Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Showdown

"We did what we had to do"

"Just taking care of business"

"This was a game we should have won"

These and other variations are common cliches that we often hear players and coaches say. But this is not really what you heard on Christmas day. In fact, our postgame interview consisted of a smiling and downright giddy Kobe Bryant acknowleding the enormous victory. Before a parade erupts in downtown Los Angeles celebrating the Lakers' impressive and significant win over the visiting Boston Celtics, allow me (who else?) to put some perspective on today's huge showdown.

This was a game booked on Christmas Day. The Lakers were the favored home team. Instead of scheduling the game on the home court of the defending champions, the NBA schedule makers did us all a favor by placing the marquee matchup at Staples Center.

Why did they 'do us all a favor,' you ask? If this game was in Boston, the Celtics would have most probably won as usual. This would have been no surprise at all, as the Celtics went 3-0 against the Lakers in Boston just six months ago during the 2008 NBA Finals. But the game was not in Boston, it was in Los Angeles. This gave the game more meaning.

If the Celtics managed to pull out another victory at Staples Center, they would have extended their winning streak to 20 and beyond, confirming the common thought that they are indeed the best team in basketball this year. If the Celtics won, there would no longer be any more arguments. The Lakers have Bynum. The Lakers have a healthy Ariza. They still have the best player in the world. The Lakers had the game on their turf. The Celtics lost Posey. No wheelchair antics. No bigtime questionable calls. No excuses. If the Celtics won, it would have been over. The Celtics are still better, end of story. The NBA season would no longer be fun for us to watch and talk about endlessly.

Thankfully, the Lakers won, and now fans around the world can continue the great fun of following the league without knowing a predictable finish would come true for sure. Remember, the brilliance of sports is the mystery of the final outcome.

So we can analyze the basketball part of it. We can talk about how the Lakers rose to the occassion, how Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol made amends after their well documented performances this past June. We can talk about how the Lakers brilliantly adjusted to the Celtics swarming defense of Kobe Bryant. We can talk about how the game was tied up with just a few minutes to go and could have gone either way. But for now, let us rejoice in the fact that the Lakers won a game that they should have won. This gives us hope that things will, at the very least, remain interesting moving forward as we finally begin the signficant part of the NBA season.

I just marked my calendar, because the Lakers visit Boston on February 4 on TNT.

JibJab - 2008 Year In Review

Friday, December 05, 2008

Worst Ever

ESPN shows us the worst 82 game records in NBA history, projecting Oklahoma City to be the worst of all time at their current rate. Take a look down the list, though, and you will quickly notice that the Los Angeles Clippers are the franchise with the most entries, including this year's torrid start.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


While I am going to hold off on sharing my personal experiences and opinions on the Clippers owner, it is an interesting feeling to read about a man who you have interacted with: on Donald Sterling and Clippers' financial situation

Donald Sterling's Skid Row Image

Marc Stein on Elgin Baylor's ugly exit

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Someone has to win...right?

Tonight the two teams with the NBA's worst records square off.

Which two teams are they, you wonder?

Why, none other than the Los Angeles Clippers (1-9) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-10).

For those of you who personally know me, you have to appreciate the irony of these being MY two teams. You cannot make this stuff up. I might very well be the only person watching the game on television tonight. Seriously.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh John, you so funny

Senator John McCain was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week:

Jay: The election was last week, how are you holding up?

John: I have been sleeping like a baby. You know, sleep for two hours, wake up and cry...sleep for two hours, wake up and cry.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you, Stu

This was the call moments ago after Kobe Bryant nails a critical fourth quarter bucket:

Joel Myers: How good is this guy!?

Stu Lantz: I'll tell you how good he is...awfully good.

I know not to expect much from local commentators, but you would think that one of the most premier organizations could provide something better.

Oh, how I miss Chick Hearn.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prop 8

In sports, the game is what it is. Players practice, coaches coach, managers manage, the front office does their thing, and at the end of the day, everyone gets to see the final product come gametime. Politics and government are the opposite. Most of how the government truly operates happens behind the scenes and is well out of our control. It is nothing like sports where we see and know nearly everything and what is printed and what we read is generally true and meaningful. This is why I find discussion and debates, as fun and educational as they can be, are typically useless when they are about politics. I find myself thinking, "but how do we really know that?" during any and every discussion about politics and government; as opposed to sports, in which we have access to nearly everything and are better equipped to discuss and debate it.

That being said, I cannot help but chime in on the recent controversy here in California:
  • In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22, which defined marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary"
  • In 2008, four San Francisco judges ruled Prop 22 unconstitutional, which essentially legalized same sex marriage in California.
  • Proposition 8 is an amendment to the California Constitution that states "only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"
  • In Massachusetts, a father who objected to having his kindergartner taught about same-sex marriage was arrested and jailed for not leaving a meeting with school officials who refused to tell him when the curriculum was going to be taught.
  • A group of San Francisco first graders were taken to city hall to observe a gay marriage. The backlash and outrage following this was enormous.
  • Proposition 8 is about to barely pass with a 53/47 split. However, polls and casual observations show a strong opposition to Prop 8 amongst younger voters, which means this issue is certain to come up again and possibly be changed yet again by a more liberal younger generation.
  • Florida passed a similar amendment with ease. Arizona voters voted against their version.
  • This is NOT about rights. Domestic Partners have the same rights, protections, and benefits as any other spouses. This is not changing.
  • Then what is this about? It is about a piece of paper that says "license of marriage" Essentially, it is about the term "marriage." Sounds trivial, no?
  • So, again, what in the world is this all really about? Sing along, folks: IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.
  • "Married" couples get tax breaks. If same sex couples are recognized as "married" then they can save a couple thousand bucks on taxes.
  • Churches have anti-tax exemptions. However, several churches have been stripped of their anti-tax exemptions because they refuse to host gay marriage ceremonies, citing the Holy Bible, which clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • Pastors preaching out of the Bible are subject to prosecution as that has been classified as "hate speech."
  • So before we go around talking about rights, morality, the sanctity of marriage, and all that good stuff, let's try to remember the cynical world we live in. You cannot blame the gays or churches for wanting to save money. Let's just stop hiding behind these masks and debating the useless stuff, because this is all about what makes the world go around. Let's be honest. It's about the MONEY, honey.

The Best

Coming off that motivational video below and watching the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets on Election Day, it got me into this whole philosophical mindset. I do not know if I represent the majority, but I believe the brilliance of sports is watching the best athletes equipped with the best equipment, coaches, and resources playing at their best. That is, I want to see the BEST.

The NBA is at its best when we have the best players on the best teams playing against each other. The NFL is at its best because it is based on such massive amounts of preparation ensuring that everyone puts their best out on the field on Sundays. Baseball is at its best when the best pitchers go up against the best hitters. Soccer struggles to put its best out on the field at the most opportune times.

Which brings us to college sports. Sitting through a number of college sporting events recently, I have realized that it will never hold a candle to professional sports. I understand the examples I am about to use are not quite Ohio State football or North Carolina basketball. But the reason why college athletics is not up to par with professional sports is simply because we do not see the best athletes performing at their best.

After years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, the vast majority of college coaches stink. The decisions they make, the horrid substitutions, the terrible ways they evaluate and misuse their players, and perhaps most importantly, the lack of adjustments during the game contribute to a frustrating atmosphere. Then there's the players. Besides the fact that most are misplaced delinquents who cannot fit in their campuses and respective student bodies, the players are either so limited or just plain stink. College football basically consists of a game in which the team with the bad quarterback that messes up the least wins. College basketball is basically consists of a game in which the team that turns the ball over the least wins, and so on and so forth.

Yes, I understand the passion and intensity in college MAY be superior than the pros at certain schools with specific sports. But UCLA basketball is only popular because they have such a strong winning tradition, not because they actually play a brilliant brand of basketball. Most of the students in the crowd at Pauly Pavilion do not even understand what a pick and roll is. At a California football game in Berkeley, the student section, consisting mostly of academics who clearly do not understand football, often boos or cheers at the wrong times to the point where they need a ring leader on a microphone to explain to them when to do so, and even then they still get it wrong. Closer to home, UC Irvine has fielded a national championship in Volleyball, saw their baseball team earn a Cinderella trip to the College World Series, and currently has the No.1 ranked soccer team. Yet I am fully confident that 95% of our apathetic student body and alumni, consisting of mostly Asians and wealthy whites, cannot even name a player on any of those teams. When the basketball team was one win away from earning the school's first ever bid to the NCAA tournament and essentially putting our school's name on the map, we could not even fill up the small student section even though the Big West Championship game was basically on our turf, a few miles away in Anaheim.

But go to a professional game. At Staples Center, there are die hard basketball fanatics who understand the game beyond belief. Clipper Darrell may seem like a freak in a suit, but his basketball knowledge and realistic approach of his players stunned me. Even the Laker fans, best known for being bandwagoners who cannot hold an intelligent discussion about basketball that does not involve profanities and "Kobe rules!" actually are smart and interesting to talk to. Well, at least some of them.

You all know I have made a habit of hanging out at sports bars on Sundays and talking to football fans, who are generally not the brightest people in the world. In fact, I have come to learn how to spot who are the educated ones I would actually like to talk to and who are not worth my time due to plain stupidity. And the ones at professional football games are generally far calmer, smarter, and educated than those who attend college football games. You can actually converse with fans from the opposing team and learn from each other, as opposed to the divided atmosphere of insensible hatred that exists at a college sports event.

So I tried college sports. But I came right back to pro sports. I want to see the best performing at their best...while watching, talking, and enjoying it all with the best.

Well, at least he's humble

LeBron James on whether he would consider a future in politics:

"Mayor of Akron? I'm already mayor of Akron. I've been that for about 10 years now."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Online Church

One of my few pet peeves is when people say "I don't have time" or "I am so busy." While those may be the thoughts running through my head when some of you ask about the recent lack of posts, I have always been one to think that everyone can make time for anything or anyone, as long as they truly want to.

...which brings us to the church. Check out Newsweeks' short feature on online church services. While there is no doubt that church is evolving and modernizing, I wonder if this is a good or bad feature.

On this ever so important election day, I would hope more Americans realize and accept the power of the church in our everyday lives. The Church has proven to be more influencial than any one vote, politician, political party, or presidential administration.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shady Business

Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Gandhi told us to love our brothers. So I am returning the favor to the true brother through the art of timely promotion: check out Shady Business (permanent link on the bottom right), where you find a great buffet of well developed thoughts about professional and college sports, politics, technology, interesting links, and hell, even rap music.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008


You know the moment I knew the Seahawks season was a lost one? It was not when the head coach retired before the season even started. It was not even when the top six wide receivers got injured, or even when the starting quarterback and his backup went down. Nope. The moment I knew my team was done was when the commercial for heartburn medication featured replays from the Seahawks getting destroyed by the Giants while they were losing to the Packers. When pharmaceutical companies use your team as a sorry marketing strategy, showing your quarterback getting sacked, your secondary getting burned for long touchdowns, and your linebackers bouncing off the opposing running back, and ask, “do you have heartburn?” that is when you know, the season is lost.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh Matt, you so funny

Listening to the Seahawks after the game, you can tell how upbeat they all are after earning their first win of the season.

Matt Hasselbeck, on the Seahawks new running game that features more of a north/south running style:

"I said that we want to be on the I-405 or the I-5. No 520, no I-90. Always north/south. I don’t know if everyone gets the joke. [laughter] I think only two guys in here get the joke. Maybe it’s not a good joke."

Thank you, John

After Al Michaels completes his tradition opening consisting of eloquent introductions to the Sunday Night Football matchup, he turns to John Madden, who has this insightful analysis of the Dallas Cowboys:

"They have a really, really good offense."

Thank you, John.

Oh Mike, you so funny

Mike Holmgren, on Matt Hasselbeck's surprising block that led to a Julius Jones touchdown:

"The players loved it. The sideline, the guys that saw it… But, I would rather he didn’t do it. We can’t win the battle and lose the war. He is the one guy that must stay healthy. I’ve said this before, he is not the most graceful guy in the world. I love him, but he is not the most graceful guy in the world. So, when he thinks he is making this great block, it’s kind of a car crash. But, he did, bless his heart, but I did calm him down when he got over to the sideline, [and told him] please don’t do that anymore. I appreciate it, but don’t do it anymore. He’s kind of a hard head sometimes on things."

And then later...

"I think his leadership since all of these things have taken place is wonderful. He has never been a better leader than he is right now. I told him that I appreciate that, and he says it’s all good. Except for the block."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh Matt, you so funny 9

With the Seahawks without their top six wide receivers due to injuries, here is Matt Hasselbeck on why he did not offer to line up at reciever this week:

At times I think I'm funny, but [Coach Holmgren] makes fun of the fact that I think I'm funny. I kinda just give up a little bit. He's pretty funny, but only one guy can try to be funny. I've realized in this relationship I've gotta just try to be the butt of the joke instead of making the joke.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If I were President...

With politics climbing to the top of our social agenda, here is a paraphrasing of how Pastor Dudley Rutherford opened up yet another brilliant sermon at Shepherd of the Hills Church this weekend:

If I were President...

First, I would make sure they open up an In-N-Out on every street corner.

Second, I would ban the use of 'Commitment to Excellence' in the Oakland Raiders organization.

Finally, I would make it a requirement for every elected government official to read the Bible daily.

And people wonder why I love church so much.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thank you, John

Here is some of John Madden's insightful analysis from last night. Not exactly word for word, but from the best of my memory:

All of Manning's routines have changed...his preseason routine...his training camp routine...his pregame routine...his game routine...all of them are different.

The Bears have out-physical-ed the Colts tonight.

Wow. Thank you, John.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Next Team

With the Redeem Team winning gold this past weekend, the harsh reality of no meaningful basketball being played over the next couple months sets in. So let's take a look at which players might compose the next USA basketball team at the World Championships in Turkey in 2010 and at the London Olympics in 2012.

Remember, this is all theoretical guesswork...


  • Jason Kidd - Definitely out, as his age showed.

  • Kobe Bryant - Now in his 30s, it does not make sense for Kobe to wear himself out during summers.

  • Carlos Boozer - An NBA All-Star who does not seem to fit in well in the international game, a la Tim Duncan

  • Tayshaun Prince - An invaluable defender and rebounder who did the little things, but will the team bring back an aging veteran at that point?

  • Dwyane Wade - This is the most important question mark. Wade was the unexpected star of these Olympics, a key cog off the bench that was constantly attacking the basket, drawing fouls, and anticipating passes and making steals on defense. Wade would be the perfect replacement for Kobe's shooting guard spot, but health concerns may drive him off the team.

Stays in:

  • Michael Redd - FIBA is moving the three point line farther back after these Olympics, so USA will need a sharpshooter to combat zone defenses. Plus, Redd's professionalism and likability is well known.

  • Carmelo Anthony - The most versatile player of the USA team loves the international game as he can shoot, handle, post up, and bang on the inside. Carmelo has already stated that he wants to return.

  • Lebron James - The face of the NBA will have the opportunity to become the leader of USA hoops and cement his status as the best player in the world by then.

  • Chris Bosh - Unexpectedly became the team's best interior big man, running the floor and making many quick plays.

  • Chris Paul - Showed off his quickness and speed throughout the Olympics, and will only get better as he gets accustomed to the international game and splitting those zones. Paul was closed out the final games on the floor, so there is no doubt that he will be the starting point guard with Kidd gone.

  • Deron Williams - A strong point guard that had some great showings in the exhibitions, and will be a good compliment to Paul.

  • Dwight Howard - Will forever be a beast that no one in the world can defend. The zone defenses tend to limit him offensively, but he is perfect to take up space on the lane and block some shots on defense. Off penetration and a dish, there is no one more intimidating that can finish stronger. Howard has already said he wants to return.

Coming in:

  • Kevin Durant - The only sure fire lock to make the next USA team happens to the rookie of the year. Durant will fit in perfectly in the international game because of his length and versatility. His problem of not being strong enough in the NBA is less of an issue internationally as most players defending him will be around the same size, but he will be more athletic than them.

  • Rodney Stuckey - Impressed during the Vegas exhibitions and has the mentality that a young USA team will need.

  • LaMarcus Aldridge - Versatile big man who can step out and shoot, but, like Boozer, is a question mark when it comes to adjusting to international play.

  • Derrick Rose / Russell Westbrook / Jerryd Bayless - The team is set with Paul and Williams as its point guards, but may choose to bring along a third if one of these develops well enough.

  • Tyson Chandler / Greg Oden - You know Chris Paul was looking to lob it up to Chandler every time he penetrated. Oden would provide the team with more size, not to mention a markatable character that would make the team so much more fun and likable.

So there we have it. The next "insert rhyme word here-eem" Team will have a starting lineup of something like Paul, Durant, Lebron, Melo, and Howard. The bench will hold over Williams, Redd, Bosh, and bring on the rest of the newcomers.

Is this better than the Redeem Team? Can this team survive the other improving teams? Guess we will find out in a couple years...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Phelps' Diet

Seeing as everyone is talking about Micheal Phelps, half-man half-dolphin, take a look at what his 12,000 calorie diet is like this summer.

Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.

He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.

At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread - capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs - what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen - with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.

He washes all that down with another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thank you, John

I am going to start a running feature I have really wanted to for a while, entitled "Thank you, John" in which we highlight one of John Madden's comments that are sure to make Al Michael's eyes roll.

Considering he is a hall of fame player and coach, has an enormously popular video game named after him,and gets to call the NFL's best games as color commentator, Madden often has analysis that is so ridiculous that is is actually hilarious:

Al Micheals, talking about Peyton Manning's injury and his absence at training camp:

Al: John, big deal or little deal?

John: Al, I am going to say big deal. Peyton Manning is the Indianapolis Colts. With Manning, the Colts can be the best team in the NFL. But without him, they are not.

Thank you, John.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is getting a lot of attention after declaring himself 'the best player in the world.'

  • First of all, Pierce was asked if Kobe Bryant was the best player. It is not like he randomly went out and starting saying this. He was asked. Now, seeing as he had beaten Kobe in the NBA Finals a few weeks ago, how can you expect Paul Pierce to say anything otherwise?

  • Pierce may not even be the best player on his team. Kevin Garnett was the regular season MVP candidate who is credited with changing the culture in Boston, bringing about an intensity level and emphasis on defense that were the primary reasons for the Celtics championship run.

  • To be the man, you have to beat the man. Let us say there is a consensus that Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world. Pierce guarded Kobe well enough on the defensive end, then scored on him enough offensively, to be named Finals MVP. If Kobe is indeed the best player in the world, and Paul Pierce just beat him in four of six games, what does that make Paul Pierce?

  • If I were Paul Pierce, I would be thinking: I just beat the best player in the world on both ends of the floor on the highest stage the NBA has to offer. That has to make me the best player then. Of course, thinking it privately and stating it publicy are two very different things.

  • Pierce was not even considered to be on the USA basketball team, which is led by Kobe and currently training in China for the upcoming Olympics next week. This can only give Kobe more motivation, not that he needs it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oh Mike, you so funny

Mike Holmgren has earned a lot of recognition in his many years as a football coach. But I bet nothing beats earning a running feature from me. So in honor of Mike Holmgren's final season as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks...

Seattle P-I's Clare Farnsworth:

Leonard Weaver. A year ago, the talented fullback was in the process of playing his way off the roster.

This morning, he was singing a different tune – literally. It was "Happy Days."
It was enough to earn Weaver a little mid-practice visit from Holmgren.

"I was back there singing a gospel song and he was like, 'Leonard, stop it. I don't want to feel good right now, I'm trying to be mean,' " Weaver said.

The edict elicited a round of laughter from the players standing near Weaver – and rookie running back Justin Forsett, who actually started the song that got Weaver going.

Explained Holmgren: "I go to church and I love to hear hymns. Out here, as I told him, 'I'm in a bad mood. I don't want to be in a good mood.' "

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rescue Seattle

My main man Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times checks in with a fantastic article about how the Seahawks must save the Seattle sports scene.

This city is hurting right now. It feels as if it was sold out by the NBA. So this is what I want you to do. Safeties. Linebackers. I want you to hit every tight end, every running back this season as if they were wearing Clay Bennett masks. He's the guy who ripped the Sonics from Seattle.

"I want you cornerbacks to crack every wide receiver who dares come across the middle. I want you to treat them the way David Stern treated Seattle.

"It's up to us, gentlemen. We are the bearers of good news this season. We are the light at the end of Seattle's sports tunnel.

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 ESPYs

Random thoughts on last night's broadcast of the 2008 ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles:

  • Ray Allen went from an overpaid and washed up bench warmer to the spokesman accepting the award for Best Team. His first comment: "Another win in LA..." Oh, Ray, you so funny!
  • Host Justin Timberlake was funny, and even gave us a hilarious dance and song number.
  • Greg Oden is also hilarious. I do not think there has every been such a lovable basketball player who yet to even play in an NBA game.
  • David Tyree, accepting the award for Best Play, thanked God and Jesus first. It is good to see men of God be blessed on such grand stages.
  • Where else can you see Samuel L. Jackson and Brett Favre talking to one another on stage? The ESPYs are good stuff!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So you think you can Dance?

As you can see below, the last two weeks of FOX's prime time summer hit television series So you think you can Dance? have featured two Bollywood dances choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan. The first dance is of Katee and Joshua dancing to "Dhoom Taana" from Om Shanti Om. The reception and reactions were so great that they brought Bollywood back the next week, this time with the entire cast dancing to "JBJ" from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.

As one of many Indians who stands guilty as charged of growing apart from our cultural roots, it is really great to see Indian dancing be showcased under the bright light that is American prime time television. Those of you who know me know that I have always believed in appreciating and promoting our Indian culture, especially Bollywood entertainment, which is so fascinating and fun that other nationalities love it too. How great is it to see a bunch of white, Asian, and black people dance to INDIAN music?

Bollywood Group Dance on FOX

Katee and Joshua

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Barack on the Bible

I very rarely have any strong feelings on politics. I do not see how so many can rally behind and support politicians who are all crooks anyway. But this ruffled my feathers a bit.

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?" referring to the civil rights leader.

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus' teachings in the New Testament.

Before he tells the rest of America to do so, perhaps Obama is the one who needs to read his Bible and go to church.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Five Stages

No. The Sonics must stay. 41 years of history. Kevin Durant. Such a bright future. Something will be worked out. The Mariners and Seahawks were practically out the door, but new ownership came in and worked out new stadium deals with the city. I am sure they will figure it out at the last minute somehow.

I hate you, Clay Bennett. You are a lying scumbag. Oklahoma!? What the hell? Is there even sports there? The only thing Oklahoma is famous for is Timothy McVeigh bombing shopping malls. Why us? Why our team? You not only bought our team, but cut us off from it. Then you traded away our best players. You hired a terrible coach who is remarkably out of touch with his players.
Oh, we did not forget you, Howard Schultz. Sonic fans are boycotting your overpriced coffee, and you happen to be feeling it even more during this pseudo recession. Do not even pretend like you were the innocent victim and tried to help, because we all know you made money off this whole ordeal. I have not bought a cup of Starbucks in the past two years, and I will never do so again.
The city of Seattle, not unlike most of the nation's politicians, are just completely useless.
And you, David Stern. How dare you. You two faced liar. You loved KeyArena when it was renovated just a few years ago, calling it a "world class facility." You wrote a letter to Sacramento saying it was okay that they were not willing to pay for a new arena and that you will work with others to find a way to privately pay for a new arena. Why the preferential treatment? I know business is anything but honest, but you are still a disgusting crook. Seriously, do you really believe that Oklahoma City is more capable of hosting a team than Seattle? I thought Stern was a brilliant and intelligent man. But in the past year, he has quickly gone from the best commissioner in the worst.

Let's take them to court. We have a lease that says they must stay. It is legally binding. They cannot just pack up and leave as they please. It does not work that way. Steve Ballmer, save us. We want to keep the name, colors, and history of the once great Sonics franchise. We want to see the beloved legendary jerseys of Payton and Kemp hanging in the rafters of a building in Seattle.

Did we really just sell our team for $75 million? Talk about betrayal. There is no guarantee for another team? Kevin Durant is gone? You want me to root for a team from Oklahoma? Excuse me, while I go cry myself to sleep.

Basketball is dead to me. My Team is gone.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2008 NBA Draft Thoughts

  • Despite all the predraft hype and talk leading up to the draft, there were really no shocking surprises. Chicago takes Derrick Rose, Miami settles for Michael Beasley, and Minnesota drafts O.J. Mayo only to trade him to Memphis for Kevin Love, who went fifth.

  • What was an eyebrow raiser to others was the Seattle Sonics selecting UCLA combo guard Russell Westbrook at four. My perspective of Westbrook is skewed, because I watched a lot of him at UCLA, especially during their tournament run where he really shined.
  • The Sonics had six picks in this draft, yet after a few trades came away with four players, including three first round picks. The folks in Seattle, though, are less than pleased.The
  • Sonics selected a point guard for the future, and three more project big men with "potential." Again. Ugh.
  • The reasoning behind picking Westbrook is that he gives the Sonics a lockdown defender. The Sonics are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and routinely lost close games last season because they were not able to get stops down the stretch. General manager Sam Presti comes from the Spurs front office, which won championships based on players making those defensive stops in those critical situations.
  • The base case dream scenario is that Westbrook turns out to be the next Gary Payton. Payton was always a great defender, but took years to develop an offensive game before becoming the best player in Sonics history. What is more likely is that Westbrook is like an Antonio Daniels, another player drafted fourth overall who is a good defender and loves to attack the rim. After watching the Celtics win a championship with Rajon Rondo, the Sonics will look to develop Westbrook as a similar point guard. Both are excellent perimeter defenders who cannot shoot, but can occassionally make good plays by penetrating.
  • The decision on the future of the Sonics will be decided next week, so keep an eye out for that.

  • The Portland Trail Blazers had another great draft. Remember, the Blazers are already expected to make a huge leap this upcoming season with Greg Oden joining last year's breakout stars Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. They then pulled off a trade with Indy to bring in Arizona stud Jerryd Bayless, whom many believe was the one of the best point guards in the draft. When Kansas forward Darrell Arthur fell into their lap because of a kidney issue, they traded him for French phenom Nicolas Batum to stash in Europe for another year or two, adding even more potential to an already bright future. What is most amazing about this all is that the Blazers still have less than $20 million on the books for 2009-2010.

  • The New Jersey Nets may look back on this draft as the beginning of something special. They have completely blown up their roster, essentially trading away Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian to clear more cap room. At number ten, they took Stanford center Brook Lopez and got a second round steal in Chris Douglas-Roberts. But the grand prize may be Lebron James, who happens to be a free agent in 2010 when the Nets will have enough money to throw at him along with an attractive new home in the large market of Brooklyn, New York. Oh, and then there is that well documented friendship between Lebron and Nets part owner Jay-Z.

  • I love ESPN bringing along Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson to analyze the draft. They brought great perspectives and insights as a recent coach and player, respectively. Plus, the hilarious split screen interview of the Van Gundy brothers was utterly priceless.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hope(less?) in Seattle

As the trial that will decide the fate of professional basketball in Seattle rages on this week, Page 2 had a nice short story touching on the highlights of the Save Our Sonics rally.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Game 4: Lakers collapse

Boston Celtics 97
Los Angeles Lakers 91

Lakers blow a 24 point lead in one of the best Finals games ever.

Sheer joy.

I cannot do better than this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Game 3: Return to the Crime Scene

Boston Celtics 81
Los Angeles Lakers 87

  • As the NBA Finals shift across country to Los Angeles, the biggest news to come out of Game 3 had nothing to do with the game itself, but rather the fact that Tim Donaghy called out the NBA officials on fixing playoff games.
  • Whether or not this is true is up for debate. Obviously Donaghy is desperate to cut his eventual jail time, but none of these allegations are really all that extreme. In fact, they are so likely that no one should be surprised that the NBA influenced its own games for some extra profit.
  • The 2002 Western Conference Finals were supposedly affected, which brings into question the validity of the Lakers championship. If the Patriots deserve an asterisk next to their championships for blatantly cheating, maybe the Lakers should get one next to theirs as well.
  • Then again, those Laker teams were so amazingly dominant that there is no question they were the best, as evidenced by their impressive three peat. I take this story deeper and wonder just how much pull the NBA league office has. Maybe they really did orchestrate the trades to make the Celtics and Lakers relevant again. Or maybe Donaghy is just appealing to the conspiracy theorists looking for evidence. The tough part is we will never know for sure.
  • ABC did a great job of addressing the story up front and completely, while getting David Stern and even Jeff Van Gundy to respond.

  • Back to basketball. Although Kobe Bryant is finally attacking the basket and scoring at will again, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are still struggling. As good as Kobe is, the Lakers are not going to win this series with Odom and Gasol playing as poorly as they are.
  • Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce also struggled, with Ray Allen taking up the offensive load. Interestingly enough, the Celtics are 1-4 during these playoffs when Allen scores 20 or more points. Allen kept the Celtics in the game until late in the fourth quarter, but missed a couple open shots late that were followed by clutch Sasha Vujacic points. In other words, the Celtics are only going as far as Pierce takes them, especially because he needs to be the man and take over the end of games a la Kobe Bryant.
  • The refereeing favors the home team. Everyone should get used to it already.
  • This was a game that the Lakers should have won by a larger margin. Coming off two tough road losses and returning home, many expected the Lakers to come out fired up and blow out the Celtics. It remains to be seen what this means going forward.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pow(e)! Celtics Survive Laker Comeback

Los Angeles Lakers 102
Boston Celtics 108

  • Yes, the Boston Celtics are now up 2-0, but the Lakers have to be heading home with confidence while there is a sour taste left in the mouths of the Celtics after blowing a 24 point lead with 7:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. The series now shifts to Los Angeles for the next week, in a year where home court advantage has mattered more than ever in the playoffs. The Lakers have yet to lose at home in the playoffs, and no one will be surprised if they rattle off a few consecutive wins with the help of their home crowd and favorable officiating, especially after they found some life at the end of Game 2.

  • Alright, one year ago, who had Leon Powe winning player of the game in the NBA Finals? Who outside of Boston even knew who Leon Powe was? How about Paul Pierce being on pace to win Finals MVP, vaulting him into the top 20 or so players in the league?
  • So much for the Lakers' enormous bench advantage.
  • To Phil Jackson and the Lakers, and the Laker bandwagon fans: Do not even start whining about the officiating. The referees have been favoring the home team for the entire playoffs.
  • Everyone understandably dismissed the Celtics 2-0 record against the Lakers during the regular season because those games did not include Pau Gasol. But now that they are 4-0 against the Lakers, is it possible that the Celtics simply have the Lakers number? To be more specific, maybe Tom Thibodeau and the Celtic defense is actually effective against Kobe Bryant and company.

  • Watching the Kobe Bryant interview in between Games 1 and 2, Kobe seemed almost too happy to be in the Finals. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but compare it to the focus and intensity shown by Kevin Garnett and company, whose championship goals are crystal clear.

  • As much as I love the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird split screen "rivalries never die" commercial, I cannot help but notice how much weight they have put on over the years, especially after just watching them run around in their physical primes during the 1984 NBA Finals, which have been on ESPN Classic all week.

  • Can we keep Jeff Van Gundy as the permanent commentator for nationally televised games? His apology Dr. J on behalf of Mark Jackson, calling his comparison to Leon Powe the worst comment ever said on the ABC airwaves, was just utterly hilarious.
  • The NBA Finals are far from over, folks.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Celtics Rebound, take Game 1

I love this game. Like several other great Game 1's we have seen throughout these playoffs, the epic Celtics Lakers Finals tipped off with another amazing game. Here are some quick first thoughts:
  • REBOUNDS - Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom need to learn how to box out. The Lakers were constantly missing out on critical rebounds, most notably Kevin Garnett's thunderous putback dunk after Posey's three point miss late in the fourth quarter. The teams shot nearly identical from the field (32-77 and 32-76) but the Celtics outrebounded the Lakers 46-33.
  • PIERCE COMEBACK - Paul Pierce's Willis Reed moment coming back in the third quarter after being wheeled away with an ugly knee injury. This is more homecourt advantage than anything else, as adrenaline led Pierce to hit a couple big three point baskets. It will be interesting to see if this injury lasts.
  • KOBE - 9 of 26 from the field is not going to do it in Boston. Kobe may have forced a couple tough shots, but those same shots can and will go in, and then we can and will be having a completely different story.
  • RAY ALLEN - Do not underestimate the presence of Ray Allen. Jesus Shuttlesworth does not need to score or be popping threes to be effective. Notice the great spacing the Celtics have when Ray is on the floor, running around and spotting up. The Lakers cannot cheat off him on defense, and were often trapping him out of screens, freeing up other players for shots.
  • SAM CASSELL - Although he made some important shots, Sam also turned the ball over in situations where the Celtics could have blown the game wide open. Doc Rivers should think about giving Eddie House some time.
  • PJ BROWN - Perhaps the most important forgotten player. Brown was big on the boards of course, not to mention keeping Kobe and the Lakers out of the lane.
  • Looks like we have a classic series coming our way. Here is hoping this is where amazing happens.

OK, this is sad

While I was browsing prop bets for the opening of the NBA Finals tonight, I stumbled upon this line, which just makes me sad:

In what city will the Seattle Sonics play in during the 2008-2009 NBA Season?
Seattle +175
Oklahoma City -325

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh Matt, you so funny 8

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck grew up in the Boston area during and after his father's playing career with the Patriots. He's a Boston College alum and Celtics fan, so there was little doubt about his pick in the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals. "I'm making a prediction," Hasselbeck told reporters after practice today. "I'm thinking Celtics in three. That's how good they are. They're so much better than the Lakers." He's apparently predicting a Lakers surrender before Game 4.

Fortunate 50

Sports Illustrated has their annual list of the top earning athletes in America, The Fortunate 50.

Monday, June 02, 2008

THE Finals

Just in case you were having a hard time finding something to read on the fixed Celtics Lakers Finals set to begin later this week...


Hall of Famers
Lakers: 15
Celtics: 25

NBA Titles
Lakers: 14
Celtics: 16

NBA Finals appearances
Lakers: 29
Celtics: 20

Playoff Wins
Lakers: 395
Celtics: 300

Head-to-Head Finals wins
Lakers: 2
Celtics: 8

Now for some (not so) random thoughts...

  • POINT GUARD - Derek Fisher has the ability to be the quiet MVP of this series. That is, when Rajon Rondo refuses to shoot the ball or aggressively attack the rim, it would allow Fisher to roam and double team. Fisher may be the best defensive point guard in the league, and certainly has the capability to bother and pest the other Celtics. On the other hand, Rondo should be able to have his way when Farmar or Vujacic dares to try and stay in front of him. Look for Eddie House to come in off the bench and have an impact as well.
  • KOBE - If you find yourself at a magazine rack sometime this week, pick up ESPN the Mag and read the article on Kobe. Amidst all the talk about the personality of Kobe, we sort of forget that he is a workaholic when it comes to playing basketball. The guy is so obsessed with the game, so Jordan like, and comes with such a great story growing up, that he almost becomes likable while reading this feature. This article reminded me that he is the best player in the world because he worked for it, as opposed to Lebron who is more blessed by being stronger and faster than everyone else. So yes, everyone knows that Kobe is hell bent on winning a championship without Shaq, and will take over games at will to do so.
  • Does it matter who guards Kobe? Not really. Bruce Bowen and Andre Kirelinko got beat, and Boston does not have an individual defensive stopper like those two guys. Pierce and James Posey can do a decent job, but Kobe will be able to score when he wants. Having Kevin Garnett waiting at the rim does help, though.
  • PAUL PIERCE - The second best offensive player in this series grew up a Lakers fan in California. Pierce ups his game when he plays his old favorite franchise, averaging 28 points against the Lakers all time, more than any other team. If the Celtics somehow win the title, Paul Pierce has to play out of his mind and win the Finals MVP.
  • RAY ALLEN - This may be the biggest wild card. Ray could not find his shot for most of the playoffs until the final games of the Pistons series. Allen has had a long running feud with Kobe Bryant, so there is motivation to push him back to being the all-star sharpshooter that he is.
  • LAMAR ODOM & PAU GASOL - We know that when these guys are attacking the hoop the Lakers are unstoppable. But I think the key is when they are guarding Garnett. Remember, Kevin Garnett's game is based on him being longer and more athletic than whoever is on him. He loves to simply shoot that fade away jump shot which no one can contest. However, Odom and Gasol are long enough to bother Garnett's usual shot. This will be interesting to see if Garnett adjusts and what type of game he plays then.
  • CRAZY KEVIN & DESPERATION FACTORS - Garnett has never been here. He is going to be so ridiculously fired up, and it will trickle down to his teammates. It may be offensively, but more likely will be on the other end as he continues to will the Celtics to somehow playing great team defense. This is probably the Boston Three Party's best shot at a championship and they know it, while these Lakers will surely be back here again.
  • HOME COURT (2-3-2) - No team has ever won those three middle games. The Lakers have yet to lose at Staples in the playoffs and the Celtics only lost once to the Pistons. The Lakers have proven they can win on the road, but Boston Garden is a whole another monster. The Celtics have only one once on the road in the playoffs, but were the best road team during the season, including a victory at Staples in short shorts. Each historic franchise should bust out their respective legends in the crowd, if only to further fire up their fans and players.
  • BENCH - The Lakers bench is not that great, it is just that Phil Jackson always brings out the champs out of a bunch of chumps, which brings us to...
  • COACHES - Phil Jackson vs Doc Rivers in the biggest mismatch in NBA Finals since...well, last year with Greg Popovich vs Mike Brown. Granted, Rivers has actually done a decent job in getting production out of his chumps. But no one can discount the fact that Phil has always gotten the best out of every one of his players, from the Chicago Bulls in the 90s to early 2000s Lakers and now in this latest generation of Lakers. This championship may be Phil's best job as a coach ever.
  • OFFICIATING - I hate to say it, but the officiating is going to be a big factor in every game, just as it has for most of these playoffs. The referees tend to get caught up and favor the home team.

  • PREDICTION - I want the Celtics in Seven. I think the Lakers in Five.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sex and the City

As we were walking out of a sports bar following the Lakers' impressive series clinching victory Thursday evening, we saw a line outside the movie theatres. This is not uncommon, midnight releases are very popular. However, a bunch of us guys were trying to figure out what big blockbuster movie was releasing this weekend. As we walked past the line, we then realized that there were only about three guys in a line of hundreds of women. Immediately we concluded that the unknown release was indeed Sex and the City. The powerhouse chick flick earned an impressive $55.7 million to lead the weekend box office. Considering most blockbuster hits are in the action and comedy genres and primarily appeal to young males, it is good that the girls finally get to see one of their beloved franchises do well:

"Sex and the City," released under Warner's New Line Cinema banner, had the best debut ever for an R-rated comedy, topping the $45.1 million opening of "American Pie 2."

The movie landed at No. 5 on the all-time list among R-rated films, behind "The Matrix Reloaded" ($91.8 million), "The Passion of the Christ" ($83.8 million), "300" ($70.9 million) and "Hannibal" ($58 million).

I'll drink (a cosmopolitan) to that.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Swallow the Whistle

Anyone who watches basketball over the years knows that the game is refereed differently in the final moments of a close game. Referees prefer to "swallow their whistle" and let the players decide the game. While the NBA did admit that Derek Fisher's bump on Brent Barry at the end of Game 4 should have been a foul, Sports Illustrated and the Los Angeles Times has this report:

League spokesman Brian McIntyre said referees Joey Crawford, Joe Forte and Mark Wunderlich may have been following a league guideline in failing to make a call on Derek Fisher. "There is an explanation in the rule book," said McIntyre, "that there are times during games when the degree of certainty necessary to determine a foul involving physical contact is higher. That comes during impact time when the intensity has risen, especially at the end of a game. In other words, if you're going to call something then, be certain."

Gregg Popovich has never heard of such an advisory in all his years of dealing with referees. "It's a very strange thing," said Popovich, also before the league's statement. "If you talk to an official, the official will tell you that the game is called at the end of the game exactly like it is during the meat of the game. That's their story and they're going to stand by it. In reality, personally, I don't think that's true and I can give a thousand examples that things are called differently down the stretch where I think most referees feel -- and I agree with them -- that things need to be more definitive before you're going to make a call."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Bruce, No Win

  • One thing that is bothering me about all the post game chatter and analysis from last night's entertaining 20 point Laker comeback over the Spurs is the fact that everyone is focusing on Kobe Bryant taking over the game. If you watched the game closely, Kobe only went off went Bruce Bowen sat down in the third quarter. Down by 20 and realizing the Spurs' best defender was now resting, Kobe quickly blew by Ime Udoka. Udoka was benched immediately, and Greg Popovich put Manu Ginobili on Kobe, and the rest is history.
  • This is the playoffs. The Western Conference Finals. It is no time to be resting. (How much did the plane debacle have to do with the Spurs wearing down in the second half? I am no conspiracy theorist, but the Spurs' delay and night spent on the runway after their Game 7 win in New Orleans had to be arranged by the bitter Hornets or Lakers) The Spurs have to play Bruce Bowen on Kobe Bryant for as much as possible. I am not saying Bowen can or would have stopped Kobe. But Bowen makes it as difficult as possible. Why make it easier for Kobe to get going?
  • By putting Ginobili on Kobe, it tires out Manu on both ends. As it is, he has struggled against the Lakers all year long. Why make it even tougher on your best playmaker by making him play defense against the best player in the world?

  • The Spurs have swept the Memphis Grizzlies twice in the first round of the playoffs. I know you are thinking that is completely irrelevant, but that means that Tim Duncan was 8-0 against Pau Gasol in the playoffs entering this western conference finals. Yes, Duncan's Spurs are far better than Pau's Grizzlies ever were. But an all-star should be able to win at least one game on his own in two different years. This means that Duncan has traditionally torched Pau, and has consistently had his number. Watching last night's game, this theory was confirmed as Duncan had 30/18/4 including a series of scoring on Pau one on one multiple times in a row. Duncan also showed he can school Turiaf, meaning the Lakers must double team Timmy.
  • When the Lakers double Duncan, Manu Ginobili has to take advantage and the shooters have to hit their open shots. Neither happened last night, but the Spurs still built a 20 point lead in the second half.
  • Finally, Tony Parker looks like he may have his way with the Lakers in terms of getting into the paint in creating. So the key for the Spurs will be to somehow get some production out of their bench, which has a clear disadvantage against the Lakers' strong role players.
  • I am getting tired of the referees favoring the home team. I understand the home court advantage, and how the mortal officials get caught up in the momentum. But it would be nice to have an exciting finish that is not decided by a questionable call or no-call. It seems every great game is followed by understandable whining by the losing team. There is no solution to this problem; it is simply part of the game. The NFL plays the Super Bowl on a neutral site to avoid this issue, which I feel has become more of a deciding factor in the NBA this year.
  • Everyone is quick to compare the Spurs losing Game 1 to the Suns' blowing their first round Game 1 against these same Spurs a couple weeks ago. Will the Spurs bounce back or be unable to recover from the Game 1 devastation like the Suns? This is good stuff. Hopefully we get some more awesome basketball games like last night's.

LA Times feature on Inside the NBA

I would love to hang out and watch a game with these guys.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lottery 2008

The start of the conference finals marks a day that all the teams which did not make it into the playoffs finally have something to look forward to in relation to their losing team. Unfortunately, my Still Seattle But Almost Oklahoma City Sonics were not able to win the lottery after a woeful 20-62 season and a 39% chance of winning the top two picks. Chicago and Miami will get Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose, perhaps immediately proppelling them into playoff contention in the weak eastern conference.

Pick / Team / Chance at No. 1
1 Chicago 1.7%
2 Miami 25%
3 Minnesota 13.8%
4 Seattle 19.9%

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stern in Sacramento

David Stern is two-faced.

In a letter published in Sacramento, NBA commissioner David Stern explains his reasoning in supporting a new arena in Sacramento, CA. Stern says he is compelled "to exhaust every possibility to maintain the marriage of the Kings and Sacramento." He then admits that "new tax dollars are not a realistic option."

I find it interesting how the same person can have such a completely different stance in Seattle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indians Call Out Fat Americans

Normally I try to shy away from posting business and economic news, but this was just too interesting to resist.

Some highlights:

Criticism of the United States has ballooned in India recently, particularly after the Bush administration seemed to blame India's increasing middle class and prosperity for rising food prices. Critics from India seem to be asking one underlying question: "Why do Americans think they deserve to eat more than Indians?"

Americans eat an average of 3,770 calories per capita a day, the highest amount in the world, according to data from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, compared to 2,440 calories in India. They are also the largest per capita consumers in any major economy of beef, the most energy-intensive common food source, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The United States and Canada top the world in oil consumption per person, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Now if you will excuse me, my Indian-American stomach is craving an In-N-Out burger.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

MVP at Salt Lake

With Kobe Bryant reportedly winning this year's Most Valuable Player award a day before beginning a second round series against the Utah Jazz, it seems like a timely reminder to look back on the first time Kobe played in Salt Lake City during the playoffs:

JAZZ 98, LAKERS 93 (OT) (May 12, 1997) — This was the fifth and deciding game in the conference semifinals in the Delta Center. Bryant was just a non-starting rookie at the time, but he showed that, for good or bad, he wasn't afraid to take the big shot at crunch time.

While veterans such as Byron Scott, Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones watched, Bryant tried to will the Lakers to the victory. The rookie took the potential game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation, but it was an airball. He then shot three more treys in overtime — all of them airballs. In all, Bryant, then 18, took six shots in the final moments of regulation and overtime and missed five of them as his first playoff experience ended on a sour note.

"I had some good looks," Bryant explained afterward. "I just didn't hit the shots."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh George, you so funny

From ESPN's Pardon the Interruption:

The New York Giants visited the White House yesterday. President Bush made note of the fact that the Giants' road to the Super Bowl went through his home state of Texas, when they beat Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. Bush's intimate knowledge was evidenced with this amusing reference:

"I'm a good sport. We're going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democratic National Convention."

Why do we hate this hilarious guy again?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My Team

With my beloved Seattle SuperSonics all set to move to Oklahoma, it is now time to address the questions most of you have been throwing my way for the past year or so:

Who is your team going to be now? Who are you going to root for now? What are you going to do with your life once the Sonics are gone? And other variations, but you get the point. Here is a list of potential destinations to redirect my passionate fanatical hood, followed by a lengthy explanation of how and why (not).

Basketball – I thought I could just be a fan of basketball. After all, the reason why we enjoy and watch basketball games is that we are basketball players. I always say those of us who play basketball understand the game far more than those who do not. As for being a fan of just basketball and not a specific team, it is more fun without the frustration and fear that you get throughout the grueling season and in close games worrying about your team. I am thoroughly enjoying these super competitive playoffs because I do not have a horse in the race, and can just appreciate all the games and the whole picture instead of worrying and stressing about one team. But then I talk to friends. Friends who are Lakers fans, Rockets fans, Spurs fans, Suns fans, Hornets fans, Celtics fans, Magic fans, and Lebron fans. And I see how much fun they are having, how the thrill of the wonderful playoff games and hope of winning and making a playoff run fuel their passionate nights. There is no feeling like when your team wins. Nothing like it. Only sports can give you this. Only your team winning can give you this. Only true sports fans understand what this is like. So watching these playoffs, I realize that it is not good enough just to be a fan of basketball. I need to be a part of something. I need the passionate feelings back. I need a team.

Portland Trail Blazers – They are owned by Seattle’s own Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and owner of my beloved Seattle Seahawks. With the Sonics gone, they are the closest team to Seattle. Their head coach is Mr. Sonic, Nate McMillan. Geographically, they are the closest team to the city of Seattle and will no doubt become the passion of the Pacific Northwest once the Sonics are gone. Their best player, Brandon Roy, is from Seattle and is a product of the University of Washington, located right in the heart of downtown Seattle. Throw in the fact that they have a bright future with an improving LaMarcus Aldridge and charismatic Greg Oden, and the Blazers seem like a natural fit to be my new team. But we Sonic fans were trained to despise our I-5 rivals down the road, and I really do not feel any connection to the city of Portland.

Orlando Magic – I loved the Orlando Magic as a kid. I have been to the city three times, most recently going for a Magic home game. I have Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal posters in my room and think Chris Rock as Lil’ Penny is the funniest character no one remembers. I followed that team throughout the 90s, with the likes of Horace Grant, Darrell Armstrong, Scott Skiles, Bo Outlaw, and Nick Anderson. I remember their memorable run to the 1995 Finals, and the league spent the next decade adjusting to the dominant Shaq. I thought they finally rid of the Curse of the Shaquino by signing Steve Francis, then Tracy McGrady, and then Grant Hill, but they all came and went without much success. Finally, Dwight Howard, the biggest man of God the NBA has ever seen, has made the franchise relevant again. I wish his strong Christian faith would be more publicized. On top of that, former Sonic Rashard Lewis is their highest paid player. The Magic will continue to be my second favorite team.

Los Angeles Clippers – I have been to more Clippers games than any other team. It was practically a short lived tradition with me and my dad to go to every Clippers Sonics game when they were good. I was there at the final game at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against, of course, the Sonics. I remember Lamar Odom, Danny Manning, Bill Fitch, and Pooh Richardson. I think Donald Sterling’s stingy ownership has doomed the franchise up until recent years. I hopped on the Clipper Nation bandwagon for their 2006 playoff run. The Clippers would be the easiest team to adopt, given their close proximity and that I can watch all the games on television at no additional cost. But…they are the Clippers. I am tired of losing, I want to win.

San Antonio Spurs – I love Tony Parker. Total man crush. I manage to acquire him every year in my fantasy leagues and he works wonders. The guy is coming off the best year of any man’s life, leading the Spurs to the championship and winning the Finals MVP. But most importantly, he married the lovely Eva Longoria. His first date with her was breakfast. You can fill in the blanks and figure out how exactly that happened. When asked about his hard hit from Shaq, he responded, “it’s okay, my wife will take care of me.” But Tony seems genuinely nice and humble, as if he truly deserves it all. Everyone loves Manu Ginobili and his awkward game, he is a given favorite. I have been told that, when playing at my best, my game is most like Tim Duncan’s. And I felt crushed like he did when Fisher hit that 0.4 miracle shot. But other than that, I do not have a connection with the team built over years like I did with the Sonics. I do not feel the thrill when they win, and they have already won four championships. I cannot just jump on the small bandwagon just because they win. After all, it is San Antonio. For reasons we will never know, they are just boring.

Los Angeles Lakers

I am serious. I thought about it. This would be the biggest turn in the history of the world. It would be like if America suddenly turned and supported Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. It would be like when Stone Cold Steve Austin turned his back on his fans and joined forces with Vince McMahon. It would be like the Jews forgiving the Nazis and hailing Hitler. It would be like Ross and Rachel agreeing that it was a break, Ryan letting his brother anywhere near Marissa again, and Blair deep down really forgiving Serena. I could go on, but you get the point. Me being a Lakers fan just does not fit in the natural order of the world. Those of you who know me know that this could not possibly happen…could it?

The Lakers have the winning tradition that I have been somewhat a part of. I can honestly say I have followed the franchise and watched more of their games than any other team. I remember Jerry West’s brilliant roster moves, signing Shaq away and then mysteriously trading Vlade Divac for some kid barely out of high school named Kobe Bryant. I remember the amazing Game 7 comeback against Portland in the western conference finals. I remember the flurry of bandwagon flags during the three peat. I remember my bittersweet horror when Gary Payton signed with the Lakers. Hell, I even fell into the money trap and read Phil Jackson’s book. Just like any other true Lakers fan, I long for the days of Chick Hearn’s gifted calls. I still have the nightly “this game is in the fridge” rant memorized. I would immediately become the most knowledgeable Lakers fan given my freak obsession with watching and knowing everything about my team.

So I really thought it might happen, until I stumbled upon one problem: I cannot root for them. I think after so many years of rooting against them as our bitter Pacific rivals, it is now wired in my DNA. I like guys like Derrick Fisher, Ronny Turiaf, Jordan Farmar, and even Andrew Bynum, but there is something about the purple and gold that makes me naturally root against them. Maybe it is the way everyone claims to be a longtime Laker fan only when they happen to start winning. Maybe it is because their marquee player cheats on his wife, is an alleged rapist, an ego maniac, a ball hogger, is always swearing and whining to the officials, drove the best player out of town, unprofessionally demanded a stupid trade, and changes his number to suck his naïve fans out of more money. But more likely, maybe it is just me. Just like water cannot mix with oil, Vishal cannot be a Laker fan.

So. None of these teams do it for me. There is only one logical solution.

I was born in Seattle, attended Sonics, Seahawks, and Mariners game as a baby and followed them throughout my childhood. I remember the good times and the bad, the happiness and heartache. I remember Nick Van Exel and Vlade Divac and the 7th seeded Lakers stunning the 2nd seeded Sonics in 1994, thus beginning my reign of disgust with the Lakers. I remember feeling sick when the Denver Nuggets became the first 8 seed to upset a 1 seed, the Sonics in the 1995 playoffs. I still wonder what could have been every time they show the clip of Dikembe Mutombo lying down on our green key clutching the ball above his head in laughter and joy. I remember the feeling when I recall that the Sonics were 8-0 against the Houston Rockets in those two years they won the championship. I remember the glorious 1996 Seattle SUPER Sonics. I remember trying to draw the new logo. I remember how I loved the green Sonics warm up jersey which is still hanging in my closet at home. I remember asking my dad why Shawn Kemp is laying the ball up instead of dunking it during the pregame warm-ups courtside at a Clippers Sonics game, then him throwing it down on his next drive. I remember Gary Payton chucking him dangerous lobs from half court during intense stretches of games. I remember the Glove shutting down the other team’s best player in crunch time, posting up every opposing guard, and trash talking like there was no tomorrow. I remember the Sonics’ big three being rounded out by Detlef Schrempf, the first versatile European phenom. I remember the best shooter in Sonics history, Dale Ellis. I remember Big Smooth, Sam Perkins and his awkward and slow style. I remember Nate McMillan, his tutoring of and feuding with Payton, then his success as a coach. I remember George Karl, and his brilliant coaching moves and offensive adjustments. I remember the thrilling series against the Phoenix Suns, with the Squatch and Gorilla mascots fighting and Rex Chapman’s buzzer beaters. I remember Payton and Kemp vs Stockton and Malone, and how the crazy crowds would get fired up for each one of the seven amazing games that it took to decide who was the best in the west. I remember holding on to hope against Michael Jordan and his 72-win Chicago Bulls in the 1996 Finals. I remember my dismay when I learned that the Sonics drafted Scottie Pippen and traded him to the Bulls…for Olden Polynice. I remember NBC’s powerful epic intro and Bob Costas’ articulate hyping. I remember Shawn Kemp and Dennis Rodman battling like every play was a WWF match. I remember the Sonics winning two consecutive games after they finally put Payton on Jordan. I remember Payton dunking on MJ and then staring him down. I remember thinking the impossible was possible. I remember being so bummed out that the Sonics lost the championship, that I went outside and played baseball. I remember when Seattle traded away my favorite players, Shawn Kemp, then later Gary Payton, and practically everyone else that could play well. I remember Vin Baker. I remember how I love Luke Ridnour’s childish underdog look and quick agile moves. I remember the Cinderella 2005 season, with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis pushing the eventual champion Spurs to the limit in the conference semifinals. I remember going to the McDonald’s High School All-Star Game where Kevin Durant won MVP, then watching him tear up the nation at Texas. I remember raising eyebrows at a sports bar when I jumped for joy during halftime of a playoff game once when the Sonics won the second pick in the lottery so they could draft Kevin Durant. I remember his knack for taking the big shot, hitting game winner after game winner…at age 19! I remember how happy I was to see Durant’s ‘where wearing the dream happens’ commercial before realizing that he needs to take off one more jersey to change from a Seattle one to an Oklahoma one. I remember how my team was stolen from my city.

But most of all, I want to remember more. So damn it, this is the 21st century, which means I can follow my team no matter where they are. When the Oklahoma Sonics, or whatever they are called by then, finally go on to win something, I can say I was along for the whole ride and remember what it took to get there, like a true diehard fan. I remember. Go Sonics!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


With Kevin Durant officially winning the Rookie of the Year award today, I thought it would be interesting to see who has won the award in the recent past. Note that nearly all of them turned out to be very well known and successful winners.

1984-85 Michael Jordan
1985-86 Patrick Ewing
1986-87 Chuck Person
1987-88 Mark Jackson
1988-89 Mitch Richmond
1989-90 David Robinson
1990-91 Derrick Coleman
1991-92 Larry Johnson
1992-93 Shaquille O'Neal
1993-94 Chris Webber
1994-95 Grant Hill and Jason Kidd
1995-96 Damon Stoudamire
1996-97 Allen Iverson
1997-98 Tim Duncan
1998-99 Vince Carter
1999-00 Elton Brand
2000-01 Mike Miller
2001-02 Pau Gasol
2002-03 Amare Stoudemire
2003-04 LeBron James
2004-05 Emeka Okafor
2005-06 Chris Paul
2006-07 Brandon Roy
2007-08 Kevin Durant

Monday, April 28, 2008


I should be writing about the NFL Draft. Or the NBA Playoffs, as the first round winds down. But all my, uh, recreation time is going to this.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Indian Cheerleaders

ABC News and the Washington Post have a great articles on the debut of the Indian Premier League, which is merging the rich Indian culture and Bollywood buzz with western fashion and influence.

The Washington Redskins have sent their cheerleaders to Bangalore to help inaugurate the IPL and train India's first ever home grown cheerleading group.

Hot Indian girls dancing at sporting events? The kingdom of heaven is near.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

First Round Predictions

Normally the first round is more of a formality, a week to ten days where the top teams warm up for the more intriguing second round matchups. This year, however, we know championship caliber teams will knock each other out. In a season which began with critics calling the NBA too predictable, its popularity wavering after poor Finals ratings, ridden with a referee betting scandal, and its best players wanted help and demanded trades, the NBA has completely turned the other way and it is on path for one of its greatest years ever. In fact, there has never been a more anticipated and unpredictable NBA Playoffs like the ones that begin this Saturday.

predicted winners in bold

Eastern Conference

1 Boston Celtics
vs 8 Atlanta Hawks
The concern is whether Kevin Garnett can lead the Celtics past the Pistons. What everyone forgets is that Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Sam Cassell are far better at performing in the crunch time of big games. Pierce and Allen each have carried their teams to the Eastern Finals before. Cassell won playoff series with the Wolves and Clippers. The Wolves and the Clippers, guys. Allen put the Sonics on his back in 2005, dominating a first round series against Sacramento and pushing the eventual champion Spurs to six games. Look for Garnett to anchor Boston's great defense, but Allen and Pierce to take over late in games.

4 Cleveland Cavaliers vs 5 Washington Wizards
It is actually a disadvantage for Boston to be the #1 seed, because both Cleveland and Washington have a shot at upsetting them in the second round. Washington won their last three against the Celtics, and are more of an unknown with Gilbert Arenas now back and coming off the bench. This is the one Eastern to watch though, as the Cavs have ended the Wizards' last two seasons creating a little bit of a rivalry here. Remember Lebrons' trash talking to Arenas at the free throw line at the end of the first series? Cleveland never really got it together after the trade deadline deal, but the real reason I pick against them is because of Lebron James' bad back spasms. If he somehow gets healthy, he can single handedly win the series. Just ask the Detroit Pistons.

2 Detroit Pistons
vs 7 Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have been on a hot streak in the second half of the season. Too bad they had to run into the Pistons, who are built for the playoffs.

3 Orlando Magic
vs 6 Toronto Raptors
The Orlando Magic certainly have the ability to make some noise in the playoffs. Dwight Howard is a lot like Shaq in his early days - dominating, but unable to take over late in games because of his inability to effectively pass out of double teams. I do not expect Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis to be big time enough to take out the Pistons in the second round.

Western Conference

1 Los Angeles Lakers vs 8 Denver Nuggets
Remember the first 8 seed to upset a 1 seed? Not the Warriors, not the Knicks. It was the Denver Nuggets against George Karl's Seattle Sonics. Denver has the ability to score, and you know Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony will rise to the occassion and give the Lakers all they have. Problem is, the Denver Nuggets have no chance against a offense based on passing and execution like the Lakers' triangle. Pau Gasol is an all-star and Lamar Odom is playing out of his mind. Derek Fisher, the Lakers' most underated addition this year, will continute to make plays in the playoffs. Oh, and they also have some MVP guy wearing 24. There will be a need for Andrew Bynum later in the playoffs, however.

4 Utah Jazz vs 5 Houston Rockets
Houston has homecourt in this rematch of last year's only seven game series. Last year, each team won all their home games until Utah stole a thrilling Game 7 in Houston. But that was with Yao. Just like last season, look for Utah to win all their home games and steal one on the road. Jerry Sloan is a brilliant playoff coach, and Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are the best two players that no one watches. I look forward to them giving the Lakers fits in the second round.

2 New Orleans vs 7 Dallas Mavericks
No, it is not because of the playoff experience factor that everyone is talking about. It is because last night when these two teams happened to play each other, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitski showed that they can go on a whole another level when it comes to winning the big games. We have not seen that from New Orleans.

3 San Antonio Spurs vs 6 Phoenix Suns

  • I am not picking because I cannot decide. I really do not know. So let me tell you what I do know.
  • The Spurs and Suns played in a series that what was practically the NBA Finals last year. The Suns were a Nash bloody nose and a Amare and Diaw suspension away from potentially winning the series.
  • But these are not the same two teams. Grant Hill and Shaq are now in for the Suns. With Amare and Nash, has there ever been a team with four former MVP candidates?
  • The Spurs are not the same team either. Manu Ginobli has emerged as the Spurs best player this year. If his groin is healthy, he is up there with Kobe and Lebron as the best clutch perfomers. That is right folks, this entire glorious NBA season make come down to Manu Ginboli's groin.
  • Tony Parker will be able to score at will. Steve Nash is way too slow to keep up with him, and Shawn Marion, whose length contained Parker in the past, is long gone.
  • Anyone else notice how everyone forgot about Leo Barbosa? He is good for a random offensive explosion that could win a game.
  • Fouls will be huge. Amare and Shaq on the same floor is next to impossible to stop. Duncan needs to stay in the game as much as possible.
  • Bruce Bowen is slipping and Robert Horry and Brent Barry are not 100%. They are crucial, as Barry adds another sharp shooter to go alongside Michael Finley. And everyone knows Robert Horry is good for a couple of clutch plays to win a playoff game or two.
  • This is the Spurs' big cactus sized problem: Tim Duncan has never gotten past Shaq. The Suns acquired Shaq mainly to guard Duncan, so the Spurs went out and got Kurt Thomas to guard Shaq.
  • Nash. Parker. Hill. Manu. Raja. Bruce. Finley. Barbosa. Amare. Thomas. Shaq. Duncan. This is madness. Madness? This is not madness, this is...where amazing happens.
  • So while I am not man enough to pick a winner of this series, I am going to make an even bolder prediction regarding this awesome Spurs - Suns matchup: Winner is champion.