Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nightcap: Things Still Look Good For The Celtics

Tonight's nightcap is brought to you by Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide. Today was free cone day at B & J's, which while not as good as free BJ day at Coney's, still provided some much needed relief, given the 90+ degree temperatures here in LA...

The NBA has announced that Kevin Garnett will not face any punishment for his actions during a heated staring contest with Zaza Pachulia, despite shoving official Ed Rush during the incident. The question is: Which conspiracy theory does this inaction from the commissioner's office bolster more- that Stern is intent on sending Boston to the Finals this year, or that Stern was intent on giving the championship to San Antonio last year (by virtue of suspending Diaw and Stoudemire for less grievous behavior)?

There is one thing for certain, which is that David Stern still has a vendetta against Mark Cuban. How else can you explain Stern electing not to suspend Jason Kidd for his foul on Janerro Pargo in game 4? (Although in fairness, the hit Jason put on Pargo was nothing compared to the ones he used to administer to Joumanna, and she always managed to take those in stride.) By keeping Kidd eligible, Stern effectively forced Avery Johnson to play the aging point guard in game 5, thereby assuring that the series would be all but over and Cuban would once again be engaging in the first round walk of shame...

Larry Brown has accepted the position as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, meaning both Charlotte and the alma mater of Bobcats' President Michael Jordan- University of North Carolina- are going to be led by former University of Kansas head coaches. Hopefully this is part of a larger trend, and soon, the Carolina Panthers will be coached by current Kansas head coach and mass of humanity, Mark Mangino. That would be a nice change for the organization, as finally all of the "eating out" jokes would refer to someone other than the Carolina cheerleaders...

Mindy McCready said she could not dispute any of the claims made in the NY Daily News which reported that she engaged in a 10 year affair with pitcher Roger Clemens which began when she was only 15. Clemens has responded that Mindy obviously misremembers the events and must have them confused with a Cinemax movie that Roger had discussed with her one evening...

In other baseball-ish news, I'm becoming concerned that my college savings plan of stocking up on Phil Hughes rookie cards was a poor investment strategy (tho unfortunately, not really that much worse than any other US investments these days). Hughes gave up 6 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday to push his ERA to an even 9.00. He's about two more bad starts away from joining Gregg Jeffries and Danny Tartabull in my collection of can't miss prospects gone awry. Maybe I should buy some Max Schenzer cards if I want to give the Padres or Dodgers any chance in the west this year?

Finally, Randy Moss says that he intends to start up his own NASCAR team and plans on competing in the 2009 season. Hey Randy- have you ever seen cars race in a circle before? Have you seen cars race in a circle...on weed?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Life and Stuff

I'll be at the clinic most of the day today. Look for an update sometime tonight.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the internet. I hear if you look hard enough, you can find boobies!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lute Olson Never Did Learn To Focus On Defense

University of Arizona head coach Lute Olson took a leave of absence for the entire 2007-08 season to take care of personal matters. Later it was revealed that his time was being consumed by some contentious divorce proceedings. At the end of the season, Olson announced that those matters had been taken care of and he was ready to return to coaching. Perhaps he was sensing that interim head coach Kevin O'Neil was taking control of the players and Olson wasn't ready to go relinquish his dominion over the program he'd built up. This appears to be more likely, as his divorce case is far from resolved. Recently it was revealed that Lute Olson allegedly transferred money from his joint account with Christine Olson to his personal account. The transfer took place the day after he filed for divorce, and the same day he requested his leave of absence. Quite a coincidence. Lute contends that the money never should have gone to the joint account in the first place; and he may be right - but not without a fight.

Lute's story should be a cautionary tale for all men who are either married or thinking about getting married. You should always get the offshore slush fund setup while times are still good. If you wait until the trouble starts, it's too late. That's Personal Finance 101. Honestly, if colleges are still insisiting that players go through the charade of attending classes, then the least they can do is make that one a requirement. Someone's got to teach sports figures how to protect their assests from groupies, high school friends, and soon to be ex-wives.

As for Lute, it appears that he is out-lawyered in this one. By the time they're through with him, he'll be lucky if he's still left with his favorite t-shirt.

(H/T: Bruins Nation)


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MLB Cares. At Least For A Day

Today is Earth Day, which means it's time look like we care about the environment, while still doing as little as we can to change the way we live our lives. Major League Baseball is no exception, and today many teams are "going green" for the day. When the Cincinnati Reds host the Los Angeles Dodgers, it will be a carbon-neutral game. Their main effort will be to team with noted environmentalist group Duke Energy to purchase carbon credits. But after doing a little digging around, I've discovered a few more ways that the two teams will be saving the environment, one inning at a time:

Dusty Baker has banned the use of computers amongst all staff members.

Baker will also provide examples of extending the use of personal items by keeping his starting pitcher in the game two innings longer than he should.

With Nomar Garciaparra, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Jeff Kent at his disposal, Joe Torre has the opportunity to field a lineup that contains up to 44% old, recycled material.

Adam Dunn will save trees with each strikeout, as failing to make contact with the ball prevents any bats from being broken.

Dusty Baker will extend the useage of each toothpick he sucks on in the dugout by switching to 'everlasting peppermint' flavor.

Turnstiles will be connected to a generator, thereby creating clean energy with each person that enters the park. (unfortunately, this method will become ineffective when fans stop coming around mid-July)

The urinals at Great America Ball Park will funnel directly into the Bud Light hoses and food left in the stands will be swept up and ground into the next day's hotdogs.

I can almost see the earth healing as I type. It's great that an organization like MLB is taking the forefront in championing such a cause. I can't wait to see what they do for Prostate Cancer awareness.


Friday, April 18, 2008

You Know It's Getting Late When You're Taping Together A Ram's Head

Here's the rally goat/ram that made its way to the Padres dugout as the People Against Goodness and Normalcy (*bonus points if you actually know that reference) did everything they could to put an end to last night's marathon game:

It's a shame the trophy didn't work. Then the "late night ramming" could have enjoyed such other bestial motivators** in baseball lore as the Rally Monkey, the Happy Beaver, and the Cross-Eyed Panda of Good Fortune.

*-bonus points may be indicator that you watch too many late night movies on Starz, Encore, etc.
**- some items on list may have just been bad hallucinations
***- dear god, i need sleep

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The Nightcap

Tonight's nightcap is dedicated to Padres play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian, who called six hours of a 22 inning baseball game that had me searching through the garage for my beat up copy of W.P. Kinsella's The Iowa Baseball Confederacy.

The biggest advantage to watching a 22 inning game at home rather than in person: At Petco park, beer (and reportedly food too) sales were cut off after the 7th inning. At home, the only concern was cycling new bottles into the fridge to get cold in case the game went into record territory. (Although my beer labels don't turn blue at a certain temperature, so how could I possibly know when my beer is cold?)

A few stats from the 2-1 game: 658 pitches were thrown. The two teams combined to go 25 for 147, for a .170 batting average. There were only three extra base hits in the game. The teams combined to strike out 37 times. Three players for the Rockies had 10 plate appearances. There were three "seventh inning" stretches. Most amazing of all, both Yorvit Torrealba and Josh Bard caught the entire 22 innings for their respetive teams. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they'll get tomorrow off.

Quote from Matt Vasgersian somewhere around the 20th inning: "This game is becoming the poster child for bringing the DH into the National League...and lowering the pitcher's mound...and bringing in the fences."

It was also the poster game for how overrated "Wins" are as a stat for evaluating pitchers. Jake Peavy pitched 8 innings of shutout ball, striking out 11; and Rockies starter Jeff Francis pitched 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 7. But as far as wins go, their performances were identical to Boof Bonser, who gave up 6 earned runs in 4 innings.

This game also proved that ESPNews really is still going live in the middle of the night. I'd assumed that they just replayed the same 30 minute segment until dawn, but sure enough at 4:32 am EST, ESPNews broke in with highlights to show the Rockies winning the game. And here I thought Carmelo Anthony was the only one in the sports world rambling incoherently at 4 am.

I don't know if this made the highlight shows or not, but around the 19th inning, Jake Peavy brought a taxidermied ram's head into the dugout. I really wish the Padres had won so that the "rally cadaver" could have been a running theme throughout the season.

In other baseball news, it turns out that the reason Miguel Tejada admitted to his team that he was actually 33 years old is because he was confronted with his Dominican Republic birth certificate by an ESPN interviewer during a taping of E:60. You figure ESPN will only get one opportunity to sandbag an athlete in such a way before other players get leery of interviewing for the show. It's just too bad that this is the revelation they chose to run with. A Dominican player lied about his age? Really? That's astonishing.

In the world of football, it looks like Los Angeles is making another serious run at getting a stadium built in the area- but first they need to get an existing NFL team to committ to abandoning their city and moving to LA. Ideally, Jacksonville would be that team, as one of their marquee players is former UCLA Bruin, Maurice Jones-Drew, and they are coached by former USC Trojan and Rose Bowl MVP Jack Del Rio, so there'd be instant player recognition in the area. Developer Edward Roski Jr. says he could have the stadium completed by 2011. Of course the proposed site is roughly 10 miles from a giant hole in the earth in Irwindale where people believed a stadium was going to be built for the Raiders; so buyer beware.

If Roski's dream is to come true, the new stadium will look like this:

What is that? A stadium for ants? How can we expect to bring a football team into LA if they can't even fit inside the building? The stadium has to be at least three times bigger than that!

For some reason, an espn reporter felt compelled to catch up with former NFL flop, Michael Westbrook. During his interview, he revealed that after his infamous assault on teammate Stephen Davis, he stayed in hiding for three years. Not because he was embarrased by his actions, but rather because he had heard rumors that people believed him to be gay. (Well in college, he was Kordell Stewart's favorite "receiver.") Personally, I didn't think Westbrook was gay after his encounter with Davis. However, I wouldn't fault people for questioning his sexuality when his career ended and he decided to dedicate himself to MMA. That's mixed martial arts for the acronym challenged- the sport that combines the overt homoeroticism of shirtless men grinding together on the floor with the tension and drama of prison rape.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Love Was Only Here For A Quickie

Kevin Love took his time and waited for OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Michael Beasley to make their announcements so he could have a day for himself. Fair enough, we all like to have a day in the sun every now and then. Now that day has come, and Kevin Love's brief college career is over. Fans of each of these schools must now ask themselves- was it worth it?

For USC, Memphis, and Kansas State, I think the answer is a resounding "yes." Mayo and Beasley helped put schools that have traditionally been minor players in college basketball on the map. Rose elevated Memphis to being within a few minutes of a national championship. If the trade-off for these new prominent roles in the basketball world is that the university serves as a half-way house between high school and the NBA, I think most fans will be willing to make that exchange. Obviously, their coaches are fine with the arrangement, as USC has Demar Derozan coming in and Tyreke Evans is going to Memphis. Both players are expected to be one-and-done next season.

For UCLA fans, the experience is a little bit different. (I should apologize for the elitist tone of this post. It wasn't my intent, but I can already feel it's headed that way.) UCLA is a school which holds on very dearly to its basketball tradition. The John Wooden legacy ended 30 years ago and yet it's still part of virtually every discussion about UCLA basketball. But where is the tradition in attending school for a grand total of six classes and then bolting? As has been stated ad nauseum, UCLA is about legacies. What kind of legacy did Kevin Love leave behind?

Of course, this would all have been moot had Kevin Love brought the team a championship. But that obviously didn't happen. (And history shows that it usually doesn't happen. Other than Carmelo's Syracuse team, no school has won a basketball championship while being centered around a freshman.) In fact, from a tournament standpoint, the Bruins were no better this year than they were a year before, despite their only loss being Arron Afflalo. Certainly, Love doesn't bear all the responsibility for that stagnancy- in fact, there were a few games which he won almost single-handedly. But at the same time, there's just a feeling of incompleteness about his stay at UCLA.

Unfortunately, it's the players that actually dedicate themselves to the school that have to make the biggest sacrifices to accomodate a one-and-done type player. A year ago at this time, Lorenzo Mata-Real was projected by some as being a tenuous second round pick if he continued his improvement in college. Instead, he spent his senior year as a cheerleader on the bench where he watched Kevin Love pursue his NBA dream while his own quietly faded away. Alfred Aboya was also a senior (scholastically- he still has one year of eligibility remaining if he opts for grad school) and he too spent what may ultimately be his final year in a role that became more and more reduced as the season went on and Love's endurance improved. One could also argue that the dip in Josh Shipp's confidence coincided with Kevin Love's rise to prominence. It may have been just that- a coincidence- but it would be understandable if asking Shipp to subjugate himself to the freshman was a blow to his psyche.

I don't blame Kevin Love one bit for leaving early. The NBA is his dream, and his stock is at its peak. He should leave. My question is if schools such as UCLA, UNC, Kansas, Duke, etc. should be taking players like Kevin Love in the first place. It just feels like selling out. Perhaps I'm naive for not thinking that all major schools have been selling out all along.

Ultimately, I feel like someone who's just been told by their mistress that the affair is over (umm..or so I would imagine). I knew it was just going to be a fling that would have to end eventually, but still, it's hard to hear it's over. I just wish the good times could last a little bit longer. So hey, about a quick pick-up game for old times sake?


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tell Ron Artest About The Rabbits Again

With Bob Barker in retirement, PETA has taken the reigns as the leader in the campaign to convince people to have their pets spayed or neutered. They've launched an ad campaign that has featured John McEnroe, model Dita Van Teese, and their latest spokesperson...Ron Artest! Yes, in their search for the right person to deliver a message on treating animals humanely, PETA opted to go with a guy who was recently accused of animal cruelty. This video appears to have been filmed last summer, but according to PETA, the campaign itself is new:

(For a clearer version of this video, check out PETA's official blog, "The PETA Files." By the way, I think it's a reflection of the insular nature of the organization that PETA doesn't realize their blog is a play on words for child molesters.)

Edited from this clip is Ron looking at his pooch, John Henry, and saying, "Did you know that you have to feed your doggies too? I thought they could just hunt for their own."

To be fair, it's possible that Ron Artest's dog sitter was to blame for neglecting his dogs for a month. Also Ron-Ron sounds very sincere when he talks about volunteering in an animal shelter to "pet the doggies." Actually, as erudite reader JSon pointed out to me, he sounds a lot like Lennie Small, the mentally deficient but good-hearted farmhand from "Of Mice and Men" who dreams of living off the fat of the land and tending to his rabbits. Artest actually comes off as sympathetic if you imagine him hanging out in one of Sacramento's many farms and believing he has a chance for a championship on that team of D-leaguers (sorry, Quincy Douby).

The conspiracy theorist would note that David Stern has been influenced by PETA in the past when he experimented with switching from a leather to a synthetic ball for a few months. As Artest has had many run-ins with Stern (including a recent suspension after allegations of domestic abuse), it's possible that Artest agreed to do this spot to earn favor with the commissioner. This actually makes sense. Stern has lost control of the media and the owners, but at least he can still bully around a couple of players to make himself feel powerful. Maybe next week, he can get Carmelo Anthony to talk about how flying to Paris is easier than traveling to god-forsaken Seattle,

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Giant Heads, Tiny Brains

I'm busy doing my Bud Selig impersonation and trying to cook the books so it appears like I didn't make any money last year. Although this Wired article is making me wonder if all the loot I shelled out on UCLA tickets is actually a legitimate write-off, in which case, showing a loss next year will be all too easy.

In the meantime, how about a video filler? Presenting, "Idiots wearing mascot uniforms, doing idiotic things...with predictable results":

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor


Friday, April 11, 2008

There Is Wisdom In The Mind Of A Madman

As you prepare for the weekend, take note of the sage words of Ron Artest. He said it in response to a Sam Cassellian gesture made by Brad Miller, but really its application is universal:

"Sometimes in life you've just got to do that. When you're doing something you may never do again, you've just got to grab your crotch."

Amen to that, Ron. As for myself, I'll be taking that advice tonight at Spearmint Rhino. It's not that I'll likely never be to a strip club again, but it's quite possible that I'll never be getting a lapdance from that particular dancer. Meth is a helluva drug.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just a quckie

I gotta hit the road...some quick thoughts before I do...

Becky Hammon has announced that she is filing the paperwork to become a naturalized citizen in Russia, thereby allowing her to play for that country in the Olympics. It's a win-win. Hammon gets to fulfill her dream to play in the olympics and as soon as Hammon becomes a Russian citizen, lesbian groupies everywhere will have the opportunity to be the highest bidder to take Becky home as a mail-order bride.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced that Randy Johnson will make his debut Monday against the San Francisco Giants as he tries once again to rehab from injury. Initially, the DBacks were going to give him a start in double-A, but then realized he'd be better off building his confidence with the softer lineup fielded by San Francisco.

Brett Farve announced that he would be very tempted to return to the Packers if Aaron Rodgers were to get injured. Geez Brett, why not just put a hit out on the guys life. If I were Aaron, I wouldn't step foot in the state of Wisconsin until September, and be wary of anyone wearing a hunting jacket and a block of cheese on their head.

....More cheap jokes to follow late tonight....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You Can't Believe Everything You Read

Last night, the LA Times cited an anonymous source in reporting that Kevin Love had elected to go pro. Of course anyone that's vaguely familiar with the LA Times knew to be skeptical of any of their scoops. (I'm sure that Favre trade will be announced any day now.) His mother and coach quickly refuted the story.

Sure enough, the WNBA held their draft today, and Kevin Love's name was never read. You'd think that with Love's cache of old-school fundamentals, Kevin would be the top pick in the draft, right? Ok, maybe Love can't dunk as well as Candace Parker, so let's bump his slot down to #2.

Also, Love would have to shave the quasi-beard, but otherwise, his game is tailor-made for the league that David Stern refuses to let die. And yet, here we are at the end of the day, and Love still isn't being paid (above the table) to play basketball. So maybe there's still hope for UCLA fans that they'll have a center for the 2008-09 season.

By the way, that is Joey Dorsey pictured to the right, wearing the hat, isn't it? I pegged him for becoming a bouncer at a Memphis strip club after his college career ended, but I guess this should work too.


Monday, April 07, 2008

College Round-Up: Bruins Never Find Their Stride

Sorry for the delay. I've been waiting to see if anything was going to hatch from that egg UCLA laid Saturday. So far, nothing- but I think I might see Darren Collison poking his head out for one more year at UCLA after scouts saw his performance against NBA-ready point guard Derrick Rose. (Although on the other hand, is Collison going to get any taller or faster if he stays another year?)

Credit certainly goes to Memphis, which was the faster, more relaxed, and better prepared team over the weekend. They ran the basketball version of college football's spread offense, eliminating the opportunity for double-teams and taking advantage of individual matchups. Ben Howland's Bruins never had a response. As a fan, you can accept losing to a better team, as long as your own team puts forth its best effort. Memphis may very well be the better team, but the Bruins didn't do their part in making it a competitive game, which is ultimately the most disappointing aspect for UCLA fans (the same can be said for those wearing Carolina Blue).

Oh well. Now it's time for the drinking to stop and the healing to begin. I understand there's another college game being played today. It's a pretty big day for Kansas and Memphis fans. Not only will one of you be national champions tonight, but it might also be the last night you see your respective coaches wearing a tie with your team's colors.

John Calipari has called this Memphis squad "a dream team," and now Calipari is one win away from realizing his dream- becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks. If he's really lucky, he can just give Derrick Rose an extension of his existing contract to come along with him to Madison Square Garden.

Meanwhile, the rumor is that eccentric billionaire T Boone Pickens is prepared to offer Bill Self as much as $40 million to return to his alma mater, Oklahoma State, as their basketball coach. Bill Self is a good coach and all, but that is just nuts. If Pickens really wants to elevate the profile of the basketball program, he should be directing that 40 mil towards high school seniors, not a coach.

In other coaching news, Ben Braun has accepted an offer to coach at Rice University next season. From my understanding, whatever salary Rice pays Braun gets deducted from the buyout that Cal must pay him, making this the best thing Braun has done for Cal's basketball program in about five years.

Oregon State has hired former Brown coach, Craig Robinson as its next head coach. In addition to being a basketball coach, Robinson is also Barack Obama's brother-in-law. Can the Beavers win one conference game next season? Yes, they can!

As UCLA prepares for the next season, I'd like to point out to the athletic department that the Bruins are undefeated in games in which I've sat courtside and taken pictures of the action. Just something to keep in mind when you're assigning press passes next year...ya know, if you really care about winning.

Finally, I might as well make a prediction for tonight's game. I think Bill Self will learn from Ben Howland's mistakes and force Memphis to shoot more from outside. This will be a game of runs, and despite 50 combined points from Rose and Douglas-Roberts and three bush-league moves by 24 year-old Joey Dorsey, Memphis will come up just short in a late rally. Kansas 81, Memphis 79.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Those Seats At Angel Stadium Have A Nice View

Between the Dodgers being two-hit by the greatest regular season pitcher in the league, Jake Peavy, and the Bruins inability to contain Derrick Rose or hit an outside jumper, it was a tough day to be a fan in the greater Los Angeles area.

Well...maybe not for all fans. The Angels did win, and I'll bet the people sitting in this general area had a pretty good day:

Nice to see the girls from the Anaheim Hooters going to the game for a change instead of the other way around. (Tho the "blonde" Asian working on her posture might work at California Girls Gentlemen's Club. I'm not sure, but I'm willing to find out.)


Friday, April 04, 2008

Tying Up Some Loose Ends While Looking For Loose Change

A few quick thoughts between scratching lottery tickets in a last minute desperation attempt to fund a trip to San Antonio...

Congrats to UCLA's Brianna (right, blonde) on being named Sports Illustrated's cheerleader of the week. Reading her Q&A, I learned of a tactic employed by her boyfriend that is so brilliant, yet so simple, that I think every guy should add it to their repertoire immediately:

Describe the worst date you ever went on: My boyfriend has a problem watching other people eat. On our first date, he watched the TV behind me the whole time!

Keep this in mind the next time you have a date the same night as a significant game (or an insignificant one, for that matter). "I'm sorry, I have an issue with watching people eat. It's nothing personal, it's just a hang-up of mine. So I'm just going to focus on the TV instead." I suppose you could even add in a back-story about your dad yelling at you for talking with your mouth full or something to earn sympathy points, but why complicate matters?...

After three+ games, there's only one undefeated team left in baseball, and it's the Kansas City Royals. As someone that vaguely remembers the last time the Royals were in the World Series, I think it's great to see them relevant again, if even for a week. Is there room on the bandwagon for one more? Oh...there is no bandwagon? Wanna build one?

Nothing can excite a fanbase quite like having a rookie phenom to root for, especially if that phenom is a pitcher. Even if your team is having a lackluster year, at least there's something to look forward to every five games. Cincinnati thought they were getting such a player last year with Homer Bailey, but that hasn't worked out just yet. Perhaps this year will be different. Now, they have a Cueto:

Finally, if you haven't seen this yet, check out JR Gidden from last night's broadcast of the college slam dunk contest, and his homage to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air:

Unfortunately, the judges didn't award Gidden any bonus points for the finish. Sorry JR. But there's no need to argue. Judges just don't understand.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Kobe's Moved From Rapin' To Heart Stabbin'

When Stu Lantz first started working as a television commentator for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987, he was working alongside the loquacious Chick Hearn, and as such, he rarely actually spoke. Since Hearn's passing in 2002, Stu Lantz has become more and more vocal as his new partner, Joel Meyers, isn't quite the presence that Hearn was. Usually, Lantz's style is to describe a replay in the "voice" of the person being highlighted. (Example: "Fisher says, 'I'm gonna drop the ball off to Pau.' And then Pau says, 'Thanks Fish, I'll take it from here.' And he slams it home.") However during the deciding moments of last night's Lakers/Blazers game, Stu tried to mix in an analogy. It starts off fine, but then it all goes awry as he tries to stretch the metaphor:

For those who have YouTube blocked at work, here is a transcript:

See, that's one thing I like about that #24: When he gets you on life support, he won't give you mouth-to-mouth. He pulls the plug. A lot of guys get you on mouth to mouth- I mean on life support- they wanna hug and kiss and..revive ya. Kobe says, "Not havin' it. I get ya there, I'm stabbin' ya in the heart."

As tortured as the analogy seems, Stu has been covering the Lakers for over 20 years; so I suppose he must know what he's talking about. A cursory look through the history books provides a few examples to support his claim.

Game 7, 2000 Western Conference Finals. The Portland Trailblazers have a 75-60 lead in the fourth quarter of a game they've been dominating. Seeing that the Lakers are on life support, Rasheed Wallace inexplicably goes to the Lakers bench to tell Rick Fox that he wants to kiss him. (Perhaps not that inexplicable if you've seen Fox's eyes.) This leaves Arvydas Sabonis one-on-one with Shaquille O'Neal, who proceeds to score nine 4th quarter points and ignite the Lakers to the biggest comeback in game 7 history.

Game 4, 2002 Western Conference Finals. Just seconds away from a commanding 3-1 series advantage, the Sacramento Kings needed only to secure a rebound to be well on their way to the NBA Finals. Seeing just a few ticks left on the clock, Vlade Divac decides to reach out an arm to hug Shaquille O'Neal, leaving him with just one arm available to get the ball. Vlade is forced to slap the ball to the three point line towards a wide open Robert Horry, who proceeds to make history.

2002 NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant stabs Jason Kidd in heart (video unavailable).

My apologies, Stu. I guess a lot of guys do lack Kobe's instinct afterall. Still, I have to hope that Mr. Lantz never finds me unconscious, as I am uncertain of his revival methods. Also, what was wrong with just stopping at pulling the plug once someone's on life support? Why we gotta get all stabby-stab with the thing? Stabbing people on life support- even Quintin Tarantino thinks that's messed up. But at least the Lakers broadcast finally has a new catchphrase to replace Chick's "This game's in the refrigerator." Now once the Lakers have an insurmountable lead, Stu can proclaim, "Time to stab grammy in the heart. This thing is over."

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Bobby Knight Is Worse Than Cancer

Former Oklahoma Sooner and NBA power forward Wayman Tisdale is one year into his recovery from a cancerous cyst in his knee. During that time, he has undergone chemotherapy, numerous surgeries, and now requires the aid of a cane when walking. And yet remarkably, this hasn't been the most punishing time of his life. That honor goes to the time he spent with Bobby Knight while preparing for the 1984 olympics:

"I remember my time with Bobby Knight and the Olympic team in 1984. That's what I think about a lot. I didn't think I could push through that. Had I quit then, I probably would have quit now. But I remember the punishment I put myself through then. 'C'mon, man. If I can handle that, I can do this.' "

Tisdale is right. Sure, cancer can kick your ass. But it never calls you a "sunt".

If Knight decides to return to coaching, perhaps he can use this anecdote on the recruiting trail. He can tell parents that if their child can successfully navigate their way through four years with him, then they can successfully navigate their way through anything else in life. Well, except for managing or coaching a professional basketball organization.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

UCLA Just Keeps On Dancing

The liberating thing about running up credit card debt is that once it gets to a certain level, it really become insignificant if you throw a few hundred more onto it. The card won't realistically be getting paid off in the forseeable future anyway, so why not live a little? And so it was a no-brainer that once I was on the road to Phoenix with some friends that I wasn't going to settle for nosebleed seats. I thought I ended up with a pretty good view, but it was nothing compared to that of the photographer pictured here:

UCLA's basketball team came out focused and ready to put on a show. Their dance team displayed a similar energy and enthusiasm. For pictures of the players, check out my Flickr set. For photos of the dance team, just scroll on down:

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