Monday, March 19, 2012

Keep it real, Brad

He earned that tattoo

To anyone who wants to listen I'm retiring after this season.

Brad Miller is done. After the fastest 13-year career ever, he's bowing out on top. And while Trey Kerby has positioned himself as the head of the B. Miller Fan Club, I don't think the affect Brad had on Trey is an isolated incident. Brad inspired young ballers of all shapes, colors, religions, and sexual orientations. Not seeing him in an NBA uniform will be unsettling. We only have a few months until those tattoos are covered up by camo garb. 

I believe it was on a B.S. Report that Charles Barkley said he's always bummed when he sees his name on the list of players who never won a ring. But he also mentioned the caliber of the guys he's being listed with, and how honored that makes him feel. I think Brad's outlook will echo Chuck's. Getting used to being on that list will be tough, but he's had a tattoo of Scrappy Doo since I can remember, so he must have thick enough skin to take it. And in the end, a Hall of Fame player is a Hall of Fame player.

Back in 2005, I nearly got to meet Brad Miller. Sadly, things didn't go as planned, and my lunch with Brad was eighty-sixed. Initially, I was devastated; however, with time, I've become relieved that the meeting didn't go through. I've heard too many horror stories from people who met one of their heroes and were letdown. I don't want Brad Miller to be humanized. If he's a regular dude (which he obviously isn't), don't let me know. 

Brad Miller's basketball footprint won't be summed up by his averages or missed free throws. It will be represented by the style he carved out for all the pudgy white kids. It will live on through the "Brad Miller tattoo" Google Image searches. Every time a white guy tries to turn four inches of hair into cornrows, we'll think of Brad. 

Thank God Shaq didn't land that punch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ten things: bracket edition

Click image to make it large enough to copy from

1. Props to Fab Melo for giving me the final reason I needed to push Vandy past Cuse. People who can shoot are capable of breaking open a zone, especially the overrated 2-3 that the Orange are playing. Taylor and Jenkins will tear it apart. Boeheim is gonna have trouble figuring out which five guys out of his thirty man rotation he should play. The injury also gives Festus Ezeli a green light to get his, and I think he will.

2. Marquette and Florida St. are in my Final Four - defense, baby. It could be the Sixer fan in me, but I'm taking the bulldog d's over the high scoring offenses. Plus I'm banking on Ricardo Ratliffe sabotaging Mizzou by missing more than three shots in the tournament.

3. Michigan seems like the team getting overlooked the most right now. They have the things a third tier team needs to put together a deep run: great guard play, solid defense, and no conscience from 21 feet out. However, they're thin down low, so a team with two skilled giants could give them fits. Huh? Carolina has what? I can't hear you.

4. Baylor is such a wild card. Their South draw - or shall I say, Kentucky draw - will most likely kill their chances of heading to New Orleans. In a different world (region), Baylor would scare the hell out of me. Now, since Baylor is on the mind, let's talk Brady Heslip. The Brady that came to Baylor versus the Brady that leaves Baylor would make for a compelling case study.

5. Can't wait to have some conversations with Bracket Guy at my local Buffalo Wild Wings. Bracket Guy called every upset on at least one of his 38 brackets. Bracket Guy doesn't have his actual bracket with him. Bracket Guy can't recall a single thing that happened in college basketball during the month of February. Bracket Guy saw that Louisville won the Big East Tournament. Bracket Guy is made of chalk.

6. I am the biggest fan of whatever team is playing Michigan State. We can't let them ruin another tournament, people. No camera time for Lupe Izzo this March. While Memphis barely has a good win, they appear confident/delusional enough to play the Spartans like they're the higher seed. On the other hand, Rick Majerus coaching Saint Louis to a championship would be interesting. I know for a fact Majerus is hungry to prove he's an elite coach.

7. The last time Gonzaga was a 7 seed, THIS CREEP showed up. Hope to see him again.

8. "This is why I love March Madness," says everybody on Twitter for the next three weeks. 

9. I joked the other day that Anthony Davis shaving his unibrow would have a huge effect on my bracket. But like the Redskins signing three wideouts in one day for a billion dollars, something that started as a joke became serious business. That unibrow is a source of strength. Webbie used his brow to rap and make money so he could afford this jersey; Davis will use his to block half as many shots as Brittney Griner does throughout March.

10. Who do you like more, Dwight Howard or Joseph Kony?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Making up a slam dunk contest set list

Whoa Chase, save it for Saturday!

Yeah, another post involving dunks. I'm not doing it on purpose, but it's not a bad strategy. Cool people like dunks and I want cool people to read my blog.

Today I'm spending my afternoon watching every dunk contest that NBA TV has to offer. In theory this is a wicked fun idea, but in reality it's almost unbearable. Funny thing about 80% of the dunks that were thrown down before 1994: they suck. Had J.R. Rider not gone between the legs in '94, there's a good chance dunking would have slowly disappeared from the game of basketball. We owe A LOT to J.R., a true NBA pioneer and legend.

Anyway, what inspired this post was the 1995 contest. The NBA balanced out one of the least talented fields of all time with a brilliant B.Y.O.M. (Bring Your Own Music) idea. It is what it sounds like: the dunkers were given the job of setting the soundtrack for their dunks. The execution wasn't all there, though. I don't think Harold Miner and the rest of the guys took it as seriously as they should have. Usually I'd let that slide, but I doubt Antonio Harvey had too much on his plate to craft an interesting playlist. 

I'm now going to guess what music this years participants would choose to play during their dunk sessions. It must be noted that I did not scroll through their Twitter pages searching for #NP tags to gauge their music preferences. I run this site using the Derrick Coleman effort template.

Chase Budinger - God, his pick is so obvious. Chase would go with something dumb like "White Men Can't Jump" from the soundtrack for a movie I can't think of. Or, as a former volleyballer, he would pick a song by a band that is adored by the volleyball crowd. My only volley experience comes from Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball (sweet ass game), and I don't remember the music as well as I remember other things. 311 and Sublime seem like safe bets.

Derrick Williams - Anything by The Mountain Goats. Maybe one of his favorite cuts from LL Cool J's 2000 album, G.O.A.T. "Night Goat" by the Melvins? Bobbito's ode to Earl The Goat would really set the stage. If you haven't noticed, when I look at Derrick Williams I see a guy who looks like an eclectic music fan.

Jeremy Evans - There are a couple strong options, all of which are identity related. Who the hell is Jeremy Evans? Nobody truly knows, but he's here to change that - what a beautiful story. My top choice for Evans is "Who" by Jae Millz. Like Evans, Millz was once a young prospect fighting to earn his spot. He had his chance but ultimately ended up on a crowded roster full of bozo rappers. Evans should strive for a different ending.

Option two: he can use Young Dro's "Who Am I" but replace every "Young Dro" with a "Young J" or something like that. Gimmicks win dunk contests. [Nate Robinson shakes head up and down]

Paul George - Do it, Paul. PLEASE. (He's from there.)

Have a sick All-Star Weekend. 

P.S. Who are the main distributors of Junkyard Dog Clothing?
Was in the house for every dunk ever

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Predicting the All-Star Weekend

Called it

Coming off a year in which I correctly predicted almost every event (it's true; BOW DOWN), I'm feeling the pressure to deliver on these picks. There are secrets to what I do. It's not like playing the stock market or something where anybody can make guesses and be good and bring in a bunch of money. I wouldn't call the process a science - it's more of an art. Think Antonio Stradivari. He was a master violin maker the same way I am a master All-Star Weekend oracle. It's all so complicated, and whenever I see some super green new kid looking to get his "predictions" out there, I immediately think of these quotes:

"You just can't climb in the ring with Ali cause you think you box!" - Jesse, The Fast and the Furious

"Slow your roll little man, you don't just enter Spike's Ink Master reality competition with host Dave Navarro because you think you tat." - Me

Wanna predict with the Big Dogs? Sorry, they don't make shirts for girls.

Risings Stars Challenge

I have a post in the works looking at how the Shaq/Charles draft played out, and more. Whether or not that will ever be finished is another story. Though I'd be surprised if the post doesn't get done because this is one of the most inspiring topics to write about.

My biggest concern with the new draft format was that Shaq and Charles wouldn't take it seriously. And then 11 players were picked before John Wall and all those concerns washed away.

Jeremy Lin is a rising star, while most of the other guys in this game are "players who have been in the league for no longer than two years." Wish the NBA would clarify that.

Prediction: #TeamChuck over #TeamShaq, 135-128

Shooting Stars 

I'm always saying, if there's one competition the NBA should blow out, it's Shooting Stars. Add four or five more teams, double the number of rounds, and find a way to put home-court advantage for the NBA Finals on the line. These edits could lead to a lengthy contest, but I've never had anybody tell me that they wouldn't watch Shooting Stars if it was two or three hours longer.

Something to note is that Chandler Parsons is an Orlando native. The crowd could provide the confidence boost that Parsons, Kenny Smith, and the girl who plays on the WNBA team that's in Texas need to sink the crucial half-courter. But wait, Allan Houston once played for the Pistons, which is the same team that Orlando's son, Chucky Atkins, ended his career with. So many layers to this one! One thing is for certain: the crowd will be JACKED.

Jeremy Lin isn't the Knicks' representative? Yeah right. You can come out now, Ashton.

Prediction: Team Dennis Scott

Skills Challenge

Still no word on who will be taking part in the competition that determines the most skilled player in the NBA. Right now Steph Curry is number one. After Saturday? Kyle Lowry? Jose Calderon? Ramon Sessions? Nobody knows.

Chris Paul has lost both times he entered the Skills Challenge. Too many people judge him by his in-game wizardry when the real test is what a guard can do once the Taco Bell Skills Challenge trophy is on the line. All the advanced numbers in the world can't show a players true value as well as Taco Bell's competition can.

Them not letting Jeremy Lin compete in this one ticks me off so much, dude.

Prediction: It's like this: Steph Curry is the only known participant, which means, relative to all other NBA players, his chances of winning are enormous. I just gave you a rare look behind the curtain.

Three-Point Contest

As of today, James Jones has 21 threes on the season. To put that in context, I think Ryan Anderson hit 21 threes in one game against Philly a few nights ago. Also, Yi Jianlian hasn't missed a three pointer all year. I doubt even James Jones would argue against the NBA giving up his spot to a player who hasn't missed a single three.

How will Kevin Love fair? Fat Kevin Love would have made for better television. The new and improved Love will finish all the racks without any health scares. Boring.

Wow, no Jeremy Lin. NBA dropping the ball BIG TIME.

Prediction: Anthony Morrow

Slam Dunk Contest

Trying to get myself excited about this field of dunkers. Paul George is cool as hell, but can he really bang? I'm a little bit excited to see Derrick Williams without a defender in front of him. Iman Shumpert is a harder one to read, and there's not much tape of him to go by (sue me for not watching some Georgia Tech Midnight Madness where he murdered the dunk contest). Chase Budinger is white!

What bothers me the most about this group (sans George) is that, stylistically, they don't offer anything special. Pierre McGee (typing Pierre instead of JaVale was done subconsciously) brought the weird last year. He was an unusual pick for a contest of dunking, but his build, and lack of bones in his arms, turned out to be huge advantages. It is entirely possible that the search committee thought Budinger fit the "bizarre choice" mold. Read this interview and tell me Budinger isn't headed down the Gerald Wallace path. Here's a summary:

Radio Guy: "So, Chase, have you been practicing any dunks? Got something special up your sleeve?"
Chase: "No I haven't focused on the dunk contest at all and I don't know what dunks I'm going to do and I was picked because I told the NBA I could fit it in my schedule."
Radio Guy: "Can't wait til Saturday."

Oh yeah, Budinger's dunk reel that the NBA posted to promote him as a contestant is pure comedy.

The purpose of this video is to prove that Chase Budinger can dunk a basketball.

I spend so much time on the Internet that I sometimes forget a guy like Paul George isn't old news to every basketball fan. After this contest, I'm thinking George's jersey revenue will see a decent sized increase.

WTF is stopping them from letting Jeremy Lin dunk?

Prediction: Paul George

All-Star Game

No Vince Carter, no Tracy McGrady, no Kevin Garnett, no Allen Iverson, no Tim Duncan. I am suddenly way too depressed to write about this game.

Hold up, Deron Williams deserves a spot before Jeremy Lin? Shit, man. I'm done.

Prediction: West over East, 139-138

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hey rappers: bring back the jerseys

Thunder Fab

Last night I decided to run through dozens of rap videos that came out during the jersey era of rap. You know, the Before Skirt period. It was quite the emotional ride. I miss a lot about rap in the early 2000's, but the strength of the jersey game is one of the aspects I miss the most. Jamaal from Yahoo! Answers also wonders where the good times went. Back when shots of a rapper's crew showed dudes wearing ABA jerseys of players they couldn't name, and Fabolous was making soft songs while wearing hard jerseys. Basketball and rap was intertwined in a way that was much cooler than J. Cole cradling a ball on his mixtape cover. Some of my favorite moments/people/jerseys from this era are listed below.

Wonder what jersey City Spud woulda pulled out

Here we have Murphy Lee dancing around in a St. Louis Spirits Moses Malone jersey. Not pictured here is Fernando Vina, who later joined in on the fun (not kidding). The Moses Malone jersey by itself is awesome, but it's the orange upside down visor that knocks this shit out of the park. Murph taught us an important lesson: it's about more than just the jersey. If only Slo Down would have reinforced this lesson with a custom Cards mask.

During this era, certain jerseys REALLY got around. Give me enough time and I could probably find you ten instances of rappers wearing the Shareef Abdur-Rahim "throwback edition". Then there was Bone Crusher. Crusher, I'm sure, had plenty of opportunities to cop his own Shareef uni; instead, he went with the lime green Antoine Walker version in XXXXL.


Speaking of Bone Crusher, I believe he and Lil Wayne bought their jerseys in the same size. Underneath is a pic of Wayne cruising around town on his four wheeler with a giant Bill Russell jersey on (although it's hard to tell how big it is since he's sitting down - I beg you to trust me on this one).

No longer rides on the back of Baby's four wheeler

Cash Money didn't play a huge role in the jersey era, which is why we should be thankful that a different Louisiana collective was around. I'm talking about No Limit, of course. Wait, no, I'm talking about the NEW No Limit. New and improved, baby. Used to have Mystikal, now they have Choppa. Used to have Young Bleed, now they have T-Bo, who, in the screencap below, will sum up the jersey contribution made by the New No Limit. You spoiled us, P.

The hat works

Don't get the wrong idea; if I ever had the chance to get my very own Washington Bullets inspired P. Miller jersey, I would have. No question. I spent a lot of my childhood being violently jealous of Lil Romeo.

It's Lil Flip time. Flip is a future first ballot Hall of Fame jersey wearer. He had everything from your standard Alex English jersey, to a super rare Sleepy Floyd jersey. OK, so I can't prove he had a Floyd jersey, but I'm not willing to rule the possibility dead. Point is, Flip rocked more jerseys than Chucky Brown. Jewelers don't make these pendants for just anyone.

Steering wheel

Up top is a pic of Flip, David Banner, and a gang of other dudes taken from the "Like a Pimp" video. Notice almost everyone has jerseys on, and also notice the area codes stitched to the front of Flip and Banner's jerseys. Like the no. 504 P. Miller jerseys, these were customized to represent the rapper's region. All of the area codes I know were learned because of this trend.

Cover your eyes, people who are both Laker and WC fans. I present to you all, the day WC showed up to Tha Bassment wearing a LAMAR ODOM CLIPPERS JERSEY. Son of a bitch. For a guy who boasted about his Lake Show fandom (and still does, which you already know if you follow him on Twitter, meaning you most likely don't already know), he had some nerve banging the blue and red on national TV. I remained a fan of WC, but it made me question how genuine all that c-walkin' was.  

Still has that facial hair. At least he's loyal to something.

And, finally, we have the logo'd out clothing. There was nothing hotter than having the whole Eastern Conference represented on your left pant leg. Or, in the Dips case, your leather jacket.

Look at how much Capo and Juelz are enjoying the jersey era

Enough for today. Wouldn't be right if I didn't leave you with the go-to jersey era sign-off: peace out.