Sunday, February 27, 2011

The State of the NBA Pt. II...

Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic need a separate blog entry dedicated specifically to them, so here it is. The other day Howard was vocally critical of his team's performance, and this has everyone in the organization a bit jittery. As well they should be, seeing as the linchpin of their franchise is unhappy about how things are going. But to get to this point we must revisit the past, going back to before the Magic lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. This is where the seeds of their downfall began in earnest.

The Magic overpaid, by several tens of millions of dollars, for a one-dimensional shooting forward in Rashard Lewis, who at 6'10" plays like he's 5'11", can't stop anyone on defense and never, ever makes his presence felt in the paint. Even then it was difficult to imagine just how completely he would disappear in the playoffs, the exact moment when big-time players are supposed to earn their loot. Huge mistake, seeing as no other NBA team was willing to offer Lewis anywhere near the type of money and years Orlando gave him.

During that ill-fated Finals two years ago, coach Van Gundy showed the world that he is indeed the premier master of panic as he made one bone-headed move after another. We had Rafer Alston, SeƱor Skip-To-My-Lou himself, the glorified streetball player who actually managed to carve a niche for himself in the NBA and was extremely effective driving in and around the Laker defense. So what does Van Gundy do? He takes this guy out and puts in Jameer Nelson, who was a hollow shell of his former self due to an injury he suffered that should have kept him out for the rest of the season. Nelson fell short and played terribly but Van Gundy kept Alston on the bench.

After they lose, they get rid of young, talented guard Courtney Lee. Rafer Alston is also shown the door. They decide not to resign Hedo Turkoglu, and this is really when the parade of losers begin their promenade down the main street of the city of Orlando. The Magic at this point should have started their home games on the Bowery with this classic assortment of bums-Lewis, who, weak as his game was, started the year suspended for steroids (he must have tested positive for estrogen the way he was playing). They re-sign "White Chocolate" himself, Jason Williams, who after retiring comes back and plays himself out of the league with his typical white trash, methamphetamine game that was straight-up stupid even when he was younger and played on a better team. Next on the Hobo Hit Parade is Vince Carter. 'Nuff said with this pathetic clown, who has all the on-court grace of a doped-up wildebeest waiting to get tagged and bagged out in the plains of the Serengeti.

A depleted front line didn't stop general manager Otis Smith from trading their back-up center, "The Polish Hammer" Marcin Gortat for I don't know who. Does it matter? Ah, but the hits just keep on coming, with the addition of perennial asshole Gilbert Arenas (Agent "Zero Potential" himself) and NBA journeyman Jason Richardson, who's been on more teams in his career than Paris Hilton has had cocks up her ass. These two guys have added a lack of quality to the squad that beggars belief. At the very least Richardson can still play. He just doesn't seem capable of motivating himself. Arenas is a washed-up has-been who is still owed an incredible amount of money for the next two and a half years. Which is apropos given that he's got live, full-grown sharks in his backyard to feed. Yes, live sharks. I know there are some Mexican drug lords reading this and saying, "man, live sharks? That's over the top, even for us!!!"

And after all that, Coach Van Gundy still lets his "shoot-first ask questions later" point guard Jameer Nelson go minutes at a time without kicking the ball into the low post, frustrating Howard to no end. And motherfuckers want to know why Howard would ever consider signing with another team...

Look for Dwight Howard to go to any number of teams by next year. He is out. Depending on the salary cap structured under the new collective bargaining agreement, he may have to take less money than Orlando can pay him. But that is nothing in comparison to the money he can make in a bigger market like L.A. or NYC. This shouldn't matter. What should matter is getting on a winning squad, and Orlando has proven that with their front office making one special-ed move after another, they are incapable of grasping the nuances of running a winning pro basketball franchise.

Howard can always stay in Orlando for the money. And guaranteed the closest he'll ever come to winning a championship will be if the Magic face these guys in the NBA Finals-

Film Recommendation of the Week...

Inside Job
Release Date: October 8, 2010
Running time: 2 hours

Ladeez and Gentlemen, preesenting, the Ringling Brothers clusterfuck that made the financial meltdown possible, with plenty of blame to go around-from Democrats to Republicans, from the financial brokerage houses and their corporate lobbyists to the cocksuckers who masquerade as "financial experts" who offer their so-called expertise to the highest bidder and get paid to say whatever corporations want them to say. It's all here.

You will hear crap like lack of "personal responsibility" from Libertarians who want to blame the financial crisis on the welfare "nanny" state (i.e. minorities) and every other type of working-class schmuck who took out mortgages they couldn't afford. But the truth is somehow quite different from how they paint it. There is nothing better to disinfect the air of ignorance than researching the truth. And you are welcome to start with this excellent and sobering account of how Wall Street and the deregulation of the financial markets almost brought the world to the brink of financial ruin.

This film won the Academy Award for "Best Documentary" of 2010. Some critics (one in particular, a smarmy, self-satisfied asshole from ESPN named Bill Simmons who doesn't know anything about film and probably didn't see it) said it did not deserve the award because the financial crisis is still ongoing. Quite a telling insight, Einstein. But the film covers a large portion of what has happened up until this point, which is something that could not be done in a 50-60 minute synopsis. This moron had the audacity to say that the film that deserved the award was some bullshit documentary about some idiot graffiti artist who is so inept he is shown spilling paint in the back of his own SUV. Got news for you-an authentic graffiti artist (and I love and admire graffiti art) doesn't ride around town in an SUV.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The State of the NBA Pt. I...

Many trades went down before the NBA deadline that expired last Thursday, some good, some useless and others inexplicable. There are grumblings now that Dwight Howard will be the next soon-to-be free agent that will take his talents somewhere other than where he's currently playing, despite the fact that he can sign a more lucrative extension with the Orlando Magic. The talk is also of the current trend of star players choosing a city to go to and making it happen, much to the chagrin of small/mid-market teams.

Here are my thoughts on this-

Why do mid-market teams deserve to keep players when it's obvious they can't or won't improve their respective teams?

Carmelo Anthony was in Denver for 7 years, Lebron was in Cleveland for an eternity. How much more time does a franchise need?

Cleveland is in a terrible spot because no free agents want to live and work there. That's the harsh reality. Chris Bosh did not want to go there, Carlos Boozer took off, so James had no choice but to leave. And believe me he did everything in his power to talk to him and other players into joining him. They all declined. Denver got as far as they possibly could with their current set-up, and I don't blame Carmelo Anthony for looking for a new start with another team in a city he actually WANTS to live in.

So where is the loyalty, you ask? Pro sports isn't about loyalty, it's about money and access to whatever it is the players, fans and owners are looking for. When you have a team owner like the infamous Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers sitting on the sidelines heckling HIS OWN PLAYERS, it's easy to recognize that not everyone has the same agenda.

As far as team loyalty is concerned, here's another issue to consider-when a team focuses on clearing salary cap space to save money as opposed to making deals to bring in complimentary players to take the franchise to the next level, their star players have a right to be upset. Why should a great player waste the best years of his athletic life playing with a bunch of hobos that don't give a shit about making the playoffs?

How long do players like Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have to play with dog franchises who won't spend money to compete, or can't or won't make trades to improve themselves? Or worse, make terrible trades that land them in a worse position than they were previously?

Just look at what Boston did. They traded their best defensive low-post presence, Kendrick Perkins because they didn't want to lose him to free agency without compensation. General manager Danny Ainge thought he was asking for too much money when renegotiating a new contract, yet with this bonehead move, one of the worst in the history of the league, they just cost themselves the title THIS YEAR.

And with Bostons' collective age, their window of opportunity is closing rapidly. It's all downhill for them next year. So instead of two or three titles in as many years, they will only garner one. One title that will up costing them a lot more money than Perkins was asking for.

Being a mid-market team didn't stop Oklahoma City from improving themselves. They wound up trading a young talent who, given their current roster was redundant in Jeff Green and some low-post corpse who couldn't guard a tree. Given this, what's stopping the other teams in similar markets besides brain-dead front office executives who are bad at their jobs and culturally out-of-touch Caucasian owners who think their players are their property? If you think I'm kidding about this, recall please the Cleveland Cavalier owner's comment when Lebron James left. He sounded like a slave master who found out his prize slave made it up North-except this time the Underground Railroad ran south and wasn't manned by Harriet Tubman but by Pat Riley.

Oklahoma City still isn't as talented as the Lakers, but as we've seen this year, L.A. seems unmotivated and stale. The are ripe to be taken out by a younger, faster and hungrier club and let's not forget it was the Thunder who inexplicably took their playoff series with the Lakers to 6 games, back when they didn't know what they were doing and looked as if they were just happy to be there. That's not going to be the case if they meet again this time around.

As for the Knicks, they got Carmelo Anthony, their best offensive perimeter scorer since Bernard King, and that was in the mid-1980's. The jury is still out on this one, given that they were beaten by Cleveland last night, a terrible game that really underscores what is truly wrong with them-they still suck. Chauncey Billups, a throw-in the Knicks had to take to get the deal done, has been running on fumes these last couple of years, and his game has gotten progressively worse out in Denver-shooting jumpshots on fast breaks, not running the offense properly, and more and more he resembles a tired, old bison from the wild west grazing in the meadow waiting for someone in a stagecoach to ride by and put him out of his misery.

More than any other position, point guard is a young man's game. The top NBA point guards are nowhere near 30 years of age, so for the Knicks to improve Billups has to go. I guess he'll do until Deron Williams or Chris Paul decide to take their talents to NYC, but the team is going nowhere except towards a first-round exit in the playoffs with the squad they currently have.

But hey, at least Carmelo's pseudo-celebrity wife LaLa Vasquez can market herself as...I have no idea what. I heard she got a job hosting some program on VH1, which tells you something about her ambitions running way ahead of her talent if that's the best she can do. But that's how C-list celebutantes married to famous athletes roll, so don't hate the player, HATE THE GAME!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Front-Runner for Sports Asshole of the Year...

It didn't take long with this one. I thought I'd had to wait at least until the end of March Madness, what with the NFL letting us down at the Superbowl. Not one player was caught unconscious with his head on a mountain of cocaine surrounded by hookers all running around the hotel suite looking for their panties and stiletto heels while discretely giving interviews to

It will be hard for anyone to take the award away from this asshole, a college basketball coach at Holy Family University named John O’Connor, a bullshit Division-II school in Philadelphia I've never heard of in my life. And here I was thinking Philly was the city of Brotherly Love-

The incident is a typical run-of-the-mill rageaholic coaches-gone-wild type of deal. After his team got their asses kicked the night before, the coach decided to add a little spice to next day's practice with some extra discipline he wanted to instill in his young and impressionable players. How does he do this? How else? By snatching the ball from an unsuspecting player while his back was turned, throwing him onto the floor, kicking him, and then yelling at him to get the fuck up.

What's wrong with that, you ask? Isn't this how all asshole coaches behave after a humiliating loss? Well, basketball practices aren't supposed to be dress rehearsals for the basic training scene in "Full Metal Jacket". Also, coaches are not supposed to put their hands on their players, no matter how doofy and inept the player in question may be. That's not their fault, and if you recruited them don't get mad because they can't play ball up to our expectations. Blame yourself for being a bullshit coach at a bullshit school who has no choice but to recruit bullshit players because all the good ones would never give you the time of day. Division-II schools get the scraps in terms of local and national high school talent. That's the reality, and everyone knows it.

The other galling thing is that this school is a Catholic school. What the fuck is the athletic director doing not punishing this coach swiftly and severely? The player in question, a 6'5" sophomore named Matt Kravchuk, contacted the Athletic Director immediately after the practice was over but she did absolutely nothing until Kravchuk filed a police report. Then and only then was the coach suspended pending a further investigation.

Now the school has two problems-the ensuing public relations nightmare stemming from their initial mishandling of this case and now a potential civil lawsuit from the player's family. Way to go, Holy Family University. Way to get ahead of this one.

Here is a video of the incident (which of course was taped!!!) and the the coach and player in question, appearing on some stupid-ass TV show-

Someone had the audacity to say the video portion of the incident was "taken out of context". What a laugh. But worse than that are the excuses used by soon-to-be ex-coach O'Connor, moaning how he can't believe this incident "happened to him", obnoxiously refusing to own up to the fact that he was the instigator of this whole mess. The student-athlete in question, meanwhile, had every right to haul off and crack his skull in self-defense but did not. The assaulted athlete showed more restraint than his coach did, yet the coach is still officially a staff member of the athletic department and Kravchuk is out. How's that for irony?

This should be a lesson to all asshole coaches out there. You are not so great at your job that you cannot be replaced, this guy especially. There are still coaches out there who because they win are given carte blanche to be monumental pricks (Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University is a prime example of this. If someone ever decides to write a tell-all book on this motherfucker, exposing just what an abusive, unhinged lunatic he is towards his players I'll pay full retail for the hardcover version) but even if you win you can go too far. And in these technologically advanced days we live in, you have no idea who is taping your rants and assaults for posterity.

Coach Frank Martin of Kansas State University-you are next. Anyone who has seen this maniac in action on the sidelines can testify to his antics, both towards his players AND the referees. If I were him I'd go see a doctor about this rage issue and take double the recommended dose of whatever medication the shrink prescribes.Coach Martin-keep fucking around the way you do and it's going to cost you your job, just like it's going to cost this dickhead O'Connor HIS job when the investigation is concluded.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Home Entertainment and the advent of the Man-Cave...

I have to admit that right now my home entertainment system is presently made up of my computer and nothing else. I don't watch regular TV or listen to the radio. But the other day I went to a friend's house (at his request) to help him install surround sound speakers and an A/V receiver. Not being given the instruction manual beforehand, I was at a loss in terms of which wires went where, so for all intent and purposes I was useless, or should I say more useless than usual. That's saying a lot, but I digress.

My conclusion is that home entertainment systems are what has been rotting the inner core of American society ever since leisure time has become a pagan ritual of the ever-dwindling middle-class. This is why fantasy sports leagues have morphed into a multi-billion dollar industry driven by bloated, sedentary suburban white males with too much time on their hands and a morbid obsession with beer, chips, salsa dip, 6-foot heroes, and athletically gifted minorities.

Homeland Security should go after these domestic terrorists. They are destroying the fabric of the nuclear family. While these assholes are in their basements, wearing their foam cheesehead hats and rooting for their Green Bay Packers, upstairs their domestic life is crumbling right before their overextended bellies. They have kids they don't pay attention to, which is why their daughters become junior high-school anal sex/blowjob queens, taking more meat up their behinds than a Seymor Butts Tushie Girl, and why their sons are online pledging their allegiance to the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Nazi Skinheads.

And let's not forget mom, who if she isn't fucking Gustavo the poolboy and comparing how much of his second-class, illegal alien jizz she can swallow in one gulp in comparison to her equally bored and useless housewife neighbors (must keep up with the Jones', especially if Mrs. Jones is managing to slurp and deepthroat her landscaper's assistant's cock while tonguing his testicles all in the same mouthful), is joining her husband in this pathetic bloat-athon to see who can gain more weight the fastest.

Let me describe these motherfuckers-these are cats with $50,000 custom mahogany man-caves, shrines  devoted specifically to watching predominantly Latino and African American athletes from impoverished backgrounds, cheering for them on the field while secretly wanting to be like them (except for the skin-color part), with their chiseled torsos and their humongous schlongs.

This is quite an odd paradox. These same sports fans, helplessly devoted to their respective franchises, are the same ones who take a bizarre pride in watching young men from the very same ethnic and socio-economically deprived backgrounds on penitentiary reality shows like "Lock Up Hardcore-Pelican Bay". What you have transpiring in the basement of most suburban homes is a bizarre mix of jealousy, admiration, envy and visceral hatred towards a group of young men who they wouldn't want moving next door to them for fear their property values would plummet. Yet these same men become heroes on Sundays when the prison uniforms are exchanged for the colors of their home teams.

There was no better example of this disconnect than when Rush Limbaugh tried to purchase a stake in an NFL franchise. Limbaugh, whose obsession with race and black skin color can only be described as demonic, had the audacity to be taken aback when black NFL players stated unequivocally that they wouldn't play for his fat, Oxycontin-abusing monkey ass if he became an owner.

Limbaugh is the cultural zeitgeist for his ilk, a group of men who can be found in their basements plastered, literally and figuratively, in front of their 15,000-inch flatscreen TVs with a bowl of Cheetos and tanks full of cheap beer attached to funnels that chug brew straight from the keg right into their hippo-sized mouths, cheering on athletes they want their sons to be like yet at the very same time so desperately despise.

This brings us back to the home entertainment conundrum. I could not for the life of me concentrate on getting any work done at my friend's apartment. If I spent 5 minutes running a wire or setting up a speaker stand, I had to take a 30-minute break from the exhaustion. This is what home entertainment systems do to the average male-it destroys one's desire to get the fuck off that leather recliner and live life. But I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of my friend, who went out of his way to purchase a huge flatscreen TV and couches so comfortable and plush they would not be out of place on the most exclusively appointed yacht. I could see Pablo Escobar ordering furniture like this for HIS den. And if it's good enough for "El Padrino" it certainly is good enough for us mere mortals.

Besides, who the fuck wants to work when Sportscenter is on? And since I've never had the pleasure of such accommodations (in my house it was either a bit of furniture OR a TV, never both. And never in the same room. And cable TV? That was something out of "The Jetsons", and always something someone else had, not us. Yes, I had to actually go outside and do something for my entertainment. Sounds sad? Not really-it's the reason why at 5'10" I managed to play college basketball and football from 7th thru 12th grade) it was too much sensory overload. Not only was I becoming the type of dude I categorically loathe, I was ENJOYING it.

The moral of the story is, please steer clear of the man-cave. The whole basement thing with the multiple seating capacity for your equally out-of-shape friends, large screen TV and the separate refrigerated room for storing huge slabs of cold cuts is out of the question. This is a recipe for disaster that many should seriously strive to avoid. A man-cave is the indoor equivalent of tailgating, and will only lead to bratwurst-induced hypertension, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, flatulence, high blood pressure, triglyceride levels that would rival Ty Cobb's career batting average, broken marriages and the disappearance of one's libido. Not having sex because you're a fat fuck can be remedied with exercise, a proper diet and a woman who wants to sleep with you. Purposely preferring a BLT hoagie with french fries, a large pizza, pickles and a 3-liter of Pepsi over sex is inexcusable.