After I did my column a few months back on Metallica and the 2010-11 NBA season up to that point, I realised something.
“Holy shit – this is a pretty fucking easy way to churn out some quick columns.”
Basically, I get a bunch of songs together, find something vaguely basketball-related that relates even more vaguely to the lyrics or even the tune of the song, throw in some BS, quotes from my mates and a perverted story of some other kind, and voila. I has column.
However, this time I hit a new low in laziness – instead of picking any songs which have any common theme, I just chucked my iPod on shuffle and decided to work from there. Thankfully, the giant iPod in the sky that controls shuffle was being kind to me as I got served up a bunch of softballs.
Tenacious D – Master Exploder
Key Line: “I did not mean (he did not mean), to blow your mind (to blow your mind) but that shit happens to me, all the time…”
For Blake Griffin, aka “My Favourite Player In The NBA Right Now” and “My Number 1 Man Crush.”
I can’t help it. Griffin’s rookie campaign (if you can call it that) is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. I can’t have a conversation with my uncle Ganesh (the Clips fan) without him getting giddy over Blake – in fact, if he ever went missing I’d assume Uncle G kidnapped him and is hiding him in his dungeon. (I think he has one, but I can’t say for sure). Whether he benefited from spending a year with the Clippers around the traps before actually playing in the NBA is up for debate, but one thing can’t be debated – Blake Griffin is, without a doubt, the most exciting player in the league right now.
Not only that, but he’s managed to do what no other player has ever managed to do before:
a) Taken attention away from the Lakers in LA and even around the league
b) Become the first individual athlete to make me consider giving up my Warriors fandom.
Now I’ll be honest here – in all the years I’ve been a Golden State fan (15 this year) I think I’ve threatened to quit on them about 8, 327 times – but never before has one player ever made me consider switching teams. Not even because I’m quitting on them – simply changing teams. And my favourite ballers as a kid (Allen Iverson, Jason Williams, Steve Nash) were all on other teams. But only Blake makes me want to be a fan of his team just so I can cheer unadulteratedly (my new word) for his team. And honestly? If it wasn’t for the racist old bastard who owns the Clippers, I would. They’re like having a porn star as a mistress while you’re married to a Sunday School teacher.
More importantly to everyone other than myself, for the first time since…well, ever? 2006? People are really interested in the Clippers. I called this one in my draft recap so I feel especially smart, but this is a young team with an incredibly bright future…as long as cheap-arse Sterling ponies up the cash for them. And I think he does. Sterling my have been a byword for cheapness (and any other number of unsavoury behaviours) in his past 30 years of Clipper ownership, but he’s also a businessman with an obsession with making money. He surely realises that for the first time in his tenure, he has a squad that can not only contend for the title in a few years but, more importantly, make him a lot of money through jersey sales (trust me – everyone will be rocking a Griffin jersey soon enough), ticket sales (he’ll be able to charge Laker prices soon enough as people flock to see Blake, as well as Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan who are great to watch in their own right) and other myriad ways one can make money in the NBA today.
Pearl Jam – Yellow Ledbetter
Key Line: There would be one if I could make any of them out.
I chose the one song with the single hardest-to-interpret lyrics in existence (all Cocteau Twins or other shoegaze music excluded) to explain the confusion surrounding the Carmelo Anthony saga. Needless to say, I fully expect to hear that the current three-teamer with 13 players is off the table within the next few days and that Denver and New Jersey are working on one with 17 teams and 68 players or something to that effect.
No, I actually wanted to discuss something else completely here – why do we care so much about Carmelo’s future? With LeBron or Wade, whether we agreed with the move they made or not, we cared because we knew we were talking about possibly two of the three best players in basketball right now who’s moves would ultimately shape the league for years to come. Can anyone honestly argue that Carmelo’s activities will have such an impact, or that he’s even in the class of Wade and LeBron?
Personally (this is just my opinion, but I suspect most people agree with me) I often get the feeling that Melo is one of those “guys who seem like a franchise superstar more than they really are”. Just to clarify, a “Franchise superstar” is defined in Ash’s Disctionary as:
franchise superstar (noun) a. a player who is the most visible face of a franchise, who’s jersey is the most popular and who appears in all your team’s advertising b (NBA). A baller who’s mere presence makes his team good for at least 45-50 wins, no matter how average his supporting cast.
In the NBA today, there are only five guys who I would put in both categories: LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Howard and Durant. I think Derrick Rose gets there by the end of this year, Blake G will get there is a year or two and Amare has shown potential in New York (along with meeting the one-name recognition test) but gets an incomplete for now. Otherwise, there’s no-one in the NBA right now who I think can make it. There are borderline guys – Chris Paul and Dirk Nowitzki come to mind – but I don’t think Carmelo is even borderline. He is what he is – a guy who can be an no.1 scoring option (note the difference between this and a franchise superstar), fill the stat sheet and sell tickets/jerseys, but isn’t a natural leader or clutch (too many playoff flops).
The best situation for him would definitely be New York, and honestly I think he signs there in the off-season post-lockout or whenever eventually. I don’t see him making this Jersey team (especially with Brook Lopez and Devin Harris both taking steps back from last year) into playoff contenders unless he’s really better than I think he is. If I were Melo, I’d just tell the Nuggets FO “don’t waste your time screwing around with the Nets, I’m only going to sign with the Knicks. So go ahead and either do a deal with them or get the best you can with any other team as long as you let them know that I’m just a rental”.
OK, there’s my 2c. And I imagine that to most people it’ll be as confusing as the lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter.
Change – Blind Melon
Key Line: “I know we can’t all stay here forever; So I wanna write my words on my face today”
This goes out to one of the least-reported stories of the NBA season so far – the fact that, in all likelihood, the Kings are moving out of Sacramento.
I am, and always will be, a supporter of small market teams as long as they’re well managed, put out a competitive product, have fans that support their team and have ownership willing to pay given their relative competitive disadvantage. San Antonio and Utah have shown for decades how small market basketball can and should work, and Oklahoma City have been following in their footsteps.
In the early part of the past decade, the Kings were another model small market team – they had one of the most exciting on-court products in the league, Arco Arena was packed and loud and their front office kept the chains rolling led by GM Geoff Petrie (who I’ve praised many times before) all while the Maloofs paid to keep the team together.
Now, however, they’re a franchise in disarray. Since C-Webb left town and they were no longer a title threat, the Maloofs stopped spending money and started looking for ways out of town as soon as they realised they wouldn’t get a new arena built for them. Arco itself stopped selling out as the team went from a perennial playoff team to the lottery.
Things aren’t looking much better even after a few years of high draft picks. DeMarcus Cousins is incredibly talented, but it seems that there was more truth to his reputation as a knucklehead than I realised. Tyreke Evans seems to be counting the days until he can leave Sacramento. The rest of the team is a mish-mash who won’t be contending for a while. And now ownership are being more aggressive about looking for potential new places to move. Anaheim seems to be high on the list, but any city with a new arena would have to be up there – St. Louis and Kansas City (the former home of the Kings) are worth remembering. Obviously Las Vegas can’t be forgotten (especially given the Maloofs’ role in the casino business) and there is of course the elephant in the room that is Seattle, but given that any team that moved there would have to take the Sonics name and the Kings are a historical franchise in their own right (and I can’t see Stern ever committing to Sacramento again, hence, no deal to leave the Kings name and records behind) I don’t see it happening. I do think Seattle gets an expansion team in the next decade (or the NBA moves the Hornets there once Chris Paul walks as a free agent and they’ve got nothing left) but it won’t be the Kings.
As regular readers of my shit will know, my best mate Fish is a die-hard Kings fan, one of the converts to the early-2000s teams that never left. He says that if the Kings left Sacramento he wouldn’t care that much cause he’s not from there “but if they moved to Kansas City I’d become a Clippers fan. If Blake Griffin was still on the team.” (Fish shares my love of Blake, and as a mad Oakland Raiders fan he hates Kansas City). I guess I’d feel similar, although I’d disapprove of a move to Anaheim far more than KC. Not only do SoCal residents already have two teams to pick from, but I hate the idea of a small-market team moving to a big market.
Anyway, my advice to Sacramento residents and Kings fans (if any actually read this blog) – get out to Kings games while you can and support your team. Write your fandom on your faces today, as it were.
Anyway, since I’m working two jobs right now to pay off my debts from my European jaunt and to be able to potentially afford a new car, I won’t be blogging much until the playoffs. Until we meet again, peace out. And if you could buy a Plan International child sponsorship if I approach you in the street, I would really appreciate it.