Category Archives: Basketball

Winners and Losers: Donald Sterling’s Racism Edition

sterlings-gold-mad-men

Donald Sterling is a bit more Bert Cooper than Roger Sterling, if you know what I mean. (I mean he’s a racist).

The racist-ass comments made by Donald Sterling have been the big story in sports world for the past week or so, and  NBA Commissioner Adam “Sexy Silver” Silver came down harshly on Sterling, banning him for life from the league, fining him $2.5 million and saying he would be working with the NBA owners to force Sterling to sell his team. Sports, as we all know, is about winning and losing. But really so is life. So let’s do Winner & Losers, Donald Sterling Edition.

Loser: Donald Sterling

So as it turns out when you get caught saying a bunch of racist stuff on tape, you get your NBA team taken away from you. By “taken away” I mean, he’ll sell it at an enormous, enormous profit. By now this story’s been beaten to death, so let’s hone in on a few of the less-covered angles:

1) Sterling said it was cool if his girlfriend had sex with Magic Johnson, so long as she didn’t take a picture of it. Does this mean Donald Sterling has HIV?

2) Again, his initial rage-fury was over her taking a picture of Magic Johnson, a guy so beloved that even those racist pizza shop Italian dudes in Do The Right Thing liked him. Come on! Be a more discerning racist, Donald Sterling.

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Neon Boudeax, Jesus Shuttlesworth and Space Jam 2

The news that LeBron James would be starring in Space Jam 2 was too perfect. Somehow, even more than winning MVPs and championships, taking over a Looney Tunes franchise from Michael Jordan would be the thing that cemented him as not just the greatest basketball player of his generation, but the biggest star. Plus, it provided the tantalizing possibility that every fifteen to twenty years, the greatest basketball player on the planet would, in addition to dominating their sport, need to star in a movie with a latter-day version of Newman from Seinfeld to complete their coronation.

Newman!

Newman!

Regrettably, it turned out to be a hoax—after “sources” claimed the rumors were unfounded, LeBron personally denied the rumors, meaning we can probably put this to bed. Unless this was a trial balloon to gauge public reaction, in which case this movie is definitely happening. And hey, it can’t hurt on his quest to become a billionaire. (“It’s my biggest milestone”).

The problem with superstar basketball players’ movies isn’t that they’re bad—of course they’re bad—it’s that it’s rather disconcerting when people who are physically perfect suddenly become stiff and unsure of how to, well, act. It takes away from Dr. J’s reputation as the smoothest to see him in The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh trying to figure out what to do with his hands. (Though, it should be noted, it absolutely adds to his mystique when, in this PG-rated movie, he manages, through some miracle of poor ‘70s lighting, to stand up, in the nude, right in front of the camera).

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The 2012 NBA Draft: A Post With Great Length

You know the drill. No prologue, let’s get into it.

1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis

They’re obviously taking Anthony Davis, aka The Brow™. They showed some his high school “gym” which was like a single Sportcourt-esque hoop.  Just one hoop? Did they play home games? I kinda like the idea of the NBA having a few halfcourt games each year–shake things up.

And how crappy were his high school teammates? According to the limited data I could find, his high school team was the 8699th best in the country. And they had The Brow! I should note that MaxPreps lists only Davis on the roster, so it’s possible that he played one-on-five all year, which makes the 4-11 record a little more understandable.

Oh, and Davis’ mom is named Erainer. Her Facebook page is the first thing that turns up if you Google “erainer,” so, that’s obviously a made up name. Unsurprisingly, most of her posts are about her son and include #proudmom. That’s nice.

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27 NBA Nicknames That Need to Happen

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, and almost all the first round series looking decided, I took a moment to assign nicknames to exactly three (3) players from each of the teams that have a real chance to be in the second round. As there are only nine teams still in contention, I took it upon myself to make AN ODD-NUMBERED LIST of nicknames that I invented just now because that is how  you win on the internet.

Los Angeles Clippers

1. Blake “Pads” Griffin

Because he wears elbow pads and sponsors Kia.

2. Ryan “The Brass City Strangler” Gomes

This would be better if he had a reputation as an elite defender, but I mean, he’s from Waterbury, CT, also known as Brass City, and this just seems like a good epithet for a serial killer menacing the northeast during the industrial revolution. Waterbury’s motto is “Quid Aere Perennius?” meaning “What is more lasting than brass?” Big ups to Horace, Brass City.

3. Randy “Foyer” Foye

Much like a foyer, Randy Foye is pretty forgettable, but not something anyone feels particularly strongly about. He’s the two-guard your team has when they’re waiting for something better.

Memphis Grizzlies

1. Lester “Granddad” Hudson

Lester Hudson is the oldest name I’ve heard since I learned DMX’s real name is Earl Simmons.

2. Gilbert “Shooting Star” Arenas

He has a really good jump shot, see. Oh, also that thing when he and Javaris Crittenton were pulling guns on each other after a disagreement over gambling debts, which would have been acceptable if they were play-acting about the Old West. Maybe it should be Gilbert “Wild Bill” Arenas.

3. Hamed “Tower of Babylon” Haddadi

Now, I know what you’re thinking, what a good nickname for a 7’2″ Iranian dude. The only problem is that Babylon was in Iraq, and that it’s the Tower of Babel, not Babylon. Nevertheless, there is no grander tradition in sports than racist-ass nicknames for foreigners. Do enjoy this Wikipedia page of baseball players with ethnic nicknames. It’s a treasure. There’s a staggering number of dudes forced to bear nicknames like Dutch, Heinie, Irish, and SuperJew.  Apparently Frederick Schmit was known as Crazy, but that wasn’t enough, so his other nickname was “Germany.” Jap Barbeau just sorta looked Japanese, so they called him that. So by that horrible standard, this is an entirely appropriate nickname!

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The Inevitable Jeremy Lin Post

Jeremy Lin Coaster - Part of a Set Commemorating (who else?) the 2011 Golden State Warriors by SBG

As anyone with an interest in sports (or humans) knows, Jeremy Lin is lighting it up for the New York Knicks. He’s hitting game winners and is wedged neatly in between Derek Rose and Kobe Bryant in PER (a sort of amalgamation of all the major statistical categories).

This is particularly weird for me because I played against the guy in high school, which, I think, gives me some extra insight into the situation.  Herewith, my insights as the internet’s self-proclaimed leading non-Asian Jeremy Lin expert:

1. It wasn’t just a big ol’ bunch of racism that kept him from getting a college scholarship

There’s been a lot of talk that Jeremy Lin was overlooked by colleges and then pro teams because he is Asian. There’s probably less to this than one might believe. When I played against him in high school, nobody was like, “Oh man, Jeremy Lin–he’s the best player.” Here’s a partial list of players who were pretty much as good, and in some cases better than Jeremy Lin from the Bay Area during my high school career: Drew Gordon, Decensae White, Chris Oakes, Dominic Cruz-Duncan, James Sandoval, Drew Shiller, Dominic Stewart, Jeremy Franklin, Collin Chiverton, Frank Otis, Rob Jones (who, incidentally has a much more interesting backstory than Jeremy Lin). Even among guys he played with at Palo Alto, you could say Brian Baskauskas was as good.

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LeBron Still Doesn’t Get It, Never Will

Your friend and mine, LeBron James is sorta back in the news, after giving a lengthy interview to those wacky Brits at the Guardian. So, what to make of this exchange?

The screening of ‘The Decision’ hurt you and your image – were you surprised by the bitterness of the reaction?
Um, yeah, but I can understand it. I was surprised by it because I was making a decision for myself. I was doing something that I believed was going to make me happy and freshen me up, personally. But looking back at it now I can understand why a lot of people were upset. That definitely wasn’t my intention: to upset people. My intention was to go and play for a team, play for a franchise, that believe in me, and I believe in them.

[…]

What would you change if you had to do it again?
Well, I can’t say I would change anything – because it would change so much that is now leading to the future. But, yeah, there is definitely a better way I could have handled it, as far as the whole TV thing is concerned, and the same goes for the whole build up to the announcement. So there are definitely ways I could say I should have changed that because a lot of people were hurt by it – and I definitely apologise to them. At the same time, you should never be afraid to do what you believe in. That’s a simple truth.

So, this is the thing that LeBron misunderstood prior to the decision. He thought people loved him unconditionally. Nuh uh. They liked how good he is at basketball, and in the Cleveland area, they liked that he made their team better. That’s it. And it’s just becoming ever clearer that no LeBron apology will ever be good enough. For one, he either doesn’t understand who he’s supposed to apologize to (Cleveland), or he simply enjoys sticking it to them time and time again.

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I Called It!

This is Renardo Sidney, NOT Michael Beasley

Remember, like two weeks ago when I wrote this?

Beasley had an incident-free tenure at Kansas State. Why Kansas State? Not entirely clear, although the school’s hiring of his AAU coach probably had something to do with it, and it bears noting that his mother moved out to the area for work as well, which, you know, is one of those things that tends to happen for big recruits.

Well, as it turns out

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley says in a lawsuit that his former agent gave him and his mother improper benefits during his one season at Kansas State.

Beasley filed a countersuit in a Maryland court a month ago in response to agent Joel Bell’s wrongful termination lawsuit against him. Beasley says Bell conspired with Beasley’s AAU coach to forge a relationship with the star from the time he was 14 years old in hopes of cashing in on that relationship when Beasley went to the NBA.

Beasley says Bell gave his mother living expenses and paid for her move to Manhattan, Kan., when he went to school there, which would likely violate NCAA rules.

Wow. Obviously only a super-genius could find something suspicious about the number one recruit in the country (and for that matter, the number seven recruit as well. It’s just that nobody cares about Bill Walker anymore) electing to spend his college year in Manhattan, KS, population 52,281. Even by Kansas standards, that’s pretty isolated.

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An Annotated Guide to a Terrible Article about the NBA Lockout

I read this article on CBS Sports about the NBA lockout. It was awful, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway. It begins like this:

This was David Stern at his best, the smartest guy in the room — just ask him — running the game with an audience of millions. This is why Stern makes whatever salary he makes, because he told the owners he would deliver for them and it was time to make good on that promise.

Ok. This is only the beginning. I’m sure at some point he’ll provide evidence of Stern’s virtuosity.

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The Sad Saga of Michael Beasley

Last night I went to what amounted to the world’s most star-studded pickup game between players representing the Drew League and the Goodman League. The Drew League team, led by James Harden and Brandon Jennings avenged a prior loss to the Goodman League, 151-144. It was a lot of fun–Kevin Durant and John Wall both scored over fifty in a losing effort, and the free-flowing gameplay supplied the kind of highlight-reel plays that are rare even in NBA action.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about Michael Beasley. Michael Beasley. B-Easy. In a pickup game with 295 points scored, he fouled out–yes, fouled out–in the third quarter having scored four points, having scored none in the first half. I understand that scoring points is not the only measure of a basketball player. It’s not. But… 295 points, of which he scored four.

His performance was so bad. So, so bad. He was mockingly applauded the first time he scored, and laughed at when he fouled out.

I don’t mean to jump to conclusions, but his caliber of play led me to believe that he was most likely high. I don’t mean that in a “ha ha, he sucked so bad he was high” sort of way, I mean that in a “his physical coordination did not represent that of a professional athlete, so the only logical conclusion is that he was on some sort of drugs” way. And this is a problem.

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