Shawn Bradley has now been retired for a year or two, and the thrill of being dunked on by every starter in the league taller than six-feet-seven is now a distant memory. He's a little bored. Which is why he is now a guidance counselor at a school in Salt Lake City! I won't even point out the irony in someone who has been schooled as often as Shawn Bradley is now teaching school. I guess I kinda did. Does anyone smell a sitcom?

No big hoopla or fanfare here. The Mormon Mantis approached the school administrator about employment much like how a 16-year old approaches the shift manager at Wendy's.

"I was talking to (the director) and said, 'I could use a job,' " Bradley said. "He said, 'Well, we could put you to work here.' "

"You're retired now. You need something to do. Why don't you come work with us?"

The executive director immediately noted the advantage of having such a frightening human around juvenile delinquents...

"Shawn has a great presence - due to his size - and has immediate credibility with the kids..everybody around here is still in awe at how tall Shawn is..."

A winning combination of rapport, freakish height and minor celebritydom has already made the Stormin' Mormon's teaching stint an unparalleled success. It's nice to see people finally looking forward to seeing Shawn Bradley.

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If you've been looking for a reason to see the Charlotte Bobcats (22-35) live and in person, then go ahead and circle March 10 on your My Little Pony Calender. Not only are they playing the Memphis Grizzlies [!!], the first 10,000 fans will receive an Adam Morrison bobblehead doll. You can buy your tickets here, or you can save yourself the misery and wait until March 11 when the remaining 8,491 dolls that aren't handed out get listed on eBay.

Adam Bobble
And the Grizzlies?! I can't wait!

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President Bush met with the Miami Heat yesterday to celebrate the NBA Championship they won eight months ago. All in all, it was a pretty boring affair in which Antione Walker was mentioned by name and singled out for praise. Ugh...I think I just threw up a little. Anyway, the "highlights" included:

1. How many straight? The president tried to display a carefully scripted "knowledge" of the NBA by reciting how the Heat won the title. Said Bush: "They weren't supposed to win. And they did something no team has done in nearly 30 years, which is win four straight, and become the NBA champs." Actually, the Lakers won four straight in the 2001 NBA Finals. And the Bulls did it in 1991. The Pistons did it in '89. Oh, and the 76ers did it in 1983. Okay, okay...I'm nitpicking. I know he was talking about the '77 Portland Trailblazers who, like the Heat, won four straight after falling behind 2-0. But that's not how he said it. Sorry. Non-basketball people pretending to know basketball just annoy me.

2. When did he score 25,000? Said Bush: "[Shaq] scored his 25,000th point in his career last night -- or recently. And we congratulate you for that -- last night, yes, last night." Wait, he remembered all that crap about no team winning four straight for almost 30 years, but he forgot about something that happened last night? Yup, that's my Bush.

3. Is that "awe" in your pants, or are you just happy to see me? Said Bush: "Standing next to Shaq is an awe-inspiring experience." If this was 2003 or earlier, I might agree.

4. Exactly how much is "a lot"? Said Bush: "Dwyane Wade has given a lot of his salary to his church." Maybe if he'd given "a whole lot" the Big Guy would have been watching out for D-Wade's shoulder. Just sayin'.

5. How do I know if I "count"? After presenting the President with a honorary Heat jersey, Pat Riley baffled everyone by saying, "I voted for the man. If you don’t vote you don’t count." That's funny. And the Pope said I don't get into heaven if I don't believe a magical old man in the clouds made me out of monkey bones. What did the Pope and Pat Riley do to warrant that kind of authority?

6. Follow the bounching...ball? Shaq and Wade presented Bush with a basketball signed by all the Heat players. During the post-press conference photo ops, Bush tried to bounce the ball, only to watch it hit the stage with a thud. Everyone laughed, but in that slightly-embarrassed-after-walking-in-on-their-dad-naked kind of way. See for yourself:

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Wolf pain
Does losing hurt? What do you think?

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night. That, in and of itself, wasn't very surprising; Dallas is the best team in the league and riding a 13-game winning streak. What was surprising -- in that nauseous, "I'm about to projectile vomit" sort of way -- is that the Wolves only scored 65 points on 24-for-81 from the field, a brick-a-palooza that was "good" for a franchise-worst 29.6 percent shooting night. And this happened in Minnesota. Jesus, guys...the Dallas defense is good, but it's not that it?!

I'd like to focus on the "franchise-worst" part for a second. I know some of you probably aren't aware of this, but the Timberwolves actually existed before Kevin Garnett (5-for-16 last night) was drafted into the league. And while the team hasn't ever been all that good with him (the 2003-04 season notwithstanding), they were even worse without him. The Pre-Garnett Era lasted six seasons, during which the team strung together win totals of 22, 29, 15, 19, 20, and 21 games. That 15-win team* featured a starting lineup of Tony Campbell, Pooh Richardson, Tyrone Corbin, Doug West, and Thurl Baily. Yup, that was their five best players.

My point? Despite the team's historical suckosity, this year's squad set an all-time franchise record for shooting ineptitude. Did I mention Kevin Garnett is widely hailed as a certain Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest players of all time? He had only two assists last night, by the way. See, it's stuff like this that always makes me question how great K.G. really is. He has two other proven 20-point scorers on the team (Ricky Davis and Mike James). And yeah, those guys are overrated, but still, shouldn't someone of Garnett's stature be able to make those guys better instead of worse? Isn't that what the great players are supposed to do?

*During the 1991-92 season, the Timberwolves went 15-27. That was easily the worst record in the league, but the Lottery Gods chose to smite the Wolves, who recieved the third pick (behind Orlando and Charlotte) in the 1992 Draft. Thus, instead of Shaq or Alonzo Mourning, the Wolves got Christian Laettner. And that, my friends, is how the lottery can change the course of NBA history. Because you have to assume that if Minnesota had, say, drafted Shaq, their fortunes would have been drastically altered (even if Shaq still bolted for L.A. in free agency years later). It's not a stretch to say that, had that happened, K.G. never would have been drafted by Minnesota in 1995 (no way they would have been a lottery team with a young Shaq). And if he had gone elsewhere...who knows?

Runner up: "The Cancer" continues to consume the Indiana Pacers from the inside-out. Last night, they lost 103-91 to the Phoenix Suns. But Phoenix is the second-best team in the league, so there's no shame there, right? Wrong. The Pacers built an 18-point lead with five minutes to go in the third quarter, and then got outscored 44-15 the rest of the way (including 30-13 in the fourth quarter). This happened in Indianapolis. I'd like to blame all these crazy rumors about Reggie Miller possibly coming out of retirement to join the Mavericks (it'll never happen), but I'm afraid the Pacers just suck ass aren't that good.

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Now this guy deserved to be taken off the court in a wheelchair...

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Let me state up front that I hate Eddy Curry. I had to watch that shambling pork monster sleepwalk his way through four seasons with the Bulls, and it made me throw up i my mouth pretty much on a daily basis. Curry's seasonal pattern never varied: come in to training camp fat, pout because of the inevitable fat-related criticism, sloooooooooooooooowly work himself from "round" to "vaguely person-shaped," then play strong for the last 10-15 games, thereby inspiring hope in the fans that maybe, just maybe, next season would be his break-out year.

Never happened.

When the Bulls' GM John Paxson found out that Curry had a heart condition, I knew he'd found the excuse he needed to dump the underachieving big man that some people called "Baby Shaq." Curry's talent may have been hidden beneath undulating rolls of sweaty man-flesh, but it was never questioned. What was questioned was his agressiveness, work ethic, and heart. I mean, here's a guy who's 6'11" and 285 pounds...with a career average of 5.4 rebounds per game. The effort and desire just weren't there.

After the Bulls shipped him to New York, I wanted him to suck, and I wasn't disappointed. Despite being the Knicks showcase offensive option, his scoring dropped from 16.1 PPG to 13.6. Morever, he had only 19 assists and mind-boggling 179 turnovers. The conclusion was definitive: Curry wasn't and would never be the real deal.

Then something changed this season. The Knicks were still losing a lot of games, but I began to notice something unfamiliar next to Curry's name in the box scores. Consistent scoring. Good shooting. Actual rebounds. It defied belief, and I figured he was just doing his patented "late-season hot streak" a little earlier this year so he could take the last half of the season off. But it hasn't happened yet...the dude is still playing well: 19.6 PPG on 59.3 percent shooting and 7.1 RPG. By the numbers, he's the best center in the Eastern Conference.

Of course, there are people who will continue to argue that Shaq is still the East's best center. But look at his numbers: 14.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 39 games missed due to injury. As is always the case, Shaq is granted excuse after excuse. He's still playing himself into shape. He's saving himself for the playoffs. He can turn it on any time he wants. According to Deadspin, Shaq "decided to remind us of what he used to look like when he was MVP material" in the Heat's 86-81 win over the Cavaliers. Uhm...what?! Shaq had 19 and 11. That's a good game, but not remotely MVP-like. During his MVP season of 1999-00, Shaq averaged 29.7 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 3.2 BPG (yes, he actually played defense back then). And those numbers barely begin the describe how utterly dominating he was back then. There was, literally, no way to stop Shaq in his prime. Now everybody gets excited when he drops 20 and 10. Talk about lowered expectations.

Does anyone think Shaq looked like an MVP last night? Not only did Eddy Curry outscore (28 to 20) and outrebound (11 to 3) him, the Knicks won 99-93. What does this mean? Well, the Knicks are now only two games behind the Heat for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Last night's victory means that the Knicks won the season series 3-1 and therefore own the tiebreaker. In other words, the Knicks stand a very strong chance of knocking the defending champs out of the playoffs.

Back in 2001, Shaq swore he'd retire before he was "only as good" as David Robinson (which is pretty easy to say when you're in your prime and the reigning champ/MVP/Finals MVP). Mind you, The Admiral was getting 14.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG at the time...numbers that are eerily similar to Shaq's stats for this season. And aside from the rebounding edge, Robinson also averaged 2.5 BPG, so he was still a major defensive presence. Unlike Shaq.

I'm not trying to sell Shaq short. He's still one of the top centers in the league. But that's all he is. We will never, ever, ever get to see Shaq dominate a game the way he used to. He still has some good games in him, and we'll occassionally fool ourselves into thinking we're seeing a "vintage" Shaq performance. The same thing happens with all great players. Remember when David Robinson ended his career? It was game 6 of the 2003 NBA Finals. Robinson scored 13 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and after the game experts and analysts called it a "vintage" game for The Admiral. But...this was a former MVP who had led the league in scoring and once scored 71 points in a game. It was a fantastic game, to be sure, but was it really a vintage performance? No, not really.

The bottom line is this: Shaq's time has passed. He can no longer totally dominate a game or carry a team. He is very good, but not great. And if I had to start a team today, I'd probably take Eddy Curry over The Diesel.

Shaq's 25,000th point may be the last time
he ever outshines Eddy Curry. Seriously.

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ladies night out

The Houston Rockets are sponsoring their first-ever Ladies Night Out event tonight. For a mere $52, you can get two tickets, two hot dogs, two drinks, and two t-shirts. Plus, there's going to be a concourse appearance and autograph session with the men of the 2007 Houston Firefighters Calender! I know that just got my estrogen flowing.

The funny thing is, you can order your tickets online. This means that you don't have to be an actual lady to take advantage of the ladies night out offer. So unless they're checking genitals at the door, I'm guessing the promotion might not work so well...assuming the goal is to increase female attendence.

Another problem with the event is that the Rockets are hosting the Celtics. If you're trying to win a woman over to the sport of basketball, do you really want to force her to watch a methodical, down-tempo squad play the league's worst team? That could permenantly scar the pscyche of even the most hard core basketball fan. Sorry, ladies.
Lebron James has teamed up with MSN to challenge you. All you need to do is create your own Windows Live Space, which is Bill Gates' shameless ripoff of MySpace. This month's challenge? To stop being such an a**hole and do something nice for somebody. Other than yourself, of course.


The gauntlet has been thrown down, and people are responding. Take young "skizzo," for instance. He/she said: "My mother drinks and does drugs with her boyfriend at night. I just want to leave but I'm only 15." How...uplifting. Then there's "post it," who says "My parents can't buy me things other kids have." Wow. I'm, uh, inspired.

The site also provides a link to the Lebron on MSN Message Board. It's a peaceful refuge for the deluded and insane to participate in various provacative Lebron-themed discussions, such as "How did Lebron get so good? Is it talent or hard work?" and "What do you like most about Lebron?" In answer to the last question, "lady passion" had this to say:
I don't know what's more unbelieveable: the fact that she won't marry her boyfriend because of a famous athlete she's never going to meet, or the fact that she has a man at all. Good luck to you, lady passion.


Hate Bone (hayt bohn) noun. The part of the human skeleton that allows people to feel and express the glorious fullness of hatred.

Usage example: Thanks to my Hate Bone, I'm filled with rage and contempt every time a homosexual tries to bring his gayness on me And by "bringing his gayness on me" I of course mean "minding his own business and living his life."

Word History: The word was coined by Tim Hardaway during an interview with ESPN's Scoop Jackson. In an attempt to convince the world that he doesn't really hate gay people -- as he adamantly declared last week -- Hardaway said, "I don't have a hate bone in my body." ESPN had several orthapedic specialists on hand to confirm this bold statement. After putting Hardaway through a series of X-rays, MRIs, and invasive anal probes, it was conclusively proven that the Hate Bone (pictured below) is not present in Hardaway's body. Furthermore, after the anal probes Hardaway was forced to concede that "Maybe those gay dudes are onto sumthin'. Damn!"

Hate Bone
The Hate Bone's connected to the...TERROR BONE.

Ga(y)ngtastic Extra: During Hardaway's "I don't hate gay people" interview, Scoop presented Hardaway with a terrifying hypothetical scenario:

Scoop Jackson: "Let's get to a real situation: li'l Timmy is 14 now. How do you handle it if he comes home from school or, better yet, you get a call from a hospital that says that he's been beaten by a group of gay kids in reaction to what you said about them?"

Tim Hardaway: "That's wrong."
Uhm...what?! I forgot to renew my subscription to the Homosexual Times, so I don't really keep up on gay news anymore. But I'm pretty sure I would have heard about roving gangs of homosexual teenagers who beat up the children of the straight people who hate them. If that actually happened, the southern half of the country would be a war zone. A tasteful, rainbow-colored, dance-themed war zone...but a war zone nonetheless. How could Scoop Jackson possibly call that a "real situation" and keep a straight face? I'm telling you, he was trying to bait Tim Hardaway into saying something else stupid. And in that case, shame on you Scoop Jackson. There are better ways to get your Pulizter Prize.

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2007 has already been a damn awesome year to be a retired NBA player. When they weren't busy receiving huge pay increases or having their preposterous comeback talks taken seriously or landing lucrative book deals based on their affinity for polesmoking, they were landing roles in high-profile reality shows. Just being an asshole is enough to become relevant again. Take note: if you want your basketball career to really take off, stop playing. Now.

Enter Charles Barkley. He started off by delivering an long-overdue egoectomy to referee Dick Bavetta, destroying the health nut in a footrace and sealing the improbable victory with a kiss. And not just the "Magic 'n Zeke awkward-goodbye-after-the-first-date" peck on the cheek, but a full fledged "I just did three years in the county and I will hump the first thing I see" kiss on the goddamn mouth. I cringed watching this. I can't imagine how his 40-year old son and his teenage grandson must have felt.

"Yes, son, that is your granddad..being kissed on the motherf***ing mouth by a 400-pound Milk Dud."

Barkleymania has seen such a comeback that fanboy Chef Boyardee is making his own home-brewed sequel to Chuck's Super Nintendo game "Shut Up and Jam". But it's much more ambitious than just another ordinary basketball game. It's a freakin' Final Fantasy-style role-playing game based on Sir Charles traveling into the future to fight a post-apocalyptic basketball genocide that could lead to the very end of civilization. I am not making this up.

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That's right, young man. Five times.

Over the past few months, I've read dozens of articles proclaiming who the NBA MVP should be, which is kind of ridiculous considering that the season isn't even over yet. Right now, most "experts" are leaning toward Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, but other potentials include Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and even Gilbert Arenas. I wouldn't be surprised if guys like Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan got a little buzz before it's all said and done.

Since the MVP is a highly arbitrary award -- what does "most valuable" really mean, anyway? -- there's always a lot of whining and crying from 1) the fans of the players who don't win it, and 2) the anti-fans who, for whatever reason, love to hate the player who did win it. The NBA has never adequately defined the specifics of most valuability, and so the MVP is determined by a voting process that includes both 125 members of the local and national media (radio and television announcers, newspaper reporters, and hopefully Borat).

The final result seems to piss almost everybody off. Take last year, for instance. When Steve Nash was named MVP, a river of silicone-laced tears flooded out of the greater Los Angeles area. Many people defiantly believed that Kobe Bryant deserved the MVP, and others just thought Steve Nash didn't deserve it...especially since he'd won it the year before (when a lot of people thought Shaq should have gotten it). And so the debate rages anew: what is truly valuable? Is the the ability to score 81 points in a game, or the capacity to score 20 points and dish 20 assists? Should the MVP be a scorer or a facilitator? And how does winning factor into it?

Well Sherman, let's hop into the WABAC Machine and look at the actual history of the MVP award. The NBA has handed out 51 trophies to 25 different recipients. Of those 51 awards, the MVP went to a player on one of the top two or three teams in the league (based on won-loss record) 46 times. The five notable exceptions include:

1. Bob Petit in 1956: This was the inaugural year of the NBA MVP award. Bob's team was 33-39, which was "good" for third place in their division and seventh place in the league. Did I mention there were only eight teams in the NBA at that time? Yeah. This was clearly a case of the "best player" (statistically speaking) winning the award: Petit averaged 25.7 PPG and 16.2 RPG that season).

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976: This was Kareem's first year in Los Angeles, and, with Magic Johnson still in high school, the Lakers went 40-42. The team finished fourth in their division and didn't even qualify for the playoffs. But Kareem's impressive stat line -- 27.7 PPG, 16.9 RPG, 5.0 APG -- swayed the voters.

3. Moses Malone in 1979: Malone's Houston Rockets compiled a 47-35 record, which gave them a second-place finish in their division and seventh in the league. They had homecourt advantage in a first round playoff mini-series, but they were swept 2-0 by the Atlanta Hawks.

4. Moses Malone in 1982: The Rockets finished with a record of 46-36, third-best in their division and ninth overall. They made it into the playoffs, but they were promptly dispatched by the Seattle Supersonics in a first round miniseries.

5. Michael Jordan in 1988: I refer to this one as Michael's "pity MVP." The Bulls notched a respectable 50-32 record, but they were still third in their division and eighth in the league. The award probably should have gone to either Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, but the media was starting to get a little tired of heaping praise and awards on those guys. Plus, the press wanted to reward Michael for his statistical brilliance since the consensus opinion at that time was that he would probably never win a championship. Seriously.

And that's it. Five out of 51 times the MVP went to the best statistical player. The rest of the time, the award was given to the best player on one of the best two or three teams in the league. So, in the absence of any specific qualifiers, there is -- at the very least -- an historical precedent. And based on that, we can eliminate most of the supposed MVP candidates:

The Not MVPs

Gilbert Arenas: I love this guy. He represents everything I love about professional basketball: he genuinely enjoys his job, goes out of his way to give back to the fans, and he puts up great numbers. But...his team's slightly above average record (30-21), his recent spat with coach Eddie Jordan, and his wagging tongue (guaranteeing a 50-point game against the Blazers then only scoring 9 in a blowout loss) have doomed Agent Zero's MVP bid.

Chauncy Billups: He's the heart and soul of the best team in the Eastern Conference. But if you noticed the words "Eastern Conference" at the end of that last sentence, you already know why he doesn't have a doughnut's chance at a cop convention of being the MVP.

Kobe Bryant: He was a legitimate candidate back in December, when the Lakers played 15 of their first 20 games at home. But after starting out 15-6, the Fakers have gone 15-19. They've lost six straight overall and five straight at home, and three of those home losses were agaisnt sub-.500 teams. You can blame injuries and long road trips all you want, but the bottom line is this: his team isn't winning enough to justify including him in the MVP discussion.

Tim Duncan: The Spurs currently have the third best record in the league, so Tim has a legitimate shot at the MVP. But the Spurs have been on cruise control for most of the season, and everybody knows it. That'll count against him when the votes are cast. "Hunger" is one of those intangibles that means something to the media. Not that Duncan cares; he's already won back-to-back MVP awards. He's more concerned about being ready for the playoffs.

Lebron James: The King just hasn't been himself this season. The numbers are there, but neither he nor the team has really improved from last season. In fact, they've gotten worse. And James, for his part, has become more of a scorer than a facilitator, and his teammates are suffering for it. He just doesn't have "it" this year.

Tracy McGrady: The Rockets have very quietly compiled the league's fifth best record, and it's all because of McGrady. Ever since Yao Ming went down with a broken leg, T-Mac has raised his game and done a good job of transforming a pretty below-average group of guys into a cohesive, winning team. The problem is, there's very little chance of the Rockets actually claiming one of the top three spots, their slow-down/grind-it-out style is painful to watch, and McGrady hasn't really taken over the league at any point. I can't see him pulling off the upset.

Dwyane Wade: The Heat are 26-27 right now (and they'll probably be 26-28 after playing Dallas tonight). Sure, he's held the team together in the absence of Shaq and coach Pat Riley, but his team still has a losing record, and now it looks like he'll miss six weeks of action due to a dislocated shoulder. No amount of freethrow attempts will make him the MVP this season.

Bottom Line

It's a two-man race between Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash right now. Dirk has the advantage because 1) his team has the best record in the league, and 2) Nash has already won the last two MVPs and the press will probably want to give it to someone new. Unless Dirk gets injured and/or the Mavericks go on a disastrous losing streak, der Mann aus Deutschland will be the NBA's next MVP.

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Not many people get a chance to sign with an NBA team, especially when they're 36 years old, pussy-whipped absurdly devoted to their wife, and look like a brick of Velveeta cheese that somebody left out in the sun. Most people would be grateful for that kind of opportunity, but not Doug Christie. While undoubtedly under the demonic influence of his beastly lifemate, Doug kicked away thousands of dollars and a chance to continue playing pro hoops with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"Christie did not report to the Clippers for their practice Monday and
did not play Tuesday, which would have been the final day of his second 10-day contract. He voided the contract, and the Clippers took the formal step of putting him on the team's suspended list Tuesday. Christie, 36, is in his 15th NBA season. With that experience, a 10-day contract is worth approximately $70,000. By missing two days, he forfeited $14,000 of pay."
As news events go, this one isn't particularly shocking. We already knew that the Christie's were only a few fat ladies and a parasitic twin short of a freakshow. What we don't know yet is why he just up and disappeared. My guess is that there were actual women with actual woman-parts in the Staples Center crowd, which is a blatant violation of the "I never get to see boobs again" wedding pact he signed with the Dark Lord all those many years ago. Therefore his wife was probably forced to claw out what was left of his manhood and feast upon it in the soothing comfort of her own leathery wings.

But the real victim here is the Clippers, who will be hard-pressed to replace Doug's 1.9 points, 29 percent shooting, and 100 percent heart.

Some totally random crazy from The Christie's

Runner up: The Lakers' Vladimir Radmanovic is out for 8 weeks with a separated right shoulder. The man Phil Jackson referred to as a "space cadet" earlier this season was going out for some coffee when he slipped on a patch of ice and fell on his shoulder, which apparently is constructed of paper mache and chicken wire.

Radmanovic claims he couldn't catch himself because his hands were in his pockets. Jackson doesn't believe him but can't do anything about it. But look on the bright side, Lakers fans. You get to blame yet another injury on your team's downward spiral into mediocrity. Yes, those same fans who have bitched and moaned about what a bust he's been will now go on and on about how his 6.9 PPG and 42 percent shooting were absolutely critical to the Lakers success. It'll happen, trust me.

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Former Miami Heat guard and noted heterosexual Tim Hardaway did a radio interview last night with Dan LeBatard on Sports Talk 790 The Ticket. It's been years since Hardaway was even mildly relevant, so Dan was forced to ask him about current basketball events...such as John Amaechi coming out of the closet. This led to an compassionate and heartfelt discussion of how much Hardaway hates men who stick their penises into other men.

Hardaway: "First of all I wouldn't want them on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, you know, I would really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that's right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we're in the locker room, and it's just a whole lot of other things and I wouldn't even be a part of that."

LeBatard: "What could you do? Would you ask for a trade?"

Hardaway: "Or I ask for him to get traded. (Laughs) Something has to give. And I think the majority of players would ask for him to be traded or they would want to be traded. Or buy him out of his contract and just let him go. (Laughs) Something has to give. If you have 12 other ball players in your locker room that are upset and can't concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court it's going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate."

LeBatard: "What if that guy is [Dwayne] Wade?"

Hardaway: "That ain't gonna happen. Dwayne Wade is not gay. He's married and having another baby, so, you know, that's not true."

LeBatard: "No, We're not saying it's so, we're just offering you a hypothetical."

Hardaway: "No, I don't even want to go hypothetical with that."

LeBatard: "What if the player was that great?"

Hardaway: "Man, if he was that great then, you know, something would still have to give. People would feel uncomfortable with that. If you're not gay nobody in that locker room would feel comfortable with that person on that team."

LeBatard: "You know what though, Timmy...Dwayne Wade's staying, Tim Hardaway's getting his ass shipped out of town."

Hardaway: "Oh yeah, I know that. But I'm not gay. I know that. Dwayne Wade is Dwayne Wade, and that's what makes him special. He's taken the city and put it on his back, and everyboyd likes to see him play. People, you know, love to pay to see him play. And I love watching him, because every game he's gonna give you something to jump outta your chair about, every game, and last night was a prime example when he dunked on Magloire."

LeBatard: "You know that what you are saying there, Timmy, is flatly homophobic, right? It's bigotry?"

Hardaway: "Well, you know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States. So yeah, I don't like it."

Kiss can anybody hate this?!

Basketbawful Commentary

You know, after Amaechi admitted he was gay, there were people who actually called him a coward for not coming out while he was still playing in the NBA. Even if you overlook the fact the he received death threats after admitting his homosexuality, Hardaway's comments provide a pretty good example to those idiots of why Amaechi decided to wait. Being a gay man in a professional sports team's locker room is like being an alligator wrestler at a baby shower: most of the people don't want you around, and some of them might try to hurt you just for being there.

But here's what I don't understand: why does Hardaway -- or anybody, for that matter -- hate gay people so much? Was his family eaten alive by a horde of rampaging homosexual cannibals? The gays aren't hurting anybody. They just want to listen to Madonna, dress up in assless leather chaps, ride on giant penis floats for their pride parades, and have sex with other gay people. How is that even remotely threatening? And the idea that it could affect someone's ability to play basketball is ridiculous. Homosexuality can't block shots, cause turnovers, or go on a 20-to-nothing run in the 4th quarter.

Of course, Hardaway isn't the only idiot out there trying to avoid the "Gay Plague." The Philidelphia 76ers' Steven Hunter said, "As long as he don't make any advances toward me, I'm fine with it." Fellow Sixer Shavlik Randolph said, "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me, I'm fine. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room."

I don't know what the homophobes are so worried about. If you're a heterosexual male, think back on your life and try to remember all the times some predatory homosexual tried to "bring his gayness" on you. I'm guessing it's somewhere between zero and none. This is partly because you're a fat slob with no sense of style, and partly because straight men have created a "hit on me and I'll kill you" culture of fear in America. But mostly it's because you aren't gay and they really only want to have sex with other gay people.

Here's a true story. One of my closest friends came out during college. In an amazing display of sheer willpower, he never once tried to have sex with my ass, despite the fact that it is firm and beautiful. This should have proven to me that gay men don't try to force their gayness on the non-gays, but I was only 21 and not as righteously awesome as I am now. Anyway, one night my friend convinced me to check out a gay dance club, and I agreed with the caveat that "If some guy hits on me, I am so outta there." We go to this club, and I'm practicing a few different versions of the "I'm not gay, I'm just here with a friend" line in my head. Ten or 15 minutes go by, and not only has no one hit on me, but I'm not even getting checked out. It was like I was totally invisible. Except for the fact that most of the patrons were shirtless and there was a light mist of baby oil in the air, it was like every other dance club experience I'd ever had. It was actually kind of humiliating; I mean, I'm well-dressed and reasonably attractive. Wouldn't I make a good catch for a gay man?

But since I'm straight, the answer is no. So relax, basketball players. You don't have to worry about an outbreak of gay in your locker rooms. That only happens in porn and Germany. I'm kidding, of course. Germans are the poop eaters. And the Japanese like tentacle sex. It's hard to keep those alternative sexualities straight.

Of course, Hardaway issued a totally lame apology of "Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people, or anything like that. That was my mistake." This apology was, of course, released by Hardaway's agent and is no doubt totally sincere.
A few weeks ago, Dirk Nowitzki made what at first seemed to be a rather mundane comment about last year's NBA Finals. After all, his words merely expressed the viewpoint widely held by many basketball fans and pundits: that his Mavericks "gave away" the championship by not closing out the series after winning the first two games and building a double-digit 4th quarter lead in Game 3. As you can probably imagine, Dwyane Wade -- who was the Finals MVP -- didn't like that one bit. Wade had this to say in response:
''At the end of the day, you're remembered for what you did at the end. Dirk says they gave us the championship last year, but he's the reason they lost the championship, because he wasn't the leader that he's supposed to be in the closing moments. That's because of great defense by us, but also he wasn't assertive enough as a leader's supposed to be.''
Dallas fans and the Wader-haters like to point with wagging fingers at the extraordinary number of freethrows Wade shot in the Finals (a whopping 16 a game...and 18 per in the Heat's four wins). And while there's certainly a grain of truth in the notion that the refs were extremely kind to the Heat in general and Wade in particular, it's also true that Wade was very aggressive throughout the series and continuously took what the officials were willing the give him. That's basketball. And strangely enough, no one in Dallas said anything about how Nowitzki shot 24 free throws in a 104-103 win against the Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. You think that might have made a difference in the game, not to mention the series? (For the record, the Mavs -- who were playing at home -- got 50 free throws that game, 18 more than the Spurs.) Dirk also had a game-high 15 FTAs in the Mavs' 123-118 overtime win in Game 4, not to mention 16 FTAs in their 119-110 overtime win in Game 7 (including the "and 1" that sent the game into overtime).

So what should we conclude from this? Was the NBA conspiring against the Spurs, just as many people suggest they were conspiring against the Mavericks (or for the Heat) in the Finals? Or did the Mavericks average more free throw attempts than the Spurs because they were the more aggressive team? Go back and watch that semifinal series and you'll notice that Dirk played like a madman, taking the ball strong to the hoop and crashing the boards. And, as a result, he got the benefit of a handful of generous calls, as the aggressors often do. For whatever reason, Nowitzki wasn't nearly as aggressive in the Finals, especially down the stretch of Games 3, 5, and 6. He never took the ball to the basket as decisively as he did at the end of regulation in Game 7 against the Spurs. And his unwillingness or inability to do so is one of the primary reasons the Heat Wade rightly pointed out.

Of course, Dallas owner Mark Cuban couldn't let this go. He posted about Wade's comments in his blog. Oddly enough, this was his initial response:
"Say what ? Is this the DWade of some of the lamest , boring commercials known to man ? Commercials that are singlehandedly responsible for selling more commercial skipping Tivos than anything else on TV?"
Maybe I picked the wrong week to stop drinking cough syrup, or maybe I just needed to run this through the Dork-to-English Translator, but I have no idea what the quality of Wade's commercials (which are actually pretty funny) have to do with anything. Maybe Cuban is suffering from Commercial Envy. Speaking of boring commercials...

"Dwayne I don't blame you for not looking at tapes of the finals. You obviously didn't. You would have seen your unbelievable skills and some other unbelievable elements that if I could discuss honestly here I would get fined for."
That Mark Cuban...he truly is the crafty master of subtlety! Gosh, whatever could he be talking about?? I do think it's kind of creepy that he has such absolute knowledge of Wade's TV watching habits. And hey, when did Mark become afraid of getting fined? Oh, that's right; when he transformed into a huge, flopping vagina.
"I know Shaq appreciates your leadership as well. He called out your team a few weeks ago saying it was 'embarassing'. Great leadership Wade. Your coach sat players for being fat. I guess you couldnt lead them away from the buffet."
This would be a really snappy comeback if Shaq didn't consistently go out of his way to praise Wade's various abilities (leadership included). As for the "embarassing" quote, well, I thought the Nowitzki/Dampier mini-feud was pretty lame and embarassing, but I'm sure Mark would say that's all in the past.
"You are an amazing player Dwayne. I love watching you shoot free throws. What you know about Dirk's leadership skills is non existent. You don't have a clue. Your ability to evaluate leadership skills....well you obviously have an overinflated value of your own. Did you take business classes at Marquette ?"
I would like to point out that the guy who's questioning Wade's ability to evaluate leadership skills is the very same guy who didn't think Steve Nash was worth a few more million dollars per year. And Nash "only" went on to win two consecutive MVPs and is playing well enough to win it again this year. Oh, and let's not forget how he popped up on The Late Show with David Letterman and predicted the Mavs had the championship in the bag because they had a 2-0 series lead. So, you know, maybe you need to attend a few more business classes, Mark.
"And Im pissed for one more reason. Im going to have to miss our next game against the Heat on Feb 22. A previous engagement. I guess its just a missed opportunity to bring a local business class to the game and try to let them interview you about your leadership skills."
This is like telling the school bully that you'd totally show up to fight him after school, but your mom expects you home by 3 o'clock. Previous engagement? Whatever. I'm guessing a guy with a billion dollars in the bank and a few weeks notice could rearrange his schedule if it was that important to him. Maybe he's just afraid of watching Wade show up his team again.

Cuban cone
This man knows leadership. Dwayne Wade Does not.
Winner: On Sunday night, the Boston Celtics lost a 109-107 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Former Celtic Ricky Davis, who had a team-high 28 points, hit the game-winning shot with 0.2 seconds left. On any other night, the "returning player beats his old team" shtick would have been The Storyline, but Davis' performance was merely a sad footnote in a larger, sadder story: the fact that the once-proud Celtics lost their 18th straight game.

This is getting so bad I'm starting to think that the losing streak retroactively killed Red Auerbach. And forget rolling over in the grave; I'm surprised Walter Brown hasn't burst forth from his icy tomb and gone on an unstoppable, brain-eating rampage. We haven't seen this much rancid feces get squeezed out of Beantown since the 15-win "Let's get Tim Duncan!" campaign of 1996-97 (and we all know how that one turned out). Greg Oden may be good and all, but he's not worth all he? And the way the Celtics luck has gone since Len Bias blew the team's future out his nose, I seriously doubt they'll get the number one pick.

History in the making: The longest losing streak in NBA history is 23 games, a record held by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets. Can these Celtics match, or even surpass, the all-time record for sucktastic futility? Absolutely! As long as they don't accidentally beat Milwaukee at home on Wednesday, they get to go on a 7-game road trip during which they'll face the Suns, Lakers, Jazz, and Rockets. If they didn't finish the trip with games against the Knicks and Nets, I'd say they had a good chance to lose 30 or so games in a row. But Isiah Thomas won't let that happen...not on his watch. Look for the Celtics to "break out" in New York on February 28. That'll end the streak at 24 games, worst in NBA history.

Public Relations Clusterf**k: is the marketing/public relations face of the NBA, which is why you get sunshine and delicious candy crammed up your ass every time you visit one of the official team pages. So it came as no surprise to me that the headline for last night's game was "Pierce and C's Drop a Thriller." Way to put a positive spin on it, guys. What would you say if your grandpa pooped in his adult diaper... "Elder Statesman uses space-age product to its fullest potential"? There's also a story about Dee Brown winning the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest. In it, Dee reveals that his famous "no-look dunk" was inspired by a future vision of the 2006-07 Celtics. "I saw my team just losing and losing, and becoming the laughingstock of the league. I just couldn't watch." We're right there with you, Dee.

Dee Dunk
We can't bear to watch either, Dee.

Runner Up: The state of The Motion Picture in this country is about as bleak as the Celtics prospects of winning 20 games this year. That's the only way you can explain how a movie about a giant fat woman tormenting a hapless nerd raked in $33 million this weekend. Alternately described as "offensive on all levels" and "a strange, toneless collection of fat jokes, fart jokes and foul sex gags," the movie stars Eddie Murphy as a sloshing pork monster and the retarded geek she wants to have sex with. Has anyone else noticed that Eddie has dressed up like a woman (sometimes fat, sometimes old, sometimes fat and old) and hit on himself in his last three or four movies? I'm fairly certain Freud would something to say about this, and it would involve words like "penis" and "vagina" and "batshit crazy." I just hope Eddie can work through his issues and get back to making us laugh some day.

Eddie Murphy in his, ahem, biggest role ever.

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This is America, a country founded on the basic principles of human freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of information, and the freedom to look at naked people on the Internet. But here's the catch: freedom isn't really free. In fact, sometimes it can cost you, oh, I don't know, around $10,000. Just ask the Chicago Bulls' Tyrus Thomas, who got slapped with a 10K fine after making the following comments regarding his participation in the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Contest:
"I'm just going to go out there, get my check and call it a day. I'm just into the free money. That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there."
Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson was quick to lay the smack down on his employee, fining Thomas and issuing a rebuke stating that the comments were "a poor reflection on Tyrus individually and a poor reflection on the Bulls organization."

Thomas immediately issued an apology -- through his agent, of course, who totally didn't write it for him -- that read as follows:
"I truly feel honored to be invited to participate in this year's slam dunk contest during next week's NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. The opportunity to represent the Bulls and the city of Chicago on a global stage is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I regret the extent to which my comments indicate otherwise."
Quite the change of heart. You'd need one of those cheap plastic swords they sell at Halloween to cut through the immense sincerity of it. Now, do you think Thomas could just eat the fine, apologize to the world, and let it all go? Of course not. He had to pull out the I Was Misquoted Card:
"It was just a little misinterpreting of what I said. It kind of makes me upset. I guess I wasn't so enthused when I was talking to that [the reporter] took it as if I didn't want to do it. I just have to be more careful of what I say. I just have to be more precise about what I'm saying. It was totally misinterpreted."
This was as predictable as Bill Simmons picking against the Colts. Every time an athlete says something that earns him a seat at the front of the short bus, he has to let us know that it wasn't his fault. He was just misquoted, or misinterpreted, or the press is ignorant. But here's the thing: they never explain how, exactly, they were misinterpreted. What possible alternative meaning could there be behind the words "I'm just into the free money"? That, by the way, isn't an's a direct quote. Does Thomas even know the definition of "misinterpretation"? I understand he's only 20 years old -- which, by the amazing standards set by professional athletes, probably means he's reading at a 1st grade level -- but this should never happen to a person who actually pays someone to do all his talking for him. His agent really dropped the ball by not prepping Thomas on "how not to act like a retard in front of the press."

Of course, another thing we have to consider is this: should we really punish people for telling the truth? We live in a society that supposedly prizes honesty and integrity in spirit, but really doesn't in action. You can't tell your dad he looks old, you can't tell your girlfriend she looks fat in that dress, you can't tell your boss he's an idiot, and you can't tell the world you're only competing in an athletic competition for the money. People only want the truth when its politically correct, complimentary, and fits nicely into a seven-second sound byte.

There's no doubt that Thomas learned a lesson through all this, but it isn't the lesson the John Paxson and the NBA intended (namely that he should be honored to receive an invitation to a league-sponsored competitive event). No, what Thomas really learned was that he must always, always, always say The Right Thing, even if that means lying through his teeth. It's too bad, too, because if Paxson, or David Stern, or even someone like Dr. J (who is one of the Dunk Contest judges) had taken him aside and simply talked to him, they might have been able to teach him to think the right thing instead of just saying it.

Fun with math: Thomas is making $3,260,760 in salary this year. I beat up a kid on the local high school's math team to crunch some numbers for me, and here are the results: That $10,000 fine is the equivalent of a man making $50,000 getting fined $153.34. I guess it isn't that bad of a hit, but would you want your boss docking you a buck fifty because he found out you said something potentially embarrassing to your company? Yeah...I didn't think so. Good thing he didn't see you out at the bar last weekend doing body shots off that slutty waitress.

Sex-tastic Extra: This is Shanon. She's a member of the Chicago Bulls' Luvabulls Dance Team, and she was named to the 2007 Las Vegas NBA All Star Dance Team. She has not issued a statement. But, to be honest, I wouldn't be able to stop staring long enough to notice.

flu-like symptoms (floo'-lik simp'-tuhms) noun. A generic description used to cover up for the fact that a player is too hungover to play.

Usage example: Alonzo Mourning missed a game last month with flu-like symptons, which will happen from time to time when you live in Miami.

Word Trivia: Back in 1995, I travelled to Indianapolis to attend an Indiana Pacers game. The game was on Saturday night, so I went out to the bars with some friends on Friday night. And who do we run into but the Pacers' very own Derrick Mckey! Derrick was in the company of no fewer than three stunning ladies (who, considering the fact that we were in the heart of Indiana, must have been imported from out of state or maybe even overseas), and he was getting completely and utterly shit-faced. By the end of the night, the girls had to carry him out. "I wonder how he's going to play tomorrow?" I asked a friend. Turns out he didn't. He was held out of the game with "flu-like symptoms."

Speaking of the Pacers and flu-like symptoms, did anyone notice how the lowly Golden State Warriors thumped the Pacers 113-98 in Indianapolis last night? This was somewhat unexpected, particularly because the Pacers had been playing much better than the Warriors since the two teams exchanged baggage a few weeks ago. Yet the Pacers shot 35 percent, got out-rebounded by 15, and allowed former-Pacer and current-asshat Stephen Jackson to score a season-high 36 points. And did I mention that Jamaal Tinsley took 24 shots? Gack. Keep in mind, though, that this dreadful performance came the day after the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl in Miami. I have a pretty strong feeling that some -- if not all -- of the Pacers were suffering from flu-like symptoms yesterday.

flu-like symptoms
I...have no idea.
I know we're a repository of fart jokes and penis-related humor, but the title doesn't mean what you think it means. It's actually a reference to the following image that appeared on the front page of the Toronto Raptors' official web site. Seeing this literally blasted my funny bone into an alternate dimension.

3-headed monster

[Hat Tip: our buddy Reef, denizen of Canada and lucky SOB]
We recently received an e-mail from Sam Rubenstein of Slam Online. It provided a link to an article called Vince Carter and The Tape. Since we're hate-coated bastards with an arsenic filling, we were hoping for something more incriminating, like a video of Vince with a stripper, or Vince with a hooker, or Vince with a porn star. Or, better yet, a stripper with a hooker and a porn star. With lots of whipped cream, baby oil, a bowl of fruit, and maybe a midget. That would have been cool.

Instead, it was a video of Vince uncorking some of the sickest, in-your-faciest, rim-rattlingest dunks you'll ever see in this universe or any other. Watch it and you will remember why Shaq called him "Half man, half amazing" after the 2000 Dunk Contest.

Warning: Watching the linked video can cause an onset or relapse of Vinsanity. This disease cannot be cured (unless you're Canadian), and treatments are not covered under any major medical insurance plan. However, symptoms can be surpressed by watching any 2006-07 New Jersey Nets game and focusing on Vince Carter jogging lethargically between the three-point lines and hoisting up 25-footers for 30-to-35 uninspired minutes.

Le dunk de la mort: "The dunk of death." That's what the French media called it when Vince leapt up and dunked over 7-foot-2 Frederique Weis in the 2000 Summer Olympics. This is the single most spectacular dunk I have ever seen. If you're too lazy to follow the link to the Slam video...then for god's sake, get off your butt and get out of your parent's basement already! There's a yellow ball of fire in the sky we like to call "the sun." Get to know it. Or you can just watch this...

We said don't touch him! Look, I really like Dwyane Wade...but 24 free throw attempts in one game?! To put that into perspective, the entire Cavs team combined for 24 free throws last night (with Lebron shooting a woeful 3-for-8). Wade, by the way, is averaging a league-high 11.4 free throw attempts per game. That's, like, a lot. The only active players to have ever averaged 11-plus free throws per game are Shaq (who averaged 13.1 in 2000-01 and 11.4 in 1997-98), Allen Iverson (11.5 in 2005-06), and...Eric Williams!! Yes, you read that correctly: Williams averaged 11.3 freethrow attempts per game in 1996-97, yet he only averaged 15.0 points PPG that season. Oh, and here's a random piece of historical perspective for you: Wilt Chamberlain averaged 11.4 free throw attempts per game for his career, including a highest-ever 17.0 per game in 1961-62 (and yes, that was the season he averaged 50.4 PPG). Speaking of crazy numbers...

Hold on to the ball, dude. Wade had 12 turnovers last night. That also is a lot. Cleveland, as a team, had 14. Think Wade was trying to do too much?

More suspensions coming? Since the league suspended Kobe Bryant for whacking Manu Ginobili in the face last Sunday, then there should be two more suspensions handed out after last night's game: one for Lebron hitting Wade in the face while "going for the steal" and one for Ginobili kneeing then kicking Amare Stoudemire in the man parts*. I mean, the league's hands are tied; if they're going to be consistent, they've got to hand out one-gamers to those guys, otherwise they can't possibly justify Kobe's suspension.

*A few random observations regarding Ginobili's nutshot on Stoudemire: First, did anyone notice how Manu led with the knee then swung his leg out in a kicking motion? That's a blatant violation of the Guy Code, which clearly states "No man will kick another man in the whirlygigs unless engaged in a brutal bar fight in which broken bottles and Jackie Chan are involved." Second, did anyone notice that Stoudemire was able to lunge at Ginobili and argue with the official before he fell down and writhed in pain? I mean, four or five full seconds passed before the agony reached his brain. I don't know about you, but when I take a shot to the jingleberries, the effect is almost immediate. In fact, if the impact is bad enough, the pain can actually travel back in time and drop me before I get hit (but I'm not here to discuss time paradoxes). Third, have you ever noticed that announcers are completely incapable of talking about a man getting hit in the danglers? Instead, they use euphemisms like, "He's shaken up" or "He's catching his breath." Meanwhile, the guy's bent over clutching his tallywags, and we all know what happened. We're not children, guys. You can use the word "genitals" on the air. It's okay.

The McHale Zone. Kevin McHale was the best low-post scorer in NBA History. He was so good, in fact, that he regularly got away with shuffling, sliding, and using upwards of two or three pivot feet per possession. I never thought I'd see anything like it again, and then Tim Duncan happened. That guy gets a minimum of three to four pivot feet per low-post move. It's amazing. He tossed in an overhead layup in the fourth quarter last night, and it was an incredible shot, but even more incredible was the fact that he had to pivot about 14 times to make it to the basket. Wow. What made Duncan's moves even more suprising was...

The Spurs and Suns were both packing bags last night. I've been following basketball for over 20 years, and I have never, ever seen so many travelling violations called in one game before. There were six travelling violations called in the fourth quarter alone! And while I wasn't tracking it from the beginning of the game, the final number had to be in double digits. At one point, Leandro Barbosa got called for travelling in back-to-back possessions. I couldn't believe it. They even called travelling on a meaningless end-of-game drive by Tony Parker when the Suns were already up by 16 points:

Was it a travel? Absolutely. But that's the kind of move that Kobe, Lebron, Wade, McGrady, and whoever else you want to name get away with every game. When did they start calling travelling in the NBA? Statbuster figures that one of the coaches -- probably Gregg Popovich -- complained to the officiating crew about travelling before the game, and that got the refs all riled up. And sure enough, Dick Bavetta was one of the refs. I can almost guarantee you that any time there's a major officiating anomoly in a game, Bavetta is involved somehow. God, I hate that guy.

The 15-point Bomb. During the game last night, Statbuster described the Suns as "a 15-point bomb that can go off at any time. I thought that was a pretty accurate description. And even though the Suns struggled against the Spurs defense for most of the game, that bomb finally went off in the 4th quarter...and the Suns turned a close game into a 16-point rout.

A sidenote on the Suns' defense. Popular opinion is that the Suns don't play any, and that the Dallas Mavericks are a better bet to win the NBA title because they're so much better defensively. Well, here are a few factoids for you. The Suns have held 19 teams below 100 points this season, and they're 19-0 in those games. They're 7th in the league in defensive rebounds, while the Mavs are ranked 30th. The Suns force more turnovers (14.9 to 13.8) and get more steals (7.2 to 6.6). Both teams are in the Top Ten (due to ties) in opponent's field goal percentage (45.3 for the Suns and 45.2 for the Mavs). And while the Mavericks' opponents score 9 PPG fewer than the Suns opponets, the Suns score 11 PPG more than the Mavs.

As always, the most important statistics are the differentials, which identify how a team performs relative to their opponents. The Suns beat the Mavs in PPG differential (9.0 to 7.1) and have a major advantage in field goal percentage differential (4.6 to 0.9). This is because the Suns have a faster offense and get better shots than the Mavericks, who don't have good ball movement and depend mostly on isolation plays to score.

Shaq A-Lack. At this point, "The Diesel" is starting to look more like "The AAA Battery." Forget that he's only played seven game, and forget the 12 PPG, 6 RPG, and 46 percent shooting. He just plain looks bad. Yes, I know he's coming back from injury. But Shaq once said he'd retire immediately if he was ever "only as good as David Robinson." If that's the case, his retirement is probably a little overdue.
Since I spend a lot of time ragging on Kobe Bryant, I decided it was time to throw the Kobe fans a bone: I found an eBay auction for a purple Lakers sweatband work by the Sultan of Shoot himself.

Up for bids is a game worn Kobe Bryant Purple sweatband given to me after a Lakers game. I asked Kobe for his band at halftime and he said "I gotcha." I have selling [sic] off my whole entire game worn memorabilia collection from the Lakers, Warriors, Celtics, and more..... Here is your chance to receive a rare piece of game used memorabilia. Wristband is not washed and smells of sweat. Good Luck and thanks for bidding. Please message me with any questions! The winner of this auction may message me to let you know which game it was used in. THANKS!
"Wristband is not washed and smells of sweat"? Awesome! I like how the seller won't divulge the game in which it was used until after you win the auction. Is there any good reason for withholding this information, other than because you're covering for the fact that you totally made this up and probably used your own nasty sweat to give this thing the authentic aroma of body odor.

Kobephiles are in luck; currently, there are zero bids.

Kobe sweatband
Kobe actually wore this in a game? Suuuuure he did...