AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Every morning on my way to work I listen to this awful local radio show called Bob and the Showgram. I think every town has one of these shows, where some fat-sounding man alternately wheezes and yells into a microphone while slack-jawed cronies occasionally pipe in with nonsense. It’s racist, homophobic, misogynistic and I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO IT. Don’t get me twisted, it’s not that I like it — I hate it with the hot fire of a thousand hells — but for some twisted reason I can’t pry myself away.
I know that provoking me is the entire reason these fools make any money, but because I am the worst person in the entire world, I grind my teeth and white-knuckle my steering wheel every morning so that I can feel superior to these people. Which I am. I am way superior. I would enjoy the content of NPR so much more, but because of some sick pact I have with my inner loathing, and also because I have like sixty more years to wear socks and Tevas and listen to women loudly smack their lips over chanterelle mushrooms into a microphone (isn’t that what they do on NPR?), I keep listening to the Showgram.
I feel the same way about a Hack-a-Shaq or Hack-a-Dwight defense. Aside: can we never again say Hack-a-Dwight? It doesn’t even rhyme, which was the whole reason in the first place for the Hack-a-Construction. Morning shows should be fun, but Bob and his sick warped, awful cronies have made them miserable. AND YOU ARE JUST LIKE HIM, MARK JACKSON. THE DISEASE IS INSIDE YOU.
Basketball games are supposed to be a fun and acrobatic celebration of human accomplishment, and not a seven hour suckfest of me wondering why Dwight Howard can not keep his elbow at a consistent angle over his head. It becomes a reductive, Dadaist torture, wherein I am forced to contemplate an miniscule, asinine movement over and over again until I am reduced to weeping on my sofa.
Mark Jackson, you are better than this. You are supposed to be fun and wacky and sort of dumb — you are not supposed to be one of those Bellichickian win-at-all-costs bots. Basketball is a game, for entertainment, and I do not think you are as smart as Greg Popovich for fouling Dwight Howard eleventy jabillion times. The only reason I still like Popovich is because he has taken projecting misanthropy to new, hilarious levels.
Do you guys, and I’m mostly asking you, men, because women don’t usually get stupid and panicked like trapped zebras whenever they’re forced to do work, ever start fidgeting with something and invent some dumb game that you know is going to end terribly, but you’re so compelled by its childish goal that you can’t stop? I do this all. The. Time.
Like just now, to prevent working on this, I decided I was going to try flipping my chapstick end over end so that it landed in the mug next to me. On my very first try, I succeeded in displacing a tremendous volume of boiling coffee out of my mug and on to my computer. There’s no reason to believe this would’ve ended any differently, but I can’t stop myself.
I think this is how ninety percent of all people-getting-hit-in-the-testicles incidents work.
Bonus music video: This is my favorite single of 2011.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Raptors 78, Wizards 93
I’ve talked in the past about how bad and wonderful the Wizards are, but this was new. What’s funnier than Andray Blatche playing team captain and talking to the media about how other dudes need to commit and work as hard as him? Andray Blatche getting benched for Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker, and the Wizards finally winning. Seriously. Chris Singleton — whom I should add I like, but just can’t play offense at all yet — and Trevor Booker, who is like a poor man’s Jason Maxiell, who is a poor man’s decent basketball player. The Wizards are awful.
Grizzlies 94, Knicks 83
Not only do I really like the Grizzlies, I dislike Iman Shumpert now, and he shot 5-for-20 in this game. I’m fine, generally, with players who turn into full-on memes now because of how weird the online NBA viewing community is, but I just don’t even see that much to like about Shumpert. He can’t distinguish good shots from bad, he’s (probably) playing out of position, and he went to Georgia Tech. Seriously guys, Iman Shumpert isn’t fixing anything.
Magic 107, Blazers 104
The first half of this game was like Swan Lake, and the fourth quarter was like a community production of the Nutcracker. I’m going to have to start giving Orlando the same treatment I give other teams and just laugh when they get awful or I’m going to die of a massive coronary. Seriously. Not one team in the league could have beaten Orlando in the first half, and I’m shocked any team lost to them after their fourth quarter. Their pick-and-pop defense, at present, is like in those pickup games where you leave a guy wide open and dare him to shoot and hope that yelling “Off” is going to mentally rattle him enough that he misses. Except, these guys play basketball for money, and they are wide open.
Okay, you guys, I’m serious. We need to start getting some emails. If things keep going like this, in three weeks, I’m going to know everything about Carlo Simone and he’s going to have all my family’s recipes or something like that. Send questions about anything to mbnhoops[at]gmail[dot]com. And I will answer them here. If we start getting enough of them, I will start being snarky about some of them. Right now, I have to be nice, because if one person stops emailing, we have lost 50 percent of our contributions.
“Ryan Anderson’s rebound rate looks a bit above average, but that’s not unimpressive considering his front court mate. Is he capable of being Kevin Love-lite, save the passing? He is nearly Love’s equal as a scorer. As a non-Magic fan, I don’t get to see his rebounding often enough to know if he’s capable of more.”
“Kevin Love-lite” is pretty much the EXACT ceiling for Ryan Anderson. I think he is capable of a little more on the glass, but not too much more; if you’re not watching him, you may not realize that he is perhaps an even greater threat on the offensive glass than Dwight is, since Howard is so often getting back on D early. Further, while Anderson is a pretty potent scorer, Love is starting to show a wide variety of skills that Anderson doesn’t have. Not just the passing, but he’s coming off of screens for jumpers and is still the superior back-to-the-basket guy.
If Kevin Love was in Orlando, I’ll bet Dwight would stay. I say Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Daniel Orton for Kevin Love is a trade that works for both teams (kidding).
I’m just looking through our mailbag here … oh. It’s empty. That’s … oh, my bad. There’s one more. Who’s it from? Oh. CARLO SIMONE. Carlo, does your back hurt? Because you are CARRYING our mailbag portion right now.
Reader Carlo Simone:
“I know we have some hip-hop heads among the writers of MagicBasketball.net. I’d like to know what you all think were the best hip-hop albums of the past year. My number 1 was “Undun” by The Roots. It’s incredibly powerful and emotional lyrically and it doesn’t hurt that the music is transcendent. The rest of my 10 favorites are as follows:
-Common “The Dreamer, The Believer” – No I.D. and Common back together finally!
-Saigon “The Greatest Story Never Told” – Even with six years wait it’s still great.
-Phonte “Charity Starts at Home” – Solid and mature first album away from Little Brother.
-Childish Gambino “Camp” – Not a huge step forward for him but still the best one-liners in rap.
-Cunninlynguists “Oneirology” – Moody, atmospheric and might be my favorite release of theirs.
-J-Live “S.P.T.A. Said Person of That Ability” – Tight, classic hip-hop that few people bother to make anymore.
-9th Wonder “The Wonder Years” – Compilation disc, but still a lot of great beats and rhymes.
-Kendrick Lamar “Section.80″ – He annoys me sometimes but I can’t hate on some of these beats.
-Jay-Z and Kanye West “Watch the Throne” – Barely makes my list as I thought it was a disappointment but there’s still some interesting stuff within.
What do you guys think was the dopest dope of the year?”
Carlo, this is precisely the sort of question I want to get, which is why I’m sorry to say that I am a huge disappointment and I don’t know all of this list. Aside from the Roots, whom I still follow devotedly, and a few other acts, I have been in a hip-hop acquisition lull. So I will share some of my thoughts, but as far as dopest of the dope, I’m going to go against the grain here and say The Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee, Part II. Is it the best hip-hop album of the year? Probably not. Undun almost definitely is. But it’s a really solid return to form in a year that I fell asleep at the wheel.
I hate to beat the hackneyed “authenticity” drum, but punch-lines and materialist rap mean a lot more to me when they’re matched with a hungry MC who has some bite to him. That bite has been pretty wanting, I think, from a lot of rappers recently. Of course, I also just told you I didn’t listen to all that much hip-hop this year.
I do like Gambino, even though he’s sort of a small-dose pleasure for me, and Phonte is one of my favorite people working today. I wasn’t wild about Watch the Throne, but “No Church in the Wild” makes me want to run through a wall.
Finally, I was going to write a fake question myself, but I’m already doing a mailbag, so I’m not going to ape Simmons any harder.
So here’s what I’m wondering: Why do so many people think a good martini or manhattan has almost no vermouth in it?
So many people think a martini has like almost no vermouth in it, while a “dry” martini is just chilled gin. I would like to put a stop to this. A proper-tasting martini should have six parts gin to one part vermouth — that’s still not very much vermouth, but the flavors work so well together I have no idea why people want to ruin it. If you want a dry martini, then and only then can you just coat the glass with vermouth and do that swirling thing that looks dumb. Same goes for a manhattan. A manhattan should be like 5 parts rye or bourbon to two parts vermouth. Otherwise, you just have chilled whiskey.
Alright, y’all, that’s what I got for this week. We’ll do it again next Friday, so send me some email at mbnhoops[at]gmail[dot]com.
Danny Nowell is a contributing writer for Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.