Some NBA dominated thoughts on a Sunday evening.
Each game of the NBA Finals I’ve been struck by the irony in how things change over the course of 15 years. This time in 1989 (and 1988), I was rooting passionately for the Lakers against the Pistons in the NBA Finals. The Lakers were part of my holy pro sports trinity along with the Cowboys and Royals. This year, while not pulling with all my powers for Detroit, I am rabidly rooting for a Laker loss. I’d love for Larry Brown to get a title. Chauncey Billups is becoming one of my favorite NBA players. While the Pistons will be in the Pacers’ path for the foreseeable future, this June I’m hoping they get four wins.
My man E-Bro in NoCal told me, back in the days when Dennis Rodman was on the Bulls, to spend an entire quarter watching Rodman’s antics. He told me it was amazing how The Worm took some plays off, how hard he worked away from the ball on other plays, and otherwise rewarded your attention. Although it’s on a different level, Rasheed Wallace is approaching that level of interest. In the Pacers series, anytime he was on the court, he was yelling at someone during every dead ball. Officials. Fans. Teammates. Opponents. I don’t think it’s possible for him to keep his mouth shut for more than 10 seconds. I’d love to have uncensored access to his comments during the game as well. Bill Simmons had a great scenario in his column a couple weeks ago about how it would be fun to play Scrabble with Rasheed. You’d through down a word like “query” and ‘Sheed would stomp around the room complaining about you using crazy words like that against him. I laugh every time I think about that.
Karl Malone has a daughter in the WNBA?
Good Lord Shaq came to play in game four. While Kobe was throwing up bricks and whining, Shaq just put his head down and played his ass off until the Lakers got too far behind to keep giving him the ball.
I feel sorry that Karl Malone’s career is going to end with such a whimper. I do not feel sorry that he’s going to end his career without a title. I get so sick of “Player X deserves a title”. Horseshit. In this day and age, chances are anyone who you’re saying that about has more money than God if they’ve been playing professional sports for 20 years. They don’t deserve anything; they’ve got it pretty good already. Karl Malone played for a title three times. He got beat by the best non-center ever twice. The third time, he chained his fortune to a train wreck that was lucky to make it to the Finals before it spun out of control. There are a lot of great players who would have done anything for one chance to lose in the championship series. Karl was one of the greatest players ever. He’s not any less great without a ring, and he wouldn’t be any greater with a ring.
What’s up with NBA officials calling lane violations over and over?
As much as I love Larry Brown, he does often say things I hate in order to defend his players. He says Rasheed Wallace is “misunderstood” and only acts like he does because he “wants to win so badly”. Coming from someone who took sports far too seriously as a child and was warned many times by coaches, officials, and my mom to cool it or I’d get my ass stuck on the bench, that’s a fine message to give to the kids, Larry.
I’ll be the first to say it: Al Michaels is not a great basketball announcer. It’s as if he doesn’t understand the pacing of the game. His humorous comments he always seems to slip in at the right moment in football games all seem to come at the wrong time during NBA games. You know you’re struggling when even Doc Rivers falls silent for a few moments after you try to be funny. It doesn’t help Al that most NBA fans our age think of Marv Albert when we think of NBA playoffs. Marv has the perfect combination of intimate knowledge of the game, great grasp of history, knowing exactly how the game should be called, a terrific sense of humor (and understanding of how to use it), and the ability to get the most out of his analyst.
The previews for all of ABC’s fall shows disturb me. Wifeswap? Promos about bored housewives that look like Victoria’s Secret models? Dramas with voice overs of teenage girls telling their boyfriends it’s time to hit it while the parents are gone? In an election year, no less! Where’s Dan Quayle when we need him?
Doc Rivers: “I’ve never seen the Lakers complain about the officiating this much.” That’s because they’ve been getting every call for the past five years!
Good grief, Detroit is a win away from the title!
Time to drop some props on myself. Back in January, I set down some goals for the year. I don’t like to call them resolutions. One goal was to read between 24 and 30 books this year. Friday night, I finished off book #30. Traveling for work and having a wife who works in 18 and 24 hour chunks sure helps digest the words faster. I must tell you, though, in a year in which I’ve read a huge amount of very good books, #30 was truly special. Last week’s entry was Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, a truly amazing book. Fortress was last year’s big buzz book, following on the heels of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Fortress is totally brilliant, not only in story but in craft. There were moments when I had to put the book down because I was so frustrated by the writing. I would read a few lines and start to think to myself, “I can never write anything this good. I shouldn’t even think about ever writing anything for public consumption again.” Fortunately, I persevered. It was a highly rewarding experience and one I recommend to everyone.
Saturday we went to the first baby shower locals are throwing for us (We had hoped for just one, but most of S’s family was out of town last weekend, so we’re doing another, family only shower, in two weeks.). There was some Kansas City representation too, as a gift from what I’ll call the Falloon Crew was waiting in our living room when I got home on Thursday. I will not confirm rumors that I’ve already placed a basketball and various KU paraphernalia in the Pack ‘n Play.
Finally, in a milestone that warrants mentioning, I was married a year ago today. Some of you may be thinking, “I must have really been drunk at your wedding, because I thought we visited in July.” Of course, we were legally married on this date last year in Kansas City. Some other milestones this week include: Wednesday the anniversary of the packers coming to our apartments. Thursday when the movers came, and we trekked east to Indy. Sunday will be Father’s Day, my birthday, and the day I spent all day on the phone yelling at the movers to get their asses here when they promised. I think that day was the beginning of my stomach problems. It aches just thinking about it. Anyway, what am I supposed to get my wife for the 1st anniversary? Paper? China? A fetus?