Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lakers win, Blazers fans resort to eating poo

Well that was interesting. The Blazers most hated imaginary rival just locked up the West. Things have been pretty gravy for the Lakers since the Gasol hijacking. The win tonight has me thinking more about that superstar with enough gravity to pull most basketball discussions his way, Kobe. This has really been an amazingly Mamba-ie year.

First we had the speaking out against management issue. This attention pushed his lovers and haters to once again vocalize how detached from reality they have become. You folks are silly.

Then of course, Gasol came and made everything better. Kobe gets MVP. Lakers get to the Western Conference Finals where they are up against what is perceived not so much as a mere team, but basketball purity descended directly from His sanctum. Luckily for them, one diety seems to have an injured ankle.

There was that non-call on Bones Barry at the end of game four, bringing both justified complaints and entertaining conspiracy rants. Proponents of a Lakers bias in officiating would be wise to consider that Kobe shot 11 total freethrows, in the series. In any event, the Lakers win. Kobe wins. Blazers fans reportedly consider eating poo to remove the unpleasant taste from their mouths. Gross.

Through these most recent developments, of course, has been the story mainstream media outlets are still weary of touching; Kobe's alleged affair with an 18 year old Laker girl (timelined for your convenience at Deadspin).

This year is Kobe personified. Loved as a great player and a winner, absolutely loathed as a perceived jerk. These dual extremes alone don't make Kobe compelling. To me, it is how they have been sprawling out concurrently.

Kobe throws a "trade me" tantrum. Lakers have best record in the West. Kobe gets MVP. Kobe has another sex scandal. Lakers beat the Spurs, win West.

We should know by now this is who Kobe is. This sequence is more than coincidence, it seems like the blueprint for his life. At the very least it serves as his soundtrack. The Lakers could still win the Championship, he could still be Finals MVP, and he could still win Olympic Gold this summer. Thats more hardware in a year than a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame accumulated over an entire career.

As this unfolds, who knows what direction his current scandal will take, what other information will be uncovered. Maybe there is something else lurking around the corner. Most of us will be watching, and most of us will continue to dedicate ourselves to loving or hating. This is Kobe Bryant.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Darius Miles with Bobcats in spirit

It really has been too long since last post. Call it a combination of "important" deadlines to meet and of having to endure so much Blazers pointguard talk that my immune system finally shut down in defense. If there were a Blazers blog emperor (Dave?), I would formally request this deity to order a week long stoppage on all Blazers pointguard speculation. Just long enough for us all to get a little sanity back. Naturally, I would sign this request with seppuku.

In any event, this post is about remembering friend of the blog Darius Miles. We haven't heard much from the guy since Blazers put the waiver process in motion. I admit an odd curiosity with seeing what he ends up doing and where he ends up doing it. When I saw this post at Deadspin, I got to thinking maybe Big Pun is trying to make a good first impression with Mr. Jordan.

Note to Larry Brown: I'm just making a dumb donk-related joke, don't combust. Wait until the season actually starts to do that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spurs vs. Lakers: Oh God.

What is a Blazers fan to do?

The sole team I felt compelled to root for has been eliminated after a fight with the Spurs that was worthy of your admiration. Now...

Spurs. Lakers. What is a Blazers fan to do?

I can't bring myself to like the Spurs, even though the scars of Sean Elliot have faded somewhat. It isn't because I find their effectiveness boring, that is one lame anti-basketball perspective I will never support. I do resent what often serves as the counter argument to the "boring" assertion; that they somehow embody an abstract concept of divine basketball purity. Not that anyone could even know what that would look like, but I'm relatively confident some of the actions of Bowen and Horry are not what Dr. Naismith had in mind. No, the Spurs are flawed like everyone else, even if it is to a lesser degree.

They just have been too good for too long. I can't stand it. I'm jealous. I'm sick of it. There.

Immature and illogical as it is, this is a significant enough barrier to keep me stubbornly anti-Spurs. It is so strong that when Ime Udoka plays well I am launched into an unpleasant sense of moral dissonance. The combination of his very Portland background and inspiring story have made me an Ime fan for life. But I see that jersey and things get complicated.

On the other hand, we have the Lakers. Anyone concerned with being a good Blazers fan knows there is a zero tolerance rule for anything that could be construed as supporting Lakerdom (which inspired this). Hating the Lakers is part of loving the Blazers. We have gone as far as to keep deceiving ourselves that a rivalry still exists between us. I'm fairly sure a rivalry has to be acknowledged by both parties to become actual, but that would inconvenience our thoughts, so disregard that. I have been trying to exorcise this goo from my person for a couple years with very negligible success. I am starting to think this will only be achieved following self-actualization, nirvana, and some Li Mu-Bai soaring through the forest stuff.

Whether it makes sense or not, distaste for the Spurs and Lakers remains a part of my fan identity. To make things worse, my NBA addiction will not let me simply look away. This creates an interesting situation. I'm not certain I have ever watched a game where I legitimately did not feel compelled to root for one team at least a little. More and more, I get the sense that some conflictive half-formed little creature is going to crawl out of me while watching this series. Go Spurs. Go Lakers. Terrifying.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Draft Lottery: Creepin in the minivan

My lazy playoff enjoyment was interrupted today by the realization that the NBA Draft Lottery is nearly upon us. I remain a very loyal fan of this. I thank the League every year around this time for applying the law of large numbers probability to a small individual set of random drawings. Last season, obviously this worked out as Portland cashed in a 5.3% of getting the top pick. This time around the odds of that big uno have shrunk to 6/1,000, but the beauty of the system means our chances of seeing some sort of "unlikely" shit are pretty decent.

If your team isn't in the playoffs, this event really is the jumpstart to all bullshitting you will be doing in the coming months. Jackpot. Oh yes, summer is DeceptivelyQuick time. It is when better more popular places lose interest, so folks obsessed with wasting time at work have no choice but to come here and read 3,000 words on how Taurean Green rocked a summer league game. Some of the more hardcore of you might be happy to hear we've hired on former intern Spencer Sweetpotato full time (minus health insurance) in preparation for the busy season. Delicious.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I dunno, what do YOU want to do?

It is an interesting time of year to operate a non-playoff team blog. By "interesting" of course I mean "not interesting." For this team, the season is over. Even things in Finland have seemingly come to a close for a little while. Ooey-gooey blogger delight stuff like the draft lottery, draft, summer league, and free agency/trades are still a little ways off.

A blogger in such situations does have options. One could rehash the same old crap (we want a pointg--aaaaah I'm stabbing myself in the face!). You could comment on other teams/players (do you still like me after this?). Or you could just go insane for a while. The only thing you can't do is stop the blogging. The blogging must continue.

In the spirit of perseverance in the face of laziness, I present to you one of my all-time youtube favorites:

I realize I may have just chosen the insanity route.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kobe is MVP, legions of lovers and haters forced to somehow become even more extreme

So Kobe is MVP. You might be expecting an anti-Kobe rant, the typical kind from the Blazer fan that clings to the belief that the Lakers and Portland are some how rivals despite logic that says otherwise. (Always open with a run on sentence, always!) Nope, but I'd imagine you can find a bit of that without looking too hard.

I'm also trying hard to sidestep the whole "who deserves it" debate. I think we can say that little area has been covered and will continue to be bludgeoned to death. Now that I think of it, the angle that the MVP debate is lame has also probably been bludgeoned to death. Anyways, we know the MVP concept itself is purposely vague. If the criteria were operationalized, we really wouldn't need voters or discourse. That would mean a lot less bullshit, for sure, but I assume there are lots of people who like the bullshit. We all are producing and consuming it on some level. That isn't one of my burning interests at the moment.

The first thought that came to me when I learned Kobe won the award was how this would impact his lovers and haters. I've always been impressed with the extemity of the polarization Bryant seems to have. I'm not sure that sentence makes sense, but hang with me.

A lot of his fans can be so overboard and dogmatic with their passion for the guy that they really make it hard for others to appreciate one of the best basketball players in history. That perspective has been disseminated more eloquently than I could ever do here.

But before I criticize those dipshits too much, I should awknowledge that a lot of the problems I have with Bryant fans apply equally to his haters. I was one, probably for years. I am a Blazers fan after all, and we have no shortage of anti-Mambas in this growing demographic. In fact it might even be part of how one Blazer fan judges the real fanhood of another:

Out of style dirty Blazers hat?


Hates Kobe?


But the impact of hundreds of conversations focused on Kobe hatred ended up having the same impact on me as having to endure his die hard supporters. The conversations were so repetitive, dogmatic, and baseless that I came to a point where it became impossible for me to hate Kobe Bryant.

The extremity of these two camps is what makes me crazy. Its that disgusted face a Lakers fan gives me when I say Kobe is compelling to me because the same thing that makes him so great keeps him flawed. That disgusted face and the process behind it are often the same when I tell one of his haters the same thing.

Now those in these groups (that are actually just one group, but don't tell them that) have an MVP trophy to deal with. It seems like this will propel them to new extremes I didn't think were possible in the pre-MVP Mamba era. Hopefully this spits a few back towards the middle.