Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heaven Truly is a Playground

When DV Dubs threatens to post, I must stem the tide. Enough is enough.

The NBA playoffs are upon us, and our beloved Sixers will have the pleasure of upsetting Rasheed and co. and showing the world just how damn beautiful young thad is (pro homo). See it's basketball that gets us through the rough times, whether those rough times be law school finals, april showers, or tax deadlines. James Naismith was a true G of epic proportions, god bless that man and his peach basket. And peaches are delicious too, by the way.

On a somewhat related note, a wonderful thing happened the other day. I was watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as I always do when I get ready to go to school in the morning, and one of my favorite episodes was on. Essentially Will is the star of the high school team that consists of brother Carlton, a bunch of stereotypical white prep school kids, and coach named smilie. Set to the music of MC Hammer, flat top Will dominates the competition, playing on an 8 foot rim in a court the size of the GFS Little Gym, with no nursery schoolers in sight, however. Ultimately Carlton fucks it up for everybody, steals in inbound pass and ruins Bel Air Academy's shot at the title, but the result is largely inconsequential. What's important is that basketball, one of the true loves of my life, finds itself in mass media all the time. Why just yesterday I watched Obama himself talk about how he would whoop up on George W one on one, even if he bowls like a retarded blind man. So I've started thinking to myself: Big Firm, what are your favorite basketball moments from the world of tv and movies? And refusing to leave questions unanswered, I present you with the following gems:


My favorite might just be the Fresh Prince. In fact, basketball was the focal point of multiple episodes. Not only does Will shine and beat Isiah Thomas in the episode described above, but he also throws a game in favor of the security guard from white man cant jump who makes billy hoyle shoot on africa to get his biatch on jeopardy just b/c he has a kid. Pure genius. How many black high school seniors in Beverly Hills have kids before they graduate high school? Well one very good one. Great acting in that show, the more times I link to it the more times I realize that Fresh Prince was about so much more than wearing jams and high top Nikes at the same time. It was also about hot underage teenagers and black servants too!

But other great television moments abound. there's the episode where Carl Winslow wants son Eddie to become a superstar but young Eddie just lacks the drive and determination of Sam Spirn. Had Eddie spent more time working on his jump shot and less time pressing up on the honeys with his homey Waldo, Eddie might have been the next Tyreke Evans. If memory serves me right, Urkel even played Grandma Ma Ma himself (herself) in a tournament. TGIF = gold!

Uncle Jessie even laced em up with Kareem... It ain't easy to sky hook over an Olsen twin, but I'll be damn if that alien looking muslim doesn't make it look smooth. But who are we kidding? John Stamos moonlighted as a Beach Boy, lived in his brother's attic, and wore v neck white Ts like they were going out of style. How was he going to stop the likes of an all-time great? I guess I should be more concerned that Kareem felt compelled to make a guest appearance on what was a tremendous show...ten years after Stephanie was out of high school and presumably hooked on meth, DJ was pregnant with Valerie Bure's child, and the show was on its second set of twins. I'm thinking bankruptcy, but that's just me.

Of course I'm ignoring tv shows w/ basketball themes, like Hangin with Mr. Cooper [and Mrs. Rodney Peete] and the TNBC thriller about a star female basketball player on a mens team. But personally, I'm more about the impromptu basketball moment, not the contrived theme or Reggie Theus showing Anthony Anderson how to bounce pass. look at the motherfuckin courts these people play on!

Then there's the time young Theo packs Ghost Dad's shit Sammy D style . Seriously, if for no other reason, check out theo's maroon sweatsuit (Sam Slaughter 4th grade style) and Cliff's adidas jumpsuit/train conductor hat combo... dominant!!

But tv basketball moments are shit compared to basketball movies. And I'm going to even put aside genius films like Hoosiers and Space Jam. I'm talking real genius (go ahead and check out 11/7/91 and 11/8/91, you won't regret it. 5/22/93 ain't bad either). Genius that somehow compels otherwise sane and logical producers, financiers, and directors to put aside any semblance of self respect in an effort to satisfy the population's insatiable appetite for basketball movies.

The Sixth Man

You've got the best player in the country, who just happens to be a Wayans brother. You have Dwayne Cleophus Wayne, who might very well be the second best player in the country. You are the University of Washington Huskies. Just as you are about to embark on a a championship run, the unthinkable happens. Dwayne Wayne... well Dwayne Wayne dies, and younger Wayans brother must pick up the slack. And pick it up he does. With the help of a supernatural spirit blocking shots and dropping in threes, the Huskies march to the national championship. Beauty of the story, they win it with Kadeem sitting on the bench. I mean this story has it all: Black People? check. Basketball? Check. Ghosts? you got it. If this story somehow involved the Phillies, the 6th Man would be the best movie of all time.

The Air Up There
I feel bad mentioning this movie since I just mentioned it last week. But you must understand, this movie changed my life. I grew up idolizing Hakeem Olajuwon, as many of you know. This movie was ABOUT HAKEEM OLAJUWON! Quick synopsis: Kevin Bacon was the man back in the day, but a bum knee and an assistant coaching job later Jimmy Dolan needs to find his coach a star. And where better to find a star than the great continent of Africa? Where tall men run like zebras and and earlobes reach down to hips. So Jimmy Dolan makes a pilgrimage to Africa, stirs up a community rivalry, tears apart a family, angers a fat man, brings said family together again, and wins the respect of the natives by marching up mountains and subjecting himself to exotic forms of initiation. The Air Up There tells us that there is air up (or down) there, air that signals opportunity and teaches us all a valuable lesson: basketball is the answer to all of our problems. All of them.

Celtic Pride
It appears that when Hollywood needs a black basketball player, they go to the Wayans household. I'm assuming Kim will play Lisa Leslie in her next feature film. But Celtic Pride is a gem few know about, and for what reason, I'm not sure. Here you have two best friends, played by two legitimately funny and well established actors...white men, jolly at that. Loyal fans who will do anything to help their team win. Oddly, that team is the lowly Celtics, as irony would have it. The Celtics are playing the Jazz, star player: Lewis Scott, a killer combination of Scottie Pippen & Latrell Sprewell...if that combo had man titties. What better way to assure a victory over the Jazz? Kidnap Lewis Scott, torture him with terrible fake Boston accents, and then return him to his mormon roots. The ending is priceless; predictable, uncreative, and unmatched. Great entertainment, indeed.

Teen Wolf
Ok, this one might take the cake. Alex P Keaton realizes he's a wolf, grows hair everywhere, plays side by side a fat guy named Chubby in hope of winning the favor of a girl named Boof. BOOF! Perhaps this movie more than any other has the most realistic basketball scenes ever captured by a camera. Not once is a shot followed continuously from the hand of the shooter to the bucket, but that really is of no matter. CLEARLY, Michael J can dunk with the best of them. CLEARLY the black dude with rec specks on the other team couldn't block every shot and dunk from the free throw line. As a naturally hairy man myself, I wish the message of this movie had more staying power, ladies: hairy is in. It gets you kegs of beer and allows you to dunk and shoot like a wizard.

The Final Shot: Hank Gathers Story
Nuff said. Great man, great movie. Put Dobbins Tech on the map, people. Made me a Loyola Marymount fan for life, put me on to Bo Kimble who eventually was the namesake for my cat. The final shot, my brother, came too soon.

Hoop Dreams
Maybe my favorite movie of all time. Oddly enough also showcased another Bo (RIP), Arthur Agee's father. Look closely and you can see Kevin Ollie in this movie at ABC camp (with the same mustache), countless coaches, young members of the Fab 5...a guy named Shannon working at Pizza Hut, two 7 foot twins who I think went on to University of Wisconsin, and the story of shattered dreams. Drugs, poverty, old school dominique wilkins jerseys...Hoop Dreams made me want to go to Mineral Area Junior College. Thank you William Gates and Arthur Agee.

This one makes me shake my head in disbelief while clap my hands in an uproarious manner. A loud mouth female coach plucked from the stands by a rich cowboy. All star cast doesn't do it justice: John Salley, Marc Jackson, Rick Fox, Greg Ostertag, Dennis Farina, DWAYNE MOTHERFUCKIN SCHINTIUZ, and no other than Stacey Patton himself (again RIP). This movie is absurd, yet I watch it every time it comes on tv. Imagine if Phyllis Magaziner was asked to coach the Sixers. Imagine Kevin Ollie and Phyllis forming the same relationship Eddie and John Salley had. Imagine if Phyllis caught Igoudala cheating on his wife? Imagine if Phyllis told Ed Snider to go fuck himself? This could happen people...

Sunset Park
Take away everything good about Eddie and replace it with Carla from Cheers and you have Sunset Park. There is no redemption for this movie, Fredro Starr aside. This is Meg Rabinowitz, if she taught at Martin Luther King High, and MLK had a bunch of incredibly talented black players who were in dire need of discipline. That is Sunset Park.

There are so many great ones I can't even begin to discuss. Juwanna Man, Soul in the Hole (great soundtrack), name it.

So what have we learned? Basketball is so much more than the NCAA tournament and the NBA playoffs. Basketball is life! And by life I mean basketball is even better when played in movies and on tv shows.

Go sixers


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  2. Big Firm,

    Awes post. Yes, the gyms in which these scenes take place are amazing. In the fresh prince scene, I enjoyed how the other team of whiteys play zone defense out past the 3-point line leaving the entire key open.

    Coincidentally, both Teen Wolf and Celtic Pride have been on TV in the past couple of days.


    I was looking for the scene where Striker goes to Africa and teaches the tribesmen how to play basketball, but this one's good too. A hug.

  4. You are all disgraceful people. How dare you tempt the masses with titillating insight into your world's on a fairly regularly basis only to ignore us once we are addicted? You are like drug dealers out of that much needed product. You are all homosexuals, and I mean that in the worst way possible.

  5. Responding as anonymous is gay.

  6. However, I agree about being hooked on the DR, and wanting more frequent posts...I'm pointing at you, Dr. Flin, Medicine Woman.

  7. Responding four times to one post, ostensibly talking to yourself is extremely gay.

  8. Pretending to be a DR staff member, but rarely ever writing anything, like an Amundson sitting on the bench in a suit, is gay. Sammy D would be disappointed in your commitment to his idolization.

  9. Still waiting for that pic of Michi with Darren Daulton, Chief Naka.