Friday, December 31, 2010

NBA Tattoo Manifesto Installment 6: Mike Bibby

Name: Mike Bibby

Team: Atlanta Hawks
Position: Point Guard
College: Arizona

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195 lbs.

Mike Bibby only played two years of college ball at the University of Arizona.  In his first season, he led the Wildcats to a national title over the University of Kentucky.  Following his sophomore year, Bibby was drafted second overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies, where he played until 2001 when the Grizzlies moved to Memphis.  Shortly after the move, Bibby was traded to Sacramento for Nick Anderson and Jason Williams (the white one, not the one who killed his limo driver and not the one who crashed his motorcycle.)  Bibby guided Sacramento to the Western Conference Finals the following season, the highlight of his time with the Kings.  In 2008, Bibby was traded to Atlanta, where he has been playing ever since.

Mike comes from a large family of professional athletes.  His father, Henry Bibby, was a former NBA player for the Philadelphia 76ers.  His uncle, Jim Bibby, played professional baseball for 4 teams.  He has two cousins who are professional athletes: Robbie Findley, a forward for Nottingham Forest and the U.S. National Team, and Shaun Mcdonald, a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Bibby's sister is married to Eddie House.

Exhibit #1: Assorted
Location: Lower Arms

Mike has a lot of interesting tattoos, many of which are dedicated to his family.  On his right wrist, Mike has his girlfriend's name "Darcy" tattooed.  Darcy is the mother of Mike's 4 children - Michael, Janae, Mia and Nylah.  Mike has each of their names tattooed on different parts of his body as well.

On his wrists, Mike has tattoos of his favorite psalms: 27 and 65.  For those of you who don't know those off the top of your head, those are "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation.  Whom Shall I fear?" and "Praise awaits You, oh God, in Zion.  To You our vows will be fulfilled."  He also has "WWJD" on his left wrist. 

Mike loves his Lord and savior.

Exhibit #2: NBA Hoop
Location: Left Leg


Moving on.

Exhibit #3: "Only God Can Judge Me"
Location: Right Calf

Actually Mike, I just judged you.  I said that net tattoo was gay and then immediately moved on, as if to say "This tattoo is so gay that I will waste no more time on it."  This tattoo is almost as gay as that one.  If I were you, I would start spending more than 20 minutes thinking about the things I permanently emblazen on my body.  "Only God Can Judge Me" is just a different way of saying, "I know I'm a fuck up by society's standards." 

I know you're a professional athlete and everyone probably sucks your nuts every time you come up with an idea, but you should just hire somebody to be your "no" guy.  He would have definitely put the breaks on these two disasters.

Exhibit #4: "Team Dime"
Location: Upper Back

By far Mike's best tattoo, at least until he screwed it up by putting his relatives' likenesses around it.  Why do I like it so much?  Simple.  Its because "Team Dime" is clearly a gang symbol, which makes me infinitely fascinated by it.  Don't believe me that its a gang sign?  Here's the rest of Mike's crew showing off their respective "Team Dime" tats.  Something tells me this group of young gentlemen didn't gather to raise money for their local girl scout troop. 

Anyway, back to how Mike screwed this tat up.  On his left shoulder is his mother, Virginia, who appears to be pissed about something - probably that her son tattooed her likeness next to a gang symbol.  On his right shoulder are his grandparents.  Mike's grandfather looks like one of the crackheads from The Wire and his grandmother, I'm sorry to say, I mistook for Mao Zedong.  That's not a joke.  I spent 5 minutes googling "Mike Bibby Mao Tattoo" before I realized that it was his Nana.
Not an attractive woman. 

What makes the "Team Dime" thing more interesting is that since Bibby signed with Jordan's Jumpman label, "Team Dime" has become a major part of the company's marketing campaign, as shown below in Bibby's personal "Team Dime: Air Force One" line of shoes.  So the biggest, most successful shoe company on the planet is affiliating itself with a street gang?

Only in America.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tucker Carlson is a Gary, and I Investigate Capital Punishment

I don't know if any of you caught this little piece of news last night, but Tucker Carlson has a pretty unique perspective on the whole Michael Vick dog-fighting thing.  Carlson, in a panel discussion on Fox News, was discussing President Obama's praise for Jeffrey Lurie, the president of the Philadelphia Eagles, for giving Michael Vick a second chance.  Carlson disagreed, saying: 

"I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself.  I believe fervently in second chances.  But Michael Vick killed dogs. And he did in a heartless and cruel way.  And I think, personally, he should have been executed for that."

These comments took me completely by surprise.  Not because Tucker Carlson would say those things, but because Tucker Carlson had a platform from which to say those things.  I was under the impression that Tucker Carlson's career was pronounced dead shortly after the whole Jon Stewart-Crossfire thing.  Unfortunately, I see that Fox News has decided to scoop his bow-tie wearing ass up and put him back on the air.  Please indulge me by allowing me to teach Tucker the error in his ways.

First of all, relax Gary!  You're getting way too bent out of shape.  After all, Michael Vick didn't kill a human being.  He killed a few dogs.  As much as the canine lovers and the PETA freaks would like you to think its the same thing, its not.  In fact, there's a pretty big distinction to be made between the two.  Human beings have all kinds of abilities and emotions that animals don't have, which is why we can justify killing cows, sheep, and pigs every day.  If we actually thought about a pig's feelings just before it dies, we'd all be vegetarians.  So why is it different with dogs? 

Its different with dogs because we invite dogs into our homes, they grow up with our children, they become part of our families.  A cow is nothing more than a few steaks and baseball glove to us, but it has as much ability to love as a dog does - its just kind of tough to keep in the family parlor.  We don't execute butchers, so why would we execute a guy who killed a few dogs?  Vick served an appropriate sentence, is a permanent public pariah, and will forever be remembered as 'the dogfighting guy'.  Isn't that enough?

Don't get me wrong, I would prefer it if we could start executing more people.  It would rid society of some burdensome individuals, clear out some room in our nation's over-crowded prisons, and save a lot of tax-payer money.  Its a win-win-win situation.  I don't want to execute drug-addicts, thieves, or animal-abusers.  Hell, I don't even want to kill most of the murderers.  I just want to execute dangerous people who have absolutely no chance of being rehabilitated.  That's supposedly the purpose of the penitentiary system - rehabilitation.  If a person does not have the capacity to be rehabilitated, why should he or she continue to burden us with their existence?

Think I'm being barbaric?  Let me show you the logic behind my ideas using the guys from MSNBC's "All Prison, All the Time" documentary series. 

This guy in the picture to the left bashed his parents' heads in with a baseball bat, then he ate their brains.  He's schizophrenic, so he hears voices that tell him to do crazy shit.  The impression that I got from the LockUp interview was that if he were to get out of prison and forget to take his pills one day, he'd end up doing it all again.  You might think that I'd want to see this guy executed. 

I don't. 

He's serving a life sentence and will therefore spend the rest of his life appropriately medicated, so he's not a danger to anyone.  He's remorseful for his actions, and he's able to interact constructively within his isolated environment.  There's no reason to execute the guy.  His state of mind can be corrected with medication, and he can live the rest of his life as meaningfully as one can in a penitentiary.  The problem is addressed.

Troy Kell
Troy Kell, on the other hand, I would love to see get the chair.  The other night I watched Gladiator Days, a documentary that tells the story of Troy's life in Nevada, where he murdered a guy for hitting on his girlfriend when he was 17 years old.  In the time since he went to prison, Troy has become an active white supremacist and murdered a fellow inmate who was serving 2 years for a drug conviction.  When I say that he murdered the guy, that's not nearly strong enough.  Troy had one of his buddies hold the guy down while he stabbed him 45 times with a shank.  He's currently being held in solitary confinement because he's suspected of having planned the murders of several other African American inmates in the time since.  

This asshole is clearly unredeemable.  Its not like he's going to wake up one day, realize the error in his ways, and devote his life to the Lord.  Can't we just agree that society would be better off without him, strap him to a gurney, send a few cc's of potassium chloride into his arm, and call it a day? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pro Bowl Rosters Were Announced Today

Pro Bowlers were announced today.  As usual, I have some concerns.

Issue #1

How in the blue hell did the 5-10 Dallas Cowboys get more Pro Bowlers than the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears?  How do they get more than the NY Giants or the Washington Redskins when both of those teams finished ahead of them in their division?  And what about the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles?  They're going to finish 10-6, make the playoffs, and destroyed the Cowboys when they played head-to-head, and they got the same number of Pro-Bowlers as the once 1-8 Dallas Cowboys.  I can accept Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware.  I could have done without the rest.

I know how this shit keeps happening.  Its the same reason that the AL All Star team always includes the whole Yankees and Red Sox starting lineups - the leagues are stupid and they allow the fans to vote.  And I can't even complain too much about the NFL.  At least in the NFL the fans' vote only counts for 1/3 of the total ballot.  In baseball, they're stupid enough to give the fans total control over a decision that affects home field advantage in their championship.

Why not just let the sportswriters decide?  Or maybe the coaches?  Or here's an interesting idea: how 'bout the players?  You know, the people who go out there and play every Sunday.  The guys who actually have an idea of what its like to try to match up with the other guys on the field.  I bet Andre Johnson can give you a much better idea of whether or not Cortland Finnegan is a good defensive back than can. 

Side Note: Is there any better way to tell the world that you're an enormous pervert than by putting '69' in your email address or screen name?  Whenever I encounter such a person, I make a mental note to make sure he or she is never left alone with children.  I mean, what better way to establish yourself as a creep than by putting a sexual reference in something as superfluous as a username?  My advice, just don't use those digits under any circumstances.  I don't care if you were born in 1969.  I don't care if the digits are preceded by 'fanofthemoonlanding'.  Its just not a good idea.  You don't need the bad vibes that come from being lumped in with teenagers and sexual deviants.

Issue #2

Aaron Rodgers got robbed!  He missed 3 games and still put up more yards than Matt Ryan.  His quarterback rating was 10 points higher than Ryan's, he averaged 2 more yards per catch, and he outperformed him in their head-to-head matchup. 

And to those of you who are saying, "The Falcons are the #1 seed in the NFC and the Packers are still fighting to get into the playoffs", you're missing the point.  This is an individual award, the kind that got handed out before the douchebags in this country decided to start giving every kid a trophy.  The Pro Bowl isn't about the team.  Its about the individual.  And Aaron Rodgers was better this year, as evidenced by every statistical category.  If Rodgers hadn't lost 2 of his biggest weapons (Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant) at the start of the season, the statistical divide would be even greater.  In fact, so would the team divide.  The Packers would be the #1 seed in the NFC, and the Falcons would be coming to visit them.

Issue #3

Why are we still actually having a football game for the Pro Bowl?  Isn't it enough just to name the players to the team and let them have their honors?  Why is the NFL wasting the money to host a football game that generates no revenue from television and needlessly puts the players in harm's way?  I've got an idea for next year:

Pick the right players.  Don't play the game.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Good Friend Inspires a New Segment on The Daily Anything

So I have this buddy named Spencer, a good friend of mine from Saint John Fisher.  We played soccer and basketball together all through college, but we didn't start spending a lot of time together until our senior year when we moved in just down the hall from one another.  Spencer is one of the smartest people I've ever met - a lit major with a great analytical mind, and quick with a joke when the situation calls for one.  He is a little hyper-active and always competitive, which makes him fun to hang out with even in non-competitive situations.  He's always trying to win everything, whether its a basketball game or a battle of wits.  In some ways, he kind of fits the description of the people I'm about to describe.

I'm not writing about Spencer because I'm trying to sniff his throne, but because I want to fill you in on the context of what I hope will become a recurring segment on The Daily Anything.  Ya see, Spencer developed a lot of unique one-liners - quips that you couldn't understand unless you were part of his circle.  If any of you have ever heard me call someone "Sheeps" or yell "Pull!" like a skeet-shooter, those lines are creditable to Spencer.  But he was famous for one other line - a line that I still use to this day even though I haven't seen Spencer since Seaway Festival '08.  Its a line that I use when someone is:

A) over-excited about something,

B) over-competitive, or;

C) out of control, in one way or another.

When someone is guilty of one of those things, you will frequently hear me utter the words, "Relax, Gary!" 

To tell someone who is not named Gary to relax is a very simple joke, with a very simple premise.  It implies that since people named Gary are frequently guilty of one of the infractions listed above, and you are currently guilty of one of those things, you must be a "Gary".  Anyone can be a Gary, even if they're not named Gary.

Think the correlation doesn't work?  Think its bogus that all Garys are guilty of those infractions?  Well, noone has ever been able to show me a Gary who wasn't guilty of one of those things.  In my own life, I have a neighbor named Gary who is guilty of C, a cousin named Gary who is guilty of B, and a guy who I graduated with who is guilty of all 3.  Or if we look to celebrities, we can find more examples.  As far as I can tell, the most famous Garys are:

Gary Busey
Gary Coleman
Gary Condit 
Gary Shandling
Gary Sheffield

A crazed film-actor with a metal plate in his head, a black midget who was famous during the 80s, lost his fame and eventually ran for governor of California in 2003, a former United States senator suspected of the murder of one of his aides with whom he was having an extra-marital affair, a shitty comedian whose had entirely too much plastic surgery, and a steroid-using former baseball player whose controversial career included having been shot while trying to rob a convenient store.

The theory holds true.  I defy you to find a Gary who doesn't fit the mold.  It just can't be done.

And so I'm introducing a new segment for The Daily Anything.  It is simply titled:

"Relax, Gary!"

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Case of Writer's Block & My Internal Bullshit Defense Mechanism

Its Monday morning.  I'm sitting in the office, trying to find something to blog about. 

Sometimes I just get a case of writer's block - no ideas floating around in this huge melon of mine.  Its probably a side effect of the massive amount of Genny Light, taco dip and buffalo mac & cheese I consumed during the game yesterday.  Or maybe its just the Monday Morning Malaise that I frequently write about. 

Either way, its not like I'm completely without ideas.  I could write about Thursday evening when I ventured out to The Place to find all my friends in a drunken stupor, but you've all heard that story before in one form or another. 

I could recap the NBA games I watched on Saturday, analyzing why the Lakers sucked and how I found myself cheering for the NY Knicks.  But there have already been a million sportswriters who've analyzed the Lakers' weaknesses, and the reason I was rooting for the Knicks is very simple: I love Amare Stoudemire. 

Tough to write more than 100 words about that.

I could tell you about all the cool stuff I got for Christmas, but people try to tell me that kind of shit all the time and I just ignore them.  I just nod and repeat the words "uh huh", "cool", and "nice" to disguise the fact that I'm not listening to a word that's coming out of their mouths. 

This happened to me this morning when one of my co-workers started complaining about the gifts that her brother-in-law got her sister for Christmas: something about a diamond necklace, an HDMI cable, and a lottery ticket.  I don't know.  I stopped paying attention immediately after the words "lottery ticket".  The words "I don't give a fuck" couldn't possibly have described how little I cared about this conversation, so I went through the motions of pretending I cared by turning on what I like to call the "Internal Bullshit Defense Mechanism" - or IBDM.  Every guy has an IBDM, but mine is particularly sensitive.  It responds to even the slightest increases in bullshit by putting my mind into a sleep-like state and my mouth on automatic pilot. 

Mom nagging me about something?  "Uh huh" 

Friend going on and on about their fantasy football team?  "Cool"

Co-worker trying to tell me about all the useless shit their sister got for Christmas?  "Nice"

Its an all-purpose substitute for the words "I don't care."  They get what they want: someone to tell their bogus stories to.  I get what I want: not actually having to listen to their bogus stories.  Its a win-win proposition.  If they notice what I'm doing and are offended by it, I explain that I chose a more polite way of doing what I actually wanted to do in the first place - tell them to shut up. 

The Internal Bullshit Defense Mechanism: nature's way of preserving relationships.

Friday, December 24, 2010

NBA Tattoo Manifesto Installment 5: Amare Stoudemire

A very merry Christmas to all the readers of the NBA Tattoo Manifesto and the Daily Anything.  One of my favorite annual holiday traditions is the full slate of NBA games that David Stern throws at us on Christmas.  NBA games starting at noon and ending at bedtime - its a beautiful thing.  This year, the Christmas NBA lineup is as follows:

12:00 p.m. - Chicago Bulls                   @ New York Knicks
2:30   p.m. - Boston Celtics                 @ Orland Magic
5:00   p.m. - Miami Heat                      @ Los Angeles Lakers
7:30   p.m. - Denver Nuggets               @ Oklahoma City Thunder
10:00 p.m. - Golden State Warriors      @ Portland Trailblazers

Enjoy the festivities.


            Name: Amare Stoudemire

            Team: New York Knicks
            Position: Power Forward
            College: N/A

            Height: 6'10"
            Weight: 240 lbs.

Amare is the first bona fide superstar highlighted by the NBA Tattoo Manifesto, and I must admit that it saddened me to list him as a New York Knickerbocker.  As a lifetime Suns fan, I hated to see Amare leave because I knew it would set the franchise back and would probably prevent Nash from getting another chance to win a title.  I would say that I wish that Steve Kerr had traded Amare at the deadline, but that run to the Western Conference Finals last year was incredible and it definitely wouldn't have happened without Stoudemire.  So I am resigned to the fact that Amare's a Knick, the Suns are an average NBA team again, and this spring I probably won't be cheering for them to win the title - probably just to win a couple of playoff games. 

Amare's tattoos are all religious themed, and since this post is coming out the day before we celebrate the birth of Christ, I thought it would be nice to celebrate by poking fun at Amare's unique way of expressing his spirituality.

Exhibit #1: "Black Jesus"
Location: Neck

Now I don't want to make generalizations about any specific group of people, but anyone who would tattoo "Black Jesus" on the side of their neck is a pretty likely candidate to be a touch on the arrogant side.  Or maybe I'm misinterpreting what Amare's trying to say.  Maybe I shouldn't be equaiting "Black Jesus" as meaning that Amare is the African version of Jesus of Nazareth, the savior of the Christian faith.  Perhaps he meant the other Jesus, my personal favorite Jesus, John Turturo's character from The Big Lebowski.

"Nobody fucks with the Jesus."
How much of an arrogant pric do you have to get a "Black Jesus" tattoo?  By doing so, you're basically saying, "You know that guy whose message you all devote your lives to?  Well I'm him, reincarnated."  Its a bold move, and Amare's not the only NBA player to undertake it.  Other NBA players with some version of that tattoo include Brandon Jennings and J.R. Smith.  Sweet company, Amare.

Side Note 1: If I were to make a list of rules that I try to live my life by, the following would be near the top:

If at any point you have anything in common with J.R. Smith, you should stop doing that thing. 

Or in other words: Don't do as Black Jesus would do.

Side Note 2: Do you think its a coincidence that all three Black Jesuses are offense-only players?  Is it a coincidence that they all put up big numbers but are huge liabilities because they refuse to burn any extra calories on the defensive end.  I have no evidence to back it up, but I think that there's definitely a correlation here.

Exhibit #2: Star of David
Location: Left Hand

Maybe Amare really is committed to this whole "Black Jesus" thing.  After all, Jesus was a Jew and Amare did spend part of the summer in Israel researching scripture and trying to find his Jewish heritage.  Amare believes that his mother's side of the family has Jewish lineage, so he went to Israel to get in touch with his inner-Jew.  In honor of the trip, Amare had a star of David tattooed on his left hand. 

I bet J.R. Smith and Brandon Jennings can't demonstrate that kind of commitment to their "Black Jesus" claims. 

Since Amare's trip in July, there has been speculation that the pilgrimage was about trying to establish a Jewish lineage so that Amare could play for the Israeli national team in 2012.  Amare debunked those claims, saying "I'm looking forward to playing in the 2012 Olympics ... for Team USA."

Exhibit #3: "Nobody Knows" & Jesus Holding Child
Location: Left Arm
"Nobody Knows" ... what this fucking tattoo means.

My best guess is that "Nobody knows" is a reference to that old song "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen," but what the hell would that have to do with Jesus holding a child?  I'm lost on this one.

Side Note: It would have been awesome if Amare had his face drawn in the place of Jesus'.  It would have made the tattoos more consistent, and would have confirmed so many of my beliefs. 

Exhibit #4: Matthew 20:16
Location: Chest

"So the last will be first and the first will be last, for many are called but few chosen." - Matthew 20:16

Its an important portion of Jesus' ministry - Jesus' attempt to welcome Gentiles into his gospel while telling the Jews that simply being Jewish and believing in God isn't enough to earn them eternal life.  Its meant to emphasize the hospitality of Jesus' ministry, that its open to all, but that few will be able to meet the demands of following Jesus' teachings.

I also like the fact that Amare took some artistic license with the tattoo by adding "God blessed the child that can hold his own" below the bible verse.  Nothin' like streetin' up the gospel verse with a good ol' fashioned nugget of urban wisdom.

Instead of Matthew 20:16, Amare should have just put "me".  After all, he is the Black Jesus.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The 9/11 First Responders Bill

Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senators thought that it would be disrespectful to the institution of the Senate to work over the holidays to pass a bill that would give 9/11 First Responders medical compensation for the various diseases they are battling from the fumes they inhaled saving people's lives.  Instead, they've spent the past month fighting their asses off to extend tax cuts to Americans making more than $250,000 a year.

Jon Stewart decided to call them out on that.  I thought I'd share.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Worst Responders
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why I'm Not Impressed by the UConn Women's 'Record'

I have been avoiding ESPN at all costs, and its only partially because I can't get any NBA and college basketball highlights due to the NFL's monopoly over ESPN broadcasting during football season.  I have been avoiding ESPN because I can't stand to listen to otherwise respectable sportscasters over-hype a record that, upon closer examination, isn't all that impressive.

"Jake, you're an asshole.  You have no respect for the women's game."

I concede both points, but hear me out.  I don't care about the UConn women's 'record' for 2 reasons:

1) People keep claiming that the UConn women are breaking the UCLA men's record; they're not. 

They are establishing a women's record, not breaking a men's record. 

Sports records are measured by gender because we compete separately by gender.  We compete separately because if men's and women's teams competed against one-another, the men's teams would win - huge.  Whether you're talking about basketball, tennis, volleyball, golf, or soccer, professional men will always beat professional women - and badly.  That's why they play separately. 

I know Jemele Hill will say otherwise, but anyone who follows sports knows that if Candace Parker played 48 minutes for the Detroit Pistons, her line would appear as follows: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 5 turnovers.  And she'd only have 5 turnovers because Rodney Stuckey and Rip Hamilton would stop giving her the ball after the fifth time one of her chest-passes got picked off by the slowest guy on the other team. 

Ya know what?  Bad comparison, those are pros.  Lets stick to the college game.  Forget about the UConn women beating a Division 1 men's basketball team.  It just would not happen.  And I'm not just talking about the Dukes and Michigan States of D-1 men's basketball.  I'm talking about the IUPUI's, the Iona's, the Morgan States, the Lehighs, and the Nichols States (Go Colonels!)  Sorry ladies.  No way.  Not happening.  Those guys are too big, too strong, and too athletic to lose even to the dominant UConn women.

I'm not saying this stuff to be mean, just to prove a point.  If men and women competed against one-another, women would have exactly zero records. Thus, women have their own records and journalists can't pick and choose which records are gender-neutral and which one's aren't.  UConn holds the women's record; UCLA holds the men's.  End of discussion.

2)  Neither record is all that impressive in the first place.

In the early 1970s, when UCLA was racking up wins and establishing its 88-game streak, UCLA was the place to play in men's college basketball (or as it was called back then: college basketball).  .  They had it all: the best coach (John Wooden), the biggest booster (Sam Gilbert), and the richest tradition.  As a result, they got all the brightest stars.  Big deal that they managed to rack up 88 wins with Bill Walton, Lew Alcindor, and a cavalcade of future NBA/ABA superstars.  Yahoo! Sports' Gregg Doyle points out that behind Kareem, Walton, and the other starters during UCLA's epic run sat Swyn Nater, a guy who ended up averaging a double-double over 11 seasons in the NBA.  Nater wasn't good enough to see the court for John Wooden. 

If you have a guy who sat on your college bench for 4 years and ended up averaging a double-double in the NBA, I'm not impressed by how many wins you rack up in a row.  That's not even athletic competition - its a waste of time for the other teams.  I am much more impressed by Illinois nearly running the table back in '04-'05.  Sure they had Deron Williams, arguably the best point guard currently in the NBA, but who else?  They certainly weren't stacked like UCLA was, and with the level of competition in D-1 college basketball today, bangin' out 29 straight is a greater accomplishment than UCLA's 88 in a row.

Moving forward to the present-day, the UConn women's team is the equivalent of Wooden's UCLA teams, as shown by the following statistic:

UConn has 11 players currently on its roster.
8 of them were McDonald's high-school All Americans.

That's not a level playing field.  There is only one women's college program that can steadily compete with UConn's recruiting ability, and that's Tennessee.  Baylor, Rutgers and Duke get good players, occasionally All-Americans, but their teams are never stockpiled with the top talent that UConn and Tennessee are. Yet everyone's impressed that they've rattled off almost 90 wins.

Lets put that in perspective as far as men's talent:

If we were to take 8 of the top McDonald's All-Americans from the 2002, 2003, and 2004 drafts and put them on a college team for 4 years, would you be surprised if they won 89 straight games?  Lets see what the squad could potentially look like:

PG - Chris Paul                                                      Bench: Chris Bosh
SG - Carmelo Anthony                                                      Josh Smith
SF - Lebron James                                                            Raymond Felton
PF - Amare Stoudemire
C -  Dwight Howard

Sure, Dwyane Wade would have been at Marquette to try to stop this juggernaut.  Deron Williams and the boys would have been at Illinois, and Sean May and the boys would have been at UNC.  But would they have a chance?

Absolutely not.  In fact, we'd have been shocked if another team came within 30.

On top of that, only 1 of the 4 women's teams listed above plays in the same conference as UConn, so they have (at most) 2 challenges a year within their own conference - and those aren't even fair fights.  Lets say that they add either Tennessee, Duke, or Baylor in a given season, and we're up to 3 challenges in the first 30 games of the season.  Let's then say that they have 2 challenges in the NCAA tournament, add those to the other 3, and UConn actually only plays about 5 games a year that they could actually lose.  That's 15 games that UConn could have lost in an 88-game span.  Today's NCAA Men's teams play at least that many tough games in a season.

Think I'm over-estimating their inherent recruiting advantages?  Think it might just be good coaching and hard work?  Lets go back to Gregg Doyel from Yahoo! Sports:

     Of UConn's 88 straight wins, 86 have been by 10 points or more. Against ranked teams
     like Florida State, UConn has won by an average of 25 points per game. Against
     unranked teams? That's when you see scores like 117-37. It's not like Auriemma is
     running up the score, either. As the game gets out of hand and the other team puts in
     scrubs, Auriemma puts in McDonald's All-Americans. That's all he has.

I want to be clear about something: the argument is not that the UConn women's program doesn't try to play the best competition that it can.  Its that they are so loaded that its impossible for other teams to compete.

Still not buying in?  Last year UConn played 14 top 25 teams.  Here are the results:

#13 Texas - won by 25.
#2 Stanford - won by 12.
#11 Florida State - won by 19.

#7 North Carolina - won by 33.
#3 Notre Dame - won by 24.
#7 Duke - won by 33.
#8 West Virginia - won by 33.
#24 St. Johns - won by 14.
#12 Oklahoma - won by 16.
#11 Georgetown - won by 22.
#8 Notre Dame - won by 15.
#7 Notre Dame - won by 15.
#8 West Virginia - won by 28.
#3 Florida State - won by 40.

They won every game by 12 or more, and only 6 were by less than 20.  They're supposedly the best competition in the country, and UConn consistently ran through them.  Its impossible to work that hard.  Its impossible to be coached that well.  That is a statistical impossibility without significantly superior talent. 
So I would appreciate it if the sportswriters of America would stop going on and on about what an amazing accomplishment this 89th victory is.  I would appreciate it if I could start watching Sportscenter again tomorrow night without being bombarded with this malarky.  I'd write more, but its women's college basketball, and I don't want to be lumped in with all the sportswriters who are pretending to give a shit.

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Dude in Your Life

Christmas is a mere 5 days away.  If you're anything like me, you've probably still got a little bit of shopping to do.  If you're anything like I was in college, you won't start until Christmas Eve. 

If you're from one of the two molds listed above, I know why you haven't started shopping yet.  Its hard trying to figure out what to buy for every person.  I, for example, still have not bought a present for my mother.  She is difficult to shop for.  She has everything she could ever need, and every year she thinks that the gift I get her is lame.  Its impossible for me to figure out what the hell a 50 year old woman would want for Christmas, so I inevitably get her some kind of home ornament that has absolutely no practical value and is an unoriginal waste of space.  I don't fault her for it; its obviously my fault.  I have an inability to bridge the cultural divide between us.

But that got me thinking that women probably have trouble finding gifts for the dudes in their lives as well.  I mean, it should be pretty easy since almost all dudes love at least one of the following things: humor, sports, alcohol, electronics, gambling, or tools.  If you can somehow combine more than one of those categories into one gift, that's even better.  I would imagine that similar categories exist for women.  My best guesses as to what those are would include: tupperware, crochet needles, Lifetime movies, sugary alcoholic beverages, pots, pans, anything that serves no practical purpose, and vaginal creams.

As you might be able to tell, I'm not the best guy to ask if you're looking for a gift for your girlfriend.  However, if you are looking for a gift for your father, brother, uncle, son, or boyfriend, The Daily Anything is here to help with 5 last minute gift ideas for the dude in your life.

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks: . . . And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy1. In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks ... And Other Complaints from an Angry, Middle-Aged White Guy

A lot of you already know that I'm a huge fan of Adam Carolla.  I frequently listen to his podcast, have seen almost every episode of The Man Show, and loved The Hammer.  In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks is essentially a collection of the rants he's gone on and the opinions he's been espousing for years on his radio show and podcast, just done through a different medium and assembled in one place.  If your man enjoys a good laugh at the expense of, well anyone, he will certainly enjoy this book.

Price: $13.51

2. Exotic Beer

Ignore the Dudeweisers in the top right corner of that picture and you will find an array of exotic beers that your man would love to see hanging out in the fridge when he wakes up on Christmas morning.  Your man can share it with his buddies, or he can critique it alone.  Either way, he will find that there's nothing quite like experiencing and evaluating a new beer for the first time.  Just make sure he sticks to one or two types of beer in a single sitting.

Price: $20.00 - $40.00

3. Tools

Need a practical gift for dad or the boyfriend but aren't sure what he needs?  Tools are a simple, universally appreciated, and a great way to say "you're gonna do some work for me this year."  However, a little bit of research will be very much appreciated by the recipient.  If your dude complains about getting tools, he's either:

A) mad that you got him tools that he already has; or

B) a pussy.

Price: $30 - $----

NBA Jam4. Video Games

This gift idea is mostly for younger guys.  After all, its kinda tough to find a video game that grandpa would enjoy.  Try to stick to the younger guys in your life.  For me, I generally enjoy sports games and rpg's.  If I were asking for a video game for Christmas, I'd either choose NBA Jam or Red Dead Redemption.  Also, the NHL and FIFA games are always good.

Price: $35 - $60

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection, Volume 1
5. 30 for 30 Box Set, Volume 1
From Wayne Gretzky leaving the Oilers to O.J. leaving L.A., the 30 for 30 documentaries were ESPN's big project celebrating the company's 30th anniversary.  The 30 for 30 docs cover some of the most important, and often least remembered stories from the past 30 years in the world of sports.  If your man likes sports, he will love 30 for 30.

Price: $45.99

Friday, December 17, 2010

NBA Tattoo Manifesto Installment 4: Marcin Gortat

Name: Marcin Gortat

Team: Orlando Magic
Position: Center / Power Forward
College: N/A

Height: 6'11"
Weight: 240 lbs.

Marcin Gortat's collection of tattoos doesn't really stand out in the same way as the 3 previous NBA Tattoo Manifesto examinees.  They aren't as outlandish as Marquis Daniels' 'Only the Strong Survive' tattoo or as absurd as DeShawn Stevenson's neck tattoo of Abraham Lincoln, but Marcin's tattoos stand out because they have interesting stories and meaning behind them. 

Don't worry.  I certainly haven't run out of crazy tattoos to make fun of.  (It's the NBA.  There's a lot of material.)  I just thought it might be a good idea to pick on a white guy for a change since I got called a racist by a random reader last week.  Allow me a second to tell that reader to fuck himself.

Dear reader,

As much as I appreciated the comment calling me a racist, I must defend my honor by pointing out that all I did was post some lyrics.  Judging by the tone of the note, I know you're either one of two people:

1) A black guy who's hyper-sensitive about any white person commenting on the culture he considers his own; or

2) An angry, white douche filled with guilt you've learned from your college professors about acts that you've never actually participated in.  (Believe me, I know what its like to be this person.  I was there at one point in my life.  It sucked.  I got over it.  My life is much better because I got over it.)

Anyway, the point is that my comment was not an expression of racism (although I could see how part 1 might be construed that way).  It was merely meant to point out the stupidity of labeling a tribute to your son with the title of an album featuring lyrics about rape, murder, and necrophilia.  And that's only in the first verse of "Bring Your Whole Crew".

Anyway, go fuck yourself.



Exhibit #1:  Janusz Gortat
Location: Chest

Marcin's best tattoo is one he got to commemorate his father's accomplishments.  His father, Janusz Gortat, is a retired professional boxer who earned bronze medals for Poland at two consecutive Olympic games: 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal).  I feel like this is what tattoos are meant to be - tributes to meaningful people and experiences in our lives.  Good for you Marcin!

I will say this though: when I first saw the tattoo I immediately thought that it was an image of Jack Arnold, the dad from The Wonder Years.  Take another look.  Other than having  their hair parted different ways, the two are identical.  I kind of like to think that Marcin Gortat and Wayne Arnold might be brothers.  Just imagine the fate that would have befallen Kevin.  We would all know how to say 'butthead' in English and Polish.

Creating cultural understanding - its what the NBA Tattoo Manifesto is all about.

Exhibit #2: Jumpman & Basketball
Location: Right Calf

This tattoo is cool just because of a story surrounding it.

When the Magic made the finals in 2009, Marcin Gortat was one of the pleasant surprises throughout their playoff run.  He sparked the Magic in a pivotal game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers for which Dwight Howard was suspended.  Gortat responded big, scoring 16 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in his first playoff start, resulting in an Orlando blowout.

During that game, the tattoo on Gortat's leg came to the attention of Reebok, one of Gortat's sponsors.  Just before the start of the NBA Finals, Gortat was approached by some Reebok execs about wearing his socks higher or wearing a patch to hide the tattoo on his leg during the Finals.

"I've been wearing it 4-5 years now, and it helped me get to the NBA," said Gortat. "They didn't say anything about it when I signed the contract, so it's not going anywhere."

Eat that Reebok!

Exhibit #3: Goblin Tattoo
Location: Upper Left Arm

Sorry about the blurriness of that image.  I had to enlarge a very small portion of a much larger image in order to get a shot of it.  Pixelation is a small price to pay in order to actually find out what that tattoo was.  I literally spent half an hour examining it.  At first I thought it was a basketball engulfed in flames.  I wasn't sure so I asked Mary; she thought it was a bird.  It was only after I blew it up that I realized that its some kind of goblin.  Marcin is such a fan of Dungeons & Dragons that he wanted to emblazen his affections on his arm in perpetuity. 

This got me thinking about what other nerd tattoos might be in the NBA, so I started canvassing the web in search of NBA dorks.  The first person I searched for: Tim Duncan.  No matter what league you're in, finding an athletic freak with dorkish qualities should always start with that league's version of "Mr. Fundamental".  Timmy didn't disappoint. 

Here are some of the other nerdy NBA tattoos that I tracked down:

Tim Duncan - WizardCarlos Boozer - KnightDerrick Rose - Wizard
The nerdiest of those?  Easily Derrick Rose's.  Apparently his grandmother used to call him "Pooh Bear" when he was a kid, so he decided to convert the nickname into that of a wizard, making 'Poohdini'.  I don't care how much of a badass you make the wizard look like Derrick, its still a wizard and it makes you look like a fucking nerd - especially when you highlight it with 'Poohdini'. 

And its cool of Boozer to 'pull a Steve-O' and tattoo a picture of himself on his own body.  Congratulations Carlos, you pulled the same move as someone who has spent the majority of his life strung out on crack and methamphetamine

Duncan's just queer.