Dec 15, 2009

The BCS Is The Best Thing To Happen To College Football. Ever.

To mark my return (or whatever) to this webspace, I'll be doing what bloggers do best: complain about things that bug them to whoever will listen. I've already tackled Brett Favre's return to the NFL, and my disgust over how it is viewed by many, and now, I take a look at the BCS.

National consensus is that the BCS is dumb, it gives us an unworthy champion, and that a playoff is the only logical way to decide a champion. Hell, even Congress has been throwing in their two cents. The argument against a playoff usually boils down to a tradition based argument, that the bowl system is too ingrained in the culture to be challenged or changed.

Both positions are, to be put lightly, bullshit.

The BCS is the natural evolution of the long-held bowl system, a marriage of human opinions (some of which suck badly) and computers (which do pretty good, despite my inherent distrust) (seriously, watch that video, and try to sleep tonight. Slap some basic targeting systems and a minigun on that thing, and good luck kids. Wait, where was I?). What more can you really ask for out of a system? It takes what worked in the past (polling) and utilizes available technology (moreso than baseball) to give the best match up. The best evidence?

Of the 12 games that have crowned a national champ in the BCS era, 6 have involved SEC teams.

Personal bias aside, 5 of those SEC teams won the game (and Alabama is favored by 4.5), and I think the results speak for themselves. People point to years like this, and say this is definitive need for a playoff. Why? How would you decide who gets in and who gets Boise Stated? You're left in the same place, but at the cost of other bowls.

But Daniel, the other bowls don't matter anyway!

Tell that to the UConn team that overcame the heartbreaking death of a teammate to get to play on January 2nd or to Joey Harrington who parlayed one good bowl game into a career that went way too long. These bowls matter to most teams, as the opportunity to be nationally televised is a recruiting boost, allowing a program to be seen by potential recruits all over the country. Sure, there is the occasional team that couldn't care about the game, and mails it in (see Alabama, 2009 Sugar Bowl), but for the majority of teams, these games are paid advertisements, and a good performance matters. Plus, for certain other players who just won't go away, this is a great chance to make an impression on NFL front office people who will decide your fate come Draft Day.

But you know what the best thing about the BCS and the bowl system is? Better than the opportunity to end your season with a win? Better than showing the country (or other countries) your school exists? Better than getting a large contract? It creates more discourse, more arguments, and more passion than anything else in sports. The controversy alone has propelled NCAA Football into that rarefied air, usually reserved for the Shield and nothing else. Even the National Football League (what up Gruden!) has to marvel at college football's ability to capture hearts and minds year round (and if you think the NFL doesn't benefit, you're NUTS). I was debating this point with someone this past summer, and they argued what the whole benefit of the BCS is to the fan, what makes it attractive to those of us who want a definitive answer, what does it offer us?

We were arguing about college football at a wedding in June. What more do you want?

I'm returning to the blog by discussing the weird happenings over the 3 months I've been away. NFL and NCAA Football are done, NBA, you're next.

Dec 8, 2009

Q: How do you bring a reluctant blogger back?

A: The wildest freaking 3 month stretch of sports I have ever seen.

A lot has happened since I claimed I was back with that stupid video (a mistake on multiple levels), both in the world of sport and in my own personal life. I've been branching out, learning new skills, being exposed to new cultures wildly different from my own, and basically attempting to grow as a person. I've rediscovered that inner light that allows me to see the goodness in people around me, and learned to appreciate everyone as a special and unique individual.


I'm still me, and life just got too hectic to type out my awful football picks and spread my own personal beliefs and bias'. Until now. Let's see what we've seen so far:

TheRoommate is originally from Wisconsin. Like any good Wisconsinian (?), he is a die hard Green Bay Packers fan, and his soul was rightfully torn asunder watching BrettFavre beat down his former team on two separate occasions this year (he reconciles this by cheering for Favre to do well, but for the Vikings to lose). Undaunted, and still bleeding Green and Gold, he decided to drive the 10 hours to Tampa Bay to watch his team (presumably) beat up on the then winless Buccaneers. Things did not go as planned. A few terse texts later, TheRoommate was home in time to watch Monday Night Football, and discuss what had happened. During our conversation, I made what I thought was an innocuous observation:

Me: What really sucks, is he came back to the NFL, particularly the Vikings, who are in your division, and who you've been bred to hate JUST to stick it to your team.

TheRoommate: No, no, no. He just joined them because he wants to win. He loves the game, and saw this as the best chance to win another Super Bowl.

Me: (Incredulous) You sound like Chris Berman; he came back to stick it to Ted Thompson and it just so happened that the Vikings are a decent team...he's human and wanted vengeance. Nothing wrong about that.

TheRoommate: Take that back, Brett would never do that to his fans. (Picks up battle axe) TAKE IT BACK!!!

(Heavily edited for length, language, and to add a battle axe)

No matter how badly I screw up around the house, or beat his head in playing Madden, this was far and away the closest we've come to actual physical violence. I thought his Midwestern head was going to explode, so naturally, I belabored the point further. My evidence:

1. On July 16, 2008 (mid-retirement 1), the Packers filed tampering charges against the Vikings, alleging improper communication between BrettFavre and Minnesota offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel. In 'retaliation', the Packers refused to release him, and allow him to sign with a team of his choosing, instead trading him to the third circle of hell, I mean the New York Jets, with penalties in place to punish all parties if Favre was then shipped to Minnesota.

2. BrettFavre retired again on February 15th, 2009, and requested to be released from the Reserve/Retired list less than 3 months later. Allowing him to sign with any other team. Including the one that the Packers did everything to stop him from signing with.

3. Number4 signs with the Vikings on August 18, and starts an NFL game less than a week later. Pretty tough to assimilate a new playbook in less than a week, no matter how familiar you are with the language (Bevel had been his OC in the past). Pretty tough, that is, unless you've been studying the aforementioned playbook for, oh I don't know, A YEAR.

Pretty damning, no?

Well, not to TheRoommate. He deemed me insane, unworthy to continue speaking to, and to sate him, I conceded that I may be wrong. Well, I was lying. There is no freaking way that I was wrong, and the fact that this man went out of his way, so far as to suffer a year as a Jet, just to stick it to someone who had tried to retire him. His competitive nature that people gush over every Sunday? Wouldn't it also drive him not just to prove that he still has 'it', but also to go out of his way to drive a dagger into the bloodless corpse of Ted Thompson?

I think it would.

The rest of the week will be me detailing different crazy things that have happened over the last three months, and my takes on them. NFL, done. NCAA, you're next.

Wait, what...

Rick Reilly has gone stark raving mad...

No, really. He's freaking lost it.

Sep 27, 2009

I'm Still Alive!!!

And this is pretty freaking cool

Aug 27, 2009

First Fantasy Draft

People have been bugging me, asking why I don't do anything fantasy related on this page, and the reason is simple, really: No one reads this damn thing but my friends, and I play fantasy football with my friends, so what benefit would there be in showing my hand? But, after problems with the ESPN servers, chat conversations about what awful people we all were, and a tentative agreement to do this next year in Vegas, my first fantasy draft of the year is finally over.

Now, I know you don't care about this gentle reader, but you should know that I care. Know that I care so much that my overreactions to small things regarding the league will undoubtedly be humorous for you, so maybe you should care, but only about how much I care. Here is my squad after applying a last second trade of picks. Don 't you care a little?

QB: Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub

RB: LaDanian Tomlinson, Derrick Ward, Willie Parker, Felix Jones, Le'Ron McClain, Jerious Norwood

WR: Randy Moss, Patrick Crayton, Kevin Walter

TE: Tony Gonzalez, Randy McMichael

D/ST: Patriots

K: Who cares?

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how I did having the 8 pick in a 10 team league. And that was before I heard Roy Williams broke his collarbone, making Crayton more valuable...someone has to catch for Romo...

Well, there's the draft recap for wholly unoriginal "Team Palmer".

Got any better names? Nez, I'm looking at you.

Aug 25, 2009

Preseason Power Poll Part 2

Here comes another one, just like the other one...

15. Chicago - Happy now? Jay Cutler, you left behind Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and thin air for Devin Hester (a returner), Soldier Field (a snowy, windy mess) and a receiving corps from the island of misfit toys. John Clayton said that he is the most celebrated quarterback to step under center since a certain Sid Luckman (CU! Anybody? Anybody?) An elite quarterback can make any weapons that already exist infinitely more dangerous than they would be in mediocre hands, and no matter what you think about the exit from the Broncos, Cutler is nothing short of elite.

14. Miami - Well, it was cute while it lasted. Now that the Wildcat (Wildhog, Wild-sea mammal, whatever) has proliferated the world of the shield, what does Miami really do better than the teams they are going to be playing on Sundays? An above average defense, sure, but not nearly as dominant as other teams that rely on the 'protect the ball' offense. Then again, it's never smart to bet against Parcells. And the lesson here, as always, is that I know nothing about nothing.

13. Houston - I don't feel good about that at all. I mean, I like Matt Schaub, I LOVE Andre Johnson, and Steve Slaton makes me feel very uneasy. The offense looked great down the stretch...but there's always a smoke and mirrors team that looks good late, and falls on their faces early. Plus, with the Colts and Titans in the division, and getting better every second, can the upstarts in Texas finally make some noise in the AFC South? My rankings would say so, my head says something completely different. This was an 8-8 team last year! They gave up 394 points last year, the most in the division, and the defense didn't get any better! Why the hell are they this high? What is wrong with me?

12. San Diego - LDT, it's show time. Since the playoffs two years ago, the alleged best player in the game has been MIA to say the least. And this could be the last hurrah for this group...and that includes Norv. On the upside, a lot of players in contract years means a lot of players going out to earn that extra money. On the downside, there isn't a great chance that all these players can come back...or that bringing them back would even be a good idea. The passing game was AMAZING last year, the defense is welcoming back Shawne Merriman, the only question is if LDT can remind us why he was once upon a time a decent running back. Or if he'll pull Shaun Alexander on us. Remember him? Me neither.

11. Dallas - Here you go Tony, you got your wish. Ran your most talented (and troublesome) player out of town, and now the team is truly yours. What are you going to do with it? Jerry Jones cast his lot with you, and the best thing he can do is to take the ball out of your hands. The only guarantee that has made itself known during the Romo years is that he will do (at least) two things in the second half to lose your team the game. EVERY TIME. With three super talented running backs behind him, why wouldn't the Cowboys just run, run, run? Oh what's that? Jerry Jones has a new, super-expensive building to fill in a down economy? Nevermind.

10. Atlanta - Pat Riley has often written about the disease of more; once you start winning, everyone wants more. More credit, more of the spotlight, more exposure. And in this corner...Roddy White, demanding more money. Gee, thanks Roddy. Like I needed another reason to hate Pat Riley. The line got better on both sides of the ball. The defense (which got by on smoke and mirrors last year) got better top to bottom. The offense added a first ballot Hall of Famer at tight end. Mr. White finally showed up and has looked great. There is no reason this team should slip from the heights of last year...except the universe hates to see me happy, the franchise has never put back to back winning seasons together, the historic sophomore slump, and of course, the disease of more.

9. Minnesota - Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Too bad Bret Favre had to come back, and ruin my plans for betting against Tevaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels all season. I have no pity for the Vikings if this doesn't work, because Favre is all they have, and if he's bad, they will have been left with a bare cupboard...except for the best running back in the NFL, the Williams boys stuffing the run, and a devastating pass rush. The only time I'll feel sorry for the Vikings is when they replay the 1998 NFL Title game on television. Just kidding.

8. Indianapolis - Tony Dungy is gone. He's off chastising Michael Vick for drinking girly drinks or something, and he isn't walking through that door. Although, two other faces are walking back through; with the NFL's decision to allow two former staffers to come back to the franchise as 'consultants' (read: they are keeping their jobs and grooming replacements. And getting paid. That's really important) look for not too much drop off with the Colts. Bill Polian and Peyton Manning are still there helming the ship, and having cut ties with Marvin Harrison, this is a franchise ready to move forward. Even with this new coach at the helm. Ole-what's-his-name.

7. Baltimore - Sophomore slump? Won't even matter. Sure, history has taught us that the only players that make a huge jump in their second season is wide receivers (and Adrian Peterson), but the strength of the organization around Flacco won't let it bring them down. All of a sudden last year, B'More was the well-oiled machine of years past; all the running backs had fire, Ray Lewis was looking like it was 2003, and Ed Reed remained the best safety in football (I'm STARING at you Jacqueline Tatum. Cut your hair). If they can survive the wars with the Steel City, these guys should roll.

6. Arizona - They were in the Super Bowl last year. Yup. That's the only reason they are this high. This is a team that is hitching it's star to Kurt Warner, is bringing back an unhappy Anquan Boldin, and lost their offensive coordinator. But, they've still got that young secondary, and the grinningest player ever, Larry Fitzgerald. You know what? His smile makes me forget about the numerous misgivings I have about this team. They think Beanie Wells is the back of the future? They didn't actually improve an offensive line that looked decent to bad all year until the playoffs? The team openly gave up for way too many weeks down the stretch? Who cares!

5. Tennessee - No more Albert Haynesworth? No problem. Sure, the automatic double team is gone, and so is a lot of the freedom that he created for the linebacking corps that have not-so-quietly gotten old, but there is one reason that Tennessee will continue to be a force in the league next year. Three little syllables. Chris. John. Son. And the fact that they get to play the NFC West featuring such run stuffing defenses such as San Francisco, St. Louis and Seattle. In other words? Kerry “Sure, I'd love another” Collins won't do THAT MUCH damage under center. (Isn't it creepy how irrelevant the four principles in the greatest national title game ever have become? Vince is riding pine here, alongside LenDale White, while Reggie Bush is a situational back in New Orleans, and Matt Leinart is cashing checks in Arizona)

4. Giants - Are they good? Are they bad? Certain times last year, the offense looked anemic, and other times, they came out like gangbusters. It certainly doesn't help their case that the last time we saw them, Eli Manning was literally killing his team by losing the ability to throw the football in the wind last playoffs. Even through his inconsistencies, that crushing pass rush kept a lot of games close. That defense is one of the strongest in the NFL (they had 12 wins last year!), but can this offense stay alive when the entire fan base (and front office) is waiting for Eli to shoot himself in the thigh? Too soon?

3. Philadelphia - RIP Jim Johnson. Taking your defense against weak quarterbacks was one of the most enjoyable (and lucrative!) sports moments I could count on annually. Now, all I've got is counting on Donovan McNabb NOT to win an NFC title game. Just kidding Philly fans. Kind of. This is a team that, while adding versatile pieces like Jeremy Maclin, still lacks a true, dominant number 1 receiver if Mr. Jackson doesn't step up and overcome his size. Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown (UGA!) are both solid number 2 or even number 3 receivers, but who is getting the ball on 3rd and six? Because, on 4th and six in the NFC title game LAST year, McNabb hit Curtis in the hands, who was being tackled by Roderick Hood...and since he has no profile as a receiver in the NFL, the refs did not call the pass interference. The preceding comment is brought to you by the NFL Network and my own abject boredom certain nights in bars.

2. New England - Pending just how good that knee looks, the ceiling here could be that number 1 spot, but not just yet. Once again, the Pats had a great offseason (shocking, I know) by jettisoning some emotional favorites on defense who had lost a step or five. Offensively, it's just going to be more of the same. And by, the same, I mean the routine beat downs they handed out two years ago while setting records for passing touchdowns in a season. Add in the running back by committee model popularized by Mike Shannahan in a nefarious scheme to destroy fantasy football, and you have a football machine ready to remind us that the kid under center last year was a career backup, and Mr. Bundchen has rings. Lots of them. And he wants more.

1. Pittsburgh - They're the champs. They got younger and healthier at all the most important places (Offensive line, running back , defense), and they kept most of their players out of civil court. But, they've gotten older on the edges, as Hines Ward's (UGA!) performance catching footballs in the playoffs did not exactly inspire a lot of confidence. With only one other serious contender in their division, and getting the chance to pick on the AFC West, look for them to feast on the weak, look strong against the good teams, and re-establish the history of running that has carried this franchise throughout the years. Not the “what the hell” offense of last year that was contractually obligated to suck for 3.75 quarters every game. Ugh. They're the best so far, but man, they were not fun to watch last year.

*This column can also be found with greater production value (better lighting, clearer sound) at by clicking this link*

Preseason Power Poll Part 1

Alliteration on ya, like WHOA. Had to break it into two parts, because it's long as sin, but here's a look at the field. Division by division previews coming later...

32. Detroit - Well, it can't get worse? Can it? First ever 0-16 team...and looking at this schedule, they seem to be a lock to win...well, none of them. They've got Calvin Johnson. They've got a young, strong armed quarterback under center, provided Dante Culpepper is really done. The Lions are doing their best to sell a franchise that exemplified futility throughout recent memory, and they should be commended for that. Here's a mortal lock for you: Detroit will more than double last year's win total. You're welcome.

31. St. Louis - Oh look, another first time head coach. Another disappointing 2008 campaign, and another team that looks to have 'lather, rinse, repeat' printed on their season already. Their quarterback got older, their receivers got more ambiguous, the running back is getting more wasted in that backfield, and the staff they brought in is mostly defensive in background. Well, they should lose by less this year, so that's something.

30. Seattle - Jim Mora Jr., welcome back. I was never a fan of how you left Atlanta all those years ago, but I understand why you had to go. I have some bad news though; your quarterback has chronic back problems (you don't fix back problems; you live with them), you have no running back of note besides Julius “I Smoke A Pack A Day” Jones, and it's Seattle, the most beat-down sports city of the 2000s. Pretty much, the season will come down to if Seneca Wallace can develop a rapport with Housh. I'm betting not.

29. Oakland - I can't even make any jokes. Look for Garcia to either win the quarterback battle by end of camp, or at the latest, under center by Week 6. Look for Darren McFadden to improve on an underwhelming, injury laden rookie campaign. Finally, look for Al Davis to continue to do his best to destroy any positive memories of his once proud franchise.

28. Kansas City - With his big, fat new contract, do you think Matt Cassel bought Bernard Pollard an Aston Martin, a Bugatti, a Maserati, or one of each? What a weird, circular story that was; Brady gets hurt against the Chiefs, Cassel goes on to play better than expected, getting Josh McDaniel the Denver job (that should not have been vacant anyway), leading McDaniel to make an ass of himself trying to get Cassel, only to have him end up in Kansas City. Bernard Pollard directly altered the destinies over the past 10 months of the Pats, the Broncos, the Bears, and the Chiefs. Though in the case of the Chiefs, not enough.

27. Cleveland - Brady Quinn or...that other guy. Neither a slam dunk choice, because neither gives guaranteed results. Derek Anderson was a Pro Bowler one year, and a section 8 the next. Quinn wasn't impressive pre-injury last year. And Ken Dorsey...well, thanks for coming out. The offense should improve, as Braylon Edwards can't play any worse than last year, and maybe they can find a running game to compliment. Tough to do and be successful when the top two teams in your division were in the AFC Title Game last year.

26. Tampa Bay - I've decided that Raheem Morris' introductory press conference was the exact opposite of Al Pacino's “Peace With Inches” speech in Any Given Sunday. This was given way too much thought by me, but since Pacino's speech makes me want to tear somebody apart for the inches that are everywhere around us, and Morris' speech made me want to give that same somebody all my inches, and limp away sadly, I think this is about right. Questions at quarterback, running back, receiver, offensive line, and defensive back, this is right where they belong.

25. Buffalo - Everything says this team should be better. They signed a talented wide receiver on the downside of his career who won't allow teams to lock in on their number 1, Lee Evans. The offensive line is mostly intact, and if they can keep Trent Edwards on his feet, and if Trent Edwards can keep TO happy and if the defense gets better, and if the team as a whole survives the whole 'no running back for five games' thing, and if we ignore the signs that this team is moving to Toronto, they should be fine. That is a lot of 'ifs' though...

24. Cincinnati - This week, on “Why Won't They Fire This Guy?!?”, we sneak a peek in Bengals camp, and see signs of a repeat of every other year of the Marvin Lewis era everywhere we look. Middling start? Check. Off season troubles with your self-proclaimed best receiver (and he might be, now that Housh is a Seahawk)? Check. Injury questions about important players? Check. Look for them to get beat up on by everyone they play, and look for Chad Johnson's (I refuse to acknowledge that idiotic new last name) ego to tip the boat over once they get a rocky start.

23. Jets - Well, that was nice. The whole Brett Favre experiment re-energized the fan base, re-lit some dormant rivalries...and demolished any future for your young quarterback (Clemens) and got your coach fired. Good job? Nothing's changed this year, except the young quarterback gets his ego bashed in not by an old man selling Wranglers, but by a young man selling...well, I'm not sure yet, but I bet the commercials will annoy me...

22. Denver - And now, for a very special, "Why Won't They Fire This Guy?", Josh McDaniels angles to get fired before coaching an NFL game. While I admire his ambition to break the land speed record for firing, the person I feel most for is Pat Bowlen. Not only did he fire the most iconic coach in franchise history (not to mention his best friend), and have his rocket-armed quarterback of the future bolt for the greener pastures of Soldier Field, but he's got Lane Kiffen 2.0 doing his best to derail everything he has built over the years. Too bad it's his own fault. Well, his and Brandon Marshall. (I want to start a Madden Franchise with the Broncs so digital Brandon Marshall can get digitally arrested by week 9.)

21. New Orleans - Finesse teams haven't traditionally done well in this NFL lately. The Colts only got to (and won!) once their defense started playing least, physically enough to push around the Bears. This team is only as good as their quarterback, but as long as his running game is on the back of a man with a French first name (Pierre Thomas...this is football!), and an oft injured glorified kick returner. We'll see if the defense can do anything and compete in the NFC South.

20. San Francisco - Different city by the bay, same story. Just not any good. But, I have to give credit where it's due, and Singletary had this motley crew playing better than every down the stretch last year. If his not-so-notable quarterbacks can keep up, and Frank Gore can show more consistency than the past two years, they could make some noise in the NFC West.

19. Washington - The Zorn Supremacy. Year two. I think that this new habit of undervaluing Clinton Portis is going to bit all of us right in the face. This is a guy who consistently has run hard all year, and he'll have a quarterback that is in year two of this offense, and a rich defense that can control the game, if these players live up to a fraction of their paychecks. Too bad the NFC East is so stacked this year.

18. Carolina - Jake Delhomme. Welcome to the hot seat! Can a non-coach be on the hot seat? After that debacle of a playoff performance last season, how can he not be? I mean, it was really just a super-sized version of his usual exploits, but that was so bad, no Carolina fan dare even attempt to explain it away. It just can't be done. But, the twin running backs are looking to avoid their vanishing act in that game, and based on last years results, they seem very able to deliver.

17. Jacksonville - Jack Del Rio. Welcome to the hot seat! After the debacle of last season, including a veteran running back saying this was the most dysfunctional team he had ever seen, he needs to come through big here to solidify his hold in J'ville. We (the gambling public) all waited for the week they would turn it on, and look like the team from two years ago. My bet would be that they middle around 8-8 and just miss the playoffs.

16. Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers, take two. This time, not only does our young quarterback have the unforgettable shadow of one Bret Favre, but also the unfulfilled promise of a season that looked special early last year, but ended acrimoniously. My new roommate is a lifelong Packers fan, and he sees them finishing around 11-5. At times, Aaron Rodgers looked competent last year, but he (and that defense) fizzled hard down the stretch. They need him to be lights out if they hope to finish in the top half of this division, especially since on paper he is the 3rd best quarterback in the NFC North.

*This column can also be found with greater production value (better lighting, clearer sound) at by clicking this link*

Jul 9, 2009

Remember The Titan

I was at a pool on July 4th at the corner of Independence and Liberty, enjoying a wonderful mixture of lemonade and vodka, and messing with my phone when one of my friends (TPaulin08) launched this missive into the Twittersphere:

RIP McNair.

Dumbly, I stared at it for a solid 15, 20 seconds, vodka addled mind doing it's best impersonation of racing. Do we know a McNair? Is it like a 1970s NFL player who I would only know from behind NFL Films music (Sam Spence is amazing)? I stumbled on my phone to, and was met with the headline that Steve McNair was dead. And my first thought wasn't of his illustrious career, or the four sons he left behind, but my first thought was of Chris Benoit. Dead professional wrestler, Chris Benoit.

The Monday night after they found the bodies of Chris, his wife Nancy, and their son Daniel, the WWE made the decision to cancel their Monday Night show, and instead run highlights of his career, and commentary from his fellow wrestlers. Even while this three hour tribute was occurring, CNN and other news outlets were reporting breaking news that all evidence pointed to Chris having been the one to kill his wife and son, before taking his own life. By the end of the show, a lot of what would eventually be known as fact was being openly speculated about on major news networks...and then the WWE decided to re-run the special on the West Coast.

Now, I know you're wondering, why is a reaction to the death of a former NFL MVP and widely accepted "good guy" in the league starting with a recap of the tragic double homicide and suicide of a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion (a reign the WWE now ignores)? Well, it's because the first words out of my mouth regarding his passing were:

"This is going to get much, much worse."

Tuesday, more of the salient details of the unfortunate death of Steve McNair became more widely known, and it is apparent that his girlfriend shot him while he slept on their couch, and then killed herself. And there have been equal sides praising him for the details of his life, as well as vilifying him for the manner of his passing. To these people, Steve McNair will be remembered as the cautionary tale, a warning of sorts to those who would sacrifice the happiness of those around him for his own wants.

Not to me.

To me, I'll always remember Steve McNair as my grandmother's favorite football player ever. When you're talking about small town Mississippi, Alcorn State isn't just the most accessible college football: when Air McNair was under center, it was the only football in the universe. For a generation of quarterbacks (hell, football players), he was more than just a 1st round draft pick, he was more than a third overall pick who would go on to lead a team to a Super Bowl, be named league MVP, and be one of the most respected players in league history. For people who's lives are defined by HBCU football, he was (and is) our most recent bright shining star. My dad played for Clark Atlanta University when colleges were still segregated, and to this day, the only Clark/Morehouse games I've missed were ones I was in college for.

To me, Steve McNair continued to have resonating personal significance once in the NFL. Once he was drafted by the Houston Oilers (my birthtown team!), he was forced to sit behind Chris Chandler (the killer of my childhood!), but all the while he remained a consummate professional. By the last season the team would spend in Houston, he was the starter, and would remain as such for years. During his tenure not just in Tennessee, but in the NFL, he was hailed as amazing leader and competitor, a distinction that culminated with his being named co-MVP in 2003. The respect from his peers and those who know WAY more than me about the League (AP voters) only served to confirm something I had suspected years earlier.

To me, Steve McNair is his greatest moment, a beautiful season capped with a wonderful pass in Super Bowl XXXIV (in Atlanta!), ending with Kevin Dyson being stopped a literal inch short of the tying touchdown by the St. Louis defender. Now, his finest hour wasn't the throw itself (although superb) or the game as a whole (16 unanswered points in the second half!), but it was how he carried himself afterwards. I've been involved in sports my whole life, I've won when I should have lost, and I've lost when I was sure that I should have won, but I've never reacted as well as Mr. McNair did after this game. He was truly conciliatory to the Rams, and as gracious a loser as I have ever seen. As anyone who has competed against me would attest (in football, wrestling, rock-paper-scissors) losing isn't a strong point of mine. It was this post-game display that showed me that everything I had heard about him regarding his character and leadership ability wasn't just locker room double speak, but that it was grounded in some part of reality. The consensus among those who have given quotes about McNair this week is that the impression I got from him over my television set after what had to be one of the most trying experiences in his professional career. He seemed the picture of class and dignity and most of all, a tremendous leader. Hearing his former Baltimore teammates who only played with him for two seasons talk about his ability as a motivator and a mentor to others speaks to his ability as a commander. Seeing the lives he changed through his charity work speaks to his concern for his fellow man.

People this week have said that we cannot separate the manner in which he died with the works he dedicated himself to in life. But, why not? Are we defined by poorest decisions, or by the way we try to carry ourselves everyday? Far be it for me to speak about anyone else's personal life (mine being what it is), but I can honestly say that if those four boys he leaves behind are instilled with half of the grace and dignity the Steve McNair I know always did, then he did this world a great service in his short time.

*This column can also be found with greater production value (better lighting, clearer sound) at by clicking this link*

Jul 8, 2009

Mid-Range Jumpers

The Association, save me!

That would be melodramatic if it wasn't so true. Armed with only a surprisingly engaging US Open and a historic Wimbledon Final, I've been held sports-hostage by the ooooh soooo looong baseball season. While the Braves stumble to another .500 record (more on that later), I thought it was time to dust off America's favorite, rarely updated blog format, where we celebrate the lost art of the Mid-Range Jumper.

Lot's of stuff on the plate today, and surprise, surprise, it's heavy on the NBA, NFL and college football, but I'm trying to branch out. Bear with me.

  • Let's start close to home re: free, we bring in Jamal Crawford, bring back Bibby, and are trying to keep Marvin. Does the front office not remember what happened when we tried the all-swing man team a few years back? Do they plan on talking Marvin into coming off the bench? Will he stand for it? Will the fan base? Wait, a basketball fan base in Atlanta? STAY TUNED!
  • At least the Pistons didn't mortgage their future by locking up two mid-level guys for long, expensive contracts in a year where the cap went down for the second time in league history and right before the biggest drop ever next year. Wait, they did that? Oh, and I hope the Rip Hamilton period was good for the fans because he is G-O-N-E. Probably to Atlanta, so we can have more swing men.
  • Chad Johnson (I refuse to acknowledge that ridiculous last name he's adopted) apparently wants to tweet on the sideline. When it's this easy, it almost isn't fun.
  • AMAZING show put on by Roddick and Federer last weekend...if Tennis could routinely put on shows like that, they would do more than suck in all us hung over people on the occasional Sunday mornings.
  • Dallas Mavericks are apparently convinced that this is the year 2001, and Jason Kidd deserves a 3 year deal. Mark Cuban is routinely touted for his intelligent business decisions, so I guess every other point guard on Earth will die of some unknown ball-handling disease in the next 3 years, and Kidd will survive it. Those Mavs are so savvy.
  • Take that last bullet, change Dallas Mavericks to Orlando Magic, change Jason Kidd to Vince Carter, and change point guard to swing man. Wait, if that were to really happen, would the Hawks trot out Bibby, Horford, and Zaza?
  • I don't want to hear a word about Andruw Jones hitting three home runs in his three first at bats this year. I just don't. After the vanishing act in LA last year, his career is forever tarnished.
  • Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics would never have happened if Big Poppa Stern still wielded his power judiciously.
  • Did you know the WNBA is still around? And that Atlanta has a team? And they are called the Dream? And that none of that is made up? (I haven't made a WNBA joke in months, and don't forget, they got NEXT!)
  • Sports prediction: Tiger wins everything by 2012, forces white folks to quit golf and solidify hold on hockey...for now.
  • If AI ends up in Memphis with OJ Mayo, then there will be a dearth of basketballs in the state of Tennessee...a dearth I say!
  • Hey Lake-Show, way to follow up a title with downgrading defensively from Ariza to Ron-Ron...he is old.
  • Speaking of the Rockets (I wasn't talking about them, but about a player who just left them...whatever), I feel legitimately bad for the entire front office for the way McGrady and Yao have turned out...but it's still really, really funny.
  • Shaq and Penny. Shaq and Kobe. Shaq and Wade. Shaq and LeBron. One of these will not work. Three of these already happened.

If the WNBA was playing in my very own back yard, I would close the blinds. (I gotta be me!)

Jul 4, 2009


You read this blog, you know how American I am, and how much I love my country. And I know you're expecting a picture of Nez in front of the American Flag, but I decided to break out the greatest rendition of the National Anthem ever. 1983. NBA All-Star Game.

Ok, well I guess I could throw on the greatest Independence Day Monologue ever.

Pretty good right?

Oh, what the hell. I gotta be me!


Jul 1, 2009

Great News!!!

Well, great for me. Really, kind of indifferent news for you. I mean, if you care about me it kind of matters, but not really.


The good news is that someone besides my friends and family (both of whom I badger incessantly) will get to read some of the stuff I write. My longer pieces (1000 words plus...) will be running concurrently on a website that is made up of alot of former Atlanta Journal Constitution writers who were bought out, and replaced with younger, less talented people (Robbie, I mean everyone besides you at the Times these days. Kind of.)

That right there is a link to my NBA Draft piece that ran there, complete with pictures (that I had nothing to do with, which you can tell because of no pithy captions)

What this means for me is I get to write along people I grew up reading and respect immensely, and that my writing is going to get to more eyeballs. What this means for you is...well, nothing. Everything, big and small, will still be posted here first, but if you want to help expand the OLASB Nation (beyond me, Biggs,Nez, Sully, and my parents), feel free to check out the higher production values of Like the Dew.

That was kind of a mutual plug, wasn't it?

Well, for more me, follow me on the Twitter...

There, that's a bit more uneven whoring out. Just the way I like it.

Jun 27, 2009

I Miss You Basketball/Football/Hockey...

Sure, Wimbledon is on, and there is a big soccer match tomorrow, but really who cares? Sports purgatory, you can't end soon enough.

Until we get what we want sports fans, there's always things like this to put a smile on your face.

"I know you're gonna do what you do, but be smart about it."

You stay classy, Mario Chalmers.


Jun 25, 2009

Draft Day

Let’s get something straight: NFL Draft Day is my Christmas. It takes up my entire day, I get immersed in all things football, and I am ruined for the next whole day. The NBA Draft is a different animal, because while the warm up to the NFL draft is a slow build of combines and private workouts, the NBA draft is a week-long celebration punctuated with crazy trades, values rising and falling, and the hopes and fates of young men decided. It leaves me so drained, I almost forget that we are immersed in sports purgatory. I guess the best equivalent of Draft Week is Hanukah. Only with fewer candles.

One of the toughest things about the NBA Draft is the fact that no one stays for any meaningful amount of time anymore, so it is hard to develop opinions on players. With the NFL Draft, you usually have a body of work of at least two years to judge a player by (unless that player is impatient Matt Sanchez – just ask Pete Carrol). And no, I’m not going to launch into my tirade about the reasons I don’t enjoy college basketball as much as the NBA, but it’s hard to know just how good Evans is from Memphis in only a year (BTW, I don’t think he is an NBA starting PG). No, the most exciting part of the NBA Draft Week is the Week itself; watching teams (Minny) stockpile picks in a bad draft, and watching players (Griffin) anxiously await a fate worse than death: The Clippers.

But, for the Atlanta sports fan, the NBA Draft has meant many unhappy returns. Acie Law IV, Sheldon Williams, (not) Chris Paul…and that’s just the last 5 years. We habitually make the wrong decision in these places, sticking the fans with watching a player who is getting paid too much, even with the rookie pay scale, and is untradable, because he shouldn’t have been drafted in the first place. I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it. All this ineptitude, coupled with our recent ownership woes had me less than excited for tonight. Plus, there were more than a few rumors flying around about us moving our recently extended young power forward/swing man/dunk machine Josh Smith for Chris Bosh: the best player on a 30 win team, a third banana at best, and a guarantee lock to opt out after this season.

Tuesday. Hope? Rumblings abounded that a move of Acie Law and Speedy Claxton (how is he still getting an NBA paycheck!!!) to the Warriors for Jamal “19.7 a game last year?” Crawford. From a logical sense, I was elated: we were shedding two bad contracts for bad players, and while were going to be paying Crawford 20 million over the next two, in a year, he becomes an expiring contract, and good trade bait. If we could turn his expiring deal into two decent mid level guys next year, I’d be elated. From a basketball perspective, the trade is a bit more problematic, the main problem being, where does he play? Unless you move Marvin (bad idea?), there is no place for him in the starting 5, but if you can convince him to replace Flip Murray’s role of instant offense (can’t believe I just wrote THAT)off the bench, then it works. But, will the front office not push to have a 10 million a year guy on the floor? Maybe the Hawks aren’t done, and can turn Crawford into room to lure a veteran PG here.

See, it’s stuff like this that makes the whole week so interesting. Things like the Spurs making a move for the last two years of Richard Jefferson’s deal, effectively announcing that they are going to make one last push while Tim Duncan is still at the height of his powers (or at least reasonably close). Even though it is highly uncharacteristic of the Spurs management to pay four guys 8 figures each, the move speaks to the fact that they have decided the direction they want to move in, and made a decisive move to get there. Tony Parker and his 11 million a year might be moving (sell high!), but Pop and co. have sent a message to their star and their fans: they want to win now. For lessons on how NOT to handle an offseason, one has to look no further than last year’s champs the Boston Celtics.

The rumor (and revealed truth) of Tuesday had the Celtics offering up Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to the Pistons for Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. Now, everyone gets why they would move Ray: he’s an expiring contract, he probably has one more extension in him, and the Celtics don’t want to give it to him. Basketball wise, meh, but it makes good front-office sense. Rondo makes peanuts, and was a triple double machine in the playoffs. So why is he being shopped (and why is this not the first time it’s happened)? While no specific stories have come out, the rumors are that there are some behind-the-music issues that have the Celts uncomfortable about committing long term to Rondo. But, as opposed to saying something to that effect, GM Danny Ainge came to a press conference somehow talking out of three sides of his mouth. Take some time, track the video down, I’ll wait.

Pretty funny, huh?

Now, he’s put himself in a position where they almost HAVE to move Rondo, because what they’ve done will only serve to exacerbate whatever issues already exist. And the rest of the Association knows it and will use it to their advantage. Except for Chris Wallace. Phoenix with their deal last night, either made a great decision to blow up what they had, and work to the future, or pooped on their fans again. Don’t worry, I’ll be taking a longer look at the Shaq trade this weekend. But, what about the main event? What about the draft itself?

I hate to (be the 1,456,932nd person to) say it, but this class sucks. Case in point: Tyler Hansbrough. After his sophomore year, he was touted as a sure-fire lottery pick. But he stayed. And we watched him be the same player for the next two years. The EXACT same. The only reason to stay in college is to grow as a player in that environment (Stephen Curry), and he stayed the same. So, his draft value has yo-yoed ever since. From lottery pick, to late first round, to mid second, and now, after these workouts, back in to the first. No one is discovering anything new about him (mostly because you have seen all of it already), but they are figuring out how bad this class is. And this assertion that it is a great point guard class? Maybe a great BACKUP point guard class. Aside from Curry, Flynn and Rubio (who I am borderline obsessed with), there isn’t that much talent. Ty Lawson? Great up and down the court, but can’t go lateral. Tyreke Evans? Average athletically, wilted on the big stage in March. (Okay, full disclosure: I REALLY want the Hawks to get VCU point guard Eric Maynor, but I didn't want to jinx it. I thought about it some, and to hell with jinxes. Let's go Birds!!!)

I don’t know who is going where, but hopefully we’ll see some big trades and Blake Griffin’s knees explode when he walks to the stage. Just kidding. No need to hope for what HAS to happen. See you tonight.

Jun 24, 2009

I Hate Soccer...






Jun 22, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Big ups to all the real fathers...but today is OUR day. Happy Not-A-Father's day to all of us who went another year without procreating!

And in acknowledgement of this great day, someone should buy me this:
Hope to see you all celebrating next year too.

Jun 4, 2009


So, this NBA Finals is causing a bit of internal strife. In my head, I mean. I hate Kobe (excuse me, the MAMBA), but this three-point fest the Magic have been riding has to stop. Right? I enlisted one of my Laker fan friends Rake Colson to discuss the matter:

DP: So I started this job Monday, and have been training so far. But, while I have been filing my head with the ins and outs of the mortgage industry, I can’t help but wonder what life is like for you? I mean, you admit your superstar is a sociopath, your coach was almost matched by George Karl, your 2nd banana is a European who slanted his eyes in the Spain Basketball team picture, and your third banana is a candy nut straight out of Willy Wonka.

Not to mention, that aside from your MVPuppet, your entire backcourt is a section 8, to the point that Shannon Brown has become a vital cog to your team.

Do I know Kobe's a sociopath, a spoiled brat, an egomaniac? Yes, of course - I have second hand evidence. Friend of my dad's works for AEG, which owns Staples, and Mamba is universally reviled, from the janitors to Phil Anschuetz (the CEO). If he weren't everyone's meal ticket, he would probably have been the victim of a car bomb by now. Also of note: with the exception of Malone and Payton (who had to be convinced by Shaq), no premier free agent has ever taken less money to play with Kobe. With the exception of Malone and Carmelo, no NBA player has ever admitted to being friends with Kobe, and he even lost Karl with the whole "little white girls" thing. From all reports, he doesn't have an entourage, doesn't have friends, and is single-mindedly focused on basketball and cementing his legacy as a top 5 all-time guard. Is that a good thing for the Lakers and their fans? Yeah, probably. But with a title loss, this house of cards can come crumbling down real quick. It won't be like the painful summer of 2004, but it won't be far from it.

Phil was not "almost matched" by George Karl. The only person George Karl almost matched was Chris Dougherty in the "red faced" department. That series was never about anyone outcoaching anyone else, and if anything, Karl gave away two games with his inbound play brilliance. Phil has been slipping for some time, yes, but he was never a great game coach - his greatest skill is getting everyone on the same page. With the Bulls, that meant keeping MJ from murdering everyone else; with the 2000-2004 Lakers, it meant keeping Shaq and Kobe from murdering one another; with the 2006-2009 Lakers, it means keeping everyone from murdering Kobe AND keeping Kobe from murdering Bynum.

RE: Spanish national team picture -- what's the issue? You have to love Pau - he looks completely unathletic, he runs like a less-gay Bruno, and he just so happens to be one of the most versatile big men in the league. Oh, and he and Ariza are the Lakers MVPs -- in that, if they're on, we win. When they're not, we don't. It's as simple as that.

Lamar, for some reason, doesn't drive me nuts. In fact, I love his consistent inconsistency. I just hope it doesn't show up over the next few weeks.

Shannon Brown can play! I don't know where that came from, but he's a great fit for this team. And considering we have to contend with Skip-to-my-Lou and 45% of a getting-up-to-speed Jameer Nelson, I'm not too worried about the PG matchup.

I think you know what matchup I am worried about, though. The big question to me is: will DJ Mbenga see time in this series? If he does, game over.

There's a scenario in the back of my head where Dwight goes insane and throws up a 34-16 for the series, SVG comes up with some amazing defensive scheme and shuts us down, they hit every 3 like they've been doing, and we get embarrassed along the lines of 2004. That scenario is analogous to my bonus, in that we'll find out about it in the next few weeks, and that I try not to think about it too much because it's so painful and soul-crushing and denies everything I/the Lakers have worked so hard for.

So yes, I'm keeping my expectations low.

DP: Wait, wait, wait. I watched LeBron and the MAMBA grinning it up on national television during that sit-down interview. I SAW IT! They were palling around like the Schnieder and Columba of their time. You trying to tell me that while LBJ was making fun of Kobe with the ‘high-shorts’ joke, and basically mocking him openly, the MAMABA was only smiling for the cameras? He was actually sizing up The King, deciding the best way to incapacitate him with his butter knife? What?

Good thing he’s focused on cementing his legacy as a top five guard…since he isn’t there yet, and won’t get there based on his only two Finals appearances we have where he was the best player (04, Detroit, 08, Boston). Right now, he’s a top-five second banana in NBA history, since there are 5 better guards off the top of my head…Jordan, Magic, Oscar, Logo, Isaiah. And they all won rings as the man…which he HAS to do, unless he wants to go down in the ‘Pippen, Drexler, D. Robinson, and other players who only won titles as the OTHER GUY on their team’ group.

If y’all lose…I don’t even know. Sure, the answer SEEMS to be move everyone (MAMBA included), but, as has been pointed out over and over and over again, this is a nearly broke league; who takes on the MAMBA’s deal? And for what? You’ve got him for at least another 82. Get comfortable. Because I don’t know if the Magic can’t win this thing.

SVG (he looks like he needs initials) hasn’t REALLY been tested coaching wise so far (ol’ what’s-his-face in Philly, Doc, and M.Brown), but he has shown a great ability to adjust on the fly within the series. Phil may be a peacemaker, but against SVG (does this make him cooler?) the Lake-Show need him to be a basketball coach. He’s aged more poorly than Coolio’s entire catalog. He’s aged more poorly than Ted Pitt. And his BASKETBALL COACHING, you know, what he’s paid to do, has been slow to adjust to things like No-more-Yao. You know, like Lamar adjusts constantly to sometimes playing/sometimes not during series. And don’t get me started on Wonka’s Swayze in the Finals last year.

Pau is a racist. There. I said it.

Not worried about the backcourt matchup? NOT WORRIED? You sound like the Indians being ‘not worried’ about the disease laden blankets the palefaces brought with them. Do you remember Aaron Brooks (AARON BROOKS?!?!) eviscerating your backcourt a week ago? Have you not seen what penetrating point guards do to the carbon cut-outs you stick back there? It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad. Chauncy Billups is a cerebral game manager, and y’all decimated him; no one will ever confuse Skip and Anthony Johnson for the Artist Formally Known As Mr. Big Shot.

Shannon Brown. Good one.

DJ Mbenga. Better one. Though, Chris Mihm got some burn last year, so maybe Phil is aging worse than Larry Legend.

The more I think about how weird these playoffs have been (the Magic are shooting like 47% from three!), the more and more your nightmare seems likely. Is it impossible for the Magic to split the first two in LA? Is it impossible for them to take 2 of 3 in O-Town, culminating with a rout in the last game in Orlando, the MAMBA sharpening his knives as he quits on the floor (see also, last year and 2007 against the Suns)? Can you really count on this crew to close out the final two games in Staples. Me neither.

Dear god, am I about to take the Magic in 6? YES WE CAN. SI SE PUEDE!


We'll see what takes place in this little argument today. This could just be part 1.

May 29, 2009


Ok, I want everyone to realize something. We are truly witnessing (sorry Sully) something beyond special. And, after watching him eviscerate my Hawks, it still kind of stings to admit it, but this is a once in a lifetime occurrence that deserves 1,047 words from me, whether I like it or not.

LeBron Freaking James.

Never mind the triple double last night. Never mind the 17 points in the fourth. Never mind the ridiculous gut-check required to play that well down 3-1 in the conference finals. No, what we're seeing is bigger than a single game. His splits for the postseason? 36.1 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game and 7.3 assists a game. Bill Simmons has what he calls the 42 Club (explained here), where you add up those three figures to determine postseason greatness (plus, the fact that Dirk (41.6, '06) blew his shot at the club with those finals solidifies the accuracy of the scale and captures the injustice done to my favorite 7-foot jump shooter. Great. Now I sound like Mark Stein).

Here's your 42 Club (I really wish I'd have thought of this first; damn you Simmons!) since the merger for reference:

Michael Jordan (6 times): 49.4 ('89); 50.7 ('90); 45.9 ('91); 46.5 ('92); 47.8 ('93); 43.8 ('97)
Shaquille O'Neal (4X): 43.6 ('98); 49.2 ('00); 49.0 ('01); 43.9 ('02)
Larry Bird (4X): 42.0 ('81); 44.4 ('84); 43.4 ('86); 44.2 ('87)
Moses Malone (2X): 43.0 ('81); 43.3 ('83)
Magic Johnson (2X): 43.8 ('86); 42.5 ('91)
Karl Malone (2X): 43.0 ('92); 42.9 ('94)
Hakeem Olajuwon (2X): 44.2 ('94); 47.8 ('95)
Tim Duncan (2X): 42.7 ('01); 45.4 ('03)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1X): 47.1 ('80)
Charles Barkley (1X): 44.5 ('93)
Kobe Bryant (1X): 42.8 ('01)
Allen Iverson (1X): 43.7 ('01)
Kevin Garnett (1X): 44.0 ('04)
LeBron James (1X): 44.7 ('06)

Do some quick math on the numbers above for Mr. James (and he has earned the Mr.) and you can see that not only are we talking about a legendary run, but an entrant into the hallowed air of the 50 Club. Current occupants? Michael Jeffery Jordan, when he officially changed his name to Michael Freaking Jordan in 1990. He threw up a 36.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 6.8 apg, clocking him in at 50.7...and LeBron is currently pacing at 52.7.


Dear God.

But the big rub here is Michael didn't get his first ring until a year later...but what that postseason flurry did do is something even more important: it firmly established him as a cut above his peers (Barkley, Malone, Robinson, Drexler), and it announced that he was here to replace to old guard (Dumars, Thomas, Bird, Magic). And this is where LeBron stands. Whether or not he wins the ring now or next year is of little importance in the larger scheme of things. Maybe this is the summer where Kobe vaults himself into the top-10 players ever discussion by winning a ring where he wasn't the second banana (and if you don't think he was the sidekick during those first three titles, you're nuts). Maybe this is the summer where I get to be all teary eyed because I get to watch my boy Melo (the should-have-been ROY over LeBron way back when) not only grow up, but establish himself as a champion. Maybe this is the summer where Dwight Howard proves that you don't need silly things like 'post offense besides tip-ins and open dunks' to be a successful big man.

Maybe this is another year where LeBron falls short. Maybe his indomitable will is not enough to overcome Stan Van Gundy/Ron Jeremy. Maybe he runs out of gas here, I mean, he has played over 550 NBA games already. Maybe he's playing on fumes, and maybe these Delonte West and Mo Williams threes stop falling, and he is left out there truly alone. Maybe these Cavs survive the Magic, but are so winded that they can't manage to finish in the Finals.

That's all on the table, and it's all ok.

Because, with his performance so far (52.7!!!), he's pulled a 1990 Jordan on the Association. He has officially announced to the older guard (Duncan, O'Neal, Garnett, MAMBA) that he has arrived to replace them...and put his peers (Howard, Anthony, Paul, Wade) on notice that they are his peers in age only; he has come and will be placing a stranglehold on the NBA for the foreseeable future. Ironically, the player who is to blame for this explosion is the same player who has the most to lose by his rise.

Fellow Most Valuable Puppet Kobe Bryant brought this on himself, and on all of the rest of the Association through his participation in the Redeem team last summer. Not only did he remind LeBron that there was a plateau he had yet to reach (see: last possessions, Gold Medal game), but he gave him insight into the indomitable work ethic that pushes Kobe past the miles on his body and the years in the Association. He got to see first hand how hard this cat works, both offensively and defensively every day for 3 months. That would have an impact on anyone, especially anyone who has had designs on being the best player ever, who captured his first SI cover at 16, who has had consistent questions about his dedication to the game. So, members of his class, you know who to thank when you're compared to Gary Payton, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone after you know, that 'great career, no rings' group that these guys belong to because they happened to be born in the wrong years: Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant.

But, maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe he wills the Cavs past the Magic this year, eviscerates whoever they play in the Finals, becomes a god in Cleveland, never leaves, captures 6 MVPs (three in a row at a time, because people get tired of voting for him (see Malone, Karl) and give it to someone less deserving), puts the stranglehold on the league NOW as opposed to a year from now, and we get to watch Dwayne Wade complete his reenactment of Penny Hardaway's career sooner than expected, because LeBron stole his will to compete. Because it is going to happen. It's all a matter of when.

May 11, 2009


Well, at least THAT'S over. LeBron 'General Sherman' James is done with his second march through the fair city of Atlanta. At least we put up a fight. I guess, in the grand coronation of King James, this makes me and the rest of the city a collective
Full season recap coming this week.

Game 4. Q1,

Didn't look half bad out there...a lot of hustle on the defensive end and the, it doesn't hurt that LBJ isn't hitting early. Maybe we can pull one out, make this a competitive game.

Big shout out to Texas Roto for putting smiles on the Palmer family faces tonight, as we wind down my career of having a sibling in college. Yeah, everything is about me.


If you go to ESPN's homepage, today's SportsNation poll is a loaded question: Would you want a player who has admitted to taking PEDs on your favorite team? The options were: yes, yes, but only if they produced, and no.

According to ESPN, after 35,000 votes, 49% said no.

Now look, I'm not saying that all 17,500 who said no were liars, but a safe bet is that about 17,000 were lying. If you were to tell residents of Missouri (53% no) that Pujhols is going to admit to using PEDs, they would demand that he be traded or released? Or, that if you told residents of Kansas City (see Mizzou numbers) that a PED-admitting Alex Rodriguez was coming to play for them, that they would fight against him joining their Royals.

Buncha freakin' holier-than-thou liars. Headed to watch my little brother graduate, get some food with the fam. Follow along

Yeah, I plugged my twitter again. Sue me.

Seriously, try it. You'll get a black and red Atlanta Braves hat, a signed Wayne Gretzkey Kings Jersey, and my winnings from the Drinking Olymipics in Jamaica, 2005.

May 7, 2009


When this story broke, I decided I wasn't going to waste any brain space or blog space on it. That it was beneath me for consideration, and that anything that I said would have either already been said by a talking head, or was going to be. But, Nez has been requesting that I write something about baseball. So here we go. I guess.

Manny Ramirez tested positive for steroids.

Wait, should I be upset? Should I be shocked? It's gotten to the point that I just assume that every player from 1990 until, let's say two years from now, used steroids to improve their on-field performance. And don't get me started on the use of uppers or 'greenies' by pitchers on game day. That went on from the invention of the damn things until they were banned (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) recently by the MLB.

I get to cheer for a team that hasn't had anyone (major) fall in the recent steroid reveals, but I wouldn't put it past anyone I've cheered for here. Whether it is a center fielder who dropped off significantly, and was begging to make a roster earlier this year, or a pitcher who annually won about 14 games winning 24 in 1996, or a third baseman who averaged 33 home runs a year peeling off 45 dingers in 1999, no one is innocent these days. I refuse to be shocked anymore, and I refuse to think too much about it either.

Hey Nez, do you think the fact that we are 6 weeks into the season, and the Artist formally known as Big Papi is batting .229, with .333 slugging is a giant smoking gun?

There, your freaking MLB post. I feel dirty.

May 5, 2009

Almost There...Here...Whatever...

3 days until my return to New York...and I am going to celebrate by sharing a couple of Hawks blogs with all my fans (Nez, Biggs, and occasionally Sully). Here ya go!

The links are also on the sidebar.

And the best preview note of the three blogs belongs to Peachtree Hoops:

Just a heads up to Anderson Varejao. Zaza Pachulia plays as cheap, dirty, and tough as you. Except he is totally fine with punching someone in the face.



All I wanted was to get out of the first round. And it looks like that's all I'm going to get.

OLASB 2nd Round Predictions

Lakers over Rockets in 6

Cavs over Hawks in 5

Magic over Celtics in 5

Denver over Dallas in 7

May 4, 2009


For the first time in a VERY long time, I got to go to a playoff basketball game Sunday. Before now, I either didn't have tickets (last year), lived in a city that ALSO never made the playoffs (New York) or we didn't make the playoffs (every year except for New York and last year). So, when the opportunity arose for me to attend a Hawks playoff game, I jumped at it.

Not only did I get to see a fun (albeit, not-too-dramatic game), but I found out that Atlanta sports teams too have fans, that we have developed a legitimate home court advantage that helps out our players, that we have intelligent enough fans to collectively scream 'no' when Josh Smith is lining up a three-pointer. That last thing is not a joke, that happened.

I got caught up in it. I booed D-Wade, I cheered Joe Johnson (6-8 from 3?), I was confused when people chanted 'Zaza'. Bottom line, I loved every second. I got to see Atlanta win a seven game series for the first time since 1970. I got to see a not-so-loyal fanbase get rewarded.

And now I get to see us get creamed by the (checks watch) soon to be named MVP.

Where amazing happens.

May 1, 2009

Go Time

No jokes. No stunts. No elaborate anti-jinxes.

Just good, controlled, smart basketball tonight. There is no reason that the better team shouldn't leave Miami a winner.


Josh Smith needs to play within himself.

Time to end this in six, and get ready for the Cavs.

But, without looking past the task at hand.

This first round of the playoffs have left me a wreck. From Ray-Ray scoring 51 points in 58 minutes last night to J.J. Reddick jumping off of milk boxes and filling the void to eliminate the Sixers ALSO last night, I just know my heart can't take a Game 7 back in Atlanta on Sunday.

No Al. No Marvin. No excuses...we're the better team. Time to go show the world.

Apr 30, 2009


*Lazy Blogger Note - the draft diary is coming, I'm running into some formatting issues, but it's coming. I think. I hope.*

Welcome to the best first round of the NBA playoffs possibly in history, and definatly in recent memory. As the Hawks have pushed the Heat to the brink (and I might have figured out an in for tickets to the Highlight Factory), I thought I'd touch on my favorite subplots thus far:

5. Teams Openly Quitting on Coaches
Hornets and Jazz, come on down! Jerry Sloan has historically grated on teams over the course of a season, and this year appears to be no different. He disarmed AK-47, and those first two games were a portrait of a team that hates their coach. At least he was able to rally the troops in game 3, before falling in 5 like I said they would. And at least they didn't poop on their fans like the New Orleans Hornets. 58 points? 58 freaking points?!? I happened to be watching this monstrosity, and while I like watching history in action, I have no desire to watch a snuff film.

4. The Return of the 15-Second Rule
The rule that truly defines the playoffs. "Thou shalt not allow thy whistle to decide the game within the last 15 seconds." While the officiating has been wholly and completely inexcusable, the fact that they let Brad Miller side-slam Ray Allen, and then let Rondo knock his teeth out. Speaking of the C's point guard...

3. The Emergence of the Playoff Hero
Most years, this subplot would be, "The Securing of the Too Big Contract Next Year", but in our current economic climate, this will have to do. Players like Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant have all reminded us why they earn their money in May. But, we've also gotten to bear witness to the emergence of players who we either didn't expect, or had convinced ourselves that they would never 'get it': Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Ben Gordon, Derrick Rose, Josh Smith, Brandon Roy, Dwight Howard's elbow...lot of stepping up so far.

2. The Old School Series
This Hawks/Heat series has been a throwback for various reasons, cheif among them the physicality displayed by both squads. I don;t know how I feel about the prospect of WAY too much Zaza in Game 6, but I can't knock either team for playing their butts off. Except for when the Heat got out of the way to let Josh try that ridiculous dunk.

1. The Amazing
This is where amazing happens. Hokey ending, maybe, but you could play a black and white film of me making toast, set it to that music, and I'd tear up.

Apr 25, 2009

Pre-Draft Thoughts

Division by Division, thoughts on the off-season so far...

NFC South
- Might as well start at home. Falcons picked up T. Gonzalez earlier this week...and I have no jokes. A draft pick is nothing more than a lottery ticket, and this guy is a proven commodity. Think about it this way naysayers...with the second round pick in 2010, the Atlanta Falcons picked a 10-time Pro Bowl tight end.

- Tampa Bay...what can be said about the Bucs that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan: bombed out and depleted.

- The Panthers re-signed Jake Delhomme to a long term deal after that playoff debacle. Carolina fans, there's always room on our bandwagon if you want to cheer for a winning team this year.

NFC East
- So, who's going to be catching balls in New York this year? Plaxico Burress is done there, and Toomer is done too. Wait, is that? It is! My God, that's Chad Ochocinco's me Giant fans, by November, you'll be missing Plax.

- Apparently the Eagles have been positioning themselves to pick up Boldin from the Cards. I have nothing nice to say, so I'll just say that the last time they picked up a disgruntled receiver it didn't go so well (see also, the AFC East portion of this post).

- Skins broke the bank to get Haynesworth, and their quarterback wants out if they draft another Q. Ladies and gentlemen, the THIRD most dysfunctional team in this division.

- Cowboys are banking on Roy Williams to be a big playmaker, and making the fans (and stat book) forget about T.O. Lions fans, can you tell us how that's gonna go?

NFC North
- The real losers in the Jay Cutler sweepstakes? The Viking fans. You mean to tell me what you are all happy with the 'upgrade' under center of Sage "I stupidly scrambled against the Colts, and lost the game, but thanks for overlooking that" Rosenfels?

- Oh, and Cutler? Your prize for being such a tremendous baby? A prize winning defense...and no more Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to throw to.

- Mr. Stafford, don't listen to anything Daunte is telling you. I know it SEEMS like he's a vet trying to help, but he really just wants to start longer.

NFC West
- The less said the better. At least Arizona is going to break up one of the greatest receiving tandems in memory. For only a second rounder you say? Fantastic.

- Is Jim Mora Jr. a head coach again? Really? REALLY? REALLY???

AFC South
- Tony Dungy may have stepped down, but at least the Colts have a strong new head coach in place in Peyton Manning...I mean, old what's his face.

- Vince Young: Career Backup? Not looking so hot for players in the best National Title game in the last 20 years. I'm looking at you too Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and LenDale White.

- The Jags signed Torry Holt, which sounds like an amazing idea. He's going to help open up that passing attack, and now we'll see what a full Jags team can do. What do you mean it's not 1998?

AFC East
- I feel REALLY BAD for the Bills; first they bring in T.O., who will have to adjust to being the number 2 receiver for the first time since he played with Jerry, and then they lose their running back for doing some stupid ish. I'm sorry. For allegedly doing some stupid ish.

- Tom Brady's coming back.

- I'll be interested to see what the Jets do this draft, rumors have them moving up to take a certain USC quarterback (and those guys have done SO WELL in recent years...)

AFC North
- Steelers have changed nothing from a lucky team that got hot at the right time last year. But, they do get two full draft classes in training camp, considering the kids they got last year did NOTHING.

- FIRE MARVIN LEWIS. There, I said it.

- Ravens are apparently also in the running in the Boldin sweepstakes. B'More has the structure to keep him in line, but does Ozzie Newsome pull the trigger? I love the draft.

- The Browns? NEXT QUESTION.

AFC West
- A healthy Chargers team means scary things for the rest of the NFL.

- God Bless the Cheifs, may they finish a this century best 9-7 due to their generosity of handing us TGon. Oh, and for giving me Herm Edwards all year on ESPN. Amen.

- Josh McDaniels is either a genius or and idiot. Either way, he's going to be starting Kyle Orton, so you know to which I'm leaning.

See you back in this space later on for the 2009 Draft Running Diary!!!

Apr 23, 2009

The Playoffs

Or whatever.

Look, there were initially only three series I was intrigued by: Trailblazers/Rockets, Spurs/Mavs, and Hawks/Heat. One of those three is too close to home (literally and figuratively) for me to be logical about (the refs stole Game 2! I'm getting Heat/Mavs flashbacks!!!) , and the other two weren't enough to garner me writing about the whole playoffs. But, since we're here now, I'll update my thoughts, with predictions.

Lakers over Utah in 5 - It's tough to win in a building that houses the most offensive fans in sport, so I'll say the Lakers split in Salt Lake, and close out in Staples.

Cavs over Detroit in 4 - Get your brooms out...with potential challengers falling by the wayside, Bron-Bron and company will send an early message.

Nuggets over NO in 5 - Apparently, Chauncy Billups used a time machine, and got himself from 2004.

Chicago over Boston in 6 - No way the kids win a Game 7 in Boston...look for Kevin Garnett to actually explode during game five on the bench.

San Antonio over Dallas in 7 - Instant classic series. I don't feel remotely good about taking the Spurs here, but who guards Tony Parker? Jason Kidd couldn't stop Tony Schalub.

Orlando over Philly in 6 - Nice show in Game 1 Sixers, let's see you keep it up with that HUGE liability (financially, and in a basketball sense) at center

Portland over Houston in 6 - No Deke? NO WIN!!!

Atlanta over Miami in 6 - My twitter is being used to vent my frustrations. Last night:
Big Poppa Stern, I stand in obvious awe of your greatness, and I know you want Wade/LeBron in round 2, but c'mon man...
You can follow the rest of my thoughts doled out in 140 character increments by following me.. (

I just plugged my twitter. I'll now light myself on fire.

But before that, I figured out how to blog on this thing from my phone. So look for the Draft Preview tomorrow, and my annual running draft Saturday. (Last year) (Year before that)

Get as excited as me. Now.