Wednesday, June 18, 2008

why i love basketball so much.

i had this really good friend through all of elementary school. he was 10 years old, and i was 9 years old. he played guitar, i tried to play drums. we spent every day together and we dreamed of being the next Mötley Crüe. we were called STEEL IMAGE, a cover band that would crank out hits from hair metal greats. it was some of my best early memories, figuring out how to play the drums and just having that escape. it was great to have a friend at that time, because i had just lost my dad unexpectedly & life had become pretty scary all of a sudden.

once middle school rolled around, things started to change. he was a year older and so i became less cool to hang out with for some reason ( a year gap can make a big difference in "coolness", i guess).

if he invited me over or we planned to "jam", as we had so many times before, there would always be a new "cooler" random guy that was his age that would show up to assume the bass or vocal duties. this went on for a couple of years.

all these new kids were the ones in school who got drunk before anyone else i knew. they carried condoms in their wallets. they would turn on a porno and act like, "what? all 13 year olds watch pornos. it makes you a man. don't be weird whit". to me it WAS weird. i didn't want to watch a porno, my hormones were different. maybe that year difference in age was a bigger deal than i thought, because at 12 years old i just wanted to kiss emily mack. just a kiss.

i usually made the situation even more awkward when i would hang out with those gentlemen, because i would always find a bogus excuse to get the hell out of there abruptly. whether it was a "sudden sickness" or that "my Mom told me to be back by a certain time", whatever. i just remember high tailing it the moment i saw a glimpse of some grainy picture of a slutbag and her fake boobs on the T.V., or smelt some strange odor that was different from a cigerette as i know it to smell. to tell you the truth, i hung out with these dopes far too long and really only because they were into "music" and girls liked them and they did dangerous and bad stuff. but they treated me like garbage and my friend had become so brainwashed that he didn't really like me anymore anyway - so it made no sense for me to stick around. and the more i hung out with them, the more obvious it became to me that i was viewed as a pest and a tag along. what was sad about it all was i saw my best friend turn into this alien around these new "cool guys". sadly, he never grew out of it, and continues to chase the dream of being "cool" to this day.

to a kid, losing your friend is a pretty big deal. so the only way i could cope w/ losing a dad, and then losing my friend & all the other adolescent stuff i had going on during those years, was like most kids... i would shovel junk food & lots of it, into my mouth space.

then outta nowhere i fatefully made some new friends. i dropped those other ones like a bad habit. these new guys were a group of church friends. they were some of the funniest guys i had ever met. really funny. in fact, they made me laugh so hard that a game was developed where they could make me laugh hard enough, to the point that i would vomit. and that was the main difference b/t this group of friends, everything was done w/ laughter, not "coolness". they actually were nice guys & included me, which made me feel like an equal. were they the "cool kids" in the high school sense? not really. but i soon realized that it didn't matter that much. they were cool to me. they were my friends.

they weren't necessarily into music, but what they were into was sports. specifically basketball. i would end playing 3 -4 times a week. at school, at home, at the church....all the time. i started off not very good at all. well, sooner or later that chubby kid from the beginning of this story shed all of his baby fat and gained a invaluable amount of confidence and self-esteem. and at under 5 foot, i could hold my own on a basketball court.

which leads me to my first introduction to the NBA. i (as well as every other American human) was amazed with Michael Jordan, he was my first favorite player. then it was Danny Ainge (because he was white, scrappy, & a little crazy) & then Muggsy Bogues ( mainly because he's 5'3"), then it was Jason Kidd... and it stayed that way for awhile. Jason was my favorite all-time player growing up for two reasons: 1) he was the underdog and had to earn everything, including being drafted 2nd overall, but being called ASON, because he had no "J"), & 2) because i was in awe of the way he played, i identified with it somehow - the passing, they unselfishness. even at a intimidating - 5'0, i thought i could be the next Jason Kidd... i tried desperately to emulate his style & moves on the schoolyard courts, etc.

then, when i was a sophmore in high school this tall, lanky high school senior, was picked 5th overall by the Minnesota TImberwolves. i immediately thought he was the coolest. not only did he play unlike any big man i had ever seen, but he made me laugh & his intensity was unparalleled. and as much i still held a fondness for JKidd, i never really related with his off the court personality, which i did with KG.

he was the face of the new expansion team in Minnesota, the Wolves had their franchise player. i followed his career through the ups and downs in MInnesota, always hoping he could get to the next level. rooting for him. see that's sometimes the indication of a TRUE NBA junkie, you have a favorite player or team for each category: favorite defensive player, favorite point guard, etc. so for years i held strong to my 2 favorite players: Garnett & Kidd, and my favorite team, the LA Clippers (which is enitrely different story altogether).

while KG was in Minnesota, sports pundits and analysts would create stories & rumors every summer or trading deadline that KG would be traded to a contender or that Kevin McHale and the Wolves would bring in the right pieces to surround KG and get him and the Wolves over the hill. never really happened.

and then in 2005, the Wolves actually got to the Western Conference finals. they lost against Shaq & Kobe's Lakers. it was heart breaking. KG won MVP that year, but w/o a championship to justify it. it was the farthest the franchise had ever been. that summer the Wolves management let all the pieces (Cassell, Sprewell, etc.) unexplicably leave and Minnesota fell all the way to the bottom of the Western Conference heap. from top to bottom in one quick summer.

during the following year's playoffs, TNT ran an interview with hall of fame college coach & all around mentor, John Thompson. he & and KG talked openly about his career. as i watched this interview i saw a player who was allowing America and NBA fans to see something they rarely get to see: honesty, humilty & raw emotion.

now...several years later KG finally has a ring and during last night's post game interviews, The Kid again let it all out. and i think that's why KG is my favorite, he lets all out, no pretense, no mask, no "coolness".

this is from Scoop Jackson's column, and it's in response to a question during the post game press conference. Garnett is asked what it's like to not have the burden of failing to meet personal and public expectations finally behind him:

""You ever go to school," he said, finding the perfect words, "and you had a bully mess with you every day? I know everybody ain't no tough guy here. It's like that bully that you go to school every day [with] and you know when you get out of your mom's or dad's car, you know you're going to see him as soon as you walk through the doors, he's sitting there waiting to pat your pockets and mess with you. Then one day you say, 'This is going to stop today!' You walk in and as soon as the bully pats your pockets you lay his ass out and you see the expression on his face. You're sorta shook because you know what, you just knocked the bully out and you don't know how he's going to come back. The next morning when you come in and he's not there, it's like a sigh of relief. It's like getting rid of the bully. It's like I knocked the bully's ass out! I knocked his ass clean out. That's what it feels like. For all y'all who ain't been bullied, y'all got no idea what I'm talking about. But for y'all who have, you understand my story."

(you can read the entire article here)...

that's why i love basketball. because of guys like Kevin Garnett. i feel like we both have a story of fighting through adversity and trying to always make the decision to go w/ what's important, rather than what's "cool". what's not to like about that?

it's nice to have a mistress in the Celtics, it's helped to soften the eons of loss & pain i've sustained as a Clipper faithful over the years.

game 6

congrats fellas. you earned it the best way possible - with tough as nails defense & good ol' fashioned heart.

rondo & 6 STEALS!!! 40 point defeat. that's a giant statement.

doc & his boys really showed what it means to be a winner. it was a group effort by this gang in green, which bonded behind coach rivers, who borrowed an African word ubuntu (pronounced Ooh-BOON-too) and roughly means "I am, because we are" in English, as the Celtics' unifying team motto.

and now i introduce your 2008 world champion...


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

game 5

to tell you the truth, i don't remember what happend.

oh yeah, the crappy team won.


Friday, June 13, 2008

game 4

down by 20 with 5:00 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, starting center injures shoulder, starting point guard has a sprained ankle, captain has a sprained knee, the opposing bench features the second winningest coach in NBA history & the league MVP, you're in L.A., the crowd is deafening, the momentum is unsurmountable. that's a lot of odds against you.

but defense still wins ball games. so does determination and fight. doc and tom thibodeaux are yelling and sweating harder than the players...meanwhile "shoulders jackson" sits & defiantly makes no adjusments to the suffocating & tenacious defense. phil has always believed in letting his players play out their struggles instead of implementing coaching schemes, but this time it bit him sqaure in the butt.

one more to go.

here are some really great photos of the backs of my favorite people on the planet right now. sorry heidi, it's true.



i also thought that this was interesting. it's a quote from Curt Shilling's blog following Game 2 in Boston. he was courtside at the game and had this observation:

"Who doesn’t know Kobe Bryant right? I only know what I have heard, starting awhile back with the entire Shaq debacle. I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other on or about him other than to know that people feel he might be one of the 4-5 greatest players to ever lace it up. What I do know is what I got to see up close and hear, was unexpected. From the first tip until about 4 minutes left in the game I saw and heard this guy bitch at his teammates. Every TO he came to the bench pissed, and a few of them he went to other guys and yelled about something they weren’t doing, or something they did wrong. No dialog about “hey let’s go, let’s get after it” or whatever. He spent the better part of 3.5 quarters pissed off and ranting at the non-execution or lack of, of his team. Then when they made what almost was a historic run in the 4th, during a TO, he got down on the floor and basically said ‘Let’s f’ing go, right now, right here” or something to that affect. I am not making this observation in a good or bad way, I have no idea how the guys in the NBA play or do things like this, but I thought it was a fascinating bit of insight for me to watch someone in another sport who is in the position of a team leader and how he interacted with his team and teammates. Watching the other 11 guys, every time out it was high fives and “Hey nice work, let’s get after it” or something to that affect. He walked off the floor, obligatory skin contact on the high five, and sat on the bench stone faced or pissed off, the whole game. Just weird to see another sport and how it all works. I would assume that’s his style and how he plays and what works for him because when I saw the leader board for scoring in the post season his name sat up top at 31+ a game, can’t argue with that. But as a fan I was watching the whole thing, Kobe, his teammates and then the after effects of conversations. He’d yell at someone, make a point, or send a message, turn and walk away, and more than once the person on the other end would roll eyes or give a ‘whatever dude’ look."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

game 3

sucked. i want to choke sasha.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

game two

wow. talk about let your defense dictate your offense. as i predicted, Rondo's youth and speed was too much for Ol' Man Fisher. 16 assists is bigtime. p2 is a flat out warrior, and obviously just wants it more than mamba does. oh and...leon powe was a beast. he also used to live in abondoned cars, i'd say the NBA Finals is sort of an upgrade for him as far as life goes.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Attack! sketch show @ UCB

if you missed it or you want to see more, call or write the theatre 323.908.8702 or and tell them to bring us back!

nba finals > game one


pierce has redeemed himself and his performance in last night's game was reminiscent of another hometown great, Kirk Gibson.

pierce goes down, looks like a knee sprain (that's sometimes a season ending injury or at least an extended period on the IL). he is carried out. boston fans are silenced.

THEN...outta nowhere, a shot of the tunnel - here come Paul....BOSTON ERUPTS! timeout. out of the timeout and hobbled on one leg - Paul Pierce for 3.....GOOD. next trip down the court - Paul Pierce for another 3....GOOD!

this gives the Cs a large cushion, Doc takes out P2 to avoid further injury. and then the shot of P2 on the exercise bike by the tunnel, encircled by large, robust, New England diehards cheering him on as he pedals. paul is overcome w/ the love, he starts laughing....(something "P Squared" is not caught frequently doing).


p.s. Posey, keep that lockdown on Mamba going in Game 2.