February 21, 2007


I’m always intrigued by how athletes pick their numbers. It could a family-based thing (Jordan), it could be a motivation thing (Arenas), it could be a tribute thing (anyone since Jordan who wears 23); but there are some numbers that defy logic. Without further ado, here are the four NBA numbers that are strangest to me:

47 – Andrei Kirlenko – Now I’m assuming the reason he wears this number is because his initals are AK. Hence, AK47. According to Wikipedia, he was suggested this number (and by extension, nickname) by Quincy Lewis. However, I don’t know if I believe this because Quincy Lewis went to Minnesota and everyone knows they’re don’t even do their homework there, let alone come up with historically founded nicknames.

93 – Ron Artest – Ron-Ron once stated that he wanted to wear a different number in every NBA season, but ever since he tried to fight an entire city, he’s been a little slow on the switches. First he was 15 with the Bulls, then he was 23 with the Pacers, then 91 with the Pacers, then 15 with the Pacers, and now he’s been wearing 93 with the Kings for a minute. He says it represents the Queensbridge (Q=9, B=3) project he grew up in. I think it signifies his insanity rating on a scale of 1-100.

84 – Chris Webber – Aside from that little bit of time with the Bullets when he was #2 (no dookie), Webber has always wore 4. Unfortunately for him, when his hometown Pistons traded for him, the man that pulled the trigger (Joe Dumars) had worn the 4 pretty well himself. Since his preferred number was retired, Webber switched to 84. I figure it was either because he was a huge Herman Moore fan or he was paying tribute to me my sophomore year, when I lead our conference championship football team in catches sporting the big 8-4.

90 – Drew Gooden – If you think it’s bizarre that Gooden wears a defensive end’s number (and I do), let me point you in the direction of two facts which might help explain this quirk. One, his middle name is Melvin. Two, he’s growing a ducktail.

February 7, 2007

Another Wednesday, Another T-Shirt

Just like that, the Blowtorch is back with another shirt to rock your socks off. Mens, womens, black, white, long-sleeve, short-sleeve. It's all here. Get skizzed out immediately.

February 6, 2007

I am not looking forward to the dunk contest

The NBA announced this year’s dunk contest participants yesterday. Here’s how it’ll go down:

Round 1

Tyrus Thomas – in a move reminiscent of Chris Andersen, Tyrus uses his bizarrely long arms to flap about and ultimately embarrass not only himself, but the Chicago Bulls, the NBA dunk contest, and Louisiana State University. Not a great performance.

Dwight Howard – attempting to recreate this famous photo, Howard smashes his mouth against the rim, requiring him to wear braces well in to his 30s. Though his teeth are destroyed, a quick phone conversation with Terrell Davis allows Howard to concurrently dunk, place a quarter on the top of the backboard, and impregnated Mary Carey.

Gerald Green - the second best dunker ever to come to the NBA from the D-League throws the ball off the floor then double-clutches and throws it down. Sure it’s a move that 5’7” Spud Webb did in the 80s, but for some reason people still think it’s innovative.

Nate Robinson – after realizing that the rules have changed and he cannot attempt a dunk 18 times before actually completing it, Lil’ Nate punches Carmelo Anthony, Alex English, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf just to spite the Denver Nuggets.


Dwight Howard - loopy from the anesthetic required for his emergency orthodontic surgery, Howard does what he is used to and drop steps and throws down a ferocious two-hander. Then he goes to the other end of the floor and blocks every shot in the 3-point contest. Confused, the judges give him a 49.

Gerald Green - needing a 50 to win, Green reaches in to his 80s playbook and dunks from the free-throw line. Though every member of the judge’s panel has completed this very dunk, they give Gerald a 50 because the precedent has been set. Gerald celebrates by letting Sebastian Telfair hold the trophy even though he shouldn’t be there and is only present because Doc Rivers told him to be.

February 2, 2007

The Showtime Bears

There really aren’t two sports more diametrically opposed and unsuitable for comparison than football and basketball. One favors brute force while one favors smooth actions. One requires careful strategizing and the other is more suitable to on-the-fly adjustments. One is potentially remarkable while one is potentially disappointing. Nonetheless, future Super Bowl Champions the Chicago Bears have taken to comparing their defense to the Lakers’ Run and Gun fast break1. And while I whole-heartedly support both the Chicago Bears and irrational comparisons, I can’t seem to get behind this at all.

For starters, the Lakers fast break relied primarily on the creativity and decision making of Magic Johnson. This contrasts greatly with the Bears consistent use of the Cover 2 defense. Typically content to sit back, they judiciously blitz and when they do it is only at the most opportune times2. Sure Brian Urlacher is the heart of the defense, but his contributions, while astounding, fall intellectually short of the artistry of Magic. The plays Urlacher makes are often out-of-this-world but this is more a symptom of his freakish athleticism than an expression of creativity. Furthermore, in what way can we compare the defensive line play to the front court of that particular Lakers team? The loss of Tommie Harris has removed all creativity from the Bears defensive front3. Without his knifing antics inside we are left with no realistic comparison to the majesty of Kareem’s skyhook.

True, the Bears’ defense has a desire to play fast, the one true similarity between these two teams. However, even the speeds of these two conglomerates differ. The Bears use of quickness and agility is a depth charge to the conventional wisdom that defenses must be composed of terrifically huge men. The Lakers of yesteryear were simply the elite manifestation of the speed obsessed 80s4. A team such as the Nuggets possessed the same mindset to simply outscore other teams, but they were significantly less successful.

Aside from the fact that this is comparing a football defense to a basketball offense, it is so impossible for the Bears to consider their defense the gridiron equivalent to the Showtime Lakers. Who knows though? Maybe I’m totally wrong about this and the Bears defense and the Lakers fast-break are truly analogous. And if I am wrong, Mike Brown is totally James Worthy.

1 I’m assuming this refers to the Showtime Lakers rather than the current Kobe Lakers, but you’d have to ask Nathan Vasher to be sure.
2 In this manner, they are similar to the Spurs of today.
3 This is not necessarily a bad thing.
4 Not just in sports. See the concurrent cocaine explosion.