki forgets to be careful what he asks for: This is what Herr Diggler had to say after the Dallas defeated New Orleans, thus ensuring a first round matchup with the Hornets: "This was definitely a win we wanted to get. The Lakers are probably the hottest team in the West. We definitely didn't want to face them in the first round...(New Orleans) had a great year, but I think we match up pretty well." Yeah, uh, how'd that turn out for you again, Dirk?


Hm. I'm pretty sure this is a position in the Kama Sutra. I'd have to double-check, but I think it's called The Backdoor Mailman and Angry Dog. Many thanks to Royal-T for the pic.

Bron Wade love

Update! The actual caption for this picture reads: "Dwyane Wade and LeBron James stayed loose at practice on the eve of the Olympic quarterfinals." No comment.

Labels: , , ,

Did you know that there's a giant statue of Shaq outside the east gate of Chaoyang Park, the largest park in Beijing? Well, there is. Dear God in heaven, there is.

Shaq statue

The enormous statue was built because that particular section of the park is sponsored by Li-Ning, the Chinese sportswear company endorsed by Shaq. (Not to mention fellow NBA uber-stars Chuck Hayes and Damon Jones.) But it would appear that some of the local residents don't appreciate The Big Diesel polluting their playground. Here's a sampling of the anti-Shaq trashtalk:

Lei Shi: "I walk past him every day and I think, he is just so-so. We're not sure why he's here."

Chen Chen: "In my dreams at night, Shaq is just that tall. Shaq is a good player, but, look here, he is little fat."

Tony Zhang: "Kobe is younger, and that Shaq over there is fatter. Kobe is today. Shaq is too old."

Minghas Li: "One good thing about this. Shaq can't sing in real life, and here he will not be able to sing."

Uh, hey Shaq. How does that Chinese you-know-what taste?

Labels: , , ,

Big Mac attack

I don't know about you, but when I wake up, open the newspaper, and see a photo of a forlorn-looking Antoine Walker, it gets my hopes up. Like, maybe Antoine's retiring or David Stern has banned him from shooting three-pointers for life.

Sadly, that was not the case on this particular morning.

Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, two men were shot outside of the Rock 'n' Roll McDonalds in downtown Chicago. The men actually managed to drive themselves to a nearby hospital, but one of them died shortly after arriving and the other is listed in critical condition.

The NBA angle: Chicago Police are investigating whether the shootings resulted from a fight that may or may not have happened at the Excalibur Nightclub...where Employee #8 was holding his 32nd birthday party. I know, I know. I thought he was much older than that, too. Last year Antoine suffered a home invasion and now this. Maybe he should, you know, stay away from Chicago. And Big Macs. (I'm just sayin'.)

Labels: , ,

From You Been Blinded: Sir Charles isn't merely a selfless benefactor. He's also a matchless party machine. For instance, watch Sir Charles chug enough Patron to kill you, several of your closest friends, and a small forest animal.

Now, I know what you're thinking, but don't worry. No matter how drunk he gets, he's done with gambling. Forever. Seriously.

In case you were wondering, this all went down at the American Century Championship, a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. According to ESPN the Magazine, he was pouring out shots to pretty much everybody...on his tab (which reportedly reached $10K). Now that's a guy I'd like to party with, even if the night ended with Barkley throwing me through a plate glass window.

By the way, I remember that "fight" from when it happened, and it's been referenced many times since. (Barkley himself has said that "People always ask me if I had any regrets in my career. Remember when I threw that guy out the window? I regret I was on the first floor.") But what I didn't remember was what a stone cold bastard Charles was during the incident. Not only did he toss the dude through the window, he then leaned over him and said "You got what you deserve. You don't respect me. I hope you're hurt" the man lay bleeding on the ground. Chuck also said "For all I care, you can lay there and die." Wow. Do not make him angry.

Labels: ,

Following the trade that sent Ron Artest to the Rockets, Yao Ming was understandably concerned. Sure, Artest is talented and all, but this is a guy that has been known to beat up fans for throwing cups of water, demand trades at random intervals, threaten to retire to promote album sales, and sport some pretty horrific hairstyles. Rockets fans in China were a tad worried as well. Here are some very poorly translated excerpts from Chinese fan sites...

"I can understand from the rocket urgent urgent 'Yao and McGrady (Tracy McGrady) era' has never been able to break through the first round of the playoffs Curse of the situation."

"Although headed center Yao Ming also agree that the team will increase the combat capability, but also worried that the rocket team atmosphere may be affected."

"This is the player the Rockets need most is my favorite type, a personality. McGrady is the soft egg, and Yao Ming are often trapped in the physical character in the East, which is why the Rockets are always tough but dry, not a first round of the playoffs."

All similarities between T-Mac and dairy products aside, Maggie Rauch over at pointed out that, before Yao Ming came to the NBA, he's partnered with some short-tempered derelicts himself.

"It should be noted that the guys Yao is playing with right now — the Chinese national team — have also been known to throw some blows when things get heated on the court. The team was involved in a fray in a game against Lebanon at the 2001 Asian Championships in which Li Nan, who is still playing with the national team, reportedly brandished a pair of scissors. Yao was on the bench at the time and not involved in the fight. More recently, and documented with video evidence, China had a good dust-up with Puerto Rico in the 2005 Stankovic Cup."

Here is the video of the Stank Cup brawl. You'll notice that, shortly after the fight, Team Puerto Rico grabbed their stuff and got the hell out of there, essentially ending the game. Wait, isn't Puerto Rico one of the most dangerous places in the world? And all it took was a pissed-off Yi Jianlian and a few fans throwing garbage to send them cowering? I'm so disappointed.

Labels: , , , ,

That's just wrong. Shawn Kemp's former sidekick Vincent Askew was busted this week for allegedly making sexy time with a high-school girl. Something we don't condone in any way, but we totally understand.

We stumbled upon a re-enactment of the arrest. The part of Askew is expertly played by a 49-year-old baked goods connoisseur, who just happens to be a recently released sex offender. What. No way. (probably NSFW)

Labels: , ,

This was reported on the Bay to Beijing blog: Matt Kaplan, a 22-year-old from Lafayette (Indiana California, presumably) was seen leaving Team USA's game against Greece in a Baron Davis Golden State Warrior Number Five jersey.

number five

That's right: Kaplan removed B-Diddy's name, creating a unique and totally anonymous jersey. For some reason, this reminds me of the mid-90s NBA Live game where they couldn't include Michael Jordan on the Bulls because of copyright issues (read that: "Mike is a greedy bastard"), so they put some nameless player (with all Jordan's stats and attributes) in his place.

Actually, Kaplan has a great idea. As soon as I get home from my Clark Kent job, I'm going to rip the name off my Jermaine O'Neal Pacers jersey. Which, now that I think of it, I sort of wish I would have done about two years ago...

Labels: , , ,


All the women who were hoping to get a piece of The Big Bachelor should calm down now: Shaq and his wife Shaunie are calling off their divorce.

Said the still-Mrs. Shaq: "Neither one of us could probably answer why we were getting one in the first place. Things have been going so great, that someone actually had to remind us that 'Hey, you do remember those papers are still there.' Literally, it was days ago. So, we've agreed that before we leave Florida in a few days we'll make sure that that's gone away."

Neither one of them could answer why they were getting divorced? Really?! I seem to remember that, less than two months ago, Shaq unforgettably rapped that: "I'm a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced." Oh. Wait. That's right. He was just teasin'.

I'm sure the now non-divorce has nothing to do with Shaunie's new video-sharing Web site, which is set to launch on September 1st. Because there would be no difference whatsoever in marketing a Web site created by "Shaunie Whats-Her-Name" and "Shaunie 'Shaq's wife' O'Neal."

Oh, and don't get too excited about that Web site. It won't feature videos of Shaq hanging around the crib freestyling about Kobe, David Robinson, Rik Smits, or whoever. It's meant to showcase children and their talents, providing families a kid-friendly, safe place to upload and share videos. Yeah, I know. I fell asleep just typing that out.

Update! Here's an old "Couples Uncensored" segment from Access Hollywood starring Mr. and Mrs. Shaq. That Shaq...he loves talking about his own ass.

Labels: , ,

Harold Miner

By my count, there have been no fewer than eight Next Michael Jordans: Grant Hill, Harold Miner, Jerry Stackhouse, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Penny Hardaway, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter.

There are a few things you might have noticed while scanning over this list. First, none of those players have even matched let alone surpassed Jordan. Kobe and LeBron have come the closest so far...but they're both still quite a ways off. Second, by and large, the Next Jordans have nonetheless achieved a fair level of professional success: MVPs (well, one anyway), championships, scoring titles, All-Star appearances, All-NBA recognition. However, third and finally, one of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong.

Harold Miner.

He was the first and worst of the Next Jordans. A high school phenom whose mind-bending leaping ability and freaktastic dunksplosions earned him the nickname "Baby Jordan," Miner played three above-average seasons at USC (23.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 45 percent shooting) before bolting for the pros. He was selected 12th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by a Miami Heat squad that already included Glen Rice, Rony Seikaly, and Steve Smith, as well as other serviceable players like Grant Long, Kevin Edwards, Bimbo Coles and Brian Shaw. Adding Miner was supposed to help transform Miami into one of the league's elite teams.

It didn't quite work out that way, though. He played three lackluster seasons for the Heat in which he never played more than 21 minutes per game and never averaged more than 10.5 points. He was a two-time Slam Dunk Champion (in 1993 and 1995), but those titles only served to underscore Miner's basic weakness as a player: He was merely a fantastic dunker, nothing more and nothing less. He couldn't rebound, pass or play NBA defense. His supposed forte, offense, was suspect because of his poor outside shooting.

The Heat gave on Miner after the 1995 season and traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he averaged 3.2 points and 7.2 minutes in 19 games. His final NBA game came on February 20, 1996. His line: Zero points (0-for-2), 2 assists, and 1 foul in five minutes of lack-tion. After that game, Miner was waived. He tried to make it onto the Toronto Raptors in the fall of 1996, but he was cut during the preseason. He then "retired."

Nobody really knows what happened to Miner after that. (At least nobody who's willing to talk about it.) There have been rumors, of course. Plenty of rumors. Some say he's in witness-protection. Others claime he's hooping it up in Japan. He might also be living with his mom in L.A., running an insurance company in Florida, building homes in South Dakota, hooked on crack, writing for an online blogging competition, or dead. Miner's Wikipedia page states that he "eventually settled near Las Vegas, Nevada and is reportedly an active real estate investor." But it's who knows.

George Raveling, Miner's head coach at USC, once said: "I always felt the worst thing to happen to Harold was the 'Baby Jordan' tag." And that's probably true. I'm not saying that the "Next Jordan Curse" ruined Miner, blew out Penny Hardaway's knee, destroyed Grant Hill's ankle, made Tracy McGrady psychologically incapable of making it out of the first round, caused Kobe to develop bipolar affective disorder, or turned Jerry Stackhouse into a flaming asshole...but it sure as heck didn't help.

Note: Basketbawful reader Loren asked "How about Len Bias?" Good question. There were indeed comparisons made between the two men while Bias was still in college, but I don't consider Bias a true member of the Next Jordan Club. This is because, at the time Bias was drafted by the Celtics, Michael Jordan was not yet Michael Jordan. Jordan had been in the NBA for only two seasons and, due to a broken foot suffered during the 1985-86 campaign, he had played in only 100 career games. Moreoever, he had played in only three playoff games to that point, losing all of them. Yes, he had that 63-point game, but one historic scoring explosion does not a Legend make.

The Jordan Legend wasn't truly solidified until he won that first title in 1991 (although it certaily wasn't complete by that time, either). That puts Miner on the outer fringe of the Next Jordan Spectrum. Bias falls outside of it. However, if he was included in the Nex Jordans group, he would have qualified as the worst ever...since his irresponsible use of cocaine resulted in his death before he could play a single game.

Labels: , ,


I never would have seen this one coming. The person most upset about Team Spain's "slant-eyed" photo is...Jason Kidd. But don't misunderstand the situation. Kidd's not fighting against the inequities of racism and mindless bigotry; he's whining about a perceived double-standard in the NBA front office. See, he believes that David Stern would have punished the players on Team USA for pulling that stunt, while the Spanish team's NBA players -- namely Pau Gasol and Jose Calderon -- are (as far as we know) going to get off scot-free.

"We would've been already thrown out of the Olympics. At least, we wouldn't have been able to come back to the U.S. There would be suspensions. They won't do anything to them. It's a double standard."
Thanks for your two cents, Jason. I, for one, am enlightened by your contributions to this controversial issue. Huh. I'd think that Kidd would be a little too busy, you know, competing in the Olympics (and hitting on Olympic hotties) to start railing against NBA injustice. Or, maybe he's not that busy after all...

Interestingly enough, according to this article, many Chinese people had no idea they were being mocked, however gently. Sunny Wu of showed some of the Chinese the Spain basketball team advertisement. The responses ranged from "They're thinking," to "They're just happy, smiling and pointing to their eyes," to "They must be saying the Chinese people are really thoughtful because they're pointing to their minds," to "Perhaps they're mimicking someone. Maybe it's supposed to be a funny thing."

Out of 14 people who were asked, only one Chinese person realized that the Spanish team was mocking them. But once the reporter told them how offensive it was, some of the people did get offended. So there you have it.

Update! Basketbawful reader darrell d has informed me that the Spanish tennis team also captured the "chinky-eye" on film. Oh yes, they most certainly did.

Spanish tennis team

Now, apparently, this picture was taken last February after the team defeated Italy in the quarter-finals of the Federation Cup. That win earned them the right to face China in the semi-finals. The photo appeared on the official website of the Spanish Tennis Federation. The original is captioned "Estamos preparados para China," which translates as "We are prepared for China." Rumor has it the caption might be changed to "We are Siamese if you please; we are Siamese if you don't please" in order to make the photo less offensive.

Labels: , , ,

The following image was sent in by Basketbawful reader Radical Rex, who said: "I'm a children's librarian and we just got this book in today. Dirk's not the most photogenic guy, but c' this really the best picture they could find?"


Hm. You make a very fair point, Rex. It looks like Dirk is falling into a pit of poisonous, man-eating gerbils and grabbing that basketball is the only way he can save himself. Good news if you want to read all about this amazing athlete: The book is available for only $6.95 (plus shipping and handling) from Buy yours today!

Labels: , ,

Anybody remember this Yard Fitness commercial from a couple years back?

Playing Basketball Naked Has Advantages - The best video clips are here

I swear that I'm not trying to flagellate a dead horse here...but isn't it funny how this commercial was (as far as I can tell) almost universally hailed as hilarious while the Nike Hyperdunk ads were considered (by some) to be homophobic? Particularly since this commercial made an explicit point of showing both the naked guy's genitals/ass(though they were digitally obscured) and the corresponding disgust/fear/paranoia displayed by the other players.

Maybe the difference in perception comes from the fact that the Yard Fitness commercial was so clearly meant to be humorous while the Hyperdunk ads were shot in a faux dramatic style. Where, exactly, is the imaginary line that separates "funny" from "offensive"? Does anybody really know?

Me? I've always loved this commercial. And it certainly would be an interesting social experiment to show up to pickup ball and play naked...I wonder how the other players would actually react?

Labels: ,

pickup ball

Bawful and I returned to my hacker league for another round of poorly played basketball as we wait for our regular season league to open back up. Several occurrences that evening prompted some new Basketbawful terminology.

Here's your three-in-one treat:

Fake Cramp: Bawful and I started on the same team and won the first couple of games. While we were playing, an eleventh, twelvth and thirteenth dude showed up, so rather than play with subs, Bawful and I eventually found ourselves shooting freethrows to keep playing. He missed and I hit, so I ended up playing on a new team.

[Note from Basketbawful: I had already lined up for the freethrow when ET said he didn't want to play on that team. So, instead of just walking away and insulting somebody, I shot the 'throw flatfooted...missing on purpose. I figured ET would follow suit. He didn't.]

[Note from Evil Ted: I remember this a little differently. Bawful and I were at the freethrow line when I thought out loud about just sitting out a game. I'm not sure why Bawful is concerned about insulting these schmucks. Has any baller ever complained when people voluntarily sit out when there are too many guys? Anyway, Bawful's brick did look intentional, but I didn't do what I should have done - ask "Brick it?" I figured that since Bawful passed on sitting a game, he was trying to make the shot. Lack of communication is common in many marriages, and has resulted in more than a few altercations with Bawful...and my wife...and my kids...and my pastor. Still, since Bawful missed, when I went up to the line I felt zero pressure to hit, resulting in a swish (had I wanted to make it, I'd have blown it).]

About a third of the way through the game, I'm not really enjoying my team, and I'm seeing Bawful and another player I enjoy playing with on the sidelines. With the way we rotate teams (play two games, sit one, win or lose) I'm going to be playing against them next...unless I come up with a brilliantly lame "fake cramp."

The thirteeth dude is on the other end of the bleachers. I don't know him, and don't really like playing with him. "You have a white shirt?" I call to him. (We play whites and darks). He nods. "Get it on," I say.

At the next stoppage of play, I hold my side and say I have a cramp and have to sit. I will, of course, "recover" for the next game, in which Bawful, my other buddy and I will now be on the same team. Team-I-Don't-Like problem solved. I know, it's like driving in the breakdown lane during a traffic jam, but I do that too. Because I'm Evil.

Good Samaritan Intimidation (GSI): Bawful and another dude (who has quickly become his nemesis in the league) start playing physical. I can tell it's going to get out of hand. Bawful is being pretty sedate about the physical play, mainly because he was getting over a bout of food poisoning. Still, an angry Bawful is a dangerous customer, and when I see Nemesis give Bawful a hard two-handed push in the back, sending Bawful to the floor, I jump in before Bawful can even get up.

"Dude, he will kill you," I say calmly.

Nemesis blows air out his mouth and sarcastically says, "I'm afraid." This is white guy basketball code for "I really am afraid, but am going to pretend not to be."

I finish with: "He won't warn you, but I will."

Nemesis was the model of a clean player after that, and even apologized to Bawful later. So my GSI bit prooved incredibly effective. And why wouldn't it? Can you imagine if you're getting physical with someone on the basketball court and a third party steps in to warn you about your adversary? It's much more effective than if Bawful himself had started jawing with the guy, since such behavior is commonplace on the court. I'm kind of proud of myself with this one. You never know what kind of bullcrap is going to come out of your mouth on the basketball court, but in this case, I unexpectedly managed to not only calm down the combatants, but plant a seed of fear into Nemesis's head that will hopefully keep him from being overly aggressive in future weeks. Score one for not being Evil (or at least for shrouding the Evil in pretend goodness).

[Note from Basketbawful: While I'm not trying to discount the intimidation factor, I've also noticed that there are cases where, in the heat of battle, somebody will take a cheap shot that they -- and everybody else -- knows is just plain wrong. These people seem medically incapable of admitting their fault at that moment. They just can't do it. But if they have anything resembling a human soul, they'll realize it during the game and try to apologize sometime afterward. I guess we could call that something like "post-asshat apology" or something like that. Anybody got a better suggestion?]

Pull a Pierce: Late in the evening, Nemesis hastily limped off the court with a twisted ankle. He looked to be walking around normally soon after. I thought he had faked-injuried his way off a bad team (like I had), but Bawful remarked to me that Nemesis (like many people) probably freaked out a little when he first twisted it, thinking he was hurt worse than he really was.

"So he pulled a Pierce," I said.

Bawful, with the Game 1 NBA Finals theatrics still fresh in his head, knew exactly what I meant.

Labels: , ,

Spanish team

By now you may have already heard/read about this (for instance here, here, or here), but I'll give you a quick summary: The photo shown above -- which features the Spanish men's national basketball team yanking their peepers into a slant-eyed gesture -- ran on the front page of Marca, a Spanish daily sports newspaper with readership of over 2,300,000. It was, apparently, intended as a "good luck" advertisement for Seur, a Spanish courier company.

Not surprisingly, there has been both uproar and condemnation of the picture.

This might be the worst anti-Chinese racist moment since David Carradine was cast as Kwai Chang Caine in the old Kung Fu television series. (For the record, it should have been Bruce Lee...but that's a long and complicated story.) Pretty much everybody involved in this mess showed a shocking lack of, ahem, vision. Mind you, I've never been to Spain and I know very little of Spanish culture, other than that they love them some tomato fights. Maybe the concepts of "racial sensitivity" and "political correctness" have not reached them. But still, you'd think a country with a national motto like "Further Beyond" would be further beyond something like this. Or, at the very least, that they'd be smart enough to avoid it.

One of the Spanish players involved, Jose Calderon, blames the media. "We did it because we thought it was going to be something nice, something with no problem. But somebody wants to talk about it. It is too much of a big deal with you guys (the media) and everybody talking about that." Uh...something nice? Seriously? No way, Jose. It's hard to believe this is the same guy who gave up his starting job to T.J. Ford for the betterment of the team last season.

The Spanish team's coach, one Aíto García Reneses, likened the gesture to making fun of tall people. No, really. Said Reneses: "If I go to play with a taller team and I put here (raising up on the tips of his toes) it is not an offense. I can't understand anything more." It sure was nice of Spain to let a space alien coach their national team only days after he arrived on Earth. But they probably should have waited until he learned more of our customs.

Pau Gasol, best known for being one of the evil Lakers, really didn't want to do it, did it anyway, doesn't think it was offensive, but is very sorry that mocking a billion people upset some people. "Some of us didn't feel comfortable doing it just because to me it was a little clownish for our part to be doing that. But the sponsors insisted and insisted. I think it is just a bad idea I guess to do that, but it was never intended to be offensive or racist against anybody. I didn't find it very funny. I didn't find it offensive, either. I guess some guys didn't mind. To me I don't want to be that way, I guess, to be doing that stuff. If anybody feels offended by it we totally apologize for it. We never meant anything offensive by it."

Okay. Sure. I wonder what they would have done if the Olympics had been held in Africa. Put all the players in blackface maybe? Hey, it's all in good fun!

Honestly, I don't think the Spaniards meant any offense, either. But, man, it sure was stupid, wasn't it? I try to remain almost completely ignorant of foreign relations, but even I know that the Chinese people (or, perhaps more accurately, the Chinese government) are a bit touchy about how they're regarded around the world. Heck, they wouldn't even show the little girl who sang their anthem at the opening ceremonies because she's too ugly.

Oh well. I'm just glad that if there had to be a bunch of thoughtless, insensitive foreign bastards, it wasn't us for a change.

Labels: , ,

Trying to get young men and women to join the Army can be a tough sell, especially with an average salary of about $15K a year for new recruits. On the upside, you can earn fat cash for college for a mere three to five years of indentured servitude. Assuming that, you know, you don't get blown up in Iraq first.

Today's Army recruitment videos are dramatic and inspirational. In 1987 they were...a little silly and nonsensical. Take this one, which uses Magic Johnson as an example of "being all that you can be." While I can't argue that Magic did indeed get the absolute most out of his physical abilities, I'm not sure how the message "See how this talented athlete has become the best player in his sport and is making bags and bags of money?" was supposed to inspire anyone to earn poverty-level wages for the right to have scary old guys scream and spit all over you. But what do I know about military psychology? Besides, I bet those yummy field rations make it all worthwhile.

Random sidenote: Basketbawful reader Wormboy mentioned (and vehemently agreed with)another criticism leveled against Magic in the article I referenced in yesterday's post: "While imploring the kids to 'Make sure that you make the right decisions' and underscoring that remark with 'You know what's right from wrong,' the NBA legend never took ownership of his monumental mistake of contracting HIV. With this disease rampant in the black community, it seems only appropriate that Johnson's act include one measly mention of his poor decision-making."

Here's the thing, though: Magic's wide-ranging campaign against HIV has been well-chronicled. (Go to the I Stand With Magic site for more details.) He has spent a great deal of time since his fateful retirement announcement owning up to his mistake and speaking out about the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Realistically speaking, how long does Magic need to keep apologizing? Is he really responsible for bringing it up at each and every single speaking engagement he does? Really?

While I agree with the general sentiment -- that it is important to continue to inform and educate the black community (and all communities) about the threat HIV poses to the world -- I also think there is a time and place for it. And Magic has done it many times in many places, and continues to do so. So, in my opinion, that criticism was a trifle unfair.

Labels: , ,


I love Magic Johnson, not only because he's one of the greatest players in NBA history, but because he has a way with the English language. See, Magic doesn't just speak; he makes love to words. He once explained the passing rapport he shared with his Lakers teammates by saying "When we're out there, it's like we have ESPN." He also coined the terms fundamativity and harmonism, which make my life better on an almost every-day basis.

But some people don't share my generous appraisal of Magic's grammatical successivations. One such person is Star Tribune columnist CJ, whose current column is titled "Johnson isn't magical when he puts a reverse English spin on his grammar." In it she weaves the dark tale of how Magic recently gave an inspirational speech to a group of kids at the Mall of America -- he cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the mall's new Best Buy store -- and [prepare to be shocked!!] he committed a handful of verbal gaffes, such as saying "hisself" instead of "himself." I know. Pretty dark and sinister stuff.

Her biggest complaint came over this extended Magicism: "You can't be late to the dinner table [when you have six sisters and three brothers] or what will happen? All the food gone." Then: "Now here's a kid from the ghetto, grew up in the neighborhood and he don't [sic] drink coffee and he owns Starbucks."

Speaking as a longtime Magic fan, I can tell you for certain that this oration was actually really good for him. However, CJ's gripe is that successful businessmen like Magic should be able to speak better, and that Magic's oral diarrhea is setting a bad example for the kiddies...since nobody can succeed if they talk like an idiot.

Really, CJ? I wouldn't be too sure about that...

Labels: ,