If your comment hasn't been published, it's because you correctly guessed the identity of one or more persons and/or places in the story. Congratulations, Scooby Doo. I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you and those meddling kids.Previous installments: Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
The next few days were relatively uneventful. I was busy going to class, working and studying. Mat, for his part, settled into a comfy-cozy schedule that consisted of: waking up around 2 p.m.; goofing off until he had to go to basketball practice at 5 p.m.; coming back to the dorm to eat his weight in dorm food; going out for a few hours; coming back home to call Shelly and/or one or more other girls; watching MTV until 4 a.m. or so; and then finally going to bed. Of course, sometimes the schedule was expanded to include a random hookup or two, but that was his life for most of that first semester. Meanwhile, his books, ignored and unmoving, gathered dust on his desk, slowly but inexorably disappearing under a growing collection of CDs and knickknacks.
I tried to keep up with Aimee by phone, but she was so on-the-go I rarely caught her in her room unless it was really, really late. That didn't keep me from calling incessantly, though. As a result, I started to get pretty chummy with her roommate, Latrisse, who by comparison was almost always available.
I actually had met Latrisse the previous summer when she visited Aimee in Kokomo. They had agreed to meet before moving in together to make the college transition a little easier. The three of us gathered at a McDonald's for burgers, fries and conversation. At one point, while Aimee was in the bathroom, I explained to Latrisse how much Aimee meant to me. I'm fairly certain I used the "L" word at one point. I wrapped up by saying, "It would make me feel better if you'd look after her for me." Latrisse agreed, and during one of our phone conversations, she confided, "You know, asking me to look after her really endeared you to me. You're a pretty special guy, Matt." It seemed like a fairly innocuous comment at the time, but it would lead to trouble later.
People on our floor started referring to us as "Big Mat and Little Matt." Shelly coined that double nickname during one of her many phone chats with my roommate. Mat mentioned it to somebody and it spread like wildfire. Soon people I didn't even know were saying, "What up, Little Matt?" when I passed them on my way out of the building. At 6'2" (6'3" in shoes) and almost 200 pounds, I hadn't been called "little" since elementary school. But now I was becoming universally known as Little Matt. That was...great.
On Thursday, Mat initiated conversation with me, which typically didn't happen unless I was standing between him and the bathroom. "Hey man," he said, "I got dis girl coming to visit me from Connecticut dis Friday cause we got dat extra day. (It was Labor Day weekend.) She gonna be staying here for de weekend. Dat cool wit you?"
I was pretty shocked, but I was also extremely pleased. That one little question was the most consideration he'd shown me since we'd met. To that point, I'd assumed he didn't care about my feelings regarding our shared living space. Or whether I lived or died, for that matter. Maybe he was human after all. "Yeah," I said, "that's cool. No problem."
"You know," Mat said, changing subjects, "I think you need more stuff. Your side of de room looks pretty boring."
He wasn't wrong. In addition to the furniture provided by the dorm, my side of the room had a small CD player (on my desk), a TV and VCR (both of which were sitting next to my bed on top of Mat's unused desk chair), a pile of old VHS tapes, three milk crates and a towel rack. That was it. I literally had nothing else, other than clothes and books.
By contrast, Mat's side of the room was totally pimped out. His desk was covered by house plants and street signs (origin unknown). He had a funky bar stool behind his desk (which is why he let me use his chair). There were posters on his walls, and he had CDs stacked everywhere. He had a mini-fridge (unshared). Oh, and he had converted his closet into a sort of entertainment center. Seriously, his side of the room was totally sweet. In fact, if you had drawn a line down the center of the room, the contrast would have looked like a before-and-after picture.
"Yeah," I said, "I really need to do something about that." I had no idea when, though. Maybe when I got my first food service check. Having no money sucked.
Mat wasn't finished. In what turned out to be the high point of our roommately camaraderie, Mat produced a box full of practice shorts and jerseys the school athletic director had given him. "You want one of dese?"
"Hell yeah," I said, taking one pair of shorts and a jersey from the box.
Naturally, the outfit was huge
on me. I'm talking laughingly enormous. There was no way I could wear them to work out or play basketball in, but that shorts/jersey combo became my favorite lounge-around gear. One notable feature was that the school name was emblazoned on the butt of the shorts. Mind you, this was before it became en vogue to put words on the ass-end of a pair of shorts...which meant it was okay for guys to do it. You never see that these days. Butt-lettering is now the exclusive province of women's shorts. It's similar to the evolution of belly-exposing shirts. They made their debut in the 80's, and, originally, straight men were the ones who wore them. I'm serious. Go watch the movie Hunk
if you don't believe me. Eventually, that type of shirt became "sexy" on women and "gay" on men.
Anyway, it was turning out to be a pretty good night for our roommate relationship. Then Mat lowered the boom.
"By de way," he began, "de girl who's visiting me, she's bringing a friend. I said you'd sleep wit her."
I skipped a beat. Then, "Huh?"
He looked confused, but answered, "I told her you'd sleep wit her friend."
Although I was pretty sure I understood the implication, I played dumb. "Like, you said she could sleep in my bed?"
"No," he said slowly and deliberately, as if speaking to a retarded child, "I said you would have sex wit de girl she's bringing wit her."
Okay. I was starting to freak. "Why did you do that?"
Now he was getting irritated. "What the hell else she gonna do while I'm hanging out wit her friend?" By "hanging out," I could only assume he meant "banging her five feet away from you."
"Uh, look, Mat," I said, the top of my head starting to sweat, "I don't think I can do that. You know, sleep with some girl sight unseen. I don't even know her."
His huge brow knitted. "Why does that matter?"
"Well, I, uh, you know that I love Aimee, right?"
"So?" He was definitely irritated now.
"So...I don't think I can do it."
He shook his head. "You'll do it." That was it. End of story. No more debate. No more conversation. What had started out as a bonding session devolved into a tense, brooding silence. Shortly afterward, I went to sleep while Mat sat down to watch MTV in the dark.
The next day, I avoided our room between classes. While sitting in the Memorial Union, I saw an ad for Alpha Phi Omega
. APO is a national, co-ed, community service organization. You don't live in a house or anything, but there's an office for socializing, parties for more socializing, and of course events centered around performing community service. The ad said something like, "Meet new people and help the community!" I liked the idea of helping the community, but I was really stoked about the idea of meeting new people. I immediately walked over to the APO office, which was, in fact, full to bursting with happy, friendly peeps. Oddly enough, when I filled out the pledge application form, I listed soccer as a hobby instead of basketball. I have no idea why, since I was obsessed with basketball and hadn't played soccer since the eighth grade. The mind can play funny tricks, I guess. At any rate, that seemingly meaningless decision would have long-term consequences. More on that later.
Around 3 p.m., I gambled that Mat might be awake and out scavenging for food, so I went back to the room and called my mom, who usually got home from work around that time. I said, "Mom, is there any way you can pick me up and bring me home for the weekend?" When she hesitated, I decided to use a college freshman's greatest weapon against their parents: emotional thuggery. "I'm really, really homesick, and I miss you." That did it.
I threw some clothes in a backpack and called Aimee, leaving a message with Latrisse that I was going home for the weekend. Then all I could do was wait. An hour passed. Two hours. I kept listening for Mat, afraid he'd come back and find me preparing to ditch him. Finally, my mom showed up at the door. We hugged, and then I practically ran to the car. A little over an hour later, I was home.
I met my friends Gauvin and Greg -- both of whom had decided to attend classes at the local community college -- at Pizza Hut. It was like old times. I felt like myself again. It's funny looking back at those first few months away from home. All I could think about was my old life. Once I hit my groove at college, I rarely ever wanted to go back to Kokomo for any reason. But from August through the first of November, I yearned for that dirty little town.
At it turned out, Aimee came home on Saturday. She wasn't happy about it. It turned out that she was having way too much fun at Butler to waste time in Kokomo. And while I would totally get that a few months later, at the time I was hurt and resentful. I wanted her to see the brief trip home as an opportunity to spend time with me. She saw it as time wasted while her budding social life was standing still. When Monday came and it was time to return to our respective schools, our relationship status remained unchanged.
I arrived back at my dorm around 5 p.m. The timing was consciously chosen because I figured Mat would be at practice. When I got to the room, it looked like a tornado had blown through. And it wasn't just Mat's side that was wrecked. My side was in shambles too. And just like The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, somebody had been sleeping in my bed. Unfortunately, sleeping wasn't all they'd been doing. The sheets, which were wadded into a tangled mess, were soiled (to say the least), and there were lipstick smears everywhere. And while I didn't have much in the way of decoration, I had brought a few creature comforts to school with me: a case of Coca-Cola, a couple bags of chips, some beef jerky, a few boxes of fruit snacks, and a box of Kleenex. Now, my modest little stockpile was gone. All of it, down to the last tissue. (They left the empty box, though.)
For some reason, this violation of my things crushed my spirit.
I stuffed my bed sheets into a laundry bag. As I did so, a handwritten note fell out of the pile. In what was clearly a girl's bubbly cursive script, it read, "Sorry we used all your stuff. We're coming back in a couple weeks and we'll replace everything!" The message was signed with a little heart that had a smiley face in it.
They were coming back in a couple weeks?!
I took the sheets downstairs. Fortunately, the linen lady was working, and she exchanged that nasty mess for a fresh, clean set of sheets. I returned to my room, made my bed, and sat down to study. It had been dark for hours -- and I was still studying -- when Mat finally returned. I wasn't even afraid of whether he was mad at me for ditching him anymore. I was pissed. Not pissed enough to tell off the seven-foot giant, but pissed.
He must have sensed it, too, because his initial silence wasn't as brooding and intimidating as usual. Finally, he said, "Hey, sorry 'bout all your stuff. I'll buy you new stuff tomorrow."
"Don't worry about it," I said, not even looking up from Selected Essays from the Middle Ages
. The evening passed in complete silence, except for Mat's beloved MTV. I called Aimee and went to bed. When Mat received his nightly call from Shelly, he actually pulled the phone out into the hall, presumably so his dirty talk wouldn't bother me. Maybe he really did feel bad.
The next day when I got back from class, there was a case of Coke, a box of tissues (generic) and a bag of Ruffles on my desk. When I saw that, I actually thought that things were going to be okay between us. However, my feelings did a 180 that night when he showed up with a new girl, turned on Sade's "No Ordinary Love," and told her, "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen..."Part 5
Labels: college stories, Livin' Large
So, McHale, you didn't even have your own car at this point? No wonder you love Bird so much...you grew up in the relative squalor of a small town.
Buck Nasty -- I probably should have mentioned this in the story. Yes, I did have a car -- a 1978 Plymouth Fury, which actually still ran pretty well -- but freshman at my school weren't allowed to have a car on campus. Some frosh worked around this by parking off campus, but you always ran the risk of your car getting towed or vandalized. In retrospect, I wish I'd tried it.
Although what the hell on the Freshman rule? The only complaint about students and cars around here is how many parking tickets people get around some heavily traficked buildings(no parking for classes, etc.) But then again we are talking to a guy that lived in a dorm.
Please tell me it was the station wagon Fury....? That would have been a sweet one to be sporting. Ladies?
You know, it's really not fair to end this installment on such a cliffhanger without letting us know exactly what all had gone on in your room (and in your bed) while you were gone, especially since with this being a holiday weekend, we're gonna probably have to wait till Monday to find out the rest. I will say that this series is almost making me dread the start of next season, since it'll mean that there probably won't be any more of these. How soon until you publish a book? I wanna pre-order it from Amazon as soon as I can.
BTW, you must be right about how straight guys used to wear belly shirts back in the day - it's the only way to explain the Rob Lowe poster Corey Haim's character had hanging on his closet door in The Lost Boys.
Buck Nasty -- Nope, my car wasn't the wagon. It looked almost like this red one.
Jason Magnus -- Keep reading.
Cinco -- In this case, I actually meant the real MTV.
Wild Yams: I am hoping that in a future installment, Mr. Netherlands and these decaying Betamax tapes of broadcasts from the Gahhden somehow end up being featured together...
When "Livin' Large" is done, I think we need a movie version. Or at least, a Youtube cartoon take from Scrumptious Soda (NorthMass). THAT's promising.
I didn't mean to cliffhang this installment. To be honest, I never really found out what went on, other than finding out that, in my absence, Mat asked some random guy down the hall to "entertain" his guest's friend. The fact is, I didn't want to know at the time. In retrospect, it probably wasn't anything more exciting than drinking, smoking (ganj) and crazy sex. ... Why did I go home again??
And that Rob Lowe poster is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. For a very short time, guys wearing half-shirts was considered sexy. But once women started doing it, it turned gay overnight.
I figure you can pass it off as the other basketbawful from Indiana.
Anyway, pro-style pacing to the story!
Do you remember this? Also, Could you tell me where we could find a picture of this guy? I'm interested to see.
Just sayin' :)
Anyway, I'm really enjoying these posts and I think it was a very good choice of writign to do while in the off season. Keep them coming!
So, I used basketball-reference.com and imported every all-star roster from 1993 to the present into an Excel spreadsheet. I'm pretty sure I figured it out. You mention Super Nintendo, and enjoying 90-92 Larry Bird so we can be sure this is 1993 or later. We also know that you went to school within an hour of Butler University (I'll say 2 hours, just in case), and that a future NBA all-star was on the same team as your roommate.
So, I used basketball-reference.com and imported every all-star roster from 1993 to the present into an Excel spreadsheet. I sorted by names and just went through and picked people out if they didn't go to school, or didn't go to school near Butler. The list was quickly narrowed to [names deleted]. It is almost certainly not [name deleted] unless you were playing SNES while everyone else had PlayStations. Since [names deleted] both went to [school name deleted] and it's closer to Butler than [school name deleted] I figured I'd start there. The search [search terms deleted] didn't yield anything interesting but [search terms deleted] led me to this article: [link deleted]. The article mentions a 7-foot center named Mat committing to play at [school name deleted] starting in [year deleted]. That would have put him on a nationally ranked team with [name deleted]. I'm pretty sure this is the guy. If I'm correct I realize you probably can't publish this comment, but can you let me know if I'm right?
And, by the way, just so you know I'm not some kind of creep, this process wasn't as complicated as it sounds only took about 20 minutes. And it was actually kind of fun reliving the days of Tyrone Hill and Chris Gatling as NBA all-stars. There's a potential off-season blog article for you if you haven't done it already: Jamaal Magloire's Least Deserving NBA All-Star Team.
Anyway, I think your blog's awesome and look forward to the next chapter.
Anonymous #2 -- Yes, I do remember that link. As for pictures, since you found that link and have name, some industrious Googling should serve you well. Or some investigative work in the comments section of previous "Livin' Large" posts.
bluefromhere -- I do realize that, yes. I figured someone might follow the trail...
Anonymous #3 -- You were correct about the name and the school, but incorrect on the dorm. You picked the dorm right next door, though.
Eric -- I'll put this in the words of BadDave: "Dude. What a spy network your readers could become."
JShaw -- Hey! A fellow [school nickname deleted]! Sweet. I know you'll know what I mean when I say [SCHOOL NICKNAME] UP!!
truegrit -- OUCH. But pretty much on-target. There's definitely some character arc, but the overall arc extends way beyond my time living with Mat. I didn't totally loosen up until I fell under the influence of my next roommate, BadDave.
Great stories, nonetheless.
You need to make this into a movie.
I feel left out of the whole [comment deleted] spree which has befallen this thread, since as an occasional contributing author here my comments don't need approval, so I can't just post the name of your school and this player (though they were easy enough to figure out, as I mentioned in the comments for Part 1) and wait for you to edit them, but just know that I would post them to join in if I could.
BTW, as awkward as it was for Mat to straight up tell you that you'd be banging his girl's friend, how much more awkward must it have been for him to start roaming the halls looking for some random guy to pawn this girl off on? Did anyone approach you with something like "Uh, just so you know, your enormous roommate came by the other day and asked if I'd go back to your room and bang some girl that was visiting"?
Interestingly, when I was in Shanghai recently, men tended to roll up their shirts into half shirt formation to beat the heat, which was more disorienting to me than being in a country where I didn't speak the language.
Yeah, I figured the peeps with Basketbawful contributor status (Statbuster, Evil Ted, you, AnacondaHL and chris) would be savvy enough not to name names.
You know, I don't think that was awkward for Mat at all. I mean, he offered those types of things really casually. Re: sloppy seconds. It just wasn't a big deal to him. In my post-grad life, I've met people (and, indeed, come across entire subculture communities) where people offer their wives/girlfriends up pretty casually. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
The guy who did the substitute banging loved Mat for a while...until Mat did something he shouldn't have. More on that in a future installment.
Anonymous #6 -- That link you provided only went back to the recruiting class three years after my roommie was recruited.
Will -- Obviously, I could make every post racy, and there probably will be some racy posts in the future. But I don't want to sell these posts purly on sex.
Interestingly enough, I unintentionally received an update on Shelly last night. Not to spoil anything, but she and Mat did NOT end up together forever. She did, however, end up with someone and now has SEVEN kids. SEVEN. Zoikes.
poptarted -- What's scary is I believe I had a Hulk Hogan half shirt. [shudders]
chris -- Don't forget [word that KG mouths on the sidelines].
I mean, the "all star" in question made.. how many appearances? 1? And was it really legit? I guess so. Hmm. that said, I do like the player who must not be named. I hope that he stays with his current team, of which I am a fan. He's kind of a badass who you wouldn't want to meet in a dark (or lit) alley.
Oh, and, was your roommate remotely in-shape? Because at 7-2 302 or whatever he was, (probably inflated numbers like all b-ball players. e.g. Steve Nash is NOT 6-2) he was either cock-diesel or pilsbury dough boy, but NOT skinny.
And guys: here's a hint- he was white
Yams and chris -- We got Kemp AND Calvin Murphy in LIKE THAT. Nice!
You said it was a UM study. Are you a UM alum?
I bet if it did he would be the first coming of Tim Duncan.
Wooden award winners. That really narrows it down. White Wooden award winners? There wasn't one in the nineties, other than Laetner and I think Duke is about too far out.....so I'm stuck.
Here's the Dutch blog that a reader apparently runs:
I should have known it was my first guess. Tough season for the football team, though.
TO per Game: 0.1
Fouls Per Game: 0.5
I told you I was having a hard time refraining from digging into this subject :)
Of course this is coming from a guy that through middle school/high school recorded the NBA Draft every year and probably had 5 or 6 recorded before Hurricane Rita took those away.
Of course I recorded those Drafts for informational purposes. I could go back and watch them so I would have every draftee's name,number,team, height, weight etc so that I could manually create and add them to NBA Live as soon as possible (life before Al Gore invented the interwubs was tough).
And then I manually recorded the box score for every game I played into a note book so that I would have each individual game logged for entire multiple seasons.
And NO I still don't do that only using Excel. Only some crazed maniac would do something like that.
Wait wait wait...I don't understand...you saw Fever Pitch? My opinion on that movie is that you if you saw it, then don't talk about it.
best blog on the world wide web btw.
IS THIS YOUR SECRET
Also, Little Matt and Big Mat was completely and unintentionally HILARIOUS after that fake threesome story posted last comment thread. I think the stories are accidentally mixing in my mind...
chris: Get with the times, man, YouTube's got the 1985 Lottery, complete with play-by-play of the bent envelope theory.
Buck Nasty - Dear lord, he was introduced to the theme music from The Terminator and then Prodigy? Also, that was one of the least inspiring fights I think I've ever seen. Did the other guy even throw a punch? It looked like his whole strategy was to just cover his head with his arms and cower.
Regarding Fever Pitch, I probably did expose a little too much of myself by admitting I'd seen it, but I figured if Mr. Bawful can open up then so can I, dammit! :) BTW, that's nowhere near the most embarrassing movie I've ever seen.
Also my mom brought us kids to see Event Horizon because she thought it was SciFi. rofl good times as a 12 year old.
The only NBA game I ever attended:
Clippers vs. Grizz, two seasons ago.
Clippers lost in OT.
They don't let you get autographs along the tunnel at FedEx Center, I learned. At least those stands didn't collapse while I was there.
I too saw Event Horizon in theaters and am always perplexed when I see people put that on their "favorite horror movie" lists, as I thought it was real bad. If you ever find yourself watching it, keep an eye out for Lawrence Fishburne's chair, as it is quite possibly the worst prop in the history of cinema, and also be sure to keep reminding yourself that you're watching a movie starring Jack Noseworthy.
Are you kidding me, did anyone actually pay to see that fight? It was the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. Did Mat pay the opponent to play? Or perhaps that's the father of Shelly's 7 children and Mat challenged him to a duel
Dude, I just watched that youtube video, and are you sure you want to risk pissing him off? Sure he sucks, but apparently being huge allows you to suck in many aspects of life.
Also, congratulations on finally getting the consistently long comment threads you and the website deserve. Sometimes these are a great read in themselves. As long as no-one starts commenting "first".
"Nope, I'm not a Wolverine. I've never even been to Michigan, actually."
- Good to know. Good to know... (/erases Wild Yams off of "people to murder in their sleep" list)
I will have nightmares tonight. So pls, be sure to post next part tomorrow.
...what are your thoughts on artest supposedly joining the lakers??
A picture of man love WITHIN a picture of man love:
AK Dave - I'm glad to hear I narrowly avoided a suspicious death in my sleep simply for having never visited the great state of Michigan :)
Anonymous - OK, here are my thoughts on the Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza swap (which it basically is): if Ron Artest can play like he realizes he's the 3rd or 4th option on the team, then the Lakers are going to be damn near unbeatable. If he plays like he thinks he's the best player in the world (in other words, if he plays like Ron Artest normally does), then the Lakers could have a disaster on their hands.
Look, Artest is more talented than Ariza on both ends of the floor. He's a better outside shooter, he's got a devastatingly good post game around the basket and he's a better passer. Of course the flipside to that is that he often negates his outside touch by insisting on shooting contested threes off the dribble (which he's awful at), he rarely uses his post game, even if guarded by a weak defender, and he doesn't pass the ball very often. So if Artest plays well, then the Lakers will be even more potent on offense than they were this year. If he doesn't play well, then one of the best weapons against LA's offense will be Ron Artest getting playing time.
Defensively Artest is not as versatile as Ariza is (Ariza could guard LeBron and Tony Parker, which is something few in the NBA could do); but Artest is better at guarding bigger SFs than Ariza is, simply because Artest has the muscle and size to do so. Since virtually every main threat to the Lakers features a big, strong SF (LeBron on Cleveland, Pierce on Boston, Melo on Denver and Vince on Orlando), Artest might be a better fit defensively than Ariza was. Artest also could play PF if the Lakers had foul trouble or decided to go really small.
All in all I think it's a ballsy move by the Lakers and it really remains to be seen whether Artest will be able to mesh with the Lakers or not. If so, it'll mean another Laker title. If not, then it'll mean someone else will be hoisting the L.O.B. trophy in June.
When is Will Smith going to do another rap/movie marketing supercombo? Is he too legit-actor to do that now? Shame.
I saw "Wild Wild West" in the theaters... in freakin' GERMANY. With dubbed voices. Listening to "German Will Smith" is pure comedy, let me tell you...
I have figured out both the roommate and the future NBAer.
And boy did this future NBAer have some awesome cornrows :)
Just curious, dos he play a role in later installments?
Ariza will also fit in seamlessly with the Rockets, especially now that Yao's future is in question. He's athletic, doesn't dominate the ball, is a grat finisher on the break and only tends to take open three pointers.
I think this is that rarest of trades: one that makes sense for both teams.
Now what about the Clippers? They get the #1 pick in the draft AND get rid of Zack Randolph in the same summer? It's too good to be true. They must be working on an extension for Quentin Richardson behind the curtain, or on a Marcus Camby for Eddy Curry trade. It's the only way I can make sense of their...sensical...maneuvering.
iw onde rif he had gotten a sexual desease ahhah
if its matt then i know who it is
(you should remove the comment with the stats......)
I wonder what the over/under is for an Artest+Kobe fight during practice (or even a game?)
At least Artest knows what they say: If you can't beat them, join them.
i´m from freakin´ germany and i wanted to tell you to go for the german voiceover of eddie murphy to experience fail in a very special quality. sayin thank you for easy access to english versions since the introduction of dvd-technology..
What I don't understand is why some people seem to give Ariza more benefit of the doubt on his shooting. From Truehoop:
David Thorpe: "We don't know if Trevor Ariza just made some shots last season, or has actually improved as a shooter. But if he is now a much improved shooter, he has superstar potential."
Really? Superstar potential? Maybe because I was rooting for the Lakers last year I held them to higher standards, but there was not much that indicated to me Ariza would be even a star. His threes were by large created by other players. He did create a couple of fast breaks each game, which is nice, but not really anything reliable.
He played defense with a lot of hustle and energy, but his one-on-one defense was somewhat overrated because of his playmaking abilities (more AI than Bruce Lee--Bowen). I believe Chad Ford said in a Free Agency article that Ariza is surprisingly strong and would have no problems if someone took him to the post, yet he routinely got abused by Carmelo (yes, not every team in the league packs a Carmelo, but considering the Nuggets were a WCF team, it might be good to watch out for that possibility, as well as another team that features this manbeast of a SF?). Yes, he changed the outcome of the game twice in that series, and I definitely praise him for it, but maybe such heroics wouldn't have been needed if they had someone to stop Melo? At one point, it got so bad they had to put Kobe on the Great Hit-and-Run. I've been a Kobe fan for a long time. I try to defend him (within reason) when I can, but he is getting older. It's already bad enough seeing him sometimes jack up hero shots (maybe that's why the thought of Artest potentially doing the same doesn't quite instill fear, I'm used to it), but if he had more legs, he'd be less likely to shoot those and drive instead, right?
While it's true that Ron Ron shot pretty poorly from the arc in the playoffs, it's a pretty small sample, and he actually shot almost 40% from 3PT during the season (which makes me feel silly for ripping on him for shooting 3s during the season...only sometimes). If that kind of shooting over a season is a fluke, what's to say a career <30% 3PT shooter suddenly draining 48% of his 3s isn't a fluke?
Ariza strikes me as the kind of player who fits perfectly on a championship contending team as a role player. He provided energy when the Lakers sometimes got lazy. He provided a semi-decent shooting option when others started getting doubled. I would have been perfectly happy seeing him return to help defend the championship, but only at a reasonable price. That he didn't accept the Lakers' midlevel exception offer and even acted insulted (now, the posturing was mostly by his agent, but hey, he still didn't accept the $5.6 million to start contract when no other team would offer him more, unless he has a serious case of Ben Gordon-itis) suggests to me that he thinks he's way beyond being someone's sidekick's sidekick's sidekick, so it was probably a lost cause anyway. One of the ESPN articles (or maybe it was a link to a blog) said something to the effect of Ariza and Bynum being the future of the Lakers. If that were true, sure he'd be worth the $7,8 million or whatever he wants. However, if he were only capable of succeeding as a role player, then why would the Lakers pay him that much?
I really feel that on that Rockets-lite roster, his luster would fade quickly. If Shane Battier spent his career in Clipperland, would anyone have noticed him? Sure the Rockets would probably run more without Yao, but it's hard to see him making that big of an impact.
And however that Artest/Ariza works out, you could always expect some awesome Crazy Pills quotes. It makes LA so much more interesting.
I also feel a special affinity with you, since your start in college sounds remarkably like mine (well, except that my roommate was a future Russian Orthodox priest. Seriously. But that didn't stop him from playing Russian folk songs on the guitar for some chick and laying her while I wrapped a pillow around my head and tried to sleep. Oh, and he got VD from the experience. Heh.)
Phil Jackson does have the league's best record at getting headcases to play within the system. The Artest trade could be pure gold for Lakers fans. And, of course, it makes me want to barf blood.
He is a savant (occasionally idiotic) with events. We've referenced a few of our shenanigans in some of our comments, and that bastard knows every word in chronological order. Even when I retell a story from my point of view, he remembers what I said more accurately than I do. He'll correct me. He does in with ball games. I sometimes trigger him by referencing a random game and he'll go off about George McCloud making some damn 3 with 3 to go in the first half. Whatever. It made college depressingly easy for him.
Secondly, Matt is a weirdness magnet. Seriously. On any given day he ignores more crazy bullshit than I see in a month, and my job is working with college students! I'm in a theoretical hotbed of crazies and he'll see some conjoined-at-the-knee twin killing a polish sausage vendor on the street with a figure-8 leglock during lunch.
He has awful daily luck. This has actually improved over time a little, but not only did weird things happen to him, the fates regularly used his thinning scalp as a portajohn. He would literally have days where his shoelace would break as someone spilled coffee down his shirt near his car, shorting the power windows on the hottest day of the year. And then he'd get called to work his overnight shift to cover for some smart fellow who realized that he could work in a little booth all night or he could go out and get smashed.
Matt always wins. Don't debate with him. It's just not worth it. I think I've won 2-3 arguments in about 15 years of friendship. He'll just pull more facts about the subject at hand (see item #1) until you spout random words or just walk away.
Matt has a temper. He once got a phone call with ridiculously bad news (see item #3) and he DESTROYED a stool with one mighty kick. It was impressive. In fairness, I have it too. However, his rages are scary and legendary. Luckily they're not that common, but his road rage is out of control. He hates people that stop at stop signs.
Don't drink with Matt if he means business. And if you do, don't try to keep up. He will totally pound them early and call you a douche for not keeping up. But two hours later I always catch up, unless I was trying to keep up at the start. So while in the long haul I can pace him, no human being can keep up with Matt in the first quarter. Just do your thing or at least schedule a mid-evening dialysis.
Lastly, he's an absoluely loyal friend. I have the scars.
To AK Dave: Nice. That reminds me of how Ford Fairlane did so well in Sweden(?) because a famous comedian over there did his dub. Also, AK Dave make a freaking blogger profile. You post every day, why not speed things up?
Let me guess, your roomie was Jerry West? Are you the real inspiration for the NBA logo?
I am also amazed at how easy the googlin' was when I used the quotes... damn you, Yams!! (or, whoever it was that made that comment, I can't find it now).
Of course, since I actually read the posts and the comments, I followed a very easy link from an earlier post's comments and, yay!
Now, why do people want to know? To feel like part of the gang. Everyone wants to know the inside jokes. I would be satisfied if this story was a complete work of fiction; but, since I know it's true, I need to know who it's about. It's more personal for me, the reader.
And, like I said before, the story is much more fun knowing who the future-NBAer was; and, even though I know it's not the case, I like to imagine the All-Star as the Roomie. I'm sure that will change when the All-Star enters the scene.
I deem that picture: "Meta-Manlove"
Word verification: "chrinse."
As in, "Chrinse is the unopposed master of laction reports."
I didn't want to comment on this issue until an actual post was given on this but...
The only way this trade isn't going to work well for the Lakers is if Artest is purposely coming to destroy the Lakers from within.
This may be the best off season pick up of it's type I have ever witnessed. Bar none.
I'm not saying the Lakers will win the title, but I promise there will be many times next season here Jackson's history of successfully managing egos and/or lunacy will be referenced.
I think its nice to imagine these stories are about Shaq. I just think it'd be funny if basketbawful had Shaq as a roomate and was pissed at him for using all his kleenex, etc. And picturing shaq doing the 'you are the most beatiful girl I have ever seen' routine totally fits.
Actually, Vlad would as well fit well in the story. Hmm, perhaps pretty much any NBA bigman would fit.
Shawn Bradley, Tractor Taylor, Brad Miller (actually fits the story pretty well, hint), Dirk (that would be awesome!), Darko, etc etc.
BTW when do the Artest / Pippen comparisons start popping up?
This is the first blog im actually reading. And hey, sure i'd love to know who your roomie was and who the all star was, but for real, the story is enough. I come from Australia and this stuff never happens over here.
so yeah, keep up the entertainment dude
Arlen - Supposedly off-court Kobe and Artest have long been really good friends (they both mention this frequently in interviews), and Kobe has been lobbying the Lakers for years for them to get Artest, so I doubt you're gonna see much friction there now that they're teammates.
NarSARSsist - I agree with you about Ariza. I think that while he was a perfect complimentary player with the Lakers, I have real doubts about him suddenly blossoming into a star now that he's gonna possibly be The Man down there in Houston (with Yao and TMac out anyway). With the Rockets is Ariza gonna be the starting SG between Brooks and Battier? If he's the 2 guard there he's gonna have to learn to create his own shot and he's gonna have to keep improving his outside shooting (or at least keep shooting it the way he did in the playoffs). If he can't expand his offensive game though, then Houston's gonna have a hell of a time getting points with both a 2 and a 3 (Battier) who are mainly just complimentary scorers. There aren't many successful teams with two wing players who just defend but don't really score.
Wormboy & Mr. Bawful - Regarding Phil Jackson, I'm not as convinced of his prowess in corralling crazies. I think Jordan deserves a lot of credit for what the Bulls did with Rodman, and it's not all just Phil. People also tend to forget that Rodman really began to stray away from being a productive contributor in that third championship year. But Phil has tackled other head cases in his tenure with the Lakers with far less success (see JR Rider), so I don't know if he alone will be able to reign in Artest. However, Kobe has a pretty dominant personality nowadays as well, so that'll probably help, as will Artest joining a team that just won a title. I'm sure Artest will probably not want to be remembered as a guy who blew up a champion. It's gonna be interesting to watch, that's for sure.
BadDave - Thanks for the intriguing peek behind the curtain for a little insight into the man who's pulling the levers of the Great and Powerful Oz here. Here's hoping we get to hear some of those tales of extraordinary bad luck in future entries :)
Buck Nasty - I saw Ford Fairlane in theaters :(
So thats the problem - they're so similar, and emotional, and Artest might not take well to any jabbing from Kobe when Artest makes stupid decisions during games (which he will). So either Kobe has to not jab artest at all, or Artest has to suck it up and not be crazy.
Who knows what it'll be like - I'm sure for at least 1 yr it will be fine, which is all the Lakers want really. The 2nd year it might start being an issue, especially if they win the title and artest decides he needs to be a bit more of 'the man'
Either way, it was a good deal, no doubt, and it'll be interesting for us to try and decipher the body language
I don't know if the Lakers are going to sign Mike Chatfer any time soon, as an accessory to the deal.