Saturday, February 28, 2009

Down For the Count

I wonder, do they sell corn pudding in Denver? Does mango juice drip from the Rocky Tops in a little place I call Aspen? Can you get rice djon-djon at the Pepsi Center, pain patate at Coors field, or Calalou at Invesco? Because at this rate, it's only a matter of time before Sammy D, my beloved hero, daily inspiration, and best friend in life, relocates to the Mile High City. A Haitian on skis? It almost seems inevitable we will come to find out.

First you took AI, ripped him from my bosom and wrestled his clutching arms from my broken heart. It feels like just yesterday that the Sixers of old were replaced with the Sixers of new. When the face of the organization changed that cold winter day, I feared I'd never recover. I immediately and openly discussed the option of moving to Denver. How else was I supposed to handle my guy playing for the other team? Low and behold I got over it, realized I was freaking people out, and discovered new ways to keep myself occupied.

But just when I was lifting myself off the mat, getting my wind back, and assuring the ref I was sturdy enough to continue, Denver bites my ear off and I find myself gasping for air, wiping the blood from my nose, and staring up at the arena lights once more. There was a time I was once largely indifferent to Denver, its fans, and its professional athletes. Now my hatred rivals that of Michael Richards. Damn you, Denver, Colorado, damn you.

B Dawk will always be an Eagle; he loves us, and we love him. Never have I been less annoyed by a bonified Jesus freak, and never have I wanted a Zinman fur more in my life. His billboard on 76E always reminded me that well-groomed black man can pull off just about anything when it comes to looking jiggaferred. I will miss those temporary moments of comfort. I will miss the flying tackle, the borderline scary pre-game ritual, and the post NFC Championship (loss) tears. Quite frankly, I'd be lying if I said I understood the way in which NFL contracts are structured, and what drives management decisions. Re-signing B Dawk was a no-brainer. If Brian Dawkins was thirsty, I expected Andy Reid, Jeff Lurie and the rest of the higher ups to collectively respond in their thickest Puerto Rican accent: "B Dawk, I, too, know what it's like to be thirsty. I, too, know what it's like to have a dry mouth." Don't go get the man a cup of water, give him your sympathy and understanding. In other words, don't let this happen. I understand the deal is pretty damn ridiculous, and the Eagles weren't going to match for that long and that much, but I gotta believe Dawk would've stuck around for something respectable. After all, God would frown on making decisions for money alone. And God frowning on B Dawk is like me frowning on a 2 for 1 deal on Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip -- it just ain't gonna happen.

Lucky for another Broncos signee, I am pretty darn certain that Buck can buy weed in Denver, as AI undoubtedly discovered. So for now, I am left with the beautiful, yet tear-jerking image of my favorite Eagle driving a moped through the ice, wind and snow of the Rocky Mountains, and my favorite backup RB's arms wrapped tightly around his waist. Thankfully my Bobby Abreu t-shirt, Duce Staley green away, and Placido Polanco authentic can keep my Dawkins home jersey company in the lonely drawer at the bottom of my dresser. Oh wait, Spillz had the Polanco...once again my jealousy undermines my perception of reality. But you get my point.

So will Sammy be a Denver nugget? We know he loves hockey, but must I begin searching for jobs, homes, massage parlors and cheesesteaks in the Mountain timezone? That possibility is almost too painful to consider.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's that Smell?

Oh wait - it's the putrid funk associated with a basketball team that just shot a combined 33% over its past two games. Watching the second half of yesterday's debacle against the Nugs was like watching a 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' marathon: boring, predictable, and ultimately painfully embarrassing, only there weren't any random Eric Snow appearances to brighten up the scene. Even the crab fries were soggy, as if the Aramark employees were someone channeling the Sixers performance.

About the only bright side was Sammy D's work. Despite battling foul trouble thanks to a series of questionable calls by greasy ref Eli Roe, His Royal Dalembertness managed to score 12 points and grab 10 boards while also blocking 3 shots and keeping up a continuous trash-talking banter with NeNe in a strange and unfathomable Amazonian dialect.

It bodes well for Sammy to start the 2nd half off with a pair of reasonably good games. It bodes poorly for the Sixers to blow a winnable game at home against a good team.

Not to end on a depressing note, I will leave the readership with a link to this inspiring article about Young Thad. And for those of you who hate clicking on hyperlinks, here is a pic of the Bul and Mrs. Bubak at home in Fishtown.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Recession Update

We all heard about the global economy being in a free-for-all, and how we're all going to have to brace for a long recession and how Sammy D's monthly budget for remote control cars is being slashed to $25,000 including the price of D batteries. Lately though the desperate times have called for increasingly desperate measures. Our sources tell us that Marc Zumoff is saving money on tailoring by foregoing pants during games, and that Jason Smith and Thad Young are now going halfs on the surf and turf at the Cadillac Lounge. Here's how some of the other Sixers are weathering the economic downturn:

Louis Williams: Supplementing his salary by doing spots for 1-800-MATTRESS during the LouWill Show on 100.3 The Beat (leave off the last S for SAVINGS!!)

Kareem Rush: Checking brother JaRon out of Promises rehab facility in Hollywood; enrolling him in Norristown AA chapter.

Reggie Evans: Selling oregano to unsuspecting white high school students at Chew & Chelten.

Aaron McKie: Turning in his collection of illegal firearms in return for Forman Mills discount coupons.

Willie Green: Selling mixtapes in front of FYE on Broad Street.

Elton Brand: Borrowing funds from Wayne Enterprises through Rescue Dawn co-star Christian Bale.

Donyell Marshall: Working part-time as short order cook in Khalid El-Amin's seafood restaurant.

Mo Cheeks: Stealing life-sized Jon Runyan cutouts from Chestnut Hill McDonalds for later resale on the black market.

Glory Glory Hallelujah

After 28 years on this earth and 28 anniversaries of coming into this world out of my mothers vagina, I have finally seen the light! Why it took until my 28th birthday to have my eyes opened I do not know, but what I do know is that Monster Jam is the JAM! On BDay numero 28 the wife, Big E and I attended the most American of "sporting events" and it did not disappoint. As you can see from my handy camera work, all of the major groups were represented:



And of course ATV racing.
The clientele was actually way classier than expected. Don't get Bubak wrong here, they were not classy, just classier than expected. They looked less like this, and more like this. I laughed, I cried, I saw in action just how accurate my memories were of the gross Spectrum restrooms, it was the feel good event of the year. On the downside, we did not witness any mutilation or death(s) but there is always next year!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Of Love & Basketball

Valentine's day conveniently fell on NBA All-Star Saturday, and boy am I grateful. Whereas I could be jealous of the happy relationships on display just outside my window, or nauseated by the roses, teddy bears, and hearts adorning the various stores throughout the city, I choose rather to embrace perhaps my first true love, and a companion I sorely need to rediscover: basketball.

Much like losing one's virginity, All-star Saturday can be great, but more likely disappointing. The biggest stars tend not to participate, and traditional entertainment has been replaced by gimmicky nonsense that barely keeps the attention of even the most passionate fans. Yet that being so, I spent my entire weekend, Saturday night included, watching the all-star game festivities. Unfortunately I missed Young Thad put on a near-perfect show in the rookie-sophomore game, but the rest of the weekend provided great opportunity to lie on the couch and indulge in the athleticism of African-Americans, the ugliness of Pau Gasol, and my affection for asian cheerleaders.

While much of Saturday was spent asking myself whether there is even a remote chance that Cheryl Miller hasn't at some point proudly worn a strap-on during the course of her life, the bulk of my time was dedicated to contemplating the various ways in which I would improve NBA All-Star weekend... or at least reduce it's shortcomings.

1) Get rid of the skills competition. As it stands, presumably hungover and quite obviously uninterested young players sluggishly make their way through a most unchallenging course. The Double Dare set would present a more difficult proposition. While the raising of the trophy confirms that many athletes still don't know that antiperspirant comes in a "clear" variety, the competition itself is depressing. While the addition of "GEICO", an intriguing play on the familiar game of "HORSE" was a half-decent idea, it panned out to be uninspired. I'd prefer a game of 21, with 10 players who actually care. You'd have big guys launching threes, little guys going to the hole, and epic fouls. This idea has potential.

2) In watching Michael Rappaport fall over himself repeatedly during the "celebrity" game, I thought to myself, good lord that man has gotten fat since his fine portrayal of a tortured young white man who fell in love with a black woman in one of my all-time favorites, Zebrahead. That and he doesn't even look like the kid I went to high school with anymore. But beyond those deep thoughts, I say replace the likes of TO, Chris Tucker, and Bow Wow with celebrities I care to watch run up and down the court, all the while banning sports bras. And maybe pants too.

3) Have the Budweiser Clydesdales at absolutely every event. Inside. Outside. Everywhere. I was with Steve Solms when he spotted the Clydesdales outside the Spectrum when the Sixers hosted all-star weekend a few years back. Granted, the man apparently has discovered perpetual euphoria, but I'm pretty sure his heart skipped ten to fifteen beats when he saw those, as he put it, majestic animals. And let it be known: he was not alone. I damn near bought a pony the next day.

4) Absolutely prohibit band-aids below the eye. Last I checked, Nelly made this popular 7 or 8 years ago. Last I also checked, he looked stupid then as D-Wade does now. And with your name on the band-aid? Really? We don't know who you are? Come on.

5) Reserve front-court seats to the dunk concert for celebrities, current players, or well-toned females. This would prevent the oversight that obviously contributed to letting the friggin Junkyard Dog and Adonal Foyle sit directly within the camera's view. Hosting a Georgetown probation meeting? Sure, invite Jerome Williams. But not at the most celebrated event of all-star weekend.

6) No matter how drunk, offensive, or otherwise awesome Charles Barkley is in the months leading up to the mid-season spectacular, let the man call the dunk contest, game, and after-party. Reggie Miller, try as he may, brings little to the table.

7) Do not allow Shaq and Kobe to pretend they like one another. What was wrong with the world when those two couldn't stand each other, and Shaq was on the brink of diving the world, as it should be, into the Kobe lovers and the Kobe haters? Absolutely nothing. As I've said many times on these hallowed pages, it's astonishing how popular Kobe is. I mean yeah, he's an ok ballplayer, but my life was way more satisfying when everyone thought he was a putrid human, Shaq included. How predictable must the NBA be? Co-MVPs?! The game itself is already a sham, but this is almost demeaning to the fans, Wilson Chandler style.

8) Make every player who cheated on his wife the night before wear some sort of scarlet letter on their uniform come game-time.

9) Every time you show Tom Chambers, give the man his props.

10) Give one lucky fan a chance to punch Craig Sager.

11) Explain when Shaq got back together with his wife. Just yesterday she was filing for divorce, rumors were consuming every free minute of my day, and my own sense of true love was falling apart. Don't just show them sitting courtside arm-in-arm without telling me what he bought her to make up for what he did wrong. The fans deserve at least this much. Moreover, scratch John Legend and company, as much as I love the man... I want a halftime scrimmage featuring the kids who participate in Shaq's Big Kids Challenge.

12) How bout a team dunk contest, rather than an individual competition? Picture a sort of Harlem Globetrotters routine, players throwing it off the backboard, jumping off trampolines, weaving in and out of each other throwing down monster dunk after monster dunk. Now picture that with Lou Will, Thad, Iggy, & Sammy. The Sixers, hands down, would dominate a team dunk contest. Set it to some music, mix in a little choreography, and voila! more time wasted watching Paul Gasol's greasy, non mouth closing self fail miserably at throwing a behind the back pass off the backboard to his hairy-shouldered countryman. Not that there's anything wrong with, or gross about that.

13) And last but not least, reserve a roster spot for Sammy each year. Sammy is a BORN all-star. The game is about taking questionable shots, using poor judgment, and basically doing everything your everyday coach tells you repeatedly not to do. Imagine Sammy in this context. Now take some time to clean up the area around where your head just exploded.

On a more serious note, I wonder who will be the next Sixer to make the all-star game. In the last decade alone Mike Lieberthal represented the Phils TWICE in the mid-season classic. Vicente Padilla, Paul Byrd, and Ricky Bo ALL can call themselves all-stars. But basketball isn't quite as forgiving. The last Sixer not named Iverson to actually play in an all-star game was Deke, who amazingly started in 2002. Sadly, I'm not overly confident Iggy ever makes that leap. His statistics might be close, but he rarely stands out, and his position in the East is cluttered with some formidable competition. Lou Will needs more minutes, Sammy needs more freedom to roam, Elton Brand's all-star years are behind him, and 'Reese is still a few years removed. But Thad offers hope. Dude is what, twenty? His game has developed far beyond the expectations of the staff - both theirs and ours - and he has that certain swagger, not to mention a smile worthy of any NBA Cares commercial. Something tells me the taste of all-star weekend he relished in the last few days will drive him to playing on Sunday sometime soon.

And in wrapping things up, let's remember that the stimulus bill plays second fiddle to truly important legislative action: recognizing Joe the Lumber's greatness (bottom of second column). GO PHILS!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


A few things I'd like to mention.

The Sixers are fun again. Maybe one day they will be both fun and legit, but until that day I will take solace in the former.

Andre Eyegudahla. I'm going crazy trying to understand and properly slot his potential. In general it's probably best to underestimate him rather than the opposite. When I expect only a solid all-around game devoid of 4th quarter heroics and big offensive numbers I enjoy him all the more. That's when he sneaks up on you and makes game-winning plays.

Some hack named Paul Forrester from named Sammy D as the starting center on his all-disappointment team from this season. Putting aside Mr. Forrester's obvious bigotry towards Haitian-Canadian-Americans, this ridiculous claim calls into question his basketball IQ. Sammy was hindered by the presence of a genuine disappointment, Monsieur Brand, and battled horrific coaching decisions and rotations for months. This is a slam-dunk(no pun intended) case of defamation!! Legal action against Paul Forrester by the DR legal team may be in order.

The NBA trade deadline looms and with it a potential Andre Miller deal. I would bet against it. Still, I did have the thought that Portland might be a good fit. Brandon Roy might be more effective sharing the distributing duties with a veteran point-guard, and Portland has a good roster to trade with. They have three terrible white guys, all with bad contracts, any of whom could be worth taking if any number of young players were included. Players such as Jarred Bayless, Rudy Fernandez, Travis Outlaw, and Nicholas Batum. And Shavlick Randolph!! You heard my right the first time, Shavlick Randolph is apparently still alive and most definitely available.

I watched the Phoenix Suns up close and came away insulted as a fan. They gave up midway through the third quarter and forced an entire arena to watch Goran Dragic play basketball for fifteen minutes. Steve Nash had the look of somebody who is so disconnected you can't tell if they are totally wasted or intensely committed to their own solitude. Then you see them the next day and they have no recollection of anything that happened due to blackout drunkenness. He was lost.

Shaq is old and can't jump anymore. As a basketball fan it was sad to see him miss lay-ups that a few years ago he would have dunked while simultaneously laughing, dancing, and trash talking. Oh well.

Bud Selig should have to apologize everytime another ballplayer gets exposed for using steroids. For instance, when Albert Pujols gets caught it should be Bud, and not Albert, that has to cry in front of reporters and beg for forgiveness.

I don't like A-Rod any more than the next guy, but isn't it clear that EVERYBODY was using fake muscles? Except the '93 Phils. That team was clean and earned every victory fair and square.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Beast from Marreese

Some people (OK, possibly only me) call him the Speights Cowboy. Some call him the gangster of dunks. Some people simply call him Marreese, though not Matt Cord, who continues to mispronounce his name.

One thing is certain: under any name, watching 'Reese unleash an aerial dunkathon on the unsuspecting dome of Amare Stoudemire last night was as satisfying as a Sammy D goaltend slammed into the 5th row, and even the most cynical of Philly fans might be forgiven for inklings of optimism as the Sixies head into the break. A win Wednesday against Memphis would put us 3 games above .500, and within easy striking distance of the 4 or 5 seeds, and with that a legitimate chance at a first round playoff win.

The importance of a playoff berth, and if possible a strong playoff run, will be of great import in deciding what looms as being the Sixers most significant future dilemma. No - it's not figuring out how to get this picture onto the the cover of the next issue of Drive Magazine. And it has nothing to do with the salary cap ramifications of turning Aaron McKie into a player/coach so he can shame LeBron with his ultra-tight beard.

The truly important question facing Sixies management is: what's to be done about Andre "Juice Goldman" Miller?!?!

Here's the scenario, for the uninitiated: Juice is 33 years old. His contract is up after this year. He has stated his preference in the past (though he's been noticeably mum of late) of playing for a winning team. His been instrumental to the Sixers success. And the trading deadline is just one week away.

Your probably on the edge of your seat, wondering about how this precarious situation might turn out. Well, the way I see it, there are three possible scenarios. Here we go, yo:

Scenario One: New York, North Kakalaka & Compton

After secret talks with David Stern's robot bodyguard, Stefanski decides that the Sixers stand little chance of making it out of the first round this year. Citing Juice's desire to play for a winner, and the Sixers need to get something for him before he leaves as a free agent, Eddie swings a trade with a title contender in need of a point guard, bringing in most likely a promising young player, an expiring deal, and perhaps a conditional first or second round pick.

The problem with this scenario is that there aren't many title contenders with the pieces to make a deal work. Cleveland and Boston are set at PG, as are San Antonio, New Orleans, LA and Houston. Orlando just lost Jameer Nelson, but they've already brought in Tyronn Lue as a replacement, and have neither promising young players nor expiring contracts to send us in return.

One possibility might be Detroit, with it's balanced scoring, championship pedigree, and lack of true point guard. A Juice for Rip Hamilton trade works under the cap, and would give the Sixers the shooter that they need. But we would be taking on a big, long-term contract that might screw up our ability to sign Young Thad to an extension down the road. Too risky.

Odds: 15-1

Scenario Two: Gots to Get the Loot So I Can Bring Home the Bacon

The Sixers reach the playoffs, but lose in the first round to Mike Woodson's mustache. Juice gets offered 3 years and 26 million from some other team. After Stefanski equivocates, he jumps ship, having bid a sad goodbye to all the Jews in the courtside seats.

Odds: 5-1

Scenario Three: No Holds Barred, No Time for Move Fakin'

Secret envoys to the Miller camp have yielded positive results. Juice likes playing for the Sixies, and he feels they have potential. Also he shares an agent with... MARREESE SPEIGHTS! After a sweeping Orlando out of the playoffs, and taking the Cavs to 6 games in round 2, Juice sings a 3 year, 22 million deal with huge incentives in the event that Marreese wins the MVP award and doesn't get caught out in any embarrassing late night situations with Jason Smith in the Cadillac Lounge.

Odds: 2-1

Please feel free to weigh in with any other possible scenarios in the comments!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Act II

F. Scott Fitzgerald (or possibly it was Scott Williams) once said that there are no second acts in American life. It’s quite possible he was talking about the ashes of his own once-glorious career, which collapsed when he left the warm comfort of South France (Jordan’s Bulls) to pursue fame and fortune in suburban Baltimore (the Sixers) with a mentally unbalanced wife (Derrick Coleman), ultimately dying at the age of 40 from alcoholism (getting traded to the Bucks). Now, I don’t like to disparage the sage wisdom of one of our greatest writers (and the man who backed up Shawn Bradley), but I would like to point out that we are in the process of witnessing a rare exception to his famous dictum.

I’m talking about the rejuvenation of Samuel Davis Dalembert.

For some, the season-ending surgery to Elton Brand is tragedy writ large; an excuse to wallow in another season of self-pity and a welcome retreat to the familiar cocoon of lottery-watching. But I know I speak for the entire Dalembert Report, and for Samuel Dalembert himself, when I say: count us out!

A week ago, the Dalembert we knew and loved was scarcely recognizable. A half-season of fractured minutes, disparate coaching ideologies, and abortive attempts to integrate his frontcourt partner had rendered Sammy confused and tentative. His playing time was reduced and his style was cramped as Coaches Cheeks and DiLeo sought to find a place for Brand, the Sixers free agent prize. There was even hushed talk amongst some Dalembert cognoscenti that Sammy’s time in Philly could be nearing its end. But with last nights news that Brand would be lost for the season, Sammy was finally free.

Unshackled from his Brandian bonds, the Haitian One unleashed his exuberant brand of basketball mayhem on the unsuspecting Pacers. 18 points and 20 boards later, and the old Sammy D is back, which can only mean great things for the Sixers, and for society at large.

Brand’s injury means the remainder of this campaign will see the Sixies revert to their natural madcap style, getting steals, running the floor, missing free throws and generally treating the court as their own personal Jackson Pollack painting. It means more ‘Reese, more ‘Reg, and more Sammy D. It may mean the playoffs, and more; even Brandless, I still believe we are the 5th best team in the East. Elton Brand can go back to doing what he does best: producing Werner Herzog movies. Maybe next year he will return a changed and healed man, ready to take us to the Promised Land. But for now, let us treat his injury as the benediction it surely is.