Monday, April 15, 2013

NCAA Final Four...

We've just witnessed the worst NCAA basketball tournament in years. Aesthetically, it was an unwatchable, excruciating nightmare of incredibly fit athletes masquerading as basketball players. We were subjected to point guards who can't run the point, obnoxious shooting guards who can't shoot, and absolutely no big men to speak of. There wasn't one player 6'9" or over that anyone would consider a proper, solid NBA prospect, much less a future NBA All-Star. The highly politicized and incorrigibly corrupt meat grinder environment that is the AAU high school basketball circuit can be blamed for much of what has lead to this egregious stunting of talent, but it continues on the college level. Coaches have become the stars, signing multi-year extensions for taking a bunch of overachievers deep into the tournament through sheer grit and determination, with their seven-pass minimum offenses and tenacious man-to-man defenses that have taken all the joy out of the game. Then again, if there's no talent to speak of, how fun could these games be to watch?

Talent is elemental to the game. Without it, all we are left with are idiot, rage-a-holic coaches screeching at their players, while the scared-shitless players run plays with all the joie de vivre of an Eastern Bloc prison crew. Where was the charisma? Where was the panache? When was the last time we saw someone like Chris Jackson of LSU? Bobby Hurley of Duke? Kenny Anderson of Georgia Tech? Love him or hate him, Stephon Marbury was one hell of a player during his one and only year in college. He was incredible to watch. Even if you couldn't stand him, you had to appreciate the talent that put him head and shoulders above his peers-

What did we get THIS year? For the Michigan Wolverines, we got a bench scrub, Spike Albrecht (named after a WWII German general who was executed for taking part in the July 19th plot to assassinate the Fuhrer), a pasty white, unathletic 5'11" reserve who scored enough points in the first half of the championship game to land him a possible date with douchebag Hollywood celebrity Kate Upton. He tweeted her after the game, where no doubt her fleeting interest waned after he was held to ZERO points in the second half, putting paid to his underdog storyline. On the other side, the Louisville Cardinals busted out with the third-place podium finisher of the Minnesota Semi-Annual Paul Bunyan look-a-like contest, a burger named Luke Hancock, who is as dorky as his name implies. He won the tournament MVP and will never come close to being considered for an NBA tryout.

Corky going for his in the first half-

The law firm of Hancock and Albrecht-

As forgettable as the tournament was all the way around, Jalen Rose at least made it somewhat interesting with his incessant and non-stop whining over his former college teammates. Rose was the producer of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "The Fab Five", which featured the Michigan Wolverine team of twenty years ago that he cannot put in his rear view mirror. He has grossly exaggerated the cultural importance and legacy of a team that played together only two years, won absolutely nothing, and was party to the biggest bone-headed play in sports history, the infamous time-out called by Chris Webber that sealed their fate against a North Carolina Tarheels team that had no business being on the same court with these overrated cats.

Rose made a big stink on the airwaves of ESPN over the fact that Webber hadn't committed to going to the championship game to sit hand-in-hand with his old teammates, which being played in Atlanta, was about 15 minutes away from his crib. Newsflash for you, Jalen-maybe, just maybe, Chris Webber doesn't give a fuck about the whole contrived Fab Five mystique you've concocted out of thin air. Maybe that brotherhood you guys developed in college doesn't means shit to him anymore.

 Let's go into detail over why Jalen Rose can't let this shit go. Rose feels compelled to fetishize the Fab Five storyline because he feels the university owes it to them to honor the team and their achievements. The history books indicate a different reality, since their very existence has been completely stripped from the record books. According to the University of Michigan and the NCAA, the Fab Five never happened. I believe Rose thinks the university owes Chris Webber a personal apology, when the reverse is true. Let's not forget the school-imposed sanctions would not have come down if Webber hadn't lied to a grand jury about his relationship with Michigan booster Ed Martin. Not only was Webber found guilty of lying to a grand jury, he had to pay $700,000 out of his own pocket to pay for University's legal fees. None of this happens if Webber just tells the truth.

It's in Rose's best interest to keep the memory of the Fab Five alive, because he benefits financially from the promotion and sales of the documentary, the highest-rated doc in the whole ESPN 30 for 30 franchise. But it seems as if hindsight is blinding him to the realities of what the experience meant for others like Chris Webber. This is understandable, given that despite the talent on that team, two members never made the NBA, and Rose and Juwan Howard became pedestrian journeymen professionals with careers that were nothing to speak of. The only one who lit it up in the pros was Chris Webber, considered one of the most talented big men to play during his era. Collectively, the did pretty much nothing in the NBA. The only player from the Fab Five to win anything was Howard, who won an NBA ring last year riding the pine for the Miami Heat.

Since Rose had a forgettable pro career with almost no highlights to speak of, maybe this is why it's so important for him to let everyone know how badass his college team was. Impotent and ineffectual is a more accurate description of the legacy of the Fab Five. Maybe if there was some justification for how things turned out this would make sense. But from the current standpoint all this bellowing and posturing is nothing more than the flatulent, flailing gasps of a man who, despite having gotten paid very handsomely playing pro sports, still cannot let those all-too-fleeting glory years go. All two of them. And oh yeah, Michigan lost, so it doesn't matter.

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