Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I like Kanye West. I think he ushered in a period of heavy soul sampling production and homage to past legends in hip hop. For the most part, I have liked his music. I enjoyed College Dropout. I felt it was a groundbreaking album that gave balance to the Universe, especially with 50 Cent at that point carrying the flag for the Gangsta side of Rap. Kanye "kept it real." Didn't claim to be a tough guy, didn't rhyme every other song about gun talk or his latest Sexual conquest. Instead, he had songs about family (Family business) overcoming adversity (I'll fly away and Through the Wire) and even found some time to put a little religion into it (Jesus Walks). Those songs were just on his first Album!! I have a hard time recalling another debut album since 2000 which has had the type of impact and buzz that the College Dropout did. Following up with Late Registration (sense a theme here?) he broke the Sophomore jinx with monster hits like Touch the Sky, Gold Digger, Hey Mama (especially poingnant now) celebration, and Bring me down. My personal favorite (and the song I feel is him baring his soul) from this album would definitely have to be Diamonds from Sierra Leone. Before this song I had minimal knowledge of the blood diamond trade and the evil being done to African People in Diamond Mining regions. To keep this blog from becoming a book, I'll skip his next album, Graduation, which I also love and also went platinum, just like his previous 2, and get to my major issue with Mr. Kanye to the (West's) Musical catalogue. 808's and Heartbreak. While I understand the general premise behind the album, (messy and painful break up from his fiance) his method of production and delivery has left me scratching my head. First of all, the worst decision Kanye West could have ever made was to blatantly copy someone else's style or grab onto a current (and fast expiring, hopefully) trend. Yet he somehow managed to do BOTH! He basically became K-Payne and did the entire frickin album using Auto-Tune. The entire album. And if that wasn't bad enough, he doesn't rap on the album. At all. Instead? HE SINGS. Kanye West should not sing. Kanye West should produce and rap. For this reason, whenever someone asks me if I heard Kanye's new Rap CD,I have to quickly correct them and let them know that Kanye West's new album is pop. Not even R&B, but pop. The ONLY person who has gotten away with doing an album of this nature was most notably, Andre 3000 with The Love Below (Fantastic!!) and Lauryn Hill with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Top 15 all time album). And even with these notable exceptions, both artists rhymed on these albums. I firmly believe that Kanye West was taken aback and felt personally threatened by this tidal wave movement of Auto Tune in Rap. Almost everyone of note has used it, from Lil'Wayne to Snoop Dogg (Keep fighting the urge, Jay-z!!). The fact that this artist who has prided himself on being original would fall into this trap is depressing and irritating for me, the faithful listener. It's not like his old ways weren't being awarded commercially or artistically (He's one ten Grammy Awards®!!). This musical blunder now forces me to place this album in the same file folder as Rocky V, which never happened. I can only hope that Kanye gets back on track and produces good Hip Hop.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
1. Stephon Marbury, statistically, IS one of the greatest point guards of all time. Yup, it's true...but statistically, ok? Don't think I'm crazy.
2. I fall somewhere between the media and Steven on this one. While he isn't the villain he has been portrayed to be... well, he still said this:
"'From what I've seen, he allowed Steve Nash to dribble the ball for 22 seconds,' Marbury said. ‘He allows guys to shoot coming down on the break, one-on-three. For me, I like that style of basketball.'"
Again, I agree that the media has blown him up to be this big-time cancer, when in reality he is one semi-drunk talk show appearance and one playoff run from being a healthier version of...Baron Davis.
3. NO WAY should he give the Knicks money back. Even if Steph isn't the smartest, classiest guy, the Knicks organization definitely hasn't taken the high road in this matter either. If you are throwing a guy away after your disgust eventually became mutual, that still is not grounds for him to take a pay cut, especially considering he has cleaned up his act and behaved as you would have wanted.
4. Ok, I'm talking too long. I totally agree--D'antoni gave Marbury NO opportunity to play, even though he was poised to have a great season because of his preparation and physical condition. Oh well...
5. Aaaaaaaand let the disagreeing begin! LOL
Marbury has done a good thing with his Starbury line, and he did do well to maintain a low profile off the court for many years...but come on. COME ON! He's a known headcase, and his behavior has in 2 particular instances been in conjunction with the worst opinions thought of the NBA.
In Minnesota, even at a young age, he let his envy of Kevin Garnett's big paycheck push him out of town. He wounded a franchise, not for aspiration of championships, or even substantially bigger paychecks--but just for pride. Sometimes NBA players are seen as overpaid and self-absorbed, and for the most part wholly unfairly. But Steph was one of the players (along with Latrell "I gotta feed my kids" Sprewell, lol) who helped perpetuate that myth.
And of course, in the Anucha Brown-Sanders case... let's just not discuss any details. Again, off-the-court Steph was NOT leaving the public with the best image of the NBA.
I didn't really google around and see if any other situations had arisen, and that's really not my goal. I'm not trying to bury the man. And I don't think he deserves being punished in this riduculous way this season either. I just know that he has definitely had and caused issues on a number of his teams...which explains why he made it to team #4, the Knicks, anyway.
6. I believe that Marbury will NOT have an instant impact...UNLESS...he signs with the New Orleans Hornets. Seriously. No other team either needs the skills he can offer, or afford the let-down in chemistry. Spurs? He'd be in the way of solid rookie George Hill. Mavs? Two words: Jason-Terry. Suns? Barbosa. Out east? The Nets, Cavs, Celtics, Magic, and Pistons all have scoring off the bench. The Raptors should just avoid messing up chemistry...they have enough problems to deal with already (We'll miss you, Sam!).
The Hornets need scoring off of their bench in the worst way, and Marbury is, at worst, better than Jannero Pargo (their 6th man last year). So he should go there, or...be square.
So I do agree with the better part of what Steven was saying. I think we mainly disagree on who Stephon is as a person and how valuable he is as a player right now. I don't think he's a model citizen, but that's why I actually do applaud him for handling this situation as best he can. I understand his desire to keep his entire paycheck, and I don't see any reason for him to fight for anything less. Heck, if I went through the last few seasons he has experienced as a New York Knickerbocker, I might've tried to sue for double.
But honestly, I had a different view of this entire situation until yesterday, when I heard an ESPN analyst discussing Plaxico Burress. Plaxico is potentially headed to serve 3 1/2 - 15 years in prison for a felony gun charge. The media has done everything but place a dunce cap on his head and label him with politically incorrect characterizations. They've at least stayed politically correct with their insults.
Apparently, from ESPN analyst's belief, Plaxico has not been the same since the loss of his mother in 2002. His loss doesn't excuse his behavior, but it does help remind us that the guy IS human, and that no person should be treated like scum for their decisions.
In a way, Steph should be grateful for where he is--in a league with guaranteed money. And the Knicks should be equally grateful--at least the player they're eventually gonna lost isn't one they had hoped to keep.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I have come to the conclusion that the NBA should make Hack-A-Shaq rule illegal. It takes away from the game and causes undue stoppages...more importantly, a team should not should be able to foul (in essence, commit an illegal act with a penalty) and gain an advantage. It goes against the spirit of the game, in my opinion. I think that fouling off the ball in these situations should be viewed as an intentional foul (which it is!) and should be cause the offensive team to get a freethrow and the ball. Check out the video below. Happy Turkey Day! And God please don't let Texas A&M get embarrassed by Texas.
Friday, November 14, 2008
If you were not aware, I am a graduate student at Texas A&M University in the Biochemistry department. I am also a Christian. As far as I can tell, in Science Academia the overwhelming tendency for faculty is to be Atheist. According to this study, performed by Penn state, close to 52% of science faculty at a sampling of 21 elite Universities identified themself as non-religious. Other studies have pegged those numbers as high as 75-80%.
In my personal opinion, a key reason why Science and Religion have not enjoyed a perfect relationship stems from both fields viewing each other warily and as opponents. The average Christian (or even Minister) sometimes takes a condescending view of Scientist or those in Physical Sciences (Math, Physics, Chemistry) stemming from an erroneous view that as a Scientist you have to give up being a Christian or some Christian views ("I don't know about the elements or rocks, but I know I have a Savior who made these things and that's all I care to know!"). The average Scientist, I would conjecture, feels that if you are a Christian you are ignorant and have no realistic or logical view of the world around you if you believe in the Bible's "fairy tales" and a Creationist origin. Both these views leave very little room for movement and progress. Going as far back as the Galileo's affair, Scientist and their views were persecuted by the church for trying to explain phenomena and natural events through a scope of observation/experiment based logical thinking. They were viewed as having no faith and being a Godless bunch looking to destroy people's faith and prove there is no God. While without a doubt some Scientist have taken this extremist view, there exists a certain small population of very well regarded scientist currently working who have been able to keep their religious beliefs/faith strong and not allow it to interfere with what they do in the lab.
But why is this? And how can these two worlds coexist? It will take work from both sides of the fence, but should not be an impossibility, because, for those who believe in God and work in Science, in many instances their work only affirms and strengthens their beliefs of a creator. I stumbled upon a quote by a Dr. Michael Dini, who has in the past been a part of controversy with his treatment/very public views of Creationism:
"“Scientists do not base their acceptance or rejection of theories on religion, and someone who does should not be able to become a scientist.”
In my follow up I will share some comments I have received in response to this quote and would also love to hear from any of you (Scientist or not) who has personal feelings on this topic. Hit my email at email@example.com or leave a comment.
It also raises a great question, one which originally appeared in the NY Times February 12, 2007:
"May a secular university deny otherwise qualified students a degree because of their religion? Can a student produce intellectually honest work that contradicts deeply held beliefs? Should it be obligatory (or forbidden) for universities to consider how students will use the degrees they earn?"
Thursday, November 06, 2008
As I write this, I am sitting at my desk after hours in my lab. I am about to complete 12 hours without my cellphone, free of the matrix. And it feels TERRIBLE. What if someone called me? Texted me? I hate this! It all started as an accident, really. I ran out of my apartment this morning for work and left it sitting there on the table. By the time I realized it, I was getting out of my car in my department parking lot. Let me tell you, after having that phone attached as an umbilical cord, not having it struck me with feelings of panic for the first 2 or 3 hours. I felt so out of touch with the world, even with my laptop sitting here in front of me. As the day went on however, I started to acclimate myself to this normal, strange, unattached existence. No ESPN alerts. No facebook messages. No notifications of a new email/text. Nothing. Silence when I walk. And I kind of liked it...until I remembered I didn't have my phone. My pockets felt lighter, and I honestly think I was/am suffering from feelings of withdrawal. I can't be the only one who feels like this. Please comment if it has happened to you, and how on earth you think our parents and grandparents made it without a constant electronic connection in our pocket and on our hip.
Monday, November 03, 2008
I normally don't like posting on the same topic back to back blog entries, but considering the history we are looking at, I have a couple of questions that we probably won't know the answer to for a few years (not all of them at least).
1) Will this election be known as the election where America stood up and made a choice against fear and dirty politics or a choice for them?
2) If Obama loses, how long will it be before another minority candidate makes it this far?
3) How will our economy change over the next 6 months with a new president?
4) Will Oil continue to drop? ($2.07 this morning in College Station, TX!)
5) Will Christmas sales deals be outrageously good because of the retail sector's fear of weak sales due to the recession?
6) Will anything happen to Barack Obama? (Do your job Secret Service!)
7) How close a race is this going to be? (Incredibly close I think)
8) Can we trust these voting machines? (Its 2008 and we can't write software and build machines that can accurately keep count?!)
9) Will this vote count be controversy free? (Probably not)
10) ARE WE READY TO TAKE THIS HISTORIC STEP?
24 hours from now we will know. Please vote, regardless of who you support.
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is getting ridiculous. Unless you have been living under a rock, I assume you have heard of the foolishness going on at some of the Republican/conservative rallies. I have NO problem with criticizing a candidate for their views, their policies, or their choices for a running mate, etc. But when you attack someone because of their nation of origin, looks, something is wrong. This is not the America people fought and died for, and this is not the America that immigrants over the past hundred years have flocked to with hope for a better life. To purport vicious lies (Obama is a Muslim, he isn't American, etc.) really illustrates what I think anyone can see now: The Conservative movement is in MAJOR trouble. They don't have a candidate they can fully support, and hate that the Democratic candidate this year (apparently) has attributes and ideas that a majority of the country at this point want to support. So what do the Conservatives do? They attack him on his looks, ethnicity (false or not) and other non-issues in hopes that they can emotionally discourage people from voting for him! Now thatI bring it up, SO WHAT if Obama was a Muslim? It seems as if the media and everyone has made that lie about him into the ultimate attack on him. What is wrong with Islam? Why, in this wonderful country where we are free to worship as we see fit, is it so wrong that our president be whatever religion he wants to be? I completely agree that "Obamamania" can be rooted in feelings of pure emotion and less about issues, but please remember, for a certain minority subset of the American population, Barack Obama is the living personification of the Dream planted by Martin Luther King. THIS is what black people fought(and died) for in the 60's, a chance for one of their own to ascend to a powerful position and make them proud. This was the hope of our grandparents and great grandparents, that their descendants would be able to live and exist in a time where this was not a taboo event, where it was possible for a black american man to become the most powerful leader in the world. This is the goal of civil rights illustrated at it's finest. This isn't affirmative action, this is a very smart and articulate (and clean! Grrrr Biden) politician who has the uncanny ability to connect with an audience and motivate his voting bloc to support him in powerful ways the GOP dreams of. I heard Laura Ingrahm blasting Obama's campaign last night for "being to large." You know why it's so large? Because no candidate in American history has gotten more first time donors to support his campaign then Barack Obama. At it's core his campaign is a movement directly funded from the people of this country. The fact that Barack Obama is able to run and (thankfully) nothing has happened yet is a testimony to how far we have progressed as a nation. However, the ugly feelings of hatred and racism that have bubbled to the surface have also illustrated how far we have to go. The thought of people screaming "kill him!" at televised rallies boggles my mind. It speakes to nothing more then these people fear of someone unlike them. Below is a youtube video showing some interviews with Palin supporters outside of a rally in Strongsville, Ohio. I'm sick of this stuff. Just let us vote and let us as a country move forward. Foolishness.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
· Marvin Williams and Al Horford wouldn’t be Hawks—I would still assume, though, that the Hawks would have opportunities to get better players in free agency, and they still would’ve had a pick in last year’s draft. This is probably the only given.
· Josh Childress wouldn’t have gone ANYWHERE, lol. NO WAY he leaves with Chris Paul throwing him oops for the next 10 years! So what does that mean? The overseas crisis of 2008 wouldn’t have started until later.
· David West would be Drew Gooden of the Western Conference. A misunderstood 14-7 guy.
· Dirk would’ve never been disrespected by David West. This isn’t really important, but it’s important to me...
· Tyson Chandler would likely still be a bust.
· Peja would be making about $20m less in his contract for a Sacramento team that wants to dump him
· The Hawks might’ve taken game 7 against the Celtics…KG of the Fantastic Three could still be ringless!
· The Hornets wouldn’t have been there to beat the Mavericks; the Spurs still would’ve, though
· Josh Smith would be an All-Star; Josh Smith would be Tyson Chandler. Goodness gracious
· Joe Johnson would average 28-7-7…EASY.
· Atlanta, with a legit basketball team, would become the official black center of contemporary culture. That and because of Tyler Perry.
· The Hornets would’ve sucked after Katrina, and would’ve been sold to Oklahoma City; therefore, Seattle would still have the Sonics.
In summary, he affects the careers of 3 all-stars; he possibly eliminates last year’s NBA champion (yes, of course I know they’d still have to have been 8th, but just humor me); he affects the locations of TWO franchises (and probably eliminates quite a bit of drama over the past year), and he possibly halts the entire shift of NBA players into the Euro and overseas basketball leagues.
If even half of these are true, Chris Paul is the most important athlete this side of Darko Milicic in reshaping the history of this decade of basketball. Wait, what did I just say?? LOL
Alright…back to work.
Monday, October 20, 2008
"I woke up early on my born day, I'm twenty years of blessing/
The essence of adolescent leaves my body now I'm fresh in/ My physical frame is celebrated cause I made it/ One quarter through life some God-ly like thing created/ Got rhymes 365 days annual plus some/ ...... Don't go against the grain simple and plain"
Nas- Illmatic, 1994
Today is my 25th year of existence on Earth. As I have gotten older birthdays have become less about gifts and more about the legacy and life you lead. Are you the best person you can be in this world? Do you help others and try to make other people's lives better? I woke up early this morning and thought about what I've done in my life, and thanked God for letting me see 25. I don't have to tell you some discouraging statistic about African American men in this country reaching this age due to gang violence, prison, or something else. Even living "the right way"my life could have quickly come to an end before this day. When I think about all those I know who didn't make it to a quarter century, my birthday to me really becomes a day of thanksgiving that I would be allowed to not only exist this long but really, truly, have a chance to interact and make a difference (hopefully) in my friends and peers around me. Truthfully, I should have this mentality every day, but on days such as today it gathers a greater meaning for me. To all those who remembered and sent emails, texts, phone calls, facebook messages, smoke signals, message by courier, or carrier pigeon, Thank you. And thank you for indirectly affecting me and helping me be the person I am.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I was a Barkley fan to a certain extent. As far as Power Forwards go, my favorite will always be Shawn Kemp, who I am sure at some point will be on this list of campaigns. However, when it came to footwear, Charles Barkley's line is one of Nike's greatest. For today's episode, here is one of his early commercials playing Godzilla one on one (is Godzilla channeling Hakeem or Horace Grant? lol) and destroying him as expected. Also pictured is a vintage pair of the Nike Alpha force II, which was an early shoe he wore. Interestingly enough, he was tabbed by Nike early on in his career to headline the breakaway Force line of sneakers (compared with Michael Jordan's flight line) along with Moses Malone. Another shoe that he wore was my personal favorite, the Nike Air Force Max B. This shoe also became famous for being worn by the Fab 5 at Michigan around the time of it's release. I've embedded a rare commercial for the shoe from around 1993. It took several years for Nike to give Charles his very own signature shoe as he was their main Force guy, but when it finally happened, it was a BIG deal. That will be the next episode. For now, lets watch Charles save (or destroy) Tokyo:
Barkley of Seville (Air force Max B)
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I’m cleaning off my computer at work, and I don’t have a reason to either keep this here or take it home, so ladies & gentlemen, here is THE list of potential-yet-completely-incorrect names for the OKC franchise!
(A few of my favorites have been bolded)
(…and by favorites, I don’t mean that they’re good)
1. Oklahoma City Algorithms
2. Oklahoma City Ambivalence
3. Oklahoma City Analysis
4. Oklahoma City Anointed
5. Oklahoma City Anteaters
6. Oklahoma City Badges
7. Oklahoma City Barbers
8. Oklahoma City Barnburners
9. Oklahoma City Beer
10. Oklahoma City Bennettiers
11. Oklahoma City Black-eyed peas
12. Oklahoma City Boilermakers
13. Oklahoma City Bonanza
14. Oklahoma City Boredom
15. Oklahoma City Bricklayers
16. Oklahoma City Bubbas
17. Oklahoma City Bullfrogs
18. Oklahoma City Bush-bashers
19. Oklahoma City Carpenters
20. Oklahoma City Cars
21. Oklahoma City Cats in Hats
22. Oklahoma City Charmin
23. Oklahoma City Chosen
24. Oklahoma City Circlers
25. Oklahoma City Climate
26. Oklahoma City Comquats
27. Oklahoma City Conquerors
28. Oklahoma City Conquest
29. Oklahoma City Conquistadores
30. Oklahoma City Conservatives
31. Oklahoma City Corkscrew
32. Oklahoma City Cornbread (Announcer: “The Cornbread is hot tonight!”)
33. Oklahoma City Corncollectors (don't piss off the huskers)
34. Oklahoma City Crew
35. Oklahoma City Cubicle
36. Oklahoma City Cult
37. Oklahoma City Cyclones
38. Oklahoma City Daffodils (new idea—I want them to be OCD!)
39. Oklahoma City Dallas
40. Oklahoma City Dark Knights
41. Oklahoma City Dastardly
42. Oklahoma City Davidson Harleys
43. Oklahoma City Dawn
44. Oklahoma City Day
45. Oklahoma City Dealbreakers
46. Oklahoma City Dealers
47. Oklahoma City Deeds
48. Oklahoma City Demon Barbers
49. Oklahoma City Demons
50. Oklahoma City Dentures
51. Oklahoma City Department of Defense
52. Oklahoma City Destruction
53. Oklahoma City Deviants
54. Oklahoma City Dial-up
55. Oklahoma City Dirt
56. Oklahoma City Disaster
57. Oklahoma City Dishwashers
58. Oklahoma City Doctors
59. Oklahoma City Dog Groomers
60. Oklahoma City Doggie Droppings
61. Oklahoma City Dogpile
62. Oklahoma City Dogs
63. Oklahoma City Dollars
64. Oklahoma City Dominion
65. Oklahoma City Doodoo Bugs
66. Oklahoma City Douchebags
67. Oklahoma City Drama Queens
68. Oklahoma City Dreadlocks
69. Oklahoma City Dream
70. Oklahoma City Dream Team
71. Oklahoma City Dreamers
72. Oklahoma City Drillers
73. Oklahoma City Drillers
74. Oklahoma City Drinkers
75. Oklahoma City Drinks
76. Oklahoma City Drivers
77. Oklahoma City Drummers
78. Oklahoma City Ducks
79. Oklahoma City Dummies
80. Oklahoma City Durants (just BEG him to stay!)
81. Oklahoma City Dynasty
82. Oklahoma City Dysentery
83. Oklahoma City Fantastic Fifteen
84. Oklahoma City Flycatchers
85. Oklahoma City Focus
86. Oklahoma City Foster Care
87. Oklahoma City Gain
88. Oklahoma City Globehikers
89. Oklahoma City Goliaths
90. Oklahoma City Googlers (easy sponsorship opportunity)
91. Oklahoma City Gorillas
92. Oklahoma City Gunners
93. Oklahoma City Hammer
94. Oklahoma City Hands
95. Oklahoma City Hicks
96. Oklahoma City High
97. Oklahoma City Hillbillies
98. Oklahoma City Hiltons
99. Oklahoma City Homogeneous
100. Oklahoma City Honeybees
101. Oklahoma City Hoopsterators
102. Oklahoma City Hounds
103. Oklahoma City Humblers
104. Oklahoma City Humdingers
105. Oklahoma City Hummers
106. Oklahoma City Hunters
107. Oklahoma City Huts
108. Oklahoma City Hypochondriacs
109. Oklahoma City Idiots
110. Oklahoma City Inbred
111. Oklahoma City Indian Blanket
112. Oklahoma City Insurmountable
113. Oklahoma City Internet
114. Oklahoma City Jordans (the jerseys will be awesome)
115. Oklahoma City Kansas City Shuffle
116. Oklahoma City Lady Trojans
117. Oklahoma City Legend
118. Oklahoma City Masochists
119. Oklahoma City Meditation
120. Oklahoma City Mentos
121. Oklahoma City Microsoft
122. Oklahoma City Middle-of-nowhere-dwellers
123. Oklahoma City Might
124. Oklahoma City Milk
125. Oklahoma City Miracle
126. Oklahoma City Missile Toe
127. Oklahoma City Mittens
128. Oklahoma City Monopoly
129. Oklahoma City Mountaineers
130. Oklahoma City Movers
131. Oklahoma City NASCARs
132. Oklahoma City Newspaper
133. Oklahoma City Oilermakers (PISS OFF PURDUE!)
134. Oklahoma City Oilers
135. Oklahoma City Okra
136. Oklahoma City Oligarchy
137. Oklahoma City Only-Game-In-Town
138. Oklahoma City Open
139. Oklahoma City Oven
140. Oklahoma City Paper
141. Oklahoma City People
142. Oklahoma City Perdition
143. Oklahoma City Polyps
144. Oklahoma City Postal Workers
145. Oklahoma City Predictors
146. Oklahoma City Pseudonyms (our name suggests that we go by other names…?)
147. Oklahoma City Pumpernickel
148. Oklahoma City Quakers
149. Oklahoma City Ranchers
150. Oklahoma City Razors
151. Oklahoma City Red
152. Oklahoma City Redbuds
153. Oklahoma City Remembrance
154. Oklahoma City Residents
155. Oklahoma City Rippers
156. Oklahoma City Salvation
157. Oklahoma City Scissortails
158. Oklahoma City Seal
159. Oklahoma City Seamen
160. Oklahoma City See Ya Seattles
161. Oklahoma City Serpents
162. Oklahoma City Seuss’s
163. Oklahoma City Sewage
164. Oklahoma City Shakers
165. Oklahoma City Shalom
166. Oklahoma City Shawshankers
167. Oklahoma City Shimmer
168. Oklahoma City Shotgunners
169. Oklahoma City Shroud
170. Oklahoma City Shuffle
171. Oklahoma City Siamese
172. Oklahoma City Simpletons
173. Oklahoma City Simpsons (OC Simpsons)
174. Oklahoma City Sleuths
175. Oklahoma City Slickers
176. Oklahoma City Smash
177. Oklahoma City Solomons
178. Oklahoma City Soniqs (LOL change one letter? That would be horrible!)
179. Oklahoma City Sophocles
180. Oklahoma City Soul
181. Oklahoma City Sour
182. Oklahoma City Spasm
183. Oklahoma City Speech Pathologists
184. Oklahoma City Square dance
185. Oklahoma City Staplers
186. Oklahoma City Starbucks
187. Oklahoma City Statesmen
188. Oklahoma City Stealth
189. Oklahoma City Stolen
190. Oklahoma City Stormchasers
191. Oklahoma City Summer Sand!
192. Oklahoma City Sundries
193. Oklahoma City Sunset
194. Oklahoma City SuperS
195. Oklahoma City Suppositories
196. Oklahoma City Surgeons
197. Oklahoma City Swallowtail (state bird…creepy name)
198. Oklahoma City Sweet Tarts
199. Oklahoma City Syringes (promote safe injections!)
200. Oklahoma City Thorough
201. Oklahoma City Tronics
202. Oklahoma City Tropics (Reference a crap Will Ferrell movie!)
203. Oklahoma City Turntables
204. Oklahoma City Tycoons
205. Oklahoma City Unknown
206. Oklahoma City Used Car Salesmen
207. Oklahoma City Village People (“People of the Village” also acceptable)
208. Oklahoma City Volvos
209. Oklahoma City Website
210. Oklahoma City Wheels
211. Oklahoma City Wild Turkeys
212. Oklahoma City Winners
213. Oklahoma City World
214. Oklahoma City Wrath (Grapes of Wrath was there)
215. Oklahoma City X (and then they'd be the X-Men!)
216. Oklahoma City Yes-Men
217. Oklahoma City Young
218. Oklahoma City Zulu
And they chose…the Thunder…
…I’m creative enough to run an NBA team?!!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
“The blog is in turmoil. Readership is down, and people are losing faith in us. Much-if-not all of this can be attributed to the work of one man: incumbent writer and career character assassin Steven LaiHing.
His deliberate and caustic behavior has caused a rift amongst the Page3 staff and writers. Specifically, his consistent attacks on my skills and basketball awareness in his Top 10 lists have caused tremendous personal and public agony. With no pun intended, his portrayals of me have been both flagrant…and foul.
Can the blog go on? Yes, I would say it is possible. But there are many questions that remain. Steven LaiHing is more than up to the task as a writer. Where the blog may come up short is as a result of his failure as a human being. Yes, I mean it—he’s not human.
With the help of God—and, possibly, professional counselors—I think things can improve, and this blog can improve and grow with time.
It’s already been two years....Why not.”
(Just kiddin'...we'll be back.)
Attention all contributors/editors/writers for Page 3 blog!!
Due to the unforeseen (and much criticized) 2 month gap in updating/posting, and the several complaints from our massive reader base, we will be assembling the ENTIRE team tonight at 7 on a conference call to discuss updates/ strategies for maintenance/ moving the blog into a larger market share of sports/adventist/life blogs on the web at this time. If you are West of the Missisippi, use the Dallas access number (214). If you are East of the Missisippi, use the AL access number (256). Of special note will be the presence of head writers Clifton (yes, he still hasn't found a soulmate) and Steven (yes, he still has the jumper after all the extra pounds added). Be on your P's and Q's people. The blog is BACK!
Associate of development
Page 3 blog
To ANYONE who has taken the time to read this non-updated blog in the past 2 months , I APOLOGIZE. Life just sort of caught up and things got hectic. We will be rolling out more posts very soon, and we haven't forgotten about your support. Thanks for even clicking the link to the blog accidentally.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
- Make Dirk tough enough to make clutch free throws or dominate Stephen Jackson
- Make Josh Howard smart
- Make Devin Harris experienced (or keep him a Maverick)
- Make Damp care all the time
- Make Jet Terry taller
- Make Jason Kidd 25 again
- Keep Devin George from sucking
- Give Jerry Stackhouse workable knees
- Keep Mark Cuban from tinkering and over-tinkering
- Remove the traces of Mavs past that had poisoned the current players (fun-before-winning Nellie, lazy Antoine Walker, etc.)
- Get Diop back in time for the playoffs
- Make a team of guys who had the opposite of his mentality HAVE his mentality. These were Don Nelson guys—guys who believe that the game should be enjoyed as much as it is won. Avery believes in WINNING first and enjoyment after, not during, the winning. The team and the coach just weren’t in the same book (on the same page doesn’t seem quite enough).
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Here is the original TV ad:
Pippen wearing one of his player exclusives (?):
Original Poster Ad:
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I just downloaded Google Chrome, Google's latest attempt at a web browser and I must say, it is very impressive. On sites like Howardforums and ESPN, it is a little bit quicker then even firefox. Download it and try it out!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Some random thoughts:
So this past month I have been trying to be as frugal and smart with my money as possible. This means, in a nutshell, NO SPLURGING ON SNEAKERS. It also means that I had to make the decision not to get Madden 2009 on release day. I have a slight problem with paying 60 dollars for a game that has very little changed compared to the previous incarnations, even though this Madden is one of the best EVER. This was tough for me because I had been anxiously awaiting the release of this years game, and I even spent the $5 to reserve it. But, I soon realized that if I was going to effectively plan for my fiscal future, I was going to have to save and spend smarter. So, while looking online for good deals, I stumbled across this site, abbreviated CAG. I had just about given up with getting Madden anytime before my birthday or thanksgiving because Gamestop didn't even have any used copies for me to use my discount on. Lo and behold, according to CAG, Toys R Us is having a huge videogame sale. How huge? How about buy one Xbox 360 game get one 50% off (No exceptions!) and a coupon available in store for 20% off of that! I ended up getting Madden 09 for around $40 and Scene It for around 30 bucks. Thats nearly 50 dollars worth of savings considering they were both originally $59.95. Crazy! Check it out before the sale ends.
Friday, August 15, 2008
3 theories that make a lot of sense to me:
1) Shark-skin suits
2) Depth of the pool (the pool in China is 3m as opposed to 2m) - more water to displace means less turbulence in the water. (fact check needed!)
3) Maximum velocity for a swimmer occurs immediately after a kickoff following a turn (obviously). However, now you are allowed to do that flutter kick (and maintain that max speed) under water for as long as you want. Before the games in Athens you were allowed only to do 2 flutter kicks and then you had to break the surface of the water and start the stroke.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Part 2 of the dual post collaboration between Page 3 and P.O.L.R Express. See the world's view HERE.
By Steven LaiHing for Page 3
Best players in the world? Check.
Best Coach? Check.
Most Athletic Players in the World? Check.
Well funded and trained staff? Check.
Gold Medal Lock? NO.
If there was one bad thing to come out of the 1992 Olympic Basketball Domination by the Superfriends (oops, I mean the Dream Team) it was that it forced the rest of the world to look at themselves realistically and work on its game, while giving the American Basketball system an overinflated image of itself. We breezed to wins in 1996 ,and even though we almost lost in 2000, hey, Vince Carter cleared a 7 footer Frenchman's head (whatever happened to Frederick Weis?) and we took the gold. Fast forward to 2008 and we have an EIGHT year medal drought. Unheard of and unacceptable. So what does the Redeem team have to do to make things right and bring home the gold?
1) Defend the Pick and Roll and close out Shooters.
Actually, defend everything, but especially the pick and roll. If we don't effectively recognize when a team is running a pick and roll we will be completely taken apart by the best teams in this tournament. The beauty of the pick and roll is that it forces a normally good defender into a moment of uncertainty, and requires active communication between defensive teammates on instantly making the switch if necessary to who ever might be open. The difference with the pick and roll here versus in the NBA is that most International big men are more like Dirk Nowitzki and less like Dwight Howard. These guys can SHOOT. And if you give them half a second, they will pull up and drain 3's and long jumpers repeatedly. That's not a good look for a team like the US. One thing that became apparent in the China game is that we have a couple defenders (Wade) who like to gamble on defense and leave the shooter open to go help stop penetration. DON'T GAMBLE. That's the entire point of the international game; have an active guard penetrate and kick out to a wide open teammate to take advantage of a collapsing defense. Same goes for our wingmen (Lebron) collapsing in to help on a big man like the monster the Greek's have at center, Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Is he Escalade?!). It is far better to take a relatively contested 2 scored on you then to allow repeated open 3's. Especially with the mockery for a 3 point line they have here in Beijing.
2) Hit Free throws.
We have been downright horrible at free throw shooting, with no game better then 75% as a team. Like it or not, we aren't going to easily blow out the best of these teams, and sooner or later, we are either going to make our freethrows or catch a Memphis loss (remember the Final Four?)
3) Hit open 3's (and run and gun whenever you get the chance!)
This one is easy to remember. MAKE YOUR 3's! Or at least hit enough of them to keep the defense honest and out of that God-Forsaken matchup zone D. The quickest way to grind our high speed run and gun offense to a halt is to turn us into the Hoosiers and make us into jump shooters. They are telling you that they don't fear your jumper! Make it rain. Hit enough of them, and they will open you up for more drives to the basket, or they will commit basketball suicide as a team and switch to man to man defense. This also means that you all need to be smart enough to get it into Redd's hands and to encourage your best shooters to keep shooting. Don't fall into the trap of settling for jumpers when you could just as easily penetrate and get a better shot. Make no mistake: we are at our best when we are able to push the tempo and get to the basket.
4) Walk the fine line between confidence and classy and "Ugly American and Cocky."
These foreign guys are cocky. And they want to beat you. They want to beat you badly, because you know what? You are the best. Basketball Giants.You have been the best for a long time. And now they have gotten better to the point that they feel they can test you. It means something magical for them to beat you, gives their country's sports program validation and confidence.They have changed the international game to accent their strengths and limit yours. They kept American Pros from playing for 50 years while they sent professionals and when they finally allowed our pros to play in '92, this happened.
So don't let these guys punk you. Players on the Spanish team were caught on camera as they were leaving for Beijing calling friends and telling them that they were going to bring home the gold, and they were going to beat the US by 30. Smile, shake hands, and then DESTROY them. Don't lose your cool when bad calls and trash talk happens, play harder.
5) Remember who you are playing for and don't take anyone for granted. (BUT WIN!!)
There is only so much preparation you can have. You know what you need to work on and you know what teams can give you problems. Now its about execution. No pressure, the entire country is watching you and hoping (expecting) you to go to these games and bring home the gold. Call it the burden of being American Sports Superstars, your country's expectations aren't just for you to win, it's for you to win convincingly. If the US people had their way, you all would win each game playing your bench for the second half by 30 and games would look like the globetrotters. Don't get sucked into the hype. Play for your country with pride, and respect whoever you are playing, be it Angola or Argentina, China or Spain. In the words of President George W. Bush before your first game against China "You all are the best in the world. Play the right way, do what you are supposed to do, and bring home the Gold to the U.S."
Thursday, August 07, 2008
SO apparently the Brett Favre saga is over. At least, this excruciating seven-month chapter of it is.
I don’t want to beat this dead horse. Everyone has their own opinions on this issue—opinions we are forced to have after the last 2 exhaustive weeks of commentators and columnists analyzing every word and plane trip in this pitiable affair.
And for the record, the LeBron-Kobe thing wasn’t an attempt to “play the race card” either. I just don’t get how a guy who has clearly said a lot worse than “Hmm…$50 million a year would be worth considering regardless of where it is” gets scripted as a martyr and covered over by the media.
Yes media, I’ve noticed. And I object.
If you want today to be the last day you read about anything related to the Brett Favre/Green Bay breakup, then read this timeline from ESPN.com… Beyond what’s been said by either side, or who is playing where, I think the simple recall of events says enough about whose faulty decision-making and double talk created this fiasco.
Jan. 20: Packers lose NFC Championship Game to the Giants in OT
Brett says: "So close! SOOOO CLOOOOSE!"
March 6: Favre conducts retirement news conference
Brett says: "[Sobbing] It's...OVER!"
April 3: Denies rumors of a comeback
(28 days later) Brett says: "NO! I told you--I'm DONE!"
April 4: Agent reportedly contacts teams to gauge trade interest
(1 day later) Brett says: "Pssst...hey agent [sorry, don't know his name ]...see what kind of $$$ I can get in Carolina...."
April 9: Says he might consider comeback if opportunity was presented
(5 days later, only SIX after denying comeback rumors) Brett says: "Wellllll........"
June 20: Favre tells Coach Mike McCarthy he may want to play again
(2 1/2 months later) Brett says: "WELLLLLLLLLLL................"
July 2: Favre says reports of return were "all rumor"
(2 weeks later) Brett says: "...Are you serious? DIDN'T I TELL YOU GUYS I'M RETIRED?!!!"
July 6: Sends text message to Packers GM Ted Thompson
(4 FRIGGIN DAYS LATER) Brett says: "[phone] Hey Ted, it's Brett... so how're we lookin for this year?!"
Ted says: "......we???"
July 8: Favre asks for release with understanding he won't be starter
Brett says: "I can't believe...I can't believe I'm being treated like this! [Urkel voice] I don't have to take this! I'm going home..."
July 11: Packers receive letter from Favre formally requesting release
(a week and two days after denying comeback) Brett says: "'Dear Mr.'....no wait...'To whom it may'...ummm...let's try......'Aight, so look here...'"
July 16: Packers file tampering charges with NFL against Vikings
Brett says: "What? Oh you don't want me to be a Packer OR a Viking? Well guess what--I wanna be a Viking then! Screw you, Green Bay fans!"
July 19: Returns to Lambeau Field to attend Packers Hall of Fame ceremony
Brett says: "There's no place like home...when home is defined as the place where people worship the ground you walk on for winning one Super Bowl and give you unlimited power and forgiveness for doing things that you were being paid very well to do."
July 25: Favre tells Packers he plans to report to training camp
Brett says: "Leave the light on for me!"
July 29: Faxes reinstatement request to NFL
Brett says: "Please? Please please please please please please pleeeeeeeease!!!...Please?"
July 30: Meets with Packers president Mark Murphy in Mississippi
July 31: Favre offered $25 million to not report to camp
(29 days after denying comeback) Brett says: "So...I'll be older than Morten Anderson when the checks stop coming in?"
Aug. 3: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates Favre
(after 5 months of deception and indecision about HIS own retirement)
Brett says: "I'M BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!"
Aug. 4: Favre reports to training camp and is added to active roster after passing physical
Brett says: "So...WHY are you handing me kick-holder gloves again??!!"
Aug. 5: Left practice facility in the afternoon ... did not practice with the team ... met with Packers officials to discuss trade options ... tells ESPN's Chris Mortensen "the best thing for this team is for us to part ways" ... considers talking to the Buccaneers about a possible trade.
Brett says: "Guys...I've done all I can. I've been consistent. I've been honest. I tell you one thing, and you KNOW I'm gonna do the other. If you wanna dog ME out, then I'M out!!"
Aug. 6: Traded to New York Jets for conditional draft pick.
Brett says: "The Jets?...Oh...[forced] yaaaaaaay..."
-And for the record... I love(d) Brett Favre...R.I.P.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Every red-blooded American sports fan has played the “Who Would You Rather Be?” game. It’s always fun because in sports there really are no absolutes. There are a million different reasons and a million different factors that affect who a person chooses. I guarantee that any guy who would say “Wilt Chamberlain” is probably more interested in his…“off-court” success than his two rings and 100-point game.
Now for me, if we were to play this game, instead calling it “Whose Legacy Would You Rather Have,” it would be easy to say Michael Jordan, because I see him as the greatest player of all time.
So that wouldn’t be an article. That would be boom—Michael Jordan. Done. Blog over.
So in looking for #2…I went through a few different names.
Karl Malone…#2 greatest scorer of all time. The people’s elbow….Deadbeat father. Scratch.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 5 rings. Sky hook. But overshadowed in his own era…by his own teammates, even. Scratch.
Larry Bird...They call him "Basketball Jesus!" Buuut I am a black man, and he played in Boston. Scratch.
Scottie Pippen…Portland and Houston jacked him up...and he will always receive less respect than he deserves, because Michael Jordan is already legendary and he hasn’t even been out of the league long enough for there to be a legend! We saw him play 5 years ago! Over time he will continue to receive more and more of the credit for what his teams accomplished. By 2028, will we even remember the other 11 guys with Jordan? Poor Scottie…
(Note: Wow, MJ even dominated Scottie's PARAGRAPH!! That is tough...)
Shaquille O’Neil…I think the person that would most rather be Shaq…is Shaq. He loves himself…so we don’t have to.
Penny Hardaway…HA HA HAA kidding!
Dirk Nowitzki…[fuming]…why did I just do that to myself?
(let’s stop there…[still fuming])
So after thinking relatively un-hard about this…I realized that the legacy that has to be worth the most…is the legacy of Kevin Garnett.
Think about this for me…
He is a pioneer, having paved the way for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard to even BE in the NBA.
He made himself so valuable that the league went into the ’98 lockout partly as a result of his contract.
He stayed in the favor of the media and fans despite having NEVER won anything
He stepped into many people’s discussion as a hall of famer after only winning ONE ring!
He had crappy teammates his entire career but was supremely successful in the two years he had good ones – 2004 with Cassell in Minny, and winning a ring this year with Paul & Ray in Boston.
He is a media darling, always entertaining, allowed to say anything he wanted to say, to the point that his uncontrolled reaction after winning the championship was shown by ABC at the end of the game.
He endeared himself so much in Minnesota that people actually WANTED to see him win a ring in another city—and placed their anger on management for not building a better team there!
He will probably be regarded as one of the most intense players to ever play the game, but somehow also one of the most unselfish—a combination we rarely ever see. Here is a guy who trusts his teammates, but still pushes himself to the limit.
He has always stayed out of trouble, and he has always been close to the media, but somehow he possesses a higher level of relevance and the clichéd “street credibility” than players who have won more, scored more, and played longer.
He was the only guy who seemed to realize just how DISGUSTING what had just happened to Frederick Weis’ face really was. He knew instantly.
He helped a nation bridge the gap…as Shawn Kemp slowly grew fatter and fatter. We needed an intense, high flying power forward, and KG was there for us. Still, we miss you, Shawn.
He quietly became one of the top-3 rebounders in the league, and he was much more prolific at that than scoring or defense, but his personality helped to maintain his star status.
And THAT, to me, is a legacy worth something.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I knew half of these rappers were actors who embellished/ flat out lied about their crimes/ background but COME ON. William (because I'm not calling you Rick Ross anymore), you are/were supposed to be the biggest drug King pin in Miami if people are to believe what you rap about. How are you the don in Miami if you were a well to do citizen with a clean background record working in the Miami Prison system? You can deny all you want, but after looking at all of the leaked records , man you are just a fronter. A wanna be. Which is great! Because in my opinion, its not a bad thing for someone to be an upstanding citizen and have a good job, like you previously did. What I have a problem with is giving these kids something to look up to as a "criminal" and a "drug dealer." Why couldn't you be rapping about living your life right? And then when the truth comes out, you deny it? I guess it makes sense, because sadly, it was easier to make 10 times (or are you lying about that too?) what you made as a legit prison guard rapping about the imaginary birds and kilos you were moving in and out of Dade county. Get out of here with that foolishness....I hope your "career" is DONE. And I hope we look at why this has happened in our society. Why a seemingly good man with a good job would feel it necessary to lie and make a completely criminal persona to get rich and famous and then actually succeed?! Why do we reward people like this?
A fan of good hip hop and TRUTH (of which you have none.)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
|Just so you know.... |
Monday, JULY 21
|USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption"||7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|Friday, JULY 25|
|USA vs. Canada |
|8 p.m. ET, ESPNHD, ESPN360.com|
|THURSDAY, JULY 31|
|USA vs. Turkey||8 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com|
|USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption"||7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air||8 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|FRIDAY, AUGUST 1|
|USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air||6:30 a.m. ET, ESPNU|
|USA vs. Lithuania||8 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com|
|USA vs. Turkey, Re-Air||8 p.m. ET, ESPNU|
|SATURDAY, AUGUST 2|
|USA vs. Lithuania, Re-Air||3 a.m. ET, ESPN2|
|SUNDAY, AUGUST 3|
|USA vs. Russia||3 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360.com|
|USA vs. Lithuania, Re-Air||5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU|
|USA vs. Russia, Re-Air||7 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|USA vs. Russia, Re-Air||10 p.m. ET, ESPNU|
|MONDAY, AUGUST 4|
|USA vs. Russia, Re-Air||6 a.m. ET, ESPNU|
|TUESDAY, AUGUST 5|
|USA vs. Australia||8 a.m. ET, ESPN2. ESPN360.com|
|USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption"||7 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|USA Basketball All-Access Show: "Road To Redemption"||7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
|USA vs. Australia, Re-Air||8 p.m. ET, ESPN2|
Monday, July 14, 2008
(Yes, I do realize that this list does leave out a few heavy hitters—of course Philadelphia would be considered by most people to be included, as well as a few other teams. But Philly wasn’t considered to be rising this summer until a single move—the Brand acquisition. And if Brand had stayed in Clipperland, the same notion would have worked—they just picked up Baron Davis. Really, this article isn’t about the GMs who have made their teams good or better this year. It’s about the GMs who are building their teams on a concept, and the concept is working…to me.)
5. Spurs – Greg Popovich
Methodology: Keep no one long, pay no one much, find someone better
If you hate everything else about the Spurs, you have to respect and even love Greg Popovich. He is the only current coach who moonlights as a GM (this is unresearched, but Isiah and Larry’s Brown and Bird were the last, I believe) and he is really the only one who has been highly successful on both ends in the last decade.
What do I love about his GM moves? Well for starters, he keeps the guys he likes, and he rids himself of the guys he doesn’t. The big three (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker) are locked up for the next 2-4 years (and at relative bargains too), and there isn’t a single Spurs player with more than 2 years left on their contract. Popovich has made a habit of this in the last few years. This means they can reload whenever they want…with no consequences. Steve Kerr got old? Bring in Brent Barry. Is Bowen looking old? They went and got Udoka (again, all for huuuuge bargains). They also know when and how to stick it to their opponents, like when they let the Mavericks pay Michael Finley $20 million a year while they paid him $2 million or so and won a ring.
Beyond his abilities on the sidelines, Popovich is a master in the front office. He gets what he wants. He’s got his big three for the next decade and he’s in position to get some younger, more athletic help around them to keep the Spurs on top.
4. Detroit – Joe Dumars
Methodology: Underdogs…gotta find underdogs! Tough underdogs. Undersized underdogs. Undrafted underdogs. But NEVER European underdogs.
Yes, I do realize that this is the second 50-win team in this list, and that the whole idea is about rebuilding. The thing is, that is the difference between horrific, good, and GENIUS GMs—you can see them reloading before their team heads for the bottom.
Detroit has had an impressive decade, winning 50+ games every year since 2001, an obvious testament to great management. In 2004, everything came together and the Pistons won the NBA Championship. Now that same cast (with the exception of Ben Wallace, who is an idiot) is a veteran bunch capable of winning 55+ games each season. Of course, entering their mid-30s, Joe realizes that the party could be over any time, so he has quietly made moves in the draft that have paid dividends for his veteran team.
The Pistons, to me, are the #1 team in the league at implementing a plan. They want tough, hard-nosed players who have no problem playing 5 minutes but will work hard for 40. Even though they’ve been drafting in the late 20’s for nearly a decade, they’ve managed to acquire GREAT role player talent. Now with Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiel, Aaron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey, they have a second team that is in its early twenties but has deep playoff experience. You can’t ask for a better job than that.
I think the Pistons have lost a few rings they should’ve won in the last 4 years just off of lack of desire. But I think that once these younger guys that Joe has brought in start taking over, you will see a stronger, more versatile Pistons team than the current group. Dumars has made brilliant move after brilliant move. And yes, you can fault him for taking Darko Milicic, or for letting Mehmet Okur get away. But really, think about it—if he had drafted someone else who was starting for their team, would he have ever gone for the Rasheed Wallace trade? And if that never happens…would there even be a ring?
3. Boston – Danny Ainge
Methodology: Take advantage of great chemistry to develop great talent.
OK OK I KNOW!!! They won the Championship! That can’t possibly count as rebuilding!!!
Again, I totally, ABSOLUTELY disagree!
I’m not here to even talk about the job Danny Ainge did in the past year. It’s been nothing short of genius—every move he made was outstanding. But I think that the moves he is making NOW, while risky, may be just as important.
The Celtics went out and drafted two of the most talented players in this draft. The thing is, they are also two of the biggest question marks in this draft. J.R. Giddens of New Mexico and Bill Walker of Kansas State are two guys who were projected to be top-10 draft choices in their freshmen years of college. Each was derailed along the way –Giddens by immaturity, Walker by an ACL tear. Most teams had given up on them as great prospects.
So the Celtics took the gamble. They figure that Drill Sergeant Garnett and the disciplined Ray Allen can light a fire in Giddens as they did with Rajon Rondo, whose rookie season didn’t leave much indication that he’d be a championship point guard a year later. Then they hope that Bill Walker, an uber-athletic wing when healthy, can learn a little something about durability from the Finals MVP, who played his way through an MCL sprain in Game 1 to somehow dominate in the 6 biggest games of his life.
I love the idea. I truly believe that if a team has great chemistry, they can afford to take a few risks for talent. There’s nothing either of these guys can do to erode what Boston is doing—not as long as Kevin Garnett is around, that’s for sure. Instead they can come along slowly, learn from three guys who got to the top by working hard and playing unselfishly. And who knows—maybe Rondo, Giddens, Walker, Big Baby, and Perkins is the Celtics team of the future. It’s already got three NBA champions and two potentially great rookies. We’ll see.
2. New Jersey – Rod Thorn
Methodology: We’re gonna stay young and play fast. And if you don’t want to be here, watch out for the doorknob on the way out.
So you’ve got an old point guard. Trade him in for a young point guard. Check.
(Oh and can you throw in two first round picks too? Great. Check.)
You’ve got a 22 point scoring wing player in his late 20’s on a rebuilding team that isn’t making money. You trade him for the 2nd best Chinese player in the world—who happens to be in his early twenties. You’re now rebuilding and making money. Check.
If the New Jersey Nets get rid of Vince Carter as easily as they disposed of Kidd and Jefferson, Rod Thorn becomes my darkhorse candidate for GM of the Year, whether they win 50 games or 5. Sure, he may have prematurely disposed of Kenyon Martin and slowly caused his own team’s demise, but what exactly is the purpose of keeping together a core that gets SWEPT two times in a row in the NBA Finals?
This team steps out above the others to me simply because building a team through trades is a hard thing to do. Most rebuilding teams climb the ladder through drafting and free agent signings. The way the Nets have handled this rebuilding project has been patient, yet somehow quite risky. Thorn is making moves that many GMs would not make, but he is likely setting his team up for greater success than most of those GMs will achieve.
I just love the acquisition of Devin Harris for the Nets. He never really got to do what he does best in Dallas, and what he does best seems to be what the Nets want him to do: get to the hole. Not only that, but the Nets are quietly assembling one of the deepest teams in the league. They’ve got Krstic, Sean Williams and rookie Brooke Lopez patrolling the paint, and they’ve got Vince Carter, Yi Jianlian, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Ryan Anderson who all can play inside-out. That doesn’t even mention that they have Harris and Marcus Williams playing point. Both are more than capable at performing point guard duties.
And on top of all of this…they might get LeBron in two years! They’ve trimmed the cap enough to possibly set up the biggest coup in NBA history that didn’t involve a friend of David Stern or the city of Seattle. The Nets could potentially head into Brooklyn with the best player in the NBA…on top of all of the talent they currently have.
Overall, it’s just a great job. It’s a marvelous job. It’s a stupendous job. And if they end up with LeBron? With this roster?!! It becomes the ‘Rod Thorn Dynastic Creator Award.’ That’s just it.
1A. “Sonics” – Sam Presti
1B. Blazers – Kevin Pritchard
I retardedly, STEWPIDLY left one of these teams off. But then I realized how fitting and appropriate it is that they be presented together.
The “Sonics” and Blazers have had years of history in the great northwest…which is about to come crashing to an end thanks to Clay Bennett.
But the 2007 NBA draft will be what links these two franchises for the next two decades. Portland drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, and from that moment the two franchises have had their success compared, and will for many years.
Because of these acquisitions, both teams are considered to be on the rise, despite even the season-ending injury to Oden. And both teams have taken great strides towards becoming NBA dynasties.
The funny and ironic part is how drastically different their strategies have been thus far.
Portland’s Methodology: Be aggressive. Get character guys. Get your hands on as many players as you possibly can.
The Blazers have been more active in the draft than any team we’ve seen since Mark Cuban got an NBA phone in the late ‘90s. They’ve made close to 15 acquisitions, more than 4 trades, and gone from the bottom of the league to a near playoff team in only 2 seasons. Oden didn’t even have to play a single game last year for them to still split even at 41-41. This year they’ll bring in quite possibly the second most talented point guard prospect in the draft. All it took was the 13th pick and some cash.
Pritchard has really been aggressive in Europe as well. They are bringing in the MVP of the Spanish league, Rudy Fernandez, as well. There is so much talent on this team, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to expect 50+ wins out of them—even though their average age is a remarkable 23.4. Now THAT is a great rebuilding job.
But—partially, I admit—my favorite has to be Sam Presti with the “Sonics.”
Presti’s Methodology is quite simple: Take your time. Build a TEAM. Make the pieces complement. Don’t go for the home run, just get difference-makers on your team.
That means instead of drafting Yi Jianlian, they went for a consummate teammate, pass first hustle player, Jeff Green.
That means that instead of Kevin Love, or maybe Anthony Randolph, they took a defensive stopper like Russell Westbrook (who apparently can score too!).
They also traded many of their talented players and ended up with SIX first round picks in the next 3 years. For a young, rebuilding team, draft picks are gold.
It may seem like things are going a little…TOO slow. But the reason I love what they are doing is, they know what they’ve got. Kevin Durant is a superior talent, and he will be top 3 in the NBA some time very soon. But instead of doing the rush job that Cleveland did around LeBron, leaving him as a 24-year-old superstar on a team of aging role players, the Sonics are not wasting their time trying to win championships with a wiry 20-year-old kid. They are letting the young “Sonics” be young, and make mistakes. And lose games. And get HUNGRY. All of the losing and the struggles will only make this core group of “Sonics” better in the long run. The fact is, the west is loaded right now—but it has about 5 or 6 teams that will be out of their prime in the next 3 years. It is THEN that the “Sonics” are posturing for, and it will be interesting to see how much better they are then, when Durant is 24, then the impatient Cavs are now.
Presti is taking the best of what he learned from Greg Popovich and molding it into his own formula. Except ‘Keep no one long, pay no one much, find someone better’ evolved into a much more patient way of doing things—a way that is definitely going to set his “Sonics” up to seize the throne of the 4-time champions when Duncan and Popovich head out the door.
Good job, gentlemen.
(PS: Mr. Cuban wanted me to tell you all that Dirk is up on the block…just had to pass the message…)