Since I live in Indiana, I’ve heard an amplified level of bitching about Note Dame linebacker Manti T’eo getting “screwed” out of the Heisman Trophy Saturday night. To keep this simple, it is time for Notre Dame fans to realize that Te’o was never going to win…never.
Yeah, I get that even after a quarter-century of irrelevance, you Notre Dame fans still think that college football supremacy is your birthright, but if you really want to re-assert that claim, you may want to focus on beating Alabama rather that whining about what is essentially a quasi-meaningless popularity contest.
Face facts, you Golden Dopers. If Notre Dame beats Alabama, nobody will remember this so-called Heisman slight. But if you lose that game, don’t spend the next 20 years crying about how T’eo got screwed, because he didn’t.
If you doubt that, consider the following:
1) The Vote Wasn’t Really That Close
Even though the common line about the outcome of this vote was “Manziel Narrowly Beats T’eo,” that’s really not true when you remember how the voting is set up. There were 892 ballots cast for the award; the vote being conducted by a voter placing three candidates in order on their ballot. Each first place vote is worth three points, second place is worth two points, and third is worth one.
Manziel recieved 474 first-place votes as compared to 321 for T’eo. When you factor in the other 97 ballots that had somebody other than Manziel or Te’o, it becomes clear this was a two-horse race. With 892 ballots, a unanimous first-place winner would have received 2,676 points. This means Manziel only got 1,422 points from first-place ballots, where T’eo got 963. Manziel got a total of 2,029 points to T’eo’ s 1,706. That means Manziel not only scored more first-place ballots, but that T’eo was scored second or third on more ballots than Manziel scored first. Remember, you are voting for a guy to lose if you don’t put him first on the ballot. In other words, more voters thought T’eo was not the winner than thought Manziel was the winner That’s a pretty clear cut loss for T’eo.
2) It Wasn’t About “Defensive Players Can’t Win,” Te’o Wasn’t Even The Best Defensive Player
T’eo’s big claim to fame statistically is his collecting 7 interceptions. But out of the guys with 7 or more interceptions, he has by far the fewest return yards and is the only one not to come up with a “pick 6.” So, the fact that he is a “big play maker” is a bit of a myth.
In terms of sacks, Te’o doesn’t even show up on the board. In fact, the only thing that T’eo gets credited for is making a lot of tackles, which are not an official statistic. T’eo shares this trait with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, who doesn’t have T’eo pick-offs, but did record 22 tackles for loss. Jones also received so first-place Heisman ballots. From “eye-ball” test, Jones was the better linebacker, and another first-place vote recipient, South Carolina’s Jadavean Clowney was a far more dominant factor on the field from his defensive line position.
So why did Te’o get so many votes? Largely because he is the best player on a defense which brought the Fighting Irish back to national prominence after two-plus decades in the college football shitter. Don’t underestimate how powerful that is.
If Notre Dame had lost a game along the way, would Te’o have even been in this discussion?
3) Face It, Football Is Now A Quarterback’s Game
Charless Woodson is the only one of 74 Heisman winners who wasn’t exclusively an offensive player, and even then he won due to his efforts as a kick-returner and part-time wide-receiver. Since Woodson won that award in 1997, only four of the last 15 winners weren’t quarterbacks, and 6 of the last 7 were signal-callers.
This isn’t just a college phenomenon. Since the NFL began awarding MVP awards in 1957, it’be been won by a defensive player only twice; Alan Page in 1971 and Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Out of the 54 years in the history of this award, 35 winners have been quarterbacks, including only 6 non-quarterbacks in the last twenty years.
So, Notre Dame fans, after considering all that, please explain to me why you thought Te’o has a chance to win the Heisman. After all, it was only you and only a third of the Heisman voters who thought so.
Feel free to consider this an open letter to all of you who are wringing your hands in angst over the comments made a few days ago by New York Times columnist Phil Mushnick. If you are one of such people, I have two succinct, yet crucial messages for you:
- Get ready for a hefty dose of reality that will likely make you uncomfortable.
- Shut your mouths and get over yourselves.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m a middle-aged, educated, black man, and I’m tired of listening to the crap that spouts from the mouths of people who have spent the better part of the last forty years claiming to be so tolerant and concerned about the plight of blacks in America, yet during that time never bothered to learn anything about us.
I’ve been getting a belly full of this nonsense over the past few days, and now I’ve hit my “enough” line. It is time to look at this situation for the really ugly truth it exposes.
Let’s start with the comments themselves, then I will explain how the “this is the worst thing ever” reaction is so much self-congratulatory bullshit.
Remember the context of Mushnick’s comments are about why rapper and general miscreant Jay-Z exists as a part-owner of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets. This is important to note as relocation of this franchise is being done largely to change the culture and perception of the franchise; rather than calling the swamplands of New Jersey home, the Nets are looking to become decidely more “urban” by moving to Brooklyn, and we all know for what “urban” is a “code word.”
“As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots—what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home—why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why be the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York Niggers? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn Bitches or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”
First of all, let’s ask a question. Why is there such a need to instantly discredit such a statement simply because it contains some offensive language? I am suspicious of any argument that instantly seeks to discredit a statement by labeling it “offensive” without ever even looking at it’s merits, usually because this is a tactic used by those whose underlying beliefs are built on false assumptions. Not all statements which criticize a person who happens to be black are “racist,” and while you don’t have to like the word “nigger,” it’s presence doesn’t in and of itself negate the veracity of the statement.
Now let’s ask a second question. Why is Jay-Z a part-owner of this team? He’s not part of the ownership group because he has a background in the ownership and management of professional sports franchises. He’s not part of the ownership group because they need his money; Jay-Z’s entire net worth is barely “ashtray/toll booth” change compared to majority owner and multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. He’s not even part of the ownership group because he’s a retired sports legend (a lá Magic Johnson) who is there to be the “face” of the franchise.
This is crucial to the discussion because while he may not be a sports figure, Jay-Z is clearly intended to be the new face of the Nets. He was instrumental in the franchise’s move to Brooklyn, and in concert with that impending move, the Nets are giving themselves a makeover. New uniforms have been unveiled and there’s clearly an effort underway to create a new culture. The Nets are using Jay-Z to help create that new culture and fanbase.
On the plus side, for the first time in years, people actually care about the Nets. There’s a buzz surrounding a franchise which has long been a “little brother” in the New York sports market. While they have yet to play a single game in Brooklyn, it has been said there is a “certain excitable cool” around the Nets that was never there during their days in New Jersey.
On the minus side, Jay-Z represents so many negative stereotypes that there’s simply no way comments like Mushnick’s weren’t coming. I’ll admit that he uses a means which is decidely over the top to make his point, but his point is nevertheless valid. Like it or not, there’s a negative swirl around the “hip-hop culture;” the very same culture Jay-Z is building around the Nets.
Like Jay-Z, it celebrates the very same violence, racism, and sexism which routinely gets other people kicked off the island. Jay-Z’s entire career is not only based on these negatives, he’s spent major portions of it pandering to those same prurient interests. Mushnick is getting raked over the coals for using words like “niggers” and “bitches and hoes,” yet Jay-Z is celebrated for making a career out of them. Not only does the hypocrisy drip from such a double-standard, it makes the crying about the use of such terms ring exceptionally hollow.
The obvious problem is the fact that the same people who bemoan the destructive power of such words are the same people who have created the nonsense that it is who says the words that matters, as if intent did not matter in the least; a complete inverse of the reality. Words in and of themselves have no power to harm, but it is when they are spoken with the intent to incite they become problematic. There may very well be poor taste in Mushnick’s use of these offensive terms, but there’s no inciting.
There’s also no demeaning in Mushnick’s words. There’s only one person in the world any of us can say for sure might be offended by something. If you want to be offended by the words “nigger,” “bitch,” or “ho,” then be my guest. But don’t ever presume to know what is offensive to anybody other than yourself, let alone an entire class of people, especially since it is entirely possible those words are hiding that which is truly offensive. Unlike Jay-Z, Mushnick isn’t demeaning anybody, and he certainly isn’t harming anybody; his “crime” is he is pointing out the very same hypocrisy that I am.
Face it, it isn’t the words that are offensive, it is the pandering to stereotypes which is the real problem here. If you don’t believe, that, try the following example. Let’s say for the sake of argument I am a multi-billionaire who wishes to buy a professional football team. I move the team to Los Angeles, which just so happens to a) not have a team and b) is a city with a large black population. Let’s also say I decide to use the same hypocrisy to generate a culture; since I’m a black man it is perfectly acceptable to pander to stereotypes in the same manner as Jay-Z, but with a different means.
Instead of using the “gangsta hip-hop” culture, let’s say I go back to “old-school” stereotypes. I change the name of the team to the Los Angeles Sambos. The logo on the sides of the helmets is a picture of Al Jolson in complete black-face, I dress up all the cheerleaders as “Aunt Jemima,” I call the stadium “the Plantation,” the vendors sell only fried chicken, corn bread, and malt liquor (grape drink if you are underage), and for a promotion for the first home game, every fan in attendance gets a football painted like a watermelon.
Now, while you are recoiling in horror at that, be sure that any comments you send me about being a “race-baiting piece of shit” include an explanation of why what Jay-Z does is any better. And before you attempt that justification, consider another (and crucial) difference between Mushnick’s and Jay-Z’s use of offensive language.
There’s also no glorification in Mushnick’s words. Nobody read his article and said to themselves “Man, I really want to be a racist.” But Jay-Z makes a living out of glorifying negatives. The abridgements to free speech that don’t cover yelling “fire” in a crowded theater don’t apply to the arts; I’m not sure I want to live in a country where they do. However, the 1st amendment only exists between individuals and the government; there’s no law against using the word “nigger.” Nor should there be; not for any word as censorship is the first step toward tyranny.
If that weren’t enough for you, let’s also not forget that it is Jay-Z, not Mushnick, who has the history of going beyond words; to going toward real harm. Remember a few paragraphs back when I alluded to the fact that offensive language in a statement may hide a even more offensive concept? This is exactly what I mean. The thing that is truly revolting in this whole story is the fact the Nets believe for some reason the only way to reach a young, urban audience is to sink to the level of a violent convict like Jay-Z; another facet of the aforementioned hypocrisy is that he was allowed to plead what should have been an attempted murder charge down to a misdemeanor with only three years probation. A spoken word never left anybody bleeding from a stab wound; Jay-Z cannot say the same.
So, let’s get to the bottom line. It isn’t the words that are offensive, it is the hypocrisy attached to them which is the real problem. As a society, we can’t continue to allow such a cultural divide which allows a select class of people to behave in a different manner while being held to a different standard, then act shocked and get offended when that same divide allows the perputation of offensive behavior and stereotypes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m going to warn you up front…The following piece revolves around a very ugly and uncomfortable topic. This piece contains some offensive language and a discussion of an even more offensive topic. If you are easily offended or are not willing to see a “bare-knuckle” discussion of race relations as they exist in America today, do not read any further.
Dear Bryant Gumbel,
For purposed of understanding the perspective of this open letter, I am an educated, black male in my 40s. You and I are in many of the same demographic categories. The major differences are you are older than me, and I am not a sanctimonious, self-serving, race-baiting asshole.
Once again, Mr. Gumbel, you’ve needlessly injected race into a situation which didn’t call for it. During Tuesday’s episode of HBO’s “Real Sports,” you made reference to slavery in describing the NBA commissioner David Stern’s treatment of players. During your end-of-show windbaggery, you alluded to Stern as “some kind of modern plantation overseer” and said the commissioner treats the players like they were “his boys” and “hired hands.”
Show some balls, Gumbel. Instead of hiding behind your not-so-subtle “code words,” why don’t you just say “Stern’s job is to keep the niggers in line?” Your words are every bit as inflammatory and hate-filled as any slur could be, and you know that. Don’t try to deny you know that. You’ve got a long track record of deliberately doing just that.
Back in 2006, according to SportsBusinessNews, you called then NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw “(then NFL Commissioner) Paul Tagliabue’s personal pet.” You may as well have called him an “Uncle Tom.”
That same year, according to NewsBusters.org, you uttered the following gem about the Winter Olympics, “Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.” Jimmy the Greek got fired for saying blacks were “superior athletes.” Not only did you get away with it, you did it while insinuating the Republican Party might as well be the Ku Klux Klan.
Since you have been getting away with this t for years, you felt comfortable letting loose this bit of race-based verbal diarrhea against Stern. Let’s break this down for a little game I like to call “Count the Code Words.”
“Finally, tonight, if the NBA lockout is going to be resolved any time soon, it seems likely to be done in spite of David Stern, not because of him,” Gumbel said. “I say that because the NBA’s infamously egocentric commissioner seemed more hellbent recently on demeaning the players rather than his game’s labor impasse.”
There’s #1: “demeaning.” To this day, every time I hear this word, I hear it coming out my grandmother’s mouth in Philadelphia 30 years ago on one of her deluded rants about how “Whitey” lives to “demean” successful black people. It was myopic, bigoted bullshit then, and its myopic, bigoted bullshit now.
“How else to explain Stern’s rants in recent days. To any and everyone who would listen, he has alternately knocked union leader Billy Hunter, said the players were getting inaccurate information, and started sounding ‘Chicken Little’ claims about what games might be lost if players didn’t soon see things his way.
Technically, there’s no code words in this paragraph, but the line “if players didn’t soon see things his way” might as well be the “Toby will be a ‘good nigger” line from “Roots.”You stop just short with the analogy; all you need is the imagery of the players as runaway slaves tied to a tied being horse-whipped by Stern. Oh, wait…you’re getting to that.
“Stern’s version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”
This paragraph is a code-word sponge; you wring it and they cascade out. Some of them I’ve already mentioned. “Plantation” and “overseer” are about as strong as code words get on this topic, but to call the players “boys” is as unacceptable as the N-bomb itself. For this alone, you should be fired.
But you won’t be fired; in fact you likely won’t face a single sanction since there is a hypocritical double-standard in the media about “hate-speech” being acceptable if it comes from certain people. Therefore, I can only expose you for the self-serving race-baiter you are and hope that America is smart enough to realize nothing you say should be given any creedence.
“Some will of course cringe at that characterization but Stern’s disdain for the players is as palpable and pathetic as his motives are transparent. Yes, the NBA’s business model is broken. But to fix it, maybe the league’s commissioner should concern himself most with the solution and stop being part of the problem.”
Here’s the pay-off…you can’t get good mileage out of your “hate speech” without some hate. Hence, your assertions that David Stern hates the players.
What utter rubbish.
First of all, the NBA is a business, and whether anybody wants to admit it, it is a business with a major problem. Bryant, even you allude to that in your own misguided way. The problem is that the “sweetheart” deal the players got in the last collective bargaining agreement simply can’t continue. We can argue all day long about why that is, and about who deserves what in these negotiations; that’s for another discussion. The bottom line is that the business model works, but it has a revenue problem.
This distinction is critical to understanding your overall misdiagnosis of the situation. You clearly do not understand the first thing about a business model. A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. This lockout is about the division of that captured value as expressed as revenue. Funny, but I don’t recall a time when slaves were given an opportunity to get a slice of the plantation’s revenue pie.
It doesn’t take a deep look into your slavery analogy to realize it is utterly devoid of any logic. The average NBA fan has a hard time feeling sympathy for a guy making an average salary of $5 million per year; and he certainly doesn’t look at them as a “slave.”
$5 million per year doesn’t make you a slave, it makes you an employee; an employee who makes a hell of a lot more than the average NBA fan. Not to mention, it was under David Stern’s tutelage as NBA commissioner that the average NBA salary rose from approximately $300,000 to $5 million.
So, why would you say such a stupid and inflammatory thing?
Because making such an outrageous statement draws attention. That’s it; nothing more and nothing less. You took took the horrors of slavery and used it to draw attention to yourself and your program.
Stop and think about what that means.
If you are a black person living in America today, Bryant Gumbel just cheapened the legacy of your ancestors by equating the centuries-long suffering of millions of people to a squabble between millionaires over a few dollars, all so he can claim a few more viewers for his show. Gumbel’s comments become even more offensive when you stop to consider that while the NBA is predominantly black, it is not exclusively so. Gumbel has absolutely no right to paint the entire league with his racial generalizations.
Mr. Gumbel, for the reasons I have mentioned, it is clear to me that you are an unconscionable, self-serving parasite. I will not be so presumptuous to assume to speak for anybody, but I sincerely hope that America understands what a pernicious hate-monger you really are and simply decides to have nothing more to do with you.
If you go back to the very first post on this blog posted over two years ago, you will see it was a rant about the ridiculousness that was the end of the Favre’s career. We all know how much fruit that garden has produced; just glance at the tag cloud in the right-hand column of this very page.
Brett, your problem is that you are like the NFL’s version of a rash that simply won’t go away. Our latest example are the comments you recently made regarding his successor with the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers.
I’m not even going to get into what you said, Brett. Don’t think I didn’t notice you pulled that old trick where you say something complimentary (you did admit that Aaron Rodgers was in fact a talented quarterback), but then you tainted that with a back-handed insult by pondering why “it took so long for a quarterback with Aaron’s skills and surrounding talent to achieve a Super Bowl victory.”
The beef I have is that you said anything. After the way you proved at the end of you career what a self-centered little twat you are, the million-dollar question is why does anybody care what a moron like you thinks?
Even throughout your playing days in Green Bay, even in the MVP era, I always suspected you were a douche-nozzle. I was also suspicious that the reason we never heard this was that the small-town Green Bay reporters may have covered up some of your escapades in order to maintain their access to the local star quarterback.
Of course, this ended after the Packers tired of your “I’m retired/I’m not retired” game and pawned you off on the Jets. Once in New York, somehow you managed to keep the whole ‘Wiener Text-Gate” issue quiet until after you got out of town, but by then, all sorts of other things were raining on you.
We all know that story, so there’s no need to dredge it all up again. The trouble is that whenever you shoot off your mouth, it all comes back for us. That’s why for the good of the NFL, its fans, and the human race as a whole, I must ask to you do the honorable thing – kill yourself.
Sure, that may sound rough, but let’s be honest. It’s not like you don’t have some self-destructive qualities. I mean, there was that whole Vicodin addiction, then there’s your suicidal insistence on maintaining that consecutive-games-started streak. It’s obvious you don’t mind self-destruction; why not show us such an act that’s good for somebody other than you for a change?
You really leave me no choice but to offer this suggestion. As rough as it may sound, it’s obvious you won’t ever shut the hell up as long as you are alive, so it’s clear that is the piece of the puzzle that needs to change.
I don’t really care how you do it; only that you do it before some other media outlet puts a microphone in front of you. After all the self-indulgent crap you’ve put us through, Brett, it is high time you did something for football fans everywhere.
While the rest of America is looking to remember 9/11 on its tenth anniversary, a decade from now people in Indiana may be remembering 9/8; the day their football world collapsed.
Yes, I understand that comparing a medical procedure on a football player to an act of war that changed the entire world is completely ludicrous, but if you lived in Indiana now, you saw the whole world stop just like it did on that horrible day a decade ago. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m really not. Every other newscast in America led this morning with remembrances of 9/11; every newscast in Indiana led with a 3D graphic of a human spine.
It all started on Thursday when Colts’ owner Jim Irsay said on Twitter that Peyton Manning would be out “for a while.” There was already much anguish since Manning’s streak of consecutive starts was coming to an end; that uneasiness was magnified by the uncertainty of how long Manning would be off the field.
You have to understand, Indianapolis is a small city in a small state; the Colts are a major source of statewide pride, and nobody is more important to the Colts than Peyton Manning. Ever since Irsay’s now-infamous Tweet of uncertainty, all of Colts Nation is uncomfortably staring into the unknowns of a Post-Peyton world. Adding to the anxiety is the fact the news has been ever-changing. Estimates on how much playing time Manning will miss range from 3 games to 3 months to the entire 2011 season.
In order to restore some sanity to this situation, we here at Dubsism are going to offer the clearest possible picture we can as to what this all means.
1) What Actually Happened
Peyton Manning has had his third neck surgery in less than two years on Thursday. This time, the procedure was called a “single level anterior fusion.” Dr. Rick Sasso of the Indiana Spine Group said the following of the procedure:
“The disc herniation is on the front of the nerve, so we go in through the front, take the pressure off the nerve, and then we distract that disc space where it belongs. We also open the tunnel where the nerve runs out and then we keep it in that position with a little bone graft. And you usually put a little plate across that section so people can move their neck right away and get back to doing their normal activities very quickly,” he said.
By all accounts “the surgery was un-eventful.” But the last line of the quoted story is the problem.
“That timetable (for healing) takes most of the current NFL season.”
Without Manning, the whole world knows the Colts are a 5-win team. This means a decade-long streak of playoff appearances are over. This means an era of respectability is over, and an era of mediocrity is coming.
2) The Problem From a Business Perspective
Peyton Manning, misshapen head and all, is the face of the Colts, and he’s a major revenue stream for the league as a whole. What other NFL figure has been in enough commercials to fill his own network, programs included? Let’s not forget Fetushead has been on The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, and countless other cameo appearances. Whether or not he might actually be a douchebag is immaterial; in fact he is a walking cash machine. From that perspective alone, Manning’s absence is not good for the league.
Moreover, how fast do you think the Colts will disappear from nationally televised games without Manning? The annual Sunday night Brady Vs. Manning Bowl loses it luster without it’s latter namesake; if he’s not ready by then, you can bet if the network which has the game has a “flex” option, they will check off that game faster than Manning checks off a run in the red zone.
3) And Now, From The Football Perspective…
The Colts are screwed. I don’t think I can be anymore succinct than that.
First, there’s this season which every blue-wearing Indiana horse-shoe brain can see swirling down the crapper. It’s not that they don’t have any faith in Kerry Collins or Curtis Painter (which they don’t); it’s that Peyton Manning isn’t just the quarterback, he’s the whole goddamn offense, right down to the play-calling. Without him, this team may spend the entire season offensively looking like a fraternity touch-football team well into its third keg of beer.
Now for the ugly little secret. Whatever happens with Manning, there’s the matter of the money the Colts have tied up in Captain Neckbrace. Manning was just signed to a 5 year, $90 million, $26 million of which he gets this year whether he sees the field or not. That’s a pretty big bite out of a $120 million salary cap.
What’s worse is they chased bad money with worse because they were desperate. What Colts fans may not realize is the really scary thing isn’t the money Irsay gave to Kerry Collins, it’s the length of the contract. Technically, Collins signed a two-year, $14 million contract.
This begs the question…Why would you offer a retired insurance policy a two-year deal? The only answer which makes sense is because you are gambling you won’t need two years of insurance. From a practical sense, this is really a one-year deal which nets Collins $4 million for the 2011 season, because the Colts can release him at the end of the season without any financial obligations beyond $2.5 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.5 million.
However, the reality is the contract is a two-year deal, with a 2012 base salary of $10 million. That’s a lot of dough for a 41-year old retiree; to make sure Collins is willing to stick around for year number two, the Colts had to pony up the cash.
That’s also means the Colts know they may need that second year. It hit the Indianapolis papers this morning that the Colts can release Manning after this season free and clear of any further financial obligation. Stop and let that sink in for a moment; three weeks ago, we were talking about Manning might be ready for the season opener against Houston. Now, in a very short amount of time, we are making serious overtures about the end of an era.
There’s even some serious delusions occuring.
If the Indianapolis Colts wind up having a wretched season due to Peyton Manning’s neck injury, they may find themselves in a somewhat similar situation. Granted, it’s too early to tell how long Manning will be sidelined after having his second neck surgery in less than four months. Maybe he’ll return halfway through the season and lead the Colts to the playoffs once again. Or maybe he’ll be out all season and will return next year at full strength.
Or maybe he’ll never play again.
Either way, there’s reason to believe the Colts will suffer at the controls of Kerry Collins. The most optimistic of Indy fans think Collins will do just enough to lead an already good Colts team to the playoffs by limiting his mistakes and just getting out of the way. But for those that watched him play in preseason, it’s clear that his arm strength and accuracy have declined and he has a habit of hanging onto the ball too long when he’s in the pocket…
…It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Collins and the Colts will be so bad this year that Indy will be selecting in the top 10 come April. And if they get close enough to sniff the No. 1 overall pick, Bill Polian might want to do whatever’s necessary to land Stanford’s Andrew Luck.
Folks in the blue buckle of the Corn Belt can forget about getting the #1 overall pick; the Colts simply don’t have that kind of Luck (pun completely intended). They are going to be bad, but not #1 overall pick bad. That’s reserved for the Bengals, Bills, Redskins, or maybe even the Panthers again. Believe me, anybody who has that pick is not going to trade it unless Luck pulls an “Eli Manning” and demands such a trade.
Here is what it all boils down to…no matter what, the Manning era is Indianapolis is over; at least the productive part of it is. Manning himself without the neck issue is past his prime, and the offense he led no longer strikes fear in the hearts of NFL defensive coordinators. The time is now for the Colts to look to the future rather than dumping money into the past.
An Open Letter to Denver Broncos Fans: Kyle Orton is the Greatest Athlete in the History of Ever REVISITED
Apparently, I have to dig this article out of the Dubsism archives. The fact that ESPN just will not leave the whole Orton-Tebow thing alone; in fact they are decidedly trying to inflame a situation that is clearly not a situation means I have no choice but to reprise this article originally posted on August 25th, 2009. Then, as now, the whole point is that Kyle Orton DOES NOT SUCK. To re-inforce that point, I’m simply going to quote myself, with some added (and pointed) commentary.
I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Bronco fans. You don’t have to like the trade that sent Jay Cutler to Chicago and brought the Neckbeard to the Mile High City. You don’t have to like his 3-interception performance in his Denver debut (and even I will admit that left-handed interception against Seattle was powerfully lame). You don’t even have to like the fact that your team has historically led the league in ugly-ass uniforms. But you have to like Kyle Orton.
OK, Bronco fans…look me in the eye and tell me you would have rather had Jay Cutler after last season. Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Sure, we could sit here and argue about a bunch of statistical stuff, but that isn’t really the point behind why you must like Kyle Orton. Rather, you must understand that Orton is what every moderately-talented and under-ambitious 20-something guy wishes he could be. He has the super-hero like quality to be mediocre yet successful, and most importantly, immune to criticism. Face it, Bronco-maniacs. You will never see Orton curled up in the fetal position sobbing uncontrollably over the slings and arrows you may cast. You have to understand that the Neckbeard is born of different stuff than us mere mortals.
You also won’t see Orton pouting on the sidelines, or having his will to play questioned.
In short, he’s living the life you wish you could.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Even if Orton were the complete shitpile of a quarterback you dipshits want to think he is, he is still living a better life than you ever will.
Picture a gray November 1982 in that American Mesopotamia known as Iowa. A baby who will someday become the Neckbeard springs forth genie-like from a party-size jug of Jack Daniel’s. He is raised by an unsuspecting Iowegian family, who don’t realize the young Orton is different until they realize his talent to raise his arm and cast a football a mighty distance. It is an ability that is almost as impressive as his ability to double-fist alcohol in amounts heretofore unseen in those parts (legend has it he once consumed an entire stock dam filled with Grain Belt beer).
The powers given unto young Orton drew the attention of the Tiller-stache, who brought the prodigy to Purdue. Orton walked onto the field, pushed aside whatever slag-heap the Boilermakers were pretending was a starting quarterback, and filled the skies over Ross-Ade stadium with pigskin. When nearly 50% of those balls resulted in positive yardage, and when Orton threw only ten less touchdowns than interceptions, the Neckbeard was born.
Eventually, the Neckbeard outgrew West Lafayette; moving to the land of the NFL, and he has no idea how. By his own description, Orton awoke at the 2005 NFL Draft next to a crowd of spectators and large black man in a Bears jersey. Dumbfounded by the sudden rush of attention, he cast his road-map eyes into the crowd and said “Forget about Grossman, put your faith in the Neckbeard.”
Oh, here’s a fun little tidbit we overlooked originally…The Bears would have won that Super Bowl against the Colts if Lovie Smith had pulled his head out of his ass and yanked Rex Grossman off the field. Wanna know why? The Bears lost because “Sexy Rexy” coudln’t stop chucking picks; go look at Orton’s career touchdown-to-interception ratio.
He gained fame for his ability at first to out drink the entire Chicago Bears team, then the entire city. His fame only grew when his tales of mass consumption were combined with his exploits with the ladies of Chicago.
Now, Denver, the Neckbeard is all yours.
The whole point of that story is to make Bronco fans understand what they really have. Orton is considered to be one of the most laid-back and mediocre quarterbacks of all time. Orton is considered to be one of the legendary drinkers of our time. He is also noted for his prowess with the ladies, having earned the reputation as a master swordsman, thus ranking him as the greatest athlete in the history of ever.
If you are yet unconvinced that Kyle Orton is living your dream life, compare the average day in his life to yours.
A Typical Day at Kyle Orton’s House:
2:00 p.m. – Wake up, smoke a joint
3:00 p.m. – Call buddies, have them grab a couple of cases of beer on their way over to the crib
4:00 p.m. – Smoke another joint and watch Dr. Phil, because seriously that shit is hilarious
5:00 p.m. – Make up some excuses for missing practice
6:00 p.m. – Play Xbox, drink beer, and smoke up with buddies until it is time to go clubbing
9:00 p.m. – Head out to the club, drink enough liquor to float a moderately-sized naval vessel and select chicks for after-hours Neckbeard orgy
2:30 a.m. – Neckbeard orgy
5:00 a.m. – Send chicks home in a cab, smoke a joint, go to sleep
OK, so the only thing that really changed here is sometime during the night, Orton and his boys might pull some sort of prank on Tebow; the guy’s at Domino’s are figuring out that if Tebow orders 50 large pepperonis with extra cheese, its usually a gag.
Now, for the pay-off…
So, Orton makes $3 million dollars a year to play football, and gets to do nothing but drink constantly, hang out with his crew, and nail the sort of chicks over which you could only fondle yourself. Keep that in mind the next time your nine-dollar-an-hour-overnight-mall-security-guard ass wants to lip off.
UPDATE: 4/23/2010 – Kyle Orton Promoted to God
I’ve held my tongue on this as long as I can. I’m two days into your “Lockout-is-over-gasm,” and I’m officially sick of your bullshit. I don’t care who you are, whether you are from ESPN, or some penny-ante blog like this one, the next person who says “thank God the NFL is back” will find me at their front door flattening their skull with a shovel.
It’s not that I don’t like the NFL; it’s not that I’m not glad we will have football this fall. But you people really have to stop with this line of thinking like you lost something because of this lockout. In case you didn’t notice, this whole affair took place during the off-season. This means the fans lost nothing of consequence; the only event 99.9% of football fans care about which occurs between March and July is the NFL Draft, and you even got that. In fact, you used that occasion to boo the shit out of Commissioner Goodell.
The only people who can legitimately claim to have been screwed by this lockout are those of Canton, Ohio. By cancelling the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL has cost the economy of that town the boost it normally gets from hosting that annual event. Of course, even that wrong has a simple way to right it: have a Monday Night game there as a neutral-site affair; the league can pick up any costs and/or defray any expenses incurred. Don’t tell me it can’t be done; if the Vikings can have home games in Detroit and in a college stadium because their roof caved in, this can get done.
So, that takes care of Canton…so what about the rest of you? Fuck you. You didn’t lose anything, so quit your whining. Go back and look at the labor stoppages of 1982 and 1987 too see what a true screwing of the fans looks like. The 1982 NFL season got a 57-day hole blown into the middle of it, forcing the reduction of the regular season from a 16-game schedule to 9. This led to a special 16-team playoff tournament; eight teams were seeded 1-8 based on their regular season records. The true horror for all of you who bitched about the Seattle Seahawks being in the playoffs despite their 7-9 record…under this format, two teams qualified for the playoffs despite losing records; Cleveland and Detroit were both 4-5 and in the playoffs.
The 1987 season offered all these horrors and one more: replacement players. Thanks to a 24-day players’ strike, the season was reduced from the usual the 16-game season to 15. The games that were scheduled for the third week of the season were canceled, but the games for weeks 4-6 were played with each team’s rosters composed of guys were were loading trucks the week before. There nothing like reading about how your starting quarterback can’t play on Sunday because he can’t get out of his morning shift at Denny’s.
Not to mention, recent memory is full of other work stoppages in sports which had a real cost; baseball lost parts of two seasons and a World Series, the NHL lost an entire season, and lord knows how ugly the current situation in the NBA is going to get. In other words, before you start crying about how wonderful it is to have the NFL back, ask yourself when did it ever really go away?
Do yourself a huge favor; just stop talking. Everytime you open your mouth, you say something that needs later “clarification.” Just stop talking until you learn how to talk to the media without shooting yourself in the foot.
Sports fans love to make comparisons, and right now they love to compare you to Michael Jordan. They want you to “Be Like Mike;” there’s a host of reasons why that is not a good comparison. In many ways, the “Mike” you are most like is Mike Tyson.
Stop and think about it.
Just shy of a year ago, you made your “Decision.” Since then, your public persona has swirled down the drain. In that year, you went from a loved and respected sports figure to one that has his character questioned and is now arguably the most hated figure in all of sports. In other words, it is clear you have no idea how you are perceived by others.
You obviously care about your image. You admitted “The Decision” special was an ill-conceived idea, but only after you blamed racism as the cause for the hate-laced response from your former fans in Cleveland. You don’t want to be hated and you don’t understand why you are hated largely because you have absolutely no self-awareness.
Unlike Mike Tyson, I don’t think you are the sort of guy who is going to end up in prison, nor do I think you will encounter the same type of problems that befell him. But you both have factors in common that caused you to take a precipitous fall in the public relations arena.
You both were on the tops of your respective sporting world until one lynch-pin event changed the entire dynamic. With Tyson, it was Buster Douglas; and with you it was “The Decision.”
The reason why I’m saying this is it is clear to most of us people who have “our same lives with the same problems” clearly see you don’t understand the impact “The Decision” had. See, many of us aren’t as dumb as you believe we may be. Like any other rich person, we know you have a cast of cronies and sycophants who largely dictate your off-the-court actions. You are deluding yourself if you believe we can’t see that.
While Tyson had a similar cast of characters telling him there was no reason he needed to take Buster Douglas seriously, he did so at his own peril. If you don’t fix the problem “The Decision” created, you run the risk of suffering the same decline.
After the Douglas fight, Tyson was never the same. While he did regain the heavyweight belt in 1996, it was after that night in Tokyo when Tyson’s legal problems began, when his financial problem began, and let’s not forget about the “Ear Incident.”
Forget about “The Decision” for a minute.
Even more seriously than “The Decision” is the fact that twice now you’ve been called a “quitter.” Nothing will destroy your reputation faster than getting tagged as a guy who quits on his team. First there was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals last year. Then there was what happened with CBS columnist Gregg Doyel during this year’s NBA Finals.
American sports fans hate two things – excessively dirty cheaters and quitters. Tyson spent a long time as a pariah after the “Ear” incident, and by letting the “quitter” tag get hung on you, the risk exists that you end up on the same level of derision. Last season, you let Bill Simmons accuse you of quitting against Boston, then you cried in the floor after beating the Celtics this year.
Worse yet, Doyel accused you of fading against the Mavericks. Granted, you didn’t let him get away with calling you out by asking you point blank if you were a choke-artist in big moments; you backed him down decisively. After that, I thought for sure you were going to single-handedly sodomize the entire Mavericks’ team and make their wives hold your headband while you did it.
You barely managed 8 points. By the cry-job and doing virtually nothing on the floor to disprove Doyel’s assertion, you are making these two guys look right because you’ve done nothing to prove him wrong.
You can’t be the greatest player in the game if you can’t stand up for yourself by taking your game to the next level when it matters. Forget about the fact you have to prove a couple of reporters wrong, you have to show a sporting fan public you are worthy of their granting you the “Greatest” label.
Make no mistake; those same people for whom you showed such disdain with that stupid comment you made after Game 6 are the ones who who make such determinations because they are the fans. Granted, you may have had a legitimate point, perhaps we all do need to go back to our own daily problems. Of course, we could all just do that by deciding not to buy the jerseys, hats, keychains, posters and tickets that pay your salary. Maybe we could just all decide that our everyday problems include not spending our collective dime to listen to you hide behind your big-ticket lifestyle as a reason why you seem to fold faster than Superman on laundry day when the heat is on (pun quasi-intended).
Let me guess, you meant the haters, right? For purposes of full disclosure, I will admit I’m one of them. I openly cheered against you all season long because I thought it was a complete slap in the face to sports fans everywhere the way you, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh raised yourself on a hoist, complete with pyrotechnic display into an arena of screaming fans, all of whom were decked out in their new Heat jerseys and willing to swallow your promises of a perpetual stream of NBA titles between now and the end of time.
But so far, all you’ve delivered on is a bunch excuses. Failing to deliver on such promises to a fan base eager to see your supposed dominance…well, you might as well have bitten off their collective ear.
If you want to fix this, you need to make a couple of distinct changes.As I mentioned before, they all revolve around how you deal with people.
First of all, stop being a crybaby when you lose. This is a country whose biggest movie icon ever is John Wayne…this is a country where “crybaby” plays about as well threatening to eat people’s children does.
Secondly, forget about what your “posse” tells you. Look in the mirror every morning and say to yourself “today, I’m going to do something to make people like me.” The best way to do that is to DO (not say, but DO) something which makes the aforementioned people “who need to go back to their lives” believe that you understand they are the ones who pay for your current lifestyle. Stop charging $500,000 for people to meet you at a South Beach birthday party and go build a “Habitat for Humanity” house. I don’t mean write a check for one…go pound some nails.
More importantly, play basketball like it is the most important thing in the world to you. America wants heroes who not only are the tops at what they do, but who give a damn about what they do. Play basketball in the same way John Wayne made movies…be the biggest badass imaginable, and back it up with the talent you have to get away with it.
The loss to Buster Douglas was when all of Tyson’s problems started. “The Decision” is your equivalent. You have the chance to use that lynch-pin moment as a learning opportunity or you can let it define you.
An Open Letter to Houston Rockets Fans: Thanks For Making Me Look Like An Idiot, But At Least You’ve Committed Suicide
Let’s just cut through the crap and get right down to the issue at hand. Any NBA team which hires Kevin McHale as its head coach only did so because Dr. Jack Kevorkian wouldn’t return their calls. Short of “Dr. Death,” nobody could possibly ensure basketball mortality more than Kevin “McFail.”
Yeah, I know I’m on record as hating McHale, but that was as a player. My on-the-record hatred of Hibbing, Minnesota’s answer to a low-post Frankenstein is not only clear, it’s recent.
For the longest time, I wanted Kevin McHale dead. And not just dead; I wanted to drink beer out of his hollowed-out skull and piss on what was left of him. But his complete and total failure as an NBA general manager ensured I will never see him as anything other that a talking head. Most Laker fans remember McHale for his clothesline of Kurt Rambis in the 1984 Finals. Had that flagrant foul happened in the NBA of today, he would have been suspended and fined. Instead, this play seemed to help shift some of the series momentum towards Boston, and McHale showed the world yet another Celtics player willing to be a cheap bitch.
There it is…just when I thought it would be safe to watch basketball without McHale’s influence, the Rockets decided to snatch McHale out of the TNT broadcast booth to put the power of action behind his idiocy yet again. Do they not have television in Houston? Did they not see that McHale is largely responsible for 15 years of mediocre-ranging-to-downright-shitty basketball?
Let’s break down the McHale-in-Minnesota debacle. First of all, there is the matter of his 39-55 record as a head coach. A .415 winning percentage doesn’t exactly scream the second coming of Red Auerbach; but it gets even better when you consider in those two quasi-interim stints on the bench, he played a major role in the construction of those teams. To make a long story short, McHale sucks as both coach and general manager. To make a short story long…
Upon his retirement as an NBA player, McHale joined the Minnesota Timberwolves as a television analyst and special assistant. In the summer of 1994, new Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor promoted him to Assistant General Manager. He continued to broadcast Timberwolves games and work as an executive until 1995, when he succeeded Jack McCloskey as Vice President of Basketball Operations, where one of his first moves was to hire former University of Minnesota teammate Flip Saunders as head coach of the Timberwolves.
The next season McHale made the decision to draft high school phenom forward Kevin Garnett with the fifth overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft. Though Garnett developed into one of the NBA’s best players, the Timberwolves advanced past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs only once in Garnett’s twelve seasons with the team.
It was also during McHale’s reign that the Timberwolves were punished by the NBA for making a secret deal with free agent forward Joe Smith to circumvent the league’s salary cap rules. Before the 1998–99 season, Smith agreed in secret to sign three one-year contracts with the Timberwolves for less than his market value. In return, Smith received a promise that the Timberwolves would give him a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract before the 2001–02 season.
In 2000, after word of the secret agreement got out, NBA commissioner David Stern voided Smith’s final one-year contract with the Timberwolves, making Smith a free agent. Stern also took away three of the Timberwolves’ next five first-round draft picks and fined the team $3.5 million. Smith signed with Detroit for one season, but came back to Minnesota before the 2001–2002 season as a free agent.
On February 12, 2005, the Timberwolves fired Saunders and McHale took on head coaching duties for the remainder of the 2004–05 season. He compiled a 19-12 record but had no interest in continuing as head coach. Dwane Casey was hired as the new head coach in the off-season of 2005.
With Minnesota sitting at .500 midway through the 2006–07 season, McHale fired Casey on January 23, 2007. Timberwolves’ assistant coach Randy Wittman was tabbed to take over for Casey. Despite missing the playoffs, on April 19, 2007, the Timberwolves announced that McHale would return for the 2007–08 season, as would Wittman.
Prior to the 2007 NBA Draft McHale reportedly tried to work out a trade with Celtics General Manager and former teammate Danny Ainge that would have sent Kevin Garnett to Boston for a draft pick and players. Garnett’s agent told the Timberwolves and the Celtics that his client had no interest in playing for Boston, and the potential trade was scuttled. In late July 2007, Minnesota and Boston once again tried to consummate a deal for Garnett. Garnett eased his stance on being traded to Boston; on July 31 he was sent to the Celtics for five players and two first-round draft picks. Garnett finished third in the MVP balloting and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in leading Boston to the NBA Championship over the Lakers.
There’s three things that story doesn’t cover, and they should be of keen interest to Rockets fans.
First, there’s what the Timberwolves actually got for Garnett: Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson (who split town as soon as he could), Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft (wasted on Ricky Rubio) and a return of Minnesota’s conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade. Minnesota also received cash considerations in the deal. Other than the cash, that defines “bag of magic beans.”
Then there’s the draft day trade of Ray Allen for Stefon Marbury. “Starbury” proved to be more of a headache than anything else; Ray Allen is headed to the Hall of Fame.
And last but not least…Run down the list of Kevin McHale draft picks…try to not to shudder when you see this level of not understanding talent:
- 1995 1st Round: Kevin Garnett
- 1995 2nd Round: Mark Davis
- 1995 2nd Round: Jerome Allen
- 1996 1st Round: Ray Allen (traded to Milwaukee)
- 1997 1st Round: Paul Grant
- 1997 2nd Round: Gordon Malone
- 1998 1st Round: Rasho Nesterovič
- 1998 2nd Round: Andrae Patterson
- 1999 1st Round: Wally Szczerbiak
- 1999 1st Round: William Avery
- 1999 2nd Round: Louis Bullock
- 2000 2nd Round: Igor Rakočević
- 2001 2nd Round: Loren Woods
- 2002 2nd Round: Marcus Taylor
- 2003 1st Round: Ndudi Ebi
- 2003 2nd Round: Rick Rickert
- 2004 2nd Round: Blake Stepp
- 2005 1st Round: Rashad McCants
- 2005 2nd Round: Bracey Wright
- 2006 1st Round: Brandon Roy (traded to Portland)
- 2006 2nd Round: Craig Smith
- 2006 2nd Round: Bobby Jones
- 2006 2nd Round: Loukas Mavrokefalidis
- 2007 1st Round: Corey Brewer
- 2007 1st Round: Chris Richard
- 2008 1st Round: O. J. Mayo (traded to Memphis)
- 2008 2nd Round: Nikola Peković
- 2008 2nd Round: Mario Chalmers (traded to Miami)
- 2009 1st Round: Ricky Rubio (took two years to sign a contract, and may be the ultimate “pig in a poke”)
- 2009 1st Round: Jonny Flynn
- 2009 1st Round: Ty Lawson (traded to Denver)
- 2009 1st Round: Wayne Ellington
- 2009 2nd Round: Nick Calathes
- 2009 2nd Round: Henk Norel
Let that sink in for a moment. While you are doing that, Rockets’ fans, be thankful “McFail” will not be your GM, but weep openly at the fact this nimrod will be determining your on-court talent.
Houston, you have a problem…here’s hoping it doesn’t last 13 years like it did in Minnesota.
When one talks of “flagship franchise,” it is hard to discuss the National Basketball Association without mentioning the Los Angeles Lakers in that capacity. The Lakers were the first dynasty in the history of the league, stemming all the way back to their original home from which the team name came; the City of Lakes, Minneapolis. All the way back to that era of dominance in the 1950’s through Sunday night, the Lakers have one of the greatest winning traditions in all professional sports. Even just limiting the look back to the last three decades, the Lakers have won 10 championships; which is the most of any team in any of the “Big 4″ North American sports leagues.
In all that time, this franchise has been affiliated with a litany of names which rank in basketball immortality…George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Vern Mikkelsen, John Kundla, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Jamaal Wilkes, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson. All those men carved their initials into the championship traditions which live in Laker land, but along with those who are revered, there are those who are reviled.
The trouble is that after the worst defeat that any Laker fan had ever seen, the “reviled” list may now include a few guys who were wearing the purple and gold last night. I’ve been a Laker fan my whole life; my father has a picture in his house with his name on the scoreboard at the old Forum. But if you listened to sports radio in the Southland on Monday, you would think Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum wore turbans and had “bin Laden” somewhere in their names. I’m not here to defend either of those guys; rather I’m here to remind Laker fans that the vitriol for the guys who have found ways to stop Los Angeles from winning should be reserved for those wearing the other team’s colors. To that end, here’s 20 examples of guys more worthy of your ire…if you need to hate on a former Laker, they are noted in purple.
20) Dennis Rodman
Rodman isn’t the only example on this list who wore a Laker uniform at one point, but there are far more reasons for Laker fans to hate him beyond his cameo in purple and gold in 1999. Before all of the tattoos, the multi-colored hair styles, and the wedding dress, Dennis Rodman was a key member of the very same “Bad Boy” Pistons who stole the NBA Title from the Lakers in 1989. Then, he joined forces with the then-hated Phil Jackson and still-hated Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to dominate the league from 1995-1998. Then comes 1999, where Rodman proved more of a hindrance than a help to the Lakers.
19) Sam Jones
NBA fans under the age of 60 may not remember Sam Jones, but true basketball historians can’t forget him. Jones is the second greatest team winner in professional sports history behind fellow Boston Celtic Bill Russell; in his career, Jones won 10 NBA titles. The Lakers claimed Jones back in their days in the North Star state, but Jones went back to school and ended up in that disgusting Celtic green. Jones ended up as one of the premier shooting guards of his era, but to Laker fans he is best known for Game 7 of the 1962 NBA Finals. In this case, Jones fouled Elgin Baylor away from what would have been a game-winning tip-in, but the clear foul was not called. Jones went on to be a thorn in the Laker’s side for nearly another decade.
18) Ralph Sampson
The single highlight of the 7’4″ Sampson’s career was the incredible shot he hit to knock the Lakers out of the 1986 Western Conference Finals. What could have been a third consecutive year of having L.A. and Boston in the Finals was derailed by a guy who never hit a meaningful shot again.
17) John Havlicek
Yet another Celtic on this list, Havlicek was one of the best all-around players in NBA history. More importantly, as a member of the hated Green, he won eight championships, five of which came at the expense of the Lakers.
16) Don Nelson
Many people forget about Don Nelson and his role in defeating Laker teams, including the ones he played on from 1963-1965, which is hard to imagine considering he a) also played for the Celtics and b) coached every single team in the NBA except the Lakers, and at least 40 or 50 in Europe. He hit a bunch free throws for the Celtics sealing the 1968 NBA Finals, and the next year he hit a game-winning jumper that sealed the 11th career NBA championship for teammate Bill Russell. Not to mention, Nelson-coached teams just pissed me off; with that bullshit “Nellie-Ball, up-tempo, what’s defense?” style.
15) Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen will forever be known as the Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman. Perhaps the greatest wing defender of all time, Pippen’s versatility proved to be the perfect compliment for Jordan. Yet, it was his play with the Portland Trailblazers that really pisses off Laker’s fans. Known for his dirty play, Pippen nearly helped Portland pull off a huge upset in the 2000 Western Conference Finals, and when the Trail Blazers lost to the Lakers, Pippen acted a lot like Andrew Bynum except without the bush-league foul.
14) Willis Reed
Everybody loves to trot out that 1970 Championship game where the ambulance dropped Reed at mid-court and he single-handedly willed the Knicks to beat the Lakers, cure cancer, and cause a warp in the space-time continuum ensuring the sorry-ass Knicks would always relevant. Lakers fans love to remember the dominant 1971-1972 team which won a record 33 consecutive games, but the Reed-led Knicks won two out of three Finals series against the Lakers between 1970 and 1973.
13) Paul Pierce
For a guy who grew up in the shadow of the old Forum, playing against the Lakers seems to bring out the best in Pierce.; his 26.0 ppg career average against Los Angeles is his highest against any team. Then there is the “wheelchair incident” from the 2008 Finals, where he faked an injury to have his own “Willis Reed” moment and put the momentum back on the Celtics’ side en route to a Finals MVP performance.
12) Isaiah Thomas
God, I hate this little cocksucker. At least history has shown him to be a complete piece of shit, so I’m validated. As the leader of all those “burn-in-hell” Pistons teams of the late ’80’s, its bad enough he pulled that record 25 point performance in the third quarter of Game 6 of the 1988 Finals against the Lakers despite playing on a severely sprained ankle. The following year, Thomas helped lead Detroit to a four-game sweep over an injury-depleted Laker squad, then celebrated on-court as if he had just single-handedly made the entire city of Detroit NOT a third-world shithole.
11) Tim Duncan
The old Roberta Flack song “Killing Me Softly” should be about Tim Duncan. Known as the “The Big Fundamental,” Duncan is one of the best bigs in the history of the game, but watching him play is like watching concrete harden. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, his reign came during the Lakers dynasty years led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and on more than on occasion he hardened that concrete around the feet of the Lakers and sank them (see 1999 and 2003).
10) Ray Allen
Allen is the best long-range shooter in NBA history, and he has pumped more than one sniper round into the Lakers. In Game 2 of last year’s Finals against LA, he hit a record eight three-pointers. However, Laker fans will always relish his 0-13 debacle a few days later in Game 3. Depsite that, Allen was clutch in Boston’s win over the Lakers in 2008.
9) Kevin Garnett
Similar to the other members of the Celtics on this enemies list, Garnett is know to Laker fans for one distinguishing trait. In Garnett’s case, he is so good at setting a moving screen he should be a pulling guard in the NFL. He also doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for being a cheap-shot artist.
8 ) Bill Russell
Do you see the pattern developing here…another asshole in Celtic green. He got a pass for all the racist bullshit he had to endure in Boston, but Russell was as mean and arrogant as any player the NBA has seen (nobody ever talks about how many fights he started). All in all, as arguably the greatest player of all-time, and certainly the best rebounder and shot blocker of all-time, Russell emerged victorious over the Lakers seven times without a loss.
7) Bill Laimbeer
Here’s a guy who embodied what was wrong with those cheap-ass, punk-bitch Pistons teams of the 80’s. Laimbeer holds a special place in the hearts Lakers fans…actually, he was despised everywhere except Detroit. The Laimbeer model was to absolutely shit-hammer defenseless players, then flop like a soccer player as the slightest breeze.
6) Chauncey Billups
For some reason, Billups is a player that seems to play his best against the Lakers. One shouldn’t be surprised as he started his career with the Boston Celtics. Yet, it was 2004 as a Detroit Piston which earned his place on this list. Billups put up a performance for the ages when he led Detroit to a championship by averaging 21 points per game while shooting 51% from the floor, 47% from 3-point land, and 93% from the stripe.
5) Walt Frazier
Willis Reed’s comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals totally overshadowed Walt Frazier being the MVP of that game. In securing the big win for the Knicks, Frazier poured in 36 points and 19 assists against the Lakers. Then for good measure, he reprised that role in the 1973 Finals win against LA.
4) Karl Malone
Malone was known for years as being a dirty player, throwing elbows and setting hard picks. Along the way, Malone proved himself as the greatest scoring power forward in NBA history. In 1997 and 1998, Malone’s dominant play helped bounce the Lakers from the playoffs. For years, the Lakers wanted to lure Malone to Los Angeles. But, he stayed in Utah until he could finally be a broken down old wreck as a Laker.
3) Michael Jordan
“The greatest player of all time.” That completely fraudulent statement is reason enough alone to hate MJ; but that rant is for another time. There’s no denying he had his moments of dominance against the Lakers; in the 1991 NBA Finals, MJ averaged 31.2 points per game, 11.4 assists, and 2.8 steals, while shooting 56% percent from the field.
2) Larry Bird
The Bottom Line: The greatest player to wear the evil Celtic green during that Magic-Bird rivalry era in the 80’s has to be on the list, and high on it at that. As a leader of the Celtics, Bird represents everything a Lakers fan hates.
1) Kevin McHale
For the longest time, I wanted Kevin McHale dead. And not just dead; I wanted to drink beer out of his hollowed-out skull and piss on what was left of him. But his complete and total failure as an NBA general manager ensured I will never see him as anything other that a talking head. Most Laker fans remember McHale for his clothesline of Kurt Rambis in the 1894 Finals. Had that flagrant foul happened in the NBA of today, he would have been suspended and fined. Instead, this play seemed to help shift some of the series momentum towards Boston, and McHale showed the world yet another Celtics player willing to be a cheap bitch.
Honorable Mention – Phil Jackson
Let’s not forget what Jackson was before his stints as the Laker coach and the 5 championships he won in Los Angeles. Don’t forget Jackson was a key member of the Knicks teams that beat the Lakers in 1970 and 1973. Let’s not forget the six titles he coached the Bulls to in the 90’s. If it weren’t for those five Laker rings, he would have had to be on this list. Maybe he should be anyway…