One reason Paul and I get along so well is our ability and willingness to appreciate the lighter side of things. As you have all probably noticed, this especially holds true with sports and specifically, the NBA. Thus, we finally decided to gather all of the league's random tidbits that absolutely crack us up on a nightly basis and actually came up with so many that we had to divide this piece into two parts. Hopefully by the time you are finished reading you will find our selections as hilarious as we do. Enjoy...
Brian Scalabrine, Matt Bonner, and Robert Swift
Ant's Take: From an athletic standpoint, kids with red hair and pale skin have never been taken seriously. Remember like 2nd grade on the playground, when the only barometer you had for picking someone for your team was based solely on how he/she looked? The cooler looking the kid, the better you assumed he was. A goofy dweeb with red hair and freckles was always the last man standing, unless of course there was someone there missing a limb or sporting a mouth guard. In the NBA, even though they're professionals, it's the same deal. They've been called goofs, doofs, goons, dweebs, and what have you, but don't blame me, blame their genes.
Paul's Take: Let's be serious-- when you think of the NBA, you don't immediately picture goofy red-headed white boys. I mean these guys are supposed to be throwing down Guinnesses at the Pub with Patrick and Liam, not throwing down dunks with Jalen and Rashard.
Commissioner David Stern
Ant's Take: From the behind the scenes stories I hear about Stern, he can be a real bastard when he wants to be. Sure on the surface he may seem like a kind and gentle old man, evident in his picture above with the Phoenix Gorilla. But I bet that as soon as that camera is done snapping, Stern is muffling under his breath, "Get your fucking hand off me or you'll be back scraping dead raccoons off the highway faster than I can fine Ron Artest."
Paul's Take: A 63-year old, 5-foot white guy who always talks like he's reading a bedtime story is the most intimidating man in all of sports, and in a league where thuggery and giant behemoths are commonplace. Now that's good stuff.
Ant's Take: I'm not sure where I stand on the tats. On one hand these guys should be able to express themselves in any way they see fit. Something tributing a deceased relative or friend, absolutely fine. It's the freakin murals some of these guys have that annoy me to no end. Like Jameer Nelson sports "All Eyez On Me" across his back, a quote from rapper Tupac Shakur. Paul Pierce, as we saw in Game 6 against the Pacers this past year, has half of a wall from the Sistine Chapel on his back. Okay fine, if you want it, cool. But imagine in like 50 years when these guys are doing the breast stroke in some public swimming pool and they have like Biggie and Ja Rule quotes all over them? Seems a bit ridiculous, right?
Paul's Take: Is that supposed to be Grant himself, or Bob Marley? Yeah, great example you're setting for kids when every time you pull down a rebound you're sending a message for kids to pull monster joints. There's some other inane ones out there-- Mike Bibby's "TEAM DIME" on his back. What the hell does that mean? Jason Williams' self-proclaimed "White Boy" across his knuckles. Thanks Jason, but we're obviously not blind. Idiot. Of course there's some out there that I dig, mostly the nickname ones because I'd tattoo my nickname on my forearm if I actually was dubbed with a badass one. Shaq's "Superman"; Damon Stoudamire's "Mighty Mouse"; Allen Iverson's "The Answer"; Shawn Marion's "The Matrix"-- all sweet nicknames, all cool tats.
Ant's Take: Honestly, what could he be saying in this speech? "Thank you to the Knicks organization for being completely moronic and allowing me to come to this great city and fuck up your team. I greatly appreciate it." How in the world could the Knicks watch him bury the Raptors and the entire CBA, yet still trust him with their team??? This is the equivalent to some dude in high school going around and cheating on every girlfriend he ever had, then promising some other girl that he's changed and wants to settle down. She buys it and lets him sleep with her. Then OF COURSE the guy bangs with her and never speaks to her again. I mean how DUMB can you be? Jerome James dumb?
Paul's Take: Isiah Thomas has become so laughably idiotic, that it's gotten to the point where you can almost predict what insanely moronic move he's got up his sleeve next. Let's play a little futuristic trivia game using my 2006 Free Agent article from yesterday as a guide to gauge what that crazy Isiah Thomas might be up to next summer (answers on bottom right).
1- Q: Which restricted free agent did Isiah Thomas foolishly sign to an offer sheet on the first day of free agency even though the player's current team had stated emphatically and frequently that they would absolutely match any offer made to the player?
A: Tayshaun Prince
B: Yao Ming
C: Nene Hilario
D: D.J. Mbenga
2- Q: Which big time free agent, who was DYING to play in New York, reluctantly signed with another team simply because he couldn't afford to let the market play out as Isiah and the Knicks waited 15 days for the player from question #1's team to match New York's offer.
A: Caron Butler
B: Speedy Claxton
C: Peja Stojakovic
D: Ben Wallace
3- Q: Which player did Isiah Thomas ultimately decide to overpay at the hefty tune of $60 million over 5 years?
A: Drew Gooden
B: Joel Przybilla
C: Al Harrington
D: Michael Olowokandi
Answers: 1- B; 2- D; 3- A or D
Ant's Take: Apparently Paul couldn't fine a more recent picture of Ben Wallace for this portion of the article. I mean Paul Pierce doesn't even have pubes in this shot. Anyway, I love the guys that pick out their 'fros for games. I'm sick of everyone with cornrows, especially guys like Latrell and Jerry Rice with receding hair lines. I think the NBA should promote the afros by having like a national 'fro night. Wouldn't that be sick? Like when teams rock the throwbacks, we should demand the players to get rid of the rows and rock the 'fros.
Paul's Take: I agree with Ant 100%. I'm so tired of 'rows, Mr. Clean's, and fades. What happened to the good 'ole days of afros, jerry curls, perms, and crewcuts? The NBA is the only of the four big leagues where you have to show your hair at all times, so why are our boys losing their sense of style? And to top it off, we've lost Ronny Turiaf for the year and Moochie Norris has completely sold out and gone back to the shaved head. This isn't even funny, I should have taken this off the list.
Rasheed Wallace's Bald Spot
Ant's Take: Speaking of hair...is this bird poop? Cocaine? Gold Bond? Baking Soda? Laundry detergent? For the love of God, WHAT IS IT? When is Robert Stack and the Unsolved Mysteries crew gonna figure this thing out?
Paul's Take: It's one of the great mysteries in the entire NBA right alongside the number of kids Shawn Kemp has running around the globe and why Jerome Williams never thought to visit a dentist. I'd love to see what results would show up if someone did a study on the correlation between random and sketchy bald spots, and absolutely insane people.
Ant's Take: Priceless quotes from Sir Charles:
--"These are my new shoes. They're good shoes. They won't make you rich like me, they won't make you rebound like me, they definitely won't make you handsome like me. They'll only make you have shoes like me. That's it."
--"I got two pet peeves: If you watch American Idol, or you're one of those doofuses who dress up as Star Wars and sleep outside, you're a stone-cold loser."
--To Kenny Smith: "Oh man! I can't stand the X-Files! I don't believe in Extra-Terrestrials... until I saw your girlfriend one night. She needs to phone home."
--Has anyone else been more unintentionally funny than Sir Charles?
Paul's Take: What's better than a fat guy who loves to party and make jokes? Let's see, there's John Daly, Chris Farley, David Wells, John Candy, and John Belushi. You know what? The Chuckster needs no explanation-- just enjoy this link (I highly suggest 'Birthday Boy', 'A Fitting Drink', and 'Where's the Beef?').
Ant's Take: Easily the worst basketball player on the planet. Think about it. If you were 7'0" tall don't you think you could average better than the 1.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG and 0.7 BPG in 7.9 minutes he tallied last year? Shit, even Tony Danza looked better in that opening clip of 'Who's the Boss?' where he's getting thrown out at home while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. But wait, honestly, why that choice of footage? Why not have the guy slugging a grand slam with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth down by 3? Didn't Tony ever ask that? Oh yeah, um, Diop. Well, he sucks. Worse than Tony Miceli. So badly that I don't even remember which team signed him this summer.
Paul's Take: Who didn't see this mega bust coming when the Cavs inexplicably took him 8th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft? What in God's name inspired Jim Paxson to roll the dice on a kid that didn't even average 13 PPG in his last two years of high school, ahead of the likes of Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Troy Murphy, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, and Gilbert Arenas? On top of that, Diop had a history of knee problems at the time. Geez, maybe we should have put Jim Paxson (who followed up his 2001 debacle with none other than Dajuan Wagner at #6) up here instead of poor Diop.
Antoine Walker's Shot Selection
Ant's Take: The only guy who could fuck up three 4-on-1's in a single game in the Playoffs this past spring. His brain absolutely shuts off during games to the point where his teammates are in utter shock. I swore I saw the Celtics trainer vomit all over himself once this past year after Walker heaved up an off-balanced three with 22 seconds left on the shot clock. It's like all the things you were taught in recreational basketball, Walker never learned. Don't dribble into triple-teams, don't shoot when quadrupile-teamed, don't take the ball yourself on a 3 or 4-on-1, etc. I can't wait to see Shaq's reaction after 5-10 games with this guy. Should be interesting...
Paul's Take: You can't knock a guy for wanting to take the big shot, but you can tear apart someone who wants to take all the shots. I could totally see 'Toine being that kid growing up who used to shoot baskets in his driveway, pretending that he was the NBA's reigning MVP while playing Game 7 of the Finals against himself. The best is when Walker heaves up a turnaround fadeaway from the corner while being double-teamed and the ball clangs so hard off the rim that it shoots out of bounds. Then he gives one of those, "Oh my bad, I thought I had a clear look" excuses to a blatantly irate Paul Pierce.
The Collins Twins
Ant's Take: Very simple-- they are a taller version of the Gumbel brothers with the exact same basketball skills. I think I will always associate them with that 2000-01 Stanford team. Was there ever a more unlikeable group of guys? Collins twins, Casey Jacobsen, Curtis Borchardt, Matt Lottich-- I HATED those guys. Plus they barely beat my St. Joe's Hawks in the second round that year. Bastards...
Paul's Take: Harvey and Horace Grant could both play back in their day. Heck, even Kelly and Coco Miller (yikes) of the WNBA got a little game. But the Collins twins...my goodness...are they atrocious or what? Consider this-- Jarron and Jason have combined to play in 539 games, 377 of them starts, yet they have compiled a mere 10 double-doubles between the two. Even Travis Knight and Dwayne Schintzius combined for better than this.
Mateen Cleaves and Mark Madsen: The NBA's Premier Cheerleaders
Ant's Take: Wow, look how far Cleaves' mouth opens-- I could park a Buick in there. And check out how amused the kid is to the left of Mo Pete. He can't even believe some of the things he's hearing. By the looks of the kid, it's probably the first time he's heard 99.99999% of the words being exchanged between the two Spartans. But all in all, I really don't have a problem with NBA cheerleaders. What I can't stand is when the big white goons get in on the act and start waving towels and trying to complete a high-five/chest bump after a sick play. Like seriously dude, just sit the hell down. I don't care if I did a windmill/360/between-the-legs dunk to ice Game 7 of the Finals, I don't want some white doof trying to chest bump me.
Paul's Take: Did anyone see Cleaves rock the Michigan State jersey after they reached the Final Four during a Sonics game this season? Who does that? I'm tired of 'injured' guys sitting on the bench with their team wearing something as inexcusable as this, but that's another story. How do these clowns keep getting jobs? There's got to be a better reason to sign someone other than this. What is a 'locker room guy' anyways? Do they fire up their teammates before games by playing a game of hot hands? Do their wives bring orange slices into the locker room for a boost of vitamin c during halftime? These are things I'm dying to know.
Ant's Take: Besides that big red headed guy with the massive jaw and forehead in that movie that's always on USA on Saturday afternoons, God must have hated Handlogten the most. Seriously, does this guy have hepatitis C or what? What is eating away at his face and causing his jaw to make his lip curl like that? It's fucking gross man. You're a professional basketball player, take some of your salary and get that shit fixed. After the photographer took this was he like, hey Ben, is this shot okay, or you want me to take another? Could Ben really be happy with this picture of himself? "Yeah Bob, I like the way my nostril looks like red ants are attacking it, I bet the chicks will dig that."
Paul's Take: Jesus Ant, you're greasing the slide to hell with that one. I love this guy! But let's be serious-- did someone throw sulfuric acid at him when he was a kid? I'm not even joking. Anyways (before any good karma I've got is flushed down the toilet), have you ever watched him play before? If not, check out a Jazz game next season (assuming he's still with the team). I remember the first time I ever saw him play, there was a close-up shot of him walking on to the court from the scorer's table. I seriously had to rub my eyes and blink a few times to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. You want to talk about your quintessential goofy white boy, Ben Handlogten is exhibit A.
Coming Next Week, Part 2...
I got this picture of a mailman to try and remind you guys to send in your questions for the mailbag. The link is posted on the top right of the blog. Anything rattling your minds on the NBA, please send it in and we will do our best to answer. Thanks