Sunday, June 29, 2008

Naka got me thinking...

Back to a better time, which led me to this:

Sure, Dream didn't have the sheer power, short shorts, and rage of this man, but can you beat that soundtrack? Negatron, my good homeys. Dream shaked, he yammed, he supported terrorism indirectly. Plus, he undoubtedly spent a lot of time "just lampin" with his fellow countrymen. And perhaps most importantly, he took his feeble knowledge of the English language, merged it with his evolving love of the rap game, and produced this gem.

In other news, Brett Myers has hit the skids. The official, downright skids. I've posed this question to half the editorial staff already, but if one had to guess, is Mr. Myers here, here, here, or here in one month's order? Because the one place I honestly do NOT want to see him is here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Ain't A Pyschic But I Crush A Lot

That thumping sound you hear is my hand patting my back. The NBA Draft went off without a hitch on Thursday, and the Sixers, as predicted, chose Marreese Speights. I like the pick. Trading for another pick would have been a bonus, and I'll always wonder what kind of price Stefansky wasn't willing to pay for a second round pick(it was reported that Philly was trying hard to get DeAndre Jordan), but overall, we have to be satisfied with this prospect.

Searching for Marreese on youtube led me to many conclusions. One is that he will not be on the all-interview team EVER. What he does on the court is obviously the most important thing, but my god, homeboy was struggling to put together coherent sentences.
Also, I'm convinced the worries about his conditioning are exaggerated and misleading. I'm not doubting the criticism he caught this past year of getting lazy and presumptuous, but what do you expect from a big-time prospect? Plus he woke up, smelled the greenbacks, got his mind right and played like a beast at the end of the year. And wasn't Kevin Love a fat slob nearly all of his freshman year? He lost a bunch of weight before the draft and nobody is worried about him channeling Oliver Miller in the pros, so let's not worry about Marreese. Check this video and commentary from Chad Ford for confirmation on his conditioning.

I hope everybody noticed how Ford mentions that on three-on-three games Speights dominated Vanilla Sky. Word!!

The rest of the draft was cool. I watched with fellow DR contributors and here are some observations:

A very restrained crop of young ballers. No pinstripes come to mind, no attempts at matching headware, and nothing even close to this kind of regal gangsterness:

Overall the attitude was tasteful and respectable, which was a disgusting development.

Knicks Fans Are Xenophobic: A bright-eyed young Italian gets drafted by the Knicks and is greeted by sustained boos from the hometown fans. Aren't you barbarians aware you live in America's melting pot? The booing confused me even more because it was never explained who these rowdy louts wanted to draft. What, Brook Lopez is the answer to all that ails Knickerbocker basketball. Pazzesco!!

Larry Brown + Michael Jordan= A Terrible Draft Team:
Maybe it's too soon to degrade the Bobcats draft, but picking DJ Augustine and Alexis Ajinca with the #9 and #20 picks sure seemed degradable at the time. Isn't it amazing how two of the greatest at what they do(coach and play) are also two of the worst at everything else involving the sport(GMing, scouting, drafting)?

Stephen A. Smith and Dick Vitale:
Putting these two together in any capacity is a worse idea than R Kelly brand lemonade. I would much rather ESPN send a rep to my house once a year, have them hit me a few times in the ears with a brick, scream nonsense at me for a few minutes and then leave. If that meant those two would never be on my tv again, it would be the best trade ever.

Darrell Arthur:
I felt bad for DuhRel as he slipped lower and lower into the abyss of the draft. I also was rooting for the Sixers to trade and draft him, based on Shizz Weinstein's vague endorsement of the guy. As news of his kidney problem started to circulate, the rumors were rampant. The DR braintrust was convinced he had AIDS, which is probably inaccurate. No matter what, Big Firm made a good observation about Arthur's mom, who had the head of Esther Rolle and the body of the huge black man from The Green Mile. Darrell Arthur lasting until #27 was a stunner. Momma Arthur not being at least a second round pick in April's NFL draft qualifies as earth shattering.

Back to Speights for a second. Give me my props Flintskins!! I sent a write-in ballot to the Academy of Film requesting you be nominated for best actor in a lead role for you most recent work by the way.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

If The Glove Don't Fit, I'll Still Predict

Karnac would not return my call. Rasputin was downright hostile via email. I contacted Dionne Warwick and she damn near extorted all my money. Even Zoltan was useless, taking my quarter, spitting out a card, and leaving me with no idea who we will draft. The card did say "your wish will be granted", so it's possible I forgot to ask who we will draft and instead asked for my normal wish, to become best friends with Sammy D. If I wake up tomorrow no closer to a lifelong friendship with the Great Dalembert I'll know Zoltan is full of crap.

Getting no help from professionals leaves the prediction in my unsteady hands. But I must bite the bullet and make a choice, no matter how silly the idea of predicting an unpredictable event such as the draft. Already there have been several trades that will make most of the mock drafts from the past week worthless, and more are surely in the works. So assuming that New York avoids a terrorist attack this evening and the draft goes ahead as scheduled, and assuming the Sixers stay at sixteen, here's what I think could happen:

With The Sixteenth Pick, The Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers select MARREESE SPEIGHTS.

Why?: It sounds like his offensive game has the most potential of the bigs in this portion of the draft, which, mixed with his sturdy frame and superior athleticism, make him a worthwhile risk at sixteen. His heart and desire has been questioned, and that worries me a great deal, but there isn't a home-run guy out there who combines the skills AND the intangibles. Well, there is and his name is Kevin Love. So I think Marreese is the guy. With cap-room and a nice nucleus in place, Speights won't have too much pressure on him, and he should benefit from a solid, professional locker room filled with hard-workers and good citizens And just wait until Sammy takes Marreese to his barber.

Anything Else?:
I'd like to add how much I hope we pick up another pick in the first round, or at least early second round. Along with that I'd like to reaffirm my enthusiasm for both Brandon Rush and Courtney Lee, versatile guards who can score, handle the ball, and defend. Getting a second pick would allow us to pursue a big man and one of these guards, which would be a nice haul in my opinion.

Predictions aside, I'd like to thank everyone for humoring me as I journeyed into Draftville, a dense, scary place. It only promises to get thornier as free agency starts next Tuesday, opening yet another trapdoor of innuendo and opinion based reporting. I look forward to offering a consistent serving of bullshit straight from the heart.

Overheard In...

THE OFFICERe: Early America

- "Those people 'Native Americans' never staked a claim. They moved from location to location. Besides that is what people did they fought for land. You can't blame settlers for being better at it. The natives fought against themselves for land also, they were just evenly matched. They would have done it to each other if they could, so they are no better then Young America. We just succeeded that is the only crime."

Re: Texas Prostitutes
- "In Dallas they were not half bad looking. I still ran from them though."

FishtownYoung Kid 1: So, how you do that?
Young kid 2: Alls you gotta do is find someone who don't do drugs to pee for you
Young kid 1: Ohhhhhhhhh!

Random woman: Hey hun, how you doin?
Me: Ok, how are you
Woman: Fucked up!

8 year old girl: She sounded like she had a dick in her mouth.
10 year old girl: Did she?
8 year old: How the hell should I know? Alls i know is she sounded like she did.
- Now there's an 8 year old wise beyond her years!!

Hispanic Woman: So I said "I dont care if he is in jail, he was my man too and i want my fuckin TV back!
Hispanic Woman's friend: Wait your man too? Where is the TV?
Hispanic Woman: The TV is at her house, you know...his real girlfriend.

Stefansky's First Stand

So many profiles gone undone. So many trade scenarios ignored. The Draft now awaits and I'm more confused, conflicted, and distracted by upside than ever before. Damn you upside!! My head is crammed with excess information, some legit and tons bogus, and this is my last chance to purge myself of it all, so let's try and recap today's draft before I combust with excitement and fear.

Other Players Philly Might Take:

I had hoped to do quick profiles for a lot of these guys, but as time became an issue and the draft boards fluctuated, it turned into an impossible dream. Here then, are players potentially on Stefansky's radar, and a few words about each.

Darrell Arthur- Heard somebody pronounce his first name Da-rel and that instantly brought to mind Pat Burrell, who's last name is spelled Burrell but is pronounced Burl. If indeed his name is Da-rel we should probably draft him, overpay him immediately, then wait six years for him to finally become good. On the court he was a valuable player on a championship team, which should count for something.

Kosta Koufos- Fits Philly perfectly in that he can walk around the city and everybody could yell out "Hey Cuz" at him. Cuz Koufos. That alone makes him worth considering. As far as his game, he's a seven-footer with a nice jump shot and good skills. He's intriguing but really, when was the last time a big white oaf with a silly name did anything but suck?

Anthony Randolph- A lottery guy only a few weeks ago, his workouts have scared some teams off because of lack of strength and yellowtail roll rawness. The ultimate upside guy who just isn't ready to make an impact yet; still, if he's on the board at sixteen it might be hard to pass on him. John Hollinger, ESPN's basketball Bill James, predicts that Randolph will be horrendous.

Alexis Ajinca-
Big and French. Frederic Weiss was big and French. How did that work out? If Andrea Barngnani has shown us anything, it's that drafting men with women's names is risky(apologies to Tracy McGrady). This fool has two huge strikes against him and I haven't even mentioned last years 5.0 ppg average in whatever Euro league he played in. If my math is correct, that is three strikes. He's out.

JJ Hickson- I like him, he sounds pretty strong and rugged. Doesn't have the height to be an ideal power forward in the NBA but is only nineteen and likely still growing. I don't think the Sixers will take him but he'll be available and a good pick for anyone in the latter half on the first round.

Roy Hibbert-
I've already ragged on this guy in earlier posts and I still feel good about what I said. Aside from being a lumbering sloth in college, the most troublesome part of his game was how he disappeared in games, which is cool if you are an Angel in The Outfield but not cool if you're seven foot two and should be dominating. To be fair, he has only recently learned the game, does have good skills, and will probably be a solid inside presence in the league. Epitomizes the higher floor player.

Jason Thompson- Less heralded college player who played at Rider, which would explain his less-heralded status. Never seen him but he sounds exactly like a bunch of these guys: great size, nice skills, and hard to predict.

Brandon Rush-
Really good college player who would be a much stronger candidate for the Sixers if he wasn't a combo guard, something they have in excess. Often times solid players with good college resumes and a proven record of winning and producing for elite programs can get overlooked for guys with less experience and more upside.

Courtney Lee- same as above, Lee was a really good college player who will go lower than most of the bigs in the draft but will end up being better than a lot of them. The Sixers could use a tough two guard who can score and also defend, but he's probably a lower first round or second round pick.

Ceilings And Floors:

1) DeAndre Jordan
Ceiling: Mars
Floor: The Earth's core
Boom or Bust: Bust

2)JaVale McGee
Ceiling: Oceans Eleven
Floor: Oceans Twelve
Boom or Bust: Bust

3)Marreese Speights
Ceiling: Sistine Chapel
Floor: Roberto Benigni's Oscar Speech
Boom or Bust: Boom!!

Donte Greene:
Ceiling: Season Four of The Wire
Floor: The Baltimore Orioles
Boom or Bust: Bust

Robin Lopez:
Ceiling: New York subway car
Floor: Subway platform
Boom or Bust: Not capable of either

Anthony Randolph
Ceiling: IMAX
Floor: Bootleg DVD
Boom or Bust: Boom!!

Darrell Arthur
Ceiling: Pat Burrell
Floor: Pat's Steaks(i think they're terrible)
Boom or Bust: Boom!!

JJ Hickson
Ceiling: Jimmie "JJ" Walker
Floor: JJ Redick
Boom or Bust: Boom!!

Kosta Koufos
Ceiling: Rik Smits
Floor: Efthemios Rentzias
Boom or Bust: Bust

Roy Hibbert
Ceiling: Finding a dollar
Floor: Losing a dollar
Boom or Bust: not eligible for either

Brandon Rush
Ceiling: Richard Hamilton
Floor: Jaron Rush
Boom or Bust: more boom than bust

Courtney Lee
Ceiling: The General Lee car
Floor: Courtney Love
Boom or Bust: Boom

What Does It All Mean?
Basically nothing. It means in five years, when DeAndre Jordan is breaking backboards and starting in All-Star games, I will feel stupid. I find it important to take this chance to remind everyone I know nothing about anything.

What I would Do If I was GM of the Sixers:
Assuming I watched all the tape in the world, worked out as many of these guys as possible, and conferred with all my talent scouts, I would take whichever one of the players I thought would be best. Duh. But I would take ANY player I thought was best, not just a big man. Because there are so many big man prospects I would also try my best to trade for another pick in the first round or early second round. It's conceivable that a bunch of these guys will slip and could be had in the 25-35 range. Also, if DJ Augustin falls to sixteen(which seems unlikely but possible since Indiana traded for TJ Ford), or if Danilo Gallnari somehow falls, take them. Take the best PLAYER, always.

Ideal Situation:
Procuring another pick and drafting two players with good potential. I really like a lot of the names in the draft and would be happy with Speights, Arthur, Hickson, Jordan, or Randolph, especially if we were able to get two of them or one with another guy, like Donte Green or Courtney Lee.

And the rest of the league?

I don't really care, but it's not as fun without Isaiah in New York.

Last Words:
I am going to trust Ed Stefansky tonight, trust him with my team and my draft. I think we all should. I'm a fan who likes to trust a GM until his first mistake, at which point I never trust him again. I trust you Ed, now go make us proud.

PS- I ignored Kevin Love and Joe Alexander because they are both Top Ten picks. Good luck Vanilla Sky and K-Love. Make white folks proud.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shaq's Ass Tastes Like Victory

I thought that nothing good could possibly come from the Celtics winning the title. Apparently I was wrong:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

'Pez Dispenser

Finally, a prospect with mediocre talent and limited potential! I've been waiting for this moment all week, the profile of the Caucasoid big man with earthbound expectations and intangibles instead of upside. I present to you Robin Lopez, not to be confused with Brook Lopez, his identical twin who also happens to be a sure lottery pick in this years draft. On face value, these two, specifically Robin, the less talented and weaker prospect, seem worthy of widespread scorn and contempt. The red flags wave bright and strong: Twins? Red flag #1. Big and White? Flags galore. Played at Stanford? Oh god. Has tight, white man afro-curls that he one day might put into a ponytail, braids, or worse yet, cornrows? Where am I, Tiananmen Square? Before I start waving the white flag on this guy, I should dig deeper. Can he really be this bad a pick at #16? Ladies and gentleman, Robin Lopez.

Name: Robin Byron Lopez
DOB: 4/1/1988
Height: 7 ft.
Weight: 245 lbs.
Born: Panorama City, CA
Raised: Fresno, CA

Let's do a few rounds of Good News/Bad News, aimed at particular segments of our readership.

For Stanford Haters:
Bad News: Is one half of yet another tandem of large twins who played at Stanford and entered the NBA together.
Good News: The similarities are obvious, but Brook and Robin, aside from doing us the service of having first names that start with different letters, are more mobile and offensively capable than Jarron and Jason were.

For Big Firm and Flintskins:

Bad News: Not Afro-American, though as mentioned before, possesses afro potential. This boy be looking White.
Good News: The skin, the school, the first name, all are misleading. Robin's estranged daddy is Heriberto, a Cuban native who no doubt wishes he spent more time with the twin meal tickets and less time enjoying his free health-care and poverty.

For Girls, Gay Men, and Gossip Hounds:

Bad News: Robin has a girlfriend, who is a girl, and his aw shucks demeanor would hint at more time on a red tandem bike than on the red carpet.
Good News: His girlfriend is the fetching combination of hot, talented, rich, AND Asian, and is none other than pro golfer Michelle Wie.(she's on the left, making Cindy Crawford look old and worn). Based on the available evidence, I'd have to say this dude is possibly the most mackadocious in the draft. Good work bro!

For Sideshow Bob and Anderson Varejao:
Bad News: Your exact look has been copied.
Good News: You, Sideshow, did it first, and best. You, Anderson, did it in 3-D. Robin has a ways to go to match the precedent you two great men have set.

For Sixers Fans:

Bad News: It's entirely possible that he could be the pick.
Good News: Red flags be damned, this kid could actually turn out to be a good player. Let's ignore the numerous and admittedly shallow criticisms and look at the facts: He's got size, he's willing to do the grimy and unpleasant work of rebounding and defending, and he's one of the few guys the DR has profiled who isn't a total toss-up in terms of long-term potential. He won't be spectacular, and he may not even touch solid, but in all likelihood he will be consistent in what he gives and reliable in his effort. And that counts. I'm just saying.

For Scenario People:

Worst Case: He's Robin Lopez, the oaf from Stanford who got drafted because his twin brother is a good player. He's Mark Madsen with better hair.
Best Case: Is more athletic and skilled than people know, was overlooked in college due to twin brother who hogged the ball, and will surprise people with his all-around game.

The Big Picture:
Most fans, myself included, prefer a more athletic and exciting player with this pick. But I've recently read opinions of Lopez that have shifted my thinking a bit. His brother Brook projects as the better offensive player, and better player overall, but it's not crazy to assume Robin has most if not all of the gifts his IDENTICAL brother has, and that with more time and hard-work he could also become more than just a space-filler. If the Sixers draft him the city-wide groan will be audible in Cuba, but I'm here to calm the fears and add some positivity. This is how I view Robin Lopez: Lower ceiling, higher floor. Respect the high floor cuz.

On The Phillies:

I'm embarrassed and ashamed at the week that was. You fucks are lucky I'm so distracted by the NBA Draft. Get it together or you got yourselves a chunky letter of discontent heading your way. Slumping fucks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Green Is Black And Was Orange

Nothing gets the DR readership agitated quite like racist innuendo and ethnic self-hatred, so in keeping with the spirit of the past week I present to you Donte Green, who is actually Black, and for a solitary year was also an Orangeman. The good news, for Flintskins, is that he is in no way White, while the bad news, for the rest of us, is that his penchant for jacking up ill-advised shots could land him in a colorblind world of pain known as the coach's doghouse. Let's go behind the pigment and try to figure out The Don.

Name: Donte Green
DOB: 2/21/1988
Height: 6'9
Weight: 220 lbs.
Born: Munich, Germany(hmmmm, this tidbit, offered by wikipedia, calls into question his pure Blackness)
Raised: Baltimore(nevermind what I just wrote)

Sad But Inspiring Real Life Experience:
His mom, a professional basketball player in Europe(that explains Munich), died when Donte was thirteen, leaving him in the trustworthy hands of The City of Baltimore. According to Donte, he still talks with his mom almost daily.

His Game, The Strengths: Pure shooter with great size that could make him an ideal NBA small forward. Is it redundant to call him an exceptional athlete with tremendous upside? I apologize if it is, but trust me, it's hard as nails to come up with creative ways of describing physically gifted players with questionable intensity and inner drive. Donte's size, shot, and offensive versatility leads to a natural comparison to another Baltimore boy gone Orange, Carmelo Anthony.

His Game, The Weaknesses:
For such a big guy Donte sure does spend a lot of time far away from the basket. He loves to shoot three's. A lot. He guns more than O-Dog in Menace II Society and plays defense the way O-Dog hand-knits baby booties.

Will He Be Available?: It will be close but definitely possible. I've read some scouting reports that call him a Top-5 prospect in the entire draft with the potential to be one of the top pros from this draft when all is said and done. Mock drafts have him going between twelve and eighteen. Some have him coming to Philly.

If The Sixers Draft Him: Another versatile athlete who can shoot is never a bad thing, and I'll be happy simply because some pimply-faced geek called him a Top-5 prospect. If they take him instead of choosing a similarly talented prospect with more size I will be conflicted.

The Big Picture:
One glaring weakness The Sixers have is three-point shooting. If Donte Green is there at sixteen it would make sense to take a chance on him, considering what he does best is shoot the ball. If they could somehow find a way to draft him and Marreese Speights they would be adding eight new E's to the roster. Which, to me, would be excellent.

One More Thing: In an effort to stay focused on the NBA Draft I will keep it moving in basketball directions for the next week. In no way am I ignoring the DR readers, who are chomping at the bit for coverage more political, racial, and of questionably age. I'll be thrilled to jump back into the fray at the right time, to raise issues of critical importance, and answer questions of utmost urgency. Questions such as where exactly was DVDubs on election day 2004, and was his geographical location and outfit solely responsible for Flintskins decision to never vote again? The public demands answers, and we at The DR promise to do our best to provide them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Love Below

I had so many ideas about this profile of Kevin Love. When you're served up a husky Honky with throwback skills and a nasty demeanor, packaged perfectly with a chin-strap beard and a name like Kevin Love, ideas should not be the problem. The real problem is that I can't seem to find a way of even pretending he will last past the tenth pick at the latest. There's no way the Sixers can draft him without trading up, and I'm just not ready to touch on trade possibilities yet.

Maybe my fascination with K-Love is based on weird racial naivete; maybe his skills and wide frame will translate into nothing more than a mediocre professional career. It is possible I'm simply blinded by the light of his name. Whatever the case, I'm convinced he would be a great fit and a great player in Philly, and since I don't see it happening I will save us all the time and simply move on. Two paragraphs later.

Moving on, let's check out another big guy with a tremendous name who's not a lottery lock: The Ace of Speights, Marreese Speights.

Why I Want Him:
Marreese Speights makes sense with this pick for several reasons. His first name, aside from being a bastardized second cousin to Maurice, as in Maurice Cheeks, is also a succinct meshing of Merrill Reese, the legendary Eagles announcer. Tailgate for a few hours in January, drink your body weight in cheap beer, start saying Merrill Reese as often as possible and presto! A newer, greater name appears.

Why I Fear Him:
A theme has arisen in this, and frankly every draft: the talent is there, but is the heart? Marreese has all the tools to be a great player in the league: he's athletic, with soft hands, quick feet, a nice touch, and good size. But is his heart filled with jelly or cold hard steel? We all support love and peace in the world, at least I think we do, but when it comes to athletes in this city we need guys who would
sooner destroy a children's hospital than visit it if it interfered with his pursuit of victory.

So it's simple:
if Marreese keeps his weight down and his elbows up, he will be a welcome addition to the Sixers. If not he will get drafted and be the first or second big man off the bench for his career, playing twenty minutes a night in between disgusting heroics at the buffet.

Final Verdict: My enthusiasm for this guy is actually very high. Word on him is that he's in great shape and playing serious ball in the pre-draft camps. He's what Philly needs, a power forward who hopefully, eventually, can score and rebound and add some toughness inside. He might be gone by sixteen but it's very possible he'll still be there. So, come draft night, listen carefully when it's the Sixers turn, and you might think, just for a second, that they drafted an old white man with the golden voice of a football spazz.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mystery McGee

Javale McGee has the size and pedigree to be an NBA player. The bigger questions surround his skill, strength, and intestinal fortitude. A legitimate seven-footer, Mr. McGee is projected as a first-rounder with nice potential, but his value appears to be dropping day by day. It looks like he will be available when the Sixers pick. Will JaVale be Philly-bound?

Name: JaVale McGee
DOB: 1/19/1988
Height: 7ft.
Weight: 237 lbs.
Skin: Darker than mine, lighter than Big Firm

What He Offers: Great name, great size.....did I already say great name? McGee is intriguing because he is big and has some nice raw skills. He moves well and has a nice post-up game, along with athleticism and ball-handling ability rare for a big man. He's the son of Pam McGee, a former USC star and WNBA player, so if drafted by Philly look for an exceedingly tall Black woman at the Wachovia Center next year.

Question Marks: Is he strong enough to play inside in the NBA? Can he beat his own mother in one-on-one? I'm more concerned about the second question than the first.

Will He Be There?:
All signs point to yes. His workouts have been less than spectacular and the Sixers will certainly have the chance to nab him if they choose.

If The Sixers Draft Him: I will be cautiously optimistic. When it comes to big guys I prefer nasty to natural. Reggie Evans, for example, has very little natural ability, isn't that big, and has fewer skills than K-Fed, yet Uncle Reg makes himself known due to his all-out relentlessness. If JaVale has some fight in him, he could be a good player. It's unclear whether or not he's willing to be nasty as he aughta be.

Big Picture: JaVale McGee may prosper in the NBA. It may be with the Sixers. But at this point, as a proponent of taking the best available player, I would be underwhelmed with this choice. I think there are more talented players, and some with equal size, as Mystery McGee.

Free Willie: The Willie Randolph era ended with all the dysfunction I've come to expect from the New York Mess. A quick word to Willie: be thankful you got canned now, before the All-Star break, in time to enjoy the summer with your family, far away from the pressure and pain of New York City. You got a bit of a raw deal, and I'll be sad to see you go, because as long as you remained manager of the Mess my Phillies were assured the upper hand. Go now Willie, you are free, free to roam the earth without ever having to wonder which crappy reliever will have to face Pat Burrell at the end of a close game.

Draft Note: Chase Budinger decided to stay in school rather than stay in the draft. This means I will no longer be writing about his stankin-ass.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mama There Goes that Man Again

The African Bull tells me I can't dish on Boston anymore. That it's, as he put it, "passe." Not unwarranted, as one of our esteemed editors contends, but perhaps not worth my valuable time. At the very least, I respect the African Bull. One, because he is my brother. Two, because he is a Dr. And finally, because he in all likelihood constitutes one-third of our regular non-editor readership. And who am I to not at least consider the preferences of my audience.

Here I sit. The Lakers are down by 24 points at halftime, and KG looks unstoppable. The Lakers look helpless. The one thought running through my mind? MJ would never go out like this. Neva eva eva eva eva. Comparing Kobe to Jordan is like comparing cheesesteaks to a steak n cheese; Mayor Goode to Mayor Rizzo; Rizzo's in Glenside to Lazaros. Simply put, KOBE IS A POUTY LITTLE BABY - a terrible teammate with miserable body language when losing, chronic fake sincerity, and a tiny penis.

So with basketball behind us, I feel compelled to at least discuss something new, something fresh, something never before even mentioned on this website: GOLF.

I sat down and watched most of Sunday's U.S. Open and most of Monday's playoff. Long story short, the inevitable happened and Tiger took home the trophy. That half asian, half black man is a force, to say the least. But domination aside, he annoys me. A lot. He has absolutely NO personality. I dare you to find me a more stoic black athlete. Sure, it's golf, his serious demeanor is appropriate to some degree. But would it kill him to smile? Would it kill him to acknowledge his competition, engage in some playful exchanges, unleash his hatred of the more typical white country club member? I appreciate what you're doing, Tiger, I do. I can't imagine doing ANYTHING with that much composure. I would say his veins are filled with ice water, but I'm thinking they are filled with something even more powerful. And his wifey is undeniably fine. So I applaud you politely, though certainly only after you swing.

As for Rocco, you were an inspiration for two days. And now you will fade into oblivion, more likely to be seen on the Walnut Lane Golf Course then at another U.S. Open playoff. He has anything but a par 5 on the 18th and a par 4 on the first playoff hole and he kisses the cup. Instead, he will wear his "peace" sign belt buckle somewhere away from the spotlight from here on out.

Some observations about other golfers: Ernie Els is the biggest S. African white man on earth. He looks like he could peel trees. Mickelson seemed all too content shooting a Big Firm-like 9 on one hole. And everyone should be forced to dress like Payne Stewart.

The golf broadcast is something to behold too. What I don't get and I'm not sure I will ever get is why the broadcasters who are in an enclosed studio overlooking a green with no one on it have to whisper when describing what is happening 1/2 a mile away. Someone enlighten me. I also won't ever be able to embrace golf talk. Dog legs, lips, up and down yada yada yada...alls I know is that it's bad to be in the sand, worse to be in the deep rough, and downright unfortunate to be in the drink.

The lead commentator, Johnny Miller, spends the better part of the day absolutely SHITTING on everyone. The man questions every decision, every result, and even the fashion judgment of these athletes. It's almost comical, even if tiresome. That's all I have to say on that matter.

So, my people, we turn away from basketball in these remaining summer months. Great things await us. Great things. Let's pause, collect our thoughts, and celebrate finally putting to rest our concern for Boston or Los Angeles. If anything these playoffs have taught me that rooting for something to happen makes it not happen. Not a single solitary series went as I had hoped. So I'm going to stop rooting against teams and starting rooting for my teams...until my teams are out of it and I have to root against other teams. But alas, I plot forward, for you African Bull, for you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dissension in the Ranks

In recent weeks, I have sat idly by and viewed my colleagues dissect the NBA playoffs and their progression to the ongoing NBA Finals. I will be the first to concede that these fellows are far more basketball savvy than I, and therefore figured there was little I could do to add to the conversation. Sure, I had my own opinions, but frankly, I’m a football and baseball man (although you may not know that by my post frequency in the past quarter of a year or so….), so it only seemed right to leave it to the ‘experts.’ However, Big Firm’s post yesterday awakened my inner Joe, which is to say my inner contrariness, and I’m going to take this moment to finally say what I’ve been thinking and keeping to myself until now: Fuck Boston? No, sir, fuck you.

What has happened to all of you?? If it was Boston versus just about any other team BUT the Lakers (okay, the Spurs too, fuck a Manu Ginobili), I would fight to be behind the wheel of the Fuck Boston bandwagon, but in this case I’m slashing the tires, filling the gas tank with sugar and putting a banana in the tailpipe (no homo). So here’s the part where I loudly proclaim, FUCK L.A. My reasons are as follows:

- 2001 NBA Finals. Masochism is not my deal, so I don’t feel the need to elaborate on this one. The other guys’ whose names are on the right side of this page have somehow found a way to excuse it, I can’t.

- Kobe. Do I really need to expand on this one either? And contrary to Naka’s claims that he is not the next MJ, I counter that with he’s no Jordan, but he does have the type of sexually deviant tendencies that may prove to have him succeed that other MJ. I’m just sayin….

- Pau Gasol. Listen, I don’t give two shits if the guy can play, but look at him. It’s just not right to exploit retarded people.

- Phil Jackson. You know what, Kobe catches the most hate, and that may be just, but as far as I’m concerned, FUCK THIS GUY the most. Fuck his Buddhism (or whatever it is), fuck his triangle offense, fuck his soul patch and fuck his nine rings (and that’s just as a coach). He’s not getting a tenth on my watch.

I know it’s easy to hate Boston, really, I do. But ask yourselves, why do you really hate the Celtics? What have KG, Pierced, Jesus Shuttlesworth and, uh, those other guys whose names escape me ever done to you? Rightfully, you hate the Patriots, you hate the Red Sox, you especially hate the fans of those two teams, and it’s very true that many of those bottom feeders are also Celtics fans. You worry that you will never hear the end of it if the Celtics win (although that’s really your own damned faults for associating with people from Boston), considering that the Red Sox are the current world champions, and especially that the Patriots not only beat the Eagles in our ONE super bowl appearance of my cognizant life, but those cheating bastards may very well add another ring to the collection in the near future. You aren’t wrong for letting this concern you. However, what have the Celtics really done to upset the balance of the universe? Is it possible that you’re more upset at the Sixers front office for not making moves like that in any of our offseasons? Besides, Paul Pierce rolling through Beantown with a championship ring increases his already high chances of being stabbed by a third rate rapper's third rate entourage again at least tenfold. How can you hate that?

Moving on, the Phillies begin a three game stint against the aforementioned Red Sox today, returning from a 5-4 road trip that really should have been a 7-2 trip, for who we can thank Tom “Alfonseca-lite” Gordon. I’m going to be easy on him for now, as he has been pitching extremely well prior to these past few games. Just be ready to change the channel if he faces the heart of the Red Sox lineup in a tied ninth inning. Mercifully, Brett “the shit man” Myers will not be getting a chance to have his ERA doubled by the Sox, and Ryan Howthefuckishethirdintheleagueinrbiswhenhecanthitforshitanymoreard will have a chance to audition to be the Sox DH in 2010.

The chances of a sweep are low on both sides, but the Phils should benefit from the removal of the DH for Boston, and unlike AL pitchers, our pitchers can actually hit. These might be the best two teams in baseball right now (the Cubs can shove their better record somewhere very uncomfortable) and could very possibly be a preview for the fall classic. So, I’m doing something wicked crazy and predicting the Phils are going to take two of three. My reasoning? Simple: Fuck Boston.

Sky is High, So is Joe's Stock

Joe Alexander has size, amazing hops, and a nice jump shot. Joe Alexander is also as White as an episode of Seinfeld. The kid is going to get drafted, and drafted high.

Name: Joe Alexander
DOB: 12/26/86
Height: 6'8
Weight: 220 lbs.

Taiwan(Parents worked for Nestle)
Raised: Taiwan, Beijing, Mt. Airy, MD. I'm liking this kid more and more.

What he does well: Superior athlete who can score inside and outside. Nice touch on his jumpshot, good instincts, hard worker, still improving in all areas of the game. Fluent in Mandarin. Lots of Chinese friends. Can grow a solid goatee. Dunks a lot.

Needs To Work On:
Doesn't have a great handle, inconsistent three-point shooter, and played for Bob Huggins at West Virginia, so needs a good lawyer to deflect attention from the inevitable NCAA investigation into his receiving gifts and cash as an amateur.

Where will He Go?: Hard to say, but my contacts in the industry say his draft stock has been rising for weeks. It looks certain he will be gone by sixteen, before the Sixers pick, and he could be a perfect fit for either Golden State(#14) or Phoenix(#15), teams that push the ball up and down and use athletic scorers well.

If The Sixers Draft Him:
I will be ecstatic. Do they need another slasher/small forward type player? No, that's really the last thing they need, but I love this kid's potential, his unofficial Asian status, and the idea of him and Jason Smith joining forces and becoming the most athletic set of Whites in the league.

Nickname Potential: I'm told he already answers to "Vanilla Sky", which was a terrible movie starring terrible Tom Cruise, but it hints at his ability to dunk on mofo's. Still, there is room for growth. As I just said, team him with another athletic White guy with innocuous name and watch the nicknames sprout. AND, if we somehow sign Josh Smith away from Atlanta, that would give us three ridiculous dudes with names starting with J that can all fly. Nickname city.

Final Verdict: Probably not going to last to sixteen, but if he's available when the Sixers draft they very well might snatch him up. Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Carney, Lou Will, Jason Smith, Sammy D, and Joe Alexander would be a one-team traveling freak show of athleticism.

On Boston: With respect to Big Firm's Boston peoples, I just have to say: shut your mouth, enjoy this golden age of Boston sports, and please go away. Is it not enough that you are about to have another title in another sport, that fake Red Sox fans have infested the nation like millions of locusts, that the biggest writer on the biggest sports website in the world is a Boston fan and therefore writes about EVERY Boston team ALL year, but now we're supposed to root for them too, in some sort of solidarity against Kobe? Chiggity check yoself sonny. Clearly this topic deserves more attention, but for now I will just say that Boston sports is a one city Axis of Evil comprised of elements of The Deathstar, Bubonic Plague, American Idol, Scientology, Cancer, and Rush Limbaugh. And the sooner this evil scourge is destroyed the better.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Rage of Roid

With my most sincere apologies to Chief Naka, who is blessing us with daily insight into the upcoming competition for the seventh man position on our beloved sixers, I must be heard on this matter and interrupt his flow. See normally I set aside at least an hour to collect my thoughts and indulge the greater public in some worthless and uninteresting train of thought that has leaked into my meandering mind over the last few days. But on this Father's Day, a quick look at the Phillies score and the immediacy of my post was impossible to deny. I am filled with rage. The rage usually accompanied by bacne and miniature testicles.

I'm perturbed. Perturbed with an overweight, angry, poorly groomed bald man. He huffs, he puffs, he beats his wife. But one thing he does NOT do is let up fewer than 6 runs when he steps to the hill as a starting pitcher. To you, Brett Myers, I ask: WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR GOD FORSAKEN PROBLEM? The Phils are primed and ready for a big run through October. Uncle Charlie did the unthinkable and made you the opening day starter because he knew your feeble mind couldn't take the thought of being anything less than the center of attention. And how do you repay our confused yet admired leader? You overeat. You sweat like a pig. And worst of all, you appear to have stopped taking steroids. Sure sure, steroids are bad. That's what they keep telling us. But I'm not buying it. I'm willing to risk you getting suspended down the road for a few victories right now. You got the juice now, man! Do what we want you to do and inject that shit into your backside and lets move forward.

You never were a physical specimen of any note. When we think steroids, we usually think of this. Yet in my mind, there is no alternative explanation for your inability to throw 90mph anymore. Your fire is gone. Your velocity has deserted you. Your biggest contribution to our team at this stage is making us appreciate Cole Hamels that much more since he pitches the day after you. WE NEED YOU. Show some heart, dig deep, stop making me so angry.

On an unrelated note, for all my hating, Ryan Howard miraculously leads the league in RBIs over the last month or so (something like 35 including today's game over that period). Here is a guy who is hitting .215, yet he is setting the standard in what is perhaps the most important baseball statistic out there. How does one explain this phenomenon? Well there are a few explanations that come to mind. For one, he hits behind productive hitters who are constantly on base. Secondly, he hits home runs in games that are, ultimately, already over. And lastly, he is Cecil Fielder. I don't want to believe that Howard has a future of hitting no higher than .250. But if he is going to lead the league in RBIs and homers, perhaps I should accept him for who he is.

And finally, I want to comment on a moment of self-reflection forced upon me late last night. I received an email from a close friend, regrettably born in the Boston area. He had stumbled upon the DR and was disappointed to read that its editors are proudly displaying their hatred for Boston and actually rooting in favor of Kobe and the Lakers. He reminded me that the Lakers are a putrid bunch. And he questioned our reasoning and disdain for all things New England. It had me wondering: Big Firm, are you simply blinded by your own jealousy? Are you that miserable of a person that you can not swallow the delight of your close friends, merely because they win championships and you celebrate simple accomplishments like playoff births and single game Round One victories? Wherein lies this hatred? Well it got me thinking. And when I think, I can't sleep. So there I was, toiling in my own confusion last night...for all of 3 minutes. After three minutes I realized the following: I am jealous - in fact I am fiercely jealous. I am resentful, and I am bitter. But most importantly, I am a proud Philadelphian with stubborn resolve to be the most sour pickle this side of a Native American reservation. So resigned, I say two simple words: Fuck Boston. Though this time I really mean it.


One of the biggest prospects in this years draft, both is size and potential, is 7Ft. manchild DeAndre Jordan. Entering the draft after only one year in college, Jordan will most likely be gone before the Sixers pick, due to his size and formidable physical skills. Here's a quick look at DeAndre, the player, the person, the piece of meat.

Name: Hyland DeAndre Jordan
DOB: 7/21/88
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Very very big.

What he does well: Runs and jumps. Dunks with power. Ummm, that's about it.

What he needs to get better at: The game of basketball, specifically catching, shooting, passing, rebounding, and defending the ball. He also sounds like a typical eighteen year old, meaning he's a big huge sensitive baby who's not ready to deal with the harsh instruction, failure, demanding coaches and teammates, and overall grind of the NBA lifestyle.

The Big Picture: Anyone who is 7ft., coordinated, with two working hands, feet, and at least one functioning eye, will get drafted. What makes DeAndre so tantalizing is his athleticism, and his age. Being so young and physically precocious leaves open the possibility that he can one day match his natural size with a skill set that would make him a dominant force in the league. He is a classic upside pick. Should he tap even some of the potential scouts think he has, he could be a top ten center in the league, if not better.

Nickname potential: Huge. Another big area of potential for him. DeAndre The Giant instantly comes to mind, and the connection to the Jordan name could act as an endless well of marketing options.

Where he will go: Likely in the top ten, lasting maybe to twelve or thirteen. The Nets have recently made a habit of drafting big projects in the first round, and Indiana, picking eleventh, could take Jordan as a future replacement for Jermaine O'Neal.

If The Sixers pick him:
I would be thrilled, because there's nothing that gets me more worked up on draft day than limitless upside that hasn't had a chance to be proven completely burdened by limits yet. I'm serious. As I explained earlier, with a pick like this, you take a chance on a guy who maybe one day will become something special, and DeAndre Jordan is the epitome of this. It's also a huge moment when a guy who's supposed to go higher falls a few slots and your team gets him. Even if he ends up stinking, the pick will always be qualified by the fact that he wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. Win win. Well, if he ends up stinking I guess it's more of a win lose. Whatever.

His future as a Sixer: I'll end with a simple statement. It may scare some Sixers fans, but it fills me with the asinine enthusiasm of that cheerleader who broke her body and yet continued her cheers as the medics carted her off. That statement can be boiled down to two words: Dalembert's Apprentice. DeAndre and DaLembert together? DeCent.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

The Celtics now hold a formidable three-games-to-one lead over the Lakers. I only mention this because it's worth noting how Kobe Bryant, slurped like a pudding pop by the evil media for weeks, has played like SHIT. Next MJ my ass. I could enjoy this development more if it wasn't directly connected to Boston winning a title, which is about as fun as sticking a pudding pop up my own ass. Premature slurping is obnoxious and lazy, and whoever does it should be held accountable for their lameness.

Let's move on to the NBA Draft, where I have plenty of my own obnoxious and lazy slurping to do. The Sixers approach the draft with two clear needs: 1)a big man who can score in the post and rebound. 2) A scoring guard who can shoot from the outside.

Choosing at sixteen(or anywhere in the first round) is a tricky balance of picking for need and simply picking the best player available. Passing on the best player or athlete and picking a player who fills a more defined need sounds logical but can result in deciding Michael Jordan doesn't fit into your system as well as Sam Bowie. Whoops. However, simply picking a tantalizing prospect for the hell of it is also dangerous. One word: Darko.

What's great about a mid-first round pick is that the stakes aren't as high, nor are the expectations. Fumbling away a Top Five pick is disastrous, whereas screwing up the sixteenth pick is disappointing but not actually surprising. Would I rather the Sixers have the #1 pick? Of course. Do I think they can find a diamond in the rough at sixteen, polish him up, and have him shine light on the world? Of course. Stefansky will make it happen. Slurp.

It comes down to this: you have to choose a player with the right combination of skill, athleticism, intensity, and heart. A lot of this is scouting. Some is foresight. Luck is paramount. And on draft day, nobody really knows anything, which is why a guy like me loves it so much.

Here then, is a list of players in this years draft who I think are possible Sixer picks. True, many of these names will be gone by sixteen, and some may be long gone. Also true, I've never seen any of them play in person and can offer only recycled opinion based on second-hand knowledge, the best kind of knowledge. And yes, if the Sixers happen to pick any of these guys I will instantly become unbearably smug and self-satisfied at my own dumb luck.

Who Might They Pick?:
1)DeAndre Jordan
2)Joe Alexander
3)JaVale McGee
4)Marreese Speights
5)Kevin Love
6)Chase Budinger
7)Donte Green
8)Robin Lopez
9)Darrell Arthur
10)JJ Hickson
11)Kosta Koufos
12)Nicolas Batum

Twelve players you say? That's a lot, no? In fact, so many that if they don't pick one of them I would have to be considered a fucking moron. Well there's a reason these things are often called mock drafts, and that's because they are a mockery of reason and science. So buckle up and hold on as each one of these potential Sixer stars will get love and affection from me over the next two weeks, in the form of short and mostly copied profiles.

PS- Congrats to Willa from Phila. A lottery pick in any draft. Go get 'em girl.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is It Drafty in Here?

Heat so abusive it makes old people die and fat people wish they were dead. Three cookouts on every block. Girls walking around in dental floss shorts and silly string tops. The NBA Draft must be near.

Yes, it's time to dive headfirst into the rejuvenating ocean of hope that is the annual draft, an event with so many intangibles it could be mistaken for a White quarterback. The verticals. The wingspans. The upsides. The pinstripes. The NBA Draft has something for everyone, and for the true fan it promises something more: a free upgrade of talent that maybe, just maybe, will unleash a torrent of domination not seen since The Globetrotters attached string to a basketball before shooting free-throws.

The Sixers pick at #16, meaning they are at the mercy of half the teams in the league. There are pros and cons concerning this predicament. While it's always better to have a higher pick since it gives you more players to choose from, it's also true that many GM's in this league are two lobes short of a brain and two nuts short of a set; the misguided picks and lopsided trades that result make for an intelligent man's market, in which an intelligent man can lie, cheat, and steal his way into more talent than should be allowed. When I say lie, cheat, and steal I mean out-think and out-evaluate. And maybe lie. If Ed Stefansky can rouse the intelligent man within, the #16 pick could be a goldmine. If not, it could be Jiri Welsch.

So, for the next fifteen days you can expect draft coverage out the ass. If that sounds gross or unpleasant to you then you are in the wrong place. Coming in the days and weeks ahead will be profiles of numerous potential Sixer picks, trade speculation, excess opinion on both, and maybe a dollop of embarrassing and premature references to Sixer dominance from this draft onward. Especially if we draft K-Love. Let the tailoring begin!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh so freaky, oh so talented

Today I was reminded (in class, and not in real life) that it is perfectly legal to possess obscene material (sigh of relief - Fine Tone); yet it is NOT OK to possess child pornography (sigh of shock and fear - Fine Tone). Couple that with my growing appreciation for cable television and I began thinking back to a regular Saturday morning/early afternoon show, on Channel 6, that continues to mystify and horrify me all at the same time. See there was a time when saturday television was restricted to the hits: TNBC thrillers, like Saved by The Bell and California Dreams; Inside the NBA with Ahmad Rashad and that random swimmer host whose name I can't remember; Baywatch; Bob Ross; and the epic Philadelphia - based genius described below (and no, I don't plan to discuss that other engaging Philadelphia drama, "VISIONS" with my main man, and Juice Goldman look-alike, Vernon Odom). 

The premise: You put a creepy old guy in a tuxedo. You push back creepy old guy's hair with massive amounts of greece. You give him huge dentures and a bright shiny bow tie. You then surround him by toddlers dressed in their Sunday's best who have the unbelievable capacity to tell horrible jokes. What's more, some of these toddlers can even sing terrible songs as well. (I urge you all to embrace the stylistics of young Jared, a young singing talent without question). I'm assuming many were capable of crapping in pizza boxes too. And the cherry on top of it all? He apparently has a sibling with a child, only there's no indication he even knows Barnaby Wittels. Ladies and gentleman, I give you: Uncle Al Alllllllllbert:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008


By now you have heard: Da-wayne Wade is in Charles Barkley's Fav Five. And Charles is a nuisance, calling Dawayne at all hours, interrupting what is very likely an intimate moment b/w said NBA star and his mysterious fat friend. I have chosen to focus on these somewhat comedic, many times over annoying commercials because, well...the Celtics-Lakers Finals is perhaps my own personal hell. Diversion is a necessary antidote to the illness born from Kobe and Boston, generally. Only if Kobe were traded to the Celtics could I possibly hate him more. Let's pray this parade of horribles does not happen, in the name of me not killing him/myself/others. 

But back to commercials. I focus on the 80s (bled into the early 90s) - a time so aptly described by Chief Naka, an era I remember as pleasant and stress-free, when Von Hayes played first base, Steve Bedrosian saved games, and Ron Anderson was a household name.

I begin with the supreme being, the number one pitchman of all time: MJ Himself: And more particularly, MJ and Mickey Ds (leaving Nike, Haines, and god knows what else for another day). Before MJ made it huge, he fueled a little something called, the "McPack." For a whopping $2.29, you could purchase a quarter pounder, a quarter pounder with cheese, OR a Big Mac, with large fries and large coke. What will $2.29 get you today? Two delicious tastykakes. Props to you Sandy Bixby. Then Mike supported the McLean Deluxe, then the McBacon Break.  In no time he was being spotted at the local McDonald's by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Rahad, before finally competing against that great white hype for a Big Mac and fries. Of particular note: Larry Bird's neck/shoulder hair; MJ's incredible shorts/shirt combo. Unbeatable. I want McDonalds. Now. 

Sir Charles. If memory serves me correctly, there is a chance this commercial was filmed at CHA. I don't see Pete Carver anywhere near the camera, though, so I proceed cautiously with that assumption. In maybe the most unlikely commercial of all time, the Chuck Wagon teamed up with Hyundai to promote their new luxury automobile, the Sonata. Any chance he didn't pawn this sucker off and play it in one hand at the tables? Any chance he could fit his rotund backside in it to begin with? And as mentioned last week, Charles swore off flaky white stuff, like flipping the bird in every proud african-american basketball player's face who chooses to leave massive amounts of flaky white stuff in their underarms, quite consciously it would appear. I argue it's highly unlikely that Charles could spell the word "uncivilized," but it is of no matter. I still use Right Guard to this day. Charles had tremendous Nike commercials as well, visiting Mr. Robinson's neighborhood, dominating Godzilla on the low post, and crashing his tiny shorts into the tiny shorts of Buck Williams, Sidney Moncrief, and Moses Malone. You are a fuckin role model, Charles, most directly because of for your gambling habits, crass political views, and uncontrollable temper. I would kill to be in your fave five. 

The greatest rap/ball player combo of all time-  Isiah, Bernard King, Magic, Bird, McHale...and Mark Aguirre: Converse got instantly cooler with this gem. Before Magic had AIDS, he pitched Diet Pepsi, Slice, KFC 7Up. That's right, you read it here: Magic fronted orange soda and fried chicken. Go figure. And he wasn't alone, someone out there in the advertising decided that black athletes love orange soda. Nique jumped on the bandwagon, and no time, orange soda was the official soft drink of the NBA. Even Isiah was sneaking around gankin cans from Patrick Ewing. To you, David Stern, I assert that stereotypes aren't born, they are merely reaffirmed. Then young Shaq went head-to-head against the Dream for...tacos! And if Mickey D's was for MJ and Charles, Magic had KFC on lock, and Hakeem was thinking outside the bun, the Mailman always had his Hardees

What's clear remains that NBA superstars will do anything for a dollar. And that there are many more commercials worthy of our collective appreciation. But alas, I must learn the rules of agency and partnership rather than unearth further proof that Moses Malone practiced throwing up bricks only to pad his rebound stats.

Happy Weekend to All. 

The Eagles: NFL's Witness Protection Program

Will Peterson becomes Will James in 2006
Tra Thomas becomes William Thomas in 2006
Juqua Thomas becomes Juqua Parker in 2008

Goofy coincidence, cultural tradition, or mysterious organizational conspiracy? What in the name of Lew Alcindor is at work here?

At first glance it would appear a simple case of coincidence. Three men, connected by nothing more than the winged helmets they wear, deciding individually to alter their names. Nothing crazy with that, is there?

But hold up, who the hell changes their name? I'll tell you: women who get married, men who join The Nation of Islam, people on the run, or any combination of the three.

I don't think Will, Tra, or Juqua are women, nor do their new names sound anything like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Malcolm X, which leads me to believe that they are Mafia snitches sent to Philadelphia under assumed aliases and given day jobs as football players for the professional team here. Which is a tremendous way to recruit talent.

For all the issues I have with The Eagles, this is one time I support them to the fullest. Keeping government witnesses on the roster would also help explain Andy Reid's press conferences; it's not that he doesn't want to divulge more information about the game and specific plays and players, it's that legally he has his hands tied. This could also be the reason for the teams refusal to aggressively pursue a top wide receiver: for years now they have simply been waiting for all the paperwork to get processed so that Joey Merlino can finally join the team and run the skinny post.

Baseball Notes:

-Jimmy Rollins got benched yesterday for not running out a pop-up that was dropped. Charlie Manual pulled him, they spoke, and everything appears to be kosher. I wouldn't be surprised if JRoll unleashes a torrid hot streak starting now.

-The Phillies selected Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Anthony Gose, Jason Knapp, and Vance Worley in yesterdays MLB draft. Expect to see one, maybe two of these guys pinch running or working 1/3 of an inning by 2014. Compared to the NBA draft the baseball draft is pretty doodoo.

Ahh, The NBA Draft. A lot more on that to come.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things I Have Observed

So this is my first week back at work since my nuptials and subsequent honeymoon. In the two and a half days I have been a working stiff this week I have heard and seen some things that remind me why it is I love this fair city in which we reside.

On To The List:

- No more than 40 minutes ago I spotted an older black gentleman wearing a white and pink horizontally stripped suit with a pink hat. The jacket went about 3 inches below the knee. I tried to snap a pic with my phone, but alas, to no avail. think something like this, but bigger gaudier and with the requisite strips.

- Muffin Tops as far as the eye can see. I'm not sure if it is an east coast thing, big city thing or what? Out west I cannot remember seeing one; today at lunch I saw...well I can't count that high, but you get the idea.

- Yesterday at approximately 8:27am on a westbound El, I saw/heard a man reading the gossip pages of the metro to his(I can only assume) wife over his cell. This act by itself is egregious enough, but at that time of day in an incredibly loud and grating voice? He also looked exactly like this.

My 'Hood, I fucking love it! So far this young week I have seen/been a part of:
- A 13 year old trying to sell me coke and pills
- A young boy being berated by a solider for selling drugs.(it was like scared straight - live)
- A fight between teenage girls in the school yard on my way home from work.
- The neighborhood tranny walking with a cast on one foot and nothing on the other.
Last but not least, there was an article about a burgeoning independent theater in Fishtown on today. One of the comments to the article summed F-town in a nice lil package-

"Maybe if they throw a play about Newport cigarettes and the Eagles the actual residents will come. Nothing says Fishtown more than "Hefeweizen hummus" right?"

Take a Minute(or 10) and Recognize

Hello Suckas. Today's post will be spent revisiting a great moment in Philadelphia sports history. The reasons for a trip down memory lane are simple: most of the city's best moments are in the past, this particular moment is incredible, and some fans under the age of thirty have no idea this ever happened.

Let me begin by providing a modicum of background information, personal and otherwise. I was born in 1980. I was a conscious person capable of memories and interests beyond my blankie and my mommy probably by the age of three or four. By age five I was, by any loose definition of the word, a fan of the Sixers. I considered Julius Erving a superhero, Charles Barkley a hefty hero, and Mo Cheeks a trusted friend. And I HATED the Boston Celtics. I would cry when the Sixers lost. When the Sixers lost to the Celtics I stewed. And brooded. And, of course, cried. In fact I was as much of a fan then, at age five, as I am now, only now I can read, operate a remote control, and choose my bedtime, all of which make sports fanaticism easier and ultimately more debilitating.

My reason for including that information is to point out that any Sixers fan in the early 1980's, no matter how old, despised, detested, and begrudgingly respected the Boston Celtics. And vice-versa. The rivalry was real. It wasn't exaggerated for tv, or conjured for headlines. The players hated each other, the coaches hated each other, the towns hated each other. What on earth could be better?

Let me get to the guts of the flashback before I turn this into a screed on the way things used to be. The Sixers and Celtics, in the spring of 1982, were easily the two best teams in the East, and had been for years. The Sixers had beaten Boston in the 1980 Eastern Conference Finals before losing to LA and rookie Magic Johnson in the Finals. In 1981 The Sixers held a 3-1 lead on Boston, choked it away in spectacular fashion, and sat at home as Boston went on to shitbeat a vastly inferior Houston team in the Finals. By 1982 stakes was high and the pressure on the Sixers was monumental.

Philly again took a three games to one lead. One more win and they would face off against Showtime for the second time in three years. But a blowout loss in Boston was followed by a devastating loss at The Spectrum, which evened the series at three games apiece and sent the city of Philadelphia into a depressive tailspin of epic proportions. From what I've heard and read, the mood following the game six loss was one of abject pessimism impressive even in this town. Nobody believed they could go back to Boston and win game seven. NOBODY. Except maybe my father, one of the only Philly optimists I've ever met.

Blowing a 3-1 lead once is bad. Doing it in consecutive years is traumatic. Suffering it at the hands of your most hated rival? Words cannot describe.

Back to Boston they go for game 7 at The Boston Garden, where Celtic fans parade around in sheets before the game. Presumably they do this to represent the ghosts of Celtic past, but it's not out of the question that many Boston fans were also members of the Klu Klux Klan. In fact this would make sense.

The game begins and The Sixers play tough and smart. They build an early lead and stick together, withstanding several Boston runs. They do the impossible. They beat more than the Celtics. They beat the ghosts, the shame of the previous year, the pressure, and the crushing negativity of their own fans and media.

Several trusted fans of a generation before myself have stated that this win was the sweetest win ever. Sweeter than a year later when they won the title. And I trust them. And I hope any fan of the Sixers, any fan of basketball or sports, can take a few minutes to watch the end of the game and look at several things. First the clip.

Now watch and listen for these things:

1) Our unis are a fucking treasure.

2) Bill Russell only waits :47 into the clip before stumbling through the first of many unintelligible comments.

3) Andrew Toney is gangstafied. At the 3:13 mark of the video watch as he dunks on the fastbreak, pretends to hand the ball to Kevin McHale, then decides it would be funnier and more insulting to slam the ball on the ground and make Ugly Kevin pick it up.

4) At 4:16 the camera briefly shows security sprinting towards what I can say with 99% certainty is a brawl between a rowdy Sixers fan(Steve Solms no doubt) and a dejected Klansman.

5) At about 4:36 the win is assured and the Sixers bench begins to relax and celebrate. I love this part. You can feel the joy, the us-against-the-world satisfaction of the win, and the genuine euphoria of the team and coaches. Watch For Billy Cunningham's dramatic fist pump. He's almost trembling with emotion. It nearly feels quaint in it's earnestness. Try picturing a current NBA bench looking so giddy at the end of a game. Not happening.

6) 7:43. The coup de grace of the video. I gotta put aside any and all bitterness at the Boston fans and give them outrageous respect for this effort. Facing defeat, they begin chanting "Beat LA! Beat LA!", exhorting the Sixers to take care of business in the Finals. This is mind-blowing for so many reasons. It almost deserves it's own post. I will just say that the NBA crowds of today are too busy staring at jumbotrons to have the patience, creativity, or flat-out guts to attempt anything of this quality. Way to go Boston fans. Now please go die.


The Sixers failed to win for the third time in six years in the Finals. After losing to LA in six games they sign Moses Malone, destroy the league in 1982-83, win the title by sweeping the Lakers, get incredibly drunk of the plane home and parade in front of millions of happy people, myself not included, which is a tragic story for another time.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Congrats Obama. Beat McCain! Beat McCain!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One More Arm and Dangerous

I did some thinking today, and this led me to a thought: the Phillies are one quality starting pitcher away from being a juggernaut. One more starter. That's it. As it stands the Phils are arguably the best team in the National League without this missing piece, so this declaration is not exactly a true shocker, ala Lance Bass's homosexuality.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Was Lance? The answer is no, if anything these revelations were long overdue. Let's deal with simple facts, facts in this case represented by my opinion: The Phillies have the best everyday line-up in the league, they also have the best bench, and a killer bullpen to boot. If I wanted to bore you with statistics to back up these proclamations I would, but that would require research, and research requires time, and time is of the essence.

Why is time so important? Because the Phillies might lose tomorrow and my mind could change. But I doubt it. I think I'm right. So here then is the equation I've created to reflect the situation:

#1 Offense + #1 Bench + #1 Bullpen+ 1 more good starter= Huge Parade Down Broad St.

Okay I could be getting ahead of myself a smidge. After all, there are a dozen teams that can say the same thing. Saying it doesn't mean it can be done, or even that it is reasonable to contemplate. If only the Sex and The City movie was free, 12 minutes long, and a single orgy scene between the leading ladies, except the red head jawn and Sarah Jessica Parker, then I would happily go watch it. Real life is not so accommodating.

But Real Life is also taunting me to believe, and no matter who said it, I'm living proof that there is a sucker born every minute. So Mr. Pat Gillick, do me a favor, search every inch of your Hawaiian shirt sleeves for a trick, pull it out, and take us to the promised land.

My enthusiasm can in part be attributed to a need to distract myself from the terribleness that is The NBA Finals. I would rant about it but really, who wants to read 3 more paragraphs filled with conspiracy theories, theoretical violent acts, childish name-calling, and truly pathetic jealousy? Well, if I get the tone right it could be the best post of my life. Oh well it'll have to wait until the right time. Check back this fall if The Red Sox and Patriots win titles.