Saturday, March 03, 2007

I Never Fall Off--Like Adebisi Hat

I'm back from taking care of important off-the-Internets stuff. Four points about the NBA:

1. Shaq Fu

What a week for the Diesel. With the absence of Flash, he's now the center of the Miami offense (and our hearts) again. I know some important people at LSU, so I was able to get his day planner for this past week:

1. Meet with the president. Take notes in preparation for 2016 run.

2. Ether Steve Nash by telling reporters, "I don't know how y'all pick that [MVP award]. It's been tainted for me the past couple of years."

3. When reporters ask about a versatile left-handed hook you paced, claim that, "They call me the Big Sewer, 'cuz I've got a lot of you-know-what in my game."

4. Buy more pimp hats.

5. Be awesome in general.

"I'll treat you like Spielberg/And get your ass kicked in the park!"

Not only did Shaq Fu cross all of those items off his list, he also scored his 25,000th point, which only eighteen players have ever done. As if there was any question whether or not he's a hall-of-famer, that's as much of a benchmark as the NBA's wacky hall has. That extra 5,000 counts for a lot, considering that Ol' Cliff Robinson has paced 20,000 and can't get his signed photo hung up at the local IHOP, let alone have a Hall-of-Fame bust.

Then analyze O'Neal's career numbers and consider this: if he were to be even an average free-throw shooter, raising his career percentage at the line from an abysmal 53% to a halfway decent 65%, he would have 1,186 more points. He would have passed this milestone the year before last and would be working on the rarefied air of 30,000 career points. This point proves what we've known all along: Since he has been in the top five most fouled players every year of his career, the Diesel could have been one of the all-time greats if he had just nailed down that one fundamental.

That's what's fascinating about it. Everyone knows Shaq can't shoot free throws. Your mom knows it. It's been lampooned from Pepsi commericals to Scary Movie 4. It's almost a trademark. Never before in the history of sports has a player's central fault been a) completely agreed upon by everyone, b) never addressed or improved by the player in question, and c) been irrelevant to his greater legacy.

Picture this: a baseball player can't hit curve balls. It's a glaring weakness of his, and he's an easy out for a curve ball pitcher every time he comes to the plate. His career would suffer if he even were able to ascend to the major leagues with such an obvious deficiency. Well free-throw shooting is just as important in basketball, and Shaq has become one of the best players ever despite being one of the worst players ever within that particular area of the game. In a way being so shitty at free throw shooting makes him that much more impressive and dominant overall.

2. Shaun Livingston

He's done. It's a shame because he had so much potential and he's still only twenty-one years old, but he's done. After recovering from another serious knee injury, after playing in 147 of a possible 246 games in his short career, Livingston chili dogged a layup and pulled what is a laundry list of injuries--you know, for people who wash and dry body parts:

anterior cruciate ligament
posterior cruciate ligament
medial collateral ligament
lateral meniscus

Plus, he ended up missing the lay-up.

I'm no doctor, but none of that is good. Only thing this dude is getting re-signed in the off-season is a cast. Seriously though, he could have been a great player, and I feel terribly sorry for him. I doubt he'll ever be able to recover from this.

(Do you ever think about what college basketball would be like if people hadn't jumped to the NBA? Livingston would be in his junior year at Duke gearing up for a tournament push, although they would be a low seed because Bron's senior year at Wherever State would be a number one seed.)

3. LeBron James is expecting his second child

I haven't seen his girlfriend Savannah Brinson, but I want as many LeBron James contributions to the gene pool as possible. No eugenics, but can we get a stable of really intelligent women in line to let him smash? Here's hoping this is our generation's Calvin Murphy--he's off to a good start, with first-born LeBron Jr. (obvs) not even reaching the two-year mark yet.

"Condoms are kind of a bank robbery."

4. The NBA Players' Association ain't got no love for New Orleans?

Earlier this week, union director Billy Hunter (a/k/a MC Hammer's former lawyer) voiced concerns about safety issues for the '08 All-Star Game in New Orleans. Specifically, he told Newsday that, "If the union is not convinced that the city can accommodate the All-Star Game, it's an issue that will be subject to litigation between the union and the league." He added, "First of all, their police force is dissipated. They're probably dealing with half the force they had before" (italics mine).

My buddy Shaq talked out of his neck as well: "I'm not sure if the city of New Orleans is ready for something like that. I don't know what New Orleans' situation is, but from watching the Spike Lee special and watching the news, it doesn't look like it's ready for something like that."

Listen to all of the uncertainty in those quotations. I'm not sure but... It doesn't seem to me that... Forgive me, T-Mac, but when did you become an expert on urban development and disaster relief? Was it during all of those years when you didn't go to college?

None of these individuals knows enough about the current status of the city--not to mention what the status will be by the time next year rolls around--to have an opinion. By making these comments, they're not only embarrassing themselves, they're embarrassing the entire NBA. Do you really think David "Jewish Scarface" Stern isn't smarter than you? Do you think he doesn't have all of this planned out? Do you think the NBA and its legal team would take the risk of announcing New Orleans as the next all-star site if they didn't think it would be ready?

How awesome would the New Orleans versions of these parties be?

- Lil' Flip: "Check it out. That's the guitar Kurt Cobain used to record 'School.'"
- Antoine "Pancake Face" Walker: "Yes, I'm quite familiar with it. It's similar to a seafoam Telecaster, but with different pick-ups and, of course, re-strung for a left-handed player. Interesting that you bring up 'School,' though--a song whose live version on From the Muddy Banks of The Wishkah is much more powerful and accessible. I always thought that Teenage Fanclub totally ripped off that escalating riff on their song 'Thirteen.' It's eerily similar."
- Lil' Flip: "True. But, of course, it's not as if Nirvana never ripped anyone off. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' has the exact same chord progression as Boston's 'More Than a Feeling,' and Cobain said on many occasions that he was just channeling Meet the Beatles, the Meat Puppets, and The Pixies' early work on Nevermind."
- Antoine "Pancake Face" Walker: "Damn. Vida Guerra has a fat ass."

Tracy, New Orleans has just successfully hosted millions of people for Mardi Gras with very few incidents. It has hosted more Super Bowls than any other city. And by next year's all-star game, it will have paced both a BCS Championship game and another Fat Tuesday. Although the infrastructure and businesses of most of southern Louisiana are still being uncermoniously neglected, with no help in sight, the downtown area--most people's idea of "New Orleans"--is almost back to normal, which the police force relects.

Let's call this what it really is, bougie. You're afraid of all the buck-wild black people. You live in Houston and have experienced the surge of crime brought there by 504 evacuees. What people mean when they say something like, "The all-star game is a lot bigger than people might be bigger than the Super Bowl now," is that this is the Black Super Bowl, and they're insinuating that large gatherings of African-Americans are dangerous. Whether or not you can back that up (and many examples of the past few years do), it's the same people coming to the all-star game, no matter where it is. Are you saying that because New Orleans NBA fans may be in a more needy situation, they're more likely to rob you, Tracy? Do you not feel safe because poor black people with whom you can't relate will be around you?

Here's how you fix that, how you feel safe if you're an NBA player in town for the all-star game: You accept that you are a walking target as a celebrity and get qualified bodyguards, rather than an entourage of your friends whose attitudes complicate your situation. In fact, the NBA will probably be happy to provide those bodyguards for you if you're someone on the level of McGrady. Secondly, don't put yourself in precarious scenarios; e.g., making it rain in a strip club with $81,000 of cash in a garbage bag. So don't attack a New Orleans you're not familiar with because you aren't responsible. Maybe instead of making it rain in a strip club with $81,000 of cash in a garbage bag, you could bring revenue into an area that desperately needs it. Maybe you can even sponsor a fundraiser to aid in the relief of people in this city that's "not ready" for all of this garbage, but I guess that would involve thinking about someone other than yourself.

Otherwise, if this is about us not having enough upscale strip clubs for rain-making, just say so.

Before I let you go, let me just tell you now: trance-rap is happening right now. As you sleep, the groundwork is being laid down. This is going to be the subgenre of the year.

And finally,

King. Of. R. And. B. This is actually a remix of a Bow Wow song, but Kelly's so good that he didn't allow Bow Wow to have a verse on his own track. It's time we start considering Robert's place in the history of music.

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