Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The joy of tearing a man's pride to pieces

One of the best blog entries of the summer was by SLAM's Sam Rubenstein a month or so ago. Good because it was funny, and good because it nailed an often ignored part of competition on the head. The mean part. Some people always have it, others never do. I personally only get pushed to that place. Like when a guy in a pickup game goes a little too far with the trash talking or when somebody gets annoyingly rough.

But anyways, here's a good excerpt (the bold is my doing):

"These NBA talking heads like Tim Legler who babble on about how “Kevin Durant is a competitor who will compete for 48 minutes because he loves to compete and be competitive when he competes and he hates to lose” do not get it. Competition is crushing your enemies skulls underneath your blood stained boots."

My mind went back to this blog post because I realized there is another common situation that pushes me (and many others) into this diabolical place, video games. More specifically, playing them against friends. Even more specifically, the friends who talk a lot of shit (which is most of them, assholes).

The particular game doesn't matter. I spent Saturday playing Mario Strikers with this punk I've known since the 3rd grade. The hype had been steadily building all week, culminating in a high frequency of text messages insultating each others race and manhood. It was on.

I came out of the gates winning almost every time. I'd like to say I started feeling bad, but I didn't. The silence coming from him was beautiful. The drooped shoulders, the tense face, it was marvelous. I was weaving a tapestry of trash talking that could not be stopped. Thats right, feel this pain.

After a while, the aforementioned punk made some adjustments and went on a win streak of his own. I know I'm a grown man, and that this is a video game, a kiddie game at that. But during his run, I was seriously contemplating choking him out with the cord of my controller. Next time, maybe I'll wear one of those blood pressure readers to try and quantify the rage building inside me. Either he had to die or I was going to explode.

Both having been on our runs, we decided to cap the night with a winner take all 9 match series. I won 5-3. I drove home on a high that can't be explained, a peak only tempered by my stomach protesting the bag of Doritos and high quantity of pop that propelled me to victory that night. The text messages demanding a rematch have gone unanswered. I will put my title on the line only in the right conditions. Destroying a rival is too satisfying, something that must be fully appreciated and enjoyed before simply running it back. Its time we all acknowledge this nasty satisfaction, and give it the credit it deserves.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Team USA doesn't remember Greece

Last Saturday I wrote about the ridiculous praise Team USA has been getting, despite having yet to play an elite international team. A reminder: We've always been able to beat the weak teams, the decent ones give us fits. Still, the media by and large wasn't going to let this tiny detail stop the parade of puppies and sunshine.

There is hope for some logic, and it is coming as a result of Team USA beating Mexico 127-100 (box score). The U.S. beat them into submission in the first quarter, and perhaps understandably coasted a bit the rest of the game. In that period, Mexico (far from an elite international team, by the way) had some success doing the same old stuff that other teams have beat the U.S. with. Chris Sheridan thinks this is something to think about:

"This was a night when the Americans took their foot off the gas after the first quarter and went through the motions the rest of the night, shooting nearly 60 percent from the field but allowing Mexico to outscore them 28-20 in the second quarter and stay within striking distance through most of the third. Mexico, a 51½ point underdog, knocked down 15 3-point shots, almost all of them wide-open looks, and had a lot of success running the same pick-and-roll play that Greece used so effectively against Team USA in the semifinals of the World Championship last summer."

Criticism of a blow out win, even when a much larger margin of victory was expected, will almost always go ignored. But there is something to be said that the same crap that has killed Team USA in the past is still working.

It also continues another disturbing trend. Team USA has had a hard time getting motivated to play an entire game against teams that don't have guys they've heard of.

Sure, they'll get up against Brazil and lockdown Barbosa. But they can't muster this focus against Mexico, which is fine because Mexico isn't a serious threat. Then again, there are a handful of teams that don't feature NBA stars that are good enough to beat the US. That Greece Team Chris references? Thats one. There will likely be more in Beiijng.

Be wary, because while you can be content that the team has answered outside shooting issues and again has the quality pointguards to dominate, they proved against Mexico that the lesson Greece taught us has yet to sink in. The biggest threat to the U.S. is in the psyche of the team, they must learn that these teams pose a real threat even if they don't recognize the players on it. There are lots of teams that will be happy to issue reminders.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Northwest without the Sonics

Now that even more news is coming out detailing about how some fine upstanding fellows are hustling the Sonics away from Seattle, the reality of the situation is finally sinking in with me. I've made a few jokes, but always maintained confidence that the League wouldn't allow this to happen. As I imagine what it would be like without the Sonics a couple hours up I-5, I'm now grasping to this belief like the girl clung to Stallone in the opening scene of Cliffhanger.

First of all, its important to remember that the Northwest is usually in stealth mode on the radar of national awareness. When ESPN did that odd "most underrated college football teams" list, the three most underrated were Washington State, Boise State, and Oregon. In fairness, UW did manage to make the most overrated list at #3, but this is more a testament to how much they truly suck. The most underrated conference? The Pac-10. The same conference fans outside the area complain about sucking so much.

Sometimes, something happens where the nation has no choice but to focus on the Northwest. Like when the #1 and #2 supremely hyped NBA Draft picks land there. Then we hear murmurs about how it hurts the league that they didn't go to a place people give a shit about.

Its more about population than anything, and the Northwest has less of it. Less people, far away from big media bases, less money, less exposure, this list continues. The Northwest does kind of suck like that.

While Seattle is in the foresaken Northwest, Oklahoma City is a market that would be even worse. Would Durant become a bigger star playing for a team in Seattle or OKC? Right. It doesn't make any sense financially, which I'm hoping is why the League will step in, because apparently the owners don't care.

The sadistic fan in me has joked about the Sonics leaving. After all, those in Seattle would then have to follow the Blazers and endure the true humiliation this brings. This is the horrible feeling I get when everyone in Portland supporting the Mariners/Seahawks like they're our teams. They aren't. Stop it. Oh, what sweet vengeance this could bring.

Then the scarred insecure fanatic in me becomes panicky. No Sonics in Seattle? Paul Allen really wants a team in Seattle. Paul Allen is FROM Seattle. Paul Allen has more money than God (Shammgod), and could make anything happen. Portland loses Blazers to Seattle. Portland now forced to follow Seatte teams in football, baseball, AND basketball. Might as well move to Seattle.

Now that I'm coming to grips with the OKC Sonics, and trying to merge it with the part of my brain that handles reality, its telling me this will hurt the whole region. The league might lose money, Durant might lose a chance to be quite as bright a star, but the Northwest will lose a significant piece of relevance, which is tough to come by in these parts.

This can't happen.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Deceptively Quick: officially an obscure subtle influence on something

On post 10 of my epic Day of 100 Entries, I admitted to altering Petteri Koponen's Wikipedia page to include the nickname that will surely bring me fame and fortune one day, "The Finnagler."

Its obvious someone lacking excess creativity/skill added it to his page (my signature calling card, much like how the Wet Bandits would flood the houses they robbed in Home Alone), my method was to just stick it to the bottom of the first section. A one sentence closing paragraph. Mission accomplished.

Recently I checked back to see any updates, and there it was. For some reason, the nickname made it from where I clumsily jabbed it in all the way to the little box on the sidebar:

Nickname "Petsku", "Pete", "Finnagler"

I'm not sure which awesome person added it to his sidebar, but I have an internet crush on them. Maybe wikipedia is so awesome it does this by itself (self awareness? Scary! I just crapped my pants), or maybe they pay people to do it, I'm not sure how this mysterious world of pure truth operates. I googled variations searching for other places where the name is coming up, but nothing as of yet. You better believe I'm on it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Its good to see us feeling so good about ourselves

The reaction to Team USA by mainstream American Media has been a little shocking:

"Best team since the original Dream Team."
-Woody Paige on Around The Horn

I know Woody Paige says a lot of moronic things and isn't so much an authority on anything as he is a representation of whats wrong with ESPN, but this quote I heard succinctly captures what has been the overall response of talking heads and columnists.

But why? Because we handled Venezuela and the U.S. Virgin Islands? Hey, its very likely that the team will continue to dominate this tournament. There may even be a blowout of Brazil. Then we'll feel even better about our return to the top of international basketball.

Let's remember, besides Team USA, there are two teams here that are considered threats to medal at the upcoming Olympics: Brazil and Argentina. As I ranted about here, these teams aren't exactly fully represented. Defending Olympic champ Argentina is without my man Pepe Sanchez and four of their NBA Players. Yeah, beating them will be a nice ego stroking session. Two of Brazil's NBA Players aren't playing. U-S-A! U-S-A!

I'm not saying Team USA can't be great (or that they aren't already), but maybe we should wait to measure them against top international competition instead of admiring how they dominate teams that won't even be in the Olympics, or are competing without key players. I know its a crazy notion that the media jump the gun on something, but we don't all have to be swept away in the premature ejaculation.

See you in Beijing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Its over! 24

Whew, well that was fun. I wasn't sure I was gonna make it there for a while. A big thanks to everyone who made the day of 24 blogs such a big success.

No, I had to stop. 100 Entries in a day is like climbing Everest, and thats not an exaggeration, its EXACTLY like climbing Everest. I wasn't ready, I didn't have my oxygen tanks or climbing gear.

I feel like Nick Anderson after he missed those freethrows, when I need to bounce back like Jordan after Nick Anderson stole the ball. Time to start putting the pieces back together and keeping things in perspective.

What stinks in Miami? 23

Some analysts are listing Miami to contend in the East. Um, no. They won their title, with a fair amount of luck. They made their bed when they brought in Shaq and decided to keep trying to surround him and DWade with passed their prime vets. They could've steadily built a young team around Wade to compete for years to come, but they wouldn't have won that title. It was probably worth it, but now they're living with the reprecussions a win right now strategy brings.

They need new guys to surround Wade and Shaq, but have had a hard time finding what they want and really need. If this team was so great, wouldn't some of the free agents who went elsewhere have signed with them? Why didn't anyone mention Miami when Grant Hill was looking for a contender to play with while being paid the minimum? Why have all the players on the top of the Heat's list gone elsewhere? Money, sure, but you think thats all? It wasn't with Hill, at least.

The players know something about what teams will contend. Miami, for the hype they still get, isn't getting the first look a lot of players who want to win give San Antonio, Phoenix, or Dallas. The question may become how long it takes them to get out of contracts and rebuild for the future, hopefully while Wade is in his prime. If they can't, I wonder how long he will stay in a place other players think stinks.

Grant Hill: Totally Duuuuuuude!, 22

Everyone likes Grant Hill. By all accounts a great guy who was ready to be a great player until injury, but never gave up and is still playing the game he loves. Admirable.

He has his hobbies too, and he's diverse in his interests. For example, as reported by, he's making an appearance in the new Nickelback video, "Rockstar." The potential for hilarity is high in athlete-music situations, so I checked it out:

Turns out the entire video is composed of random people, so we don't get the desired Grant Hill headbanging action. In fact, he's just signing a basketball around the 1:50 mark. Grant still has some dignity, after all. Wayne Gretzky is the funniest in it, he has a hockey stick, because he was a hockey player! And he's really into it. Also, Paul Wall is in this a lot, so you know, quality assured.

Its a beautiful goddamn day in Oregon, 21

I hear birds chirping outside, and made the mistake of looking out a window earlier. Its an amazing Oregon summer day out there right now. In case you don't know, we don't really get a whole lot of nice days here. Its as if God is testing my resolve. 100 Entries on a day like today? I decided to listen to Erick Sermon to boost my happiness and energy, and I think I got a little too much now. The Green Eyed Bandit is never a good idea when you are trying to do something that requires steady sitting and attention. Anyways, get cream like soda.

How not to show your enthusiasm for your team: through song, 20

There's a lot of fans of teams out there that are pretty passionate. I mean, I like the Blazers a lot. I have a blog about them, I know this to be geeky. Fans have enthusiasm and enjoy showing it in different ways, but I think there's a medium tough to cross successfully: song.

Look, since I've been sitting here blogging for 5 hours I can't say it softly, fan songs about players/teams are lame, always, ALWAYS! I know there's people who think they are totally rad, but they are lame also. Here is a good example:

See? I bet the guys that made this are actually funny. This is about as good a fan song as I've ever heard, and it still makes me cringe. Corny, am I way off with this?

Fighting a losing Battle: Jack Brown's futile attempt, 19

100 Entries in a day? Since I started at 8:30 am PST, my fuzzy math worked out a needed pace of 1 post every 10 minutesish. 5 hours in, I figured I'd check my progess, how seriously bad is it? To quote Tracy Morgan as Woodrow, "Its medical."

5 hours and 19 blogs, a pace to maybe crack 59 by midnight. Perhaps I needed to attempt midnight to midnight to have a chance. This is indeed Disheartening. Disheartening, indeed.

NBA Live 08: Bold Predictions (get it? Ha!), 18

I've already written about my giddyness for NBA Live 08 to come out. Since I bought the Wii, I'm also freaked out that the controls will be too weird, but I guess I knew all that going in. In that post, I wrote about how I knew that franchise mode will definitely suck, continuing a tradition of EA Sports giving Madden something so awesome and NBA Live something so lame. I have a few more predictions, observe this official bullet points:
  • LaMarcus Aldridge will be underrated. I know its coming, I think the rest of the league has yet to really aknowledge how good of a player he really is. Without Zach mucking things up, its gonna be clear to all this season. Unfortunately, the game makers don't know this, so playing with Portland won't be as fun as it should be.
  • Greg Oden will be overrated. Will fans kill me for saying this? Its true. Right now, Aldridge is better than Oden (and it isn't that unlikely that this will always be true), but don't expect to see this on the game. Oden will be an animal.
  • My Baron Davis-centric playing will continue to be sweet. Thanks to a solid season and a classic playoff upset, I'm thinking Boom Dizl will be rated at a pretty amazing level, which is great news for me.
  • Franchise mode will continue to suck. Yep.
  • The Bobcats will be fun. Who knows if this will work in real-life, but video games aren't about real life, and on paper, the Bobcats will be nicey nice nice. I look forward to reenact Walter Herrmann's late season run that saved my fantasy basketball season.

Expanding horizons, 17

I'm more basketball connoisseur than a sports fan. I'll watch football, maybe even baseball, but I don't really get too into either. I tried to watch soccer, but dude, seriously, zzzzzz. I'm working on it, and I think I have a leading candidate to serve Commander Riker to my Captain Jean-Luc Picard that is basketball.


There, I said it. The last couple years, I've been watching the big tournaments. Now I find myself starting to follow storylines. I watched Davydenko vs. Donald Young last night. Young is my new favorite American in tennis (Djokovic still holds my heart overall), thanks to coming out of nowhere to almost topple Davydenko while wearing his hat tipped to the side the whole time.

US Open baby, I'm ready.

Terry Porter is a real man, 16

No doubt, Clyde was the star of those Rip City teams. He was the franchise, actually. The man got a street named after him, he's the hall-of-famer. But in my house at least, it was Terry Porter's team. My dad doesn't throw around the adjective "classy," but always was ready to remind me of the class act that Porter was. To this day he swears Porter guarded Jordan better than any Blazer ever did.

Maybe we forget about Porter a little too much these days. Remember, he played small forward for an NAIA team before coming to the NBA. A 17 year playing career as an NBA pointguard is nothing short of spectacular when you keep that in mind.

He moved on to coaching, which seems like a natural fit for a guy who made it more on his will and intelligence than potential. I got excited when he was trying to buy the Blazers back when Paul Allen was selling, he just seems like a guy we should have on board in some way.

Portland Beavers on Deadspin, 15

I like the Portland Beavers, and I'm not really a big fan of baseball. I like that PGE Park is so laid back, and the location near downtown with the max sliding right beside it. A summer day at PGE Park with the Portland Beavers and a Portland beer is not a bad way to unwind.

As I saw popped up on Deadspin, the Beavers are exploring a name change. Of course, the current name is not only giving props to a furry local animal, but to the history of pro baseball in town. Then again, it confuses people that don't really know about this history, like my girlfriend, who just thinks its lame and confusing that they name their team the same thing as Oregon State University's mascot.

So now you can go here and vote for what name you like best. Deadspin likes the Portland Wet Sox, as do I. Not for the easy rain joke, but for the alternate use of the sock employed by many a man throughout the ages. The accompanied proposed logo makes it even better. The potential for comedy is too high to do nothing on this. Please vote for the Wet Sox. I imagine they would see a spike in merchandise sales. I voted for the Green Sox second, which is an awkward way of incorporating Portland's environmentalism and greenspace. Anyways, Wet Sox, funny.

Shit I'm tired of blogging, 14

This isn't going to end well. If you follow along long enough, you may actually get to witness someone live-blogging their mental breakdown. The good news is, only 86 more to go! This video pretty much sums it up:

Martell Webster, to know you is to be mired in befuddlement, 13

Yes, the title is copied from the one right below about Travis Outlaw. He and Webster are in similar situations as young players with all the potential you can measure, who were drafted right out of highschool on just that. For both, the critical factor seems to be getting their mind right. They should both also be grateful for the emergence of LaMarcus and Roy and the arrival of Oden, all of whom buy them more time to develop and largely avoid public scrutiny and dodge expectations. The difference is that for Webster, the stakes are a little higher.

The sixth pick in the 2005 draft, Martell at 20 is probably not yet reaching the point where he's expected to be a major contributor. Then again, lets not forget that despite more consistent minutes last season, he only managed to put up stats nearly identical to his rookie campaign.

Like Outlaw, the Blazers could really use what Martell can bring to the table. Martell is a gifted athlete, but his outside shooting is what Portland is craving. Its no secret Portland needs a big time 3 point threat, and the hopes are that Webster can fill this role.

Travis Outlaw, to know you is to be mired in befuddlement, 12

I like Travis Outlaw, and promise this isn't about his stratospheric numbers during the "lets just finish this and not get hurt" end of the season that robbed me of my fantasy basketball title. I promise, this is about me as a Blazer's fan.

Drafted straight out of highschool in the first round 2003 on all potential. 6'9 and as athletic as anyone in the league. Now, less than a month away from turning 23 and soon to enter his 5th year in the league, nobody is really sure yet what type of player he will become.

We've seen Outlaw hit jumpers in people's face, pull down improbable rebounds, and dominate stretches of games. Then we won't hear from him for a while, maybe he's only been able to get his when he falls of the scouting report. Watching Travis over the years, there isn't a lot he can't do on the court, and he's by all accounts nice guy off it. It looks to be all mental at this point, and things need to start clicking soon. I wonder if they've been using that sports psychologist on Travis as well as Martell.

The Blazers gave him a three year extension this summer, so they must believe him to be on the verge of becoming a consistent contributor. Portland could really, really use him at small forward. It will be something to watch this season, will Outlaw make the leap or remain the talented enigma?

A Moment of Silence for sweet ticket deals, 11

Last season was a great one if you are but a peasant surf who must go to Blazer games on the cheap. The team lost a lot of games, true, but they were competitive. There was the pre-Oden young core to see, in particular, watching Brandon Roy become the leader of the team was truly rewarding.

Also, demand for tickets was low. The Blazers were close to paying you to go to the game just to keep the players from getting depressed. Remember those package deals that were 2 tickets to 3 games, plus a couple odd gifts like movie passes or restaurant gift certificates, for $86? This my friends, was a deal. Also, a fond memory. Something to tell your grandchildren.

Blazer Nicknames, 10

I'm a nickname enthusiast. I enjoy giving them to everyone on the basketball court at any level. My favorite has been the guy that used to frequent the same pickup games I did, whom I deemed White Jesus for his ability to work miracles. It stuck, and when he walked in the door even infants screamed out his new name. Awesome.

When pointguard Petteri Koponen was drafted, I figured he must have some sort of nickname. I heard it was "The Finnisher." Thats all well and good, he is from Finland, so I guess that works out. While I support the play on his nationality, I can't buy this nickname because he's not, you know, a finisher. Plus I'm just not sure he's that badass yet.

So I have been championing "The Finnagler." He may not be a finisher, but you can definitely see him as a finagler, so I'm into it. In my efforts, I edited his wikipedia page to make it true. Wikipedia = the truth, I saw it on Colbert Report.

But in my efforts, how could I ignore the fact that he plays for a team called the Playboys? Casey Holdahl at OLive referred to him as "The Playboy," which may render "The Finnagler" obsolete. Its difficult to compete with the comedy that is foreign things that sound funny. If it is the will of the people, so be it.

Also, I like calling Darius Miles "Big Pun." I love that he used to call himself "The Punisher," and figure that since he is reportedly pretty fat, Big Pun would be a nice modification.

When I hit the wall, 9

In the back of my mind, as I'm live-blogging the day of 8/23, I've been wondering what to do when I run out of things to post about. Do I talk about what I did for summer vacation? Do I start making fun of Darius Miles again? Do I blog about having nothing to blog about? Or do I bow out gracefully, dignified in defeat?

I've decided to do none of the above (except for the Darius Miles one). My filler will be youtube, and it will be awesome. Of course, I want your ideas to, so email them to me:

Seriously, Juwan Howard is in the news, 8

Yeah, its a slow NBA Day (the perfect time to attempt 100 entries!) when Juwan Howard is in the news. Apparently, he wants out of Minnesota after signing with them in June. Can't blame the guy, I've never even been to Minnesota and I want out. At this point in his career, I suppose it doesn't make a ton of sense for him to be there now that KG is gone.

I always liked Juwan Howard. That Fab 5 book was the first biography I ever read back in 6th grade. I used to get some odd pleasure in watching him absolutely destroy Zach everytime he played against Portland. Oh the memories.

League to Seattle Owner: stop being stupid, 7

The league fined Aubrey McClendon $250,000 for that time he told an OKC paper (apparently unaware of this thing called the internet) the Sonics ownership group he is a part of has wanted to move the team all along.

Pretty awesome for the league to do that. I'm not sure if its justice or fair, but I really don't like the folks that have been trying to steal the Sonics from Seattle. Their strategy so far has apparently been to piss off the city to the point where people want them to leave, I guess.

If the Sonics end up leaving, that irrational insecure fan inside me is going to freak out. We all know Paul Allen really wants a team in Seattle. Oh god. No. Stop.

Tim Donaghy's quest to become the most hated man alive, 6

First we hated Donaghy for fixing games. Then we heard stories about how he's an asshole to basically everyone. Then we heard he has a legit addiction to gambling, and that the mob was pressuring him, and we put our rage against this man on hold for a second. Then we learned they were mafia wannabes, or something, and Donaghy did bet on some games he worked. While definitely affecting those games and the overall integrity of the League, the whole game fixing accusations sounded a bit above his competency. Then we heard more stories about how he's an asshole.

If you still weren't convinced, there's this:

"As part of his cooperation agreement with federal authorities, Donaghy will provide the names of officials who bet at golf courses, race tracks during the season and casinos, and are involved in football pools, the Daily News reported yesterday. Those activities would violate NBA restrictions"

No surprise that a bunch of refs (Donaghy will drop info on 20) like to bet on things. They're on the road a lot, and they make bank. Still they all new all this was prohibited, and made two errors in judgment: deciding to do it anyways and trusting Tim Donaghy.

Joel Freeland can't catch a break, 5

This site has been behind Joel Freeland (in a platonic way) for a while. All fans got more excited if you saw the grit and athleticism he showed in summer league. People like Joel, the Blazers want to play Joel, but the timing hasn't worked out for him, which sucks a lot. There's not really a spot to spare on this year's roster, which means its the D-League or back to Europe. The D-League could conceivably make the guy worse if you leave him there long enough, so its back to his euro-team, which does play at the highest pro level, so thats good right?

The Gran Canaria Blazer prospect killing jerks, know he can play. He put up 15 and 7 in very limited minutes for them last season. Word is he wasn't too thrilled about going back for another season of riding the pine with them. Guess what else? Gran Canaria won't let him play for England's national team, either. They don't want to do anything to jeopardize the 15 minutes a game he will be playing.

Since Zach got traded, this blog has been lost looking for a new cause to get behind. I think hating Gran Canaria just may fill the void.

The End of Racism, 4

Race is always an issue in the United States, actually in the world, I don't know why we always have to attach it to our country, like we own racism, anyways. Would Mike Vick be treated more fairly if he was white? Are white people really pissed that the NBA is too black? Refs are racist?

Things get sticky sometimes, a lot of people have strong views on the subject. Adding to the confusion, people from different races are getting together and making babies more and more. This does not bode well for one of the most discriminated against groups in the US, racists.

Luckily, the good folks of enlisted Liston from Introducing Liston to help everyone out.

People in Indiana hate Josh McRoberts, 3

I like to talk about how on draft day the entire sportsbar I was at was cracking on the free falling Josh McRoberts. When he landed in the Blazer's net, I was pretty happy. After all, review these official bullet points (bullet points are always official, by the way) for why Portland should be happy to have him:
  • He's 6'10, athletic, and can handle the ball and pass like few players his size.
  • He's Greg Oden's friend.
  • He's known to be at his best as a complimentary player, so struggled a little at Duke when Coach K kept trying to make him the man. He will never, ever, have to worry about this in Portland. Rumor is he made his name nationally playing alongside Oden in highschool AAU Ball.
  • He's a second round pick, so if he doesn't pan out, eh.

Ok, hooray for us, feeling good about ourselves? There is one red flag, and that is that people from his home state seem to hate him a lot. Off the OLive Blazer's Blog, there's a link to an article from the Indianapolis Star about McRoberts, and the reader comments are the real read, here's some highlights:

"McRoberts is one of the most overrated players I have come across in the past 20 years of watching NCAA basketball. He finished 3rd in Mr Basketball, but was the top ranked senior nationally? How does that happen? We was getting smoke blown up his **** in high school, more smoke after his first year of college and then it finally all came tumbling down after last year. "

"who cares about him? he cried when he was drafted in the 2nd round, ungreatful punk."

"I am not sure why we keep seeing him in the paper slow news day again.Here is McRoberts legacy top 101. Never won a sectional title in high school2. Never won a conference title in high school3. You never even beat Noblesville when you played4. Wasn’t even in the top in the state in scoring or rebounding5. Josh you where lucky to get third. But since you where 7 foot and half your points where dunks over little guys you where spotted a position6. No big wins in High School, in Fact Broad Ripple your junior year with a losing record beat you. George Hill was the true recruit in that game.7. Senior year Eric Gordon single handedly beat you.(That’s how you take over a game)8. Ever body get noticed when they get to play on a good team even I would of scored if I played with JJ 9. Last year you did what? And now your going to play what with who?? Oh well mommy got her BMW for you being 7 foot not a good TEAM player.10. Please move out of Indiana its about the game not the person. You turned your back on the ALL-Stars, You turned your back on Duke I am sure Greg is your good friend. You get to be on TV because they are there watching him and you can walk into the shot??"

There's more, a lot more. According to Josh though, people have hated him his whole life, so he's fine with it. If it were me, I dunno, I might wonder why people have been hating me my whole life. It will be interesting to keep an eye on public perception of McRoberts in Portland.

USA vs Venezuela, 2

I watched a good chunk of USA v. Venezuela last night before getting bored and going back to Mario Strikers. It was one of those blow-outs where we all get to feel like the good old days of United States basketball supremacy, and try to ignore the fact that its against Venezuela.

Actually, even the better teams in the tournament aren't really going hard, so lets not get too excited: Brazil has Nene and Barbosa, but not Varejao (who is good) or Araujo (who is um, big). Canada convinced Dalembert to play, but not Nash or Magloire. It is still unknown if someone can step up and fill in for Magloires corny "no-look" dunking, seriously, I'm worried how Portland can fill such a void this season after his departure. Even Argentina, the defending Olympic champs, are without Ginobili, Nocioni, Oberto, former savior of my fantasy league team Walter Herrmann, and one of my favorite players ever Pepe Sanchez.

I have two other notes from the game:

1) Michael Redd's bald spot has gone from humorous distraction to disturbing. I think the shape reminds me of the space between your hands if you throw up a Roc-A-Fella sign. Mr. Redd, you should probably just shave it all off. Hov!

2) Bill Walton surprisingly did commentary for this game. The highlight was him throwing praise and support behind Venezuela Dictator President Hugo Chavez. I love you Bill, and don't answer your phone, its homeland security, they want to get together in Cuba for a little meeting.

Blog Day 100 entries, 1

Yes, its finally here. I'm going for 100 entries today, because really, is there any possible better way for a human being to spend their time? According to my math (emphasis on "my," I truly suck at these things), I'm starting around 8:30 am Rip City time, that gives me about 15.5 hours until its tomorrow, which means I need to average 6.45 posts per hour (about 1 per 10 minutes-ish) until that time to get to 100. So if my usually half-baked ideas appear less than a quarter baked, don't be shocked.

I think my rate of 6.45pph (posts per hour, oh god I'm already corny)can qualify me for what they call live-blogging, except I'm not live-blogging some event, I'm live blogging the entire day. I'm a pioneer like that. You have permission to both cheer me on and pity what my life has become.

I'm numbering each entry in the title and labels, and I could really use some help on ideas. Please please please email me some:

And yes, this counts as an entry.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good thing theres so much meth in Oregon!

“I went to your blog today, no new content.”

I know. I’m having withdrawals in a bad way as life demands have inconvenienced my ability to come on here and make donk jokes. Especially since there has sort of been Blazer news lately with Ime’s contract (he got hosed) and Oden not playing with Team USA (I thought old people love Vegas?).

I’ve decided to remedy the situation by doing something idiotic (always works!), posting 100 blog entries in a day. The day is definitely Wednesday, August 22 Thursday, August 23. The first post will be up shortly after midnight I wake up from my beauty rest. I don’t have any entries stored up to help make it easier on myself, and plan on not planning what to write in advance, so your emails/comments for ideas will be greatly appreciated that day. Quality is by no means as guaranteed as the quantity, but if you frequent this blog you probably don’t care.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

James Hollywood Robinson

Dave over at threw an especially delicious question out to Blazer Fans today, asking for everyone's favorite cult player, "guys who never made the 50 Greatest Players of All Time roster and might not be remembered that much by people other than Blazer fans but who hold a special place in our hearts."

This is one of the all-time greatest questions for hardcore fans of any team, I know I have been drawn into the similar "favorite player nobody knows" discussion at a few sportsbars. I always have the same answer.

Being as I was at um, work, I couldn't find the time to make a worthy case for my candidate. I did keep checking back in the comments, waiting for somebody to mention James "Hollywood" Robinson. Props to user SloppyJoe for finally referencing the man, but I think Hollywood needs more than one line to do him justice.

The live action starts at about the 50 second mark, by the way. Somewhere, Kendall Gill is still wondering what happened.

I don't remember much of Hollywood, but my dad has been building the myth in my head for years. A 6'2, 180 pound shooting guard (don't believe just because he brought the ball down the floor sometimes he was a point) who played in the slow-down-beat-em-up mid-90's, the streaky scorer carved out 8 years in the NBA. For a guy born in Mississippi who played college ball at Alabama to come with such a nickname, you just knew there was something to see.

Portland drafted him 21st overall in the 1993 Draft. He never averaged double figures, but would come off the bench and give you something between 0 and 30. Or maybe more accurately, 0 or 30.You never knew with Hollywood. You knew you'd see the flair and the style that earned him his nickname, and if he got hot you'd see some scintillating basketball as well.

2001 was his last season in the League. For some odd reason, Wikipedia labels him a "bust." I'll try not to go on my rant about the rampant misuse of this label, but 6'2 shooting guards who are picked #21 in the draft and play 8 seasons in the League are definitely not deserving of it. For the love of God, you have to be a high pick and/or come with high-expectations to be a bust. There I went.

In 2004 he played with the now defunct Las Vegas Rattlers, and the rest is a little more mysterious. Sometime before and/or after that, Hollywood went overseas to play ball. Blurbs about his record label here and here mention him playing in Mother Russia. You can find his name briefly on some Russian basketball sites, but it looks like the place was too cold for Hollywood to stick around long. Sadly, there isn't much of a trail to follow.

While the internet may have forgotten, please remember the short explosive Southerner that came off the bench and made Rip City light up. Wherever you are Hollywood, thanks, and know that your myth continues to grow in sportsbars everywhere.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Reggie Miller Comeback; at least he'll go away

When I heard the news that Reggie may comeback and play for the Celtics, a whole bunch of feelings came up. It goes largely undocumented by this blog, but the Indiana Pacers are easily my second favorite team in the league and have been for a very long time.

All the way back in Park & Rec ball (we're going pre-junior high here), I would have killed to wear #31. They never had it, so I settled for 13 and had my mom shave a 31 into the back of my head. Yeah, maybe they thought I was dyslexic. I celebrated many of Reggie's game winners by running around the house with no shoes on, and with ritualistic reenactments in the driveway. He is a significant part of why I became addicted to the NBA in the first place. These sort of memories make you want to write a special post in blue and gold.

Then he retired, and I moved on. He popped up on TNT, which never has seemed right to me. Don't get me wrong, he has his moments of comedy and insight. I just can't ignore that he seems to be the dog in the kitchen much of the time, as in being irritating and in the way of things.

Now we come to this. A comeback. Maybe. A chance to join up with the big party in Boston, contribute on what looks to be a contender. And I'm about as shocked as Jordan must have been after Reggie pushed off to hit that game winner.

Sure, I want to remember him as the Pacer I idolized. But really, won't he be that no matter what he does with Boston? I want to remember him in his prime, but won't I do that anyways?
The bottom line is, Reggie loves basketball and has an opportunity to play at its highest level again, for what looks like a contender. You can't be in the NBA forever, and I can't fault anyone for wanting to stay as long as possible. It would be a treat to see Reggie back on the court, even if he just stands in the corner and hits the occasional three during his 10-15 minutes a game. If nothing else, at least it keeps him out of the booth.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Are ugly cars part of the new Blazer Culture?

Being as I love when the Blazers are in stories that don't involve police, drugs, dogs, or strippers, I was happy to see Deadspin point out Brandon Roy's car for sale on ebay. As is usually the case, after it showed up on Deadspin it popped up all over the web and especially on Blazer sites as there really is nothing else to write about right now.

Look at that beauty, drink it in my friend. Hard to believe this baby still has zero bids. Over the weekend I tried to contact the seller, because there just has to be an awesome story behind this.
I imagine if you handed me my first NBA paycheck, I would go on a brief crazy shopping bonanza. This would probably involve buying a big house and then installing a go kart track...inside, that can take you through every room and up (and down!) all the staircases. I promised myself this when I was 10 and I'm not letting go so easily. I wonder if this is car is Roy's version of my go kart track in the house. I mean, if he actually thought this was a good idea, it would still be in his garage right?

Not to be outdone by anyone (statement applies to non-basketball related areas only), pictures of Big Pun's (aka Darius Miles) ride surfaced on the OregonLive Blazer's Blog. Roy's car is a beige Ford Taurus compared to this:

Darius Miles has signed up with the Donk scene in a major way. After this, I can't wait to see what Petteri Koponen is rolling these days. You don't just drop 19 and 7 against Luxembourg in the U-20 Euro Championship B-Level Competition and NOT raise your street status, you know? I was thinking something along these lines:

Saturday, August 4, 2007

When Blazers Matter This Much, I explode

Back in early July I wrote about the warm fuzzy feelings I was getting from the Blazers return to relevance in the basketball world. I was eagerly awaiting the release of the schedule, because that is the barometer for how biggadeal the League thinks you can be.

As you know, it came out. And Portland is more biggadeal than even I dared to dream. I stole these dates from Yamhill County blogger product Casey Holdhal at the OLive Blazers Blog:

Oct. 30: Portland at San Antonio, 5 PM on TNT
Yeeeeees! The League really wants to manufacter a rivalry between Oden and an established post star, so we get the champs opening night. Even though LaMarcus is better than Oden right now, the fact that the NBA wants this to develop means we can count on big games in prime-time spots.
Once the schedule-makers get an idea in their head, it lasts no matter what (see Kobe vs Shaq "rivalry"), so this is very good that the Blazers are wedged in there.

Dec. 25: Portland vs Sonics on ESPN
Wow. It isn't the morning Christmas Day showcase on ABC, but getting a national game on Christmas is still impressive.

All in all, Portland is currently scheduled to be on 11 national broadcasts. God its been so long. Its going to be amazing to hear Chuck, Jet, Ernie and guest (hopefully not Reggie, cause he kinda sucks) dissect the Blazers. This is going to be good times, people.

As if all this attention wasn't enough, there's been more. When Roy was named to scrimmage with Team USA (although he ultimately backed out due to scheduling conflicts), I posted about literally exploding with pride at the possibility of someday seeing two Blazers (Oden has a Team USA future) on Team USA at once. I have been on a crazy dream that involves Roy, Oden, and LaMarcus all on that team. Fanciful you say? Indeed, sir. Cheerio!

The crazy thing is, I wasn't that crazy. In fact, maybe I wasn't crazy enough. Because the Behind the Beat Blazers Blog reported that LaMarcus has indeed been invited to join the scrimmage team. And Channing Frye. Not only that, Oden hasn't totally ruled out going to Team USA Training Camp, which is required to play in the upcoming Olympics.

Thats 4 Blazers that have the interest of the national team. Insane. Noway is this really happening. It will be great to see Blazers for Team USA, and lets try not to complain too much when we think our guys are getting too worn down and fatigued to bring it during the NBA Season. There was a time when we were totally irrelevant, so remember and enjoy.

All this validation is bananas, Portland couldn't get any valider at this point. All thats left to do is prove on the court that all of this is somewhat deserved.

Go Blazers! I'm going to go explode now.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Jack scheduled to start?

Found in Cleveland’s News-Herald today by Hoopshype:

“Jarrett Jack is scheduled to be the Trail Blazer’s starter”

Coupled with earlier reports of KP saying the roster is set, this is good news. That crazy insecure part of me that has been terrified of losing Jack for almost 5 months has been calmed a bit. I can see Jack starting, with Blake getting as many/more minutes as Jack while coming off the bench. Jack proved he can be a competent two-guard for stretches last season (particularly late in close games). I imagine he’ll get a lot of burn in the same fashion this season. As a long-time supporter of playing multiple pointguards simultaneously, I’m happy.

Side thought: Would the Blazers have signed Blake if Sergio hadn’t had a crappy summer-league? Looks like they learned Sergio likely isn’t yet ready to handle the responsibility of being a primary back-up, and Portland needed someone who could.

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