Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 comments Filip Bondy Hates How NBC Whores Out Women Volleyball Players

Filip Bondy has an issue with NBC. He knows NBC knows people enjoy watching women's volleyball so they have scheduled that Olympic event to occur in primetime. One would think this is a big win for women's athletics, that there is enough interest in women's volleyball that the sport would be shown in primetime during Olympics. One would be incorrect. See, Filip points out that these women volleyball players are going to be playing late at night and they have (actually they don't have to) wear bikinis when they play the sport. These women are used to playing in bikinis and so that is the attire they choose. This is just completely inhumane to force (or not force at) them to wear skimpy clothing and then take advantage of these poor women by showing their sport to the largest possible audience. I see this as a somewhat big win for women's sports because it gets exposure for women's volleyball (no double meaning implied) and it puts two of the most decorated and exciting Olympians (Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor) in the primetime spotlight. Rather than agreeing with me and seeing this as a big win for women's sports, Filip sees this as a way for NBC to whore out women athletes for ratings...not ironically something these women volleyball players don't seem to give a shit about. Of course, if no women's sports were shown at night I'm sure Filip would find a way to have an issue with this as well. These women are wearing their bikinis while playing volleyball, it's just a matter of when NBC wants the event scheduled in order to determine how large of an audience these volleyball matches receive.

Imagine the potential frustration, the awful irony.

The "awful" irony. Filip isn't being overdramatic about this clothing issue at all in calling it "awful." Filip would compare giving women volleyball players the choice of their clothing during a match, and some of them choosing to wear bikini, as being on par with other such "awful" incidents as the Colorado theater shooting, the hunger epidemic in Africa and probably slightly above the oppression of women in some Middle Eastern countries.

NBC, which basically runs the Olympics,

Let's call them Dictator NBC. That's much more accurate, especially the way they oppress women's volleyball players by forcing them to play at night in front of a larger audience fully knowing they have the option of which attire to wear. It doesn't get more sexist than that.

demands that beach volleyball champs Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh compete as late in the evening as possible so that the network can attract better ratings back home.

My God. What would Gloria Allred think about this? NBC is purposely, and without remorse, featuring a women's sport in primetime because America is interested in this sport. WHEN WILL WOMEN GET A CHANCE TO BE EQUAL TO MEN IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS?

Organizers comply, starting the pair at an outrageous local time, 11 p.m. on Saturday night.

When Dictator NBC wants something, Olympic organizers jump as high as they can to do what Dictator NBC wants them to do. But to feature women's volleyball where those who are interested can watch, it is mind-boggling why NBC would do this. The audacity of NBC to feature a program Americans are interested in at the primetime hour...I'm so beyond infuriated, I've gone full circle back to being incredibly calm. That's how infuriated I am.

But then the London weather scares the athletes and they pack cold-weather outfits, which they might wear instead of bikinis.

Women's volleyball players now have a choice as to whether they wear a bikini during a match or not. Again, how dare the women be given a choice as to how they should dress during the outrageously cold summer nights in London. Sarcasm aside, this would be a much bigger issue if the women's volleyball players even seemed to give a shit about when they are playing or what they are wearing. These women are just happy to be in the Olympics and to be able to play in front of a crowd.

So far, Filip has complained NBC has moved women's volleyball to a more popular time slot and this is a bad thing because these women might get cold in their bikinis...except they aren't forced to wear a bikini. I'm not entirely sure what the issue is. The sport of women's volleyball gets more exposure while the women have the option to limit their own exposure to the harsh summer London night conditions.

This could have been a sartorial disaster, a programming blunder, except that the city of London has heated up considerably, climate-wise, in the last couple of days.

Well thank God. I bet these women's volleyball players wouldn't want the exposure a primetime viewing slot gives their sport. God knows it is bad for the sport of women's volleyball for viewers to be excited to watch. I'm not a big Olympics viewer, but I am excited to see Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Traenor defend their gold medal. I don't care what they wear while defending the medal. It does look a bit odd to be wearing a parka while playing beach volleyball though.

The two-time gold medalists already practiced Tuesday night in bare midriff at the venue,

NBC made them do this, obviously...at gunpoint.

and May-Treanor says they are leaning toward their skimpiest apparel.

“We pack cold weather gear, but if it stays like this we’ll stay in our bikinis,” she said Wednesday. “We wouldn’t be playing in shorts. It’s not comfortable. You get sand everywhere.”

NBC triumphs again,

You win NBC! You not only insist on giving women's volleyball wider exposure, but when giving them the choice of wearing more or less clothing the women are choosing less clothing...probably because of the pressure they feel to wear be as naked as possible and not because it is more comfortable for them to play in bikinis.

has it both ways, prime time and practically naked.

Playing in primetime is a good thing for the sport and the women choose to play in their bikinis. Nothing to see here. Move along.

The Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB) this year installed new rules giving its players a broader range of sportswear options.

"A broader range of sportswear options?" So naturally because this is all a big conspiracy to show more skin at the Olympics, NBC schedules women's volleyball for primetime when the women are less likely to wear their bikinis because the weather is colder. Because if NBC is really trying to have the women play with as little clothing as possible, having them play at 11pm is the optimal time of the day to succeed in achieving this goal. You done reverse-psychology'd us all up NBC!

In order to (slightly) respect the religious beliefs and customs of more modest nations, players can now legally don short-shorts, tank tops, full-length sleeves or tightly-fitting full body suits.

Pigs.

I bet these women who play the sport of volleyball are up in arms over this too.

“To not be able to play because of the attire is not OK,” said U.S. volleyballer Jennifer Kessy, who likes the new rules. “We’re OK with bikinis. We grew up in Southern California, and this is what you wear. It’s a good way to get attention, but we don’t think about it.”

Which is exactly what NBC wants Jennifer Kessy to say. There are no lengths this network will go in order to sell sex to a primetime audience is there?

Attention is what they will get, for sure. Beach volleyball, with all its loud rock music and bare skin, is being staged at the most incongruous of sites, at stuffy Horse Guards Parade on the doorstep of the Prime Minister. May-Treanor said this was perfect, because she loves the smell of horses.

Which is exactly what NBC wants Misty May-Treanor to say. They want her to talk about her love of horses in order to fulfill NBC's evil agenda. It's no coincidence NBC also televises the Triple Crown every Spring and Summer and now Misty May-Treanor claims she likes horses. NBC obviously has these women's volleyball players fully under their thumb. Next thing you know the women will be talking about how much they enjoy hockey and the latest season of "Parks and Recreation."

This is her last Olympics, she vows. May-Treanor, married to Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor, wants to start a family, coach, unclutter her house. Meanwhile, on Saturday night, there is a bikini with her name on it

Which May-Treanor doesn't have to wear, but Filip Bondy knows NBC has forced her to do so. Bondy isn't making an issue out of nothing. Not. At. All.

and several more for the other women beach volleyballers, who always get top billing over their male counterparts.

One would think this is a good thing for women's volleyball and is a sign of progress that a women's sport is more popular than the men's form of that sport. One would not be Filip Bondy if one thought this.

That probably would be true even if the men were wearing teeny tight Speedos, instead of relatively baggy shorts.

And NBC would have it no other way. Showing women's volleyball in primetime, the women's volleyball players having a choice of what outfits to wear, and having the women choose to wear a bikini...NBC is setting the feminist movement back more than when they aired "Are You There, Chelsea?"

“The women’s form is something more people are attracted to,” Kessy said. “We’d still get more attention.”

And this is a bad thing for women's sports to get a primetime spot at the Olympics and the women choose to wear the skimpiest outfit possible. Does NBC have no shame?

It must have been a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally slow news day in London when Bondy wrote this column.

Monday, July 30, 2012

3 comments Barry Larkin Makes No Sense & Peter King Ties Up Loose Ends

Terence Moore wrote an article for MLB.com about how Chipper Jones should not retire from baseball after this season and has the talent to play one or more seasons, whether it be for the Braves or another major league team. He seems to be ignoring the fact Chipper Jones can barely run down the first base line and tends to take a day off if he plays more than two games row. That's not the story I want to focus on. The story I want to focus on is Moore asked Barry Larkin for his opinion on Jones' retirement and whether he truly believes Chipper will retire. In giving his opinion, Barry Larkin delivered a money-quote about Chipper being injury-prone as only an ESPN analyst could deliver.

According to Barry Larkin, who knows a little something about Cooperstown ... not so fast -- not when it comes to Jones and the Hall of Fame, but in regards to that retirement thing.

Nearly every MLB player retires, either voluntarily or non-voluntarily, so Terence Moore could ask nearly any ex-MLB player about retirement and the want to play more baseball after you have retired and gotten a decent answer. It does make sense to ask a player who retired on his own terms, but there are non-Hall of Fame players who could have fielded this question. Fortunately for us, he chose to ask Barry Larkin.

"All I know is, the man can still swing the bat," said Larkin, over the phone, before emphasizing that he hasn't huddled with Jones about whether or not Jones is contemplating pulling a Favre.

Well then I am glad you asked Barry Larkin his opinion on this subject since he knows nothing about Chipper's intentions. I wonder what this stray black cat thinks about Chipper Jones and whether he should retire (asks stray black cat what Chipper should do after this season, followed by the stray black cat responded with irritated-sounding noises).

Apparently this stray black cat believes Chipper Jones is still a good hitter, but wants to emphasize he isn't sure what decision Chipper will make and at this point he only knows Chipper plans to retire. So this stray black cat knows what Barry Larkin knows.

"You know, I don't know where he is [in his thought process], because I haven't spoken to Chipper at all, but if he would consider being a DH in the AL, he could help somebody very well with that bat," said Larkin, now a baseball analyst on ESPN.

If only we could ask Chipper Jones if he would consider being a DH or if he plans to retire after this season to end the speculation, but I guess we can't do that. Wait, here's a quote in this very article from Chipper Jones!

"I have no desire to go to the American League to be a designated hitter," Jones said, with one of his crooked smiles. "I always said that I wasn't going to stick around just to attain numbers. Even though I've been in reach of 500 homers and 3,000 hits, my legacy has already been written, you now, regardless of what I do now."

I think that's our answer. Regardless, Barry Larkin wants us to know there is one condition where he thinks Chipper could continue to play after this year and be less injury-prone. Here is that way Chipper could be less injury-prone...

"I think he would be less injury prone if he didn't have to go out there defensively and didn't have to hit or run the bases.

Let's read that quote one more time.

"I think he would be less injury prone if he didn't have to go out there defensively and didn't have to hit or run the bases.

So if Chipper didn't have to play defense and hit the baseball or run the bases, then Chipper could be less injury-prone. So as long as Chipper plays a sport that in no way resembles the sport of baseball, he could be less injury-prone.

I'd love to hear Barry Larkin of ESPN's ideas about how Chipper can find a roster spot on a baseball team that doesn't require hitting and/or having to run the bases. Perhaps MLB can pass a new rule saying Chipper can have a designated runner every time he comes up to bat. Maybe MLB can change the entire rules of baseball around and not require players to run the bases. I don't know. Even if Chipper were to be a DH he would have to hit the baseball (which isn't an issue) and/or run the bases. There's really no getting around this.

So good luck Chipper. Use this brilliant analysis from Barry Larkin on how to be less injury-prone and factor it into your decision-making. Perhaps you can find your way onto a team's roster and bat without having to run the bases. Because from my recollection of baseball, and unless they have changed the game since 10pm last night, all hitters are required to run the bases and/or hit the baseball when they come up to bat. Does ESPN know how to hire people who have a way with words or what?

-I didn't feel up to doing a full MMQB last week, so I will do a shorter version with some of my favorite Peter King comments. I'm planning on doing a full version of this week's MMQB, which should be posted soon. It seems Peter is tying up some loose ends, as well as transcribing a loooooooooooong Paul Brown speech that takes up 25% of MMQB. Not that it matters. It's a good speech, but it is one of two parts where this MMQB gets turned over to someone else to write. This seems to becoming a trend in MMQB. Peter seems to be inserting someone else's writing into MMQB for us to read.

The highlight, at least for me, is a 39-year-old pre-training-camp speech by one of the greatest coaches of all time: Paul Brown, speaking to his 1973 Cincinnati Bengals. This is sort of a risky thing here, running much of a coach's pre-camp talk to his team.

What's so risky about transcribing an entire looooooooooooooong speech from 1973 in a weekly column that is supposed to contain NFL tidbits and information fans want to know? It's not like Peter could have Tweeted the speech out to his 887,000 followers.

(And yes, I realize from some of the feedback in his mailbag and on Twitter it seemed quite a few people loved the speech. I never said I had my pulse on what people like. It didn't hurt my feelings he included the speech. I enjoyed parts of it. It felt out of place to me, like an intentional space-filler. I think the speech deserved its own column and reaction from Peter King. I just felt like he included it to make MMQB longer when he could have easily Tweeted the link out or written an entire other column on it. I feel he included it in MMQB in order to say he writes a lot in MMQB on a weekly basis. Sometimes on Twitter when someone criticizes MMQB he will respond with something like "7000 words isn't enough for you?" or another reference to the length of MMQB. So I feel like he is sensitive to making MMQB as long as possible, which probably isn't the best way to go about writing it. It's fine to have a shorter MMQB, it really is, especially before the training camp tour starts.)

4. Hines Ward is "devastated." He should be, and of course we all are, after the horrific shootings at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises movie Friday in suburban Denver, where 70 people were shot by a gunman dressed as the Joker. In Ward's first movie role, he returns a kickoff in the movie at an incendiary Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

I don't want to hear from Hines Ward anymore, even when it comes to him commenting on tragedies. Just retire and go home. I have a list of retired NFL players who I don't care to hear about in Peter King's MMQB from now on. It looks like this right now:

1. Brett Favre
2. Hines Ward
3. Tiki Barber
4. Backup QB Jets (He's retired in my mind)

Nothing against these guys, but I heard enough of/about them when they played in the NFL. I also like how Peter says it is Wards "first movie role," which pretty much guarantees his stint on "Dancing with the Stars" was only the beginning of his post-NFL assault on the world to become relevant in some other entertainment field outside of football. Next thing we know Hines Ward is starring as the wacky side-kick in a romantic comedy that stars Kate Hudson and it is going to all be Peter King's fault for encouraging Ward to act.

Peter then brings up a really good point about NFL players whining about Commissioner Goodell's complete control over punishments and the appeals process.

Let's say the NFL at some point said to the players, You want to change the appeals process so much, fine. But we want two percent more of the shared gross revenue. Midway through the labor deal, one percent will probably be about $150 million. Do players want neutral appeals so much that they'd have authorized surrendering something like $300 million? And there's no guarantee the league would have ever proposed that anyway; it's just a hypothetical advanced by me. My point is, I don't think players would have pushed for a neutral appeals process if it would have cost them a lot of money.

No way the players give up anything like $300 million to have some say over the appeals. It would be nice to check Roger Goodell's power in some fashion, but the only way this was going to happen is through negotiating and the players would have had to leave some money on the table if the owners were going to make a concession for Goodell to not have complete control over punishment and appeals. I don't think the players would make this concession. The lockout was about money, so I have no doubt the players would have given the power to Goodell rather than give up money.

Then Peter transcribes the Paul Brown speech which I will mostly skip over because I have no respect for the history of the NFL and I am nothing but a young, snarky asshole.

Though I do enjoy his "don't smoke" portion of the speech which led to him saying this:

As for smoking, I ask you not to do it for your own good. I know it's a difficult thing to stop. I've never smoked and I don't know like probably some of you know it, but I'd suggest you give it a try. People are dying of this thing. All of a sudden when you've got to have part of your lung removed or something of that sort, you'll give yourself a little talk.

If you have your lung removed then you may only be able to give yourself a little talk since you possibly won't be able to speak to anyone else without one of your lungs. I don't even think someone could even play NFL football in 2012 and smoke cigarettes regularly. Maybe a kicker could do this.

I smoked off-and-on for 10 years (and yes, I started smoking off-and-on in my early teens. The "off" portion was because I couldn't get my hands on cigarettes, which apparently is really easy to do for everyone but me when I was in my early teens) and there is no other substance I have ever used that is more addictive than cigarettes. I still want one every other day or so, except I don't really "want" one, but I crave one. I went to a graduate school that didn't sell alcohol in the city limits but sold cigarettes at every possible destination in the city. This blows my mind. Marijuana and beer are in no way more addictive than cigarettes are (at least to me), yet cigarettes were sold in the city limits while beer wasn't. Wouldn't want anyone to drink demon beer, but who gives a flying fuck if you die of lung cancer, after all the local economy relies on your money. My point? I have none. That's your "The More You Know" segment for today.

"You'll be all getting into homes or apartments to rent. Live with some class, especially if you're a single guy. If you're one of these love-nest people, it eventually comes back to me too. Live with some class. When we leave here and go back to Cincinnati and you may have made the team, get your wife and children there. Probably the worst kind are the kind that give speeches about their wife and their family and how wonderful they are. When you find out they've really got a girlfriend on the side, what a letdown.

Translation: Don't get married if you play in the NFL.

Last fall, I was critical of the Penn State administration for firing Joe Paterno over the phone, during the crazy week when the board of trustees decided to dump the coach. I thought it was classless, given what Paterno had meant to the university and the football program.

Now, obviously, things have changed. I've thought for years that the Penn State football program, to Joe Paterno, had gotten to be more about Joe than it was about the players. There's no way Paterno was energetic and vital enough in his 80s to coach a Big Ten football team as well as a younger man, yet for years no one could oust him from the job. It was Paterno running the school, doing what he wanted, staying as long as he wanted, and it set the stage for other bad things to happen. Other very bad things.

Here's the issue with Peter's explanation for why he has changed his mind since last November about whether firing Paterno over the phone was classless or not. Every single one of these things Peter describes in the paragraph above he already knew in November 2011 before Penn State fired Paterno by phone. Peter knew the program was more about Paterno. Peter knew Paterno was in his 80's and wasn't coaching the team. Peter knew Paterno couldn't be ousted from his job. Peter knew absolute control can set the stage for bad things to happen.

What Peter claims he "thought for years" doesn't exactly jive with him also believing firing Paterno over the phone was classless. If he really had these thoughts for years, upon the revelation of Sandusky's actions Peter would see firing Paterno was the right call because (as Peter himself said),

"It was Paterno running the school, doing what he wanted, staying as long as he wanted, and it set the stage for other bad things to happen."

Obviously Peter had no clue the extent of the bad things that could happen. Nobody knew that, outside of Penn State's administration. So to explain how he has changed his mind using facts that were present and known as true in November 2011, when Peter stated firing Paterno by phone was classless, rings hollow to me. Peter makes a better statement in the paragraph below, but the circumstances in the paragraph above were still present when Peter said firing Paterno was classless. If Peter really believed over the last few years that Paterno had set up an environment where bad things could happen I would think Peter would have understood in November 2011 why Penn State fired Paterno over the phone.

For those reasons, particularly now that the second one is out in the open, it's clear to me the university didn't owe Paterno anything at the end -- other than to take down the statue that would have been a constant reminder of the stain caused by looking the other way while young boys were sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky.

This does not ring hollow and this is all Peter had to write.

Then Peter has a Penn State student wrote something about the situation. This seems to becoming a trend. Peter employing the use of guest writers to kill space in MMQB. I'll skip this part.

"First of all, the money was too good. The money was too good, and I hate to say it's about money. But, you know, I felt the money was a lot."

-- Brett Favre, in an interview with Deion Sanders of NFL Network, on coming out of retirement to play in 2010 for Minnesota.

Seriously, Peter. No one gives a shit about Brett Favre anymore...even when he admits what everyone who didn't work in the media already knew, that Favre didn't come back to play for the Vikings because he loved the game and wanted to play it like a little kid for another year (or two), but it was all about the money. No matter how much ESPN and other sports media members wanted to paint Favre as unable to step away from the game of football, it's always been about the money or revenge for Brett Favre. Maybe in the year 2020, every sports media member will realize this. Favre wants to get paid a lot of money and get revenge on the Packers for having the audacity to move on without him.

In line, a man approached me and said he liked my work and was glad to meet me. We small-talked about his Ravens for a minute until a taxi-boat driver approached. "Want a ride to your hotel? Where are you staying?'' he asked.

"The Westin,'' my new acquaintance said.

"So are we,'' I said. "Want to share it?''

So this story goes on and ends this way...

Now that's weird. Same train. Same hotel, for the same number of nights. Same end site for vacation halfway across the world in a place that I'm certain only two parties in Venice would be going to as the end of their vacations.

Oh sure, when it is two middle-aged couples that have the same traveling schedule and destinations it is cute and fun, but when it is a 20-something guy who has the same traveling schedule and destination as a 20-something girl she thinks "something doesn't feel right," so the police call it "stalking" and want to "bring you in for questioning."

3.Being the PA announcer at Fenway Park for a game. A month ago, my buddy with the Red Sox, Corey Bowdre, texted out of the blue, "Would you be interested in doing the PA at one of our games in July?'' Come on, now. Seriously? I believe I set the American record for quickest response to a text. "I'm in."

"My only other question is who has ever heard of this Will Middlebrooks character? I'm a huge Red Sox fan and haven't ever heard of him."

I did only one affectation. Introducing the White Sox lineup before the game, I came to the second batter and said, "Batting second, the third baseman, number 20, Kevin YOOOOOOO-kilis.'' Just had to.

Well, you actually didn't have to.

1. I think --

You only think?

no, I know --

That's better.

c. The Jets used seven or more defensive backs on 11 percent of pass plays, far more than any other team. In fact, only one other defense used seven or more defensive backs on more than 1.5 percent of pass plays -- Dallas. Rex and Rob Ryan sure think alike.

Rob Ryan: Defensive genius for those who don't actually like defensive coordinators to be actual defensive geniuses.

9. I think I'll miss most of the Olympics, hopping from city to city over the next month.

If only there were ways to view these Olympics and keep up with the events while traveling from city to city. If only they made phones that could provide this information.

If you think the fact he hasn't seen any of the Olympics will stop Peter from commenting on events that happen at the Olympics then you don't know Peter King. He will probably DVR the Olympics and comment on them sometime in mid-October, much like he does by discussing episodes of television shows that were shown two months ago.

e. I'll be running another half marathon in the fall. Details to come soon.

I definitely want the deets ASAP. Also, please update me on your next colonoscopy and when you plan on purchasing a new mattress. Hopefully these two events won't be related to each other.

h. I find myself as a Sox follower not being angry with Lester, but rather pitying him. He doesn't want to be this horrible.

Is this as opposed to players who are struggling and want to be this horrible? Are there players who are struggling and want to be horrible? Would Peter by chance believe John Lackey and Carl Crawford fit into this non-existent category?

j. I don't know how I missed The Descendants when it was out a year ago. But that's one great movie. Not a good movie. A great one, a great slice of real American life.

Again, we will be getting commentary on the Olympics in mid-October.

"Saw Tom Hanks in a film called 'Big' the other night. I think that kid is going to go on to have some great performances over his movie career."

n. Good to be back. Looking forward to hitting the road.

By "the road" I'm guessing Peter means "Brett Favre's ass when I make an unscheduled and all-too-brief stop in Mississippi to sit on Favre's porch."

Brett Favre-Peter King jokes never (always) get (feel) old, do (don't) they?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

8 comments Quotes from Movies/TV Shows...Bill Simmons...Sports...You Know the Drill by Now, Part 2

Yesterday, in Part 2 of Bill Simmons "Game of Thrones"-NBA postseason article we learned that David Stern made the right move by blocking the Chris Paul-Lakers trade, even if the end didn't justify the means, even though Bill seemed to have no issue with the end in this situation. So the end didn't justify the means, but Bill had no problem with the means or the end. I'm just confused.

In Part 2 Bill comes up with further theories and keeps poking at Mark Cuban out of spite.

After Neil Olshey left for Portland, in classic Don Sterling fashion, the Clips decided against hiring a new general manager — something that, you know, every other team has —

But why don't all NBA teams have a VP of Common Sense? Who says "no" to this?

Fact: The 2012-13 Clippers are better, on paper, then the 2011-12 Clippers.

Even without hiring a VP of Common Sense? I will remember that Bill Simmons said the 12-13 Clippers were better on paper than the 11-12 Clippers in mid-August when the Clippers jack ticket prices up 25% and Bill writes an entire column describing what a shitty organization the Clippers are and always have been.

One day after Griffin signed his monster extension — $35 million more than Donald Sterling has ever guaranteed anybody — he tore his meniscus during a Team USA practice. Supposedly, he'll be ready for the season. Supposedly. This could only happen to the Clippers.

They're so cursed! Has Bill mentioned how incompetent and cursed the Clippers are yet? Even if they jacked up ticket prices, I would bet Bill has no problem with renewing his Clippers season tickets and keeping them around as his backup NBA team in case the Celtics have a bad season and decides to stop writing fawning columns about them every March. It helps for Bill to pick out a backup team in a certain sport. I feel like it has gotten to the point Bill only follows a certain sport when his favorite team is in contention for a title. If only Bill had picked a backup MLB team he could write articles about baseball while the Red Sox are not in the hunt for a division title. I guess this is what happens when you only have so much knowledge about one team in a given sport, yet sell yourself to the world as "The Sports Guy."

And by the way, pulling Grant Hill from the sanctity of Phoenix's training staff to the tortured Clippers and their underwhelming medical staff is like some sort of sick science experiment. I'm patently terrified about this. Let's just move on before I panic and put my 2012-13 season tickets on eBay.

Because Bill be damned if he is going to cheer for a sports team that doesn't have at least a good chance of making the playoffs.

Important note: I didn't mind the logic behind Minnesota's offer sheet for Batum when you remember this formula: "Cold weather + small market + years of incompetence = you're not signing free agents unless you overpay for them."

Or the formula could be shortened, which I do realize would make Bill Simmons look less creative and smart, into calculating years of incompetence = you're not signing free agents unless you overpay for them.

I think cold weather and a small market do matter, but not nearly as much as an organization that has shown themselves to be incompetent over a long period of time.

Over the next four years, I'd rather pay Batum $46 million than Roy Hibbert $58 million.

Of course Bill would, though this may not make sense for Bill to say this. Using Bill's annual trade value column principles, if the Blazers were offered Batum for Hibbert (even including the contracts in the trade, which I know Bill doesn't even do), do you think the Blazers would accept this trade? I do. I could be wrong, but I would rather pay Hibbert $58 million over paying Batum $46 million and I think most NBA teams would agree.

Batum brings three things to the table that the 2012 Finals proved everyone needs going forward: athleticism, perimeter defense and 3-point shooting.

I feel like Bill using the 2012 NBA Finals as a template for every NBA Finals from here on out. I'm not sure that's entirely accurate. I believe Bill is being influenced too much by the 2012 Finals. So while Batum does bring these things to the table, Hibbert brings the fact he's really tall and doesn't fall over his own shoelaces to the table as well. This important to have in a center. I feel like Hibbert's skill set is more difficult to find than Batum's skill set. Either way, I probably wouldn't pay that much for either player.

I can't beat Miami or Oklahoma City with Hibbert — as the Heat proved in the last three games of their comeback against Indiana, when they basically ran Hibbert off the floor — but Batum would be valuable against either team.

So would the Thunder be able to run Hibbert off the floor with Perkins at center? I'm not so sure. It's not like the Pacers biggest flaw against the Heat or Thunder is Hibbert, so it is unfair to single him out as if he is the reason they lost to the Heat. Not to mention, while Batum would be valuable against these teams, I don't think the Pacers would have beaten the Heat with Batum on their roster. So Batum would fix an issue concerning defending the Heat, but Hibbert put up 11-11-3 (blocks) in the playoffs at the center position. Regardless of how valuable Batum would be, those are valuable statistics from the center position.

Remember the 48 hours after Game 3 of the Miami-Indiana series, when it seemed like the frisky Pacers were on the verge of (a) killing the LeBron/Wade era, and (b) sneaking into the Finals? That was fun.

If only they had Nicholas Batum...then the Pacers could have beaten the Heat. Who cares if Hibbert had a monster Game 3 and averaged 12.3-11.5-2.5 in that series?

Now they're building around three overpaid starters — Danny Granger (two years, $27.1 million), Hibbert (four years, $58 million), George Hill (five years, $40 million) — a bunch of overpaid role players ($21 million next year for David West, Ian Mahinmi, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green???) and one possible blue-chipper (Paul George, who absolutely stunk in the 2012 playoffs). Does Hallmark make "Congrats on locking down the no. 6 seed for the next few years" cards?

Ah yes, we are using Bill Simmons logic here. Even if the Pacers had beaten the Heat they still would have been building around three overpaid starters and a bunch of overpaid role players. The only difference is they would have beaten the Heat. I guess there would be more positivity around the Heat because they had proven they could beat the Heat, but the Pacers circumstances wouldn't have changed. So they were building around most of these players regardless of whether they beat the Heat or not.

Quick tangent to celebrate Lannister — if you don't watch Thrones, he's the diabolical, perverted, entitled, sarcastic, strategic genius of a little person played by Peter Dinklage who rips off classic line after classic line.. Where does he rank among the greatest TV characters ever? I can't see how he falls out of the top 10. I just can't.

This really isn't that notable for the simple reason that Bill is the one making up this list.

"Where does Steve Smith rank on the list of greatest wide receivers in the history of the NFL? I can't see how he falls out of the Top 20. Of course, I am biased and happen to be the one making the list, so I am essentially using my opinion as the sole reason for the ranking of Smith as one of the top 20 wide receivers of all-time and then am remarking on this as of I am not the one creating the question, the list, and giving the final answer."

If there were sabermetrics for television, his KLPE ("Killer lines per episode") rate would probably be the highest ever. Anyway …

On a related note, if there were sabermetrics for sportswriters, Bill's BMUTPHOPAT (Bullshit made up to prove his own point as true) would be the second-highest among sportswriters. Gregg Easterbrook would easily outpace everyone else. He's the God of BMUTPHOPAT.

The Mavericks tossed aside last year's title defense by letting Tyson Chandler leave and placing their dragon eggs in the 2012 Howard/Williams free agency basket … which, of course, blew up in their faces...They tried to regroup by turning the Jasons (Terry and Kidd), Ian Mahinmi and Brendan Haywood (via the amnesty clause) into a multiyear deal for O.J. Mayo (a valuable regular-season player who's been atrocious in the playoffs)

Good thing the playoffs aren't a small sample size or anything...or else I could call this comment by Bill pretty stupid and lacking meaning.

That leaves them enough 2013 cap flexibility for a Dwight Howard run … you know, assuming he'd want to play with the "Dirk and a Bunch of Solid Dudes" roster they just assembled. Hold on, we're not done.

You mean sort of like the 2011 NBA Title team? The team that had Dirk, a red-hot Jason Terry and a bunch of solid dudes?

If I were a Mavs fan, Jason Kidd's comment after picking the Knicks over the Mavericks would worry me: "I looked at the (Mavericks) roster and I felt I could go quietly and retire, or I felt like I can compete and help a team win. So I saw the pieces of the Knicks, and I thought that I could help them out." Translation: If I'm gonna keep playing, I want to be on a team with a chance to win the title. That's not Dallas. You could almost hear the sound of Dirk's second title window slamming shut.

There's no point in the Mavericks even playing out the 12-13 NBA season. Jason Kidd's comments pretty much assure the Mavericks aren't going to contend for the NBA title this upcoming season. This is the same Jason Kidd who is going to backup Raymond Felton this year by the way. It's not exactly like Kidd is in his prime. This comment smells of a player who got more money to play in New York with the Knicks and is upset the Mavericks didn't make him a better offer. This comment does not sound like a player who is neutrally assessing the Mavericks roster.

Then Bill acknowledges his Twitter bitch-fight with Mark Cuban and says he likes it when he gets criticized on Twitter like that by sports figures. Of course Bill likes it, he gets attention out of it.

What a bummer. Right now, there's a steep drop from Miami to the next five Eastern playoff contenders (Boston, Chicago, New York, Brooklyn and Indiana). It's just a fact.

This is actually Bill's opinion, which contrary to his own belief, does not constitute this as a fact. A widely held popular belief is still not a fact. This is a small truth it seems Bill has momentarily lost grasp of.

In a million years, did you ever think Mayor Carcetti from The Wire would be reincarnated as a calculating, horny whorehouse owner named "Littlefinger" in a raunchy, over-the-top medieval sci-fi drama … and totally crush that role?

Yes, I did think this. Clearly, Bill hasn't seen Aidan Gillian's work over the years. He also crushed his role on "Queer as Folk" and pretty much does a great job in whatever his role requires. He's great at being a douchebag on the small screen mostly and that is what Lord Baelish pretty much is.

Isn't it more fun to binge-watch great TV shows than to watch them once a week? We finished 20 episodes in less than three weeks. I love binge-watching.

Yes, watching television shows immediately, without having to wait 8 months for new episodes, is better than having to watch 10-13 episodes of a show and then wait for a new season to start. More obvious words have rarely been spoken.

Next up for me: Breaking Bad. After that: Justified.

Or as I will call it, "The part where Bill Simmons annoys me by watching my favorite television shows and then commenting on things I watched two years ago."

If you think there isn't going to be a "Breaking Bad" quote column in a year, then you just don't know Bill Simmons. He's going to fall in love with Walter White, all the while pretending he hasn't been four years late to the party.

Just warning you: Picasso does NOT have a lot to work with this season. There's Corey Maggette's Expiring Contract, Jose Calderon's Expiring Contract, maybe Kevin Martin's Expiring Contract … and that's about it. This sucks. I hate the amnesty clause.

So does this mean there will be less of Bill Simmons proposing fake trades followed by him saying, "Who says no?'" to the trade offer that he just proposed and makes sense only on paper and not in real life? If so, I love the amnesty clause.

Then Bill starts (and don't pass out in shock when I write this) defending the Celtics offseason moves. Anytime you can get rid of a Hall of Fame player with world-class conditioning (Ray Allen) to get a guy who prefers to come off the bench (Jason Terry) even though depending on the starter's health he could end up starting AND you are adding Jason Collins, you have to do it.

Putting that contract in the context of a bigger picture, it makes more sense — the Celtics extended their relevance for three years by bringing back their nucleus (Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, Bass and Bradley),

I love it. One good year out of Bass and Bradley and they are now part of a "nucleus" in Boston. Meanwhile Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, and David West are overpaid.

flipping Allen for Terry (a smart move because Terry thrives off the bench),

So what happens when Avery Bradley can't make it back until at the least mid-December and Terry has to start? Possibly nothing, but Bill acts as if Bradley having more surgery on his shoulder is no big deal.

and adding two rookie bigs (Sullinger and Melo).

Fab Melo is a stiff. Don't let anyone tell you differently. He's Jason Collins without the offensive game of Jason Collins.

We hosted Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, with a chance to go to the Finals, and it didn't happen because one of the best 12 or 13 players submitted one of the single most spectacular playoff performances in the history of the league.

Besides, what was the alternative … "creating" cap space to make a run at a free agent who never would have actually signed with us? Come on. If you're close enough to sniff the trophy, you keep going for it. Period.

This is true. Of course there is a line of teams in sport who have thought themselves close enough to sniff the trophy and it turned into them not knowing when their window is shut. I would include the early 90's Celtics in this discussion.

The rest was history. And guess what? I actually loved the Joe Johnson trade for the Nets! Was there a more brilliant chess move this summer? Yeah, he's overpaid to the point that it's almost startling. But what do the Nets care? Other than Wade and Kobe, he's the most reliable 2-guard in basketball.

Unfortunately, Joe Johnson isn't going to be the most reliable 2-guard in basketball for the entirety of his contract. So the Nets essentially made a win-now move for a team that isn't ready to win-now. What could go wrong?

For the three seasons after that, they're paying him a jaw-dropping and unequivocally ludicrous $69 million, nearly twice what he will actually be worth, but guess what? He'll still be a valuable piece for them.

Everybody back up, Bill is predicting the future again. He knows Johnson will still be a valuable piece in three years. Fine, let's pretend Johnson will be a valuable piece, but a $23 million valuable piece? I don't get how the hell the same person who calls Danny Granger overpaid at $13.5 million can defend the Joe Johnson acquisition on the basis of money. Sure, the Nets owner has a ton of money, but Johnson's contract is still terrible. How is it fine for the Nets to overpay by double for Johnson in order to grab the 5th seed in the East, but Danny Granger or Roy Hibbert being overpaid to grab the 5th seed in the East shows just how stupid the Pacers front office is? Bill needs to at least use consistent reasoning. Indiana slightly overpays for players, Bill criticizes them because their owner isn't rich. The Nets overpay for players and this isn't an issue because the Nets owner is rich. It is fine for an owner to overspend in the pursuit of the 5th seed in the East as long as that owner is rich. Apparently a team gets additional wins for an owner's net worth.

If Brooklyn's front office said to him, "We had a chance to improve our team, but the money scared us off," now that would infuriate him.

And then there's this: The Johnson trade single-handedly convinced Deron Williams to spurn Dallas and stay in Brooklyn. (Williams even admitted as much.)

I thought Deron Williams spurned Dallas because Mark Cuban was too busy to be there for Williams' free agent visit because he taping "The Shark Tank?" Isn't that what Bill told us in the first part of this opus? So why criticize Cuban for not being there during Williams' free agency visit if his absence had nothing to do with Williams choosing New Jersey over Dallas?...besides the fact Bill wanted to passively-aggressively rip Cuban of course.

What's funny is that Williams (next five years: $100 million) might be almost as overpaid as Johnson (next four years: $89 million).

But hey, at least the Nets owner is really fucking rich. That counts for something, right?

So now Bill has admitted the Nets (a team who only added Joe Johnson to the core of a team that didn't make the playoffs last year) could have widely overpaid for the players on their team (and this doesn't count Brook Lopez), but he LOVES what they did. The Pacers (a playoff team by the way) slightly overpay some of their nucleus and Bill thinks they suck as an organization, awards them no points and may God have mercy on their soul. If you can figure it out, please tell, because I'm confused.

King did guarantee $61 million to Brook Lopez, a 7-footer who averaged 6.0 rebounds per game — no, really, SIX — during the 2010-11 season, then broke the same foot twice last season. That didn't stop Billy from guaranteeing Lopez a million more than the Saints guaranteed Drew Brees. Throw in the comical Kris Humphries extension (two years, $24 million) and Brooklyn is paying close to $73 million for a 2012-13 starting five that might not be able to defend anyone. Will anyone ever pay more for a less charismatic nucleus? None of them have nicknames, YouTube mixes, distinguishable quirks about their game … it's just five quiet, hardworking professionals who play hard and don't stand out in any real way.

But the owner of the Nets has a ton of money he can spend on non-charismatic, poor on defense, underperforming players. Bill seems to believe this is a good thing.

Ray helped win the 2008 title, played all 48 minutes in one of the best Celtics comebacks ever (Game 4 of the Finals), crossed over Vujacic on the defining play AND made that annoying bastard practically cry!!! His 2009 performance against the Bulls was one for the ages. I still think we would win the title in 2010 if Ron Artest didn't give him a charley horse in Game 3. He played in real pain this spring and gave everything he had for three straight playoff series. He was a true Celtic.

Anyone who uses the term "True X" needs to be immediately be kicked in the crotch and then beheaded. There are other annoying phrases fan bases use to pump up the importance of their team, but this one is right near the top. It's truly annoying.

Following Boston sports for nearly four decades, I can't remember being more confident in anything than Ray Allen with the game in his hands.

Somewhere Larry Bird, if he even gave a shit what Bill Simmons thought of him, is upset and asking Bill to take this back.

Just know that I enjoyed the Ray Allen era. Better than advertised. And we'll always have 2008.

Ray Allen was better than advertised. He was a Hall of Fame shooter who came to Boston and continued to be a Hall of Fame shooter. What else did he do in Boston that he had not done previously in Seattle? I'm sure Bill thinks it was the passionate Boston fans who made Ray Allen better than he knew he could be. I don't see how Ray Allen was better than advertised. He was as-advertised.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

10 comments Quotes from Movies/TV Shows...Bill Simmons...Sports...You Know the Drill by Now, Part 1

Bill Simmons is famous for taking movie quotes and using them to talk about either the NFL preseason, the NBA pre-/postseason or any part of any sport's year. It's something he has done for a while now and like some of his other standby gimmicks it doesn't feel newer and newer every times he does it. Bill uses "Game of Thrones" for his quotes to break down the winners and losers of the NBA offseason. It is a little annoying how he does this because there are some spoiler-y type bits of information in this column about the show and to fully appreciate what some of the quotes are saying you have to have seen the show. Of course if you haven't seen the show, then there are sometimes minor spoilers in what Bill writes. You could ignore these spoiler-y items, but then you wouldn't get a full grasp on what parts of the column mean. I think the best move is to just not read this column at all. I sort of wish Bill wouldn't rely as much on his old fallback ideas. It seems Bill is still out of fresh column ideas, so he marches out the same type of column built around quotes from a movie or television show.

From there, I'd explain that the whole dragon/sword/forest era was never really my thing — dating back to the 1980s, when the Dungeons and Dragons kids took it to a pretty creepy place — and somewhere along the line, I decided that I just didn't enjoy voyaging into the forest. For any reason. If I could hold out on Lord of the Rings, then I could hold out on Game of Thrones.

Just as an aside to make everyone hate me, I don't like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I think they were long, tedious and I found it very hard to get engaged with any of the characters' fate. I wanted Frodo to die the entire time and was very disappointed he didn't. He was such an incredibly weak person and I would like to have seen him die in a fire. So now that you hate me, let's hate on Bill some too.

What changed?

Everyone else watched the show and Bill has never been afraid to jump on a bandwagon?

At one point, Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti glanced over to me and said, "I can't believe you don't watch this show."

I can't believe Bill thinks we care about how he came to watch the show. Don't bore us, get to the chorus.

That night on the phone, my buddy House agreed with Lisanti's disbelief and added, "Just so you know, that show has a ton of nudity." Well then! I started watching that weekend and the rest was history.

Because nudity is just so incredibly hard to find these days, it is important to sit through 20 one hour-long episodes of a show in order to see some nudity. What self-respecting 40 year old man not named "Gregg Easterbrook" would watch a show simply to see nudity? Don't answer that.

Actually, this is just further proof Bill is just like you and me! The only differences in him and you are that he makes a lot more money that you do, is famous and knows a lot of famous people the names of which he can easily provide if you want him to, and he probably wouldn't care to engage you in even the briefest of conversations if you attempted to say hello to him in public because you are such a big fan of his. Other than the fact Bill is better than you, he is just like you!

By the fourth episode, I knew we had a winner for my annual "Recap the NBA's summer movement by handing out TV/movie quotes as awards" column.

Again, Bill NEEDS column ideas, so it took him four episodes to realize "I can churn out another tired movie quote-sports column using 'Game of Thrones.' Here was concerned I was going to have to use quotes from 'Back to the Future' for my 2012 NBA postseason column."

Feel free to submit ideas to Bill so he can say your idea is dumb, slightly change it around and then come out with a "better" column idea...at least that's how Bill seems to write his mailbags, so it should work for columns too, right?

Maybe the NBA doesn't have dragon babies, beheadings and incest (at least not yet), but it has just about everything else.

Again, if you haven't seen "Game of Thrones" you now know there are dragon babies, beheadings and incest on the show. It's a minor spoiler, but once you watch the show it isn't hard to figure out which characters these pertain to. This probably doesn't bother a lot of people, but if I read this sentence and want to watch the show I know one character who is obsessed with dragons will probably get some dragons at some point. Or I will know two characters who are related probably will have sex. It just takes a small amount of fun out of watching the show if you already know these small plot points.

(As a note, I will be leaving out some of the quotes from "Game of Thrones that Bill uses since I am only concerned with what Bill is typing regarding the NBA)

For Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who took the phrase "all in" to new levels with his dogged pursuit of Dwight Howard. At this point, Dork Elvis

Are we able to call him "Dork Elvis" when his infatuation with numbers and statistics to put together a great basketball team hasn't exactly done that yet? He's not really the "Dork Elvis" since he really hasn't been that successful in using statistics to put together a great team, at least not in my opinion. Do statistics-oriented NBA people say, "We have to find out how to run our team the way Daryl Morey runs the Rockets so we can achieve his level of success?" I'm not sure they do.

His strategy makes sense: You can't win the title without a top-10 player.

His strategy does make sense. Unfortunately, he wants Dwight Howard as his top-10 player and Howard is a waffling PR disaster. I would choose another top-10 player to pursue or possibility try to put two top-20 players together and see if I can break the mold for what it takes to win an NBA Title. Be a pioneer by taking something familiar to a lot of people, changing it around slightly and repackaging it as something new...like Elvis did. Then, and only then, can Daryl Morey be like a Dork Elvis. Morey isn't exactly breaking new ground or being a GM other future and current statistics-loving GM's want to follow if Morey is just following the same plan every other NBA GM follows of finding a top-10 player to join his team and hoping success follows.

Last year, they barely missed the playoffs AND paid the luxury tax, which simply can't happen — in a 30-team league, you either want to bottom out or contend, but you can't be in the middle.

So how is he the "Dork Elvis" if he can't seem to make the playoffs or avoid his team paying the luxury tax? Shouldn't Morey be the "Dork Hank Snow" or some other person who was an innovator but wasn't as successful as those who followed his ideas could end up being? I can't think of a better example, but Morey isn't successful enough to be "Dork Elvis." Let's lower the bar a bit and compare him to someone who is an innovator but didn't experience massive success.

It's Howard, Bynum or Bust.

Given how I feel about Howard and Bynum, it could be "bust" anyway with either of those two big men on the Rockets team.

Then Bill goes on to question the moves Morey has made this offseason. Why do I get the feeling if Bill wasn't friends with Daryl Morey he would start criticizing him even more harshly for his offseason moves?

Were there a few days when it seemed like Morey had outsmarted himself? Actually, yeah. The Rockets allowed an emerging offensive star (Goran Dragic) to leave for Phoenix (four years, $34 million), then dealt one of the league's best bargains (Kyle Lowry, owed just $12 million total for the next two seasons) for a future lottery pick to help The Howard Trade That Might Not Happen, going from two quality point guards to zero in about five nanoseconds.

He salvaged that mini-crisis by giving Jeremy Lin a back-loaded offer sheet ($24.9 million, three years) that the Knicks didn't match. Why not just re-sign Dragic (a better player than Lin) instead of sweating out an offer sheet and banking on James Dolan doing the wrong thing?


If David Kahn did this then Bill would use the worn out "Khannnnnnnnn" joke and make a critical comment about Kahn collecting point guards in the draft and now having zero quality point guards on the roster. Bill is friends with Daryl Morey, so he saves him from criticism.

Lin would have been underpaid in years one and two and violently overpaid in year three (including luxury tax ramifications, Lin would have cost the Knicks $43 million in year three).

That's a pretty tough cap hit in year three. I'm not saying the Knicks should have re-signed Lin, but $43 million in year three is a tough hit to take, especially for a guy who hasn't even played a full year in the NBA and commits turnovers like they are going out of style.

Well … so what? What about Lin's value overseas, or even his undeniable effect on MSG's stock? (It couldn't have been a coincidence that Houston, the one team that knew exactly how valuable someone with a Far East marketing reach could be, was the one that pursued Lin.)

No, it wasn't a coincidence that Houston pursued Lin, but the Rockets also didn't have inside knowledge on what having an Asian player on their team can do to increase the team's fan base. Every NBA team saw the epic madness that Lin caused in New York this year. The Rockets don't need knowledge how valuable someone with a Far East marketing reach can because they saw how valuable this was with the ESPN dubbed "Linsanity" this past season. There was no inside knowledge of Yao Ming's impact required for an NBA team to see Lin's potential impact in the Far East. You could just turn on the television to see Lin's impact. Don't try to make the Rockets seem smarter than they really are.

Couldn't Lin have helped the Knicks contend next season? And after that, they could have traded him in year two or year three to a team with cap space (or for a better player) with other pieces thrown in.

Maybe, maybe not. Why would the Knicks sign Lin to a contract and then plan to trade him the very next year? Does this really make sense? What if Lin gets injured and no other NBA team wants him and his contract? Then the Knicks are stuck with (another) player they don't want making a large amount of money. Bill makes it seem so simple to sign Lin and then trade him when it could be anything but simple. That's Bill Simmons though. Many of his ideas are based on assumptions that everyone thinks like he does and will do what he would do.

Who said they had to keep him for all three years? Why not bring him back and figure the rest out later?

Is this really a preferable way to run the Knicks as opposed to simply not re-signing Lin? Fuck it, just give him a new contract and figure out the details later. Isn't that what Bill criticizes the Knicks for having done in the past and now he advocates they do this by re-signing Jeremy Lin?

For everyone dismissing last season's Linsanity binge as something of a fluke, here's a news flash for you: This isn't baseball.

Well, thanks. That clears everything up perfectly.

This isn't Kevin Maas or Phil Plantier catching fire for a few weeks before the league figured them out. I watched those games.

Bill watched those games. He believes himself to be a fucking genius and infallible. His thoughts are the thoughts you should have, but you are too damn stupid to have those thoughts. If Bill had not watched those games, then perhaps Linsanity could be a fluke. Because Bill is vouching for Linsanity, there's no way in hell Linsanity could be a fluke since someone as smart as Bill, namely the only person on Earth as smart as Bill, Bill himself, watched those games.

Even in a somewhat small sample size, Lin proved that he's either a quality starter (best-case scenario) or something of a rich man's J.J. Barea, an irrational confidence guy who gives you instant offense off the bench (worst-case scenario).

And why wouldn't you give a guy who could be like a rich man's J.J. Barea 3 years and $24.9 million? Who says "no" to this?

That's really stupid AND an appallingly bad business decision.

As would be the decision to re-sign Lin only to want to trade him one year later or re-sign Lin without a long-term plan as to what role he would play on the team. Who am I to judge though? Bill Simmons has many supporters (okay fine, only him) who believes he could be an NBA GM.

Or, you could be a loyal sap, remain a Knicks fan and be perpetually bitter … but at the very least, sleep well at night knowing that you stuck with your boys through thick and thin. I support any of those three choices. Either way, it's a shame that one of the best fan bases in any sport is saddled with an owner like that.

They are cursed! There is a Dolan Curse! Get Mike Lupica on the phone to write an entire book about this curse!

(Important note: As many Knicks fans have pointed out, "On paper, the Brooklyn switch makes sense … but is it really a peace-of-mind upgrade to go from James Dolan to Billy King and an absentee Russian owner?" Solid counter.)

I like how Bill makes his point about how Knicks fans should switch to the Brooklyn Nets and then in the very next paragraph he explains why his idea is stupid. Two years from now, he will be taking credit for saying Knicks fans should have jumped ship or he will be mentioning how the Nets have an absentee owner. It all depends on whether the Knicks or Nets have more success over the next two years. The conclusion we come to? Knicks fans should or should not jump ship. Either way, I have a feeling Bill has all his bases covered to where if Knicks fans should have jumped ship he can point out he was correct they had a chance to switch to the Nets or if the Nets stink then he can point out he was correct about the Nets owner.

I didn't expect to be interested in the Hornets for League Pass purposes before 2014 at least. Who knew?

"I didn't expect this would happen until 2014. Who could have seen that I wouldn't have expected this to occur?"

To David Stern, who turned out to be right (retroactively, but still) when he vetoed a package that netted New Orleans Luis Scola (amnesthetized last week and signed for half the cost), Kevin Martin (very available), Dragic and Houston's 2012 first-rounder, didn't save the Hornets money, didn't allow them to bottom out AND gift-wrapped Chris Paul to the Lakers while somehow saving them millions.

David Stern was still wrong to veto that trade. I don't care if Bill thinks it worked out for the Hornets or not. Stern never should have vetoed that Chris Paul trade. I don't care about the outcome of this process, I care about Stern's process for vetoing this trade.

Looking back, it's no contest and I'm embarrassed that I defended the first deal, especially when they didn't dump Okafor's contract or Ariza's contract in it. And did we learn something that even the people running the NBA believe that, unless you can contend for the title, you're better off bottoming out and buying a lottery ticket? Yes. Yes we did.

Here's the issue. We have no idea what the Hornets would have done if the Paul-to-the-Lakers trade had gone through. They still may have ended up with a lottery pick from the Rockets and we have no idea if the Hornets would have kept Scola, Martin or Dragic. Things feel like they worked out for the Hornets, but who is to say things wouldn't have worked out if the Paul-to-the-Lakers trade had gone through? The truth is that Bill just doesn't want Chris Paul to play for the Lakers, so he's happy the trade went through the way it did and kept Paul from the Lakers.

Does that mean Stern was vindicated by The Veto? Nooooooooooo! He disgraced the league (and his own legacy, and Dell Demps) with the pigheaded way he handled it. The end did not justify the means. I don't think he cares.

Ah yes, playing both sides again. Stern was right to veto the trade, but he didn't handle it well and the end didn't justify the means? How does this make sense? If Bill thinks Stern was right to veto the trade, doesn't this mean the end justifies the means? Since the end was that Stern was right to veto the trade because the Hornets got cap room and the #1 overall pick? Bill was just defending "the end" of the failed Paul-to-the-Lakers trade.

Will we ever see another sports commissioner cup his ears and encourage the boos at a league event (like Stern did during this year's draft)? I say no.

"Do you still rape (as pointed out in the comments, it is "beat" your wife, not "rape." I firmly believe David Stern thinks he could get away with saying "rape" instead of "beat" though) your wife?" Best. Commissioner. In. Sports.

He's like Lorne Michaels in this respect — both guys know that, as long as they're running the NBA or SNL, everyone will return their calls, everyone will take their meetings, everyone will kiss their asses and fall all over themselves trying to please them, everyone will give them the best table in the restaurant and the best suite in the hotel, nobody will question them using the company jet, and basically, they're going to matter.

Who ever said David Stern wasn't a good commissioner? His ego drives his decisions and he is incapable of believing he could ever be second-guessed. What's wrong with that?

One of the show's funniest moments goes to one of the month's funniest moments — Mark Cuban missing Deron Williams's visit to Dallas for the Mavericks' big "Here's why you should play for us, Deron" pitch. Why? Because Cuban was in Los Angeles taping that week's episode of Shark Tank.

This is the part where Bill does some passive-aggressive needling of Mark Cuban after the one-sided Twitter fight last week. We all know how this will end. Bill will passively-aggressively go at Mark Cuban until they meet up face-to-face and Bill eventually backs down using humor as a defense. Bill will explain "he talked to Cuban and he made me understand the moves" much like the excuse Bill used when he spoke with Isiah Thomas face-to-face after ripping him for years. We talk about bloggers who hide behind their keyboard, but I think Bill did the same thing when he spoke with Thomas face-to-face in Las Vegas a few years ago. I see a similar occurrence will happen in his beef with Mark Cuban.

Normally I'd have more barbs here … but I actually enjoy Shark Tank. I fully support Cuban's decision to throw away Dallas's 2012 title defense to create enough cap space to potentially sign a marquee free agent like Williams, then to miss THE crucial pitch meeting with Williams because he was contractually obligated to tape a reality-TV show. I care more about Shark Tank than the fate of the Mavericks. If I rooted for the Mavericks? I might not be as happy.

But again, taking on Jeremy Lin's contract when you could have had a comparable point guard cheaper, clearing cap space for a marquee player that may or may not accept a trade to your team and that may or may not re-sign with your team, and putting a 30-52 team filled with rookies on the court is pure genius.

It pays to be Bill Simmons' friend. He won't criticize you nearly as much as compared to if you dare to question something he says on Twitter.

Speaking of Hasheem the Dream, Memphis got a combined five and a half years total out of Thabeet and O.J. Mayo — picked no. 2 overall and no. 3 overall, respectively, in back-to-back drafts — and nobody cares because they still stumbled into having a pseudo-contender of a team. Will we ever see THAT happen again?

Will we ever see that hyper-specific scenario again? No, we will not. Will we see a team waste (not sure Mayo was a waste) two lottery picks in back-to-back drafts and be a contender anyway? Probably.

If you're a Rockets fan, wouldn't you be mildly petrified of amnestying Luis Scola (the best amnesty guy ever, by far — nobody else comes close),

But again, Bill thinks it was a brilliant move by David Stern to prevent the Hornets from getting Scola. He would have had zero value to the Hornets if they decided to trade him. In Bill's world, you can trade Jeremy Lin anytime you want, but Luis Scola has no trade value.

dumping Kevin Martin in a contract year (when you know he'll play well), dealing two potential lottery picks AND swapping one or two of your promising 2012 first-rounders just so you can a) deliver Howard to a contender in your own conference, and b) roll the dice with Bynum?

Of course Rockets fans should be concerned. They are going all-in for Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum. Neither player has proven he can carry a team to a championship. Howard comes close, but he still requires a quality #2 player on the roster (in my opinion) and a few guys on roster that can hit three-point shots.

The case for Bynum: He's the league's second-best center and a guaranteed 20/10 guy when healthy.

The case against Bynum: He's still immature, he handled L.A.'s last two playoff exits more than a little erratically, and he played 80 percent of his team's games last season for the first time since 2007.

I still say if any GM that wasn't named "Daryl Morey" did this then Bill would castigate him. Because it is Daryl Morey making these moves Bill says Rockets fans should merely be "worried."

How did everything work out for the Lakers again? In the late '60s, Wilt fell into their laps. In the mid-'70s, Kareem fell into their laps. In the late '70s, they exploited two incompetent franchises (New Orleans and Cleveland) and somehow landed no. 1 overall picks in 1980 (Magic) and 1982 (Worthy). In the mid-'90s, Shaq fell into their laps and they smartly stole Kobe during the same summer. In 2008, Memphis gift-wrapped Pau Gasol for them. And now, with yet another dead end looming in 2012 — triggered by last December's Chris Paul trade that fell through, one of the rare times that the Lakers have ever been screwed over by bad luck — suddenly Steve Nash AND Dwight Howard might fall into their laps? How the heck does this keep happening??????

This coming from a guy who is the fan of a team who had Larry Bird fell in their lap during the 1979 Draft after he re-entered college upon being drafted by the Celtics in 1978. He fell in their lap because a now-gone rule (named after Larry Bird by the way) allowed them to retain Bird's rights even though he had never declared for the NBA Draft in 1978.

Then the Celtics had Kevin McHale (the #3 pick in the 1981 draft) and Robert Parish come to them in one trade for Joe Barry Carroll (the #1 pick in the 1981 draft).

Then the Celtics got the #2 pick in the 1986 draft after having won the NBA Title.

Fast forward to 2007 when the Celtics had Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett traded to them because both players just happened to be fed-up with their situation and wanted to chase a championship.

I'm just saying, NBA teams all have good luck and sometimes they also make their own luck.

Then Bill tries a reverse-jinx on the Lakers with sentences that read like these:

A ring for Dwight Howard less than a year after he acted like the biggest baby in recent sports history. (Yes, I'm operating as if Howard will be a Laker. Might as well get a jump on it.)

You know what really bugs me? He's the first legitimately likable Laker since Magic retired. There isn't a basketball fan on the planet who wouldn't be delighted to see Steve Nash finally win the title … you know, if it were happening in a vacuum.

A 17th title for the Lakers, which would technically match Boston's 17 titles even though five of those Laker titles happened in Minneapolis in the 1940s and 1950s. If you count those five, that's EXACTLY like adding Seattle's 1979 NBA title to Oklahoma City's ongoing total … right? That won't stop Lakers fans from pretending that they "tied" Boston even if they didn't. I'm already pissed off and it hasn't even happened yet.

Bill is working this reverse-jinx really hard. Since he's been doing this whole "movie quotes as it relates to sports" gimmick for a few years now, I should be happy Bill is still working hard at something I guess. Part 2 tomorrow...

Monday, July 23, 2012

3 comments Without Statues, How Will We Discuss Important Social Issues?

Jeff Pearlman recently wrote a column for CNN about why Penn State should keep the Joe Paterno statue. I generally enjoy Pearlman's writing. I have read three of Jeff Pearlman's books and have enjoyed all of them. What I find interesting about Pearlman, and I've noticed this following him on Twitter, is that he comes off as a very self-conscious writer. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that. It could just be me, but I feel like he demonstrates he cares what people write or say about him, which can't be said for many other writers who tend (pretend) to shake off criticism easily. Some people probably find this endearing in some fashion and others find it annoying, while I find it somewhat interesting because few writers will openly admit criticism has hurt him/her in some way.

So Jeff Pearlman thinks Penn State should keep the Joe Paterno statue in order for society to have a way of discussing child molestation. To tear down the statue, says Pearlman, would be to sweep the Paterno-Sandusky story under the rug. I don't think statues have very much to do at all with whether we continue to discuss child molestation in a public fashion. This Joe Paterno-Sandusky-Penn State saga is going to be widely discussed even if they tear down the entire university. That's just how it is, so whether the statue gets removed or not seems irrelevant to furthering the discussion on child molestation.

Over the past couple of days, I've listened with mounting frustration as people debate whether Penn State University should remove from its campus the 900-pound bronze statue of Joe Paterno, its once-legendary football coach.

I don't think the Joe Paterno statue looks that much like Paterno. The glasses look pretty accurate, but otherwise it looks way too much like my grandfather for my tastes...and he didn't look anything like Joe Paterno. My point is that this is a statue meant to honor Joe Paterno and may not serve a purpose to society outside of this.

It's as if, to the folks who demand action, taking away a metal JoePa would serve as another blow to the real JoePa; one last spear in the heart of the fallen hero

The folks who demand action aren't trying to serve another blow to Joe Paterno, they want to remove a monument to Paterno that stands on the campus. A statue at a university has unspoken meaning to people. It says, "This person is important, served this university well, and he/she should be honored for their contributions to the university." So those demanding action don't want to serve as a blow to JoePa, they just don't want to continue viewing a monument that seems to celebrate him and his legacy. His silence towards child molestation is now a part of his legacy that some people do not want celebrated.

Sadly, it just doesn't work that way.

It very well could work that way if Penn State decides to take the statue down.

As much as I have come to abhor Joe Paterno's indifference and arrogance and self-serving loyalty (to himself and his image and his stupid little football program), I fail to see how digging out a statue does anything but conflict with (what should be) one of the most important elements of higher education:

Not honoring people with statues when this person has a hand in allowing the molestation of multiple children over a multi-year span?

Open and honest and intelligent dialogue.

The Joe Paterno statue doesn't have anything to do with the open and honest and intelligent dialogue about child molestation. This dialogue can start and continue with or without the Joe Paterno statue. The statue serves as a reminder of the greatness of Joe Paterno, and it is not a symbol that allows open dialogue to continue. If Penn State tore down the Paterno statue the world wouldn't immediately forget about child molestation and the dialogue would continue and even continue to prosper. The statue is a symbol, not a dialogue-starter.

Were I in command of this decision, not only would I make certain the statue stays, I'd surround it with flood lights and fireworks and hire Flavor Flav to hype its very presence. "Come one, come all! Camp out! Bring classmates! Observe the bronze Joe Paterno! Debate away!"

Using the idea that a statue, or a symbol such as a statue, is the best way to start and further a discussion on important social issues, wouldn't it make sense to build a statue of other people who have perpetuated atrocities throughout time? We want to talk about prejudice and the horrors of genocide? Let's build a statue of Adolf Hitler in Washington, D.C.! We want to talk about child molestation? Then build a statue of Jerry Sandusky and have nightly discussions around it. It sounds absurd, because it is absurd.

My point is these discussions can happen without a statue. That's why the idea of removing the Joe Paterno statue would in some way also inhibit the child molestation discussion seems ridiculous to me.

Truth be told, the last thing we (and Penn State) should be doing right now is trying to hide and forget what happened.

This is not the point of removing the statue. The point of removing the statue is to no longer honor Joe Paterno with a statue that stands for the greatness of Joe Paterno. That is what intrinsic meaning statues have and it doesn't stand for mistakes that Joe Paterno has made. When you see a statue of Ty Cobb, you know it is there to celebrate his career as a baseball player and the benefits of playing at a time when he didn't have to face Negro League pitchers (ok, I added that last part). That statue intrinsically doesn't make a representation about Cobb's personal life and what a huge asshole he seemed to be. The same thing goes for a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. When we see a statue of him it is for the Civil Rights Movement and his fight against racial discrimination, it doesn't also serve as a reminder that even the greatest men and leaders are prone to adultery.

You get my point. A statue is there to honor, not create a discussion. The discussion will happen without the statue.

Bronze Joe Paterno needs to remain, because we need to talk about this. We need to discuss ways to stop child abuse. We need to discuss the courage it takes to step forward, especially when it's significantly easier to remain silent.

Then we can discuss it. No statue is needed for this discussion. I'm also not sure how much we need to discuss child molestation. Child molestation is wrong and right-minded people should do anything and everything in their power to stop or prevent it from happening. I guess the how and specific ways to stop child abuse are important, but the legacy of what happens when people keep their mouth shut is a lesson learned from the Sandusky saga and is not taught by the presence of the Joe Paterno statute. His statue reminds us he was a successful football coach.

Mostly, we need to discuss statues themselves -- and what they reflect.

It reflects Joe Paterno made Penn State a lot of money by winning football games and they built a statue as a thank you for making the football team so successful.

The reason Jerry Sandusky was able to perpetrate his evil is because at Penn State (as at hundreds of other Division I schools across America) sports have exceeded academics in importance.

While this statement is true, the reason Jerry Sandusky was able to perpetuate his evil is because Penn State coaches and administration valued the football team over the lives of innocent children. This situation didn't have much to do with academics. It had to do with Penn State protecting their football program and Paterno's legacy. Jeff Pearlman seems upset sports have exceeded academics in importance, so I would think the tearing down of Paterno's statue would be something he would favor. The tearing down the statue would show the importance of social responsibility over the importance of academics at Penn State.

The athletic programs are responsible for large dollars; for large enrollments; for national attention; for eternal glory. They are not to be stopped or interfered with or questioned.

Again, while this is true, this isn't a case of sports exceeding the value of academics in the eyes of the Penn State administration. It's about the football program exceeding the value of children's lives in the eyes of the Penn State administration.

Joe Paterno has a statue for the same reason Auburn University built one for former quarterback Cam Newton (a non-graduate who attended the school for one year) -- because football (literally, the launching of a synthetic oval contraption through the air) exceeds all else.

In terms of making money, it probably does. This is sad, but true.

Why, in 2007, five Penn State scientists (Richard Alley, William Easterling, Klaus Keller, Michael Mann, Anne Thompson) shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on climate change issues. None of them have statues (rest assured, had any committed Sandusky-like acts, they would have been turned over to the authorities in minutes). None of them will have statues. Ever.

What if Penn State tore down the Joe Paterno statue and built a statue for these five Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists? Problem solved.

Bronze Joe Paterno needs to stay because, deep within his metallic eyeballs, there is a story to be told.

Does that story happen to be a story about how he coached for a long time and won a lot of football games? If so, that's the story the statue is telling me too.

Years and years from now, when most of us are gone and this scandal is merely a blip in history, he will hopefully serve as the essential reminder that, once upon a time, we deified people for their ability to win ultimately meaningless and trivial games.

Yes, he probably will serve as this reminder and we don't need a statue of Joe Paterno on the Penn State campus to help serve as the reminder. I don't care if the statue comes or goes, but if it stays then it won't represent a beacon of knowledge about what happens when people keep their mouth shut about crimes committed against children. It will serve as a reminder of there being a statue on Penn State's campus because Joe Paterno won a lot of games as a football coach.

And we paid a dear price for doing so.

Wouldn't you think removing the statue would show that no matter how many wins Joe Paterno has, his silence in the face of knowledge concerning crimes against children is now part of his overall legacy and he no longer deserves a statue on the Penn State campus?

It's weird because Jeff Pearlman rails against colleges favoring athletics over everything else, but then he favors the Joe Paterno statue remaining standing when this statue is a reminder of Penn State choosing to honor Joe Paterno's success in athletics over his actions as a human being. I don't care if the statue stays up or goes down, but if it stays up then it isn't going to further the discussion of child abuse and how we can prevent further child abuse. That statue will serve to show what a great football coach Joe Paterno was at Penn State.

Friday, July 20, 2012

7 comments When Is Changing Your Favorite Team Acceptable?

The Grantland Staff had an article up recently about whether Knicks fans should be able to switch to the Brooklyn Nets as their favorite NBA team. This conversation was prompted (forced upon the Grantland staff because Bill Simmons thought it was a great idea since it was based on something he had Tweeted) by a Bill Simmons Tweet on this subject. Each staff member of Grantland gave their opinion, some of which were valuable and others were not so valuable. Chuck Klosterman gave his opinion on this subject (or by giving his opinion did he really not give an opinion at all, and what does this mean outside the realm of sports?), which is always (not) fun to read. Of the things that Grantland does well, I do sometimes enjoy these "Dumb Office Arguments" a lot. They give each writer on the site a way to give their point of view. Of course it also gives the writers a chance to navel-gaze, which some of them truly indeed love doing.

I don't know if it is an important question or not, but when is it acceptable to change sports teams like this? Are Knicks fans able to change teams to the Brooklyn Nets or are they stuck with the Knicks? Personally, I don't see a diehard Knicks fan changing over to becoming a Nets fan, nor do I see the draw of cheering for the Brooklyn Nets. Still, I'm sure it is tempting for some Knicks fans to cheer for the Nets now they are in Brooklyn.

Over the weekend, news broke that the New York Knicks were dragging their feet in matching the Houston Rockets' $25 million contract offer to point guard Jeremy Lin.

Apparently this was the last straw for Knicks fans everywhere. Sure, the team has tried to put a quality team on the floor and made the playoffs this year by spending millions of dollars on an injury-prone power forward and a small forward who wants to shoot the ball 25 times per game and doesn't seem to make his teammates better. The team has struggled in some ways for a decade now, but not re-signing Jeremy Lin was the last straw. It feels kind of dumb to me for Knicks fans to bail now, but maybe the draw of seeing another team in the area is enticing enough for allegiances to be switched.

Bill Simmons, posed the question: If the Knicks, following the apparent financial advice of Carmelo Anthony, turn their backs on the most exciting, well-liked player to rock blue and orange since [insert beloved Knicks player Sprewell, Starks, Ewing ... Renaldo Balkman], would New York fans be wise to turn their backs on the team and become fans of the other New York franchise, the Brooklyn Nets? Simmons certainly thought so.

Of course Bill Simmons would think so. I think we have learned over the decade of reading Bill's columns that he seems to desperately want to be a front-runner. He gave up on the Boston Bruins because they had bad ownership, only to come back to them now that they have become successful again. Even still, you get the feeling he could easily become an LA Kings fan. If the Celtics ever start to field a bad team on the court (or have "bad ownership," which basically means not putting an NBA Title worthy team on the court) Bill already has the Clippers lined up as his backup NBA team. Bill completely ignores the Red Sox now when writing his weekly column, simply because they aren't fielding a good enough team to merit a mention. It's because Bill has such high expectations, not because he is slowly becoming a front-runner, that merely contending for a playoff spot isn't enough anymore. So for a guy who likes all Boston-area teams (which are the teams he has liked for his entire life), he seems to have a wandering eye when it comes to being fans of these teams.

Another issue I have with Bill, and his insistence on saying Knicks fans should switch to being Brooklyn Nets fans, is at what point is Bill going to stop making every franchise tortured in some fashion? I was kidding in a previous post when I wrote Bill is going to have every NBA team as tortured in some fashion 20 years from now, but it feels like it will come true. At a certain point in the future Bill is going to make it seem like 50% of NBA franchises' fan base are tortured in some fashion. Few people like the Dolans, but every fan base has hard times or periods during a team's history he/she doesn't like. I'm not saying Knicks fans shouldn't bail for the Nets, but jumping ship simply because times are tough (The Knicks made the playoffs last year by the way) seems like the definition of a fair weather fan.

We asked several members of the Grantland family, some of whom count themselves as Knicks supporters, for a verdict.

They also asked Chuck Klosterman. Why? It doesn't matter really. His response to the question posed was very impressive though. Just ask him, he'll tell you.

Mark Lisanti


Under what should heretofore be referred to as the Lin-Dolan Clause of Desperate Fandom, a team switch should be allowed under extraordinary circumstances.

I'm pretty strict about whether a person can switch favorite teams or not. Generally, my answer is "no," that a person has to stick with a team. If I am going to make up some fake rule like Lisanti and Bill Simmons seem to do, I would say I have two (maybe three) rules for when a person can change favorite teams. I think it can happen when:

1. A team that competes with your current favorite team moves within your geographic area. For example, if I had switched to the Charlotte Hornets as my favorite NBA team (which I very nearly did, mostly because I was so young and impressionable at the time, but I managed to stay a Celtics fan) from the Boston Celtics then it could be understood. You can't switch back though and have to stay with that new team you have chosen. There shall be no dual fandom.

2. Your favorite team proves over a decade-long span they don't deserve your support. By this, I mean your favorite team hasn't either made the playoffs or has such bad ownership you choose to no longer support the team. By "bad ownership" I don't mean "your team isn't winning titles anymore, but is merely making the playoffs." Ownership has to clearly be screwing the team over to the point the team can't be competitive.

3. This one is a maybe. If your favorite team moves out of town. I live in North Carolina. If the Carolina Panthers moved to Los Angeles, then it could be understood why I am choosing a new team. To be honest, this idea is so unfathomable to me that I would switch I can't even imagine I wouldn't still be a fan of the new Los Angeles Panthers. This is a tough call because simply moving out of town in an age when a person can choose to see every game their favorite team plays on television doesn't seem entirely defensible. I guess it depends on how the team left town.

For example, if a Charlotte Hornets fan chooses not to be a New Orleans Hornets fan then I completely understand. George Shinn sucked and was a terrible owner. He left Charlotte and no one was said to see him go, though it would have been nice if he had not taken the Hornets with him. I would hope this hypothetical Hornets fan would eventually became a Bobcats fan though. Also, Sonics fans don't have to cheer for the Thunder. I'm torn, but I think in most situations if a team leaves town then the fans have a right to abandon that team.

Here, we have two: (1) a backbreaking, morale-obliterating move by an utterly incompetent owner who has zero regard for his fan constituency,

This is too vague. One bad move doesn't make it necessary for a person to choose a new favorite team. If one morale-obliterating move is all it takes for a fan to abandon a team, then he probably wasn't a serious fan in the first place.

(2) the arrival of another team within not only the immediate region, but the city borders.

I think the immediate region would suffice. Not many teams get another shot at a professional sports team after one has left. I can handle immediate region as being the criteria.

(And also, as long as we're on the subject, [3] the incompetent, suggestible owner is seemingly still under Rasputin-like sway of ousted managerial war criminal Isiah Thomas, who, we'll soon discover, has been adding ground glass to Dolan's smoothies as he tries to convince his mesmerized buddy to give him a controlling chunk of the team in the "statistically unlikely" event of "death by slow stomach bleeding.")

I can see why Mark Lisanti was hired by Bill Simmons. It seems Mark Lisanti wants to write exactly like Bill and the idea of having someone who wants to be him appealed to Bill so much he had to hire Lisanti...at least that's my takeaway from this passage.

Joe House


This is America.

It's Bill's buddy "House." He has a firm grasp on writing the obvious it seems.

For most sports fans in this great land, the question of what teams to root for — and where to spend fan dollars — is easy: Who are the locals?

Right for "most" sports fans it is easy. "Most" sports fans have professional teams in every sport right in that very state. This is so true, except for the fact it isn't true at all. So who do fans in Nebraska cheer for? How about the state of Tennessee? How easy is it to pick out your favorite baseball team if you live in Tennessee? What about Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico or Arkansas? How is it easy to pick out your favorite team when there isn't a local team? I completely disagree that "most" sports fans can just cheer for the local team.

You have to love the weird East Coast Bias of "House" who seems to believe every state of this great nation has professional sports teams in all four major sports readily available to them. "Most" people can't choose their favorite team in all four major sports just by seeing which teams are in the local area.

David Jacoby

Regardless of what some people believe (read: Bill), there are no rules for being a sports fan. You can be a fan of whatever team you want, whenever you want. The team you root for is a completely subjective concept, and there isn't some committee (read: Bill) that sets guidelines and allows you a window to make a switch. That is some bullshit.

Ok, well you are no fun. As much as I mock Bill Simmons for creating rules for everything, there are rules to being a sports fan. A person can't adopt the New York Giants prior to the 2008 season after dumping the Cincinnati Bengals as his/her favorite team and then start talking shit to a fan of the New York about Eli Manning having two rings. Waking up one day and deciding, "I don't like the look of this year's Saints team. I think I'm more of a Lions fan now because I like Calvin Johnson" is being a fair weather fan. These people are pieces of shit and should be stopped immediately. I hate the rules (in general) that Bill Simmons creates but few things are more annoying than team-jumping and fair weather fans.

If you're a Knicks fan and you want to root for the Nets, go right ahead. Who cares? That is what I will be doing.

Fine, switch. You will be considered a piece of shit and no one should take you seriously if Brook Lopez tears his ACL and Joe Johnson starts struggling and the Nets go 30-52 next year, while the Knicks happen to make the playoffs, and you jump right back on the Knicks' bandwagon.

Sean Fennessey


Imagine a man living in Oklahoma City.

I'm imagining him. He is tall, owns a farm and listens to country music, just like every other resident of Oklahoma does.

It's 2007. He is a lifelong Dallas Mavericks fan, a team that resides little more than 200 miles due south. He attends every home game, driving three and a half hours both ways to watch Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Josh Howard. The season is over. His team has just been eliminated from the NBA playoffs, a no. 1 seed humiliated by the exhilarating underdog Golden State Warriors.

Then this lifelong Dallas Mavericks fan can't jump back on the bandwagon after the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA Title. That much is clear. Also, if a lifelong fan of a team even thinks about switching teams because his favorite team had a disappointing playoff series then he isn't enough of a lifelong fan.

Seven weeks later, the Seattle SuperSonics draft a Texas Longhorn forward named Kevin Durant — the same Sonics that have been threatening to leave their native city. Oklahoma City is the rumored destination. The man starts to dream. His imagination wanders. One day, maybe I'll root for Kevin Durant. Soon, a team will be just minutes away. Season tickets will be cheaper. A fan base will be energized.

I would have no problem with this person switching, though I can't see why/how a lifelong Dallas Mavericks fan would do this. I don't take sports too seriously, but I couldn't switch from the Braves even if North Carolina got a professional baseball team. I just couldn't do it. So if this hypothetical Oklahoma City resident is a big Texas Longhorns fan, then I can see this move more. I think when a new team moves to a person's hometown, he/she has to make a decision which team to cheer for before the new season begins. He/she can't wait until after he/she sees how great Durant is to switch to the Thunder. Here I go making rules, but few things annoy me than me sticking by my teams through tough times and having to argue sports with a front-runner.

My point, and I agree with Bill Simmons on this, is New York Knicks fans should switch now and not wait until the beginning of the season. This is a tough switch to make. I'm not a Knicks fan, but seeing as how Bill has always been pro-if the owner doesn't put a great team on the court then a fan can switch teams, I see how he is in favor of this. Bill isn't all about sticking it through the tough years with his team, especially in the case of having a bad owner. Detroit Lions fans aren't impressed with Bill's stance.

Chuck Klosterman


I should link a picture of a man pleasuring himself since that seems to be most of what Chuck Klosterman's writing seems like it is to me, but this isn't that kind of blog, and I choose not to search for a picture of a man pleasuring himself. Let it be known though, that's what I think Chuck Klosterman's feels about his own writing.

At the professional level, you should always focus on whatever a team represents in the present tense: You should be motivated by the current roster, the current coaching staff, the current ownership, the uniforms they're presently wearing, the facility where the team plays, geography, and whatever bizarre interior drive dictates your self-created relationship with the franchise.

You should also be motivated by the food that is being served at the facility, what the parking situation at the venue is like, how many beers are on tap, whether halftime entertainment is worth watching or not, and whatever odd weird shit you enjoy about sports that Chuck Klosterman is too detached and clinical to understand which is why he gets paid to write for a site that features many articles about sports...because sports and the people who enjoy them are dumb, of course. Now let's leave Chuck alone so he can inspect whatever bizarre interior drive that dictates his self-created relationship with whatever band he has fallen in love with this week.


Honestly, if you truly love sports, you should fight the urge to root for anyone, ever. You should just appreciate the game itself.

Even more honestly, this is stupid. If you truly love sports then you do appreciate the game, but you would also naturally have a favorite team in that sport. I appreciate art. Is it weird that I have a favorite artist? I appreciate architecture. Would it be weird if I had a favorite architectural structure? Of course not. If you enjoy watching movies, wouldn't it be natural you have a favorite movie? The same principle applies here. Chuck Klosterman is too busy overthinking the issue to actually think about this. If you truly love a sport, it would make sense to have a favorite team. If I love watching the Olympics, it would make perfect sense if I had a very Olympian. You appreciate the game, but you also have a favorite athlete. It makes sense.


There are certain teams I always root for (and probably always will), and I will always feel stupid about it. It's a real weakness.

It's a true weakness. How dare a person cheer for a specific team in a sport he/she enjoys? It's madness to do this.


The word "fan" derives from the word "fanaticism," which is a bad thing.

This is why intellectuals should not be able to watch sports. Sports is an escape, while intellectuals, or pseudo-intellectuals as I would call Chuck Klosterman, aren't capable of seeing sports as an escape. They have to dissect it to search for some sort of hidden meaning or cause that probably isn't there in an effort to prove just how fucking smart they are and how dumb and irrational you are for liking sports. Sometimes I just want to scream really loudly for a player to run fast or tackle another player hard. I don't see it as a bad thing, even if the derivation of the word "fan" does seem like a bad thing to Klosterman.

Vaya con dios, in this case dios being Jay-Z. But there's no way I could do it myself. It's barely even crossed my mind. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome, or maybe it's just that I'm no longer living in Brooklyn, where the walking distance to the Barclays Center would be tantalizingly short and the lure intoxicatingly strong. Maybe I'm stubborn, or stupid, or both. But I'm sticking around. I'm going down with the ship, playing "Go New York, Go New York, Go" on a waterlogged and out-of-tune violin. I may be a bitter old biddy by the time the Knicks finally win a post-‘70s title; more likely, I'll be dead. But I just truly don't think I could ever imagine it any other way.

There we go. Great attitude. If she didn't write mostly about weddings, I would read something else Katie Baker has written.


Brian Phillips

I hate to make it sound like sports isn't the most important thing in the world or something,

You write for a sports site, it's okay to make it seem like sports are the most important thing in the world once or twice a month.


but ... do you like the Nets more than the Knicks? Would you maybe rather be a Nets fan than a Knicks fan? Then be a Nets fan.

That's what I don't get about this whole "Nets or Knicks?" discussion. Bill Simmons looks at it from the point of view of someone who wants to watch a winning team (which again, isn't shocking, since he seems to be a front-runner at heart), but if a person all of a sudden likes the Nets more than the Knicks then just be a Nets fan. If you still like the Knicks more, sit through the tough times and hope for good times ahead or just pay only slight attention to the Knicks if it is too painful to watch them play. If you are a fan (there's that terrible word again!) of the Knicks more than the Nets, then don't magically become a Nets fan because you are tired of cheering for the Knicks. How would it be possible for a Knicks fan to switch to cheering for the Nets if that Knicks fan doesn't like the Nets as much as he/she likes the Knicks?


Shane Ryan

Ditto the Giants — as wonderful as this year was, it will never compare to 2008. Duke's titles have been separated by about a decade each except for the ‘92 run, which was easily the least spectacular of the four.

Other than that being one of the best NCAA teams of all-time and it just so happened the '92 team played one of the best NCAA Tournament games of all-time against Kentucky...sure, the '92 team was the least spectacular. There were no non-spectacular Duke titles to me. I think it is crazy to say the '92 team was the least spectacular since it was the last time an NCAA men's basketball team won back-to-back NCAA titles (as commenter Steve pointed out, Florida won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. I claim to be a college basketball fan and I missed this. Embarrassing. I will say I am not a fan of those two Florida teams so there is a chance I was blocking them out of my memory) and that was a loaded and dominant team. I loved watching that team.


So stick with it, fellow Knicks fans. Jeremy Lin is a passing fad, and that title is somewhere on the horizon, waiting for us in the fog. When it comes, you don't want to be the guy cheering for Brooklyn because you felt sorry for yourself.

Outside of completely annoying me by calling the '92 Duke team's run "easily" the least spectacular, which to me shows Shane Ryan needs his head examined, I agree. I wouldn't have a problem with Knicks fans becoming Nets fans, but to do so simply because the Knicks didn't sign Jeremy Lin and they don't like James Dolan right now seems a bit weak to me. It was just a year ago that Knicks fans had dreams of getting Chris Paul to play in New York and they were loving the day when they could try to get their own "Big Three" together.

Fine, choose to cheer for the Nets, but don't go back to the Knicks once the Nets start stinking again. That's mostly what I would request. The Nets have all five starters making at least $10 million. I didn't realize having Joe Johnson/Gerald Wallace/Brook Lopez on the same team made for such an attractive team.

Carles

If you are a Knicks fan who hasn't turned on your team already, you might as well wait until the third year of Jeremy Lin's contract to find out if he is a star or an oft-injured salary cap albatross who never matched his first-year production. Linsanity could end up being a cultural reference that is on the same level as Crystal Pepsi, pogs, or the Bash Brothers.

Exactly. This is my favorite take on this topic. What brought this issue up originally was a reaction to Jeremy Lin signing with the Rockets and the Knicks not matching the contract, then signing Raymond Felton. It's typical New York media-type overreaction to get all depressed because a guy who hasn't even played a full season in a Knicks uniform and doesn't even fit in with the current team (meaning Carmelo Anthony as the leader and top dog of this Knicks team) isn't being re-signed. Take a step away from the ledge. I think re-signing Lin would have been a good move, but don't get mad at the Dolans for not re-signing him, get mad at the Dolans for trading for Carmelo Anthony in an attempt to appease the Knicks' fans want for a superstar player on the roster, and then allowing Anthony to help chase Lin off. You wanted a superstar player, you got one.


The Brooklyn Nets are just as annoying as the Knicks when it comes to operating as a wannabe superstar destination that doesn't have enough flexibility to build a complete team, so Knicks fans might as well stay put and hope Amar'e finally has the career-ending injury that fulfills his destiny as the Most Injury-Prone Man Alive and wipes his contract off the books.

This needs to be a completely different question. Why are the Brooklyn Nets such an attractive team for Knicks fans? Other than the fact they are now located in New York state of course. The Nets have an owner who isn't exactly making astute trades (I can't believe the Nets took on Joe Johnson's contract) and I don't see re-signing Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez as a huge step up. This Nets team seems like a 5th or 6th seed in the East at-best, at least to me. This is the team Knicks fans should want to switch to?


Brian Koppelman

The Dolans, even more than other owners, do not care about the fans, the legacy, the history, or anything, really, at all. James Dolan seems to me to be like "Wormtongue" from Lord of the Rings, and his father is Theoden, under a spell and powerless to even see what’s going on. But we, the fans, are not powerless. We can decide to recognize that the throne is, for all intents and purposes, empty. We can decide to recognize that the team we loved does not exist anymore. That it can never exist as long as the Dolans own it. We can decide to see the Knicks for what they actually are, not what we wish them to be, like the husband who realizes, finally, after everyone else has told him, that his wife is not only cheating, but poisoning his mac and cheese. I am done eating poisoned mac and cheese. And I am done with the New York Knicks. Let’s go, Brooklyn!

We will remember this in 2017 when the Knicks win an NBA Title and Brian Koppelman is writing a column about how great it felt to stick in there with the Knicks all these years. You can't undo a passage written like this.

Rafe Bartholomew

But basketball is different nowadays — it's so spread-out, the talent comes from all over. So I'm from the city that once produced the best basketball players on the planet, and the Knicks, whether they're a lottery team or NBA champions, aren't changing that.

Well, haven't you given yourself the false illusion of self-importance while living in the past. The fact the city of New York used to produce great talent seems to give Bartholomew a reason to get up in the morning. Chuck Klosterman would frown through his beard when he hears this type of statement.


I don't see why a person would choose to be a Nets fan unless he/she was really upset with the Dolan's ownership of the Knicks franchise and just can't stand it anymore. You have the next few months to switch to the Nets as your favorite team, but the grass isn't always greener, and don't come crawling back to the Knicks pretending you never left if the ship ever gets righted.