Posts Tagged ‘NBA basketball’


Bill Simmons has done it again.

He’s put himself in that realm of esoteric pop-culture thinkers like Chuck Klosterman (who has one of my favorite articles ever about which rock bands are accurately rated- according to Chuck, Van Halen’s “…And the Cradle Will Rock” is the single most average song in rock history. Not overrated. Not underrated. Exceptionally average.) with this great little piece in which he hands out “Almost Famous” quotes as NBA post-season awards. Part 2 here.

Goddamn, I wish I didn’t love the NBA the way I do. It makes my soul ache, like an exposed dental nerve.

“You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”
— Lester Bangs in Almost Famous

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And by this, I mean Nuggets defeat Lakers and Kobe (tied 2-2), Magic defeat Cavs and the Chosen One (Magic up 3-1). And it would make David Stern cry. And so many others so, so happy.


I’ve been stunned by the (relative) even-keel officiating in these playoffs (besides the occasional bullshit T on Howard). Even when the refs are trying like hell to keep the Cavs in it, the Magic have been finding a way to pull it out. And we’re slowly seeing that the Lakers don’t have enough pieces around them to stop a team like the Nuggets, one that bangs ’em around, has an unflappable point guard in Mr. Big Shot, and hits from outside with JR Smith.

All the Kobe vs. LeBron talk could be for naught. (And by the way, HOLY F**K, ESPN with your stupid-ass ‘Could LeBron have played football?’ articles. I don’t know. Do you think the Hulk could beat the Thing in a fight? SHUT UP.) The (admittedly great) Kobe/LeBron puppets could go to waste. All because two teams said, “Wait a minute. We’re still here. We will beat you and the refs.” The sheer amount of disrespect the national media have given Denver and Orlando is mind-boggling.

And could someone please explain to me how Magic Johnson is allowed to commentate on a game when he owns a stake in the f*cking Lakers? How could he possibly be considered impartial? Or even allowed to open his mouth to comment on the game? Are they not even pretending anymore?

Honestly, look at these pages. Not one “expert” picked the Nuggets or Magic to win the series. Not one. They’re all in the tank for a Lakers/Cavs series. Just tragic.

Go Denver. Go Magic. Whew. I feel better.

THE GREAT NIKE PUPPET COMMERCIALS (Credit where credit is due):

The Cookie One:

“Beef and Broccoli!”

The Chalk One (which is great because the whole chalk bullshit is a move that Lebron ripped off from KG):

“Why do we live together?”

Here’s a couple of nice articles: first is Rick Reilly’s ‘Letter to God’ pleading for a Denver Championship. Here’s my favorite of late, former ‘Strib writer Steve Aschburner’s great take on the LeBron ref bias. From Dwight Howard’s blog:

“I told y’all the other day that we find it really disrespectful that everybody seems to be pulling for LeBron and Kobe [Bryant] to get to the Finals,” Howard posted Memorial Day morning. “Every time I look at TV, it seems like that’s all anybody is talking about. It’s like nobody is even giving us a shot at winning this series and we’ve used it as motivation.

“We’re up 2-to-1 and we have a long way to go vs. the Cavs, but hopefully we can mess up those plans of getting Cleveland and L.A. in the Finals. If the lil’ ol’ Magic make it, what will they say then? … Nobody out there on ESPN thinks that we can do it, but we think we have everything that it takes right now to bring that ‘ship back to O-town. Aiiight, y’all I guess I gotta go watch another one of these LeBron and Kobe commercials on TV. Naw, just kiddin’.”

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So cool:

I was watching this game at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles. When the calls weren’t going their way, the Laker’s fans in the bar sounded like hundreds of cats being roasted alive. It was a good night.

PS. No cats were harmed in the crafting of that witless analogy.

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Because really, who’s more qualified to talk about Jazz than Paul Shirley?

All kidding aside, Shirley’s article touches on something that I’ve thought for years, and articulates it pretty well. Namely, there’s a number of sports that you have to have played (in my case, poorly) to really love them. Baseball is chess. I’ve known so many people that have said to me over the years, “Baseball is soooo boring.”

And it can be. But not if you love the team, and the Zen-like day-in, day-out grind of baseball that is so much like life: Today was a good day, to quothe Ice Cube. On days that you get slapped around like Pacquiao beat Hatton, you think, “There’s always tomorrow.” You have slumps. You have streaks. Sometimes nothing goes your way. Sometimes everything does.

I think that’s why baseball interviews are so trite, like Crash coaching Nuke in Bull Durham. Because so much of daily living is trite: “We’ll get ’em tomorrow.” “Take ’em one day at a time.” “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Paul Shirley on Jazz. I think his basic premise is correct: basketball is best appreciated by people who played it, even if it’s only pickup Saturday basketball. Jazz is best understood by people who really get music, or have at least played an instrument. Which reminds me of a Itzhak Perlman quote.

When a woman said to him after a concert: “I’d give anything to be able to play like you.” “How about twelve hours a day?” he responded. I’m murdering the quote, but the idea stands. Jazz is a rarefied art form (despite my classical musician example).

How’s that for a meandering, poorly written-and-constructed post? Eat it, Hunter S. Thompson! I rule!

NBA PLAYOFFS UPDATE: I think the Nuggets are going to have the Lakers for breakfast in 6. That is, if they make it past the Rockets, but Houston’s pretty depleted after losing Yao. Full Disclosure: I’d love to see the Celtics survive and beat the Cavs, just like Nuggets over Lakers.

But I won’t be surprised at all if it’s Lakers/Cavs, ultimately. Kobe v. LeBron is what the NBA wants.

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