Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kraft-y Russian

By far the funniest headline of the day was "Putin pockets Kraft's Superbowl ring!" Apparently, upon meeting the Patriots' owner, Vlad became so dazzled by his 2005 Superbowl ring that he decided to lighten Bob's finger by 124 carats.

Now you see it...

...Now you don't!

The best part - After he straight up jacked him, Vlad got Kraft to say he "gave" the ring to him. Talk about the ultimate politician. Mind you, though, Vlad's a man who's used to taking what he wants, whether it be diamond rings or people's freedom. Poor Bob didn't stand a chance.

On the bright side though, I now know how to get my hands on a PSP. I plan on puttin' a Putin on my friend Dave tomorrow. I've been eyeing his PSP for awhile. I'll let you know if I have what it takes to be a megalomaniacal Russian president.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Jackass of the Month: Freddie Ljungberg

In lieu of a Commissioner's Pet of the Week, I'm doing a special Jackass of the Month.

The NBA and its players are routinely castigated and villified for being too "hip hop." After the brawl, Rush Limbaugh took time out from insulting Donovan McNabb to declare the NBA was "hip-hop culture on parade...gang behavior on parade minus the guns." Not realizing the Palace
of Auburn Hills isn't actually in Detroit, he also renamed Detroit "New Fallujah, Michigan." What a dumbass. Anyway, getting back to the point, one of the things critics point to when decrying the NBA's hip hop influence is the preponderance of tattoos. Too unprofessional, they sniff. Well, last time I checked, no player missed any games because of tattoos.

Now to Freddie Ljungberg, Swedish soccer player for Nick Hornby's beloved Arsenal, Calvin Klein model, wannabe fashion designer, and more impressively, not gay.

Freddie here missed four weeks of the season because of an allergic reaction to the ink in his panther tattoos. Yup, white boy was attacked by his black panther tattoos. If that doesn't qualify for jackass honors, I don't know what does.

Beyond that though, neither Arsenal nor the FA Premier League should really care that I think Freddie Ljungberg is a jackass. I've never attended a Premiership match nor have I ever bought any Premiership merchandise (except that David Beckham Man U poster in '99 ). At best, I've caught a few games on FSN, but it was purely coincidental. Likewise, why should the NBA care if Rush Limbaugh and his neo-Nazi followers think the league is too hip hop? Has Rush Limbaugh ever attended an NBA game in his life? Has he ever bought a jersey, a poster, anything? Why is the league so concerned about losing his support, his money when it never had either in the first place? Who cares if people in Kansas and Oklahoma are offended by tattoos and cornrows! There's a reason why teams aren't there in the first place or why they packed up and said "peace out!" Besides, people in Middle America should be more concerned that their daughters are turning tricks for shopping money, or as Bill Maher would say, "They're selling coochie for Gucci." Leave the NBA to the people who actually care about it, all 9 of us.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Actually, THIS is the Real Reason

Who gets more women than rappers or athletes? How about a French rapper/athlete. Move over, TI. TP9 showed off his skills at the Spurs' Championship Rally Saturday night, one of those things you have to see to believe. I don't know what was funnier - Tony rapping or Brent Barry dancing. Brent wasn't quite the ghost of Mark Madsen, but you get the idea. If you missed it, or like me you only caught the highlights because NBA TV decided to show a WNBA game instead of airing the rally live, you can check out the video here.

Seriously, how are they not going to show the Champion NBA rally live?? I'm mad, mad as hell because I set my VCR to tape it at its designated time, but they didn't show it until 3 hours later so I missed the whole thing. For real, how can they honestly expect people to be home on Saturday night AND wait through a WNBA game??
Bloody bastards. Anyway, back to the rap superstar.

He even had Beno dancing! If Rasho and Sean Marks got up, this video needs to be immediately immortalized in the White Boy Hall of Fame.

The REAL Reason Eva's with Tony

"Ball don't lie."

Hardest Job in the NBA

While we're on the subject of the Pistons...

Meet Kevin Griggs, media relations spokesman for the Detroit Pistons. Think of the media shitstorms this guy has had to deal with this year alone - the brawl, Larry Brown's wanderlust, Rasheed. Whatever they're paying him, it's not nearly enough.

Here he is trying to convince Sheed to talk to the media during team media availability before Game 2. Needless to say, he failed.

The brawl alone would have been enough to make a seasoned pro like Lizzie Grubman drive her SUV through another crowd just to avoid having to deal with the PR nightmare that followed. Add to that the self-perpetuating maelstroms that are LB and Sheed...Well, I imagine it was difficult for Kevin to get up some mornings. Don't get me wrong; as you know, I love Sheed and respect the hell out of the Pistons, but I definitely don't envy Kevin's position. However, I wouldn't mind buddying up to him and getting some courtside seats, baby!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

End of an Era

The year of the belt has officially ended. I just wanted to pay tribute to the brains behind the belt and the team that wore them.

Before Game 4 or even 5 last year, no one thought the Pistons would beat the Lakers. Big Ben was too small, Tayshaun too young, Chauncey too unproven, Rasheed too crazy, and Rip just not Kobe. But they came out together and fought for every last shot, rebound, loose ball, etc. They ultimately ended up overshadowing themselves because they not only beat the Dynasty, they dismantled it.

Rasheed Wallace proved himself as a player and a teammate. Instead of the "cancer" on a losing team, he became the final piece to a championship one. He may not have silenced all his critics - and part of the Sheed appeal is that he never will nor cares to - but he endeared himself to a whole new city of fans who will gladly deafen any haters with chants of "Sheeeeeeed."

It's only fitting that they be beaten by another team effort. They may have adopted the "we don't get any respect" mentality, but anyone who knows basketball - basically, anyone outside of LA - respected the hell out of them and we're going to miss the belts. Who knows - we may be seeing them again very soon.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker: Trophy Love

She won her man.

He won his trophy...

Both of them.

Valvoline Guy Came Through!

Proving once and for all, you don't mess with a good thing when your team is on a streak. Look who else came through in Game 7:

The 3-time Finals MVP.

He may not have been the coolest person before the game, but he was the one clutching the trophy at the end. (There's something gratifying in knowing that for all the differences between men and women, both still want hardware from Tiffany's at the end of the day.) Tim Duncan may not be the most dynamic person in the league, but he is a force to be reckoned with nonetheless. I love that for all his alleged superstar shortcomings off the court - no bling-bling, no fancy clothes, no entourage - he's got the most bling of any player currently on the court: 2 regular season MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, and 3 rings. (Remember Shaq only has one regular season MVP.) Maybe that's why certain players ice themselves from head to toe off the court - to compensate for all the bling they don't get on the court. Timmy doesn't need to though; he's got all the bling he wants or needs.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Game 6: Two Reasons for Spurs' Loss

Hubie Brown actually referred to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili as "cats." This can also be filed under "signs of the apocalypse."

The Indian guy sitting between Hubie and Al Michaels didn't wear his Valvoline/Spurs t-shirt. That guy is getting more play than the entire Pistons' bench. The Spurs weren't having any problems when he was rocking the shirt and blowing kisses at the camera during Games 1 and 2. And then he goes and changes his shirt for Game 6! Doesn't he know you have to respect routine and superstition? Seven years later and Timmy's still wearing his Wake Forest practice shorts backwards. C'mon random Valvoline man, what kind of fan are you!

I Miss Avery

Speaking of Maverick coaches, I recently got this inexplicable yearning for Avery Johnson. I found it a bit odd considering Pop, my all time favorite coach, is in the Finals right now. But then, I read a quote by David Robinson, Avery's former teammate and best friend, which explained my predicament.

After the Lil' General left the Spurs, the Admiral said, "It's strange not having Avery. You get used to hearing that voice all the time." A ha! I'm sure all of you are also going through Avery withdrawal pangs. It's okay...Just watch
NBA Rookies on Spike TV. Avery makes a cameo or two, but besides getting an Avery fix, the show is hysterical. There's nothing quite like seeing brand new multi-millionaires having to earn their rookie stripes and literally sing for their supper. You go, J.R. Smith!

Shawn Bradley Retiring

Before Darko became the Human Victory Cigar, Shawn Bradley was the Human Highlight Film...for whoever he was defending. He's responsible for more posters and highlights than MJ and Dr. J combined. And now, the Stormin' Mormon is retiring after 12 years of providing us with endless entertainment and even some basketball.

So in honor of Mr. Bradley and Mormons everywhere, here's my tribute to his trailblazing career - the Shawn Bradley highlight reel:

T-Mac's insane dunk over him during Game 2 of the Rockets-Mavs series this year.

Clip of Cuttino Mobley's facial on him during Cat's Rocket days.

January 25, 2000: Getting body slammed by 6'7 Mark Davis and then getting fined $3000 for it. (I would play money for that clip.)

On a sidenote, while we're on the topic of Mormons, here's a brief excerpt from Sarah Vowell's book, "
Assassination Vacation":
The egomania required to be president or a presidential assassin makes the two types brothers of sorts. Presidents and presidential assassins are like Las Vegas and Salt Lake City that way. Even though one city is all about sin and the other is all about salvation, they are identical, one-dimensional company towns built up out of the desert by the sheer will of true believers. The assassins and the presidents invite the same basic questions: Just who do you think you are?
I was cracking up while I was reading the book at Coffee Bean today. I looked like Lindsay Hunter after he gets called for a foul. I almost had to slap myself. Why does he get that stupid grin on his face after every call? You're Lindsay fucking Hunter. Robert Horry does that shit, too, sometimes. It must be a Laker thing. I hate that shit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No Girls Allowed

After Game 4's embarrassing 31-point blowout, Pop issued an edict declaring "No Girls Allowed." That's right. All wives, girlfriends, and Longorias were banned from the Spurs' hotel for the 3 days leading up to Game 5. The Air Force Academy graduate decided to employ a bunker mentality to get his once focused team back on track.

Erin Barry, Brent's wife, huffed and puffed to no avail and ended up just going back to San Antonio.

I don't know who Ms. Thang thought she was dealing with, but I doubt Pop is the type of man who's likely to be swayed by either bitching or moaning.

I guess the message here is when you can't appeal to a man through his stomach, look lower. What other coach would have the balls to do this?? Mo Cheeks could barely ban popcorn from his locker room. At what point do we just bow down and call him "Master?"

Monday, June 20, 2005

Happy Birthday, Darko!

Darko turns 20 today. What to get a 20-year-old with too much money and even more time on his hands? Since I'm sure he and Elden have mastered PSP, get him some bobbleheads! Apparently, Darko has an affinity for them, keeping his teammates' bobbleheads lined up on his locker. Just another layer to that wacky Darko mystique.

Robert Horry: Clutch...Literally

The real reason he's known as "Clutch." They didn't show that shot on ABC.

Spurs' Appoggiatura

Oh Pop.

When the Spurs arrived in San Antone early this morning - to a
throng of screaming Texans no less - they were each wearing black shirts with the word "appoggiatura" printed on them.

Appoggiatura was the winning word of this year's Spelling Bee and it is "an embellishing note, usually one step above or below the note it precedes and indicated by a small note or special sign."

Gregg Popovich, in a move of either sheer clairvoyance or humor, had had the shirts printed up for his team. How he could have known that Game 5 with the thrilling overtime victory capped by another Robert Horry game winner would be an appoggiatura to Game 6 and possibly the championship is beyond me. Of course, the simpler explanation is that he had the shirts made to lighten the mood. Before Game 1, he asked his team if anyone knew what the winning word of the Spelling Bee was and, according to the New York Times, Manu's response was, "Spelling bees? Where are the bees?" And there you have your potential Finals MVP.

Either way, clairvoyant or not, Pop is indisputably sports' reigning mad genius.

Random Game 5 Celebrities

1. Michael Moore

What is Michael Moore doing there? Is there a more unlikely fan, aside from Alanis Morissette, Bryan Adams, and whoever that girl was before Game 4. I never thought I'd say this, but where's Mariah's crazy ass?

2. Dwight Howard

He's HOT!

3. Eva Longoria

Wouldn't it have been great if after Rip missed the last shot and it was dead silent in the Palace, all of a sudden you heard this lone crazy cheer and it was Eva?

Game 5: The Series Begins and Ends

Heartbreak Horry

In case you missed the Robert Horry show, also known as the playoffs, you can get the picture-by-picture playback here, here, or here. (By the way, I just figured out how to do hyperlinks after like 6 months so you'll have to forgive me if every other word is a hyperlink.)

What a crazy-ass game. Timmy almost went from G.O.A.T. to goat. Sheed gave everyone in Michigan Chris Webber in ‘93 flashbacks, which is ironic since C-Webb was actually at Game 5 with his Fab 5 buddy Jalen Rose.
I don't think anyone in Michigan would have survived another timeout debacle...seriously. Mention the words "Chris Webber" and "timeout" to anyone from Michigan. You don't even have to say "timeout;" just say "Webber" and see what kind of reaction you get. If Game 5 of the Finals had ended on free throws because of an illegal timeout...Malice at the Palace Part II x 100. Did you see the way Chauncey jumped on Sheed when he saw him call for time? Chauncey knows his state history.

I wonder what Chris was thinking when Sheed did that. Do you ever get the feeling that Chris is like 5 hobbled steps away from being Ray Finkle/Lois Einhorn in Ace Ventura? But instead of "Laces out!" it would be "No timeout!" Okay, enough picking on Chris because I really do like him, as evidenced here, here, and here.

Aight, aight, I'm done. Game was bomb. Can't wait for Game 6.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cool Dad #3: Pimp Daddy Nash

When Steve Nash was named MVP around Mother's Day, Cheryl Miller interviewed his parents and asked his dad what he could possibly get for Father's Day that would top the MVP award. John Nash replied, "I'll take the Rolex and the Lamborghini." What a pimp! Wanna know how Steve won the MVP? He watched his dad and learned how to charm the hell out of everyone.

Cool Dad #2: Mr. Flash

DWade with his son, Zaire, who's already mastered Daddy's staredown.

Happy Father's Day

There's nothing more endearing than seeing the baddest, toughest motherf...ers on the court turn into the biggest, softest teddy bears around their children. Who'd have thought - Rasheed Wallace, teddy bear at heart and symbol of paternal responsibility. That's a M-A-N, baby!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Behind Every Great Man...

Is a woman threatening to withhold food unless he starts playing better.

As reported on by the illustrious Stuart Scott, Mrs. Chanda Wallace told her 6'9", 240-pound husband before Game 3, "'Let your hair down and go out there and play some basketball, or else you can't eat." Proving once and for all that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, Big Ben responded in Game 3 with 15 points, 11 boards, and 5 blocks and in Game 4 with 11 points, 13 boards, 3 blocks and 3 steals.

When he won the Defensive Player of the Year award this year, Ben said, "I want to thank my wife (Chanda) for letting me come home last year after I didn't win it."

Chanda Wallace, you are awesome!
Jackie Christie, this is what not-crazy looks like.

Game 4: Eva but No Tony

Eva: "Look, Frenchie, I said I wanted three rings!"

Major props to Eva Longoria for showing up in Detroit like she's Jack Nicholson. However, if she could only get her boyfriend to do the same.

Meanwhile, I love how the so-called "absolute nastiest fans" in the league (according to Stan Van Gundy) had nothing but love for Eva...

...while their hometown boy, Kid Rock, faced some hecklers.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Once a Mama's Boy, Always a Mama's Boy

Elden Campbell must be what, 40, 45 years old? Yet there he was mouthing "Hi Mama" to the camera during his introduction before Game 3. How cute is that?

Speaking of Elden (how often do you hear that), here are some fun facts:

1. He has a son named Jayle and a daughter named Jael.
I don't know why either.

2. He's teaching Tayshaun Prince how to play PSP.
At first, I was like how the hell does Elden's old ass know how to play PSP and Tayshaun doesn't?! Then, Mike reminded me, "Because he's on the bench all the time!!"

I still love you, Elden...15 years and counting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

For the Ladies: Eminem

You boys get Eva Longoria...We get Eminem.

But what is he doing behind the Spurs bench? Scaring Rasho into going 0-10 instead of just 0-5? How do you even explain an Eminem to someone like Rasho? In our country, some white boys grow up to be black. Kind of like Michael Jackson in reverse. No, no Kid Rock is just considered white trash.

Game 3: Crazy Ass Stuart Scott

We've had a lot of ridiculous moments during this series. Some off the top of my head include:
-> Suddenly switching to the French feed in the middle of the game
-> Actually listing all 140 languages in which the game was being broadcast
-> Alanis Morissette
-> Beno Udrih's play in Game 3

And then there's Stuart Scott's postgame interview with Antonio McDyess.

It all began as a meaningless sideline report during the game. Apparently when Eva Longoria isn't there to give Michelle Tafoya "strict instructions" on how to do her job (as in Game 2), the storyline of the day becomes "Who's quieter: Tayshaun Prince or Antonio McDyess?" Tafoya reported that Tayshaun said Antonio and Antonio said Tayshaun. But wait, it doesn't end there. Right after the game, Stu corralled Dyess and asked not how it felt to come back from 3 knee surgeries and thinking his playing days were over to coming off the bench in his first Finals appearance in 10 seasons and scoring 12 key points, but instead asked Dyess to clarify who was quieter, him or Tayshaun. When Dyess obliged and said "Tayshaun Prince" our intrepid reporter then challenged him to "Yell it! Yell it!"

I guess since the brawl, cock fights in the NBA have been replaced with tests of verbal fortitude. Either that or Stuart Scott has lost his fucking mind. I'm going with the latter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Commissioner's Pet of the Week: Chauncey Billups and Wife

Not only did Chauncey Billups take away the Eastern Conference crown, he also snatched the "Commissioner's Pet" title from the Golden Boy known as Dwyane Wade. How did Smooth accomplish this seemingly impossible task, you ask? He went to two - TWO - WNBA games and took his wife and daughters as well. He even managed to drag Antonio McDyess to one. Now this may not seem like much, but how many people do you know who've been to one, much less two, WNBA games since that whole experiment started? And, even more impressive to the Commissioner, the Billups family went to both games within 2 weeks of one another. "A truly remarkable feat."

The new "Pet of the Week" will be announced Friday, when Chauncey is sure to be dethroned once David Stern gets the initial ratings from Game 1 vs. the Spurs. Until then though, long live King Bill.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Don't Leave Me, Don't Leave Me

Crazy ol' Roscoe. What a character. Between his perfectly circular bald spot and his on-court theatrics, how has he not been immortalized in cartoon yet?? Think about it...forget Thirst, or whatever that Lil' Penny Sprite knockoff about "The Adventures of Lil' Sheed."

Episode I: Lil' Sheed Goes to School
When the teacher gives him a warning for talking back during class, Lil' Sheed throws up his arms and stamps his feet until he's thrown out of class and sent to the principal's office.

In the next episode, Lil' Sheed frustrates the school reporters covering the Academic Decathlon by answering every question with "Both teams played hard."

How could you not love Rasheed Wallace -- Portland fans, you are excused from answering this question and really, those kinds of words are unnecessary. In all seriousness, I really do like Sheed because I don't think he's fronting...what you see is what you get. He's not posing to help his street cred and sell some shoes (ahem, Kobe). He's also not trying to fit into some pre-packaged, league-approved image. He has a real personality, flaws and all. I think he's one of the most dynamic people in the league.

And really, I don't see him as being all that different from Tim Duncan. Timmy is who he is, which is really shy and understated, and he's not going to change that to become a name-brand, Bentley-driving superstar no matter how much John Thompson badgers him. He does his thing just like Sheed does his thing and from what I hear, teammates and coaches love them. Ahh, maybe I'll have an installment of Lil' Sheed and Lil' Timmy. It'll be like Jay and Silent Bob minus the homoerotic overtones.

Happy Birthday, AI!

Allen Iverson's turning 3-0 today. Damn. The enfant terrible of the league is now a seasoned veteran showing all the younguns the way. And I wouldn't have it any other way. His heart, those eyes... And between him, Rasheed Wallace, and Shaq Daddy, they come up with the funniest soundbites in the league.

So happy birthday, AI!! We should get him some bling. I may be reaching here, but I think he likes it.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Now THIS is How You Get the Party Started

Instead of a song, why don't ESPN, TNT, and ABC just show the pregame introductions? The Heat and every other team around the league (exception: Clippers - damn you Donald Sterling!) spend a lot of time and money to create these extravaganzas...Why replace the fireworks and Masons (Pistons' P.A. announcer) with dull banter and pointless commentary? Do we really need Mike Tirico telling us that Game 7 is a must-win for both teams?

I still remember Ray Clay doing the Bulls' introduction 10 years ago...Who doesn't:
"Aaaaand now, the starting lineup for your Chicago Bulls...At forward, from Central Arkansas, 6'7, Scottie Pippen...From North Carolina, at guard, 6'6, Michael Jorrrrrrdan!"

Although now North Carolina, et al, have been replaced with something-something-high-school and blah-blah-academy, those openings are what get you pumped up right before the game and make your heart beat even faster. In 10 years, what are you more inclined to remember - the Pistons and their "Chauncey B-b-b-b-b-b-billups!" or Bill Walton's prediction that the game "will be the most important in the history of western civilization." What's the point of a pre-game show that doesn't show any of the pre-game introductions? C'mon, give us the bells and whistles before we're condemned to a lethal injection of Walton and Tolbert.

PS. For all the other nostalgic saps, here's where you can download the old Bulls' opening, theme music included. (


I don't know who decided that a song by Phil Collins was a way to enhance the "drama of the NBA" - probably the same person who thought that Bill Walton deserved to be miked and Big and Little, or whatever they were called, should perform at the All Star game - but please...MAKE IT STOP. Surely there are other songs that properly manage to capture the excitement and anticipation of an elimination game without dulling and offending our senses. This is the NBA, not the PGA. Know your audience.

Somebody stop this man.

Here are some suggestions that may prevent people from changing the channel or straight killing themselves just to get "I can feel it coming in the air tonight" out of their heads:
1. Eminem, "Lose Yourself"
2. Lil Flip, "Game Over"

3. Nelly, "Heart of a Champion" - This song even uses the old "NBA on NBC" theme music.

In conclusion, please don't drive away what viewers you have left by insulting our collective intelligence and auditory faculties.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Ain't That a Kick in the...

Even Iron Mike felt Timmy's pain after Steven Hunter nailed him where the sun don't shine. Well, now we know how to get a reaction from the shiest 7 footer around.

Thank you, Spurs, for wrapping up the series because I have a bachelorette party to go to tonight and I really didn't want to be the asshole saying, "Can we wait until the game is over" and then once the game was over, "Can we wait until Pop gives his post-game interview?" Now I can celebrate the way Pop and Red-Bull-and-vodka intended.

Clipper for Life

Look at Q playing hide-and-seek. How cute. Unfortunately for the Suns, he hid a little too well all series.

Wouldn't you agree, Shawn?