Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Hometown's Fandom is in Question

Jay-Z has apparently written a diss song about DeShawn Stevenson. Let that sink in for a moment. In fact, give it three moments...and while you do, read the story here at The Washington Post. I'll give you time, because I won't go into too much detail about the song; or the "beef" between Lebron and Deshawn. So, get to reading, then make your way back here.

My problem isn't with the fact that someone that's supposed to be as important as Iceberg Slim (probably NSFW) is taking time away from his busy schedule—and his woman—to write songs about DeShawn Stevenson. My problem isn't even with Lebron becoming increasingly annoying. I have a serious—and The Rock means serious—problem with my hometown's fans. If you're a fan of the Capitals, Wizards, Redskins, and Nationals (in order of success), meet me at the paragraph below the next random picture.

Have you forgotten how great a sports town Washington, D.C., was is? I know this town hasn't had many championship parades—three from the Skins, a couple from the Bullets—but, considering how many athletes that this metropolitan area churned out over the years, this should be a loyal city. However, I'm seeing that you're becoming shook like a fault line; and the Chosen One seems to be cause of it. No other self-respecting sports city—New York, Chicago, or Cleveland for that matter—would let an outsider taunt one of their own. I know Stevenson didn't grow up here; but if you're going to take on the identity of his, "You-Can't-See-Me/I-Can't-Feel-My-Face" hand gesture, support him—support all the teams—at and away from the arena/stadium. There's no way that song should played in a D.C. club, with a bench "player" (the guy in the suit and faux-hawk) talking trash about a member of a D.C. team without repercussions. Nothing physically violent; but there should be resounding boos from the crowd. To put this into perspective, I went to that same club a couple years back, and they booed Waldorf, Maryland's own Christina Milian (pictures included for obvious reasons). Sounds like improper prioritization of negative responses to me, Chocolate City.

I know some of you that know me may be saying, "How are you loyal to DC, but don't call any of the teams there your favorite?" This is true, for I am a 49ers, Yankees, and Knicks fan. I do, however, root for the hometown teams otherwise. Maybe not with the pseudo-enthusiasm you demonstrate when one of the teams here goes on a little winning streak; but I would like to see them succeed. It livens up this city. You're willing to continue to tug on Lebron's cape; but won't boo outside the Phone Booth because it's Shawn Carter's playing over the speakers? You come across as double agents.

I like how after Game 3 of the series with the Cavs, Wizards fans were all giddy, saying things like, "Oh! We're back in the series!" They were updating their facebook statuses with statements like, "O-VER-RAT-ED!" and, "Lebron, we're coming for you! (NSFW)" I know there are some die-hard fans out there that probably take exception to this semi-atrocity; and great exception to the myriad of Dallas Cowboys fans run amok in a town that supposedly puts the Redskins number one. I guarantee you there aren't more Red Sox fans than Yankees fans in New York—and vice-versa. I understand that there are a multitude of migrants from other cities; but that further enhances my point. New York is the "Big City of Dreams," but the locals would never allow outsiders get even a hint of an uprising in sports. Why the capital city allows this is a mystery to me.

I love my city. I will defend it to anyone. However, as far as fandom and loyalty goes, yours is in question, DC; and you need to get that straightened out immediately.*


*And if that new Roots, Wale (DC native), and Chrisette Michelle song isn't the jam of the summer around here; it will be more obvious this city doesn't care about its artists.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Things I Hate: Football Edition

At first, this was going to be for baseball. However, with the news of Pacman's trade in principle, I feel I should celebrate this moment in football history. The forecast in Dallas now calls for...wait for it...rain! I wonder who's his, "Ms. Pacman?" My bet is on Jessica Simpson. She looks like someone that could be persuaded to leave Tony Romo by a video game character. Anyway, if you read the first of these, you know how this goes. If you didn't, I suggest you do so or something will happen to you. Maybe something kinda cool that doesn't really hurt...or this. You know, it's your choice. As usual, I won't address any of the traditional things; but I do have a newcomer at the top spot...

(I urge you to click the hyperlinks if you can. They help to explain things.)

1.) Partiots Fans...
Think back to 1999 for a minute. Go ahead I'll give you a few sentences. This pick has nothing to do with their team's tainted success since the turn of the millenium. This is about their, "supporters," and the douchebaggieness that comes with them. Okay, now that you're in that 1999 state of mind (NSFW), do you remember the Patriots being good? My point is that from the period of 1986 to 2000, New Englanders—Massholes—must've thought football no longer existed...and that includes the Super Bowl year of 1996. From William "Refrigerator" Perry scoring Walter Payton's touchdown in Super Bowl XX to Tom Brady's first game action after Mo Lewis ruptured Drew Bledsoe's spleen in 2000, there was no such thing as a loyal supporter of the New England Patriots. Now with Tom Brady and his Golden Boy-ability (he does date supermodels, after all)...

[Door flies open, rose petals scatter forth while celestial music plays]

..Other sports fans have to suffer through their incessant rambling about how Bill Bellichick is a god. I'm not saying they shouldn't support their team, but it's the manner in which they do it. It's almost to the point where you hate them for the sole purpose that they won't shut up about it. I wanted to see history, but deep down, I thank Eli-sha Manning and the Giantsfor ending that undefeated run. Massholes almost make Mercury Morris tolerable. Almost.

2.) Emmitt Smith as an NFL Analyst...
For those that can stand to watch Sunday NFL Countdown and those shows on ESPN during football season, you may know why this is a great pick. For those of you that don't, it seems the statistically greatest running back in NFL history isn't exactly a proficient speaker. Apparently, that University of Florida education is not as good as once believed. Need proof? You're in luck. First, there's this minor slip-up. Still not convinced? I have another one for you. Not quite? How about an entire portion of a website dedicated to his anthology; and his incredible lack of grammar skills. I would say that all those hits damaged his brain, but Tom Jackson can at least form words correctly. But don't worry, ESPN says he's getting better...

3.) The "Prevent" Defense...
Have you ever watched a game in which Team A's defense is dominating Team B's offense for about three quarters. Then, in what seems to be in miraculous fashion, Team B figures it out and proceeds to march down the field for the go-ahead score? And it seems that he aggressiveness that Team A once showed is gone; and it seems that they're just sitting back, slowly allowing Team B to progress? Well, in most cases, Team A falls victim to their coach implementing the Prevent defense. It's intention is to drop a lot of coverage guys to keep the big pass play from happening and make the opposing offense take a bunch of time to score. However, most of today's offenses are based on rhythm, and allowing them to continuously gain positive yards is just a ridiculous idea. I'm not talking about when Team B has to drive 80+ yards and needs a touchdown in 30 seconds. I mean when there's 5+ minutes on the clock, and Team A is only up a field goal. Show some aggressiveness. I'm looking at you, Herm Edwards. I thought you play to win the game...Hello!

4.) The New York Jets' Drafting Strategy...
I'm no NFL GM. I'm not trying to make fun of what is undoubtedly a terribly difficult and nerve-wrecking job to have. A GM's reputation can be molded by how he does with draft picks. However, when it comes to the draft, there's a group of people in the, "War Room," that are combining their mental capacities to select the right player for their franchise. Well, there must be some interference in the Jets' War Room because they have had some head-scratching picks over the years. It begins before my time with them passing on Dan Marino for Ken O'Brien in 1983. Don't know who Ken O'Brien is? Exactly. The took fullback Roger Vick in the first round of the 1987 draft. They drafted defensive end Bryan Thomas in 2002. Know who he is? Right. Just know that Ed Reed and Lito Sheppard were selected after him. 2003 pick, and recently released, Dewayne Roberston was selected before Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Larry Johnson, and Willis McGahee. Did I mention they once drafted a fullback in the first round? I didn't even discuss drafting Doug Jolley. Someone needs to instruct them how to better scout prospects, especially in the first round. Most of those picks are either no longer on the roster; or not very good (word to Ladainian). I don't know what's funnier: Their recent draft picks, or the fact that someone created a compilation video about their Draft Day blunders.

5.) Shaun Alexander...
At initial brainstorming of this note, he was a lock for the number one spot. However, having him here at #5 seems about right. I guess it's sort of symbolic for his colossal collapse in the past two seasons. Alexander, or, "Sweet Man," as one my esteemed members of my sports braintrust calls him, was the NFL MVP of the 2005-2006 season. In hindsight, this production was primarily due to him being in his contract year; and wanting to be paid. There's certainly nothing wrong with that—get your money while you can. However, after that, Alexander no longer played with the passion needed to perform in professional sports. I would argue that he never played that way, simply because although he was putting up incredible stats, no defensive player was intimidated by him. Now that same braintrust member was hoodwinked into believing that Alexander was actually soft, because he took him before Ladanian Tomlinson in his fantasy league (Ha!). His last two seasons, granted, were hampered by injuries. Even so, it was obvious Alexander did not love the game of football; if he ever did at all. He would run and avoid contact, not like an elusive back, but as a scared one. I mean, Dirk Nowitzki says Shaun Alexander is soft. Vince Carter thinks he mails it in. With his release by the Seahawks this week, I didn't feel the need to beat a dead horse. Oh well...Congrats on getting paid and relaxing an outstanding career.

6.) Bonus...
I won't continue with the tradition of naming players that I dislike (for football reasons), because--other than Sweet Man, Cedric Benson, and Kyle Boller--there aren't that many I can say I dislike. However, for those of you that like football and live in the DC area, I will leave you with this information I discovered while being around FedEx Field: Owner Daniel Synder is a douchebag. Big time. He speaks to you as if you're not worthy of being in his presence. He wasn't mean to me or his workers around him; but he did give them a mean mug when they celebrated a good play. Just thought I'd share that with you.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

NYKnicks Blues

I'm starting this at exactly 3:45 a.m. The playoffs begin in precisely 8 hours and 45 minutes, with the Washington Wizards beginning their slow, self-afflicted execution at the hands of The King. This is the same man demigod that flaunted his superpowers because Chris Bosh's girlfriend started talking trash to him. What do you think he's going to do to the team that he's dismissed for two consecutive years; and yet they still feel superior to him? I apologize, I had to get that out the way. Mute your players next time, Eddie.

I think I'm over the shock that the Golden State Warriors won't be visible this spring; so I'm going to shift my attention to the other franchise that takes residence in the chaos dimension that is my heart: the New York Knickerbockers. I've been a fan of this team ever since I summited NBA Jam on Sega Genesis, using the tandem of Starks and Ewing. As you basketball fans know, Donnie Walsh did the inevitable and officially ended the Isiah Thomas era. A slight elation has overtaken the Big Apple, and the first step to a turnaround appears to have been made. However, if Knicks fans—or basketball fans/purists, for that matter—believe that this franchise will immediately rise from the cellar, they're sadly mistaken. I'm going to reveal my letter that I wrote would write to the Knicks. Written as I cool out to The Roots' "Illadelph Halflife" album; the one that changed my life and musical perspective...

[4:41 a.m. - The Roots "Respond/React" playing on the Windows Media Player]

Dear Everyone Affiliated with the Knicks:

This season has been the most trying in our relationship since we used flaming basketballs to reach the top of the first ever 2-on-2 full-court arena tournament with real NBA players (read: NBA Jam). That was the high point of our time together; and it came in 1993. Since then, we've had some good times: a string of playoff appearances, and...wait, that's it (Oh, there's this). But I would like to talk about the down times...

(Warning Knicks fans: There will be video evidence. Don't click the hyperlinks if you can't bear it.)

...I managed to keep you in my heart through the numerous disappointments I've suffered while being a part of your support system. I stuck by you through Charles Smith's softness under the basket in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. I forgave you for not benching John Starks for shooting 2-for-18 from the field (including 0-for-11 3's plus the game-winner) in Game Seven of the 1994 NBA Finals. It was tough, but I forgave you for letting Reggie Miller score eight points in sixteen seconds in 1995. I don't even count the 1999 Finals as a failure because you were an #8 seed and that was an incredible run—without Pat for most of the series; and because leaving Avery Johnson open was normally a safe bet in those days.

There's more. I forgave you for signing Allan Houston's jumper to $100 million over giving Spree's everything that same consideration. I turned the other cheek when you traded for Antonio McDyess and his fragile knees. I even forgave you for Frederick Weis, only because it allowed for this piece of poster history to exist. So you see, I've stuck with you through a lot. The Zeke regime was definitely a test of my commitment to you—to us. I was six years old when we started, so it's natural for a man to outgrow his puppy dog crush and move on to a more mature, stable companion. But I didn't. There is no reason for the team in the country's biggest market to be this terrible; and not just terrible, but that Charles Barkley, "turrble." You have nearly erased what NBA Jam built. From the sexual harassment lawsuit to Zach Randolph's, "defense," this season was the lowest of the low in franchise history. You have no one to arbitrarily blame for your mistakes like the Warriors have (Webber...). It's all on you.

[5:24 a.m. - The Roots - UNIverse At war feat. Common on the Player]

I contemplated for a long time about severing ties with you forever, and being firmly entrenched as a Wizards fan. But, for some reason, I just can't seem to leave you alone. Just when I think I'm going to cross that thin line of love and make my way to the other side, you pull me back. Trust me, it's not because of on-the-court reasons; because outside of David Lee, Ronaldo Balkman, and Wilson Chandler, no one shows consistent evidence of caring about our success. Every time I think of leaving you for good, visions of me pressing Turbo + Shoot and waiting for the, "Boom-Shakalaka!" fill my thoughts; and I'm right back to choosing you as my NBA Live/NBA 2k Series franchise to dominate the modern video game circuit.

I'm begging you, for the sake of my childhood, to please turn it around. Relieving Isiah of his duties was a start, but we need more. Trade the Fat Boys, relegate Q to the bench, fix the draft to get Derrick Rose (not Eric Gordon), and we'll go from there. The NBA has been known to allow for franchises to come full circle; as evidenced by Atlanta's semi-resurgence. Right now, I can't quit you; but I don't know how much more failure my heart can take. I don't want to see another Night at the Starbury...


[5:43 a.m. A repeating of The Roots - "No Alibi" on the Player]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Blame You, C-Webb

The NBA playoffs are on the horizon. In arguably the greatest regular season in the history of the League Western Conference, die-hard basketball fans get to watch amazing basketball through all four rounds. There are storylines everywhere: can the upstart Hornets continue their run? Can Tracy McGrady get out of the first round; as well as 'Melo & AI? Will Kobe win his first title sans-Shaq? Will the Suns finally beat the Spurs? Is Dallas finished? I don't do a lot of analysis; so I'll answer all most of these in one-word fashion: For one series, no, almost, no, probably...But this isn't about the sixteen teams that made it to the second season. This is about the one with the best record that didn't.


How could you do this to me, Golden State? How could you leave me like this? Without you in the postseason, there isn't that psychotic style that breathes fresh air into the monotony that tends to invade parts of the second season. I know that Denver's in, but no one believes in them like we did with you. Phoenix seems to have begun solving the Diesel's Rubix's Cube, but they're—they're just not the same. You've supplanted them in the chaos dimension that is my heart. Your style is a symbol of my generation: and I don't mean Stephen Jackson's obvious current former gang affiliations. I mean the rebelliousness that comes with each generation. You play without many set plays, ignore conventional hoops wisdom, and survive on your own talents and abilities. Without you—though the Western Conference playoffs will be exciting—feels incomplete to me without you there.

[Sniffs again]

It's not the fact that you missed the playoffs in a tough West. It's the way it happened. The Mad Scientist benches his best two players—Captain Jack in the second quarter, and The Baron for the whole second half—in the biggest game of the year. Yes, Baron was struggling in the first half; but as much as he can shoot you out of a game, he can shoot you back in one. He can even make a game-winner or two. So, why do it? Whatever in-house animosity there was should have been settled after the game; after you made the playoffs. And now, now you're home watching the playoffs with me.

[A tear rolls down, sniff]

You know who I blame? I don't blame you, Nellie. Or you, Baron Davis. You know who I blame? Chris Webber. That's right, I blame you, C-Webb. You brought your curse of losing to the Bay Area and kept my Warriors from a playoff run. Not to mention that you didn't even play in half of the games after you were signed. In fact, I hold you responsible for hindering the entire NBA. How dare you stop the momentum of the fast break movement era overtaking the NBA? If the Warriors had made a decent run; then in no more than five years there would be uptempo teams all over the league. Now, basketball fans have to sit through hours of so-called analysts saying how much, "defense wins championships," and such. It's true, but scoring differential is more important than overall defense. The fact still remains that points wins games. We could've been on the verge of the basketball of old—where 120-point games were easily attainable. But you and your knees and invisible defense have cost Golden State, as well as the rest of the league. Thanks a lot, C-Webb. At least you now have time to produce beats for Nas...

[Another tear surfaces]

It'll take time for me to heal the pieces of my basketball heart. I should recover by...around 12:30 Eastern Time on Saturday. See you next year, Golden State. Even if your team may have a totally different look to it.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Things I Love: Basketball Edition

If you were paying attention to my last post—and were in between watching things like this in your spare time—you will remember that I stated I would do the, "Things I Love" post after the, "Things I Hate" post. Since the NBA's motto applies to me, it would be easy for me to pick the obvious elements that makes hoops so appealing. This includes: dunks, Kobe, Lebron, game-winners, etc. However, I like to be unconventional, so I'll go a little off the board and select some things that you may like but haven't openly expressed so. To the list...

1. Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA
This venue is the home of the, "We Believe" Golden State Warriors. Last year, the Warriors ended their 14-year playoff drought and won a postseason series against the 67-win Dallas Mavericks.

(Random, unnecessary shot at Dirk Nowitzki)

I also loved how the Oak-Town crowd went absolutely nuts with every made basket. Oracle is the closest thing to a college atmosphere in the NBA, and the team responds accordingly. While waving massive "We Believe" flags after one series win is a bit over the top, Oracle Arena has easily replaced the 2001 version of Arco Arena in Sacramento as the loudest venue in professional basketball. At least they didn't break out "Round 2" hats and t-shirts after their series win like my hometown team did. Bad idea, Abe...

2. Dwight Howard's other Dunks > Superman Dunk
Look, I get the aesthetically impressiveness of seeing a guy jump as high as he can and literally throw the ball through the hoop; but let's be real—most people that can dunk can do that to a degree. Let's see those same world-class athletes try a windmill from behind the backboard. Better yet, try tapping the ball off the glass with one hand; then, in mid-air, dunk it with your other hand. Now I know a high school player kinda duplicated it, but that's still better than the creativity D-12 put into his costume. Even his "Sticker Dunk" from the '07 contest was better than that. With that said, I do have that as my desktop wallpaper (with Jason Kidd's large-craniumed son leaping for joy).

3. DeShawn Stevenson's "You Can't See Me/I Can't Feel My Face" Celebration-Thing...
I hate G-Unit; but Tony Yayo's contribution to basketball cannot go unnoticed. It's terrible as a club dance, but amazing during pick-up games. By waving his hand in front of his face after draining a couple jumpers, Stevenson signals that he's unconscious on the court. Most people that play basketball frequently know of this feeling. It feels as if you shoot without much thought, and you can hit from any distance. I know that most people haven't seen the movie, "Blow," so they don't know that, "I Can't Feel My Face" is a reference to doing a line of cocaine. I wonder how David Stern would react if Stevenson revealed what that really meant. All in favor for a "No Hand-Gestures" rule?

4. Rasheed Wallace's Interviews/Press Conferences/Wired On-Court Statements...
Rasheed Wallace is awesome. Little known fact: Rasheed Wallace cannot be in the same room with Chuck Norris because no building can contain that highly concentrated a level of collective awesomeness. 'Sheed, now in his 13th season, is probably known more his temper than his talent. Few people forget how dominant he was in Portland; or just how different his game is. A seven-footer with range right and/or left-handed; with the desire to dominate the paint...

(Random, unnecessary shot at Dirk Nowitzki)

...But this is about Wallace's soundbytes. From saying, "The ball don't lie," when an opponent misses a free throw resulting from a foul Sheed deems questionable, to this legendary press conference; Rasheed Wallace is always good for a laugh (Verbal Intercourse--yes...NSFW).

5. Dominant Players When They Take Over the Game...
Have you ever seen a game in which the superstar player is scoring at will...and there's nothing the opposing team can do about it? Do you find yourself prophetically proclaiming, "Good," once a shot is released? Do you chuckle at the site of defenders most intense efforts being futile during an elite scorer's barrage? Then this part of the post is for you. I know the NBA's upper-echelon swingmen are the obvious choices for example—with the prime of these being Kobe's 81—but I'll focus on a newcomer to the rarified air of dominance: Stephen Curry. If any good comes out of the MASN network, it's that I got to see most of Davidson's conference games. So I was witness to Mr. Curry's runs as if the basketball became engulfed with trailing flames when he touched it. The nation followed suit in amazement during this year's tournament. What amazes me is that a guy that looks 12 can sink a jumper at will. How's your recruitment, ACC? I'm looking at you, Gary Williams...

6. Bonus
And, as I did with the "Hate" post, I will list some professional players that I like that get little recognition (and provide visual evidence to back up said list). Kevin Martin, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Danny Granger, Monta Ellis, and Rodney Stuckey. Goodnight and God bless...

(Random, unnecessary shot at Dirk Nowitzki)


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Things I Hate: Basketball Edition

I'm in a good mood. I'm legal; and a lot of things are starting to come together for me. So what better way to celebrate such a warm feeling than to talk about the things I hate. There will be a new sport posted every...whenever I feel like it; and I will do the positive version after the negative. Today I will start with my favorite sport, basketball. Please note that I don't really, "hate" these people/things; but "Things I'm Not Too Fond Of" doesn't have the same ring to it. This is not an attack on anyone's personal character. It's merely related to the game they get paid to play and the one I love the most. And for those of you that know me and have an idea of what will be first on the list; there's a last-minute shocker at the #1 spot.

#1: Media Timeouts...
Have you ever been upset because while watching a good game, there seems to be a random commercial break? Well you, sir/ma'am/alien chief, are victim of the media timeout. It's not random—I've watched thousands of college and NBA games to know. In the NBA, there's a media timeout after the first six minutes of the first and third quarters; and every three minutes after that. In college, there's a media timeout every four minutes—and that's regardless if a coach takes an actual timeout. That previous sentence is what bugs me about March Madness—in particular, CBS college basketball broadcasts. To me, there isn't that much ad revenue that there must be a commercial break for a 30-second timeout during the intentional foul stages of the game. Then, they try to come back to a camera shot of a team in the huddle like that's still good television. They do it because they know you won't turn away; so why not earn a couple hundred thousand bucks while you wait? That doesn't take away from the fact that the last 40 seconds of a close game takes somewhere around 10 minutes to finish....

#2: Kwame Brown...
I guess Kwame can't be at the top of anything anymore. At the conception of this idea, he was cemented at the top spot. However, after watching this past college basketball season, the media timeouts beat Kwame by a Western Kentucky 3-pointer. He's not number one because nowadays, there's limited sight of him; whereas media timeouts are unavoidable. Anyway, the reasons I despise GM VP of Basketball Operations Michael Jordan's prized draft pick are obvious. He's blessed with immense talent (except Gifted Hands...word to Dr. Ben Carson); but yet he has no desire to be better. For his tenure here in Chocolate City, Wizards fans were begging for him to grasp it, and harness his ability. For some games, he would show flashes of it; then disappear like a cheap magic trick. These brief moments of brilliance bamboozled people into believing he'd be like Jermaine O'Neal. FAIL. Kwame has been reduced to being part of a garbage trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers. Again, I hope he figures it out. He's only 25, and can still improve if he so chooses. But at the rate he's going, congrats on a wonderful career, Kwame...

#3: NBA All-Star Weekend (Minus the Dunk Contest)...
If it weren't for Dwight Howard saving the dunk contest last February*, the entire weekend would be on this list. This is mainly devoted to the Skills Competition and the Shootaround—or whatever it's called when there are teams of an NBA player, a WNBA player, and a former NBA player taking turns shooting at different stations on the floor. These two competitions are tremendously boring. Who wants to sit there and watch David Robinson attempt half-court shots? Or watch Dwyane Wade weave between NBA-logo defenders? Not me. I'd rather watch someone play Super Mario Frustration until the dunk contest begins. Oh, and then there's the game(s). Aside from this, I didn't get great satisfaction watching either the Rookie-Sophomore or All-Star games. Figure something out, Commish. Preferably before you globalize the league.

#4: The High School/College Jersey Number Rule...
We have another stunner here. A late entry makes the cut. I recently learned from one of my boys that high school and college players are not allowed to wear jerseys with the numbers six, seven, eight, and nine on them. Why you ask? Just in case one school has too many retired numbers? No. Because they don't want players with a sense of humor to wear #69? Nope. The reason why is because high school and college referees signal player numbers with one hand. So this means that either whomever is training them is too lazy to teach them to signal player numbers with both hands; the refs-in-training are too incompetent to learn (despite having skill to count with both hands based on elementary school); or they feel scorekeepers don't possess such knowledge of counting and can't hear the ref saying the number as well. This wouldn't really have applied to me because I wore either #2 or #45; but if Deron Williams preferred the number 8 over his number 5 at Illinois, then he'd just have to take that loss. This is ridiculously lame, and I wonder if there'll ever come a time when that rule has to be violated due to the growing number of jerseys hanging in campus rafters.'re On Notice (NSFW).

#5: Culture loopholes in playing for national teams around the world...
Let me explain. College basketball fans, do you remember a Pitt guard by the name of Karl Krauser? Well, if you do, then you know that at every big moment of the game, he throws up the "BX" sign. Did you also know that he was from the Virgin Islands? That's because he isn't; but his grandmother's aunt's best friend's sister is...or something like that. How else can he play for the U.S. Virgin Islands national basketball team? It seems that FIBA isn't too strict on their ethnicity policy. Fine. I have Jamaican and Native American roots, so does that mean I can be on the Jamaican bobsled team and collect my piece of reservation land somewhere in Montana? Doubt it. I'm not mad at the players for doing it; but it's the policy that's terrible. A word of advice to the Canadian national team: recruit the Toronto Raptors. I know Chris Bosh and TJ Ford have residence/citizenship there, I'd suggest you bolster your roster. And to the Italian and German national teams, I suggest you pony up the money for the Black Mamba; since he grew up in your countries and knows the language. Point is, pretty soon, countries will be bidding on NBA players and free agency will have gone global. Is this a part of David Stern's dream too?
#6: Bonus
As a bonus, I'm going to list the players I dislike (for basketball reasons) in professional hoops (aside from Kwame). Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Olowokandi, Eddy Curry/Zach Randolph (because these Fat Boys are a package deal), Erick Dampier, Chris Webber, Vince Carter, Reggie Miller (for obvious Knick-related reasons), and Stephon Marbury. I'll just stop now because I'll start reliving past Knick failures, and I'm not trying to spoil the rest of my 21st birthday.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Chad Johnson: Catch Ocho-Cinco

The Roots are amazing. I defy you to find anything as fresh as this in music today.

Finally. I have a topic to be the basis of my first non-basketball post. I honestly thought it would be baseball, but whatever. So you can celebrate with me in a number of ways: the fist pump; head-butt the stadium wall; or hit yourself in the head with a tennis racket...I mean, it's your choice.

If you were watching the last five minutes of the 6 p.m. SportsCenter on April 2nd, you saw and heard the interesting, informational, and somewhat awkward (at least to Brian Kenny) interview with Chad Johnson. As you football fans know, there's an ever-growing rift between Ocho-Cinco and the Cincinnati Bengals organization. As you also know, the Bengals have other, more significant in-house issues they need to deal with; and for some reason, Johnson gets roped in as a problem of the same magnitude. The Bengals are a mess, and Johnson decided to voice his displeasure on the situation. He has noisily subliminally asked to be traded, which is commonplace in today's sports. Now, because of his opinion, he's being criticized for being obnoxious.

It's in this that I find fault with the media (again). Granted, Chad Johnson is loud, flashy, and isn't doing a lot to help out his team by making radio show rounds saying that he'll play Arena Football before he plays for the Bengals. We all know that's false—he's just frustrated. Chad Johnson will show up for the first mandatory team meeting, run his routes, and embarrass opposing defensive backs like always. But Chad Johnson has nothing to do with how many of his teammates end up in handcuffs. He's not in the draft room with the GM selecting players despite them having character issues. Did they not know that Chris Henry was teammates with Pacman Jones at WVU? That alone should be a concern; or maybe they could've considered the fact that Henry had to sit out a season in college for criminal charges—just like Pacman did...

Anyway, back to Ocho Cinco (seriously, it's "ochenta y cinco"). Chad Johnson is the second-best player on the Bengals, and one of the, "veteran leaders" of the team. So shouldn't he have the authority to express frustration with the direction his team is headed? One could argue that three seasons ago, Cincinnati was one chop-block away from a serious playoff run; and since then, their team has underachieved each season. Johnson, however, hasn't. He's maintained his production on the field, and continues to remain among the top pass-catchers in the league; so I seriously doubt he's been any sort of the problem. Some may argue his end-zone celebrations are a bit arrogant and unnecessary; but I continue to maintain—in order to have a touchdown celebration, you must score a touchdown. This means that you must produce on the field and impact the result on the scoreboard in order to celebrate afterwards. I've yet to see a "five-yard completion," celebration dance. Heaven forbid the man enjoys playing a sport most of us play for free. Football, at its root, is a game. You play games, but once you become a professional at a game, you are no longer allowed to celebrate. So, by this logic, I can celebrate winning a meaningless game of Madden (who want it?); but Chad Johnson can't celebrate a touchdown in real life? Whatever...

It's in this ongoing tug-of-war that #85 is torn. On one hand, the Bengals and NFL exploit his personality for the power of a dollar; but blast him for having an opinion. And on the other hand, if he were the complete opposite—and didn't care what happened to the franchise—he'd be chastised for not caring enough about the game and acting lackadaisical towards his profession. Either way, he loses. I side with him and would rather be myself and receive flack for that, then be a "company man" and receive the same amount of criticism.

While it's probably over for him in the 'Nati, Chad Johnson's not the reason for the dysfunction of the Bengals. If anything, he's someone they should have supported from Day One. So, when the day comes that he's on another team (come on 'Niners), we'll see how Carson Palmer feels about it.