Monday, December 27, 2010

Kamikaze Pilots

This year, I finally got what I wanted for Christmas.


The New York Knicks were cruising past the Bulls, save a few Derrick Rose highlights, and I was getting more feeeback about this unforeseen dominance than "Merry Christmas!!1!!!11!1!" mass texts. I'll like to pretend I was gracious in accepting this praise, knowing that we're bound to kiss this goodbye with a quick first-round exit, but I was more giddy than a fat chick in her prom dress. Finally, the world was taking notice.

I have noticed, however, the desire from fans, from Weehawken to Wyoming, to join forces with the orange-and-blue, to become bandwagon Knicks fans. You didn't have to tell me. I've seen the discreditable tweets, the overjoyed Facebook status (Knicks for the C-SHIP!), and jerseys. UGH.

As I told my friend "Bay Rignall" (name has been changed to protect the innocent), these Knicks (as currently constructed) is the lady friend you KNOW is bad news. She's got a history of heartbreaks (see: 2001-2009), but...she's inventive. And attractive. Always has been. When she's ON, she makes your best friends jealous. But, as the long-term boyfriend (Knicks fans), you KNOW she's got too much baggage to overcome. This season, you're just banking that the sex is good and the hope that this time she'll be able to exorcise her demons.

It's OK to jump on our bandwagon, really. I could use the company. But I've been around the block, too much that I care to admit. I've been with the Knicks during her rehab years and I know how things can trend negative. I'm being overly protective because I know, first-hand, the damage she can do.

But when life is is GOOD.
Real talk, once you hop on the Knicks bandwagon, it's hard to hop off. So, consider my Guide to Sports Bandwagoning as an olive branch, a courtesy warning you of the perils of fandom before the full commitment. (GASP!)

Wish I hadn't used the "C" word there.

OPTION #1. Don't get emotionally invested.
It's easy to get swooned by the fanfare and celebrity of our team. I mean, Drake AND The Hot Judge from Top Chef are staples at our home games now. Remain calm. Try to appreciate the team's success like one appreciates the Met. Mitigate your highs and lows. This way, when we can hedge your feelings as the simple connisseur.

In other words, make us your booty call.
OPTION #2: Be continuously negative and condescending.
For those of you already good at tearing people down and spreading negativity, you know what to do. If you don't, no worries. Say things like, "You KNOW we'll struggle against teams that can rebound!", "Did you Lebron/Wade/Bosh have won 10+ games STRAIGHT?", and "Why does Mike D. play Raymond Felton SO MANY MINUTES?!?!" This way, when we can yell the phrase "I TOLD YOU SO!" in the unquiet darkness with utter disregard for your reputation.

In other words, be a New York Yankee fan.

OPTION #3: Invest your love. But be warned.
This rule goes out to all the people who don't know how to live a single life, who jump from relationship to relationship without considering the erosion that takes place. These are the people that wake up one day spouting untruths like "College basketball is WAY better than the NBA!" and forget how they got there. You just attach and re-attach your love to different bodies, to beat back that looming season of loneliness.

If this sounds like you, I'd reconsider becoming a Knicks fan. We will rope you in for the long haul. Too many layers, too much love to share.

In other words, just be a Miami Heat fan.
OPTION #4: Commit. Marry the New York Knicks already.
Listen, if you're looking for the perfect team, guess what? YOU'LL NEVER FIND IT. You'll always find some chink in the armor, some ill-gotten gain, some irregularity (Knicks DON'T play good defense) that'll drive you CRAZY.

Then, there are those seemingly insignificant things that'll tickle your fancy. Like the fact that Landry Fields leads NBA guards in rebounding. Or, that Amar'e declared himself Jewish (probably to curry favor with Madison Avenue). Or, Wil Chandler's improved pull-up game. They may have not been the attributes that attracted you to the Knicks this Christmas (DID YOU SEE THAT AMAR'E JAM!), but they exist.

And they'll keep you a diehard Knicks fan, for richer or poorer.
(M.B., II)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All Dogs Go To Heaven

My Mom told me never to talk to strangers. But I had to break the rule this one time. New York City was buzzing, all of the heels of his decision to rip apart our unusually flaccid defense.

Plus, I wasn't talking to one person in particular. My sordid cheers were being transmitted to the entire world.


A simple tweet, no? I had it resting in my queue, but declined to share it with the masses. It was too straightforward, too easy, too matter-of-fact. What's the point of adding more junk food to an online society craving fiber? Of course he's playing well. My eyes can tell me that.

Plus, that would be an admission of his departure. And I'm not so sure that's the case.
Thanks to a 24-7 sports news cycle, stories once buried now have more shelf life. There's more inches to squeeze, more storylines to cover, and more empty web pages to fill. Vick, being the polarizing figure that he is, begs for more coverage and more footage. Even though he was gone for almost two years, it felt like he never left.

Is Vick training in jail? Does he need protection? Why did he go to jail for 23 months when some killers of humans go free in less time? Who's going to sign him once he's free? Will he ever play professional football AGAIN? Should I wear my Vick #7 jersey outside?

All the while, Vick served his penance. Amazingly, he stayed in game shape. His desire for greatness never receded, and is only now complimented by a hope for acceptance. Vick doesn't play through those ancient shadows, but as a new man, his challenge is creating a new legacy.
Through fifteen weeks, Vick's been stellar. He's en route to crush his career-high marks in passing (20) and rushing TD's (8). He's already make light work of the outdated passer rating stat (103.5). And he's got his team sitting in the driver's seat of their division (NFC East).
Sure, I get it. He oversaw dogs getting skulls smashed into concrete. The jury's still out on his resurgence. PETA probably still sends letter to the Eagles brass declaring his guilt. But Vick did the crime, and Vick did the time. Everybody deserves a second-chance. Even a dog killer.

Michael Vick is the undisputed MVP. And I dare you to challenge me on it.
M.B., II

Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Ice

"Why are we booing, Daddy?"

Lebron. Cleveland, Ohio. December 2010.

Where do you begin? How do you substantiate and codify an act that drains the life force from your being on a sheer mention? How can a father extract teachable meaning for his son without breaking character and cursing the very thing he once loved?

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! (Ginsberg, "Howl")

"Son, we're booing him because he made his own decision, acted responsibly and looked out for his best interests." That's the answer you'd have to give, right?

But can we kill him for that? The business world has significant canon of moving parts with folks jumping Bear Stearns for JP Morgan, ABC for NBC, tragedy for triumph. Granted, most wouldn't designate an entire hour on a global network to announce our intentions (unless one actually reveled in the hate), but we'd switch teams without blinking.

I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)

"He's such a teddy bear," one young lady said to another as our train sped through bland Connecticut cul-de-sacs. That's what they said about Wilt, Kermit and Shaq. This world has a dangerously fleeting memory, one that can make today's heroes tomorrow's villains.

I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. (Shelley, Frankenstein).

Unlike any transcendent player before him, Lebron was created for us, by us. Oscar was a Negro, Magic a convenient chaos schism, and Jordan his own creation myth. Our ears heard of his triumphal entry, our eyes spawned ESPN Rise and, our mouths declared him King before he even proved himself worthy, and our hearts melted as he vaulted our expectations as a testament and mockery of the Creator.

We took the choice out of his hands and on that Decision night...he was taking it back.

I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation (Shelley, Frankenstein).

When Lebron stepped on the Cleveland parquet that night, re-branded and remodeled, he was hell-bent on redefinition. With 38 points and a total disregard for human life, he became the kind of guy who roots for the bad guys in movies. He even refused to acknowledge his Ohio doxology.

The tender teddy is now an arctic assassin.
Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not (Shelley, Frankenstein).

For James, the Cleveland game only sheds more light on his obvious path to ascendancy.

Black ink must become black ice.

M. A. Benjamin, II

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

Yup, I've begun the precipitous transition to radio. My dude Yung Knox has a kickin' podcast, and asked me to dish on some NBA and NFL stuff. I know...I don't have a NY accent.

You can check it out HERE.

(Don't worry...I'm coming strong with a Roy/Drexler piece in short order.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lyrics to Go (Part 2)

Guess who's back?

Back again?

Basketball's back! Tell a friend! (Oh, you stay relevant is beyond me.)

After a long hiatus, spelled only by a brief tourney in Turkey's capital city, true hoops has returned. The most anticipated season of hoops is upon us, and as my man J-Till said, I don't even need to tell you why. (It has to do with a certain triumvirate in South Beach.)

I started this ode to round ball in Part 1, so definitely check my lyrics there before settling here. This time, I'm gonna go in order, from least to beast, to showcase which squads I think have the stones to bring the noise this season. Remember the team, one song.

Let's get it!

15. Minnesota Timberwolves - A Tribe Called Quest's "Description of a Fool"
Let's recap David Kahn's summer. He traded an established 20-10 guy (only three existed last year) to Utah for a lottery protected first-round pick, failed to sign Rubio again, quickly signed retreads like Luke Ridnour to make cap minimum, and gave Nicola Pekovic 15 million (who?) and Darko Milicic 20 million. Yes, that Darko.

To recap, Kahn turned KG into a lottery protected first round pick. Le sigh.
14. Sacramento Kings - Ne-Yo's "Can't Help But Wait"
Athletic trendy bigs. A guy named Jeter. Jewish Jordan redux. A dash of chaotic excellence (Cousins). Paul Westphal. There's enough upside potential on this team to make Jay Bilas blush.

Also, let's make a note here, lest we forget: 20-5-5. Oscar. Jordan. Lebron. Evans. Hmmm.

13. Memphis Grizzlies - A Tribe Called Quest's "Luck of Lucien"
You know what's funny? The 35 Grizzlies fans thinking that they're going to get Zach Randolph to start the season in shape. You grassroots fans are so sweet.

Don't you see? The walrus is playing his way into a contract. He's trying to get old man Heisley to offer him a sweet deal. Then, he'll spend the next five years languishing and draining your salary cap. Don't fall for it. Goad some sucker team into taking him on for a #1 pick. Get an agile big man and run the floor for baskets.

Trust me, I've lived with this man. I know how he eats. Take the value and run, run...RUN.

Oh wait, you have Chris Wallace as your GM? (#SCREWED.)

12. New Orleans Hornets - Estelle's "American Boy"
Chris Paul (to travel agent): "Hello? Yes, please take me to New York...wait, I'd like to see L.A. Perhaps we can layover in Orlando for a bit...scratch that, I hear Houston's got good BBQ...can we arrange for that NYC flight to take off from New Jers---"

"Wait, hello? Hello? HELLO?"

11. Golden State Warriors - Metro Station's "Seventeen Forever"
This song driven by reckless ambition goes to the team that doesn't know how to quit. Or defend. Or rebound. Or cease to amaze me.

Monta Ellis is out to prove he's worth a big payday. Steph Curry's out to prove this summer's no fluke. David Lee's out to prove he's worth the cash cow of Randolph/Azibuike/Turiaf. Keith Sweat Smart's out to prove he's a more cerebral Don Nelson. I'm out to prove that I listen to non-black music. Success.

10. Los Angeles Clippers - Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic"
As proven by last night's 20-10 performance, Blake Griffin's not your average rookie. He's bringing a welcomed energy to this City of Angels' stepchild squad, even reinvigorating guys like Baron to embrace their own form of reckless abandonment. Blake plays like a guy who's not as good as he is, like Kevin Willis without the look of estranged fear.

As he goes, so do his Clippers. Yes, Baron...he's taken your crown already. You're not even on the Clipper ESPN mag cover. Ouch.
9. Denver Nuggets - D.A. T.R.U.T.H. ft. Ambassador "Star Struck"
I can't wait for La-La to end up on Basketball Wives in 2012. Because that's where she's headed, making all these demands out of her man. Haven't you learned from Shaunie? It's going to crash and burn. And the New York Post will have it boxed off on Page 6.

(Side Note: I really don't think getting Melo makes the Knicks a playoff contender. Rooting for the Knicks is like cheering for the fat girl in every movie except Shallow Hal. There's always that scene where said protagonist runs to the school dance, wearing her mom's debutante dress, and the entire school gasps in awe. If that's all I get out of the Melo trade, so be it.)

I just want people to notice me.
8. Houston Rockets - Israel and New Breed's "I Know Who I Am"
With Pritchard given an unceremonious exit from the team he gave new life (Portland), the NBA's new wunderkind is a fast-talking MIT grad admirably dubbed "Dork Elvis." Daryl Morey has shown some smooth moves in forming a competitive team with the league's rubbish. Think Von Wafer. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Albeit, this team is a congealed one. Yao's got that darned foot, Aaron Brooks isn't paid, and Kevin Martin can't rebound (which pisses off the three of us who play fantasy hoops). But, somehow, they make noise. The misfits pushed Kobe and Co. to the brink before getting dumped at heartbreak hotel by a revisionist version of Shannon Brown. With all the hubbub of Melo, Paul and the sexual gaze of Donald Sterling in the distance, why not Houston as your #8 seed?

7. Portland Trailblazers - A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario"
Every year, I think about picking the Rip City riders as my dark horse...until I realize that Nate McMillan is their coach. Really? Your team can play any style of basketball. Every roster player can ball, so much so that your GM traded a guy with untapped potential for a first-round lottery pick. Heck, you have players other teams would KILL to have hidden overseas. still...can't win. Hmm. Is it time to get Tony Dungy John Calipari on the line?

I'm starting to smell the Sam Bowie after birth.

(If you're the GM here, why not trade Rudy/Batum/Prysbilla/#1 pick to a team (think, Denver) and grab yourself a Grade A talent like a Carmelo? Or, at least offer that to NO for Paul? You don't they'd take that in a heartbeat and move to Vegas? Eff this waiting around crap.)

6. San Antonio Spurs - All American Rejects' "The Wind Blows"
"I know there are times you are impossible; that I should sign a waiver."

There aren't words that can better express the '10-'11 Spurs. I don't know if Timmy's got more magic in that ole top hat. Who knows what Pop's gonna get from Tiago Splitter, the rage of Eastern Europe that's alluded the NBA for way longer than seems pertinent. Parker's flirting with bigger cities for his star attraction, and Manu's got more international mileage than we realize.

But as the song continues on, "I'll pass by but go slow", you can't EVER count out the Spurs. The Spurs are like an ex-girlfriend...just when you think she's completely out of your life, she ends up at a New Year's Eve party, or in your Facebook picture, or at Ruby get it.

5. Phoenix Suns - Chris Brown's "Run It"
I'm not going to make that "11 small forwards" joke everyone's been making, if only because it reminds me of the year we (Knicks) had 7 SF's and 5 PG's ('06). I am going to talk above Taylor Griffin's receding hairline. I am going to talk about Jared Dudley's infatuation with Twitter. I am going to talk about the Suns' medical staff and how they've been able to extend Nash's career with Eastern medicine and medical marijuana. I am going to talk about the P90X machine probably stashed away in Nash's foot locker.

The league knows the Suns' formula for success: Run it. Too bad they've never found a way to stop it.

4. Utah Jazz - Fabolous "Make Me Better" (Remix)
This remix goes out to my dude, Deron Williams, who's three-point rating in NBA 2K9 is so bananas that you can play between the three point lines all game and get 40. We know you can carry this team on your back to the postseason. We know you've got the goods. We know you pronounce your name like Der-on, not De-RON.

But, when an idiot like Kahn offers your GM a can't miss trade, don't think we're doing this because we don't think you're good enough. We do. But if a guy leaves his queen in the middle of the chess board, you've got to take 'em with that bishop (#1 lottery pick).

(When's Jerry Sloan going to win a Coach of the Year trophy? That award has no credibility.)

3. Dallas Mavericks - Roy Jones Jr's "Y'all Musta Forgot"
Do you remember who the #2 seed was last year? The team that gutted the Wizards' roster for prime talent, and sent their overpaid center packing this summer? The team who's owner is a reality TV icon and entertainment mogul? The German tourist that made a guest appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?

Well, Dallas is and are. Jason Kidd's been working on his spot-up game. Jason Terry's still putting up 20 off the pine. And Dirk, well...he's pretty good. Perennial All-Star good. Hall Of Fame good.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder - Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow"
Just because everyone's jumping on the Kevin Durant bandwagon doesn't mean he's overrated. The kid controlled the FIBA tourney to the point where we sat around in mid-September and wondered why we were worried about losing the stepchild tourney in the first place. Kevin put down 7 treys in the close out game. Seven.

OKC is gonna take the Northwest easy. KD alone totally outclasses that region. The fight, therein, lies with the Lake Show. As long as Russell Westbrook plays with his head and not his ego (and takes it to Fisher/Blake every time he sees them) and Jeff Green GETS PAID (see the recurring theme?), we could see these guys hosting Game 3 at the "House That Chris Paul Built, But Didn't Put a Down Payment On So It Got Repossessed" this summer.

And as far as Durant taking the scoring title? DONE.

1. Los Angeles Lakers - Jamie Foxx's "Winner"
A Lakers fan would look at Kobe's 24 rebounds in Game 7 and assert dominance. A Lakers hater would point to the 6-for-24 night and claim Pau should've been named MVP. A Clippers fan would like you to offer you a free "Pooh Richardson" T-shirt. (Alas, it sucks to be owned by a man who gropes Asian women and gets sued by HUD for discriminatory practices.)

Still, here we are, starting at Kobe's chipmunk scowl as he prepares to three-peat. Wait, what? This L.A. team has to be the weakest team to three-peat since the Mikan group. But until we can find a team to dethrone these warriors, LA remains my top seed. Even with Bynum's bum leg.
We out. Lemme know how you feel in the comments.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lyrics to Go (Part 1)

Hello. My name is M.B. It's been five months since my last confession.

Life was simpler back then. I was giving tours in the grays at 30 Rock to despondent tourists, sweating profusely through the wrinkle-free fabric. It was busy season, but something became more important to me than monitoring my sweat glands.

Basketball season was reaching its climax.

She was so frisky back then, tantalizing me and keeping me up late at night. The self-proclaimed King was getting dethroned by the same rube that tore his knee on a dunk after the play ended (Tony Allen). Kobe was scorching the nets in epic fashion against a matador Suns defense. Rondo was doing things I hadn't seen since Scottie and J-Kidd in his prime. And Sheed was being Sheed.

Those were good days.

I've sinned much since then. First, I cheated on her with the melodramatic American pastime (baseball), then moved on to her hotter, older sister (NFL). A man has needs, after all.

Heck, her brother almost forced his way on to me (WNBA)...but homie don't play that.

Truth be told, I'm a hoops head at heart. I've missed you so much, basketball.

Basketball, I've committed to this thing for the long haul. To prove it, I've written my season previews about you with the help of my IPod shuffle. Let's see what happens.


Miami Heat - Wale's "Beautiful Bliss"
Great weather, good food, gorgeous women, glorious living. Before last summer's hurricane washed Lebron James on the Miami coastline (like Elian Gonzalez!), you could argue that the citizens of Miami already lived in a state of bliss. Now, with the King flanked by a sure-fire HOFer and a perennial All-Star (Wade, Bosh), we can add another adjective to an already blessed existence: beautiful bliss.

Will this Heat team with a title? Eh, I really don't think Miami fans care. They'll be just fine enjoying the ride.

Boston Celtics - LL Cool J's "I'm Gonna Knock You Out"
"Don't call it a comeback!"

The first words of LL's first verse were directed at the detractors (read: HATERS) in the game who wrote the sultan of swag off well before his time. To be fair, LL went on to lift weights and make TV shows (In the House) and films (Deep Blue Sea) they had reason to doubt. But...after 13 studio albums, two Grammy nods, and a place in the Long Island Music HOF...we have to agree. Ladies loved Cool James.

Hey, I ain't gon' lie...I totally wrote the C's off last year. Sheed looked like he hadn't done a wind sprint in years, Ray-Ray couldn't buy a basket, and Scalabrine was getting minutes. But they proved me wrong. They owned Dwight one-on-one and took Kobe to seven.

We have to agree. Fellas love the Big Five. (Pause?)

Orlando Magic - D.A. T.R.U.T.H.'s "Star Struck"
Remember last summer? When Kobe went to work out with The Dream?

How'd that turn out? If you haven't watched this clip yet, I'd encourage you to do so. I promise it's not a Rick Roll.

Wait, is that Dwight Howard? Learning post-moves? From Hakeem Olajuwon? Color me finally.

For the record, I've been screaming at Dwight to work with Hakeem for YEARS. I love me some Ewing, but he don't compare. Period.)

Cleveland Cavaliers - Immature's "Please Don't Go"
"Why didn't you tell me? He was my BEST friend."

Awww. Shades of a weeping Roger (er, Jason Weaver) by the bedside of his mom. I have nothing else to say. Cleveland's going to be poo this year. At least you'll still have Mo Williams! (#sarcasm)

Here's, the starting lineup: Mo-Anthony Parker-Moon-Jamison-Varejao. Eek.

Toronto Raptors - Mint Condition's "Breakin' My Heart"
This is Reason Number #1 why the Nuggets better trade Melo before the season's up. Stupidly, the Raptors let an All-Star player walk for nada...and they've got Bargnani as their 2010 star attraction. I doubt SportsCenter bothers to show a highlight of him this year.

Take note, Nuggets. Sometimes, if the only deal for your franchise guy nets you 30 cents on the dollar, you've GOT to take it. Superstars run the show in today's NBA.

(Yup, I shoehorned Mint Condition in here for my own selfish reasons. I've always been incredibly attracted to the brown-eyed babe with the Malcolm X cap from the music video. If I find a 20-30 year old equivalent gal with some sense, I'd immediately take myself off the market.)

New Jersey Nets - Birdman's "Money To Blow"
Funniest subplot of the summer: Watching all the teams last summer that lost out on big-ticket free agents scramble to reach the salary minimum by overpaying mediocre guys. Jordan Farmar? Here's 12 million for 3 years! Troy Murphy? We'll gladly take his 12 million dollars!

For all the money Russian Cuban has to blow, it's great to see him spending it lavishly on the pu-pu platter of Summer 2010. Eventually, once his Nyets move to Brooklyn, we'll see Prochorov drop some Benjamins on worthwhile guys. Blake's looking at you kid.

Philadelphia 76ers - CC Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now"
Yada, yada, yada. Whenever anyone talks about this jam, I always hear the argument about the fat lady who sang the hook gets NO love in the music video. Big girls need love too...I get it. But wasn't this supposed to be a workout video? Geez Louis.

Skip it. I wanna focus on Freedom Williams, a guy who's career should've taken off after dropping a smooth 16 bars twice on the single. What happened? Did he not hook up with the right producers? Did he want too much green? Why didn't he strike while the iron was hot?

Evan "The Villain" Turner is all too similar to Freedom's style, too. He got hot at the right time, hit some big shots, proved his worth as a top-five guy...and then, disappeared. I haven't heard one story about him bringing it in practice, or cleaning up a second-string laden summer league team. For a jack-of-all-trades PG, it really looks like he's a master of none.

The career of Freedom Williams will always remain a mystery to me.

Unfortunately, so will Evan Turner's if he doesn't show up soon.

Charlotte Bobcats - Will Smith's "Freakin' It"
When hip-hop peaked in the late 90's, there was a brief time where anything went. We had rap groups spitting tracks over jazz beats, rappers singing (Eminem), even guys taking on full movie roles with varying success. Some of it was great...and some of it was AWFUL.

Enter Will Smith, he of the "Jiggy" fame and "Bad Boys" success. I remember getting geeked for "Wild Wild West", seeing that movie implode, and then listening to "Freakin' It." Hey God, can I get a mulligan on age 12, day 67?

The album confused me. Weren't MC Lyte and Jazzy Jeff prominently involved? Can't we consider Dru Hill, Biz Markie, and young Lil' Kim a murder's row of talent? I've could've sworn Tatiyana Ali was good on that episode of The Fresh Prince!

This is the story of the 2010 B.O.B.C.A.T.S. Name recognition? HERE. Freaks and geeks? HERE. Hall of Fame head coach? HERE. Eager owner? HERE.

Successful season? ABSENT.
Milwaukee Bucks - Emily King's "Walk in My Shoes"
A sneaky good song goes out to a sneaky talented squad NO one's talking about. The Bucks stole Corey Maggette from Golden State, resigned Salmons for cheap, still have Scott Skiles, and get Andrew Bogut back from the freak leg injury that kept them from taking it to Atlanta last year.
Plus, Brandon Jennings is only gonna get better. You watch.

Indiana Pacers - Fabolous's "Breathe"
Breathe....and GO.

Who's on this team? What happened to Danny Granger this summer? Why does everyone have bad stories about him from Turkey? Where's the parquet floor from the old Market Square Arena? Why does Reggie Miller own so many Kodak cameras?


(/head explodes)

Detroit Pistons - Clipse's "I'm Good"
When did we decide that Joe Dumars was a good GM? He passed on a slam-dunk (Melo) for an unproven Euro, which most forget because his squad stole a championship from LA. He overpaid Rip Hamilton, and then traded his buddy for an A.I. rental. And when they could've easily outbid Utah in the great Al Jefferson heist (Tayshawn + a #1 pick?), Joe decided that he was good.

Really? Who's going to rebound for this team? Who's gonna hustle now that Jerebko ripped his Achilles? Who's the first option on a swing-heavy squad? And for the love of God, is Tracy McGrady going to play more than 10 games? This looks like a train wreck waiting to happen.

Chicago Bulls - Lecrae's "Take Me As I Am"
Derrick Rose was disrespected. We assumed LBJ or Wade would scramble to redefine Jordan's Windy City, take the reins from the kid and make D-Rose a facilatator to their greatness. We didn't care about the fact that D-Rose played his heart out as to go-to player all year. We saw an opportunity to play the GM game and couldn't resist. And he wasn't having it.

After we saw him submarine LBJ's wishes for Chi-town and send Wade packing for sunnier skies, one thing was clear. The Bulls were D-Rose's team, and any newbie with intentions would have to understand and accept D-Rose's place as de-facto leader.

That's why Booz is perfect. He blew it with Lebron back in the early days, and knows it. Boozer understands who he is. He's not as good as Wade or LBJ; heck, he may not be better than Bosh, either. Boozer's seen it all though, and can help Rose mature into a great guard with a great coach (Thibodeau) as mentor.

He was an "as-is" bargain. And a worthy one, at that.

Washington Wizards - Justin Bieber's "Baby"
The song I'm embarrased to say I had in my favorites (for my tour route jokes, I swear!) goes out to that frisky Wizards team. You see, I've been making fun of Jay Bieber for a while now, but here's the thing: His career has wings. With the unprecedented amount of success Justin rolled out (even Aaron Carter didn't reach these levels) and a dearth of artists reaching out to tweens, Bieber can clean up an entire generation. Justin Bieber will have current 12-16 year olds following his career like we did with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

Interestingly, Wall AND Arenas have both reached the same plateau this year (Wall for his upside, Gil for his crazy). But, will Arenas decrease so that Wall can increase? We'll know by Christmas if his ego can handle the demotion.

At the very least, Bieber's got a part in "DreamGirls: Redux" locked up. For sure.(Side Note: I'm still bitter at Eddie Murphy for doing "Norbit." Cost him an Oscar.)

Atlanta Hawks - Kari Jobe's "Revelation Song"
"Joe Johnson, it's about time someone told you, man. YOU'RE AWFUL AT ISO BALL. You freeze out your teammates, catch the ball in bad position, and shoot way too many fadeaways."

"Good thing no one's watching your games! I kid, I kid!"

"Wait...we gave you $124 million dollars?"

New York Knicks - Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy"
(To think...this was all a dream last year...)

"Welcome LeBron Bosh Wade Amare! So glad that you decided to join us! Who knew that you'd be the chief catalyst in swinging Carmelo and CP3 to our team? And frankly, who cares!"

"I hope I'm not being brash, but I need three things from you, Amare; (1) carry over your preseason point totals to the regular season, (2) grab rebounds and look menacing on D, and (3) lure Melo here by Summer 2011!"

"Thanks for playing. I hear there's a great Thai restaurant in Hell's Kitchen!"

(I've missed you sooo much, basketball. That's why I've got a second part to this post for you. Let me take your jacket. Would you like a beverage while you wait?)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sizzle and Steak

I've missed you.

I've missed you, Donovan McNabb, with your propensity to skip passes into your receivers, dismissing the praised concept of YAC. I've missed you too Jane Lynch, with your unabashed wit lending comedic decadence to a show not much more than Broadway in a can. I've missed you most, Phil from Modern Family, as your willingness to flirt with your father-in-law's second wife knows no bounds.
You see, I've missed all of you. And I'm glad you're back.

I always the one month hiatus the TV networks take during the month of August to recharge for Fall. Don't you know this is when I can watch the most TV? Sure, I know the Emmy's are the lynch pin between this dreaded abyss, but geez louis...can I get a twinge of situation comedy with my antipasto? For the love of God, do I have to watch "The Situation" turn into our generation's version of Mr. Furley every day? (Mike, please...don't stop doing what you do.)

I hate you, summer TV, with your meaningless baseball games and award shows. You're like a bad breakup. You leave me sans closure, hounding my black book babes for solace, and then you waltz back into my life with your Labor Day marathons, jump back into my bed, and pretend like you never left. You know I'm gonna let you back. I know you know I'm going to let you back...but I keep falling for your spell. IT'S NOT COOL.

With NFL and NFL Lite in full swing and pilot season ready to take flight, meaningful television is BACK. To celebrate, I've performed a reverse Ben Carson. I've fused the two things I love most (sports/TV) into a super blog. Hooray!
There's a monster in my closet, and it's time to let him out.

San Francisco 49ers (10-6)- "SNL"
I am an NBC Page. Like this guy. I commonly give studio tours inside our building, showing off vacant studios while selling NBC's grandeur via endearing anecdotes and colorful performances. I'm quite good at the latter, actually.

During the tour, we always pass the classic picture of the "Not Ready for Primetime Players". And every time, a ribald guest will overture above the crowd: "This cast was THE BEST. The current cast has NOTHING on CHEVY and GILDA! Uhh, who's that black guy?" (Garrett Morris)

Like SNL, people are always talking about the good ole days of 49ers football, at the expense of the current cast. Remember Montana/Clark? Wasn't Jerry Rice great? What's Roger Craig up to? But fortunately, for both franchises, happy days are here again. With Jay Pharaoh's impressions and Nasim Pedrad's growing popularity, it looks like we're in for a little bit of a comedic renaissance. Oh yeah, the Niners are GOOD and that division SUCKS.

Green Bay Packers (12-4) - "30 Rock"
Is Matt Damon becoming the king of season finales? He badmouthed Ari and Johnny Drama on Entourage, then shimmied his way into a pilot's suit to cap off 30 Rock. What's he up to? He's already got that Good Will Hunting Oscar kicking up dust in the man cave, so maybe he's going for that all-elusive EGOT. (Tracy Jordan/Morgan, you slay/annoy me.)
My problem with actors like Matt sliding into TV roles is this: They're way too good. They expose the weaknesses in your regular cast (Tracy/typecast, Tina/too one-dimensional) and blow everyone else off the screen. When he's in a scene, he dominates the scene.

Aaron Rodgers does the same thing as Packers QB. He's a Top-10 accuracy passer. He completed 17 bombs (40+ yd passes) and had 4,000 yards in 2009. But his O-line's awful (as evidenced by the 14 knockouts he the 1st half), and his RBs are close to becoming waiver wire fodder.

Can 30 Rock continue to evolve past the in-jokes to revolutionize comedy? Can the Packers make the Super Bowl with a passing attack in frigid January? Or will we be too busy starting at Matt Damon/Aaron Rodgers to notice?

Indianapolis Colts (10-6) - The Office
He's the only QB to make the Pro Bowl every year this decade. He's the fastest QB to reach 10,000 and 30,000 passing yards in a career. He's had Kendra Wilkinson's boy toy and the man once known as The Nicest Receiver Who Ever Lived (Marvin Harrison) as targets. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback since sliced bread.

BUT...he's only won one title. He got beat last year and brought back the Manning Face (copyright: Bill Simmons). And, with his team making no measurable improvements while the rest of the league got better, is now the time to count Peyton out?
Yep. Just like Steve Carell, I think Pey-Pey's got another 2-3 years of dominance. However, Peyton's got to overcome typecast role players (Garcon/Pam-Jim), aging cagey vets (Dwight Schrute/Dwight Freeney), and discouraging leadership (B.J. Novak/Jim Caldwell) to get to the promised land. And even then, it's still not a mortal lock. (Steve STILL hasn't won an Emmy. Wow.) 8-8? Not inconceivable.

New Orleans Saints (14-2) - Modern Family
I love seeing that birthmark of Drew Brees' face. After winning a Super Bowl, Drew could've easily upgraded to a $40 haircut and touched the mark off with a plastic surgeon courtesy of Dr. Drew. Easily could've banked another 3-4 commercials based on Super Bowl swag alone. But he didn't.

Deftly, Drew Brees has forced his way into America's hearts with his blemishes and flaws. Just like inner beauty pageants for big girls, Brees is here to stay. And fresh off that Emmy love, "Modern Family"'s not going anywhere either. Here's to another superstar season from both.
Arizona Cardinals (5-11) - "Entourage"
Sitting back, slinging it deep, and rolling with the homies was fun while it lasted. Too bad something's gotta give (Kurt Warner's retirement). This series is cascading down faster than a tidal wave of the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Tennessee Titans (11-5) - "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"
Like "Jimmy Fallon", it's going to take a while for the Titans to come into their own. Like Fallon, they've got a strong base (NBC/Titans' ownership). Like Fallon, the ship is guided by strong, lasting leadership (Lorne Michaels/Jeff Fisher). Like Jimmy Fallon, when it all comes together, it's going to be glorious.

Pittsburgh Steelers (?) - "Parks and Recreation"
Amy Poehler is pregnant. Ben Roethlisberger is getting girls pregnant. Too bad we've gotta wait until midseason to see how this plays out.
Chicago Bears (4-12) - "Outsourced"
Let's have some ad libs fun!

My name is Mike Nolan Rod Marinelli Lovie Smith. My team, the San Francisco 49ersChicago Bears are having problems implementing an effective offense. My job as coach of the 49ersBears is in jeopardy. Perhaps Mike Martz, inventor of the famous "Greatest Show on Turf" and rejuvenator of the Lions49ers offense can help me out. There's no way he'll try to manuever the situation for his own good (destroyed both franchises with his back-biting).

Bears fans, this is a cry for help. At least you'll have those draft picks, right? Oh wait. OUCH.

*(Outsourced = Slumdog Millionaire + hacky comedy. #FAIL.)*

Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) - "Two and a Half Men"
There's only a limited amount of passes Carson Palmer can throw. There's only one half-hour in which to produce a quintessential multi-camera comedy. There's not enough action to go around. There's only room for one funny guy (Charlie Sheen/OchoCinco). I just don't see this working out.

I'm eagerly anticipating the demise of the T-Ocho era.
New York Jets (8-8) - "Glee"
Remember when "Glee" was just an upstart pilot looking for love in the FOX lineup? No longer. A year later, we're dealing with crazy hype, ingratiating exposure, a concert run, and unrealistic expectations. "Glee" is here to stay because we've declared it good with our TV eyes. But it doesn't mean it has to be good.

I don't think "Glee's" as good as it makes us believe. The show's set to expire faster than a milk carton (singing current hits was a bad idea for syndication). The characters have clear, defined weaknesses (how much more can we see the "Proud Papa" look from Mr. Schuester?). Can FOX pretend like everyone's in high school when Finn and Puck start sporting five o'clock shadow?
Unfortunately, this is where the 2010 Jets come in. Too much exposure (Hard Knocks). Too much hype. Too much Mark Sanchez (he's not great yet, and will probably sophomore slump). Too much Rex Ryan. Too much Wood-y. Too much salary. Too many good AFC teams in the mix. I want them to be good, but it stinks too much of the same ole J-E-T-S.

People of the free world, I'm so glad TV's back. Now excuse I set up my DVR box for the week.