Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Did someone say Dirk, weird anti-smoking commercial?

Well, someone did, because that's what we're looking at now. I still can't figure out if those kids are smoking cigarettes or ciga-weed, but either way, if this is what commercials are like in Germany, I'd still rather watch this one that hear "This Is My Country" one more time.

Shawn Marion thinks he's the man

It has recently come out that Shawn Marion is demanding a contract re-up before it's due. He says that he wants $20 Million a year, for three years. This brings in a couple of interesting things about Marion, the Suns, and the whole concept of "The Man."

Nobody can deny that Shawn "The Matrix" Marion is a great player. He's averaged over 18 ppg, 10 rpg, and still manages to get 2 assists, 2 steals, and about a block and a half per game. Not only that, but he is solid, rarely injured, plays virtually every game, and plays almost 38 minutes a game. Definitely someone who any team can use. The question is, has his ego warped his sense of self-worth?

My guess is yes. The guy was a stud at UNLV, has been priceless as an All-Star highlight waiting to happen, and has earned every accolade given to him. Unfortunately, demanding that kind of contract on a team that has lots of great players is going to handicap his team, or force them to trade him.

His contract already is the most expensive on the Suns, and they will be owing him upwards of $16-$17 Million a year for the next three years. This is pretty crazy considering who else the Suns have, such as perennial All-Stars Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, not to mention their stable of young players who can come in and wreck shop, such as Leandro "The Commodore" Barbosa. If the Suns, for some reason, adhere to this new contract demand, then the Suns will have to part with one or more of the players that have made them Championship contenders consistently for the last few years. For anyone to command that kind of control over a team's future, then you must, by all means, be the Man on that team.

Marion was great on the Suns before Nash and Coach D'Antoni showed up, no question. However, the team did not reach it's present caliber without D'Antoni, Nash, and Stoudemire. Stoudemire gets more points and rebounds, and Nash operates as the ringleader of the most entertaining show in the basketball universe (not to mention his back-to-back MVP seasons). So why does Marion want more money? In this offense, he is irreplaceable, but still scores most of his points off of putbacks (most people are worried about Amare on the boards), fast breaks (D'Antoni's philosophy and Nash's court vision), and wide-open three-pointers (Nash again). My guess is that either Marion wants to show the locker room who's boss, or is just plain greedy. Either way, that's not good for the team. Being the Man on a team would facilitate such actions, but you can't really say that Marion is the Man on the Suns. He is an invaluable cog in the gears of a great machine, but not the Man.

The Man could put up big numbers, put fans in the seats, be great for the community, etc. The one thing that the Man NEEDS to do is be the one reason that a team wins. You can't say that about Marion. You really can't say that about very many people in professional sports at all. this may be because the Man is only really applicable to basketball, because of its individual nature. There's eleven people on each side of the ball in football, and if one or two of them fail on a single play, it hinders the stars who could be the Man. Vince Young on the Longhorns, Michael Vick on the Hokies, those are the two that immediately come to mind, but we would be ignoring that both teams had a good line, good defense, good receivers, and a good running game. Both of those teams would have won without those two guys, just not as well.

Basketball is the one sport that you can go out and play one-on-one. It is the one sport that when the game gets on the line, you put the ball in your best guy's hands and watch the magic. Therefore, the Man can only truly happen in basketball. During this last season, only a few players were really the Man on their teams. Kobe, LeBron, KG, and the list gets sketchy from there. Kobe has handicapped his team with his enormous contract and locker room antics, but do you really want the ball in anyone else's hands? You could put any four guys on the court around him, and he would find a way to win. LeBron has a big contract, but the Cavs are for lack of a better word, stupid. He dragged a mediocre team to the finals by himself (with a little help from Boobie Gibson). Kevin Garnett has been the Man on the Timberwolves since he got into the league, and has been enough of a man to not gripe about the T-Wolves' idiocy, even take a pay cut, because he is so loyal and all he wants to do is win. The rest of the great teams were just that, teams. Dallas proved it could win without Dirk. Golden State overachieved with a collective effort, highlighted by Baron Davis' explosions. The Spurs were the Spurs, everybody played on that team. Gilbert Arenas went out, but the Wizards were still adequate until Caron "The Koran" Butler got hurt. Bulls, Pistons, Jazz, same story. Don't tell me that the Heat were no good because Wade went out. That team couldn't win, period.

For more examples, let's see. Tim Duncan on his first two championship runs, definitely was the Man. Allen Iverson when he took the 76ers to the finals, the Man. Shaq and Kobe, while both great, both needed someone else to get them to the promised land (Kobe hasn't done it, and Shaq needed great play from Antoine Walker, Alonzo Mourning, and Wade's floppery to win in '06). KG almost put his team in the finals a couple of years ago in an exhibition of what it means to be the Man. Hakeem the Dream was probably the Man on his two championships, and of course there was Jordan. Fiction generally gives us a good view of what it means to be the Man. Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game, definitely the Man. Jimmy in Hoosiers might be a stretch, but they only won the climactic game because of him. The best Man in all of sports, fiction or otherwise? None other than the Man himself, the Natural, Roy Hobbs of the Brooklyn Knights.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What in the name of App. State is Parity?

The talking heads at the WWL will use this term ad nauseum, but what does it really mean and do they even know what they are talking about. Well inspired by the mighty mountaineers I will give you my dissertation on the subject.
I assume when people talk about parity they mean that on any given Saturday any team can win, so why did this start and why is it happening? The first factor certainly has to be NCAA rule changes regarding scholarships. Teams are now limited in scholarships and can only travel 55? players for a conference game. Obviously this spreads the talent pool and deters super teams such as the Oklahoma's of the 60's and 70's. This aspect seems rather obvious and becomes the main factor for many "Expert's" analysis.

In my opinion its much more complicated. Quick history lesson: In the 1970's Mouse Davis implemented the "Run n Shoot" offense (read Steve Spurrier) which essentially spread the field vertically and laterally. from that point on the Spread philosophy was born. While many have adapted this philosophy it all really relies on the same principles. Many, however, could not, or did not run the ball effectively and so it became somewhat of a gimmick.

Fast forward to the mid 90's when Rich Rodriguez coached at (Northwestern I think) A QB misses the handoff on a simple zone play and ran around the end who was crashing on the back. (no idea if this is actually true) At this point one could argue the spread option was born. Many old option coaches will tell you they run the option (veer, midline, speed, load, etc) because of the strain it places on a defense, and in general the ability to do more with inferior athletes. And today coaches are adapting many old styles of football to spread formations that stress the defense on different levels. (Urban Meyer= singlewing and wishbone philosophies)

Now consider the rise in popularity of football, specifically in the level of involvement on all levels. In the modern game the need for hard nosed fullback is replaced by the speedy kid with hands, kids who were deemed to small by the coaches of yesteryear are now recruited in high school hallways. Even huge lineman are only valuable if they can move. In short a more diverse athlete is now playing football. Sure size and strength are always going to be factors in a player's "value" but speed is now becoming the trump card. Essentially now you have a situation where balanced offenses that stress defenses, coupled with a different type of athlete (especially QB's) allow for "inferior teams" to not only compete but to beat traditional powerhouses.

Football is a game of stealing. Meaning when someone develops a defense or strategy to control the new offenses everyone else will follow suit. (Oklahoma wishbone vs. Miami 4-3) football is ever evolving and certainly the game 20 years from now will look different than today's version.

So is the ever evolving X's and O's of football the answer for this assumed parity. Well kinda... one could always argue the actual scheme vs. the execution of said scheme. I think you also have to look at the evolution of S&C programs. Technology has its place, in relation to scouting opponents and its effect on schools' ability to recruit. With that being said, the spread offense that has the ability to run and pass effectively, get their athletes in space, control the game, and score (duh) is one explanation for the competitive balance in college football today.

When Starbury talks, you listen

Wanna know how to get your picture up in Carnegie Deli? Want to know how to be closer to God? Don't worry, Stephon Marbury is here to help. He keeps it together for a minute or so, and then the crazy starts spilling out.

Things have been jumping crazy in the NBA recently. Obviously, Grandpa Greg Oden hurt himself getting off the couch, but nobody ever said he wasn't injury prone. Andrei Kirilenko is doing what he does best: whining like a Russian bitch. He very well may stay in Russia instead of going back to Utah this year. Yi Ginandjuice finally decided to play in Milwaukee, even though he wanted to play in a city with lots of hot asian chicks.

I guess the Knicks are trying the hardest to stay in the news. They got Zach Randolph on draft night, which is ok, I guess. But, for a team that already has image problems, and lots of selfish players who seem to get violent often, Z-Bo just doesn't seem like a good fit. He seems like the kind of guy that will bring a gun to the MSG, to pop one of the refs, and conceivably Eddy Curry.

Isiah Thomas is definitely doing the most, though. His sexual harassment suit is one big comedy of errors. One, they called Stephon Marbury as a witness, which as we can see in the video, is probably trouble for everyone. That, and, he banged the accuser's secretary in a car behind a strip club.

I've never liked Isiah Thomas, and it kind of seems like he's in a big hole and he keeps on digging. In his deposition, he said it wasn't harassment to call the accuser a "bitch" because he's black. He says that if a white man calls a woman a bitch, it's inappropriate, but a black guy doing it is totally fine. Someone needs to get on the phone with Jena, Loserana and ask if they will accept Isiah in the place of the six kids.

Anyways, watch the video, around 3:35, Starbury shows us a dance move that keeps him closer to God. Free the Jena six.

Most kids piss their name in the snow...Scooter Biceps pisses his name into concrete.

Political commentary should be pretty easy. I mean, politics is stupid, hating should be a sinch. So how awesome was this video?
One word: BALLIN'. I've been waiting for some idealistic nut to get theirs in front of a national audience for sometime now, ever since I was told by a Beale Street evangelist that Jesus, in fact, did not turn water into wine and that I needed to learn about "that new wine." Needless to say when he said this, he acted as if he was David Copperfield or Chriss Angel and he had just pulled B.B. King out of my asscrack in front of all of the bystanders on Beale. Instead he looked like a moron.
I wonder what this kid is doing right now, other than trying to figure out how to use his arms and legs again without going through a full-body muscle spasm. Probably trying to get a spot on the View. Or hanging himself. Or trying to hang himself on the View. Attention hungry pussy. The only reason he hasn't hollered at a Bush rally was because campus safety doesn't guard the President. Smith and Wesson both do and they hate douche bags. "Ow." That guy.
So I've found two really good documentaries about two of the nation's greatest presidents: Washington and Kennedy. They should provide as much insight as they do inspriation.
PS - My name is Scooter Biceps. I can lift most things over my head, run a five minute mile and grow a handsome soul patch in less than three days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Starting defense... a place at the table

Hello all is seems like I, Lattimer will be joining Big Pete here on this little adventure. You have no idea who i am so I'll give you some background info.
I played 10 years of competitive football, but whats more impressive is the fact that I have a 13 year dynasty in NCAA football 07. I hate the Memphis Grizzlies because they are not the St. Louis Grizzlies. Rick Ankiel has ripped my heart out of my body on several occasions. I hate to love the Rams because they play in a dome. Tyrod Taylor is the second coming. The Wire>the rest of TV. Yuengling is proof of God's existence. ESPN will ruin sports. Steven A. Smith is everything that is wrong. Jason Whitlock is everything that is right. and finally Ding F-ing Dong!!!

Pau Gasol wants a watch.

In this ad from Spain, Pau Gasol and Rafael Nadal really want these watches. The catch is, this fine piece wants them to jump through hoops to get their time piece. The hoops they must jump through include knocking their respective sports' balls off of eachother's heads. They fail miserable, so now they must quit sports. They look like they're having a good time bartending on a beach, and when she shows up and asks them what time it is, they magically each have their watches. Brilliant.

Darko is Fucking Crazy

After living in Memphis for four years, I grew to love the Memphis Grizzlies. They had a great relationship with the city, put money into downtown, and not once did they have a player who had a questionable reputation, fought dogs for money, sold drugs, etc. James Posey came close, because he's a drunk.

Anyways, Grizzlies games are great experiences. They're cheaper than a movie, they somehow manage to keep games close (most of the time), and they play right next to Beale Street in downtown Memphis.
Having said that, I'm sick of their front office. It's like they want this team to suck so that no one will put up a stink when they move the team in a couple of years. As we can see from the above video, the only significant off-season move resulted in the Grizz bringing in a violently crazy Serb. Not only is he violent and crazy, he is also a seven foot tall goon. The Grizz already have a seven foot tall foreign goon, his name is Pau Gasol. This is the bullshit of all bullshits. Just give me one fucking playoff win. Mike Conley, Jr. better be good, or the Grizzlies will have flushed yet another of their seasons down the drain.

"You think you can take my shit?"

I heard the tape and everything, and I think it still went a little something like the video above.

It's a good day for felonious football players. Well, it's a good day for those of us who enjoy the antics of football players who commit felonies. It's been pretty slow since it was decided that those assholes are going to wait until December to sentence Vick. Deltha O'Neill's dog bit someone, which just kind of sounded like inevitability in my ears, and Isiah Thomas is taking the MSG Crazy Circus to court with him, and we'll have more on that later.

Anyways, the felonious footballers I had in mind were Tank Johnson and O.J. Simpson. Tank Johnson is bringing Dallas a couple of things it didn't need and a couple of things Dallas did, in fact, need more of. What the Cowboys didn't need was another solid defensive lineman. The boys are stacked to the gills of guys who clog the middle up. Tank Johnson better have been cheap, because he's only replacing some guys that I was growing to love. For instance, I love how Chris Canty has too many bars on his face mask. What Tank is bringing Dallas (the city) that it needed more of is violent shootings and drunk driving. Big D(eez Nuts).

OJ is a different story. Jamie Foxx once said that he wished OJ would just go somewhere and sit down. Well, he went to Vegas with some buddies, some guns, and he meant business. Now, I know that he was convicted in the court of public opinion, and acquitted in the real court, so I'm conflicted. One way or another, he's spawned many many comedic references, which have virtually all made me laugh.

The Ghost of Roy Hobbs: Providing the best coverage in Sports and Entertainment

If you stumbled across this blog somehow, then you must be really lost. Anyways, congratulations, because you have just found the finest source for Sports and Culture news and analysis, once we get the hang of this posting bullshit.