Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Prince.

Kobe's new nickname. It's so appropriate. But let's talk more about this later.




Free Original Recipe & Biscuits For Everyone!

ESPN--Phil Jackson's resume includes nine NBA titles and more than 900 victories. Soon, he'll be able to add Hall of Famer to that list.

The Lakers' head coach, who's probably most famous for guiding Michael Jordan and the Bulls to two separate three-peats, will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this September, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While Jackson hasn't been a head coach for the necessary 25 years, his time as an assistant with the Bulls and the Nets counts toward his overall service, the newspaper reported.

Jackson will be the Lakers' 18 inductee into the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Friday, March 30, 2007

"Put Words Together Just To Match, I Say What I Feel, Y'All Adjust to That..."

"So much for objective journalism. Don't bother to look for it here-not under any byline of mine; or anyone else that I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms."--Hunter S. Thompson

"I just tackle the subject, get flak from the public? It's nothin', I know real niggas happen to love it. And if you don't like it, then look in the mirror-most likely, you 'aint live it, so you don't get it. You 'aint did it, so you can't envision, the picture I'm painting 'aint vivid, the language I'm spittin' is so foreign to you. See what starvin'll do to you? Growing up hard in a little apartment'll do to you? I'm just talkin' to you. I'm just talkin through you..."--Jay-Z

If you gave me three letters to describe the world of basketball, I'd say NBA. If I had four, I'd say SLAM. Pictured above is the last decade of the league, and the next one. Nearly all of them have roots in the magazine, many featured multiple times, including LeBron James who practically grew up between its pages. After 13 years, SLAM continues to comb the landscape while celebrating the progress and culture of the game.

There is a more conservative segment of basketball journalists who drape themselves in the flag of objective journalism and denounce SLAM as the insignificant ramblings of crazed fans armed with press passes. Others dismiss it as a mere cult of cliched personalities. It is not the hallowed institution that is Sports Illustrated or that mammoth conglomerate of a four letter word, ESPN, but by tailoring their focus to basketball SLAM can measure it's pulse like no other publication, with comprehensive coverage of high school, college and professional hoops. Every year the game's elite tell their stories through the pages of SLAM, and to honor it's foundation, more than half of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players have been featured in the Old School section since the magazine's inception. There have also been re-emergences-if only for a brief moment-from the doldrums of obscurity by Charlie Scott, Earl Lloyd, Jackie Jackson and Cliff Hagan, among others. Who? Exactly. SLAM is required reading for a complete basketball education.

The folly of objective journalism is in the assumption that one can speak with absolute neutrality, which requires an omniscience that is simply impossible. We're all products of upbringings that have sculpted our worldview, and those outlooks are what make us different. That is why we value a Thompson, Halberstam, or Wiley, for that unique voice which came from their sensibilities. I say that not to declare this magazine as the literary gold standard, but to assert that we can never completely understand or appreciate a subject until it's been viewed from every angle, and that comes from a multitude of perspectives. SLAM dared to take a new one, and after 108 issues they've become synonymous with the game without boring me with their wives, their parents or some fucking schmuck named 'House'. Thanks guys.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Just My Type...

ESPN--"I've got big-time lawyers," Richardson said, according to the Times Union. "I've got big-time Jew lawyers."

When told by the reporters that the comment could be offensive to people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, he responded with, "Are you kidding me? They are. They've got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They're real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they've got to be crafty."

And he continued, "They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?" he said. "Which I think is great. I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."

Richardson, the fourth overall pick in the 1978 draft, is best known for an embattled NBA career that ended because of drugs. He joined the NBA out of Montana and played eight seasons with the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. He was the subject of a 2000 film "What Happened to Micheal Ray?" documenting his troubled life.

In his second year, Richardson became only the second player in NBA to lead in both assists and steals. In 1986, the four-time NBA All-Star was banned for life after he violated the league's drug policy three times in what David Stern called "the hardest thing I've ever had to do as commissioner."

He obviously thought he was being complimentary. Richardson retained the services of Rabinowitz & Saperstein for the same reason that Paul Hornung wants more black athletes at Notre Dame, stereotypes. While they maintain a basis in reality, even well intentioned stereotypes can be a breeding ground for ignorance. If a certain sect of people are naturally superior in performing certain tasks then that assumption in itself lends credence to the idea of these same people revealing natural inferiorities elsewhere. It's a slippery slope that is best avoided. Nonetheless, every race continues to show a propensity for something and we are all guilty of making light of these patterns. In the absence of malice they should be taken in stride and let's address offenses with the ideal of preventing future occurrences through dialogue, not a muzzle.

In the spirit of respecting the talents of our Jewish friends, here is another generalization: Jews are funny.

Just because.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What Would Stu Do?

Im watching you...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"We Talkin' 'Bout Practice!"

After seeing Roscoe's shot last night, a lot of folks would immediately think of Jerry West's half court buzzer beater to tie game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals. Granted, you can't compare the pressure of a championship to the monotony of a meaningless March match up, but Wallace's shot was still better. A running start off the inbounds pass compared to an immediate turnaround set shot off of a steal? No contest.

George Karl thought it was luck.

Wonder what A.I. thought.

Women I Would Settle For, Vol. III: "Cause I've Forgotten All of Young Love's Joy..."

I'm sorry baby. I didn't know. I made some harsh-and rash-judgements. It's just that I'm jaded and when they described you to me I wasn't impressed. A Jewish Brit with a fondness for Miles Davis and Nas covers? Certainly the makings of a dream girl (You probably know the Kosherist lawyers...) but, well, I don't know-just 'but'. I figured you didn't even know who Apache was. I have a real reluctance to embrace white artists who gain notoriety by performing historically black music. What begins as an acknowledgement of imitation eventually becomes a usurping of the art form. White artists have access to an audience that may be hesitant to support a black artist of the same caliber, and through this audience the perception grows that the white artist may in fact be superior. This perception is then established as fact through revisionist history. Basically baby, I thought you were Elvis. I fucking hate Elvis. But I'm sorry. I didn't know.

I thought you were just some overzealous neophyte who was trying to gain credibility through your influences. Etta James, Sarah Vaughn and Minnie Ripperton are good so why shouldn't I just listen to their records instead of yours? Instead, I threw on some Ghostface only to feel like an idiot. That was you. I'm sorry. I didn't know.

I didn't know about your '03 UK debut. I didn't know Salaam Remi himself produced it. It still probably wouldn't have mattered to me, I'd have just lumped you in with Christina Aguliera and Joss Stone. Mrs. Dirrty's act is tired to me and Joss is pretty limited. Then I stopped talking, stopped judging, stopped jumping to conclusions, and started listening. Your sound is everything they said it was and more. A five octave range over break beats and Motown throwbacks? My ear actually orgasmed.

I hear you like to drink-perhaps a bit too much-and used to enjoy the occasional spliff. And a bump or two. Maybe one of those pills too. A woman after so many of our own hearts. You're a tattooed, foul mouthed, unapologetic, honest and intelligent woman. I've sat across diner tables burning through packs of cigarettes past dawn with other women such as yourself, but none of them ever sang to me like you. Or had a British accent and a thing for doorknocker earrings. Amy Winehouse, it's only been twelve hours and I think I love you. Just don't tell Scarlett.

"Valerie" (Zutons cover.)

"Stronger Than Me" @ Jools Holland 11/03

Music Video.

"In My Bed" Music Video.

"He Can Only Hold Her" @ Joe's Pub 1/07

"Rehab" @ Brit Awards 2007

Music Video.

"Never Mind The Buzzcocks"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Book of Bombaata

No matter how bright he shines tonight, or any other night, Kobe Bryant wont ever escape the eclipse that is Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe will never make three pointers so easily that the line will be moved back, or fly so high that we deny him by raising the rim, but his every step into a widened lane is a reminder of Wilt's dominance.

No matter how many pirouetting fade aways, sniper deep treys or demoralizing dunks Kobe puts in, he'll still be expected to do more. Because Wilt did. When Chamberlain conceded his eighth consecutive scoring crown in '67, he traded it for the field goal(.683) and rebounding(24.2) titles, and led the league in assists in '68. These are some of his more forgettable accomplishments. The entire record book is a reflection of Wilt's dominance, not just the scoring section. Pick a record, any record, it's probably his.

Bow down.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"...Probably Maim You, If I Owe You I'm Blowin' You To Smithereens..."

New Orleans, LA, March 23 (AP) -- Kobe Bryant is making 50-point games look routine. Bryant finished with exactly 50, becoming only the second NBA player to hit that mark in four straight games and leading Los Angeles to a 111-105 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

Only Wilt Chamberlain has exceeded that mark, scoring at least 50 points in seven consecutive games during the 1961-62 season.

ESPN--Bryant also spoke to a few other items both related and unrelated to his scoring streak:

• He said he still considers Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs the player who defends him best.

• He said he does not think he merits MVP consideration this season, because that award should be reserved for a player on a team with one of the NBA's best records. "You have to honor that. When we get to that point, then maybe I'll get some consideration."

• He claimed he did not know he had 48 points before hitting a tough jumper over Rasual Butler with 5:12 left. "I went up to [assistant coach] Brian Shaw and said, 'Did I get 50 already?' " One player who did know Bryant was on 48 was Butler. "I didn't like being a part of history that way," Butler told me.

• Bryant acknowledged that his scoring streak was spurred by the national debate over whether he was a dirty player after he was suspended twice for elbowing opponents in the face. "For me, that was insulting. To have people talking about something else is a much better thing."

• You may notice on the highlights of Friday night's game how Bryant high-fived a young boy midway through the third quarter after hitting a sick 3-pointer from the left side with a defender draped all over him. I asked Kobe: Why the high-five? "It was a little kid, and he had said, 'What's up,' and I said, 'What's up' back. And I told him: 'Watch this 3. I've got a 3 for you.' "

L.A. Times Laker Blog-... but frankly the Loch Ness Monster could have done a two-step with Tupac at halfcourt of the New Orleans Arena and we'd still be talking about the fact that Kobe has scored fifty or more in four straight games. Can he/the Lakers make it five on Sunday against Golden State? We'll find out.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"...It 'Aint To Play Games Wit You, It's To Aim At You..."

Memphis, Tenn., March 22 (AP) -- Kobe Bryant became the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in three straight games Thursday night. Bryant scored 60 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 121-119 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Bryant was 20-for-37 from the field, including 3-for-7 from 3s, and 17 of 18 from the free-throw line.

The last Laker with three consecutive 50-point games was Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor in December 1962. Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain are the only other players with three straight 50-point games.

"It just feels great,'' Bryant said of joining Baylor, Jordan and Chamberlain. "It's really special and very humbling to be in the same company.''

When the Lakers were in that 7 game losing streak, crippled by injuries, everyone knew that Kobe was going to be cut loose. This was practically inevitable, and that is what makes it so special. The fufillment-and raising-of expectations. This is greatness.

Who's next? New Orleans? Byron Scott must have his arms folded somethin' fierce right now. "Kobe scored 60? Throw some D on that bi.."

* I had to play this. I can't stop listening to it. Oh, almost forgot. Enjoy.

Michael Jordan's consecutive 50 pointers.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"When I Come Back Like Jordan, Wearin' the .45..."

Elias-Kobe Bryant scored 50 points in the Lakers' 109-102 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday night. Combined with his 65 points on Friday night, Bryant's two-game total of 115 matches the third highest in the last 40 NBA seasons -- topped only by Kobe's own 118 points over two games last season and Michael Jordan's 118 in 1990. Wilt Chamberlain did it many times, the last of which was 115 points over two games in December 1967 -- just within that 40-year window.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Hugh Hefner of This Shit.

I'll say it again, Kobe Bryant is the greatest scorer in the history of the game. The numbers may never truly reflect it, since he spent almost a decade alongside another dominant scorer, but somewhere even Money's tongue is wagging in admiration. It's always been nothing less than amusing to hear Kobe dismissed as nothing more than a clone, when in fact he has improved the blueprint.

Fundamental ball handling involves a soundness of footwork and a clarity of vision. Good ball handlers recognize and attack openings in the defense off the dribble with either hand. In addition to these balanced and measured steps, keen guards are quicker in their direction and decision making with the ball, maintaining an awareness of exactly when to halt the dribble and shoot or pass. The exceptional player employs a variety of jab steps, back steps, hop steps, spin moves and pivots to acquire space for a scoring opportunity. The more moves a player has, the less decisive their defenders can be. Michael Jordan had all of these moves in spades, including a wonderful crossover jab step. But what he didn't have was a killer crossover, the ultimate ball handling weapon for a player with a jump shot and an ability to attack the rim. Kobe does. One dribble and two steps gets him to the rim like nothing. Just the thought of it made Fred Jones fall over.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Layups are a tricky bunch, you can lay them too hard off the glass-or too soft. That's if you don't have one roll out or hit the back of the rim. Everyone knows that the highest percentage shot in basketball is to just jump up there and cram it in, but the problem lies in the execution. Several basketball players can dunk, just not from either foot, with either hand, in or outside the paint over whomever they please. Kobe's size, strength, quickness and agility make him a constant threat from any angle, but when he loads his springs on the baseline, smart defenders just walk away. Slackers like Doug Christie, Andrei Kirelenko and Kevin Garnett stick around and get dunked on. Word to the wise fellas, his baseline reverse windmill is indefensible, stop jumping.

Jordan's fade away and Cap's sky hook are the two most unstoppable shots in basketball history. They either make it or they don't, they never get blocked. The difference between the fade and hook is that a player has to commit to the hook. Once a pivot foot is chosen and the initial move is made, there is no possible counter move except traveling. An ability to drop step into an easy two off of either foot on the low block opens up options for an offensive player. Turn inside and dunk or fake it, turn outside and fade away. Or fake it, turn outside, and pivot around the defender again for a layup-another classic Jordan move. Thing is, Jordan wasn't using the fade until the end of his career and he was a free throw or below player. Kobe's bigger and stronger and uses the fade away everywhere. The low block, the pinch post, top of the key, three point baseline, anywhere he pleases, Kobe will go into that shake n' fade over either shoulder and if you step into it, he'll fade back further and still make it. Or step through and have a clear shot at the rim.

Anticipating the fade away causes defenders to play off of him in catch and shoot situations, so Kobe just goes into the step back jumper. Life is so unfair.

What's really fucked up is that the scariest part of Kobe's offensive game is on the perimeter. Play him out to thirty feet and he'll still J you without even putting the ball on the floor.

Wait until he busts this one out again...

Ball handling, attacking the basket along with strong post and perimeter play all mean nothing if they cannot be summoned at will. Kobe Bryant can score when it's absolutely necessary, even when the defense knows he's the only option, under any circumstances. He has mastered the fifth element.

And now, some Classic Wiley...

Note to self: Add another nickname to the list of Kobe the Destroyer and Kobe the Finisher -- Kobe the Puppet Master.

Note to all: Kobe Bryant has become the most unstoppable scoring force in the game, in a line with Wilt, O, Zeke from Cabin Creek, Rick Barry, Abdul-Jabbar, the Iceman, Doc, David, Zeke from West Side Chi, McAdoo, Bird, Jordan.

Observing Kobe's most recent scoring jag -- 44.6 per in the last five, nine straight with 35 points or more, best scoring run-out the NBA has seen since the mid-'80s, when Mike Jordan was 24 and 25, the same age Kobe is now -- we may conclude Kobe is the greatest scoring force in the league.


Sit down. Go with me for a minute. Understand that, just for today, we're leaving Dog and all the other Kobe-haters and Kobe-stoppers and Kobe-controllers home on this op.

We are talking raw ball here, not from the exalted seat of a fan or the controlling seat of a coach, but first from over Kobe's shoulder as he posts us up -- from playing off him as he's facing us, reading his body lean; then with him -- keeping the spacing correct, salivating as our man slides his way and we come open for the 18-footer that can win a game; and finally, from inside his head -- God, it's cluttered in here!

First, any guy who can score 42.3 over five in the NBA, and reference Pinocchio's Gepetto at the same time, is a man to be watched, studied, and possibly feared. "I felt like Gepetto," Kobe said after one of his recent exposés. He felt like the defenders were on the strings he held. Admittedly, many fans didn't get the reference. Maybe Kobe should've said he felt like Brando in "The Godfather" -- "... and I refused ... to dance on the strings, held by the big shots."

Defenders aren't the only ones dancing on the strings held by Kobe the Puppet Master. His teammates and coaches and observers are, too. This shock of the new is often exhilirating, but it invariably causes some to seek balance and comfort in the past. Why, I don't know, but it does.

And what we've seen from Kobe in this scoring streak (not to mention coinciding with Shaq's new mortality; the first seven games of Kobe's 35-plus streak were wins; the last two, against the Spurs and Knicks, were losses) is new. Or it's new to me, I should say. I just have not seen many guys make nine straight 3-pointers in competition, make them with no strain, like they were elbow jumpers; I haven't seen those one-bounce-dive-from-a-wing evasive dunks before. Have you? Oh, we've seen where they got started, but ...

I try not to fear, hate or resent him. Or lecture him, or control him, tell him how he failed at some level of hoop.

Besides, even if I'd been in a mood to try it, I didn't think I could back it up. Maybe Jerry West could talk to him like that. Maybe Broke Daddy, Ol' Jingle-Jangle-Jingle, Phil Jackson, one of my favored old Knicks, could do it, maybe. Jordan, sure. Someone should ask Jordan. Do you have any real big problem with the application of Kobe's game? What do you think Jordan would say? "Yeah, I do. He's not running the offense right, or dreaming about it enough."

Right. Last I looked, at 24, Kobe the Destroyer had won three NBA rings in a row, and now is currently looking for a fourth in a row. So me chastizing him, at my advanced age, despite my long history of watching and being on the beats and studying the NBA, from the Rick Barry, Gus Williams, Silk Wilkes, Phil Smith NBA champion Warriors of 1975 and 1976, on through Bird, Magic, Isiah, Dumars, Akeem, MJ, and on until today ... well, no. But, still, Kobe does not know that, and it would only mildly amuse him if he did.

So me telling him what he was not doing in the process of his three-ring accomplishments would be like Ron Turcotte pulling out a knotted whip and beating Secretariat with it as Big Red was in the process of winning the Belmont Stakes by 28 lengths. It would be not only grandstanding, it could even be seen as cruel. So I said what I said to him -- "Kid, you really put on a show" - and then, later on, I thought about what I'd said, a few days after last Thanksgiving, as the Lakes were trying to get by without Shaquille O'Neal.

Kobe had nodded, not as if he understood me so much as he appreciated me not using the whip on him. And while it is true that a thoroughbred responds to the whip and a mule bucks and sucks, the thoroughbred can also become sick of the whip if misapplied too often, and with too much relish.

So a human thoroughbred starts to think about spitting the bit and running elsewhere, where whips and chains and self-important appraisals are not so often forthcoming, for a man without a temper is not worth his salt. Or, if he's Kobe the Finisher, he can also become Kobe the Puppet Master, and let people rant or rave or do St. Vitus' dance however they chose as he pulls the strings and levers of his dominant basketball talents. I'd like to see what Charlie Kaufman could do with this guy's head. In an Association with at least eight other truly great players, and a good 50 or so who can drop 40 on a given night, Kobe rules. As yours truly pointed out in GQ last summer, days after the Lakes had won a third straight NBA title, if Kobe's hands were as big as Michael's, they'd have to shut down the league.

"Would you ever consider playing here?" I asked Kobe the Destroyer. We were in Memphis at the time. He had just dropped 44 on the Griz, yet the Lakes barely won. Jerry West runs the NBA club there in Memphis, as you know. Kobe looked at me strangely. Smart. Didn't say yes or no.

That Gepetto reference he used after one of his recent explosions means not just that he is atypical, but that he also has a much broader frame of reference than one suspected. He must understand what's good for the team, in a ball sense. And also, when someone is reflexively trying to jerk him. He must know that in a perfect world and game of hoop, yes, no question, the ball never touches the floor. It hits all the hands, and when the defense doubles or overcompensates, the perfect team swings it, swings it, swings it, and the last man down gets the look, and makes. So I mentioned this too. "Of course. And you also know we don't live in a perfect world," his look said, "or play on a perfect team for perfect men."

It will still be him who is expected to lift the Lakers, not Shaq, not Phil, not the spear-carriers; and when they lose -- not if, when, because Sacramento is better and deeper, and not even Jordan won them all -- it will all be brought back home to him. I saw it happen to Magic. It is what happens, in the short term, in the day-to-day coverage. The newspaper (and now the website) is going to come out every day, isn't it, Max Mercy?

Kobe the Puppet Master paused. I looked at him and said, "Look, what's good for the team is the ball in the basket."

I did not say he had played stupidly, as Kobe the Puppet Master had made Tex Winter say. I did not look askance at him. I did not feel a disconnect from him, as some fans of the hip-hop generation do, or people in Philly, who despise him because they feel he turned his back on them, or even Jerry Buss, who did not hang out with him and shoot pool and run over to the Playboy mansion or take him under his wing as a business protégé, as Buss did with his boy Magic.

In return, Kobe did not say I spoke stupidly, he did not look askance at me, or act disconnected from me or my boy Cole, also in attendance and studying our brief by-play intently. School was in for everybody.They both looked relieved that such a simple statement would be made by the doddering old man to the youth he could know but never really control, instead of an off-color harangue, or a lecture on some hoop theory on how the greatest scoring machine in basketball could make better use of his court time. He has been told enough that what's good for the team is getting everybody else looks; well, of course, in a perfect world, that is true. But what's good for the team is the ball in the basket -- if he gets his teammates shots, they have to make. It's not physics, but a much simpler kind of math.

You must understand that Kobe learned from Jordan and West that it is will that carries the day ... and so that same will that is essential to beat such good teams as the Spurs and the Kings is difficult to tamp down when teammates don't hit the open shots that your move has allowed them to see. The player of greatness will takes matters into his own hands.

Especially when you are the greatest scoring weapon in basketball, and possibly the greatest scoring weapon in the history of basketball. He is the greatest because he is the latest. He is the greatest now. He must press that edge.

Hope you're still watching R-Dub.


L.A. Times Lakers Blog
-So tonight's official Kobe Team Hoisting Stat of the Game: He scored 24 of the Lakers 30 fourth quarter points, on 9-11 from the field, including a perfect 4-4 from downtown. Those are video game numbers. Not surprisingly, the postgame chatter centered around 24. Unlike last season's 81 pointer against Toronto, during which Sam Mitchell never seemed to think Kobe was worthy of a double team, Nate McMillan did what he could (especially late) to deny Kobe the ball and contest his shots. Not that it mattered. "You just got to tip your hat to Kobe. Just an unbelievable performance," he said. "We had a chance to win this game, but he made some tough shots. Probably over half his shots were with a hand in his face, and we tried to double team- he made those, too."

Kobe said this game was, in his mind, up there with some of his best, especially when you consider how badly the Lakers needed to win. As for the ridiculous twisty three from the corner he buried in OT, "I just tried to create some space. I knew the shot clock was winding down, and I was able to create a little space with my body," Bryant said. "I was able to elevate and felt like I got a good look at it."

50 minutes. 65 points. 23-39 FGM-A. 8-12 3PM-A. 11-12 FTM-A. 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and only 2 turnovers. Do you realize how efficient of a performance that is? He could've missed his next four three pointers and three more field goals after that and still would've been 50%. This was on practically nothing but 18+ft jumpers. He could do it again tomorrow and I wouldn't bat an eyelash. Bear witness to the greatest scorer in NBA history.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just A Little Somethin' to Break the Monotony...

My top 20 music videos. Not songs, music videos.

20. The Pharcyde, "Drop"

19. Radiohead, "Karma Police"

18. Madonna, "Like A Prayer"

B.I.G., "Sky's the Limit"

16. The Game, "Wouldn't Get Far"

15. Jamiroquai, "Virtual Insanity"

14. Busta Rhymes, "Gimme Some More"

13. Geto Boys, "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me"

12. Ghostface Killah, "All That I Got Is You"

11. Madvillain, "All Caps"

10. Pearl Jam, "Do the Evolution"

9. Busta Rhymes, "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See"

8. Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Got Your Money"

7. Gnarls Barkley, "Smiley Faces"

6. Jay-Z, "99 Problems"

5. The Roots, "What They Do"

4. Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"

The White Stripes, "Fell In Love With A Girl"

2. George Michael, "Freedom '90"

1. Jeru The Damaja, "Ya Playin' Yaself"

Women I'd Settle For, Vol. II

Fill in the blank:

After ____________________ , Kim Kardashian became the league leader in double-doubles.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Keep It Pimpin'?

Tuesday night's episode of Costas Now was a one hour synopsis of why I can't stand the NCAA-or Bob Costas. I wish I could provide the entire video, but here's a recap:

After a series of interviews with college athletes and professors which reinforce the notion that many revenue producing student-athletes are essentially cash cows whose last concern is the classroom, a panel discussion is held.

Sally Jenkins, Washington Post: "The NBA and NFL are using the NCAA as a developmental league and the NCAA is more than willing to take the money."

Reggie Miller, NBA Legend: "I agree with you 100%"

Myles Brand, NCAA president: "Um, er, ah..."

Bob Costas, Hypocrite: "But doesn't the media bear some responsiblity for promoting it?"

Bob then proceeds to fellate Coach K

Why do I suddenly want to switch to State Farm Insurance? Who put this American Express application in my pocket?

Enjoy the tournament

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jason Whitlock's Scarecrow.

I really didn't want to talk about Jason Whitlock again. But alas, I'm merely a moth drawn to the flames of his sagacious observations.

*Via Lion in Oil (He asked the important questions, but I have a few followups....)

Q: What was the impetus that made you call for another civil rights movement and label a certain segment of the African-American community “the black KKK?”

“I think that to some degree and extent people are misguided and think that there is a lack of dissent in the black community. Meaning, basically, that African-Americans are all good with what is going on in the community. But I hear black people having these conversations all the time. I’m aware that we are not all good with it. Yet, we rarely offer any type of dissent. If we ignore it, it’s only going to get worse. We are going down a slippery negative slope. The hip-hop, prison values.... No one is coming out and saying this isn’t healthy for young people and that these aren’t appropriate values. "

So Jason, you're saying that there is dissent in the black community but it's not publicly offered? Are you serious? Maybe if you weren't continually showing us an ostrich impression with that bag of Cheetos you wouldn't have missed the past decade.

Q: Some say that your comparison of what you define as the “Black KKK” to the KKK that most Americans are familiar with is foolish, absurd and even dangerous. How do you respond to such criticism?

“Well, why don’t we count the bodies? Body by body- The tears are the same and the pain is the same. The violence is just so senseless. The fear that the gang-bangers prey on in the community is the same type of fear generated by the KKK. I understand that this is a strong analogy and I knew some people would be offended. But I’m trying to spark a new consciousness. These gang-bangers are alleging to be pro-black when they really are anti-black.”

It's ignorant and disingenuous to just compare body counts Jason, especially if you're not going to even address intent or influence.

Q: I’ve noticed in the last two columns you’ve written involving the African-American community you are quite blunt in describing various problems within it. However, you skirt the issue of offering solutions. What are some solutions that might have a tangible and ameliorating affect?

“I think the most important thing is embracing education. We can’t let kids go to school and continue to be ridiculed for talking properly. Getting an education is not acting white. People are called ‘sell-outs’ for talking properly. Additionally, hip-hop culture has become an expression of prison values. 25% of guys in my generation in the black community are incarcerated because of our country’s punitive drug laws. We can’t keep continuing to build prisons and creating these punitive cages. We have to rehabilitate people. Some people even need to be ‘habilitated.’ Non-violent offenders need to be treated differently than violent-offenders.”

That's your solution Jason? Stay in school, don't do drugs? Inspiring.

Q: Do you think African-American athletes are partly to blame for some of the ills we are now witnessing the African-American community struggle with?

“No, not at all. We can’t single out athletes. A lot of these kids are coming out of hip-hop culture and don’t know any better. But we are now seeing the major sports shop for talent outside of the African-American community. Major League Baseball has made a concerted effort to shop outside. They are in love with foreign athletes and I think it’s definitely an intentional decision on their part. I think there is some racism to it and also some rejection of the culture.

David Stern, who I think is a very, very fine commissioner, has been bending-over backwards to get guys to see the big-picture. But you have league-owners who are very uncomfortable with hip-hop culture. People will be entertained by whatever color athletes are, but this culture has made owners really uncomfortable. We have to learn to accept that people have a problem with this prison/hip-hop culture. Chris Rock, Bill Cosby talk about it. Black people talk about it all the time, believe me. We have to sit down and talk about this in a serious manner. It’s limiting us and our opportunities.”

Again, you're addressing an imaginary mass-referred to as "people". People who are unaware of the uproar in the black community. People who have a problem with hip hop. Prison too. Who are these "people" Jason? White people, black people, you? I thought the masses were unaware of the dissent within the black community, how can you subsequently reference Chris Rock and Bill Cosby, two of Americas favorite comedians? What's with comedians anyway? Why don't you have a bigger frame of reference?

Q: Are there any athletes out there today who are working to make the changes that you think are needed?

“I don’t think it’s possible for one person to be able to change everything. I definitely think there can be guys like Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali. But none of the guys are doing that. Yet, sometimes we forget that charismatic black leaders told Ali, Brown, Tommie Smith and John Carlos (1968 Olympic medal winners who famously raised their fists in a black power salute) what to do. These guys were led. No one is leading them today. It’s a failure of black leadership. But we can’t blame athletes. They are too immature.”

Now you're challenging black leadership as a whole? Athletes are too immature? Perhaps you should pass me the Twinkies and show 'em how it's done.

Q: Have you read Dave Zirin’s, “An Open Letter to Jason Whitlock.” If so, what are your feelings regarding the comments he made?

“I think Dave’s heart is in the right place. But Dave needs to let black people handle this. We need to have this series of arguments and debates. I say this nicely as possible, but Dave just needs to mind his own business. That doesn’t mean non-blacks can’t help. Obviously, some white people played a great role in the civil-rights movement. I don’t know if Dave just wants to draw attention to his blog or what, but he should just mind his business.”

Dave wanted to draw attention to the facts. Given your aversion to logic and research, you might be a bit more niggerish than you thought, Jason.

Q: What is it going to take for African-Americans to have this “conversation” that you consistently bring up?

“I think we are already there. It’s been bubbling. There are prominent blacks out there discussing this. Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Juan Williams. They are out there. I knew when I gave the Big Lead interview that people were ready for this. I made the decision to go to AOL because of its association with pop culture. I knew I’d have the freedom to discuss this and spur debate. I knew it was just a matter of time before this conversation could happen. It is taking place right now. And I’m going to continue pushing the need for conversation. But now, I want to take it to another level. People need to really think about hip-hop culture. This stuff is straight out of the penitentiary and you cannot live that way out here in the real world.”

Again with the comedians? Think bigger Jason. Or are you ignoring the efforts of others in a vainglorious attempt to build your own profile? Do you realize you're hindering honest discussion by trivializing our country's past and current ills with your fear mongering? Do you even realize that this issue is rooted in things much bigger than sports, and that it may require analysis by someone other than a fucking sportswriter, especially one as limited as yourself?

Q: While there are prominent African-American sports writers and journalists out there, African-Americans are still under-represented in the field. Two questions:
(1) How did you get your start out of Ball State? (2) What advice would you give a young African-American sports journalist fresh out of college who is hoping to embark on a journalism career?

“Well, I studied journalism in college and worked for the school newspaper. My first job was in Bloomington, Indiana for the Bloomington Herald Times. I made five dollars an hour. Then I moved to South Carolina and covered high school sports for two years. After that, I moved to Ann Arbor, where I covered the Fab Five. As for advice, I would start off by telling the kid to not be afraid to move to another city. Work at a small newspaper and hone your skills. Don’t be afraid to be different and definitely don’t go in with the expectation that the ride will be smooth and easy. You have to be committed.”

Thanks for the advice, Jason. Are you gonna eat that? Ouch! Sorry, stupid question.

Women I'd Settle For, Vol. I

Q:Kerry Washington is to Scarlett Johansson as:

a)Elgin Baylor is to Jerry West
b)Magic Johnson is to Larry Bird
c)Kobe Bryant is to Steve Nash
d)All of the above

A: A, why choose between them if you can get them to play together? And in throwback shorts?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not That It Matters...

I've come to learn that this little blog of mine shares it's title with an A.A. Milne book. Yes, the Pooh guy. After reading it, I'm more than pleased with this coincidence. No top stories will ever be broken here, nor will there be any exclusive interviews. To my right are several salient scribes who have left the lot of us searching for falling scraps off of their table. They run the gamut of news and opinion on practically all things NBA rendering any subsequent offerings redundant at best. As others, I blog in the spirit of the esteemed and offer my occasional two cents, but perhaps that isn't enough. What are my motivations? I don't need this space to egoize or malign. I have no personal agendas, vendettas nor connections. What then, is there to gain from this exercise? Is this how I want to spend my life? Throwing silly questions into the wind? Among other things, yes. Long live the NBA.

What is the state of the NBA? How did we get here? Where are we going? Who will lead?

Not me, I'm just watching like the rest of you. When I say that "it" doesn't matter, I mean not only what I think, but all of this. Only a lowbottom, down to the last link, NBA fiend could have stumbled upon this dimly lit corner of the interwebs, scouring it's scant pages for just one more hit of anything be it video, stat or opinion. Whilst you point and click down the ol' Carpal Tunnel, let me remind you-I get high on this shit too. I can identify with the incredulous tongue lashings you must have received from a more conscious and responsible citizenry-those who want to know "how you can watch so much of that shit? None of it matters."Of course you could remind them of the NBA's worldwide social and economical impact, but their recurring question would be what do you as the indivdual reap from this fool's bargain? Like a fool, you should respond monosyllabically. Joy. From a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. Long live the NBA.

Tyler tells me that on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everything is zero and that this will end up as another waste of my time. I wholeheartedly agree with him, but I care for these things nonetheless. He tells me that I line the pockets of tyrants who mock what I hold dear. I say I am the building block of an empire of love. This game has touched lives and inspires greatness. All of these things matter because of fans, and as others, I am proud of that.

He tells me the Lakers are a bunch of pussies these days.

Long live the NBA.

The Pleasure of Writing, by A.A. Milne

Sometimes when the printer is waiting for an article which really
should have been sent to him the day before, I sit at my desk and
wonder if there is any possible subject in the whole world upon
which I can possibly find anything to say. On one such occasion I
left it to Fate, which decided, by means of a dictionary opened
at random, that I should deliver myself of a few thoughts about
goldfish. (You will find this article later on in the book.) But
to-day I do not need to bother about a subject. To-day I am
without a care. Nothing less has happened than that I have a new
nib in my pen.

In the ordinary way, when Shakespeare writes a tragedy, or Mr.
Blank gives you one of his charming little essays, a certain
amount of thought goes on before pen is put to paper. One cannot
write "Scene I. An Open Place. Thunder and Lightning. Enter Three
Witches," or "As I look up from my window, the nodding daffodils
beckon to me to take the morning," one cannot give of one's best
in this way on the spur of the moment. At least, others cannot.
But when I have a new nib in my pen, then I can go straight from
my breakfast to the blotting-paper, and a new sheet of foolscap
fills itself magically with a stream of blue-black words. When
poets and idiots talk of the pleasure of writing, they mean the
pleasure of giving a piece of their minds to the public; with an
old nib a tedious business. They do not mean (as I do) the
pleasure of the artist in seeing beautifully shaped "k's" and
sinuous "s's" grow beneath his steel. Anybody else writing this
article might wonder "Will my readers like it?" I only tell
myself "How the compositors will love it!"

But perhaps they will not love it. Maybe I am a little above
their heads. I remember on one First of January receiving an
anonymous postcard wishing me a happy New Year, and suggesting
that I should give the compositors a happy New Year also by
writing more generously. In those days I got a thousand words
upon one sheet 8 in. by 5 in. I adopted the suggestion, but it
was a wrench; as it would be for a painter of miniatures forced
to spend the rest of his life painting the Town Council of
Boffington in the manner of Herkomer. My canvases are bigger now,
but they are still impressionistic. "Pretty, but what is it?"
remains the obvious comment; one steps back a pace and saws the
air with the hand; "You see it better from here, my love," one
says to one's wife. But if there be one compositor not carried
away by the mad rush of life, who in a leisurely hour (the
luncheon one, for instance) looks at the beautiful words with the
eye of an artist, not of a wage-earner, he, I think, will be
satisfied; he will be as glad as I am of my new nib. Does it
matter, then, what you who see only the printed word think of it?

A woman, who had studied what she called the science of
calligraphy, once offered to tell my character from my
handwriting. I prepared a special sample for her; it was full of
sentences like "To be good is to be happy," "Faith is the lode-
star of life," "We should always be kind to animals," and so on.
I wanted her to do her best. She gave the morning to it, and told
me at lunch that I was "synthetic." Probably you think that the
compositor has failed me here and printed "synthetic" when I
wrote "sympathetic." In just this way I misunderstood my
calligraphist at first, and I looked as sympathetic as I could.
However, she repeated "synthetic," so that there could be no
mistake. I begged her to tell me more, for I had thought that
every letter would reveal a secret, but all she would add was
"and not analytic." I went about for the rest of the day saying
proudly to myself "I am synthetic! I am synthetic! I am
synthetic!" and then I would add regretfully, "Alas, I am not
analytic!" I had no idea what it meant.

And how do you think she had deduced my syntheticness? Simply
from the fact that, to save time, I join some of my words
together. That isn't being synthetic, it is being in a hurry.
What she should have said was, "You are a busy man; your life is
one constant whirl; and probably you are of excellent moral
character and kind to animals." Then one would feel that one did
not write in vain.

My pen is getting tired; it has lost its first fair youth.
However, I can still go on. I was at school with a boy whose
uncle made nibs. If you detect traces of erudition in this
article, of which any decent man might be expected to be
innocent, I owe it to that boy. He once told me how many nibs his
uncle made in a year; luckily I have forgotten. Thousands,
probably. Every term that boy came back with a hundred of them;
one expected him to be very busy. After all, if you haven't the
brains or the inclination to work, it is something to have the
nibs. These nibs, however, were put to better uses. There is a
game you can play with them; you flick your nib against the other
boy's nib, and if a lucky shot puts the head of yours under his,
then a sharp tap capsizes him, and you have a hundred and one in
your collection. There is a good deal of strategy in the game
(whose finer points I have now forgotten), and I have no doubt
that they play it at the Admiralty in the off season. Another
game was to put a clean nib in your pen, place it lightly against
the cheek of a boy whose head was turned away from you, and then
call him suddenly. As Kipling says, we are the only really
humorous race. This boy's uncle died a year or two later and left
about œ80,000, but none of it to his nephew. Of course, he had
had the nibs every term. One mustn't forget that.

The nib I write this with is called the "Canadian Quill"; made, I
suppose, from some steel goose which flourishes across the seas,
and which Canadian housewives have to explain to their husbands
every Michaelmas. Well, it has seen me to the end of what I
wanted to say--if indeed I wanted to say anything. For it was
enough for me this morning just to write; with spring coming in
through the open windows and my good Canadian quill in my hand, I
could have copied out a directory. That is the real pleasure of

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sleeping With the Enemy?

Just Jared-“I don’t think my features are entirely feminine. Yes, I have full lips and obviously I have no facial hair. But…take somebody like Penelope Cruz. She’s so feminine. Think about it. She has, like, long eyelashes, and to me she just looks very feminine. When I wake up in the morning and I have no makeup on, like right now, I think I look like a young boy.”

If you're a young boy, then call me Father Airington baby. But first things first, we gotta get you some new kicks...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stu Jackson's Neighborhood Watch

Intentional. Flagrant foul. Suspension.

Intentional. Flagrant foul. Suspension.

Unintentional? Offensive foul. No suspension.

Intentional. Defensive foul. Suspension?

-The league cited Artest for his foul on Ginobili in the third quarter of the Spurs' 122-88 victory. Ginobili caught Artest's elbow in his jaw while attempting to run through the lane, and the Argentine star fell to the ground as Artest got a personal foul.

Though Spurs coach Gregg Popovich jumped off the bench to argue for a flagrant foul, Ginobili got right back up, and the game continued. Afterward, Ginobili said he wasn't injured on the play and didn't consider it particularly serious, while Popovich said he had no problem with Artest's aggressive style of play.

"I didn't even see the play, but it couldn't have been that bad," said Mike Bibby, who declared himself "amazed" by the league's decision.

"There was no flagrant foul or technical foul on the play. They look at things differently for certain people, you could say."

Popovich said the Spurs didn't even contact the NBA about the play, something many teams -- including the Kings -- will do for any questionable play, particularly in the playoffs.

Ginobili was shocked when he heard about the suspension after practice at the Spurs' suburban training complex.

"For us it's good, because he's a great player, but we don't have much to do with it," Ginobili said. "It didn't hurt me. I said it after the game. But the league [watches] everything we do."

Intentional. Flagrant foul. On Kaman? $10,000 fine for Evans? No suspension?!

ESPN-"Certainly one clear difference is in the case of Reggie Evans we didn't have a clear view exactly what happened," Stu Jackson, the NBA vice president who handles such punishments, said Thursday. "We understand he reached underneath the player, but you couldn't see the end result. It's really an apple and an orange."

Intentional. Flagrant foul. Suspension.

Intentional. No foul. Suspension.

ESPN-Spurs point guard Tony Parker said justice was served.

"Jason Terry has been throwing a lot of punches in the series," Parker said. "He's gotten me so many times with cheap shots."

Intentional. Flagrant? Suspension?! (For Game 5 in a Finals tied at 2?! Wow.)

Chicago Sun Times
- Dallas coach Avery Johnson spoke with the media a few hours before the suspension was announced, and made it clear he did not feel one was warranted.

"Shaq was just in an awkward position," Johnson said. "When you're in an awkward position and Stack comes in and tries to give a hard foul and not a layup ... I always talk to them about giving hard fouls, but we definitely don't want to injure players.

"Shaq was going up [and Stackhouse] made a hard foul on him. Just like [in Game 1] when Stack went up and Shaq gave him a hard foul and almost broke his nose.

"If that's a suspension ... they will have to ... review everything that's happened throughout the playoffs, and there may have to be some retribution or something and maybe go and suspend some other players maybe they forgot."

Unintentional. No foul. Suspension?

MSNBC-“It’s just unintentional,” Bryant added. “I felt horrible about it. It’s just basketball, it happens.”

Stu Jackson disagreed, and offered the NBA’s explanation on a conference call.

“Some of the determining factors were the fact that there was contact made with Ginobili above the shoulders and the fact that this particular action by Kobe was an unnatural basketball motion. Following a shot, he drove a stiff arm in a backward motion and struck Ginobili in the head,” Jackson said. “We did not view this as an inadvertent action.”

No foul was called on the play.

“This blow was so swift in real time that it’s understandable why, in fact, an official would have missed the contact,” Jackson said. “In our view, this was not an attempt to draw a foul.”

Boston Globe-"They said it was intentional," Kobe sniffs. "I challenge anyone to find a player who is going up to take the winning shot and tries to intentionally hit someone in the face. What kind of sense does that make?"

Ginobili hit the deck on the play, clearly smarting from Kobe's errant forearm. Kobe called his friend, Bruce Bowen, of the Spurs to check on Ginobili the next day, and Bowen told him the NBA had contacted Ginobili about the incident.

"Bruce told me Manu told them it was completely unintentional," Kobe says. "I figured that was that. But then I got word later I was suspended.

"I don't understand it. I guess if someone gets hit in the face, they feel they have to do something. If they don't want players to flare their arms out when they are shooting, then call us and let us know at least.

"Guys have been doing that as long as I've been in the league. [Former Pacers star] Chuck Person has been doing it for years."

ESPN-Of greatest significance, there was zero clamor from the Spurs for Bryant to be disciplined. There was minimal media attention devoted to the incident, until Monday morning, because prominent Spurs insisted that there was no incident.

Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich immediately dismissed the notion that the hit was deliberate. "That's not his style," Pop said of Kobe after San Antonio's 96-94 overtime victory. Ginobili later told league security officials and the NBA Players Association that he hoped Bryant wouldn't be punished.

Unintentional. Flagrant foul. No suspension?

ESPN-With the Heat up 87-86 with 20.4 seconds left, Wade took a hard foul in the face, courtesy of his good friend James -- who was called for a flagrant foul as Wade writhed in pain near midcourt. Wade made both free throws to push the lead to 89-86, then made one more after being fouled again 2.4 seconds later.

"He was just going for the steal," Wade said.

"D-Wade knows it's not intentional," James said. "But it's part of the rules, you've got to call it."

Unintentional. Offensive foul. Suspension?!

ESPN-Nobody should be surprised that Kobe Bryant drew another one-game suspension for knocking someone else in the nose with his elbow, but the guy on the receiving end of that elbow actually thought the penalty was undeserved.

"As players, we know during a game when someone is trying to hurt you or be mean, and I never thought that was what was happening. So I'm really surprised by the decision," Minnesota's Marko Jaric told me this afternoon via cell phone about an hour after the NBA announced Bryant's one-game suspension.

Jaric said his only scar from the incident was a small marking above his eye, which is probably pretty fortunate since the elbow from Bryant gave Jaric a bloody nose, and as anybody who's ever been struck in the nose knows, a black eye often comes next. Just ask Manu Ginobili, who walked around with a shiner for two weeks after getting hit by Bryant's elbow in the Jan. 28 incident that previously earned Bryant a one-game suspension.

"I haven't seen the replay, but if you ask me what I thought about the play when it happened, I don't think he did it intentionally, and I don't think players should be suspended for things that happen unintentionally," Jaric said. "I think he was trying to draw a foul, and he swung his hand out to make it look dramatic, and he hit me by accident. He apologized right after."

Jaric said the pain from the strike was only a "2 or 3" on a scale of 1 to 10.

Stu, we need to talk. You're a busy man, I'll try to keep it brief. Do you watch The Simpsons? I know, again with the TV, but it's a good icebreaker. I don't watch it anymore-at least not the new episodes-but I'll still catch a rerun occasionally. There's a nostalgia to it, no? I only mention this because there was a scene that reminds me of you. Homer had formed a 'neighborhood watch' of mercenaries to catch a cat burglar and return Lisa's beloved saxophone. His brand of justice was not only vigilante, but ill advised and irrational. He was doing more harm to the community than good, and finally Lisa had to confront him.
"Dad, if you're the police, then who will police the police?"
"I don't know, Coast Guard?"
You are the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Besides David Stern, you're the league's most influential officer, because you control the rules of the game. The stars are aligned for the game to redefine itself and you're acting like Homer Fucking Simpson.

Please, don't be offended, I say this out of love-and fear. A genuine love for this game, and a fear of you taking it over. You're on the short list of candidates to succeed the commish, yet you've shown a disheartening inability to perform your current job requirements. You don't even know a reach around when you see one.

The recurring complaints about the NBA-on the court-are about the bad officiating, star treatment, and some even go as far as to say the games are rigged. Last year's playoffs certainly didn't help you any, but let's not forget how the game got to this point . Sure, Money received his share of calls, but he also took his lumps, just like every other star. Not those Dwyane Wade, "Ooh, that'll look good in the commercial!" lumps either. It was a different league back then. Of course after Michael left, things changed. Pat Riley's bullyball had taken over. The League already had enough reminders that it was 'thuggish', and they certainly didn't need their premier teams playing that style of ball, so they changed the rules. No more hand/hip check defense, no bumping, no nothing. A decade later, we have a league with few true centers, and a perimeter full of lightning fast players who can't touch each other. (That, combined with the ensuing influx of Euroballers are what make a 195lb point guard a possible three-peat MVP, not his skin color. I hope.)

I understand that some of these circumstances are beyond your control. You're just the new guy and you're looking to make some improvements. Problem is, you're inconsistent and many times looking in the wrong direction. You want to make some retroactive calls? That Wizards v. Warriors debacle would've been a good one. You want to talk about "unnatural basketball motions"?

Oh, that's right, you meant Kobe. Way to prioritize. Okay, no more sarcasm. I know you've already taken Bruce Bowen to task, and perhaps you're only going to focus on rule infractions committed by premier players, since they're the ones who set the example. (It would explain why you didn't suspend Brian Cook for making the exact same play in that Knicks game you kept Kobe out of. Oh, sorry. Bad habit. No more sarcasm!) But again your rationale, and it's application are inconsistent. Are you punishing Kobe for his intentions or the result of the play? You couldn't be punishing by intent, since neither 'victim' saw any and if you were punishing based on result, LeBron should've been suspended too. Or is this part of your crackdown on flopping? I'll withhold judgment on that until Mr. "Fall down seven times, shoot fourteen free throws" comes back.

Regardless, the point I'm trying to make Stu, is that the League is ripe with young talent that shouldn't be tethered to these outdated rules. The game needs opening up, not more restrictions. If you want to get rid of flopping, how about allowing hand checks? The defenders can go back to physical play and not have to resort to baiting for a whistle. The officials were already emasculated, now you've gone and completely neutered them with your post factum suspensions. They all want the same thing, quality basketball, but it seems as though you have your own ideas of how to achieve this. The thing is, if you're the police....ah, forget it.