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Archive for June 2008

oregon trail…blazers

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Just allow me to take this opportunity [as someone who dreams of one day “growing up” to become a GM (NBA or NFL)] to express my man love for Portland Trailblazers GM Kevin Prtichard. The team he has been putting together for the last few years is really shaping up into something of an All-Star U25 team. They put together another great draft last night. The Trailblazers were able to obtain Bayless, and move all their other picks of note for a bevy of future draft picks.

If Bayless can learn the NBA PG position, which I hope he does as he’s one of Lute’s kids, this Trailblazer team is really looking at being a contender in two to three years. The team they would put on the floor would be Bayless, Roy, Webster, Aldridge and the Norse God (I know it’s really Odin, but I’m invoking some poetic license here). I know Blake will still start right away, but I’m projecting. Bayless is 19, so he has time to learn the PG position. Brandon Roy is 23, and has already established himself as a more-than-capable scorer in the league. Martell Webster is 21, and started blossoming into the swingman they hoped he would be when they drafted him three years ago. LaMarcus Aldridge is 22 years old and all signs point to him just…well being an absolute man. Then let us not forget, Greg Oden is all of 20 years old (if you go by the birth certificate and not the face), and by all accounts will be a HORSE in the paint (and not like an Arabian thoroughbred, more like a Clydesdale). Not a bad looking core to try to keep together for a decade or so. And as a friend of mine aptly pointed out [not that I needed him to, but he did it first], “Paul Allen’s money is long, and he wipes his ass with the luxury tax.” Get that starting five playing together, plus Channing Frye, Travis Outlaw (whom I honestly believe can score 20+ on any given night), Steve Blake, and even Jim Jones [James Jones] coming off the bench, the Trailblazers are already a solid 9 deep. They picked up something like 4 additional draft picks in the 2009 draft, which could easily be packaged to move up to draft a talented to addition to this core, or traded away for cash which can be used bring in veteran free agents to fill needs that may arise.

The thing is, they’re not just a young team that could do some special things in the future, but counting Martell Webster (which I will, given there’s no good reason to expect him to regress), they’re 60% percent of the way to having that great, young starting rotation up and running. Now the issue with Oden, I think is more with his micro fracture surgery than it is with whether he will pan out. I know you can NEVER say guys are locks, especially in basketball, but given what I saw at Ohio State, combined with the fact that he is only twenty years old, his athleticism (see that vicious game saving block against Tennessee), and his “coachability,” I’m very, very hard-pressed to not go ahead and pencil Oden in as the best young (or maybe overall) center after D-Wight (by the way, how can Shaq be the “Man of Steel” and Howard be “Superman?” It’s the same nickname, for guys who played the same position for the same team; I just don’t think you can do that). Even if Oden turns into strictly a defensive presence (probably more monster, than presence), Aldridge has enough all around offensive game for that not to even be a problem, but at the very least, Oden will be able to turn and dunk on pretty much anyone guarding him.

All this, means that Bayless’ development is key. I know that you win championships with great bigs (Garnett, Duncan, O’Neal), but I still believe PG to be the most important position on the court. It’s kind of like how you cannot win a Super Bowl without a good (borderline great) defense, but QB is still the most important position. I like the fact that Bayless is a natural scorer (I hate the fact that his last name is Bayless), as that seems to be where it’s at these days; having a PG who could shit on you if he wanted, but just prefers to hand out between eighty cents and a dollar twenty a game. Bayless is not known for his defense, but they say that’s mostly attitude and tenacity. However, my thinking has always been that defense (or willingness to play defense, rather) is the one thing about a player that you cannot really ever change, because it has so much to do with your personality. For instance you have guys out there like AI and Chris Paul who I believe are just so quick and gifted, that (and this is going to sound stupid) getting 2 steals a night really is not that hard for them. You have guys like Kobe, “the proctologist” typically (and I guess Paul Pierce in the finals) who aren’t blessed with the natural quickness and agility of smaller players, like AI and Paul, but have that tenacity and they just “want your heart” as Iron Mike would say, so they work at it relentlessly. Then you have the Bruce Bowens, James Poseys and Ruben Pattersons (remember, the self-proclaimed “Kobe-stopper”) who know that they don’t really do shit on offense, and pride themselves on D, and are viewed as defensive specialists. The one thing that all three types have in common though, is that they want to be superb defenders. The issue with that “want to” however is that you either have it, or you don’t. Tracy McGrady is NEVER going to want to stop anyone, and you’re never going to be able to get him to want to. It’s similar to that scene from The Break Up where Jennifer Aniston tells Vince Vaughn that she doesn’t want him to do the dishes, she wants him to want to do the dishes; and Vaughn appropriately replies “why would I want to do the dishes?”

Regardless of how it works out in the future, right now, the Blazers have become my new favorite, young team (sorry Seattle, but you need to get your house in order). I just wish they didn’t play in the superior western conference (top to bottom, Boston and Detroit fans, top to bottom) because then even with a sub five hundred record, there would be chance they would make the playoffs. But with Oden making his slightly anticipated debut, and Roy poised to parlay that into a monster offensive campaign, there’s a good chance quite a few of their upcoming 82 get televised.

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Written by misteressama

June 28, 2008 at 6:58 pm

why i hate kanye west

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A good friend of mine and myself have been discussing this pretty much since Kanye released his first album, which I can’t even remember the title of, but I was inspired to write this after that same friend forwarded me a blog on XXL entitled “Kanye Sucks!”

Again, before I embark on however many unfocused “bars” this ends up being on why I hate Kanye West, let me, in the interest of full disclosure let you know that I do own (or at one point owned) all three of his albums, the GRADUATE is the only one I can still find on my iPod. I obviously didn’t pay for any of them. However, my issue from Kanye West doesn’t stem necessarily from where you would expect it to [I was guessing that you would guess that I would have a problem with his ego]. If I was in fact correct, then you are in fact incorrect. I have a history of openly lauding and applauding pompous, self inflated, windbags in the fields of athletics and entertainment. I ONLY request two things; 1) that it be genuine, and 2) that your competence and talent be at least commensurate with your degree of boasting and self-aggrandizement. For instance, I love me some T.O. because I genuinely believe that he loves him some T.O. as well AND there’s the little fact about him being one of two indomitable wide receivers in the league . On the contrary I find Chad “let me start celebrating like T.O., even though I can’t impact like T.O.” Johnson to be a charlatan. Johnson’s talent is not commensurate with his impact on the game.

The same applies to Kanye West. If you looked up “braggadocious” in the dictionary, you wouldn’t find it, but if you looked up “braggadocian” you—pardon the cliché—would find some representation of the attitude with which Kanye West carries himself. I’m not saying that I don’t like ANY of his music, I’m not even saying that he necessarily makes bad music, all I’m really saying is “Kanye, you make pop music, shut the fuck up.” Kanye acts as if every album he drops has revolutionized hip-hop, rap and r&b all at the same time. At best Kanye, to me is a gifted rhymer (if that’s even a word) and a clever sampler. Even his sampling, I hesitate to call clever, because it seems to me all he does is take songs that were already classics, speed them up or slow them down, then add drums (the former two can be done on Windows Media Player, fyi). Yet he acts as if he’s some great svengali (go fuck yourself spell check, I KNOW that’s a word) of the microphone and or turntables. It seems he operates under this illusion that your talent is directly correlated to the number of units you move. However, if we extrapolate that line of reasoning, that would mean that Kanye is better than Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli…combined. We [the quasi informed public] all know that to be ridiculous, but I volunteer that what is even more ridiculous than that is that Kanye probably DOES believe that he is better than the aforementioned colossi.

Which brings me to the second reason I hate Kanye; he’s a hypocrite, and a fucking turncoat. While he was trying to make a name for himself, he toured with Talib Kweli and Mos, pretending to be on the enlightened tip, yet can you point me to one “intellectual” track of his? –I’ll wait…Don’t give me jesus walks, That song’s not about a thing. Don’t give me diamonds are forever, or the remix diamonds from Seirra Leone. If anything, those tracks makes a mockery of plight of those who are mamed and suffer for these loosely (to be generous) regulated conflict diamonds. As if that wasn’t enough, what does Kanye do, partners up with Jacob the Jewler to launch his very own line of “Jesus Pieces,” (and you guessed it) they’re diamond encrusted. If there are two things I’m absolutely, 100% certain of, it’s that if Jesus was alive today, that is EXACTLY what he would do, and that absolutely none of those diamonds are conflict stones. On College Dropout (“last call”), he tells us all about how even when Roc-A-Fella was showing strong interest in him, he was going to stick with Capitol Records because he had given them his word, and they were the ones who offered him a deal (you know, showed faith in him). I guess integrity is real easy to have when you’ve got no BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement, now don’t ever say misteressama never taught you anything). Because when Jay Z and Dame Dash parted ways, he lit out on Dame like a runaway slave. There is no other way about it. Jay didn’t find him, Jay didn’t invite him into Roc-A-Fella, and Jay didn’t give two shits about him. Dame was the one who gave him a shot, but Kanye knew who would butter his toast, so he grabbed his jelly and followed Jay Z around like a pathetic lackey. He has the nerve to say things like “I’d rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I’m not,” alright then, I can get behind that…so shut the fuck up when you don’t win awards. That’s like those kids we ALL went to high school with who tried so hard to be different and convince everyone that they didn’t care what anyone thought, but let them lose a student body election or any other type of glorified popularity contest, and they get all sour.

Let me explain something to you Kanye. Since the criteria for awards are all inherently subjective; theoretically, if you don’t value others’ opinions, it should register equally insignificant to you whether they like you or not. Meaning, when they say, “Kanye, we didn’t think you were the best this year,” it shouldn’t matter to you. But then again, I guess I should expect such complex delineations of logic to be a touch abstruse for you; after all, you are just a college dropout.

Written by misteressama

June 27, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in Sound + Cinema

Tagged with

wouldn’t have it any other way

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“I would rather have Tony Romo quaterbacking the Dallas Cowboys than any other quarterback in the league right now.” – Me circa two seasons ago.

That quote got me looked at like I had just said the road to the Super Bowl goes through Oakland. But I’m serious, like botched field goal hold to end your post-season serious. I got the usual suspects thrown at me; Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, and yes, even Brett Favre. Responses like this let me know two things; a) casual fans pay far too much attention to talking heads and b) they LOVE to hear what they want to hear.

Yes, Brady has the rings, Manning has the pedigree, Palmer is next in that line of great signal callers and Favre just gets lauded relentlessly for being an alcoholic, addicted to Codeine, being wildly inconsistent (but the media calls that a “gunslinger” mentality) oh that’s right, and winning a Super Bowl over a decade ago. Yes, I understand Favre was great back in the day, but I’ll dismiss the idea of him over Romo right away as completely and utterly risible. Why? Favre has thrown 62 interceptions in the last three seasons. Yes. 62. And I don’t want to hear that it’s not his fault. 62 interceptions in three seasons is ALWAYS your fault as a quarterback. Every other quarterback seems to get held to a higher standard than Brett Favre, because we all know NOBODY else would get away with throwing 62 picks in three seasons. Just to give you an idea, the illustrious triumvirate of Greise, Grossman and Orton has thrown 65 over the last 3 seasons. Yeah, he’s been that great.

But Favre is the worst (right now) on the aforementioned list. So how do I defend Romo? That is really quite simple, the Dallas offensive line, is truly just that; offensive. I know we added big Leonard Davis, but don’t forget he’s playing guard, not tackle. Don’t forget, this is the Dallas offensive line that was so bad that Witten, one of the best TE in the league HAD to be kept in to block when Drew Bledsoe was back there. That is because Drew Bledsoe is what Manning, Palmer, and his successor Brady all are; a pure pocket passer. Guys who would get absolutely punished playing behind Dallas’ offensive line.

Enter “Pretty” Ton’. What most people don’t get about Romo, is that he is one of the most athletic, instinctive quarterbacks in the game. I mean don’t forget he shat on Michael “The Playmaker” Irvin in a game of one on one. The more ignorant of you would say, that doesn’t mean a thing, but those of you who know; a) the kind of athlete Irvin is/was and b) the size of his ego, know that fact that he would admit this on national television means it was really something. Nobody will stop talking about Romo muffing the snap, but what people don’t talk about, is his presence of mind to get up, run and almost gain the first down. Most other quarterbacks would have never even made it up off their knees. Then the talk was “can he overcome that disastrous let down and not let that affect his play?” Well, we saw what he did last season, and what he could have done in the post season, had Patrick “I run my mouth, even though I’m awful” Crayton not let him down.

Lastly, Romo is a cavalier son-of-a-bitch, yet he never makes throws those awful interceptions that make you scratch your head. Behind a sub par offensive line, Romo still manages to make it look like he rarely gets pressured, but that is far from the case. Romo sees more pressure than Brady, Manning and Palmer ever do, but his athleticism, instincts, and three and a half years marinating on the bench before his first start have turned him into the most important player on Dallas’ offense.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Owens, he’s probably my favorite player in the league. However, there is a handful (maybe two) of receivers you could put in his place and Dallas’ offense would still be lethal. I think you could plug in; Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Plaxico Burress, Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, Marques Colston and Greg Jennings (really, don’t laugh the kid is big play) and still have what amounts to a top 5 offensive unit in the league. UNDERSTAND, I AM NOT SAYING THESE GUYS ARE AS GOOD AS OWENS (well Moss is), I’m saying Dallas could still be a top 5 offense with these guys, very different statements.Contrast that to the fact that Romo is the only quarterback (maybe a healthy McNabb, a-k-a the mythical unicorn; oft described, yet never seen) that can hide the lacunas that exist in Dallas’ pass protection. So you can keep hating him, because the media is all on his member, or because he vacations with Jessica Simpson, or because he’s a Cowboy, but one thing you cannot say is that Romo has not earned the on-field accolades he has received. Without Romo, the Cowboys are in the cellar of the NFC East, which for those of you who rep teams in other (weaker) divisions and don’t know, that’s 8-8. So just sit back and bask in the radiance of the rise of the Romo Empire, and don’t be like those haters on the other side hating him because he’s beautiful.

no compAIRison

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I know it’s late, but given Shaq’s latest single, I thought this would be a good time for my inaugural post. This sounds odd, coming off of a Lakers vs. Celtics finals series, but the last time I had this little interest in an NBA Finals series, was back when the Spurs beat the Cavaliers, and before that was when the Spurs beat the Pistons. I’m not sure how the ratings turned out, I’m sure the puppeteer [David Stern] thought everyone would forget all about the Donaghy situation with the renewal of the premiere rivalry in the league for all the marbles. Kobe Bryant, a-k-a “the proctologist” assured that would not be the case.

In what is now being referred to as a 5-game sweep, the Celtics showed just how superior they are to the Lakers, and Kobe showed just how inferior he is to Michael Jordan. Even when the Celtics played poorly, the Lakers played even worse. The sense of ennui that I watched every game (except the latter quarter and a half of game 3) with led me to question my “fanhood.” I thought to myself, “Be this what getting older is?” But it wasn’t me who was the problem; it was Kobe.

I seem to remember a certain ESPN analyst whom I will leave unnamed saying that if Kobe could shepherd the Lakers to finals victory here, he should start being considered in Michael’s class.

[Just drink that in…No, get all of it, there’s still some on your chin…ok you got it]

You have got to be kidding me. Everyone got all worked up and on his member when Kobe won the MVP (even though it should have been Chris Paul, but that’ a different story), and the hype machine was running on full tilt. Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I will put myself out there and say; I believe Kobe to be no worse than the second best player in the league, before the series started, I also thought the Lakers would beat the Celtics (but that’s only due to my natural aversion to picking a team that needed seven games to dispatch the Hawks, to win the championship), but I would never say that winning this ring puts Kobe in Michael’s class. Let us recap, Michael led his team to 6 titles, and to my knowledge never lost in a finals’ series and they never went seven games. There were quite a few games where Kobe scored 15 or 18 in the first quarter, and then would score 7 for the rest of the game; Michael NEVER would have let that happen. Michael NEVER would have let that game 3 collapse happen, and Michael sure as hell would not have let it happen at home. Yes a win in this series would have given Kobe 4, but let’s not forget the first three came thanks to Shaq, meaning there are a host of other shooting guards you could have put on the Lakers during that run, and the result would not have changed. I equate that to me riding a side car while Lance Armstrong pedals us to seven Tour de France wins, and then crediting me with seven wins.

I understand the argument that the overall talent level in the league has increased, and that had he played in Michael’s time, Kobe would be close to as dominant as MJ was. However, Michael’s era wasn’t exactly garbage, see; Stockton & Malone, Barkley, Olajuwon, Starks & Ewing, and Drexler to name a few. Secondly, Michael was the first, and everybody knows going first is always the hardest. It’s like Mariokart, setting a track record on your own is pretty tough. However, if you’ve got a ghost, the blueprint is there for you, and you just have to follow it, you’re not an innovator. That to me is why Kobe, LeBron, McGrady, and anyone else you want to throw out there as the heir apparent will never be in Michael’s class. And after the less-than-historic performance Kobe turned this year, it seems that at least for now, that’s all Michael will ever be to Kobe, a ghost.

As for the Celtics, I was not happy to see the team win, as the last thing we need is to hear more New England fans, but I was happy for Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, Glenn “Big Baby” Davis (I know that’s weird, but how could anyone not like him), and Paul Pierce. I’m probably happiest for Pierce because even though the Celtics had a cakewalk of a regular season, the Big Ticket and Jesus Shuttlesworth were nowhere to be found during the post season and Pierce did what Kobe should have done, and what Michael would have done.

[parting shots]

  1. Danny Ainge, yes you “built” a winner but you were a series of unlikely heroic performances from Paul Pierce away from having architected one of the biggest collapses since the Mavericks tanking four in a row to the Heat. Everyone still hates you, and your nephew’s still a bitch.
  2. Kobe, maybe you should demand another trade, or rip Bynum for being injured.
  3. KG, I love you to death, but all that woofing, barking and chest-pounding needs to stop. You do it a WHOLE LOT when your blowing a team out at home, but when you’re getting it pushed in on the road, you get dumb in a hurry.