09
Jun
08

Oh, Paul Pierce Christ

PPMy father is a wise man. (That’s not him in the Dickerson jersey.)

He knows things.

About 8 years ago, at the peak of his soothsaying, he predicted the downfall of the National Basketball Association.

Sadly, although several of our favorite sites would try to convince you otherwise, he was right.

I could care less that the players wear dem danggone long shorts now. Or that they sport tattoos. Or shoot people at strip clubs.

The problem is that it’s no longer about the game play, it’s about everything else.

It’s about Paul Pierce’s fake? injury.

It’s about whether Passing Kobe, Shooting Kobe or Sexually-Assualting Kobe will show up.

It’s, somehow, about Bill Russell teaching KG Celtic history.

The problem is that the League cannot accept that it’s no longer the late 80s or early 90s. I mean, Seriously?

And all this hype and desire to return to the “good ol’ days”, in turn, leads to over-aggressive officiating (see the first two games of the Finals), over-paid rookies in hopes of The Next MJ and announcing exchanges that go something like this:

Mike Breen: Paul Pierce is one of the premiere scorers in this league today.

Jeff Van Gundy: Paul Pierce is one of the best Celtics ever to put on a uniform!

Mark Jackson: Paul Pierce is as good as Larry Bird!

Michelle Tafoya: God, I wish Paul Pierce would just impregnated me already!

All joking aside, what has the NBA come to when Paul Pierce is compared to Larry Bird (yes, the comparison was actually made)? I don’t think I need to tell you that, as far as playmaking skills go, Pierce and Bird are not even in the same Garden.

The bottom line is that it’s no longer 1988. Magic and Bird aren’t going at each other (except via commercial in baggy tank tops). And the NBA we grew up with is no more. (sigh)

22
May
08

Thoughts?

SI cover

This kind of blew me away. I love the originality. You?

22
May
08

Football, in the cold? Commence whining

Super BowlThere is one argument in professional football that draws more whines than any other.

It’s not the validity of preseason games, or even instant reply.

It’s the site of future Super Bowls.

Recently, the league announced that the 2012 version of the world’s biggest game will be played in Indianapolis.

This, apparently, made ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski very upset.

Apparently, Gene would prefer enjoying his complimentary Diet Coke and Chipotle inside a 72-degree climate controlled stadium in Arizona — rather than a 72-degree climate controlled stadium in Indiana.

Note: If you have to write a sidebar defending your completely uncontroversial column, it was probably a waste of space.

In between my involuntary vomiting over the fact that people get paid to write garbage like this, I pulled out the following one-liners and nuggets of wisdom for your enjoyment:

I don’t get it. Playing in a Super Bowl is supposed to be a reward, not a reason to visit your local North Face outlet. And attending a Super Bowl as a fan is supposed to be the experience of a lifetime, a chance to break out multiple bottles of SPF 30….The only things you’ll break out in Indy are space heaters.

–Aren’t the playoffs a “reward” for playing well in the regular season? Because they are frequently held outside. Also, raise your hand if you’ve been to a Super Bowl? Final tally: 0. Editor’s note: Space heaters are not allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium.

That’s another thing. The owners needed four secret votes to decide between Indianapolis, Houston and Glendale. Let’s see: In Houston and Glendale, there’s this orange orb called the sun. In Indianapolis, there’s this white orb called a snowball. What was there to decide?

–(silence)

Maybe the owners owed Colts owner Jim Irsay a favor. Maybe Irsay promised them a cameo in Peyton Manning‘s next cell phone commerical. Or maybe Mystery, Alaska, wasn’t available.

–Gene’s notes to self: Don’t forget, three derivatives of the word “own” minimum in this graph. Also, Peyton Manning doing lots of commercials = funny. Lastly, reference funny Netflix movie everyone else saw (and forgot) 10 years ago.

I guess we just don’t see the Super Bowl in the way Gene does (most likely because we don’t walk around gathering free goodies at Media Day). You simpletons don’t see the experience of a lifetime, free of corporate sponsors stealing your seats or endless pageantry (see photo above).

I’ll put it this way for all of our 13-year-old female readers: This column is the girl on “My Super Sweet Sixteen” lobbying daddy for the Range Rover instead of that peasantly Beemer.

But daddy, I want my Super Bowl in Glendallllle.

21
May
08

The Illusion of Parity

Chris PaulDamn, it’s been awhile people.

Had a lot on the (small, plastic) plate…wedding, honeymoon, the usual.

Well, we are back, and with a vengeance. (Usually pointed in a specific direction.) Tonight (as usual), the NBA is drawing the ire of the Cut.

As I finished watching Kobe wrap up a 2-point first half against the Spurs, one of my biggest complaints about the NBA solidified in a box score right before my eyes – the illusion of parity.

It’s insane to me that this year’s playoffs have garnered some of the NBA’s highest television ratings ever.

Take a look at the last four teams standing: Boston, Detroit, L.A., San Antonio.

Would you have put your money down on any other four teams when the playoffs began? Sure the Hornets, Hawks and Cavs had nice runs that were more than mildly entertaining. But let’s get real – the last 5 years in the NBA have been owned by a select few – San Antonio, Detroit and Los Angeles. All of which are still standing with just one round to go.

With these three exceptions, any one team can be the toast of the town (and media) one season, and completely out of the public eye the next. (See: Phoenix Suns)

The Chicago Bulls are the most recent victim of this roller coaster ride. Two seasons ago, Chicago was the team rising quickly to the top of the Eastern Conference. A collection of young talent that could finally threaten the Piston’s stranglehold.

Yesterday, the Bulls won the rights to the first pick in the 2009 draft after finishing with a 33-49 record and missing the playoffs.

So goes life in the League.

In October, every fan has hope her team can make it rain confetti come June.

Luckily for Stern and Co., a good chunk is still clinging to this false hope right through April. Just ask New Orleans.

04
May
08

Emmitt Smitth is easy to please

Just to bring everyone up to speed, these are the headlines from the past week in the NFL:

But fear not! Emmitt Smith is here to make sense of it all. The master of morality, the king of Kantian ethics, the… guy in gold shoes apparently stopped by Cowboys camp to set things straight. I would try to summarize, but ESPN pretty much nailed it with their headling “Emmitt stops by Cowboys camp, advises Pacman to make [and they quote] ‘better choices’.”

Well, “better choices” is kind of vague guys. Care to clear that up in the first two graphs of your story?

IRVING, Texas — Emmitt Smith has some advice for suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Pacman Jones: Stay out of trouble.

“As long as you’re not killing anybody, getting anybody shot at and going to jail, then I don’t have any issues,” said Smith, NFL career rushing leader. The former star running back for Dallas was visiting Cowboys rookie minicamp Saturday.

Ahh, that’s better. So the three commandments of the NFL according to Emmitt:  Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not get thy neighbor shot, thou shalt not go to jail.

However, thine drug trafficking, human trafficking, brothel, and rape…. Thy league shall looketh the other way.

Amen.

29
Apr
08

The NBA…and its hypocrisy

About the 16-second mark…KG, getting frustrated that the Celtics are overrated.

Is this no longer a suspension?

Can Amare appeal the Suns’ exit last year?

Oh yea, and Commissioner David Stern was at the game. So I doubt he missed it.

24
Apr
08

we don’t need no stinkin’ press pass – pt. 4

Blogging shirtSome day soon, a book will come out entirely centered around the journalistic phenomenon we now call blogging. Specifically sports blogging. It won’t be written by a blogger, but some Ph.D. at a liberal arts school. The book will analyze all the ways in which this new form of media has effected “traditional sports reporting” and how the landscape of event coverage has changed forever. One of the chapters in this book will be an expansion of this article (or at least the beginning of it), published in the New York Times on Monday, April 21. The chapter will center around access, and who deserves what amount. But before all that happens, we wanted to address this issue in a five-part series. We will view the access question from the perspective of all the major parties involved: owners, players, reporters, bloggers, and we’ll end on Monday with the most important perspective of them all — the fan’s.

Part 4 – The Bloggers

Listen, just because I didn’t land an internship with the Backwoods Ledger out of college, doesn’t mean I can’t give the people what they want.

The popularity of sites like Deadspin and The Big Lead has shown that sports fans don’t have to turn to their local paper for day-old box scores. Fans can get stories the big dogs are afraid to print, and they can get them immediately.

The writing is a bit too snarky, you say? Check out Free Darko — a downright insightful NBA blog. Coverage too varied for your particular taste? Storming the Floor will make you crave March Madness seeding. Even if you just want a good laugh, FireJoeMorgan is there for you.

Bloggers have it all.

So with all these great prosers — why shouldn’t bloggers be allowed in professional locker rooms?

We do more investigative reporting than newspaper reporters, anyway. Beat writers get the quotes/stories/interviews they want by coddling their sources for years. Every story they break that has even the slightest negative connotation has 5 anonymous sources.

Bloggy don’t play that.

If someone has dirt, we discuss it. Remember when Harold Reynolds (by far the best talking head on Baseball Tonight) got the boot from the World Wide Leader? Without blogs, you would never have heard anything about it. You just tune in one night, and bam, he’s gone.

Newspaper reporters have cultivated this horrendous image of bloggers to use to their advantage. As long as the uneducated, prim and proper public associates bloggers with stoned slackers, they’ll have a hard time getting respect.

Now a few of us have made the transition smoothly. In one of the few crossovers from blog to mass media, True Hoop, an NBA blog authored by Henry Abbott, was snatched up by espn.com.

And according to Henry, his sport has one of the most forward-thinking (yet most basic) approaches to bloggers in the locker room:

The only place I have ever been treated any differently because of my medium is in Mark Cuban’s Bizarro-land. But I know of no other place in the NBA where a serious blogger, who has been around for a while, would be expected to be treated as a second-class citizen.

I think the NBA did the perfect thing. From what I understand, they didn’t tell the teams they have to credential any set number of bloggers or anything. They said there can be no special ban of bloggers, and they have to go into the mix with everybody else.

That makes perfect sense to me. You look at how much space you have, you look at all the credential requests you have, and you make some hard decisions, based on stuff like who’s professional, who has influence, who has audience, and all the rest.

People who read blogs don’t think it’s hard to figure out which bloggers belong there and which ones don’t.

Henry sums it up perfectly.

All we want is to be treated like every other writer. Take away that giant-ass credential from the Sun-Times and those 30 years slaving away on agate in Richmond, Ind., and who would draw the bigger readership?

I guess I’ll let the Web (and newspaper layoffs) answer that one.




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