Archive for the NBA Basketball Category

The NCAA Is More Of A Joke Than Usual — And Other Friday Revelations

Posted in College Football, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Sports, NBA Basketball, Rants, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by thelasthonestman

It’s the weekend, and while I should be in a good frame of mind, I’m not.  There’s a lot of things putting me in a sour mood this morning — none of them life-threatening or earth-shattering — but just a lot of things that are aggravating me, and in most of these cases, only me.

But that’s one of the reasons why I have this outlet — to vent — and you’d be sadly mistaken if you thought I wasn’t going to do exactly that.

My first round draft pick

— There are plenty of times I hate fantasy sports.  Today would be one of those days.  It’s been said that no one wants to hear a person complain about their fantasy teams, and I can’t disagree with that — so if you’re one of those people, then by all means, feel free to skip to the next blurb below.  Or, you can attempt to enjoy my misery.

All year long, no matter what fantasy sport I played in, I’ve been killed by injuries.  My baseball season imploded under a record number of DL trips by players I owned, a total greater than any franchise had suffered over a nearly twenty year history of my league — a total that outpaced the second-worst total by almost double!  (And yet, I still finished in the money anyway — go figure).

Several of my football teams have been also hampered by bad luck with injures — I’m looking right at you, Pierre Thomas.  It’s gotten to the point where whenever I see someone get hit, I assume the worst and get really happy when my guy actually is able to come back on the field and contribute (if you watched the Eagles-Texans game last night and are saying to yourself, “I wonder if he owns Andre Johnson”, then give yourself a prize).

But today takes the cake.  After a terrible start for my one fantasy basketball team that matters, fueled by a cornucopia of injuries — Aaron Brooks, Nene, Jeff Green, and Brandon Roy’s lack of cartilage — the season might already be in danger of slipping away.  Facing a shaky opponent, the week was looking promising — until the flu of all things wiped out Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and David West all in one fell swoop.  A winning week looks now to be another huge loss that will leave this team all but dead and buried — which I guess is appropriate.  What’s next to hit the guys I own — the Ebola virus?  2011 can’t come soon enough — hopefully, it’ll be a healthier year for guys I own.

Does the city of Cleveland own a dog? If so, I'd like to kick it please.

— Other than the bandwagon jumpers out there — otherwise known as about 90% of the people describing themselves as  Miami Heat fans — absolutely no one wants to see Miami win an NBA Championship this year.  The bush league way that LeBron left Cleveland, the idea of players like James wanting to take the easy way out to try and win a championship, the ridiculous amount of hype given to the Heat by the media, particularly ESPN — all of these things have made me a fan of anyone-playing-Miami.  As a lifelong Bulls fan — and as the son of a lifelong Celtics fan — I have always held my highest degree of contempt for the Los Angeles Lakers — but if it came down to it, I’d root for them to walk away with the trophy from David Stern this spring over the Miami trio.

If there was a game anyone with a heart could hope for Miami to lose, it would be the emotional game last night that featured James’ return to the city and people he discarded so callously.  Miami has struggled mightily this year, and frankly, the Cavs just aren’t that good.  Would it have been too much to hope for just one night where the underdogs of Cleveland could answer the challenge and vanquish their tormentors?

Evidently so.  The game last night wasn’t even close.  The bad guys won, the good guys lost, and I’m reminded again why I’m not half of the NBA fan I was twenty years ago.  If there’s going to be a work stoppage next fall in one of the major sports, why can’t it be in basketball instead of the NFL?

Reggie Bush -- meet your successor

— And finally, there was the news yesterday that the NCCA has ruled that Cam Newton, Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate, is eligible to continue playing — despite the fact that the NCAA found that Newton’s father was shopping his son to schools looking for the highest bidder.

Really?

Granted, there’s no actual smoking gun — yet — that details that any money or other illegal benefits that went directly to the younger Newton.  But really — there’s no repercussions here?  Oh wait — Cecil Newton now will have limited access to the Auburn program in the future.  Wow — I bet that severe punishment is going to completely eliminate parents from shopping their kids in the future to big football schools in an attempt to cash in on their living and breathing lottery tickets.

On the other hand, maybe the NCAA’s ruling has given people a blueprint to start bidding wars for high school athletes while the kids in question maintain a plausible deniability to retain their eligibility.  Go NCAA, go!  As usual, the entire concept of amateur athletics continues to be a sham, the NCAA continues to be a completely inept, corrupt, and outdated institution, and Auburn heads towards a “National Title” game — a joke in itself as long as we don’t have a playoff — with a player who should probably be ineligible.  Does anyone want to take a guess as to when Auburn vacates this year’s victories — sooner than USC did, or later?

— Everyone enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

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Weekend Wrapup For The End Of January

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, NBA Basketball, Sports, The Wrapups with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2010 by thelasthonestman

My look at the Saints impact on New Orleans will be up on Monday, as well as my predictions for the Super Bowl.  Until then, some tidbits from the week that was:

–The news of actress Brittany Murphy’s death at the tender age of just 32, just before Christmas on December 20, was sad enough.  Now that tragedy is being compounded by misdirected anger and blame – or at the worst — greed — from family members in the wake of Murphy’s death, as the latest report is that the late actress’ husband and mother blame Warner Brothers for her death — and they’re prepared to sue the studio over it.

The official cause of death has yet to be released, pending toxicology reports.  However, Murphy ‘s husband Simon Monjack is claiming that her death from cardiac arrest is a result of stress from being released by Warner Brothers from the sequel to the animated film Happy Feet two weeks beforehand.  It’s a belief that is apparently being supported by Murphy’s mother Sharon — and Monjack is apparently planning to file a wrongful-death suit against the studio.

While I empathize completely with Murphy’s husband and mother — the loss they’re feeling is no doubt unimaginable — a frivolous lawsuit isn’t the way to deal with their grief.  Actors and actresses are replaced in roles by studios on a daily basis, and the world of Hollywood is ripe with stressful situations — that’s simply part of the business.  Losing a job definitely causes untold amounts of stress — but it’s not something that can or should be used as a reason to go to court.  Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the last several years — jobs that represented their entire livelihoods — and some of them certainly suffered physically from the stress involved.  They’re not all looking to sue their former employers — nor should they be.  This is a lawsuit that hopefully never gets filed — or if it does, hopefully it gets tossed quickly out of court where it belongs.

— Things I won’t be typing into my Google search anytime soon?  How about the phrase “Greg Oden’s junk”?

"Now with AT&T, you can get more coverage than ... Holy Crap! That's a picture of a fifty year-old, injured center's junk!"

The second-year and often-injured Portland center apologized yesterday for the nude photos of him and his … errr … manhood that are circulating around the internet as we speak.  Apparently, the photos were self-taken by Oden with a cell phone and sent by him to an now ex-girlfriend a little under two years ago.  Apparently, when you’re spending more time rehabbing injuries off the court than actually playing on it, there’s a wealth of time to kill.

My only question is this:  when are people who are famous going to learn to stop taking pictures (or videotapes) of themselves in compromising or embarrassing situations?  If the numerous sex tapes and nude photos of celebrities, even minor ones, that have circulated over the web over the years should tell you anything, it’s that if you take a picture of yourself naked it will end up on the Internet at some point.  That’s just a simple fact.  So to all aspiring actors and actresses, sports stars, and the like — it’s real easy to keep yourself out of these situations — and that’s to keep your private lives (and privates) really private and without a permanent record of some type that’s waiting to be leaked (unless you’re Scarlett Johansson, in which case I implore you to leak away).

Hopefully Oden can put this behind him and get back to more important matters at hand — which is being the second coming of Sam Bowie to Kevin Durant’s Michael Jordan.

— This week, James Cameron’s latest film Avatar reached some pretty elite company as it became the highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office ever and poised itself to take over the all-time domestic box office crown as well (which would put it in front of another Cameron epic, Titanic) (though those numbers are highly inflated by today’s higher ticket prices in comparison to, let’s say, Gone With The Wind).  It’s spent seven consecutive weeks as the number one film in the country, and it shows no sign of slowing down at the ticket windows.

So what am I missing here?

I may be one of the few people left who hasn’t seen the movie so far — which is something unusual for me, since I’m both a fan of a good science-fiction tale as well as for Cameron’s past films.  And yet, not only have I not seen Avatar — I haven’t really been possessed by a desire to see it.  I’m much more excited about the prospects of seeing Iron Man 2 this summer, and even when I did find my way to the theater on New Year’s Eve, my movie of choice (with tickets to Avatar available) was Sherlock Holmes instead (a box office success in its own right, and a film I enjoyed immensely,as I seem to enjoy everything that Robert Downey, Jr. does lately).

When the previews for Avatar were flooding the airwaves … well, what can I say?  I thought they looked interesting, but they just didn’t scream out “Must see this immediately” — to me, at least.  Apparently, I’ve been alone in that thinking, and that’s left me wondering whether I dropped the ball on checking this out.  The good news is for me, however, that if I want to see it in the theater, I’ll still have my chance for a while.

Quick Notes For Thursday — And The Ro-Sham-Bo Award Returns

Posted in NBA Basketball, News/Current Events, Politics, Ro-Sham-Bo Award, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by thelasthonestman

While I’ll be here tomorrow with your NFL Conference Title Game picks, a few quick notes for today:

— It’s been since early summer that I gave out a Ro-Sham-Bo Award, the last “winner” coming before my fall hiatus.  As a reminder for those just joining us, the Ro-Sham-Bo Award is inspired by South Park (and Ro-Sham-Bo legend, Eric Cartman) and is given out to the person or entity who most deserves, in my humble opinion, to be kicked in the nuts (symbolically, if need be) due to their sheer idiocy, incompetence, arrogance, etc.  Consider it my own little contribution to pointing out the sad fact that our planet is sometimes home to some really stupid people and things (a link to previous winners is here).

The lack of Ro-Sham-Bo goodness lately was a result of me just not getting around to restarting the “honor”, but if I was waiting for a great candidate to revive the award in 2010, I couldn’t have asked for a better one than the announcement of the formation of the All-American Basketball Alliance — which just so happens to be a basketball league intended for white players only.

Eric Cartman wearing the officially licensed apparel of Moose Lewis' AABA

Actually not just whites only, as the league membership requirement is that players are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race” only; sorry, Dirk Nowitski and Steve Nash — you’re not invited!  The league is being headed by Don “Moose” Lewis, who claims that “There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing … I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

I hate to break this to you, Don — but I’m pretty sure that nearly no one plays real fundamental basketball anymore, no matter what race, creed, or color they happen to be.   And the formation of any league with the requirements of this one sounds like something you might have read about in an 1810 newspaper, not a 2010 one.  Instead of handing out an MVP award for this nonsense, we can give out 2010’s initial Ro-Sham-Bo Award to Lewis instead — and hope this “league” doesn’t get any further along than it is already (a safe bet, since no town or city so far wants anything to do with it).

Thanks to my friend and regular reader Steven for pointing this story out to me.

— Speaking of basketball, it’s a sport that I don’t talk a lot about here — mainly because I just don’t follow it with the zeal that I do baseball and football.  It’s not that I’m not a big fan, but it’s more in a casual sense.  That’s not to say that I haven’t been putting a lot more effort into my basketball knowledge in the last two years, because I have — playing in a fantasy basketball league will make you do that — but I usually don’t want to talk at length about a subject I’ll only be showing my ignorance in (cue the obligatory “But why would that stop you now?” joke here).

Porn star or Magic basketball coach? Only his fluffer knows for sure.

That said, a web site I’ve discovered called Basketbawful has been incredibly entertaining reading for me (again, thanks to Steven for initially finding the blog and pointing it out to me).  The blog is an enjoyable look at the worst that can be found in the NBA on a regular basis (hey — I wonder if Moose Lewis is a fan?), and it takes humorous pokes at everything from the New Jersey Nyets to Ron Jeremy look-a-like, Stan Van Gundy.  For those of you like me who like your sports to sometimes be a little less serious, this is a great read that’s updated daily.  I recommend it highly, and not only will you be entertained —  like myself, you’ll find yourself learning more about the NBA and its players along the way.

— Another strong candidate for a Ro-Sham-Bo award this week was former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate John Edwards finally admitting what was one of the worst-kept secrets in political circles:  that he is the father of a two year-old girl with former campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter.

Edwards had at first steadfastly denied having an affair with Hunter, after the news of which broke in the pages of the tabloid, the National Enquirer.  Even after his presidential bid went up in smoke and he finally copped to the affair — which continued even as his wife Elizabeth was diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer that doctors have told her is incurable — Edwards was vehement in denying that Hunter’s child was his own.  Today, finally, he’s fessed up to the truth (though he had essentially done so already in private, having apparently provided child support for his daughter starting a year ago).

Pictured here: Rooms John Edwards will never be able to cheat on his wife in

Edwards is saying — or at least his personal advisor, Harrison Hickman, is (since Edwards isn’t talking himself) — that Edwards only want to be a “good father” and a “good person again”.  Well, good luck with that, I guess.  When you’ve got a person who lied to his wife, lied to his family, trashed his marriage vows, and essentially abandoned (on an emotional level, at least, a life partner at the moment they were/are facing their own mortality), then as far as a scale of behavior by human beings go, you’ve only can go up from there.  Forgive me if Edwards’ conversion to the truth rings somewhat hollow — and I’ll say a private thanks that someone with his decision-making process will never get within a thousand feet of the Oval Office unless he’s got an invitation (or takes a White House tour).

An NBA Playoffs For The Ages

Posted in NBA Basketball, Sports on May 23, 2009 by thelasthonestman
LeBron James sticking a dagger in the heart of the Magic last night

LeBron James sticking a dagger in the heart of the Magic last night

If you haven’t been watching the NBA playoffs so far, you’ve been missing out.

The NBA has come a long way from when I first started watching sports.  Once upon a time, the league was irrelevant enough that the deciding game of the NBA Finals was shown on national television — on tape delay!  If you can’t imagine a sporting event with that much importance being relegated to the local news announcer saying, “If you’re planning to watch the game following this broadcast, then turn your eyes away from the screen now …”, then believe me when I say that was life in the NBA in the late 1970’s, pre-Jordan/Bird/Magic.

Now, every game of the playoffs is televised live, with in-depth (and some not-so-in-depth) analysis to follow.  And in 2009, there’s been more to talk about than in any post-season of recent memory.

We’ve already seen a number of classic series so far, and we’re not even to the NBA Finals yet.  We had the Boston-Chicago match-up, which was arguably the greatest opening round series in the history of the playoffs, if not one of the greatest playoffs series ever period.  There was high drama in the Dallas-Denver match-up in the 2nd round, the seven-game classic between the tottering defending champ Celtics and Orlando, and the surprisingly close near-upset between the Rockets and the Lakers.

And now, we’ve already seen four games in the Conference Finals that have all been thrillers.  There’s not a lot separating these four teams right now, and as a fan without a biased rooting interest (since my Bulls and my father’s Celtics are both now gone) it looks like any of these teams could eventually be hoisting the trophy above their heads by the time these playoffs are over.  In addition, there’s compelling stories all around:  Kobe’s quest to finally win a title out of the shadow of Shaq, and Phil Jackson’s quest to pass Red Aurebach for the number of all-time championships won; there’s Orlando looking for its first title, and Dwight Howard’s attempts to emerge as one of the elite players in the NBA; and there’s Denver looking for its first championship, as Carmelo Anthony takes his game to another level along side his underrated teammate Chauncey Billips.  What’s not to like here?

Oh, yeah — there’s this other fellow you may have heard of still playing by the name of LeBron James.  As it turns out, he’s pretty good too.  All season long, the NBA’s MVP has been taking his game to unheard of levels, and his effort in last night’s Game Two against the Magic was his latest display of refusing to let his team lose.  The three-pointer he hit with time expiring to give the Cavs a miracle win — after the game (and series) had seemed lost — will be the stuff of legend in Cleveland, especially if the Cavs end up winning it all.  As a Bulls fan, it reminded me of  a play known simply as “The Shot”, Michael Jordan’s game-winner over Craig Ehlo some two decades ago against these same Cavaliers — now, the fans in Cleveland have finally felt what it’s like to have that type of ending from the winning side.

I’m not sure if there are any adjectives left to describe James, who has lived up to every bit of hyped that was heaped upon his shoulders when he entered the league.  In my eyes, he’s the best player in the league, hands down, he’s the best player I’ve seen play since Jordan (and yes, he’s better than Kobe ever was), and he’s got a chance to cement himself as one of the greatest players of all-time — and what better place to do so than in one of the most thrilling, wild, and exciting playoffs of recent memory?

Trust me when I say, if you’re not watching the NBA Playoffs now, you’re missing out.  The good news is, though, we’ve still got a lot of it left to go — so you’ve still got time.

Dammit! My Mom’s Not On The Cover Of Crackwhore Magazine!

Posted in NBA Basketball, Ro-Sham-Bo Award, Sports with tags , on May 11, 2009 by thelasthonestman

eric_cartman_southparkSo, we’re back on-line — sort of — with this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award.

Getting back on schedule has been more of an issue than I thought it’d be, but I’m determined to get something up here on something resembling a regular basis again — and there’s no better place to do so than with this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo winner.  But what about all of the other stuff I promised two weeks ago?  Well, they’re still on the agenda, but I’m looking more at a thrice-a-week schedule rather than the five-to-six times a week schedule I was keeping before.  Part of this has to do with some of my scheduled writing time getting allotted to the finishing of my long-overdue novel, but I’m going to do my best to not fall behind here too much in the future.

So the previously-planned look at the fantasy baseball world and the Batman Animated Series will still be coming soon, as will the Ro-Sham-Bo story I’d promised a while back regarding my recent customer service issue I had with two dimwits on the phone.  I was going to look at that today — until a better candidate for shame poked his way into the proceedings.

No doubt, if you’ve been following what’s been a pretty exciting NBA playoffs so far, you caught the controversial ending to Game 3 of the Denver-Dallas series in which the Mavericks did everything they could to foul the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony in the waning seconds of the game — and the refs completely blew the call, swallowing their whistles and allowing Anthony to jack up a game-winning three-pointer, crushing Dallas’ hopes and pretty much ending their series.

How bad was the non-call?  It’s one of the worst in recent NBA memory, and that’s saying something, considering how atrocious the NBA officiating usually is.  The league has already acknowledged that the refs blew the play — not that the admission does any good for the Mavs at this point.  It’s my opinion that the NBA should have cracked down on their lousy officiating long ago, and certainly after the scandal involving Tim Donaghy — but the league continues to employ the dangerous incompetent in their biggest games on a regular basis, giving more fuel to the fire for conspiracy theorists who like to speculate as to just how on-the-level the league’s games really are.

But as bad as the non-call was, and as devastating to Dallas as it might have been, was that any excuse for the usual childish antics of Mark Cuban following the game?  Cuban — who’s had his share of run-ins with the NBA before — took it upon himself to take his tired act a step further by going after the mother of Denver forward Kenyon Martin.  Reportedly, Cuban was shouting at Lydia Moore that the Nuggets players were thugs, referring to Martin specifically.  The Denver Post reports Martin’s agent, Brian Dyke, as saying that Cuban unprovoked called Martin a punk to Moore.

No matter what version you want to run with, it’s clear that some words were lobbed at Martin’s mother by Cuban, and were done so with apparently no justification behind them, other than Cuban’s frustration with his team’s performance.  Cuban’s no stranger to controversy when it comes to running his big mouth — and an argument can be made that his volatile nature has only served to hurt his team, rather than help it.

But bringing a player’s mother into it?  Well, that’s a new low for Cuban, and exemplified a lack of class on his part that even his detractors might have been surprised at.  The only thing worse would have been if the game had been on Sunday, and Cuban could have engaged someone’s mom on Mother’s Day.

I’ve defended Cuban to others before, despite his often outlandish behavior.  I’d looked at the owner as a positive on the pro sports scene, an owner who wants his team to win badly and is willing to put his money and resources where his mouth is when it comes to doing so.  But his actions here are beyond defending.  He owes his team and his fan base to stay above the fray and to act like a responsible CEO of a franchise and not like a 10-year old on the playground who can’t help but hurl insults at the other kids around him.  But no one should be surprised that Cuban acts this way — he’s an immature billionaire who’s used to getting exactly what he wants, and when he doesn’t, he usually reacts in a way that a child might, but a truly responsible adult would find embarrassing.  Cuban is often the former, and not the latter.  Saturday was a perfect example of that.

For his part, Martin feels about the situation about the way any of us would if it were our mom getting hassled — he’s pissed, and he’s vowed to “take care” of matter himself.  Is it too much to hope that by “taking care of it”, he might just put a fist into Cuban’s mouth and shut him up once and for all?  He won’t, of course — but I can dream, can’t I?  I know, if it were my mother he was hassling, that’s what I’d be doing.

But instead of that, I’ll settle for handing this week’s Ro-Sham-Bo Award out to Cuban.  If there’s justice, he’ll never have an NBA Championship trophy to put on the mantle aside of it — at least until he learns to grow up.