Monday, May 26, 2008

Bring Back the Hick

Odds and Ends: The blog now has an email address for all those who would like to write in with questions or requests for one of Ryan's mustache combs. Contact us at With this new email technology, I think it's safe to say we're taking this blog into the 1990's!!

NBA Playoffs: I rarely pay attention to the NBA's regular season aside from catching a few highlights on the popular UK program Sports Centre. But I do like to watch the playoffs. By that time, all games are played with a purpose, and you get to watch some freakishly talented humans compete. At this point in the playoffs, we're down to the Celtics vs. the Pistons in the East and the Lakers vs. the Spurs in the West. Great match-ups. The old dynasties vs. the current dynasties.

Any combination of these four will make for a good series, but it is hard to not pull for a Lakers-Celtics finals. If you watched basketball in the 1980's, you were either a Celtics fan or a Lakers fan. I was a Celtics fan. This was mostly because my best friend and all his older brothers were, but looking back on it, unless your team was playing him how could you root against Larry Bird? Has a more unassuming body ever gone on to dominate a sport? People often talk about "the next Michael Jordan". I mean no disrespect to Jordan's legacy, but I think it would be just as fun to see "the next Hick from French Lick".


Ryan said...

Sweet mustache comb, for sure. I might need to bring back the mustache for the playoffs. I'm already wearing tube socks.

Plus, that pic of the Bird is incredible. Was he the first guy to do the "shush" action in sports trash talking? I've heard he was an insane trash talker on the court (like Jordan).

TLATL "shush"es all other blogs!

Roller said...

I've heard that about Bird, too. He'd taunt his opponents, "I'm going left. I'm about to go. You ready? I'm gonna go left." And then he'd go left. Right by them.

Coovo said...

A bloggy would have been in order if you could have found (or created) a picture of Bird using a mustache comb.

Adam Morrison was extolled as the next Larry Bird (or maybe Larry Bird like) because of his lanky, set shooting style. Not to mention his long hair, mustache and pale white skin. He's been mired by injuries for the Bobcats of Charlotte.

As good of scorer as Bird was, he was probably a better passer.

Roller said...

I forgot all about Morrison. He definitely compares to Bird in that you look at him and don't figure him to be an elite basketball player (although Morrison has only proven that at the NCAA level).

Coovo I really like the nod to Bird's passing. It's cool to hear analysis from someone who knows the game well. That just reminded me I need to get Bernsie's take for sure.

Anonymous said...

The next Larry Bird? I have heard that about Morrison, Nowitzki, Laettner, Szczerbiak, etc. The only thing those guys have in common with Bird is their skin color. Bird’s scoring, passing, defense, court sense, leadership and ability to elevate his teammates level of play are on par with the game’s best of all time regardless of race. It is a disservice to those players, just like Lebron with Jordan, to make such comparisons.

Speaking of Bird - I can't stand the NBA now. For many reasons - most spoiled/overpaid players of all the Big 4 sports, the championship team we used to have languishes in Atlanta, the way the game is officiated, the non-parity of the league - but the one that bothers me the most right now is the way that games are decided not by team play but by whoever is hot that night. The NBA has become a game of one-on-one street ball and whatever player is feeling it that night is usually the team that wins. Is there any other sport where one team wins by 20 points one night and then loses by 20 the next night? The players are more worried about looking good and representing than winning games. The NBA is more worried about product placement, global marketing and showcasing the “stars” of the game than the integrity and quality of the game. Russell, West, Magic and Bird must feel sick to their stomachs watching today’s player travel up and down the court and get fouled on calls that wouldn’t be made in a 3rd grade CYC game. I blame it all on Jordan - the first over-hyped, over-promoted, mass marketed “player” that was protected on the court like the President and was anointed the “best” player ever due to the advertising of a shoe company.

Coovo said...

I can always count on my boy Anonymous to spout the truth. Come on Stephen A, you can use your username.

I definitely think Jordan's incorporating of himself has left a generation of younger players thinking that being a great basketball player is not enough. I cringe when I think of the line of men's skin care products that Jordan came out with.

But Jordan over-hyped? I'm not sure. He was a great player and driven player. Yes he probably contributed to the shoot-first mentality on the court the pervades today's NBA, but his intense competition and devotion to defense are two areas where people fail to look to see his greatness.

I often wonder how dominant shaq could have been was he equipped with jordan's work ethic. I don't want to make this a shaq v. jordan thing but What Jordan was in year 6 of his career in terms of commercials-movies-shoes, Shaq was a day 1. At least Jordan played his way into his corporation. Shaq was rapping with Fu schnickens by the time he was drafted. Still a great player but he could have been the best of all time.

Shaq said...

What's up doc? Can we rock?...what a great album...

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

I agree with our caller that the comparisons of those guys to Bird is largely "whitey" oriented. Although I've never really heard those guys other than Morrison compared to Bird. Morrison at least has the all-game and whispy stache. Nowitzki isn't quite the passer and the other guys mentioned frankly aren't even close.

I think the NBA is slowly becoming a better league. The vacuum left by Jordan has been too-quickly filled by a bunch of crazy college kids, thus lowering the talent of t he league. However, those kids are maturing, the balance between NBA and NCAA is reestablishing and a steady influx of great players from Europe and South America are bringing the game back to a fundamental and team level.

I also like Coov's comment about Jordan playing his way into his corporation. Well said, and maybe the first athlete to ever really experience that? The NBA as a market was leaps and bounds above what it was in the 80s, largely because of Jordan and Nike. I don't want to penalize Jordan for that.

Buuuut, I don't think Shaq could have been or become the best player in the NBA ever. I think you need to have a medium sized body and play all sides of the ball and all aspects of the game in order to be considered the "best". Most dominant? Maybe, like Wilt, you know, game changing, stat (and backboard) shattering, etc. But you have to be a little more handy with shooting to be considered the best.

Kobe could be considered the best of his era at least. No small coincidence to be the best in this age he was mostly trained in Italy? I think most fanchises have realized you can't teach people how to become basketball players in the NBA. You can help them make adjustments, but the experiments in shaping raw talents too early, I think, have largely failed and brought play down.

Coovo said...

First anonymous, now Shaq, TLATL is big time baby.

I probably should have wrote "had the potential to be" or "could have been a lot better, but I didn't have time to run this comment by my editor. I certainly didn't mean to imply that Shaq left the title on the table, I just think his potential wasn't reached.

Not being privy to Shaq's lifestyle, perhaps if he worked a little more on shooting and not making Kazaam, he'd be a better player. Karl malone shot 48% and 59% from the line his first two years in the league. He finished with a 74% free throw percentage.

But I'm more talking about Shaq being overweight or out of condition. He relied on being bigger than everybody else rather than being better. Maybe he wouldn't had so many injuries if he had conditioned himself better, something nobody beat jordan at.

Jordan, malone, ewing just to name a few all expanded their games as they got older. Shaq just got older.

But the evolution of defense puts big men at a disadvantage in todays game as opposed to years past.

Roller said...

Great discussion. Coovo hit about every point I would have made in his last post so I can't add anything.

I'm curious, what did Ewing do to evolve his game?

shaq said...

Ewing certainly developed a deft shooting touch as his career went on. When he was at georgetown he would just stand under the basket and dunk over everyone with his widow's peak...i mean long arms. As his legs got slower, he developed go to post moves and a nauseating 15 to 20 foot baseline jumper, much like Jordan's fade away later in his career. As his career went on he also added three to four steps without dribbling to his patented cross the lane half hook/half jump shot...somehow never travelling and almost always drawing a phantom foul call. Either way, he made the necessary adjustments to be productive until he was 60. He was probably never as good as coovo's brother, but he did what he had to do...

Coovo said...

It's funny that my brother hasn't posted (because he usually does) or that Shaq thinks my brother is better than Ewing despite Ewing outscoring my brother in the NBA 24,815 to 0.

Speaking of my brother, we were talking recently about NBA refs and though I forget the context, we recalled how Bill Cartwright could carve up Ewing with his crafty, sharpened elbows, but Will Perdue would come and and sneeze on Ewing and it would be a foul.

Roller said...

Why don't the Bulls go shopping together?

Because Bill can't push his cart wright.

Man, I'm funny. I should write a blog or something.

Gene said...

nice thread ender, matt.