Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quote of the Night

"See you at the club." -Yao to Ron Artest as they finished the postgame conference.

And this is video from the game, towards the end of the 4th qrtr, Ron ends up in the stands:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lets keep the fire burning Volume 1

Since everybody is putting out heat, i might as well put out more heat. I need to be the hottest, my ego and swag demand it. Now without further waiting let me take you down heartbreak road to the TEAMS THAT FAILED THE MOST THIS SEASON.

Failure is a funny word. Well, actually, their is nothing at all funny about it. But this season, expectations throughout the NBA were set abnormally high, and lots of teams simply did not achieve to the level they were suppose to. Da Cat is about to break down who HE THINKS are the biggest failures of this season. This can range from coaches to teams to players. In the words of Marvin Gaye 'LETS GET IT ON'.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Baron Davis - What Elton Brand did to B Diddy was the scam of the century. He conviced Baron to go to L.A. and leave his great gig in G-State behind. Then Elton dipsetted to Philly, and Baron was stuck with coaching extrodinare Mike 'Big Dun' Dunleavy (well not really extrodinare, actually their are several ASSISTANTS better suited to be coaching then him). Add the Elgin Baylor 'they are running a plantation style system' assertion, and the fact that it is the Clippers, and you have your current situation.

The Boston Celtics - I have already said this: THEIR GOAL WAS TO REPEAT. It was simply stated at the begining of the year, that was the plan, win again. They are not going to, and them struggling against the Bulls is proof of that. No matter if they win or lose the series, they will be at home watching the Cavs play either the Lakers or Nuggets when the NBA Finals role around.

The San Antonio Spurs - Just read the Celtics blurb and replace REPEAT with WIN ANOTHER BANNER, and you got the reasoning to exactly why this season was a fail. Same story, different book.

Terry Porter - The funny thing about this one, is that Terry DID NOT FAIL. He was brought in to turn Phoniex into a half-court team, which he did, under the orders of Steve Kerr. Terry is a 'Half Court offense based' coach, and that is what Steve wanted. He was simply out of place, as the leaders of the team all didnt buy into his system (I'M LOOKING AT YOU STEVE NASH. EVERYONE RIPS A.I FOR DISSING MICHEAL CURRY'S WAYS, BUT YOU GOT TERRY FIRED). Basically, to speak in metaphors, Terry was the shemale the parents of a lesbian brought home to make the lesbian turn straight. Sure it looks like a women, but no matter what it is not what the lesbian is naturally attracted to. You cannot change the offensive styling of the Phoneix Suns just like you cannot change sexual orrinetation. You can try and hide it, but in the end it will come out (as it did under Gentry).

The Charlotte BETCATS - I am not a man of double standards. This season was all about making the playoffs. Although we did have the best season in franchise history, we didnt get to have the honors of being swept by the Cavs, thus making our season not one of living up to standards set by the organization. This is only a minimal fail though, because like i already said we are a young team who had their best season yet, so yeah....

Greg Oden - I thought he was going to be good when healthy, but health doesnt matter. When you average a awe inspiring 10.6 fouls for 48 minutes, it is pretty hard to be effective. Sorry G.O but you are a old looking motha fucka that plays like one too.

The Detroit Pistons - Well first of all, i really really do not want to bash them. The 'lets slap the Pistons' horse has been spanked more than a porn star in a fetish film. All that needs to be said is that rebuilding mode is a real bitch.

The Toronto Raptors - The pharse 'underachivers' gets thrown around a lot, but this bunch personifies it. You make the playoffs last season, you get rid of the mouthy Point Guard that is supposivly a cancer to your team and get a upgrade at Center in return (TJ Ford for J.O), and you have Chris Bosh, yet your team still manages to miss the playoffs, have a undevolped former #1 picked that is still regarded as a 'potential player', end up with Shawn Marion on your team, and you miss the playoffs. If only the NBA came with a EDIT UNDO button...

Feel free to add more fails, but that is my list.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Great Undervalued

A Moose Track

I'm going to bring a certain NBA point guard into the spotlight for a moment. But instead of just bringing him out and introducing him like normal, I'm gonna turn make it a little more interesting.

This player works the court like a magician. He sees it like a lion sees a plain full of gazelles, and he attacks. He leads his team like he's been doing it for the past ten years, and his squad's success hinges on his performance. If he plays well, it rubs off on his teammates, usually with satisfying results.

You're thinking Tony Parker, right? Wrong.

He is the Most Valuable Player on his team, even though sometimes this title is doubted or unknown. His teammates know it, and they put their full trust in him, letting him run the offense and most of the defense as well. He is a natural leader, instructing his colleagues even though they're probably years older than him.

You're thinking Derrick Rose, right? Wrong.

His crossovers perplex his defenders and teammates alike, sporting killer dribble moves while cutting to the hoop. He is quicker than Usain Bolt on steroids (wink, wink) running from a horse with rabies. He slices to the hole like a hot knife through butter, leaving the opposition wondering if they should have gone into business rather than basketball.

You're thinking Deron Williams, right? Wrong.

This man's defense is off the charts, staying on the ball like Ryan Jones on LeBron James (Man, I hope RJ reads this--Moose). Steals come like his hands are magnets, grabbing the ball from whoever gets in his way quicker than Kobe seems to pick up 35 nightly. Nobody wants to be covered by him.

You're thinking Chris Paul, right? Wrong.

He's got a basketball IQ higher than Josh Howard in the offseason, and he sees plays before they happen, taking full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Whether he's faking and then dumping to somebody else, tossing up a perfect alley-oop or flipping a behind-the-back, the passes drop just like the dimes.

You're thinking Steve Nash, right? Wrong.

This player is a legitimate triple double threat every time he steps on the court, having a talent for scoring, assisting and rebounding, despite size differences. He seems to sneak rebounds out of every situation, using quickness and smarts to beat bigger opponents in every category.

You're thinking Jason Kidd, right? Wrong.

Soon, it'll be impossible to ignore. This point guard, too underrated and outshined, deserves his burn. I'm having a hard time thinking that it isn't coming soon.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Violent Crime: The Helter Skelter Dismantling of a Writer and a Laker Fan

by: Justin Walsh

Kobe. Dear Kobe. Of course it's you, who else would Phil send, who else could be trusted? I... I know it's a long way to the court, and you're ready to go to work... All I'm saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just... Please hear me out, because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck-up, it's... I'm begging you Kobe. I'm begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two hours ago, I came out of the press room, okay, I'm running across the gate signs, there's a deadline waiting, I got exactly 24 minutes to get to the damned word-press and I'm dictating.

There's this, this panicked beat writer sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, eyes scanning the lines separating the text like that New York Times writer looking for excuses to call Battier the god of hoops because of some crackpot equation, and suddenly- she starts screaming & I realize we're standing in the middle of a cluster-fuck of ticket holding Laker fans, the flow of the horde has sped up, there's this wall of people rushing into our pathetic excuses for athletic builds- serious groups of sketch looking people coming toward us in a hastened gait, and I... I... I freeze, I can't move and I'm suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I'm going to be witnessing a 5-25 outing by you, I feel a shroud of that playoff series I've been attempting to block from my mind, the one where you air-balled 3 straight clutch jumpers...

It's in my eyes, when I blink it's etched on the inside of the lids. It's like a coating of despair and loss and... at first I thought, oh my god, I know what this is, this is some sort of... This is what it must be like to have been a Cavs fan during the Jordan over Ehlo era... This is some sort of guilt stricken panic attack, where I remember how the Cavs could say "Oh well there was a time we won before..." Then they are pummeled by replays on ESPN Classic of Jordan murdering the humanity of Ehlo with a shaky jumper that rattles in. Nobody remembers that, do they Cleveland? They forget the rattle- they remember the fist pumps, nay, the jerks of his fists like Helen Keller back in the day... That's what this is- I'm panicking because you missed a jumper last game. And I realize oh goodness, I'm being ridiculous- this will all be fine. But then my irreverent misplacement of sanity was drowned out by the movement of feet, the chatter, the cheers, the hustle and bustle of the cattle drive to the gate entrance. This is not realization of hope, this is some giddy illusion of reassurance that happens in the final moments before LeBron comes out of nowhere, much like in this rant, and blocks your jump hook against the glass.

And then I realize no... No, no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I, I realized Kobe, that I had emerged not from the doors of the Los Angeles Lakers media room, not through the portals of our vast and powerful press area with the horde and the wi-fi... But from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the... the poison, the despair, the air-balls, the reminders of bullshit perfunctory let downs, the ammo of dissent. The defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful rosters to destroy the miracle of a parade route in Los Angeles. And that I could have been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my years as a basketball fanatic. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did, Kobe? I took a deep cleansing breath and set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself, as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling this is, as true a thing as I believe I have witnessed last outing, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. It must stand the career of a player with 3 NBA titles, an MVP award, and enough balls to give each testicular cancer patient an even set... It must stand the test of time. And Kobe, the time is now.

Kobe, score. Kobe, fucking humiliate him.

And after the thoughts left my mind, the game began. And sitting in my dark leather love-seat, it took all of 17 seconds for Kobe to score. and he scored again, and again. He scored 11 straight points. He scored 13 of the first 15. In the first half he had 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting. In the second half, he didn't just beat Brewer, he obliterated his dignity. When shooting guarded jumpers over outstretched arms got boring, he crossed Brewer over 4 times in a row, then picked up his dribble... Waited for Brewer to get close enough to tell the world what flavor of gum Kobe enjoyed, and pumped once... Pumped twice. One pivot, fade away jumper. Wet. And in that moment, I called my mom- she has no idea about the nuances of basketball - & I say to her, "Mom... Put Brewer on your prayer list, call your local city councilman in Dallas to fly the flag half staff, get his mother's contact information- you need to tell her to bake her son his favorite meal. I'll call the Jazz to get him a contract extension within the week. Have dad call the suicide hotline to have Brewer put on suicide watch in a hospital. Kobe Bryant just took his heart out and pissed on it during a live broadcast of an NBA game with millions watching."

And you know what my mom said? "Doesn't Kobe do that all the time?" And there it was, realized completely. LeBron may be the MVP. Tim Duncan may be the best player in his position in the history of the league. Chris Paul may very well be one of the best PG's ever. But Kobe Bryant is Shiva, the god of Death.

Note by the Author: While watching Michael Clayton, at the beginning there is a gorgeously insane ramble at the beginning. This entire post is basically my insane 5:00 a.m. rant to try and emulate that madness into a reflection of the emotions I felt just before Game 4 of the LAL/UTAH series, and what I felt during/just after. Obviously, I give credit of the idea to the movie Michael Clayton, but hopefully reading this, you notice my thoughts

Friday, April 24, 2009

You want the chronic, da cat has the tonic: Words of Wisdom by Bee-Ey-Tee

This site needs a new piece of reading. Since this is the time of year for the gift that never stops giving (until after the finals ) Green = Font Red = Links. So i am just gonna sit down and type whatever comes to mind:

To the un-trained eye, it appears to be NBA playoff time. The aroma of fair weather fans fills the air, all the lottery team fans turn on their television (present!) and stare bitterly at the TV, watching a certain team that resides in Detroit play like they wish they were not playing. All in all, it is the grandest time of the year. Except for a few things:

Huge epidemic of Bitchassness from fans - Yeah you know who you are, Celtics and Spurs fans. I see you all. I know several of you read this site, and you are probolay mad i am calling you out, but somebody has to. Your teams are NOT playing up to expectations, and this is mainly due to injuries of key players. HOWEVER, you still have 3/4 of your star power avaible. Sure you have both won some games in convincing fashion, but guess the fuck what: IF YOU DONT WIN IT ALL, YOU FAIL. I have already explained this idea in detail, but let me do it again. Both teams cleary said their goal was to win a championship THIS YEAR. Both teams clearly stated anything less IS A FAILURE. They used different words but conveyed this message. So why hate the fact that i am judging you based upon your own standards. IF a women comes up to me and says 'i want a husband and a baby by the end of the year' and then when it comes to December 31st and she just broke up with her fiance and aborted her baby, dont you think it would be safe to say she is going through a rough time? That is my point, this is a rough time for these teams, we will see what next year holds, but this year might as well be over.

2.I dont want a Lebron - Kobe Finals: I want a Nuggets - Cavs finals and i will tell you why. A) Kobe doesnt deserve it THIS YEAR. He needs to wait another year, i dont want him to have it yet. I guarntee Shaq will somehow make his way to L.A. (see the epidemic of Kobe ass kissing during ASG weekend, it was hilarious. Shaq showed the media he figured out how Kobe's ass tasted.) Shaq and Kobe need to win another one together. If that happens, and Kobe stops his little petty/dirty tricks he does, i might like him again. B)
I might be the only one who wants this but Carmelo v. Lebron (2 great players that will guard each other/match up against each other) is more intresting to me than Kobe v. Lebron. Because whoever wins that will just have a group of obnoxious teenagers, including me if the Cavs win, using it as 'proof' that one is better than the other which in reallity could not be detirmined by that.

3. Make a team: I have already stated i do not approve of 'fantasy basketball' as you kids call it, but put on your GM hat. If you could have any 12 players on a team (make it real, not Lebron/Wade/Howard type shit) who would it be.

My Lineup
C- Andrew Bynum
PF - Luis Scola
SF- Kevin Durant
SG- Brandon Roy
PG- Raymond Felton
6th man - Gerald Wallace
rest of bench
- Ramon Sessions
- Jeff Green
-Trevor Ariza
- Courtney Lee
- Tha Birdman Anderson

Please post your 'team' in the comment section

4. Is it safe to say Darko Millic might be a better NBA player than Greg Oden: Greg Oden = really disappointing. Beside chronic injury problems, Greg cant keep his hands to himself. How many fouls per 48 minutes? 10.6! Fucking amazing! Sow who would you rather take? A injury prone, foul crazy 7 footer who looks like he is 100 years old (Oden) or somebody who is just crazy (Darko)?

I highly recommed that if you only view 2 links, please make it be the 2 Darko - related ones

5. The Movie Obsessed appears to have the most obvious racial undertone of any movie, ever: Every time i see a commerical, it gets a little bit werider. I remember Hancock, it took me a while to catch on, but eventually i did, after O explained it to me in the comment section of some other review of his. But i caught on to this one real quick. I find it a little disappointing that such a thing was done, but oh well, nothing you can do except not see it. The plot line looks like trash anyway, and Beyonce doesnt even look as attractive as usual, age has not been kind to her. Beside that, the acting looks terrible. My overall view on it: :(

Now in conclusion i must go out in style, making this purple:
To leave you with a song

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breaking: Xavier Henry Chooses Kansas (Oh Yeah, His Brother, Too)

By Moose

Yes, it looks like Xavier Henry will bring his skills to the Jayhawks next season. The following from ESPN:

Highly rated basketball recruit Xavier Henry and his brother C.J. have decided to play at Kansas, a source said Wednesday.

C.J. Henry told Memphis coach Josh Pastner that he and his brother chose the Jayhawks, a source close to the Memphis program said. The Oklahoman reported that the Oklahoma City products would announce their decisions at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard ranked third overall by ESPN's Scouts Inc., is expected to be a third scoring option alongside center Cole Aldrich and guard Sherron Collins. The two helped Kansas reach the Sweet 16 in March one year after the Jayhawks won the NCAA title and are returning for the 2009-10 season.

Xavier Henry signed a national letter of intent with Memphis last fall but changed his mind after coach John Calipari left the Tigers to become the coach at Kentucky. Xavier Henry cannot sign another letter of intent, so technically he is not bound to Kansas. He also was considering the Kentucky Wildcats.

C.J. Henry, expected to be a backup point guard at Kansas, will not be on scholarship because his education is being paid for by the New York Yankees. He signed with the Yankees out of high school, walked on at Memphis but sat out the 2008-09 season with an injury.

His father, Carl Henry, told the Oklahoman he expects that his son will be eligible to play immediately for the Jayhawks.

Kansas is projected by many as the preseason No. 1 for 2009-10.

They say he'll be a third scoring option. But I have a feeling Coach Self will want to throw that out the window halfway through the year. And, C.J. Henry is already signed by the Yankees and they're paying for college? Wow, dude must be athletic. But, Kansas is gonna tear it up next year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dikembe Retires?

As you probably already know by now, Mt Mutombo went down in tonight's game 2 against portland. he landed a bit awkwardly and his knee was gone. He laid on the court for several minutes, beating his leg on the court over and over in serious pain. You could hear his deep cries, his head shaking around a bit. The whole team and coaches gathered around him. They all looked on, saddened, worried, and hoping for the best. Finally he was put on a stretcher and rolled out to a standing O. Unfortunately he says he's done with basketball. Very sad to see him go out like this. I hope Houston does something similar to what Uconn did for Nykesha Sales, when she got hurt with like a bucket left to break a school record. Both teams allowed her to come out on the court for one last shot. They should allow Dikembe to dress on more time and come on the court to grab a final board. Well I'd prefer a final block, but setting that up may be too much.

Even after this injury he's showing how great of a man he is by promising to stick with his teammates throughout the playoffs for as long as they keep playing, and yes Tmac, he's got a bum knee too. So what's your excuse?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

SKO Interview: Tariq Al Haydar

******You guys know what's happening by now. This is our third interview with members of Shawn Kemp's Offspring in a series. I have yet to hear from Cheryl and TADOne, so if anyone sees them, tell them to hustle up! Anyways, here is our semi-famous author friend (how friendly did that sound?), Tariq Al Haydar. If you want to see all of the interviews, just click the label "SKO Interviews" at the bottom of the page. Just remember, the views and opinions expressed in this piece are Tariq Al Haydar's, not mine or anybody elses. OK, let's go!******

HIBACHI: Tell us about your childhood?
I spent part of my childhood in Richmond, VA and then moved back to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia after second grade.

HIBACHI: How did you discover basketball?
One of my best friends wanted to play in the NBA. He was the only guy I knew who could dunk (barely). He had VHS tapes like Come Fly With Me, and we watched them over and over again. Around that time we started to get satellite TV here in Riyadh so we would stay up until dawn to watch games.

HIBACHI: Hobbies throughout your life?
I guess reading and writing. Watching sports (NFL and soccer too). Um... video games. And swindling non-profit organizations.

HIBACHI: If you went to college, where did you go and what did you study?
I went to KSU here in Riyadh and studied English and then got my MA in English from the University of Exeter in the UK. I just got accepted into the PhD program at George Washington University.

HIBACHI: Marital status/kids?
I'm getting married in July, God-willing.

HIBACHI: What is a cool thing about where you live that outsiders don't know about?
I would think that people might enjoy the desert at night.

HIBACHI: Favorite player as a kid growing up?
Appropriately. Shawn Kemp. And Penny.

HIBACHI: Do you plan on writing any more books (congrats on that, too)?
Thanks. Yeah, I've written about 40 pages of the next one.

HIBACHI: Who is your favorite player now?
Allen Iverson. Not a good time to be an AI fan.

HIBACHI: Have you ever met an NBA players?
I remember my best friend and I were at Century City in LA in 96 and we saw Chris Webber get into his car. And I saw Jason Kidd at JFK airport a few years ago. But I never actually met anyone.

HIBACHI: Which rookie from the class of '08 will have a better career?
Derrick Rose.

HIBACHI: If you could take any non-all-star in the NBA and place them on your team, who would it be?
Deron Williams (Ed. Note: He got us. Originally he said Rajon Rondo, but, indeed, Deron is definitely the best non-all star in the NBA.).

HIBACHI: Who wins the Finals this year?
Lakers over Cleveland in 6. (maybe 7)

BETCATS: Is the song Arab Money as offensive to you as it is strange to me? The chorus on that song is crazy!
"Arab Money" reinforces certain stereotypes, but I don't view it as offensive per se. I think of it more as vapid. It's a very forgettable song. But no, I wasn't really offended.

BETCATS: What do you see happening in the Middle East? Talk about Afghanistan/Pakistan/India first, then i would like to hear your views on the seemingly crazy government that Israel now has.
Honestly, the situation in the Middle East has remained the same for so long that I no longer follow the news. It's too depressing. Sorry, I would like to be more insightful, but I don't have the energy. All I know is that the American government will continue to serve its interests, Israel will continue to oppress Palestinians, lip service MAY be paid to an imaginary and far-off "two-state solution" which Israel will resist, and terrorism will continue to grow. That's my perspective, and it's pretty bleak, but it is what it is. I have no faith in a political solution to the Middle East problem. If there is to be a solution in the future, it has to start with the PEOPLE. I think Muslims, Arabs, Americans, Israelis...we all need to stop looking at the situation through a "We/Them" prism. The concept of the "Exotic Other" has to vanish in order for there to be peace. As for politicians and governments, they will continue to be self-serving.

Thanks to Tariq for making this happen. Cheryl, TAD, we're ready!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SKO Interview: AR/H to the Izzo

*****This is second in our series of interviews with Shawn Kemp's Offspring members, with our very own AR, also known as h to the Izzo, or just plain Izzo nowadays. On to the stuff. Questions by me are marked as HIBACHI, questions by BETCATS with no association to me whatsoever are marked as BETCATS. Enjoy . . .*****

HIBACHI: How did you discover basketball?
Well,my father played at a semi pro level over here and played a few times for Ireland and a bunch of my uncles did the same,so I guess basketball has always been 'in my blood' I guess.My dad used to coach some teams when I was really young,like around 6 or 7 and I'd always go with him to the practices and whatnot but I never really got into basketball through that.I was playing other sports at the time like soccer and rugby,I wasn't much good at them,merely average but I was interested enough in them not to give basketball a second thought.Then a few years passed,my dad had quit coaching and wasn't involved in basketball in any capacity,one day,me and one of my best friends were hanging out doing nothing,went into the local community centre,saw that some club were training and the people were around our age.We decided to give it a go there and then-with no gear,no shoes.Nothing.We went in,it turned out it was a new club so there was no pre-existing cliques or anything like that,so it was easy to fit in.That and the coach was and still is the nicest person I've ever met.Well,that was the first time,I've picked up a basketball,I was around 12 at the time and I didn't suck.I was able to lay the ball up straight away and had pretty good fundamentals inbuilt in me.It was cool,because the guys that were there that first day are the people I've been playing with ever since.I kept practicing and got pretty good,I was playing 17 and under when I was 13.We did pretty well,won some 'chips,almost went unbeaten one season.I'll stop before I induce some nostalgia vomit.

HIBACHI: If you went to college, where did you go and what did you study?
English and New Media-University of Limerick(not sure if that should be in)

Anywhere between 17 and 43.

HIBACHI: What is a cool thing about where you live that outsiders don't know about?
I'm not sure how to answer this one,because I don't know what outsiders do know.I would assume that most would think that Ireland is very rural and picture a lot farms and wisecracking livestock that ultimately teach you life lessons ,but where I grew up was very urban and if you were to throw water balloon directly onto the floor,you'd splash at least five rappers.

HIBACHI: Favorite player as a kid growing up?
Ray Allen

HIBACHI: When did you stop playing hoops, if ever? On what levels did you play?
I still play.As has been mentioned before,I once got trial for the under 14 International team.

HIBACHI: Who is your favorite player now?
Joel Przybillia

HIBACHI: Have you ever met an NBA players?
Does Mario Ellie count?It shouldn't

HIBACHI: Which rookie from the class of '08 will have a better career?
: Derrick Rose.I don't think there's much more explanation needed here.

HIBACHI: If you could take any non-all-star in the NBA and place them on your team, who would it be?
David Lee but that's because he's white and he tries really hard.Bless him.

HIBACHI: What music do you listen to?
I pretty much only listen to Taylor Swift these days.

HIBACHI: Who wins the Finals this year?
: I have no idea why,but I like the Celtics for a repeat.

BETCATS: I say tomato you say.......
I say,I wonder what John Mayer is doing on Twitter right now?Oh he's trying to holla at Demi Lovato?For realz.Yeah I don't know who that is either.I'd totally do Emma Stone,btw.

BETCATS: How would you react if i said you are the one dude on the internet who slightly 'scares' me?
I respect your propensity for cautiousness,your instincts will serve you well,grasshopper.How would you react if I told you that you're one of the guys who makes me laugh pretty regularly and I'm not sure whether to recommend and increase or decrease in your meds?In what way do I scare you.Where am I on your terror colour chart?Red?Orange?Translucent?You know what scares me?The new line of Reggie Miller thesaurus' and dictionaries "Learn to English Good" coming out this fall.That shit keeps me up at night.

BETCATS: Lebron or Kobe? And a followup question: Lebron or Lebron?
: Well before I answer this,I want to point out something about these two guys and how they are treated by fans/followers or whatever.Both,in my opinion, are served pretty badly by lunatic fringes.I have no interest in the dichotomous rhetoric surrounding either of these players.In my opinion anyone who says Kobe isn't a good player is a fucking idiot,ditto for anyone who says the same about LeBron is also an idiot.The same goes for the fanboys with unhealthy obsessions with either,this is generally prevalent moreso in the Kobe camp.If you type any innocent comment criticizing Kobe fairly,or even consider Kobe's position in the game objectively,some half wit will inevitably chime in calling you a 'hater' or something stupid similar.These generally tend to be the same people who would consider dunking to be a measurable stat and consider it as criteria for choosing an MVP.I just base my opinion on evidence which will usually lead a sane person to a middling conclusion.From what I can see,LeBron is in the process of taking over the League for a good period of time.This will probably be the last year he even leaves the MVP award up for debate.I can appreciate Kobe is a excellent player and should be remember as so,but IMO LeBron is a one time deal. To answer your follow up question,Don Rickles.

BETCATS: Ihop or The Waffle House?
I have no idea what either of these things are.

BETCATS: Burger King or McDonalds?
This is a tough one,I mean I usually like to eat food that's gathered from animals,but if I were forced,it's Burger King everyday.

BETCATS: Do you accept human sacrifices? If so, what animal/commentor would most please the Izzo gods?
: I'd like to have James(Krayzie Bone(what happened to him?))'s brain sent to me on a platter made of the finest ceramic.Other than that I'd like all seasons of both 30 Rock and Gossip Girl on DVD.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Tariq up next! In line is Cheryl and TADOne!

Monday, April 13, 2009

SKO Interview: Eboy

*****First, an intro. HIBACHI 2.0 is constructing a very large interview with all of the members of Shawn Kemp's Offpsring over the course of the next couple of weeks, because we thought it would be interesting . . . fun . . . and funny. And, it would be a new thing. Well, except that SKO actually did some interviews before this. Anyways. There are some general questions from HIBACHI, but at the end of all of the interviews BETCATS asked a few different ones that were many times more entertaining. Anyways, we give you first in a five-part piece . . . Mr. Cliff Terhune a.k.a. Eboy. So, thank you to Eboy and the whole SKO fam.*****

HIBACHI: Childhood . . . where did you live, what kind of stuff did you do, etc? Siblings?
Eboy: Grew up in an only child(imagine that) and had a huge family that was everywhere throughout the state. I was you normal kid growing big problems that lead to my downfall. Well there was that night in ‘87 when I.........aww..forget it.

HIBACHI: How did you discover basketball?
Eboy: Through my uncle Mike......who basically turned me on to college and pro ball and that’s how I discovered a freshmen in the making Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Just so happened that he got drafted to the Bulls...who I was cheering for because my uncle had lived in Chicago for 10 years before and he had me hooked on the Bulls since the Nets and Knicks both sucked the collective dick of shittiness. Fate is pretty cool.

HIBACHI: What hobbies have you had throughout your life?
Eboy: in fam......being know as Eboy to adoring fans worldwide.

HIBACHI: If you went to college, where did you go and what did you study?
Eboy: I did go to college....missed out on playing big time college ball due to family circumstances....played ball for a Junior college before taking my career path to real school......blah....blah...blah.

HIBACHI: Marital status/kids?
Been with my wife for 12 years (married for 6 of them) and have one son, 4 years old, who is now taking over the house like I’m a broke bitch in foreclosure.

Eboy: In my mind I’m still 24.....but 38 ain’t so bad if you’re trying to live like you still got game.

HIBACHI: Occupation?
Eboy: Boring.

HIBACHI: Favorite player as a kid growing up?
Eboy: If you are referencing was and always will be Michael. I’ve had a well documented love affair with the dude since I was 12.

HIBACHI: Why are you a fan of the team that you root for?
Eboy: I’m going to answer this too.....even though it’s for TAD mostly. I root for the Heat for two reasons. I moved to Florida the same year that the Heat started as a franchise and I got caught up in the excitement that surrounded the team in it’s infancy. Although I was a staunch Bulls fan from the time of late in his career Artis Gilmore......and was obsessed with Michael, Scottie, etc......the Heat were like the little brother who tried their damndest but could never get over the hump. Once Michael left in 98 (and I became disgusted with the management of the two Jerry’s for breaking up the greatest modern sports dynasty without giving them the chance to lose what they had earned and turned my back forever on the Bulls) I turned my full, undivided attention to the Heat.....not just a casual fan.....but fully a team that only mattered a couple of seasons in their history up to that point. I wasn’t like the modern Laker fan....who is jumping on the wagon when things are at their best.....I supported them when they were their absolute worst. Having seen the emergence of Dwyane is just icing at this point. 20 years on....I AM the Heat.

HIBACHI:When did you stop playing hoops, if ever? On what levels did you play?
Eboy: Still haven’t stopped playing. Documented elsewhere is the history of Eboy the prep I won’t bore your again.

HIBACHI: Who is your favorite player now?
Eboy: Favorite player now........hmmm........well......of course Dwyane is ridiculous and I have the utmost respect for his game......but Michael Beasley is tugging hard for a few reasons.....he’s a natural scorer (like me).....left handed (like me).....goofy(like me).....and he’s got an unlimited ceiling on just how good he can be. I feel blessed to be able to see two talents like this from night to night and hope I can see it for a while longer.

HIBACHI: Have you ever met an NBA players?
Eboy: Yes.....I have. I also have a few relationships with some former Heat players as well as a few other local guys that played NBA ball in other spots. I also.....and mostly never talk about.....have a pretty cool relationship with one of the most legendary sports figures in history......but no one ever believes I keep it to myself. It works out better that way anyway.

HIBACHI: Where do you see the Heat in five years?
Eboy: If Dwyane stays and Beasley develops.....and they can make a free agent signing of huge proportions......the Heat, with Dwayne still in his prime, will be challenging for Eastern Conference supremacy for a few seasons with the Magic and the Cavs.

HIBACHI: Which rookie from the class of '08 will have a better career?
Eboy: Confused by this question.....but I would say that OJ, Derrick, Michael, Robin and Kevin will all be career players with the possibility of a few of them being legendary.

HIBACHI: If you could take any non-all-star in the NBA and place them on your team, who would it be?
Eboy: Wow......who would I want to fit with the Heat? A guy like Caron Butler would look good back in black and red.

HIBACHI: What music do you listen to?
Eboy: I’d say everything......but it’s kind of misleading.....I love old rhythm and blues.....hard rock.....old school hip hop......Motown......80's metal.....90's alternative. Yeah...that’s about it.

HIBACHI: Who wins the Finals this year?
Eboy: Interesting will be your most interesting answer, obviously. The Cavs will take that shit like they own it. The real answer you know you want to read is who will they beat? I’ll say with full honesty....and not because of my dislike for the team.....that the Lakers will not be there. They just don’t have enough horses coming from their bench to win three series in the west. They’ll my either the Nugs or the Jazz in some odd series that will make little sense to fans across the country. Kind of like this answer.

BETCATS: Does having such large man boobs pester you?
Eboy: No.....sports bras are way better today than they were in the 90's.

BETCATS: Can you describe what it is like to be a chronic liar AS A DAY JOB. Would you recommend it?
Eboy: Uhm.....probably never know when you're going to have to switch it up.

BETCATS: True or False: you and raccoon genitals are like popcorn and butter.
Eboy: Possibly......although I prefer white cheddar salt on my popcorn.

BETCATS: Follow up regarding you and Ryan Jones's marriage: when can we expect the first baby?
Eboy: Ryan is currently taking prenatal vitamins to open the potential birth it's getting closer.

BETCATS: How is your son doing? Is 'Lil Eboy' ever going to comment? If so, can i teach him how to?
Eboy: Kid's good....if he comment's I hope he has the potential to do something innovative like coming up with comment yeah, you can lend a hand in teaching him.

BETCATS: If you could be one animal, what would it be and why?
Eboy: Hmmmm............well, I like to think that I could be some form of a big cat like a lion or a tiger............but in all honesty....I'd like to be a gorilla....why not live life being able to whip some ass and throw my poop at whoever I'd like?

BETCATS: If you had to eat one human body part forever, what would it be and why?
Eboy: Is this a trick question? When you say "eat" does it mean I have to digest it?

Thanks a lot for your time, E. That was only 1 of 5 . . . get excited for TADOne, Cheryl, AR and Tariq!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Leon Powe Story ***REMIX***

*********PREFACE: Yes, I already posted this in . . . October? Whatever, but I posted the Leon Powe story a while ago. But, I went back through it and wrote a BETTER new and IMPROVED Leon Powe story, at least in my opinion. I shook it up a while ago. In the words of Weezy F. Baby . . . Remix Baby!*********

A Moose Track

How do they happen? The stories that keep you surprised, bewildered, amused and excited all at the same time. The stories that simultaneously bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. The stories that leave you happy for the people involved and making you feel damn lucky about your own privileged life.

Sometimes these stories go unnoticed, never heard about by anyone, staying deep in the background of the individual. These stories are often never acknowledged; even though they have the power to inspire, and empower. How many people have heard the amazing story of Leon Powe, power forward for the Boston Celtics? Not as much as there should be.

Leon Powe, Jr. was born on January 22, 1984 in the tough inner-city area of Oakland, California. At the age of two, his father bolted from the family and his mother, Connie Landry, leaving Leon the man of the house. Without a steady income to support Leon and his six younger brothers and sisters, she was forced to sell trinkets and toys at a flea market; which was enough to keep her family from going hungry.

At seven years old, walking home from school one day, Leon faced a shocking sight that left him no less surprised and crestfallen than renewed sentence on a convict. His house, now a vast pile of ashes, was being hosed down by firemen. Apparently, his younger brother Tim was playing with an errant match. Kids.

Out of a home, the eight-person Powe family found themselves nomads overnight in one of the toughest neighborhoods in America. They settled and slept where they could, be it a cheap motel, an abandoned car or a street corner, and over the six years of their nomadic existence they lived in over 20 locations.

Food wasn't always a given for the young family, and with her mother working long hours on a low-paying job, Leon was often forced to stay home from school to look after his little siblings; being the oldest. With the burden of having to take car of many children, working a job and having so little money overpowered Connie, and she gave into her drug addictions. When Leon was ten years old she was caught stealing groceries and was sentenced to ninety days in prison.

During her stay in jail, they discovered her drug addiction, and the Child Protective Services took custody over Leon and his siblings and they were placed under foster care. He had to grow up faster than most; with an absent father figure and a mother who wasn't there for most of his childhood. You'd almost expect him to get into the nearby gangbangin'.

But Bernard King, the older brother of Leon's then-best friend Shamare Freeman, was determined to not let that happen. Freeman was constantly flirting with trouble and, sometimes, the law as well. In their teens, Leon walked away from his best friend and, hours later, Shamare was caught stealing a bike. Shamare was sent to jail, and Bernard took Powe under his wing and acted as a father figure. Playing basketball on the streets kept him out of trouble.

For high school, still in foster care, he attended Oakland Technical High School, a public institution with an enrollment of 1,500 students. He led the basketball team to the state championship as a Junior, but Leon Powe was not known for his luck. Four days before a game, his mother died of a heart attack at the age of forty one, leaving Powe shocked and full of grief. Knowing that his mother would have wanted him to take part in the game, he played in the loss.

He cruised through the high school basketball circuit, leading his team to the state championship again the following year and getting national attention for his play. He won many prestigious awards, and he became the only player to have their number retired at the high school. But with all of these significant events happening on the court, he had to keep his grades up off of it.

With his tutor, Jonas Zuckerman (hired by Ward, one of Powe's elementary school teachers) Powe studied profusely for the SAT. At first, he didn't care about his academic performance. But as he realized that it was as important as advertised, he went to classes without being told, and his GPA rose from a low-level 1.8 to a very respectable 3.2. He took the SAT's four times in order to obtain the necessary score, with a fifth just in case.

An excited Leon decided to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he shined early as a player. He played a year and a half for the California Golden Bears, with a large injury in the middle, although it didn't hinder his play. After this stellar play, he decided to leave college before his senior year to enter the 2006 NBA Draft.

He continued over the next four years to play his game, emerging as an elite bench player for a great team, the Boston Celtics, and was a key component in their championship season that was 2008. The story of Leon Powe is one of ultimate success, a feel-good of epic proportions.

How do these stories happen? How do they become possible? We can only imagine. The story is interesting and awe-inspiring amongst many other adjectives that could be used. The true role models lie in these recounts; I just wish they were told more. If you are a basketball fan, Leon's game demands your attention.

But his life story demands your respect.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ronnie being Ronnie (SI)

First, let me say this is from SI, it's dated April 19, so I'm guessing it's in the upcoming issue. A different side of Ron Artest, but pretty much the guy I expected when he came to Houston, hopefully more fans will realize how much this guy has changed. He's come a long way from the Ron from the brawl.

WHEN WE go out there," said a Houston Rockets security guard to forward Ron Artest, "don't stop for autographs."

"O.K.," said Artest.

"They're going to want to take a picture with you," warned another Rockets employee, a community relations director, as they strode an uncongested hallway inside the Toyota Center, on their way to a meet-and-greet with thousands of Rockets season-ticket holders being staged in the arena's concourse. "But don't stop."

"O.K.," said Artest.

The same cautions had been issued to all of his teammates—keep moving, don't cause an incident—but there appeared to be an urgency in the message to Artest, given his unfortunate history of mixing with crowds in NBA arenas.

"You can sign if they ask you to," said yet another security guard, "but keep walking."

"Don't stop," said the Rockets' community relations director.

"Don't stop," echoed the security guard.

"O.K.," said Artest.

The doors were flung open to the concourse and Artest began to wade through the fans. Some looked exultant in his presence; others intimidated. Then Artest noticed, on the far side of the concourse, a handful of grade-school children playing a virtual-reality game. They were leaping to swat at large images of spelling blocks that had been projected onto the wall.

Artest stopped.

"Hey!" he said. "What's that?" And just like that he was among the children, reaching up to tip the blocks as if they were soft rebounds around the rim. He tapped the final block upward so that it came to rest alongside two others to spell a word.

"C-A-T," Artest told his audience. "Cat."

He had won the game. The kids were jumping around him, celebrating.

"But I don't think I was really touching [the blocks]—was I?" asked Artest. "Yes, you were," said a security guard, who explained the mechanics of the game as they moved along. Then Artest caught sight of rookie teammate Joey Dorsey playing Wii boxing. He stopped again.

"Do you want to play?" asked Dorsey, and suddenly there stood Artest among a cheering crowd, throwing (gulp!) punches. For how many spectators did a certain melee come to mind as Artest delivered virtual lefts and rights that knocked Dorsey's character flat on his back?

"Kobe!" yelled a fan behind Artest. "Hit him like he's Kobe!"

"Someone said Kobe?" yelled Artest, laughing over his shoulder as he threw punches wildly. "Yeah! Kobe!"

Soon the fight was over—Dorsey in a decision, in spite of the knockdown—and the fans laughed and reached up to pat Artest on his thick blacksmith's shoulders. The people's champion.

TO THIS point in the season (and all pronouncements on Artest must be carefully couched) the NBA's most volatile star has surprised in a positive way. At a time when the Rockets could have fallen apart, it was Artest who reinvigorated the team that is now battling the Spurs for the Southwest Division title. Is it fair to now define Artest as, of all things, a stabilizing influence? "Yes," affirms Houston forward Shane Battier. "Ironically."

The Rockets gambled by acquiring Artest last summer from the Sacramento Kings in the hope that he, swingman Tracy McGrady and 7'6" Yao Ming would form a championship Big Three. Before long that vision appeared to be doomed: McGrady was unable to recover from off-season left knee surgery, Artest was limited for the first half of the season by a bone bruise in his right ankle and the Rockets struggled to figure out how to play together. "We won games, but it wasn't pretty and I don't think we were happy," says Battier. "We didn't know who we were. It was frustrating. We needed something to flip."

The flipper was Artest. After McGrady shut himself down in February to undergo season-ending microfracture knee surgery, Artest took up the vacated leadership role. A team that had been built around the half-court offense of T-Mac and Yao suddenly became a defensive outfit that pushed the ball off the stops generated by Artest, Battier and power forward Luis Scola. In the previous four years the Rockets had gone 20--46 without McGrady, but at week's end they were 28--12 in his absence.

Artest, 29, has evolved as a player. After having long seen himself as a go-to superstar, he has accepted his role as a complementary scorer, averaging 17.2 points through Sunday to Yao's 19.6. The 6'7" forward, who once bulked up to an estimated 280 pounds in order to punish opponents inside, has trimmed down to 246 while generating 41% of his scoring from beyond the three-point line. The Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 is even taking his cues at that end of the court from Battier, who often dictates which of them will guard Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. "I let Shane decide because he's always thinking the game," says Artest. "Even though I've become more mature, I still get a little bit emotional."

Reserve center Dikembe Mutombo believes Artest grew up while dealing with the kidney cancer treatments of his five-year-old daughter, Diamond, who Artest says has responded positively to the chemotherapy she underwent last fall. Artest also gained perspective from visiting Africa with the players' union two summers ago, and he is committed to returning to Kenya after the playoffs. "He has seen the suffering of the poor, the disease, and he relates it to what is happening to him with his daughter," says Mutombo. "You don't find that in so many players; that they wake up in the morning and say, 'I am going to Africa and I am going to do more.'"

While those experiences have no doubt reshaped Artest, he credits his steadier play to the Rockets' coach, Rick Adelman, who spent half of the 2005--06 season with Artest in Sacramento. "He's nothing more and nothing less than a coach," says Artest. "He doesn't hold grudges, he doesn't try to teach you to be a man, he doesn't teach you how to become a boy, he's not trying to tell you how to handle your life."

If previous coaches have sought to fill that role with Artest, it would be understandable: This is the player who once asked if he could take off the early part of the season to promote an R&B album, then infamously went into the stands in Detroit to instigate the brawl in November 2004, earning a 73-game suspension. So far in Houston, Artest's behavior has been more endearing than infuriating. "He has some idiosyncrasies that are quite interesting," says Rockets guard Brent Barry. "Sometimes he'll come to practice and never get into the locker room, he'll just change up in the weight room. Usually during halftimes we'll find him in just his hightops and his boxers, which is an interesting sight to see. Sometimes he has some choice words in a timeout, or before a game in the huddle, that have absolutely nothing to do with what we're about to try to accomplish, and Shane and I enjoy a brief moment glancing at each other. Much like Manny being Manny, Ronnie is Ronnie."

Artest fits comfortably with Houston's blend of up-and-comers, internationals and erudites. "I think Ron's a fan of James Joyce: He talks in streams of consciousness," says Battier. "I don't think Ron's concerned about being a diplomat. He's concerned about winning, and the quickest route for him to win is to be blunt."

As he sits on a tilted bench in the Rockets' weight room, Artest acknowledges he is trying to self-edit. "Sometimes I don't even speak nowadays," he says, "because I'm not sure I'm going to say it the right way." Staring at himself in the mirrored walls, he says of his early career, "I took it for granted. I was young, I was athletic, I was shutting down Kobe, I was shutting down LeBron. I was just cocky: I'm the best defender in the league. Can't nobody score on me. I was not humble at all and I just continued to get in trouble. I knew my talent was needed on a lot of teams, and I took all that for granted. I should have cherished those moments a couple of years ago. Some of that was out of my control, some of that was in my control. But now I have another shot at it."

TWO QUESTIONS remain in Artest's immediate future. The first: Can he and Yao lead the Rockets deep into the playoffs? The Rockets will struggle to score enough points to knock off the Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers, but their defense—which yielded a miserly 44.6% shooting at week's end, fourth in the league—should give Houston hope of advancing to the second round for the first time in a dozen years, dating to the reign of Hakeem Olajuwon.

The more difficult question is whether Artest, who will be a free agent after the season, has been on good behavior simply to earn a new contract. "I understand that argument," says Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who then dismisses it. Morey believes that Artest has grown through his hard experiences, and that with Adelman's oversight and his comfort in the Rockets' system, Artest can continue to flourish.

Battier, for one, would like to keep him around. "After this year, my lasting memory of Ron Artest is, he loves the KissCam," says Battier, referring to the timeout entertainment in which couples in the stands are shown on the arena jumbotron and prompted to smooch. "We'll be in the middle of a game and we're all focused, and I'll look over at Ron, and Ron will be on the floor cracking up laughing at the KissCam. We've all seen it a million times, but every time he finds it the funniest thing ever."

"KissCam is funny," says Artest, "but I hate it when they put it on me and one of my teammates, and then I have to put the towel over my head." It's all part of growing up, to realize there is no beating the KissCam.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Point Guard's Worst Nightmare

A Moose Track

The center takes a swift entrance pass to the post from the off guard positioned on the wing, and he gets position, battling with the opposing big man for position. Realizing that he doesn't have a prayer of getting the ball in the hoop that way, he kicks it back out to the swingman, who scans the court, deciding on his maneuver.

Noticing the shouting shooting guard on the opposite side of the court, a quick two-handed chest pass finds it's way into the waiting shooter's steady hands. Receiving it softly, the shooter takes their time getting into position for the three pointer. The grip on it feels as good as any for the two guard, who let's loose as a defender starts running towards him.

The ball flies into the air, leaving big men and point guards alike clawing and wrestling for position for the awaiting rebound. Unexpectedly, the ball ricochets off the back of the rim, taking it's first bounce at the top of the key beyond the three point line. Players, taken aback, start to react to the surprising outcome of the rebound.

The quickest man on the court, the point guard, runs over and snatches the ball, beating out all other fighting men by at least a step. Taking off towards the hoop on a breakaway, the dribbler accelerates, deciding whether he should take a layup or go for the slam to give his teammates fire and momentum. Or, if there is a man coming up behind him, should he pass it up for the dish? Toss it off the backboard for a highlight reel alley-oop? These are the types of things the dribbler mulls over.

Slowing down towards at the wing of the opposite hoop, all alone, the dribbler decides to go for the jam. Amidst a crowd of cheering fans, encouraging the dunk, the quick point guard brings it back for the tomahawk, eyes close to the rim, anticipating a highlight-reel finish, until . . .

A seemingly inhuman body comes up from behind, bringing superhuman hops and length. Ain't no way the ball's getting in the hole this time.


Monday, April 6, 2009

The Next Nate Robinson

Sorry to dethrone Moose, but i found something worth writing about and have some time to do it. The font is pink today because it's pimpin, pimping! And the gray font is links, so click the gray stuff.

If you don't know who Peyton Siva is, you are about to find out. Although his profile lists him as 6'0, he is actually 5'10. Part of the dreaded class of 2009 (2011 ftw!), Siva has already signed his letter of intent to play at Louisville, or so saythen this site, but as my favorite site pointed out today, letters of intent are not set in stone, so who really knows where he will end up.

Anyway, i know everybody is probably wondering 'so why the fuck is this guy the next Nate Robinson? I see zero parallels.'

Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes upon these Youtube clips, the place where i drew that conclusion:

Of course has Peyton covered too, although saying he is the 'best' when that means being better than John Wall is a bit silly.

I would really really like to see this guy in SLAM. The world deserves to know! Also, sorry for stepping on your turf Farmer Jonez and Justin 'Biddy Biddy Bop Bop' Walsh.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hustlin' -- Dedication 2

A Moose Track

We all know the song "Hustlin'" by Rick Ross. One of the most recognizable hip hop songs in the 2000's in which we live today. While we all have our opinions of Ross (I see you, BET), I think that we can all pretty much agree that this song is dope, even if we hear it a few too many times.

So, there's the real song. Then there's the remix featuring Jay-Z. Then, there's this version. With slightly less exposure, the DJ Drama-Lil Wayne Dedication 2 mixtape features my favorite remix/version of this song, and the following video features just that. And yes, I laughed out loud the first time I heard Drama's little shouty thingys. But after a while it sounds pretty badass.


The Best Rapper Alive

Guess who? I'll give you a hint IT IS NOT GUCCI!

and here is his latest track:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Match Up: Rockets & Lakers+ game preview

So DP and I had this half hour long convo over facebook the other night, and we were just railing on about a bunch of different stuff, some girl, the differences between Australia and the USA with ages, e.g Sweet 16th, 18th, 21st birthday.
Then we shifted on towards a more basketball-orientated theme when I noticed the Bobcats (!) had beaten the Lakers.
Naturally, DP was upset, and I was just rubbing it in, saying how BET would be stoked, and we'd likely see a blog post up soon ( check below this for that) showing him gloat.
This got me to thinking- the Cats have LA's number- they swept the season series, and they've also given the Celtics fits the last year or two.
But it also brought to my attention just how vulnerable the Lakers may prove to be in the playoffs. Last year they destroyed the Nuggets (and rightfully so), with Kobe going off for 30+ in every game. They then got the Jazz in the second round, fresh off a 7 game grind with the Rockets. The Lakers moved on, winning the Western Conference eventually, and fizzled out badly in the Finals, thats a story we all know well.
The thing that strikes me though, is how well the Lakeshow (it just doesn't sound right to me...) matched up with other teams they played throughout the playoffs. And when the met the Celtics, who matched up better, they got destroyed.
So, continuing with my little jabs at DP, I said that the Lakers would struggle to even make it out of the West (just for closure, I said that the Cavaliers or Celtics would be representing the East. Duh).
But think about it for a minute, how do the Lakers match up with the Rockets? Just off the top of my head, I said pretty average. I mean, they both score the ball ok, the Lakers a little easier, while the Rockets are a solid defensive team, kinda making that a wash.
Go deeper. Look at how the teams match-up position wise. Start with the Lakers on the left.

Fisher vs. Brooks

Edge: Lakers. Slightly.

Fish has done it all before and is going to stretch the Rockets. If he can occassionally get into the paint against the much quicker Brooks, it'll create problems for Yao, who has to come out and help.

If Brooks can stop Fisher from posting him up, and can run him around in transition, I think it could be an even match-up. Other than that, Fish is the veteran, and the Lakers are more poised in general. Hopefully Brooks can get into the paint as well with his superior speed and athleticism.

Bryant vs. Artest

Edge: Lakers. Slight.

I call it pretty even for a few reasons. Artest is the superior defender. Without question. Bryant is the superior offensive player. Without question. They can play both sides of the ball and are two of the most versatile players in the league.

Kobe destroyed Ron Ron in their last match-up with 32 in the second half. Ron had a terrible offensive showing and finished just over double digits. If Ron can focus on team oriented defense then he has a better opportunity to stop Kobe at the same time, because he knows Battier and Yao will be there to help out as well. Kobe once again, needs to trust his team and not force issues, but slowing down Artest on the block is going to be huge for Bryant, because once Ron gets going offensively, he's even more dangerous defensively.

Ariza vs. Battier

Advantage: Rockets.

Eh. This is a wash. Ariza with the athleticism, Battier with the smarts. Both can play defense, Battier is superior though, and has (shock horror!) actually contributed offensively the last few games, averaging over 12 points a game (almost double his season average). I think having Battier in the corner for 3pointers may give a slight edge to the Rox, since it spaces everything out, similiar to Fisher. But his ability to come and give Kobe fits also helps out.

Odom vs. Scola

Advantage: Lakers.

Versatility is the key. Both rebound very well and Scola is the more polished scorer, but Odoms ability to run the break off a board and find open guys is significant.

Gasol vs. Yao

Advantage: Rockets.

As good as Pau is, and as skilled as he is, anyone going up against Yao is at a disadvantage. Yao will just bully him away from the paint and force him to shoot 12-15 footers (which Pau can make) but Yao is going to have his way inside, and should be able to get a 25/15 type game. This hasn't been the case in recent games, as the Lakers have doubled from the weakside baseline, and Yao's had difficulty throwing out of the double from that spot. The Rockets have apparently worked on this, and should prove less troublesome.


Advantage: Rockets. Hayes is a defensive beast, Landry may play today, Von Wafer is instant offense and Lowry is a very solid backup, likewise with Mutumbo.

Farmar has (IMO) regressed from last year, and he's less consistent, forcing more minutes on an ageing Fisher. The loss of Radman hurts them, and Adam Morrison isn't comfortable yet. Sun Yue is a joke right now, and cant get off the bench (sorry China).


Jackson vs. Adelman.

Advantage Jackson. He's had the wood over Rick for a good decade+ and his victories over the Kings has to be demoralising. He's as good as anyone with game to game adjustments, and there's something called the 'triangle' offense?

The Rockets are still having troubles performing Adelman's 'read and react' motion based offense 2 years in. The supporting staff is great for both teams.

Final: I think the Rockets can pull this off, but it truly depends on how Ron plays on Kobe, and how physical the refs allow play to be- if this is the case, Yao should be able to punish Pau around the hoop. Homecourt means a lot too, even though the Lakers have won the last three games. Being at Staples Centre makes it hard to win, but with wins over SA, and NO on the road the last week and a disapponting loss to the Suns, the Rockets need to bounce back.

The Lakers have also suffered losses lately, and a 6 pt win over the Bucks was less than convincing.


Lakers by 3, because Yao gets into early foul trouble in the second quarter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Education Of Kanye West

A Moose Track

I admire Kanye West.

You look at that sentence. You see my reference to Kanye West in an admirable light, and you feel doubtful. A rapper? Who admires a rapper? Who sees a rapper as a positive influence in our society? And isn't he the one who was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine as Jesus with horns? He's the insanely cocky one, right? And didn't he get into a feud with another rapper?

Well, that last one doesn't count. It was merely for record sales. But all of the rest of the above statements are good arguments for why Mr. West would not be a role model. They're just ignorant ones. Kanye is one of the most original artists that we've had in a while, and he might be the most original that I've seen and heard in my lifetime.

First of all, his music is awesome. Great rapper with meaningful lyrics (well, most of the time), creative synths and production along with a good singing voice. Yes, I liked 808s And Heartbreak. But I own all of Kanye's musical work, and it's all great in my eyes. But, aside from his musical side, he is still an admirable person.

He is not afraid to take risks. This is the big one. He doesn't care what other people think, he wants to do what he wants to do, and he isn't fazed by the media, critics or anyone who doubts him. And this is the admirable part, whether he gets into trouble for it or not. I'm not saying that I'm patterning my behavior after his, after all, he is undeniably pompous and, well, cocky. But that is what sets him apart; he's confident.

I originally got the idea for this piece while I was listening to All Falls Down from The College Dropout, when a certain lyric really got my attention. I walked over to my desk and wrote it down, because it really provoked my thoughts and I felt like I could relate.

"We're all self-conscious, I'm just the first to admit it."

This is truly an admirable statement. And, it is a trailblazer for others to admit the same thing. The people who are self-conscious (which would be, ahem, everyone) can now admit it without fear of being ridiculed, because Kanye said it. Maybe that's not how people should run, but that's how it goes. I used to think that I was the only one that admitted that I was self-conscious, at least to myself. Because he's right, huh?

Kanye takes risks with everything that he does, communicating his thoughts in every last one of them. He's so open, not afraid of what other people will think of him. Some people see this as pompous and cocky. I see what these people mean, but most of what I see of it is bravery. True, this man is very secure, and he could very possibly be too secure. But that's the appeal of Kanye. Here's another one of Mr. West's thought-provoking quotes.

"Nothing in life is promised except death."

See it one way, and it's pessimistic. See it the way that you're supposed to see it, and it's an entirely different quote. The pessimistic way is that "oh, we're all doomed for death. Boo hoo." But what he's talking about is, go after your dreams. I know, I know. Sounds corny. I know what I'm typing. Nobody can tell you that you can't do something. Of course, maybe I'm interpreting it wrong. Maybe he's remarking that people can back out of their promises, like what his former fiancee did in the past year.

Kanye West does not lack humor, no matter how it's intended. Sometimes it sounds cocky (I'm saying that too much), but funny is another thing to describe the following.

"If y'all (are) fresh to death, then I'm deceased."

Kanye West is truly an interesting man. I don't admire all of what he stands for or all of his actions, but I think that we can all learn a thing or too from him.

Or maybe we're just too self-conscious to admit it.

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