Thursday, June 26, 2008

NBA Draft

I spend a lot of time alone this summer, in a town I'm not familiar with. I live in a single person college dorm room, without even my own bathroom. So, you can kind of say that I'm living in prison, except that I have the Internet and television. Since these are two of my only connections to the outside world, I sit in this chair for most of the day while watching the TV, which is positioned in a perfect position on top of my refrigerator, so that I can see both at once.

This allows me to simultaneously write this while watching the NBA Draft; an event that is going on right now (8:15 on Thursday night), and for the first time in recent history--or ever--I've been looking forward to it for more than a week and have actually sat down to watch it.

Not only have I been looking forward to it, but since I watch ESPN so much now, I've been soaking up all of the data, rumors and possible scenarios that will come up through the first fourteen players, so I'm probably more qualified to comment on it than Bill Raftery.

If you don't watch the NBA draft, which you probably don't, because I think NBA games get about as many viewers as the MLS Thursday night games, then let me tell you something: it's not very interesting. Basically, what happens is the NBA's Commissioner, David Stern (who looks not unlike a creature that inhabits the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars and speaks in a monotone that is indecipherable from that of Ben Stein) walks up to the podium every five minutes and says the selection of the player that the team currently "on the clock" has decided to take for their own.

After that, commentators Jay Bilas--the guy that played for Duke and hasn't done shit since, but seems to know exactly what he's talking about--and Mark Jackson--the guy that played for the Pacers, wore wristbands actualy on his wrists, and doesn't appear to know a fucking thing about what he's talking about--weigh in on the wisdom the general managers and coaches showed with their selections.

Following this, the players sit down in a Laz-ee-Boy across from Stephen A. Smith--the guy that sometimes knows what he's talking about, but is kind of cheesy and speaks with diction that's only slightly better than Jim Rome's--while he asks them all the exact same question with different wording, essentially: What Are You...Going To...Bring...To...Themilwaukeebucks????????? I could seriously do this guy's job if I was hammered drunk on Mojitos and had just smoked Angel Dust (on accident).

The players try to answer this questions the best they can, and none of them--aside from maybe Kevin Love--answer the questions with anything worth saying. Everyone says that they want to help the team win, can play the point if they need to, and will play defense for real if necessary. They don't show much individuality, but it's not a stand-up comedy show. Most NBA players aren't known for their witty banter, and that's not what they get paid for.

***SIDENOTE: Some players are known for their witty banter. Well, one at least, and his name is Shaq. If you haven't seen Shaq's freestyle rap song from last weekend, when he tore Kobe Bryant's arrogant ass to shreds, look it up on YouTube. With one innocent rap in a NYC club, Shaq has moved into second place on my list of "The Best and Worst Rappers Ever." He is behind only Kanye West, who can make words rhyme in a pretty successful manner, but is without a doubt the biggest douche bag in the history of the world (that wasn't a dictator or advocate of genocide or murderer, well as far as we know). If this isn't self-explanatory, read his blog.

This may not sound like the most captivating thing on television, but at this point in the year there's not really anything else on other than baseball, and that's not that thrilling to watch either. But, you've got to ask yourself: what else am I going to do on a Thursday night?

So, for some reason, I'm going to do some draft analysis. If you enjoy and know basketball, some of it might be a little bit intelligible, and if not, you probably don't even want to read this since it will be an incredible bore. Instead, I suggest you rent a movie or, I don't know, read a book or article by someone that's really a writer.

I'm only going to do a few picks, like 10-14, because I rented Pride and Prejudice and need to get myself ready for a good cry. Oh, and the lottery picks only go until 14, which is basically all anyone cares about.

1.) Chicago Bulls- Derrick Rose, Guard from Memphis.
The Bulls came out as the winners in the lottery this year, despite Miami having the worst record in the league. It doesn't really matter that much, because if they would've gotten the second or third pick, Rose probably still would've been around, due to the fact that he doesn't fit as well with the other worst teams in the league.

Chicago, apparently, needs a point guard, which I can understand. Someone needs to check Rose before he wrecks himself, though. He keeps babbling all of this shit about how he's going to "lead the Bulls to victories," and I keep saying, "What the fuck are you talking about?" I'm sure Kirk Hinrich is saying the same fucking thing. The dude is younger than me, and he wants to lead the most famed franchise in the history of professional basketball? You cannot be a leader of a team when you're that young, unless you're LeBron James, and Rose most certainly is not.
That said, I hope that Chicago does well. I love those guys. They are probably the most diverse team in basketball, as far as nationalities go. They have white American Hinrich, a childhood hero of mine; the Sudanese Luol Deng; the black french Joakim Noah; and I guess that's it.

But, they also have a new coach, and his name is Vinnie Del Negro. How unbelievably awesome of a name is that? It's the perfect one for a coach of such a diverse team. His name encapsulates Italian, Black, and Mexican all in one! And the guy is, I think, actually white! What a beautiful fit. I think they should try and get Eduardo Najera--the only Mexican born player in the league.

2.) Miami Heat- Michael Beasley, Forward from Kansas State
People were questioning whether Beasley would go second, because Pat Riley's dumbass decided to say he didn't like Beasley without naming a reason. I've never liked Riley, and strongly believe that Jason Williams should be made player-coach of the Miami Heat. There was absolutely no doubt that Beasley should go to the Heat, and he would've (I think should've) gone first to the Bulls, but they had an erection for Rose and his immaculate leadership skills.

I don't know what to expect from the Heat this next year. If you look at their roster, they should be better than a nude photograph of Jennifer Connelly, but they were the worst team in the league this past year after winning the championship the year prior. It's really a strange anomaly that the Heat would go from first to last while the Celtics went from worst to first all in the same year. I guess it's because the Celtics were handed two of the best players in basketball when they already had another one, but I don't understand the Heat's loss. Weird.

3.) Minnesota Timberwolves- O.J. Mayo, Guard/Man-Child from USC.
Let me tell you a story about O.J. Mayo. When I was in 9th grade and he was in 8th (though he will turn 21 before me), my AAU team squared off against his. Get this, I guarded the dude, and held him to only four points. FOUR POINTS. Of course this was in the fourth quarter, and he wasn't really trying because they were already beating us by forty points and he had at least thirty-five of them.

Anyway, he's good. The Timberwolves will still suck because their best player is named Al Sharpton, or some shit like that.

4.) Seattle SuperSonics- Russell Westbrook, Guard from UCLA
I don't know much about Westbrook, but I hope he works out because the Sonics need to do something to get their fans back. I guess they're about to be moved from Seattle, which will result in mass suicide by the hardcore fans. What else is there to do in Seattle if you don't work at the hospital from Grey's Anatomy? All it does is rain there.

On an upside, they do have the most picks in this draft out of anyone, so they'll get some young talent to go with Kevin Durant. Oh, and they have Luke Ridnour, who is on my all-time list of awesome white guards that have actually somehow made it to the NBA. Ridnour has even started for like three or four years, so he wins my professional basketball Bob Woodward award, for being in the right place at the right time. Put that dude on a team with Jason Kidd and he's fucked.

5.) Memphis Grizzlies- Kevin Love, Forward from UCLA
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, given that it's the Grizzlies. Do you think it's a coincidence that they're the first team to pick a white boy, and a terribly unathletic one at that? Well, it's not.

Think about the Grizzlies' history with white men: Bryant Reeves, Jason Williams and Mike Miller. All (supposedly) franchise players.

To further bolster my point, look at who their general manager is: Jerry Fucking West. One of the most--and only--successful white men to ever kick it in the NBA. The Grizzlies are basically the KKK of the NBA. Wait, I take that back. Their highest scorer's last name is "gay." That doesn't fly in the Republican Party, let alone the KKK.

6. New York Knicks- Danilo Galineri, some dude from Italy that must've been no good at soccer.
The Knicks are in pretty bad shape and didn't make things much better for themselves with their first draft pick. I didn't know much about this guy coming into it, but the Knicks fans at the draft--it was held in NYC--told me plenty when they proceeded to boo the shit out of the guy. The commentators said they were impressed by how he didn't seem to worry about the fans. They called him tough. But I think he might just be foreign and stupid. I'm not sure he really sure he understood what was going on at all.

I'm not sure what the Knicks are planning to do with him, but it's going to be tough for everyone when the ball keeps slipping out of his hands. (Get it? Italians are stereotypically greasy. I'm an asshole.)

You never know what will happen, though. The Knicks did get Mike Dantoni to man the ship for them next season, and he is the most innovative coach in the league. Also, my favorite.

7.) Los Angeles Clippers- Eric Gordon, Guard with Two First Names from Indiana.
The Clippers are usually terrible, and I'm not sure if Gordon will be able to turn their shit around. He's decent though, and I like him a lot because he's the player in the draft that I can most relate to (even though Muska could never be misconstrued as a first name).

Jay Bilas said that he could shoot lights out and was a scorer, but that he was a bad passer tha tturned it over too frequently and couldn't handle the rock very well.

I relate to him because I could shoot half-decently, and couldn't do anything else at all. I turned it over like a pancake chef in my day.

8. Milwaukee Bucks- Joe Alexander, Forward from West Virginia
Well, Joe Alexander is pretty sweet...and another guy with two first names! He's a really athletic white dude, which is an oxymoron like "day dream," and he played at West Virginia. I haven't really traveled the entire country, but I figure that Morgantown and Milwaukee are about as similar as two cities can get.

Alexander will be playing in the front court with Andrew Bogut, who is an Aussie. That's all I have to say about that. It's pretty cool, I think.

Terrible joke: Alexander was born in Taiwaan, but he wasn't made cheap.

9. Charlotte Bobcats- D.J. Augustin, Guard from Texas
I don't have much, or anything to say about Augustin, but I do feel sorry for him. He's gotta play for Larry Brown and Michael Jordan, both of whom I've been told are big dicks.

I'll take this opportunity to wax man crush about Adam Morrison, though. That guy's still in the league and still getting burn. What a fucking animal.

10. New York Nets- Brook Lopez, Forward from Stanford
Alright, I can't suffer this guy. He might be good and everything, but i actually got legitimately pissed off whenever he wasn't drafted by Charlotte and started crying. Wow. Who would cry over not getting to sit on the bench behind Emeka Okafor?

I probably wouldn't have dwelt on this for so long if they hadn't interviewed his brother right afterwards. The dude was hilarious, and was obviously the cooler brother. Fortunately, he got drafted fifteenth to the Suns, my favorite team.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Homo?

As something of a self-proclaimed next generation story-teller, I have quite the appreciation of slang. I use that shit, and I abuse it. I latch onto a hip word of phrase and subsequently beat it to death within two weeks. I quote lines from movies like they're going out of style, until, finally they do go out of style.

I use the phrase "sick" totally out of context so often that it's become a despicable habit. I might say something to my friends like, "Dude, Conor Oberst is the sickest song writer since, like, Bob Dylan." If you're over the age of, say, twenty-five and weren't particularly into Mr. Dylan, you might think that I mean that Bob Dylan was already dead as a result of tuberculosis, and that Oberst was going to soon follow him because of a severe allergic reaction he had to shellfish and/or peanut butter whilst on tour.

If you do happen to be young and hip (or, say, not unlike myself) you probably know that what I really mean is that Conor Oberst is the greatest or best songwriter since Bob Dylan. (This, of course, is arguable. Chances are you've never heard of Oberst or his band Bright eyes, and if that's the case then you probably like Chad Kroeger and Nickelback. If that is indeed a little bit more down your alley, then substitute Kroeger with Oberst and Brett Michaels with Bob Dylan and you'll have basically the same scenario. If you decide to go this route, after switching the names, close this window and never read anything I like again, because Nickelback is almost as terrible and un-creative as Oprah Winfrey.)

That's slang for you, right there, and it's been around for generations. People saying that something was "groovy" in the '70s wasn't exactly part of the scholarly vocabulary, but everyone knows what it means. The same with someone saying that they "dig" something. When taken in a literal sense, it makes absolutely none, but with the proper knowledge of slang it's easily understandable and reusable.

Now, as a scholar of slang terms, I hate it when a phrase or term comes about that is absolutely awful, and I hate even more when people start to use it in every other sentence. Examples of this would be the phrase "I know, right?" said in a valley girl tone, or anything repeated from the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Phrases from the movie Borat are also beginning to fall into this category, which hurts me deeply because that was a film of rare comedic genius. But, it's just like anything else: if you hear someone scream "Very niiiiiicccceeee" in a Kazegi--wherever the fuck he's from accent for the six millionth time, it begins to grind on your very psyche. Just like if I hear that Rihanna song about sharing umbrellas on the radio one more time I will have high-efficiency earplugs installed in my canals for the rest of eternity.

Another instance of this--I know, you get the point, but bear with me--is the term "Party like a rockstar." I thought I was finally done with this, but just yesterday (against my better judgment) I was watching MTV and saw a special show. It was Sean Kingston's Super Sweet 18th birthday. He must have used this term three million times, and I wanted to just scream through the monitor that he should shut the fuck up. He was making an entrance onto a private island from a fucking yacht. I've never seen any footage of The All-American Rejects doing that. Just let that one go.

Now, the term that's recently come to my attention and has immediately begun to wear on me is "No Homo." I hear this at least twice a day, whether it's on television or with someone I'm conversing with.

It's quite possibly the worst slang term to come into existence in the last ten years, and I was just going to put an exception here, but I can't think of any. And I'm declaring a mission to extricate it from Urban Dictionary and from the mouths of all of this nation's youth.

For those of you who aren't in the know about No homo, you should first of all be thankful. But, if you're going to fight a war against terrible and overused slang, you must first know and acknowledge your enemy. I learned this from Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai before he turned into a total fuckhead (his coming out party was on Oprah's show, nonetheless) and completely cock-blocked Dawson and stole his childhood love.

"No homo" is a term used when a supposedly heterosexual alpha male says something that could be construed as gay, either before or after he utters the offending sentence. For example, a guy could say something like "I can't believe I just swallowed all of that!" He would then immediately say "No homo!" so that his colleagues realize that he's not really gay and didn't mean to sound that way. What a silly boy. Another would be a man saying to his friend, "No homo, but damn Drew, I saw you in the showers and you're hung like a damn Clydesdale!"

You know, things of that nature.

Now I'm worried for a few reasons about this, and I will list some of them now:

1.) If you feel a need to prove your masculinity so much, you should never, at any point, talk to your friend about how big his junk is, and you especially should not compare it to the biggest species of horse in all of creation. If you're really an alpha male, you should be swinging a large enough bat to point to center field for a home run whenever you damn well please, and if you're not, you shouldn't draw attention to others that far outdistance (and quite possible even's Physics) your own genitalia. Word like that spreads around pretty fast I think, and if you become the public relations coordinator for your friends jackhammer, then he'll be beating off chicks lined up down the street with a broom, his weiner or both, while you'll be reduced to writing sonnets in order to even get a consideration for a prom date.
--Sidenote: I'm astounded with the amount of synonyms for the penis that I used in that paragraph. I'm not even going to say no homo, because this is the beastly male part of this rant, and masculine men have no need for it.

2.) Sexual confusion can happen. Using the term "No homo" can only further this confusion. Think about it for a second. Do you honestly believe that Neil Patrick Harris knew that he was gay during his adolescent years while he was starring on Doogie Howser, Kid MD? No, he probably didn't. He was awash in women during those years and was probably too wrapped up trying to bang the entire Mickey Mouse Club that he didn't even know he was gay until he'd used up all of the women and encountered Justin Timberlake. He probably also started saying fruity things, you know, they might just pop out of nowhere, which may have led to the confusion that eventually let him accept that he was one of the coolest gay dudes to ever have lived, if not one of the most comedic. If "No homo" was around then, and he could use it in every instance that he made an unintentionally inappropriate quip concerning a stethoscope or tongue depressor, he might still be questioning his sexuality. This confusion should be avoided, because honestly, there's nothing wrong with being a homosexual. These days, there is no shame in it at all, as far as I see. It doesn't bother me and it doesn't bother anyone, unless you're rooming with the kid and he finds you extremely attractive, which I don't think really happens. I'm pretty sure gay people are attracted to other gay people for the most part, but I'm not sure. I'll have to research that and get back to you.
This can also work on the other side of the spectrum. We've all heard of those guys who get married, have kids and then figure out that they were gay the entire time. Like one day they wake up and realize that they really dig dudes, and decide to move to San Francisco, leaving their wife and six children ranging from ages two to ten in the dust so that they can go swingin'. What the fuck do you say to your spouse? "Sorry honey, but I've jumped fences. I'm going to Cali to explore the disco clubs and maybe get married to a man someday. I guess when I get a job at Pottery Barn I'll start sending child support checks. Believe me, this is for the best, and you can tell our oldest, but I'd probably wait until Sue is at least potty trained to let her know the good news. I hope we can still be friends, Will and Grace really had something going, don't you think?" With the up-and-coming "No homo," less and less men will be able to accept their sexuality before settling down with women when they deep down don't want to but aren't truly aware of it.
Take, for instance, Pete Wentz. I know that right now Jessica Simpson is down in the dumps because her little sister is married and happy and she can't even hold onto Tony Romo. She'll feel a lot better when she finds out in a couple of years that Wentz successfully "No homo'd" Ashleey Simpson into a high profile marriage.

3.) My last reason is that this new slang is just totally unnecessary. It's not at all needed in the trendy and comedic canon of vocabulary. I've tried for the last hour to think of a time when I would need to use "No homo," but haven't thought of one instance where it can't be substituted with one of the most hilarious and creative slang phrases of this generation or any other, which would be: THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID.