October 31, 2007

Shane Battier is alive!

Hi there, old friends. It is me, Shane Battier.

Hardy har, do not be facetious. Of course I have not passed away. But that is quite the wisecrack that you have made. However, I have relocated from the City of Memphis Grizzlies basketball club to my new locale in the beautiful City of Houston in the heart of Texas. I was traded prior to last year's competitive basketball campaign, but if you have been preoccupied with other priorities, you may have missed this relatively unimportant move. I understand completely and am glad that you now have all the facts.

What a barnburner of a match that was last night?! How embarrasing for us, the Houston Rockets basketball team, to nearly relinquish our entire lead in the last one and one half minutes! Nonetheless, through perserverance, mental acuity, and cooperative teamwork we were able to overcome our notable foe, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Aw shucks, I suppose that I did make the game winning shot, but believe me, without the full support of the entire Houston Rockets organization I would not have had the opportunity to aid in our victory. And thank you for mentioning that my foul of Mr. Kobe Bryant was an intelligent play. Not to be a braggart, but I did graduate from prestigious Duke University as a religion major; and though boastfulness is looked down upon in the Good Book, it is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Nonetheless, I, along with the City of Houston and the entire Houston Rockets basketball club staff, thank you for your consideration in watching our squad perform. The NBA is essentially entertainment for a mass audience and any additional happiness that I can help to provide delights me. Winning basketball games is a grand time, but touching the hearts of our most ardent advocates really tickles me.

This message provided by Battier for Senate 2015.

October 30, 2007

Baseless Predictions - October 30, 2007

With people everywhere previewing everything, the Blowtorch offers baseless predicitions for every NBA game of the day.

Portland at San Antonio
It is curious that the Blazers have a horde of point guards who have two first names: Brandon Roy, Jarret Jack, Steve Blake. For a team owned by a guy named Paul Allen, this makes sense. Tonight, they face the reigning champion Spurs in a battle of teams that will be hard to watch this year.
BASELESS PREDICTION: Brent Barry makes 2 three pointers then smokes an entire pack of clove cigarettes on his drive home.

Houston at Los Angeles Lakers
Both teams miss Robert Horry since they haven't won a title since he left. Both teams also miss Glen Rice, but that's just because he looks like Tony Gwynn.
BASELESS PREDICTION: Phil Jackson enjoys a honeycrisp apple at halftime.

Utah at Golden State
I imagine that trips to California are when Andrei Kirilenko cashes in on his once a year indulgence.
BASELESS PREDICTION: Carlos Boozer's armpit hair terrifies children in the stands and watching at home.

October 29, 2007

Confession: I'm a Rick Fox Fan

In the spirit of every rapper who has ever existed, I'm letting other people spit hot fire all over this hot Confessions beat. Next up on the mic, Howie, the Hype Fellow.


A player that I am embarrassed to like? Hmm… (thinking… thinking… ow ow OW, using the brain [term for sexing] hurts!) Okay, well, there’s no easy way to preface the answer so I’ll just come right out and say it: RICK FOX.

Hey don’t judge me, this is like Taxicab Confessions right? I’m pouring my pervy little heart out here. Rick Fox’s allure is not so much his style of play or his highlight reels… because well, there aren’t any... I mean it, can you think of The Defining Rick Fox play? He only really mattered when the Lakers needed to be up 15pts in the 3rd quarter instead of 13pts during those championship runs. Other than that, his game is not memorable at all.

He is the role player to the fullest and somehow I chose to like him. My reasoning is all over the place and has little to do with actual gameplay, but hopefully you’ll follow the ride:

Rick Fox is “Canadian.”

At this very moment, you’re probably saying, “Why the quote-unquote “quotes” around Canadian” (while doing an air quotes).Well, he’s as much Canadian as I am from the Bahamas. I’m not by the way. Sure he played on the national team in ’94 alongside an alley-oop happy Steve Nash (I think he’s #7?) Yet he doesn’t quite exude the northern country’s je ne sais quoi qualities that just comes natural to Todd McCullough. But you know what? The 2000-2003 Howie Era didn’t care, all he thought was: “Hey Rick Fox is from Canuckistans? Awesometown!” His name would be rattled off during high school ball practices when we have silly dreams of the league and/or Angelina Jolie. Which actually brings me to the next reasoning:

Rick Fox was once married to Vanessa friggin’ Williams.

You may not agree with me that Eraser is the greatest love story of our generation, but you’ll surely give me that Ms. Williams was hotter than Hades during her prime. And Ricky Fox married her. I don’t think this part needs any more discussion.

Rick Fox is in He Got Game.

AKA the LeBron James Prophecy. He didn’t just have a walking cameo in this movie (um…even though in that clip…he’s…walking. Shut up.) Rick actually had a big plot line in a Spike Lee bong Joint showcasing his chauvinist pig side. You knew he took acting serious man. Which makes him stand out from all the other casual athlete-actors (sorry Ray Allen, your downfall was Harvard Man. Terrible, terrible movie) Ricky is in it for the thespian craft yo.

Rick Fox’s teeth.

Seriously, that thing has a life of its own. I think it can light up Cambodian villages for an entire year. There’s something disarming about a set of teeth so perfect and sharp that I must acknowledge it as the reason I’m embarrassed to confess to like the guy. In fact, I may be starting to confess to something else entirely here. No H.M.!

Rick Fox can play.

As a Laker (never saw him in Boston, so as far as I’m concerned, it never happened), with the luxury of Kobe, Shaq, Fisher, Ron Harper and Phil Jackson, Rick did pretty well for himself. In fact, I’d argue he played the best because he knew just what the team needed out of him (a random clutch 3 pointer here, a drive and dunk there) and made sure to do his part to the max. Sure anyone can fill his role, but he did all that WHILE BEING MARRIED TO VANESSA WILLIAMS.

I rest my case your honor Goathair.

While we’re confessing things: First pic photoshop idea copped from random, but hilarious Kings forum thread dedicated to Mr. Fox (the fan base is stronger than I thought…)

October 25, 2007

Confession: I'm a Vince Carter Fan

In the spirit of every rapper who has ever existed, I'm letting other people spit hot fire all over this hot Confessions beat. First up on the mic, Stop Mike Lupica.


What’s up? Thanks to The Blowtorch for putting me on.

So when Goathair asked me to write about the NBA player I’m most embarrassed to find myself rooting for, my first instinct was “Who is the worst player I’ve rooted for?” I quickly decided it was Zendon Hamilton.

Good old Zendon was a star at St.John’s, alongside another one of my favorite scrubs of all time, Felipe Lopez. I rooted for Felipe because he was supposed to be the Latino Jordan; soon I would find myself rooting for Zendon. He reminded me of my own basketball style, if I had one – a lanky, tall, left-handed guy who drew a lot of fouls because of his awkward delivery. A lot of fouls. About 10 FTAs a game, and I’m fairly certain that by the end of his four years at St. John’s he was #1 in Big East history (or pretty close to it) in free throws attempted.

But then I realized something… I’m not embarrassed to have rooted for Zendon. So I had to think harder, and the question became tougher to answer.

I asked Canadian DJM for some help.

“Who was the most embarrassing player you ever rooted for, DJM?”

“Luc Longley.”

Hard to argue with him. So I thought about the scrubs that I’ve rooted for over the years just because they were wearing the Knick uniform.

“You root for the Knicks,” DJM tells me. “You shouldn’t have a hard time finding someone embarrassing that you cheer for!”

Perhaps. But the truth is I’m not embarrassed that I root for these guys. Maybe I should be, but I’m not. My boy E-Wonder suggested a great one, though:

“Kiki Vandeweghe. I used to love him when he was on Denver, dropping 25 ppg. Then he came to the Knicks and just sucked.”

Yeah. I rooted for him, too. Enough that I could spell his last name right, without looking it up. But he was injured. You can’t blame me for rooting for him, after all he was doing in Denver, right? So why should I have been embarrassed… I had good reason to believe in him. Plus I was really hoping he would take Scott Layden’s place as GM.

Sometimes you over-think things. I relaxed a bit, and mediated on the players that I had no business rooting for. Usually if I’m rooting for a non-Knicks, it’s because he’s either a fantasy star for me, or a NBA Live star for me. An example of the latter would be Bryan “Big Country” Reeves, who never did anything of note in the NBA, but who I will always remember for his NBA Live 95 (or whatever year it was) prowess. And then answer came to me:

Air Pussy! Of course.

Every year in my fantasy league, I get “stuck” with Vince Carter. Half of my league hates him so much they won’t draft or trade for him, even for cheap. The other half of the league is aware of this, and so that deflates his trade value, which in turn means they don’t want to get stuck with him. So I end up taking him every season. And rooting for him.

But you know what? Over the years I’ve become a fan of Vince Carter. He’s progressed from an exciting player who could dunk over anyone (even a 7’2 Frenchman), a player who held the promise of being the next Jordan so tantalizingly close to his hands… to becoming the player who is now, a forgotten star, even on his own team at times. Yet I like him more now than ever.

He’s a psychological anomaly in the NBA. He’s truly inexplicable. Some nights he’ll just give up, and walk off the court with an injury or something, showing absolutely no toughness. Of course he’s embarrassing to root for… he’s Air Pussy!

But he’s also prone to displaying that great potential, sometimes at the most random times. He’s almost completely random in terms of when he chooses to step up, and when he chooses to quit. You can’t predict him. I’ve been following him on a daily basis for five years now, and he’s numbers… well, you never know with Vince. At one point this season he will go on one of his tears, and drop like 30 points for 5 straight games, while shooting over 45% from the field, driving enough to go to the line about 10 times a game, and picking up around 10 boards and 5 assists. He will, guaranteed.

And at some point this season he’ll literally limp off the court with a sprained uterus. He undoubtedly will.

And I won’t care. Because when he’s on, he’s the most exciting player in the game, the only one who can compare to Kobe. He can score from anywhere on the court, can shoot over a double team, with limitless range. Or he take it in hard and absorb the contact, and still hang in the air long enough to finish the play. He can rise above it all.

And I will be rooting for him all season long. Even if I should be ashamed.

October 24, 2007

Here, There, and Everywhere

Here's my expanded Grizzlies preview for Hoopsblogging. Click through so I can win some dolla dolla billz at the NBA.com store. I'll buy a terrible jersey. Like Pat Burke Warriors terrible.

October 22, 2007

Confession: I'm a Keith Van Horn Fan

Let me finish before you judge me. And before we get started, just know that I am well aware that it's embarrassing to admit that Keith Van Horn is, or was, your favorite basketball player. Nonetheless, I feel like there is some merit to liking a dude who is considered one of the softest guys to play in the NBA.

To understand my Keith Van Horn admiration, you have to remember that Utah was awesome for a couple of years during the Van Horn/Andre Miller/Hanno Mottola era. Largely due to Van Horn, the Utes advanced to the Elite Eight in 1997 after reaching the Sweet Sixteen and second round the two previous years. Van Horn was stellar during these tournaments; and since Utah was actually decent, they were on TV quite a bit which lead to a certain familiarity. It was that fall that Van Horn would be entering the NBA and I would be starting high school.

Van Horn's rookie season was exactly what is to be expected from the number 2 overall pick. Van Horn averaged 19 points and 6 rebounds a game, good enough for a spot on the All-Rookie first team. Furthermore, Van Horn was a part of the New Jersey Nets nucleus that some people were excited about. Alongside SamCassell and Kerry Kittles, there was a definite future in New Jersey. It was also at this time that I had my big growth spurt; growing from 5'9" to 6'2" in one summer. As a result, I was a "big guy 1" with moderate passing and ball-handling skills.

Being a tallish, 14-year old white kid who liked passing and outside shooting, Van Horn was a natural fit. More so than any player I knew at that time, Van Horn had a game that I could relate to. It was fascinating to see him getting the ball on the perimeter and creating, rather than down low banging like most power forwards. To this day, I'd say my game resembles 1999 Keith Van Horn more than any other player2. While averaging a shade over 21 ppg and 8.5 rebounds, Keith Van Horn was a future star of the league. Someone I could model my game after. Plus, he wore tall socks, which seemed like the coolest thing in the history of the world when I was 14.

But it was not meant to be. Van Horn would post similar numbers for the next two seasons but he could never adjust his game to Stephon Marbury. Soon he would be shipped to the 76ers to become the latest in a long line of Allen Iverson's failed second bananas. When that happened, I lost faith. If he couldn't work with Marbury, he surely couldn't work with Iverson. After a season there, Van Horn was moved again and I couldn't have cared less3. The late-90s Nets (and Van Horn) were the first team that I had really chosen and their dismantling was a disappointment.

Looking back, maybe Keith Van Horn suffered from being American. Were he a foreign player, maybe teams would have expected him to not play defense and be soft on the boards but that's speculation. However, I know that my devotion to Keith Van Horn is what has fueled my affinity towards Euros today. In fact, for my basketball development, KVH served a purpose. Though he certainly wasn't the first big guy to be outside4 doing things normally reserved for guards, he was the first that I could call my own. In the grand scheme of NBA lore, Van Horn isn't revolutionary, notable, or important; but when I can see traces of what I liked about him in my favorite players now, I know that what I felt meant something.

  1. Playing at a small high school, a 6'2" sophomore is center material.
  2. Other viable comparisons: Boston Celtics era Antoine Walker, Chicago Bulls era Brad Miller
  3. Most depressing was his season and a half with Dallas. He was Nowitzki before Nowitzki.
  4. Or even of his generation. KG, Dirk, etc.

October 19, 2007

Another Roundish Table

Another Blowtorch approved roundtable for your reading enjoyment.

October 17, 2007

What Your Favorite NBA Player Says About You

With the NBA season fast approaching, the Blowtorch presents a brief and incomplete guide to some of the various fans seen around the league.


Kobe Bryant: You appreciate greatness and won't take no for an answer. You also are likely a control freak and won't stand for incompetence around you. When push comes to shove, you know that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.


Shaquille O'neal: You haven't watched the NBA in 6 years.


Tim Duncan: Not only do you value fundamentals above style and personality, you also feel that winning is the most fun you can have. Your wardrobe consists of dark dress pants and white or blue shirts. Your favorite food is peanut butter and grape jelly, but when you're feeling a little bit crazy, you'll switch to strawberry jam.


Steve Nash: You value creativity, imaginative play, selflessness, and artistic basketball. Also, you are white.


Gilbert Arenas: You read basketball blogs.


Lebron James: You know you're destined for great things because people have been telling you so for years. You feel that you've been trapped in a familiar place for so long that you can't wait to experience what other places have to offer.


Kevin Garnett: Similar to the Lebron James Fan. For years you have been trapped in a going nowhere situation but your loyalty has paid off. Now you're somewhere where great things can happen! Beware Kevin Garnett Fan for the Allen Iverson Fan was right where you are a short time ago.


Allen Iverson: The Allen Iverson Fan has come to realize that things aren't ever as good or bad as they seem. The AI Fan knows that sooner or later, the public will come to accept you even if they don't understand you. It should also be noted that the Allen Iverson Fan looks silly in baby blue.


Dwyane Wade: The Dwyane Wade Fan avoids conflict at all costs; because, really, who doesn't like Dwyane Wade at least a little bit? The Dwyane Wade Fan refuses to use spell check.


Carmelo Anthony: You're true to the streets. You're not going to rat on your friends. You value scoring above all else and you're a HUGE fan of TRL.


Dirk Nowitski: You, Dirk Nowitski Fan, are quite the frustration. You do a wonderful job throughout a task, but when it comes to completion, you're nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, you're a pretty funny person even though you aren't necessarily trying. The Dirk Nowitski Fan can often be found with the Steve Nash Fan, resulting in wonderful pictures.


Anyone on the Knicks: You're a glutton for punishment and probably have a lot of misguided anger. It's also highly likely that you do not manage money very well.

October 16, 2007

Hall of Fame NBA Beard, the first

Kareem Abdul-Jabbeard

courtesy of Howie y el HYPE!

October 15, 2007

NBA All-Beard Team

PG - Beardon Davis
SG - LeBeard James
SF - Peja Beardakovic
PF - Pau Gasol de Beard
C - Scot Pollbeard

October 10, 2007

Oscar Schmidt - The Story of the First Foreign Player Drafted

In today's NBA foreign players are taken for granted. We've had two foreign players drafted number 1 (plus Andrew Bogut) and a foreign MVP. Furthermore, after years of American dominance, countries around the world have stood equal and above the USA in the international game. But just 20 years ago, this wasn't the case.


Oscar Schmidt (or Mão Santa - translates to Holy Hand) played in 5 Olympics ('80, '84, '88, '92, and '96) and averaged a record 28.8 points a game, including an astounding 42.3 in Barcelona.

He is also the first foreign player with no college experience picked in the NBA draft.

A 6'8" Brazilian shooting guard with legit 3-point range, Schmidt's offensive firepower was enough to make him a 6th round draft pick in the 1984 draft. Uninterested in defense, Schmidt justified his Iverson-esque shooting habits by saying, "Some people, they play the piano. And some people, they move the piano." Nonetheless, the prospect of adding such a prolific scorer at such a nominal price was worth the roll of the dice for the New Jersey Nets.

However, years of recruitment fell upon deaf ears as Schmidt would never come to play in
the Association saying, “I know my limitations, my defects, but I could never play 10 minutes a game. [The] NBA is great if you are a star. But if not, you get moved around. My friend (Georgi) Glouchkov played a year in Phoenix. He tells me bad stories about [the] NBA. The guards [did not] like him, they don’t pass him the ball. I would not like that. I could not stand that.”

Video: Petrovic vs. Schmidt - Oscar's 44 can't match Petrovic's 62 in the European Cup

It is assumed that it's every player's dream to play in the NBA and when they get that chance, it is expected that they will take it. When a Kirilenko or a Pavlovic postulates about playing overseas, cries of fiscal frivolity and insult echo throughout sports media. However, the story of Oscar Schmidt proves that it isn't unusual or new for a player to want to succeed on their own terms.

October 8, 2007

Dallas Mavericks -- Attack of the Clones

I was digging through the collective bargaining agreement and I came across what many call The Nowitski Clause:

Article IX, Section 1, (c) : the Dallas Mavericks must always employ a slightly goofy, white forward with a decent jump shot.

After discovering this, I did a little research and found that the Mavs have complied with this ruling since 2003, predating the adoption of the latest CBA.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

October 3, 2007

The NBA. So easy, even a caveman could do it.

Next week on an all new Cavemen...

Embrace the hilarity as the Cavemen venture to an all new land - NBA
training camp! Watch as Chris and Scot (and Scot and Scot and Scot) come
to grips with their place in modern day basketball. Can the Cavemen
overcome their lack of foot speed, terrible facial hair, and frightening
bone structure to gain acceptance in today's NBA? Tune in next week to
find out!

October 1, 2007

6 Currently Awesome Mustaches - NO ADAM MORRISON

The "I Was Good in College" Stache

Rookie Stache of the Year

The Standard Centipede Stache

The "I Have Jerry Stackhouse's Stache" Stache

The "I Have Chauncey Billups' Stache" Stache

The Most Dominant Stache