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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy (?) New Year: Gaza

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

I know a lot of you probably don't know or don't care that hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israel during the past week. I just wanted to share some images with you that you definitely will not see on CNN or Fox News or MSNBC. Enjoy:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eboy's End Of The Year Awards

Posted by Eboy

Written by Eboy

So another year comes to happened.....things changed.....and the world is a different place then it was just a month or so ago. So now it's time for your boy to put his favorite things on full display for be educated from and brightening your minds with my good words.

Sports Team Of The Year:Miami Dolphins

"They did it.....they really did it.....damn."
I must have said that about 20 times last night after watching that wonderful dismantling of the Dolphins most hated rival. What can I say? A true every sense of the word.....never took the negativity from the media, fans and the like and let it bother them....never let their sudden success get to their heads. They just played ball. Hard nosed football. Winning football. The Architect, Bill Parcells, created the mold, Coach Tony Sparano molded it, and that outcast(sorry Mr. Mangini, I am for real)quarterback, Chad Pennington, led them every week, good or bad, with a chip on his shoulder and fire in his leadership.

Back in August, I wrote these words here on our wonderful blog:

"Leave it to an old school genius to get things back on track and the futures of the franchise seem WAY more solid then it did just a season ago. With Bill Parcells running things, the Dolphins fortunes are capable of being cemented with a championship pedigree and the promise of strict discipline (something they have needed)to begin solidifying their position of relevant NFL franchise again. No, they won't be hoisting a Super Bowl trophy this season, but it's exciting to think that the ability to have a team capable of it isn't too far away. Ridding long time mainstays Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor show the commitment to change and give the other players on the roster the fuel to move at a heightened rate because no one is safe if they are underachieving. Gotta love old school initiative."

I knew the improvement was going to be there, but not like this? Not winning the division? Not hosting a playoff game? (I'll have the first ever SKO NFL gamenotes Monday morning). They made Brett Favre look like the used up talent he is, they shut out the other waste of an NFL franchise, the Patriots, from being in the playoff picture, and most of all, they validated themselves. It's been a great ride with these Dolphins....lets see just how deep they can go in the playoff ocean now.

News Story Of The Year:The Disappearance of Caylee Anthony

I'm not going to be like every other blogger with a keyboard and a DSL line and pick Obama winning the election as the story of the year. First, there are too many others to compete with, there have been many others written by people with much more insight into his campaign than I had, and three, I'm just bored by it. I'll give the dude some pound starting in January if he starts changing things. Until then, I'll wait on the parades and the inauguration lottery.

No, I'm actually taking a truly heartbreaking story as my pick of the year. This might be in my mind because it's a local story to Floridians. Yes, it's only about the plight of one single little girl, but it was heartbreaking to me, and made me realize just how lucky I am to have my son in my life. Yeah, I'm talking about the disappearance of Orlando, FL toddler Caylee Anthony, who's mother, Casey, has been the focus of every law enforcement divisions case file since the case came to light. She disappeared back in June of this year while with her mother (supposedly), wasn't reported missing until a month later (because the mother was scared to tell anyone) and then for the next 6 months, a huge hunt for the missing girl went on, to no avail, until just two weeks ago, a meter reader out in an overgrown field, found the remains of the little girl in a plastic bag. Through DNA testing it was verified that it was Caylee, and now her c*nt of a mother sits in a cell waiting on her trial for murder.

There's so many questions left unanswered, and will take months to sort through, but the life of the little girl was taken for no reason and it burns me to think there are so many other young children that go through abuse of some form in their day to day lives.....and just happen to live through their torture....instead of being so young and so defenseless that they can't fight for their chance to live.

Blogger/Commenter/Madman of the Year: BETCATS

To bring the content back to the funny, this dude is a source of constant amusement and occasionally, brilliant content. Sure he never met a Spellcheck he liked, and sure, he cheers for one of the NBA's worst teams, but that doesn't stop him from being a verbal machete and an idiotic introduction into the mind of 16 year old kids everywhere. I wrote a tribute to him on his birthday and his use of images to describe his words is his best talent. All I can say is....Ride on Black Stallion, Ride On.

Movie Of The Year: IRON MAN

Don't play, you know that's my shit. Nothing further. Put it like the real world, who ya got your money on in a battle, Iron Man or Batman? Thought so.

Movie Of The Year: Runner Up: The Wrestler

I don't know if the uneducated can wrap their minds around this, but Mickey Rourke put on a tour de force performance in this movie, like very few have done before. Incredible. I remember the first time I saw the dude in a movie was in the early 80's in a movie called "Pope Of Greenwich Village" (rent it if you like good cop/mob films). Dude was good then, got crazy in the 90's and is poised for a Robert Downey-like career rebirth with this stunning performance. Catch it in a theater, see it on DVD or Blu-Ray when it's released, but just make sure you see it. Trust.

Album of the Year:Chinese Democracy-Guns N Roses

I refuse to put lousy hip hop in this title, I'll go with something else....Chinese Democracy. This is an album that will take the average fan several listens to pick out something that is truly "theirs" but if you were a fan of the band in their heyday, then you will find a song or four that will be in your mental playlists for a long while. For me the song "Better" does it for me. It's not old school Guns for your uncle's that used to have a mullet and a beer gut and would tug themselves to Kelly Bundy, this is a modern sound....but still with that trademark Axel swagger in his lyrics and vocals. Is it the best Guns N Roses album ever.....well no, but it has been 20 years since we've heard something from them, so this previously aborted baby has been given life and is still making good noise in the sea of shit music that is all around us.

And because we revolve around basketball:

Basketball Story Of The Year:The 2008 Draft Class

Incredible talent, franchise players, draft night steals, and an all-around feel of a "special" group of players making up this years class. Years from now we'll be looking back on this group, counting the All-Star appearances, titles, and great battles. For now, watching the young guys find their way is almost as great as the '03 class....almost.....but Mr. Rose, Mr. Beasley, Mr. Oden and Mr. Mayo have a lot of work to do to be on par with Mr. James, Mr. Anthony, Mr. Bosh and Mr. Wade. I'm just glad we're lucky enough to see it.

So, to my blogmates, I wish you all the best, to our extended cyber fams, stay happy and healthy, and to everyone else, 2009 will be better be.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Big Question

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

by Tariq al Haydar

Where does Shaquille O'Neal stand?

Shaq has something I would like to possess: The ability to retire. Imagine how cool it would be to quit your job and do nothing but watch movies in your 50-seat home theater. But let's go back...

For many years he wept on the nights he got swept. More than a decade ago, he didn't have the wisdom to to step to Hakim. When he bolted, Pennyless, to the city of dreams, they said he didn't want to win. It might seem strange in retrospect, but, for years, he was slept on.

But then he wrecked Pippen's solo career and beat Reggie in the Finals. Shaq joined Mikan, Kareem and Magic, who all had banners hanging in the rafters. The year after, he only allowed one playoff game to go unAnswered. And then, against the Nets, he was the one who swept.

And then the empire crumbled.

The Man With No Name remained, but Big moved from the Left Coast to South Beach. For a minute they said a fourth ring was out of his reach, but he supported Wade, and in the end they prevailed.

And now he's winding down in Arizona.

So where does he stand?

And all this got me thinking: You know what? I wouldn't trade places with Shaq. I know he's rich and famous, and I know he's set for life, but I don't know whether or not he's happy. I am. What I do know is this: Shaquille O'Neal is the best center ever. Right?

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 was a (TAD) bit interesting

Posted by TADOne


The year of 2008 was trial of up’s and down’s. Quite a few ‘firsts’ happened and lots of people around the world showed their true colors. With sports being a huge part of my life, I can say that it was quite an interesting year and also very entertaining. I have a ton on my plate for 2009 that is feeding into a lot that happened this year, so I’m going to get the stories that most interested me in the year of 2008 so I can have a clean slate of thoughts going forward.


Yeah, I parlayed this story WAY too much, but it truly was a monumental moment and feel that the selection of Barack Hussein Obama into the White House will have lasting effects for this generation and the generation of our children and grandchildren. While I don’t expect miracles, I do anticipate results that will positively affect a number of people in the US and also around the world.

Yeah, I don’t ask for much.

Anything Is Possible:

Yeah, Kevin Garnett is one of my favorite NBA players and watching him finally winning a championship was great to witness. It doesn’t appear he is done at 1 either.

Rising Down:

I’m a bit upset that my favorite musical group EVER will no longer be touring. I’ve lived off The Roots tirelessly doing tours, rocking crowds, blessing masses, and never doing the same routine twice. My first time witnessing this eclectic group was in the summer of ’92, a year before my junior year of high school, at the University of Delaware. I knew nothing of them and had actually went to watch a hiphop show that included Gangstarr, Group Home, Jeru, and Biz Markie. Little did I know that this group from right up the road in Philly would capture my heart and my long-standing fandom. Over time, I have seen them live almost 30 times, been to an impromptu jam session in South Philly on a hookup from a friend, and purchased every album ever done.

However, The Roots have officially announced they are no longer touring because they will be the house band for the new Jimmy Fallon late night show that is supposed to debut in 2009. I’m happy for their new success, but sad that I no longer can sit in a frenzied crown while they put a trance on all in attendance. They will be missed.

The Dark Knight:

Heath Ledger R.I.P. One of the best movies……EVER.

Perfection missed:

Eli Manning and the New York Giants put an end to an improbable run at perfection by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. From my perch on a barstool at a packed sports bar that was evenly split 50/50 among fans, I rooted for the underdog Giants and they didn’t disappoint. Amazing game. Amazing season.

End of an Era:

I am unabashedly a University of Michigan football fan, so the retirement of Lloyd Carr and the hiring of Rich Rodriguez was a big deal in my world. Different coaches, different personalities, and totally different philosophies on the football field. It was hard to watch one of the historic football programs struggle in ’08 during this transition. I’ll be expecting much more in 2009.

The Olympics:

From USA basketball winning gold, to Michael Phelps and his fish-like existence, to Usain Bolt toying with track records, to China putting on a historic showing…..this was a truly great Olympic year. 2012 will have a hard act to follow.

What is this, the 1930’s?:

Yeah, we are officially in a recession. So, while I would love to continue this list, I’m preparing my paperwork for Canadian Citizenship and updating my resume just in case.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Quite......Game Notes: 12/19/08 Miami Heat vs. LA Lakers

Posted by Eboy

Written by Eboy

Don't be confused......the title of this piece is solely meant for the villans of these notes.....those blowhards from the West......the Lost Angeles Lakers. A more unimpressive team with an overblown record that I've ever seen in my 25+ years of NBA watching. For one of my blogmates who is one of those "new" Lakers fans....all I can say to you is, I hope you can live off of the memories of champions past....because this squad is surely not making anyone forget the fantastic historical teams the Lakers fielded in years gone by. Not even close. Not quite. Like a Kobe attempt to try and win a game late.

So let's get to the game......a warm Friday evening....a highly anticipated matchup....what should amount to be a blowout if all things go as they should. Your boy is not worried though, I'm in the building and I'm ready for war.

I settle in to my lower bowl seat around 7:15p for the 8:00p start, and I'm struck mostly by the truly different appearances the two teams give off in their warmups. The Heat....pretty stoic....dudes working on footwork and pick and roll D situations, basically working on all the things that keep them from being an elite team at the moment...and they know it. It's like a high school teams practice....except these guys are pocketing millions to be mediocre. I have hope though....they look like they want the game.

The other side....well, lots of loosey goosey one on one stuff....impromptu horse games and yes....part of the reason I have such dislike for this team...the most gay bench player in the league....Sasha Vuckovic, is using a basketball like a soccer ball, bouncing the ball to and fro, from one foot to another. If it went on for a few seconds I could stomach it....but as I continued looking at my watch and keeping track of this moron....a few seconds turns into a few minutes and finally after 10 full MINUTES (no exaggeration)one of the Heat's ballboys grabbed the finally fumbled ball and scoots off with it. Sasha looked like his mom died. What a waste of a contract. Perhaps that's why dude can't do anything more than shoot wide open shots or is able to be beaten of the dribble by most anyone in the league....because you know....they isn't a soccer ball rolling across a pitch that he wants to chase and he really sucks at all the other aspects of basketball. (I promise to never write pitch in reference to a soccer field in any of my piece's again}.

Let's see what else? Well, pregame there was the obligatory Pau insults in Spanish I promised. Let's just say, I think he heard them (I was about 28 feet from him and the arena was barely filled during warmups)but he did well to stay even keeled. Oh yeah, I forgot, he's a pussy. BTW, he is easily the ugliest player in the league not named Shelden Williams. Horrid.

Got a couple words in with D-Fish and wished he and his daughter and family a healthy, happy holiday. Dude seemed genuinely touched and was cool as hell for the 2 minutes I spoke with him.

I know Udonis from a few meetings in different places around the area and I had a quick minute with him....told him I have a blog that could use an interview, and he laughed and said "I hate blogs...and you're doing that sh*t now?". I hope to see him again before the end of the year.

Kobe was overly confident, pounding his chest pregame looking all smug and basically avoiding all contact with even Lakers fans that were courtside. Senor Douchebag in full effect. D-Wade was doing some stupid-ass chin ups on the net prior to the tip....just play ball kid, your arms look fine.

I had an ongoing war of words ( Eboy?...never that?)with a little bitch of a Lakers fan a row back from me....reminded me of B. Long...except his hair was a little more manly. His favorite insult went something like "D-Wade, you can't win without Shaq" my retort was..."At least he doesn't rape without him". Don't fu*k with your boy on his home turf. He was visibly shaken when I stood up at one point, walked towards him like I was Ron Artest in the Mo and when I got in front of him and looked at him dude slunk back and I said "you need more people around you, this sh*t ain't working tonight" as I continued on to get my big pretzel while I laughed like the Joker going down the corridor. Little bitch.

Some random notes:

Lamar was horrible all game long....dude needs to move....for real.

Trevor Ariza is pretty good.

Sasha is useless.

Bynum is truly a 3rd rate center. Joel Anthony kicked his ass. Google Joel Anthony....actually, you may not find anything...skip it. Just take my word for it.

While both D-Fish and Farmar are both solid points, neither one of them is at Rondo's level....or Tony Parker's....or Chauncey Billups...or Chris Paul's...or Deron Williams. That spot may be the ultimate shortcoming of this year's Lakers squad in the playoffs. Remember my words. Last year I told you they didn't have the bigs for it...this year it's the smalls.

Pau is a solid player, but is never a game changer. That's where my compliments end for dude. Oh and bitch, hit a free throw.

Chris Quinn looked like his normal self...slow, out of sorts, not as good as me.

UD had an off night, but his block on Kobe was MY personal favorite play of the evening.

Luke Walton is almost the same player he was 5 seasons ago....makes a few good plays....then tries to do too much...and still has shitty hair.

Michael Beasley had an off night too, way too rushed, sloppy, he's having about 2 of these per week currently. Dude is starstruck at times.

Mario Chalmers is all heart. That's my dude.

Phil Jackson got outcoached by Eric Spoelstra. Nuff said.

Alright, on to the action....

It was really an exciting game in person.....not sure how it played out in front of a tv. Dwyane was.....well....once again....the best player on the planet (pardon his missed free throws late)and while a certain Mr. Bryant played particularly well.....well he was just a little behind the current owner of "Best 2 Guard In The World" know, cause that's how he do's! You know, he doesn't get dunks pinned against the backboards or misses pressure packed shots. Maybe you all need to read this....just because.

"According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant's miss at Friday's buzzer wasn't an anomaly. Since the Lakers dealt Shaquille O'Neal to the Heat in 2004, Bryant is 8 of 36 on shots taken with 24 or fewer seconds left and the Lakers down by three or fewer points. …"

Well, we actually need to change that stat and lower his percentage a little bit more since he rimmed out yet another game tying miss up Interstate 95 Saturday night in Orlando. Basically, stay the fu*k out of Florida don't belong here.

Can you tell I'm enjoying this?

The last few minutes were intense.....D-Wade hit some really tough shots....UD blew three free throws....Dwyane missed a couple....leaving the door open for the Lakers...and their superstar...the opportunity to tie it and get to overtime, and yes, I feel my screams of hatred and disgust caused that shot to miss. Seriously. I know it worked. It was a Christmas miracle. GOD bless us....every one.

The Lakers hearts are in their prettiness. They are very similar to the Mavs of 06. Plenty of talent, will win a ton of games, will be out "manned" in the playoffs by a more hungry, maybe not as talented team....unless it's the Celts (if the Lakers luck into the Finals) and they may win a single game this time. They better hope they don't see the Jazz early, 'cause they'll be pick and rolled right out of the playoffs.

The Heat? Well they won another close one last night against the Nets, and Dwyane was killing it again, so the possibility of them winning exactly half of their games is a really viable option at this point. They're so small, but they play defense hard and they hustle....if the Lakers played that way...they could be frightening....but alas, they don't and will they'll stay.....not quite.

2008 in Lists.

Posted by AR

2008 has been quite a good year for me.I managed to do very little and quite a lot similtaneously,I had a lot of first time experiences(absinthe),am now wise enough to know that Jager-bombs are the devil's work---and I bought a really nice shirt.So instead of actually really writing about anything(God forbid),I'm going to give you some random lists of things that struck,pleasured,angered me from the past twelve months.

 Top Ten Albums of 2008:

1.Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend
2.The Black Keys-Attack and Release
4.MGMT-Oracular Spectacular.
5.Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-Dig,Lazarus,Dig!!!
6.TV on the Radio-Dear Science
7.Elbow-Seldom Seen Kid
8.Bon Iver-For Emma,Forever Ago.
9.The Roots-Rising Down
10.Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes

Hounorable Mention:
Kings of Leon-Only by the Night.
Loudon Wainwright III-Recovery

Things That Should be Killed:
Coldplay-Viva La Vida or Death(to Chris Martin)and all his friends.

Top Ten Movies of 2008

2.The Dark Knight
3.Pinneapple Express
5.Burn After Reading
6.Funny Games
7.I'm Not There
8.Man on Wire
9.Forgetting Sarah Marshall
10.Gonzo:The Life and Works of Dr.Hunter S Thompson

Wall-E is real-E good.

Sportspeople of 2008
1.Kevin Garnett
2.Christiano Ronaldo
3.Kobe Bryant
4.Padraig Harrington
5.LeBron James
6.Michael Phelps
7.Eli Manning
8.Lionel Messi
9.Usain Bolt(still suspicious)
10.Fernando Torres.

Stupid Shit of the Year:
US Presidential Election:From 'Barack Hussein High Fructose Corn Syrup Obama' being labelled a terrorist to the very existence of whatsherface,the thing was ridiculous and seemingly lasted for over 47 years.

Ireland Voting 'No' to the Lisbon Treaty:Won't bore you with the details but the phrase 'turkeys voting for Christmas' should do the job.

The sudden resurgence in population of Lakers "fans":They're freaking everywhere nowadays.Like locusts,but with less basketball knowledge.I kid.

Overall Thing of the Year:

Photo of the Year:

The Best of 2008

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

by Tariq al Haydar

2008 has been an eventful year for me: I started a new job, I got engaged, I'm close to getting a book published, I drank plenty of root beer. Really a banner year all around. So now I'll list a few things that captured my attention during the past twelve months:

1- The Wu-Tang Clan's "8 Diagrams" and GZA's "Pro Tools":

Technically, "8 Diagrams" was a 2007 release, but I spent much of the past year listening to it. Interestingly, both Method Man and I are "trying to bring the sexy back like Timbaland and Timberlake." As for "Pro Tools," it was released the day before I spent 14 hours on a plane from DC to Riyadh, so we spent a lot of quality time together right off the bat. We have since become very good friends.

Other musical highlights include The Roots' "Rising Down", plus the discoveries of Kidz in the Hall, Elzhii and Jay Electronica. I'd like to get my hands on the new Kanye, Guns n Roses and Q-Tip.

2- Heath Ledger's The Joker:

I'm sure the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor will end up in the clutches of Sir Ben Kingsley for his role in "The House of Sand and Fog 2: Reflections on the Human Condition Through the Prism of the Eighteenth-Century Clergy" or some other such crowd-pleaser. No matter. We all know The Joker was the greatest character of 2008, and that Heath Ledger was a bad, bad man. My only criticism of The Dark Knight: You can't have popcorn in an IMAX theater.

3- Lionel Messi:

I know a lot of people think soccer is boring. Well, soccer is a lot like rap: %95 of it is crap. You just need to find that elusive %5. In world soccer, 3.7% of the %5 = FC Barcelona. Watch one game. Watch them beautifully destroy the opposition. And most of all, watch Lionel Messi, the diminutive Argentine they call "The Flea." It's amazing how it seems nobody can ever take the ball from him. Ever.

4- The Final Season of The Wire:

If you haven't seen every single episode of The Wire, you're a stupid person. Sorry, but it's true.

5- The Los Angeles Lakers:

In the summer of 2007, when Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston, I felt joy. Finally, I thought, KG may be able to get a ring. And so, for the entirety of the 07/08 season, I was praying that the Boston Celtics could somehow win a championship for Garnett. Prior to Game 1 of the Finals, I felt the same way. I was very happy when the Celtics went up 3-1.

And then I went through one of the strangest experiences of my life. I can't share all the details, because it's something you can't quite communicate. If I tried to describe what I went through, you would think that your boy Tariq had gone bonkers. That's how it would seem from the outside looking in. I CAN tell you that I had a very strange experience which had SOMETHING to do with the Los Angeles Lakers, which is in itself very odd. Also, this experience I went through in June directly led to my meeting my wife-to-be on July 9th. In a way, the Lakers played a role in my getting married. Crazy, right?

So I guess that makes me a Laker fan.

Happy 2009, everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Get Published and Simultaneously Not Make Any Money

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

by Tariq al Hayder

What you see up there is the cover of "Helat al Abeed," my debut novel. They'll add my name and some text on the back cover, but that's essentially it. I hate to read my own work, so it was excruciating to go back and re-read the thing. Hopefully, it won't be as painful for readers.

Initially, only 2000 copies will be printed. If they sell all 2000 copies, MAYBE I could potentially get paid.

The irony is... my writing is actually better in English. The way I see it, if I managed to get published in Arabic, then I have the potential to get published in English. So if Moose or Hursty or someone is secretly a publisher, you best give me a contract to translate "Hellat al Abeed."

I mean, in 2008/09, with the War on Terror still ongoing, one small advantage I have is that people are actually interested in the Middle East. I believe "Hellat al Abeed" gives people the opportunity to see the Saudi Arabia I live in. I wonder if people would actually like to see it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

OPEN TO DISCUSSION.....well, not really

Posted by Eboy

Written by Eboy.....*sorry for the disappearing act....this last month has been off the wall, Michael Jackson style.*

Back in the mix..... back to reality. At the start of this NBA season, being a Miami Heat fan made the prospects for this season as being the butt-end of many uneducated (at least in knowledge of basketball) associates and fellow NBA fans seem like a harsh reality that I lived for the last two seasons. I tried to be optimistic in their chances of being slightly respectable, but never really gave off the actual feelings I had about the team if all things went well for most of the season. Through the first 21 games, let's just say, they're doing me proud.

First and foremost, I want to take sole credit for the Dwyane Wade resurgence. Yes, me, sweet little, lovable Eboy, the purveyor of all things good and unholy. I think my constant chiding of him and his "I'm D-Wade and I like to sell things for money" attitude over the last couple of seasons got him to focus in on what's important.....his game. Allright, not really, but it really is a pleasure to watch dude ball each and every night this season. He is undoubtedly the best player in the game at the moment from games 1 to 21. No doubting from any morons who may dick ride the Kobe/Lebron skin boat. Just look at the numbers..... then shut the fuck up. League leader in scoring at 28.9 per game, 7th in assists at 7.7 per, 11th in blocks at 1.75, 3rd in steals at 2.4 per. Should I continue? Nah...why be a prick. Dude has made the game seem easy every night, he's playing his best ball ever (yes I've seen every pro game in dude's career, he's off the charts right now)and lastly, he's made the team respectable. Pretty big accomplishments for a dude most of you.......well, pretty much all of you, shitted on for the better part of the last 18 months. Nothing like quieting the doubters by shoving well placed tomahawk dunks down the throats of simple minded dum-dums (I see you Emeka).

It's not so much the numbers Dwyane's putting up, it's more the WAY he's doing it....driving the lane like Barry Sanders cutting through the Viking's D in 1992, making jumpers from all angles, shooting threes with consistency and still drawing fouls and making free-throws at a high clip. It's how he should's his game...and this is HIS game. Is there still a twinge of uncertainty whenever he goes to the ground? Sure, but you can't live your life waiting on something bad to happen, can you? Dwyane is THAT dude.....and that's pretty fucking great for anyone that cheers for the guy.

As for the state of the team itself.....they're not world beaters buy any stretch of the imagination....but they are a legitimate team that can give a run to any team in the league on any given night. Sure, they haven't played the Lakers or the Celts or the Cavs yet, and once they do, there can be a proper barometer of where they really stand, but in the meantime winning games, playing hard and having a new culture in place is exactly what the team needed. Props to Eric Spoelstra for getting the guys to buy in to the frenetic, small ball style they HAVE to play with the current roster they have. He's got all the Riley mannerisms on the sidelines....hopefully that's where the similarities end.

Sure, Shawn Marion is still stealing minutes from Michael Beasley, basically doing nothing but missing the most G.O.D. awful-looking shots in the league. I think Spoelstra feels obligated to give the bulk of the SF minutes to The Busted Matrix, and Beasley has played admirably off the bench. Beasley is beginning to get his niche in the game right, and I'd say by midseason, he will solidly show why he WAS the number 2 pick and not just a shadow behind Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo. His skill set is phenomenal and compared to the two forwards the Heat start, their talent comparison is like comparing me and TADOne in our SKO photos, one guy looks terse, a little out of sorts and grumpy while the other looks cool, calm and sexual. Yes, I am Michael Beasley to TAD's Shawn Marion. Coincidentally, since Beasley has come off the bench and they inserted the limited in skill, kind of limited in potential, Joel Anthony at center, the Heat are 5-1 and could have been 6-0 with a slight controversy in LA in a one point loss to the Clippers. The roster is balanced in such a way that as of right now, this is the best option they can roll out to be competitive and it's it's hard to argue with it's results.

The other big story is that 2nd round steal, Mario Chalmers is ballin', straight ballin' really, and is one of the top point guards of this rookie class. Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, D. J. Augustin, and Chalmers are going to be remembered for a long, long while as one of the strongest PG drafts....maybe ever. Chalmers is incredibly mature in a basketball sense and runs the team efficiently in his minutes. Plus he's a beast on the defensive end. Backup point Chris Quinn, yes that same Chris Quinn who was the butt of several of my jokes for the last two seasons, who is 10th in the league in three point accuracy, is really playing the role of backup well. In the offseason, when it seemed like the roster was submerged like a sick manatee at the point and the five spot, today, the point is pretty solid, if not spectacular because of the two of them.

My hope is that the team keeps gelling, they make a push for the playoffs, Wade stays healthy and by this time next season, the possibility of having a contending team again will be part of Heat fans makeups. Hey, it took until April to get to 12 wins last season, so it's like Christmas already in the MIA. Thanks Santa, I knew you'd come through. Now can you make that snow on Christmas Day request come true too to quiet my little guy down?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Posted by Tariq al Haydar

Over here, the weekend begins on Wednesday. So one Thursday a while back I was reclining, as one does, in my La-Z-Boy. Just decompressing after a week of lesson plans and not-too-bright students. And I happened upon the weirdest show...

It was a talk show, like a violence-free, Lebanese version of Jerry Springer or something, and the topic was, say it with me... People Who Had Undergone Exorcisms. They had this wide-eyed Egyptian dude who proclaimed to only eat raw meat because that's what the demon inside him allows him to eat. He even ate a plate of bloody meat on the air. Sensationalism at its finest.

And then they brought on this middle-aged Lebanese lady named Lara or Laura or something. She very calmly explained how she had been possessed by a demon since fifth grade. Luckily, she happened upon a priest some forty years later who "cast out the demon". Then the priest walked onto the stage, where he explained that, with the help of Saint Niccosias (or something) he had managed to beat the devil out of the lady. And they showed some footage of the "exorcism," which consisted of Laura screaming her ass off while a bunch of guys physically restrained her and the priest chanted some bullshit. All very scientific.

Finally, a psychiatrist made an appearance. Exasperated, he told everyone that patients who suffer from bi-polar disorder or other illnesses are actually harmed by these "exorcisms". Of course, the fat priest looked at him like he was crazy.

This all mildly amused me. I watched for about 15 minutes and then switched to SportsCenter. But then something disturbed me: it occurred to me that since 2002, the year I decided to practice Islam, many people have looked at me funny simply because I'm religious. Many times, I've encountered co-workers, fellow students, friends, and even relatives, who have viewed me as intellectually lazy because I'm religious. It seems that one must choose between being an intellectual and a religious person, because the two are mutually exclusive.

The irony, of course, is that I came to my current religious convictions by way of extensive intellectual search.

Now I'm not one of those salesmen who feels the need to badger others about their religious convictions. I really couldn't care less what others believe. You think the world was created by Ronald McDonald and the Hamburgler? More power to you. You find the idea of God or religion off-putting? Good for you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've been in the situation where people (mostly other postgrads) have asked me about my beliefs, and then nodded smugly when I told them. It was as if they suddenly felt superior to me. Which would be fine, if they took the trouble to ask me WHY I believe what I believe. But more often than not, it's just a case of "religion = intellectually lazy person who is simply conforming to social norms". And I have to say that that sucks for me. But I guess it's understandable in a world where fat priests perform exorcisms for the Lebanese Jerry Springer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Showbiz in Lakerland

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

by Tariq al Haydar

I believe the Los Angeles Lakers will win an NBA championship in 2009. I really do. And it has nothing to do with my status as a newly-ordained Laker fan. They just seem to me to be the deepest, most talented squad, built around the best player on the planet. So yeah, they're my pick.

And so I shared my convictions with my friend the Ant, also a Laker (and annoying Bronco) fan.

"Listen," said the Ant, emitting an aura of faux-wisdom, "basketball is a game of match-ups, and the Lakers have one glaring mismatch among them, just waiting to get exploited."

And I knew he was right. He didn't even have to elaborate. I knew it was that nice guy, that sweetheart of a man (or so I hear)... Derek Fisher.

"Can you imagine how badly Chris Paul would abuse Fish? Or imagine if they face Detroit in the Finals? You really want to see Iverson take advantage of Fisher?"

So even before the season started, I scanned the NBA landscape in search of potential points. I had my heart set on Baron Davis, but he decided to exile himself to Clipperland. I even went through an Iverson fantasy phase: Just imagine a Kobe-AI backcourt... there would be problems, sure, but come on...

And then I found him:
Stephon Marbury.

I know, I know, it sounds idiotic, but hear me out:

- Marbury wouldn't cost the Lakers much if (when) the Knicks buy him out.

- Dude is only 31. It's not like he's so past it he can't contribute.

- Phil Jackson has a history of getting the best out of volatile but talented players.

I realize that Steph is no longer Starbury, that his all-star days are behind him, but I'd love to see this happen. In my mind, if it works out, and Marbury plays to his potential, the Lakers get a significant upgrade at point guard. And if it doesn't work, you really think Phil would lose control of the locker room? Stephon would just get marginalized.

After all, does anyone remember that in 2001, the year the Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs, they had ISAIAH RIDER on their roster?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rankings and Whatnot.

Posted by AR

Yeah.Remember that college preview I wrote?Oh,you don't?Yeah,me neither and my apologies for that.That stupid thing called 'real life' is getting in the way lately.It's been a while since I've seen daylight,which sucks.I've been waking up in the dark and not getting home until nighttime.As a result,I've become significantly whiter.That Pat Benatar CD should be arriving in the mail any day now.ANYWAY,I did finally manage to watch some college hoops this weekend,most notably the Duke/Michigan game.Here we go.The following will be a somewhat revisionist preview.

The two main topics of conversation pre game seemed to be Steph Curry and the new 3 point line.First of all,I won't even bother to link to what I wrote about him on my old blog but suffice it to say I've been high on him for a while now.It's becoming increasingly clear that he's not just a great scorer on a low tier program.He's a star,flat out.He's proving that he can pretty much do what he pleases at the college level and although he won't be an all star at the next level,I struggle to think of a team that wouldn't want to have his range and all round scoring prowess right now.Next years draft will be interesting to say the least.We all know that a certain member of the Hoops Royal Family is a big fan of Curry and that the Cavs should probably be doing their best to keep him from becoming a Knickerbocker.Watch this space is all I'm saying.Oh and on the new 3 point line:Who cares?

This is Blake Griffin.You may not know who Blake Griffin is.You may not have even seen his face before or know what he looks like,but it is almost a guarantee,that,at one time in your life,you have been boxed out by him.Coming off the back of two consecutive 20+ rebounding games,a 26 ppg average and a 75% field goal percentage,it would apppear that Blake Griffin is,in fact,fucking serious.I may be getting far too excited about early season percentages,but watch him play,you owe it to basketball.

Let's get Ranking:
To me,it is as simple as this.UNC are number one until they prove otherwise.They didn't slip-up with Hansbrough watching on the sidelines in an exremely square-shouldered suit and with him back,they should take it up a level.Not that they have needed to so far.They managed to out-class the uber-uncomfortable basketball team that was Kentucky without taking it out of park.So far so good.

You're not going to find a more balanced and talented team than Louisville.They have it everywhere-on the inside(Samardo Samuels,Earl Clarke),on the wing(Terrence Williams) and some great guard play(Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith).Their success this season will hinge on the development of Samardo Samuels and what Edgar Sosa decides to show up to play.If the first game of the season is anything to go by,they should be alright.

Stacked and playing well.Not much more can be asked of the Huskies at this stage.Having two genuine inside threats both averaging over ten rebounds a game will instantly make them too much for most teams.I have yet to actually watch them play because ESPN are pretty much horrible at what they do.

The LeVance Fields man crush enters it's final year and it promises to be a good one.They returned almost the entire team from last year.The same team that had realistic title aspirations until injury woes put a stop to them.They're already off to a good start,the Big east should be interesting this year,to say the least.

The only major team to be upset this year.They're good.That is all.

Dear Mr Barnes,
You have a very good team this year.Some might say a better one than last year as you don't have to overly rely on one player.The problem is,that this year,your coaching will actually matter.For the past two years you could say "Give it to Kevin or DJ and get out of the way" and something would happen.You have the makings of a possible final four team.Please don't mess things up like I know you will,

7-Michigan State
I'm going to be lazy and just say this:Unless Raymar Morgan is playing out of his skin(which at the moment,he's close to doing),this team will be majorly overrated and dissapointing.But since I think that it's a possibility that he will,I'm going to over-rate them.

Okay.I really like this team.I'll write about why at length some time when I get the chance,but it's something about the combination of brains,strength,athleticism and pencil thin volume scorers that really turns my head.Oh and their guards weigh more than their forwards.

They were good last year as mostly freshmen,they'll be good this year as mostly sophomores.Look for Robbie Hummel to make a case for Big Ten player of the year and possibly even a DickVitale man-crush "Why isn't this guy at Duke?" or something along those lines.Either way,make no mistake,these guys are dangerous.

Speaking of Mr.Vitale.Duke are good this year.Kyle Singler is gettng better.Jon Scheyer has added the customary 15 ounces of muscle,Gerald Henderson is ridiculously athletic and Nolan Smith seems legit.As always Coach Baby-Eater,uh,I mean K seems to have them well drilled and both offense and defense.Can't wait for the second round 'upset'.

You could substitute the word 'sex' in this song for the words 'Blake Griffin' or 'Stephen Curry' or you could not listen at all.

And here are the Roots for some reason:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Passion or Obsession (a retro-piece)

Posted by ASPOV

(Denzel Washington and Diddy at Laker game)

A good friend asked me recently why I love to watch basketball so much. I watch games, or at least portions of games, about three or four days a week; some games more closely than others. As a Miami Heat fan, I attend as many games at the American Airlines Arena as I can without going broke to do it (game ticket + parking + drink and snacks can get quite expensive). I get up in the morning and while having my morning coffee, I'm reading about the previous night's games--the very games I sat up all night watching! My friend wondered if I might not be celebrity obsessed. I certainly can understand the question.

I'm not an athlete, though I did play the game on the playground when I was young. A good friend and I were the only girls on the court with a bunch of the neighborhood boys. I possessed a decent jump shot, was money from the foul line, and as a 5'7" ten year old, I was big enough to give the guys my age some trouble down low. But, as puberty hit, my love of sports changed from participant to observer. Maybe it was social pressure, but I'm not so sure. I think that it was the fact that there just wasn't much in the way of organized basketball for girls in those days. I bring this up just to show that my love for the game today doesn't come from playing it as much as it does from appreciating the beauty of the game from the stands.

Given that, my questioner wondered why I didn't follow college basketball as much as the NBA. Or, for that matter, why I don't follow the WNBA as much as the NBA. Her obvious point being that if I "truly loved" the game, I'd be just as interested in the collegians as I am in the pros. I'd watch the women as well as the men, if it was really "the game" that held my rapt attention, she argued. All good points. So, here's where she asserted that my passion for the pro game had more to do with living in a celebrity obsessed culture and being "sucked into" the manufactured drama that is today's "athlete as celebrity", and less to do with a genuine passion for the sport.
Now, I could wax poetic about the grace and artistry of the athlete in motion. It truly is a beautiful thing to watch. I could also argue that the pace and finesse of the men's pro game is far more exciting than the women's and the amateur's. The intensity and the competitive fire that is a part of every NBA game; the strategy of the coaches and the players' ability to both follow that strategy and freelance when it breaks down; the joy when my favorite team wins and the anguish I feel when they lose. All that is part of why I enjoy witnessing these young men try to throw that orange pebbled ball into that hole suspended ten feet in the air. But...

We're living in a period where entertainers are "celebrated" as much for their lifestyles as for the talents they use to entertain us. We're fascinated with the cars they drive, the "cribs" they live in, and the clothes and jewelry they wear. We fantasize about being like them (remember the "Be like Mike" Gatorade commercial?). Our sports heroes are "sold" to us through carefully crafted peeks into their personal lives and life styles, so as to make us believe we "know" them and can relate to them, and more importantly, so that we buy the products they endorse. When the question was asked of me, I was forced to examine my motivations and my attachment to this sport and to this particular aspect of the culture I live in.

I've worked hard in my adult years to try to rid myself of what I consider the negative aspects of western culture. Patriarchy, materialism, classism, racism, white supremacy, homophobia, sexism--all the "isms" that I think get embedded in our psyches from infancy--form the basis of the differential treatment of human life. It tells us implicitly which lives are more valuable than others. I've tried to make sure that I don't contribute to these "isms"; that I recognize when they are in effect in my day to day living, and I fight for my right to live free of them. That work continues and I've accepted the fact that it will probably never end. I recognize that I must constantly examine my belief systems to make sure that I relate to others in ways that reflect this work.

As uncomfortable as it is to admit, I recognize that some of my attraction to following all that is the NBA has to do with the celebrity aspect of the athletes that play the game. I'm fairly certain that that's not all of it; I really do love witnessing the competition and I know more about the game of basketball than a casual fan. For instance, I love watching the Spurs play the game. In my opinion, their brand of basketball is the best example of how the game of basketball should be played. And they are considered by most fans of the NBA as the most boring team because of their perceived lack of "personality". I know my passion for the game is real, and not just about a fascination with celebrity. But I also know that I have to "check myself" when I find that I am more interested in the players than the game.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Locked-Up P Blog

Posted by Tariq al Haydar

Hey all. I just stumbled upon an old blog of mine. I started it and then quickly lost interest. It's a parody of Prodigy's (0f Mobb Deep) blog. It may be a bit esoteric, but I figure what the hell:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Posted by ASPOV

I haven't really contributed much to this blog, but I wanted to say something here, that I couldn't really think of a better place to express. And I'm a bit emotional right now, so forgive if my thoughts are not complete or even coherent. My "guys" on this blog are from different backgrounds, religion, ethnicities, and age. I've never met any of you, other than the conversations that I've had here and in other blog spaces. This technology has allowed us to find each other based on our love of basketball and we've found in this passion a commonality that has allowed us to get to know each other, in a way. I am grateful for this opportunity.

I bring this up in this way because of the historic event that has just transpired: the election of Barack Obama as the new President of the United States. The first American of African descent to hold the office of President. He was able to harness the power of this medium that we are using to express our passion, to get us to be passionate again about the promise of the kind of democracy that we have dreamed could be represented in the experiment called the United States of America. I am not naive. I will not be an Obama apologist if he makes decisions that I do not agree with. I will be just as critical of him as I have been of any other politician if I feel that he is catering to the powerful at the expense of the people.

However, this is a moment that I will enjoy and allow myself the tears and emotion that I never thought that I would ever experience. What is amazing to me and heartening is that we have entered a period of unknown promise. And this blog is just a microcosm of that. That a 47 year old African American woman, a child of the 60s and 70s who remembers the riots, segregated schools, and experienced the low expectations of a world that didn't believe people who look like me were as worthy of life, liberty and the ability to experience my full potential, could find friendships with an Italian attorney from New Jersey, a white kid from Virginia Beach, an Irishman, and a devout Muslim from Saudi Arabia.

We don't yet know what line has been crossed. What opportunities for community have just been presented. But I can say that I am one lucky Sistah to be alive right now. And I'm really glad that I have you four to represent that possibility of that new community. Did that make sense?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

(E)ye On The Prize

Posted by TADOne

Written by Eboy...

The 2008-09 season promises to be another uber-competitive race to the trophy that may rival last year's Greatest.Regular. Season .Of .All .Time.

Let's start in the East where the Champs sit. The Celtics seem to be poised for another strong run.....but I can't seem to shake the feeling that the Big Three is going to miss the Large Fourth, James Posey, being there to take up the slack and provide the hustle and guile they don't seem to have on that bench roster right now. The rest of the field is wide open.

Cleveland, led by the best player in the league, Lebron James, made a nice move in getting a strong, young, straight shooting PG in Mo Williams that may give him that compliment that he needs to move forward in his career. Will push the Celts once April rolls around.

The Pistons, well they're the Pistons, they'll have a strong regular season, will be maddeningly overconfident at times and advance to the second round with little resistance. I think their string of Conference Finals appearances ends this season though. New coach, no major moves, Kwame Brown.....not a good look for a champions aspirations.

The other possible title chaser from the East is the newly reformed Philadelphia 76ers. Adding Elton Brand is nice. Moving up in the East is really possible...getting past three veteran teams.....not so least not this season.

The rest of the East........
Orlando/Toronto,-nice, but not nice enough,

Atlanta/Miami/Charlotte-all will be exciting, not really worth a shit come playoff time though

Chicago/Washington/Indiana-team synergy and injuries will be the killers to these three squads

Milwaukee/Jersey/the Knicks-not ready for anything

On to the big bad West. So many strong teams, only one spot to give to the top team.

Let's start at the very top. Let me get the "favorites" out of the way first. No toughness, no true killer that wants it when it matters most(sorry Kobe) and a coach that seems to have lost his magic in the Finals....can only mean one thing.....disappointment for the La La faithful. Their season will be great....they'll run through the first round like world beaters and then meet head on with a couple of squads that won't give a shit about perception.

The Rockets.......interesting to say the least. Health is key.....the push to show the world their better than a first round exit is paramount, but if they run into the Lakers in the second round, the combination of a huge (Yao), talented & unafraid (Scola, sorry Pau) frontcourt and the ability to put either Ron Artest and Shane Battier on a certain Mr. Bryant can be series changing. Dangerous squad.

The Hornets....rough, ready and a modern-day Big Daddy Kane. The "buzz" around this squad is going to be huge this season. Remember James Posey and his missing ingredient to the Celts hopes at repeating? Yeah....he's eating etouffee on the regular now. Oh, and the real MVP of last season plays there. Gangsta!

The's an odd numbered year, which means The Robot has been recalibrated for a title run......I'm not sure if that's going to be enough for this odd number, though. Still a force to be reckoned with and health is key for them too.

The Jazz? Tough, hard nosed, great one/two combo, no nights off playing these dudes. If all things go right...they can be problematic for anyone.

Dallas and Phoenix......good regular season teams.....remolded.....can be either wild cards in the playoff race or quick exits, depending on where the teams jump off from. I'd be more willing to put money on the Suns to play longer into May.

Portland......the dark horse.....full of young cats and dangerous to a fault. Their youth will probably undo their season in the first round.....but not until they put a scare into one of the top teams. The team of the future.

Denver, a ton of offense, little concept of D, team will be fun to watch...not much more and just a step above....

The Clippers, Sacramento and Golden State......not ready to deal with any of the top teams in this conference. Lot's of threat to win more than 45 games.

T-Wolves, the Grizz & The Thunder-weak, crap and shitty.

So my pick? In the East......I'm going with the the hairs on KG's chinny, chin,'s not going to be easy.

The West.....I see the Hornets outlasting everyone on the brilliance and balance of Chris Paul and once the Finals roll around....the team best served by their strengths will be just a little too strong for the defending champs and a new hero will be born. All hail, CP3!

The Love Of My Life

Posted by TADOne

While she left my presence a little over 4 months ago, I still remember that day vividly: the smell of champagne and sweat, the primal scream she let out from years of torment, and the unmistakable smile of content combined with the sorrow of knowing. We both knew it was over, but we decided to live in the moment. We may have had our differences, but the love was undeniable. We promised each other we would stay in touch.

I can’t quite say what an anvil being dropped on your chest would feel like, but I imagined it would feel about how I felt. I walked around everyday with my held high, bragging to co-workers that it was just a phase we were both going thru and that we needed the time apart to grow. I kept a smile on my face while walking into the coffee shop every morning, no one the bit wiser. Every night at the gym was a sweet release, letting out pent up frustration while my soul was quivering inside of me daily.

After a few months, my mind wandered and I let my inhibitions go eventually. I am not proud of the weak moments, but I will not look back and wonder. The few dalliances I allowed myself were nothing more than flings; lust, if you will. They kept me occupied, if not keeping me sane altogether. They could never compare to my love although they had their moments. However, the ups-and-downs I had with them were never as high or as low as I had when you were around and I knew I was only fooling myself.

I was at my lowest point when I got a special surprise mid-August; apparently, you were going to be in town. I could not believe my eyes when my love appeared before me: you had a completely new look, a new swagger, but you also had a look in your eye I had never seen before. Those few weeks I was in a daze from the unexpected newness of your new self-confidence, but also from the lack of sleep from having to see you at unorthodox hours of the day. Apparently, the new gig required you to do some long traveling and sleep at crazy hours. I was amazed all the new things you were showing me and opening my eyes too. You were growing, and you were allowing me to grow with you.

Email is such a cold, unassuming way to say hello or to catch up. It is the world we live in with the internet, myspace, facebook, and blogging replacing actual voice or intimate contact. However, it was better than the option of not having any contact at all with you. I kept my daily routine, but I added in time to talk about you at every chance I could get, even when I was supposed to be working. Since the brief summer reunion, that “anvil” pressure has eased and I started breathing with a bit less hesitation and getting much more fresh air into my lungs and quickening my heart rate. I knew time was moving fast and standing still at the same time, but I tried to remain patient. Like a prisoner awaiting his release date, I kept my eye fixed on the calendar.

I awoke early this morning with a renewed pep in my step and with the promise of “Change” on my mind. With election season at it’s peak and the climax a week away, my mind is racing with excitement and my stomach is turning with eagerness. My morning shave and shower was done with a smile on my face that couldn’t be wiped clean. I ironed out my clothes and looked forward to the work day, pleased with what lay ahead. Nothing could damper my spirits, not even the 40 degree weather when I woke up. The fire inside me was burning hot and my coffee tasted exceptionally grand. Anticipation is the best foreplay.

As I lay my feelings down for my love, I know the day has arrived. It all seems so familiar and yet, it all seems so brand new. You have some fresh new changes you have made, but you still have the same burning desire. I love your new look, but you are still classic beauty in an old-school kind of way. When we embrace, we will celebrate our past, but have our eyes firmly fixed on the here and now. The future looks bright, blinding my expectations. They are going out the window, because I’m just going to enjoy this one.

My baby is back! Bring on the NBA season!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Black Stallion

Posted by Eboy


I had to.....I really did. My main man, the artist those of you know as BETCATS, dedicated a piece to me on my birthday and I promised I'd do the same. So here it is.

A young killer, strong, proud and greivous, he's provided me with with countless moments of unadulterated laughter with his wicked sense of humor and his erroneous grammar. His legendary word battles with the likes of SLAM commentors Teddy the Bear, Jukai and Tarzan Cooper are high quality streams of comedy that never get tiresome. And really, any dude that show's love, has to get some back.

To Mr. 250,000, Happy Birthday and stay strong with the Bobcats, 'cause really, they'll be gone by the time you're 21.

BET, getting "groomed" by archrival, Jukai.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"E"cstacy......thy name is Eboy

Posted by Eboy

So for the 69th post in Shawn Kemps Offspring's history, what could be more fitting than having the image of the sexual dynamo, the master of all he surveyors and the man with no fear, Eboy, show his face to all who worship.......not to toot my own horn or anything.

On the real though, a big shoutout to the boys (and ladies) over at Wizznut and and thanks to my man TADOne for posting first, so that my shot seems that much more palatable.

Enjoy sickos!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TADOne revealed!

Posted by TADOne

Ok ya'll! Clearly, we had to rep our namesake and cop his shirt and promote away. I stepped up to be the male model and sex figure to show off SKO's clear-cut attraction to the masses. All ladies: yes, i'm accepting applications.

This will either launch our rep or have people laughing and leaving smartass comments. I assume it will be the latter.

Thanks to the guys at and for these great shirts. Yes, I also copped an Obama throwback!

P.S.- No, I don't smile.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

TV on the Radio.

Posted by AR

Hey,you know what literary device has become very popular lately?Comparing two things that seem vastly unrelated.For example, comparing toast to ironing boards,Beauty Pageants to potential vice-Presidents and the XBOX 360 to irresponsible(some would say even criminally inept) business men getting $700 billion bail-outs for being so disgracefully horrible at their job,they need to be protected.The list of possibilities in this are endless,really.You'd think that,at this point,people would be getting a little tired of said device and that,maybe,it isn't very original anymore.If you're a person who thinks this way,then please close this screen now,we have nothing for you here.

The two things we'll be comparing this week (or failing that,at least will be talking about in the same post) is the NBA,and it's players to TV and it's shows.Fun idea,huh?Maybe it's been done before.If so,feel free to crucify me in the comments,I'm talking to all 5 of you here.

Normal font=TV


Firstly,I have this theory that TV absolutely sucks.That's not really the kicker,however,the fact that I think everyone knows it and accepts it is.If you need proof,all you need to do is to look at this years list of Emmy nominations.Not exactly for who was included in the nominations,but who was excluded.The Wire is,as friend to you and me Tariq Al Ha(y)(i)dar put it "So good,I'm surprised it exists."And it is.This is possibly the best way I've heard this show described.To be honest,I only started to watch the Wire after it had ended.I had heard all the hype-and I was having none of it."It couldn't possibly be THAT good",I thought to myself.To be fair,I had every reason to be skeptical,I had been fooled by hype before,for example the shitheap that is 24.But,in this case,I could not have been any more wrong about the show.It simply is,remarkable.Enough of chewing on David Simon's jockstrap,this isn't what this is about.

In its five seasons,The Wire has been nominated for 2 Emmy Awards,no wins.While the unbridled work of sheer genius that is Two and a Half Men has racked up near 30.If nothing else,this should prove that the world is going to hell.And fast.

Conversely,I think that basketball is absolutely fucking glorious.Probably the best pure pleasure in life(well apart from THAT,but anyway...).In the NBA,unlike in TV,players get scrutinized at every opportunity and I'm really not sure why this is.In TV,bad shows will almost always get awards,see the above example.They'll even get good reviews.Their glaring weaknesses will never be pointed out,and if they are it's by some guy on the internet that nobody listens to anyway.In basketball,the best of the best are always the most scrutinized,the most attention is always payed to them,this is not the case in TV:

For example,I'll use another case of hype.LeBron James is and was the most hyped thing on the planet this side of Lil'Wayne and his was a hype I believed.I believed it,but at first I was hesitant too,much like with the The Wire,I was burned by hype before(hi Kwame*) and would be again(Hi Bassy!**).But this wasn't the only reason I was hesitent:if you cared enough to read on the subject,you'd find plenty at the time putting heat on his personal life,saying he was just a great athlete,HummerGate and other silliness.While LeBron has had an amazing career so far and reached a level none believed could be reached so early,he still remains the subject of heavy criticism.Some deserved,most not.

The thing I want to know,and fear I may never get the answer to is why in the name of holy hell do people like this stuff so much?Why is it that lazy,unoriginal mediocrity gets so lauded while something that is genuinely worthwhile and probably should be kept as an artefact is so ignored and will be cast off as a mere 'cult classic'?I know that what happens on TV is very much a reflection on life,or at least a reflection on how people would like their lives to be.People want to recognize desirable traits about themselves in the characters they see on the tube.Stale mediocrity does exactly this,it makes people feel good about themselves,it makes them nostalgic about relationships they may never have had.

The thing I want to know and fear I may never know is:Why do people feel that they have the right to criticize athletes so much?Not just athletes either,good athletes.People who basically excel at what they do; the average fan will always find a gripe with.They will call these athletes 'losers','chokers','primadonnas' and what have you.And to me,this isn't even a bad thing.In fandom,there always an element of people feeling that the organisation and the players owe them somethingThat's the nature of the beast.But,opposite to TV,watching people play basketball well,will never make someone feel good about themselves.Especially if the person watching has played basketball before.I honestly believe that the best way to enjoy watching basketball is to have never played it.

Watching this contains more hurt,pain and memories than Johnny Cash's Rick Rubin albums.For people,and this absolutely includes me,watching people excel and make a handsome living off something I loved and wanted so much creates an air of resentment and even jealousy.By the way,I'm open to hearing other theories as to why sportspeople are more scruntinzed sometimes than even politicians,because there is a 97% chance I'm wrong and not making sense.

Ever wonder how the whole 'Ross-Rachel,will they,won't they?' dynamic has been employed,and has worked in just about every TV show that has been commissioned since 1986?It's because everyone has been in,or at least like to think they have been in a relationship like this one.Of course,they have not been in that idyllic situation.Most of these were probably horrible,but as passing time contributes to fuzzy memories and sprinklings of mis-placed nostalgia,TV will always do the rest and serve as the form of escapism to trigger this.

Escapism is a huge part of basketball's popularity,in my opinion.It really is escapism in its purest and best form,for two hours you can forget all the bad shit that's happening in the world around you and make grown men running up and down hardwood putting (as a coach of mine used to say) 'putting the round thing in the round thing' the most important thing to you,even if you know how meaningless it actually is.Simply watching basketball works the same as the 'Ross-Rachel' dynamic,watching any team win will remind you of the times in life when you won,or even just the times in life when the team you loved won.This nostalgia is the reason that Bill Russell stock is increasing by the minute.I have only seen a few tapes of Russell play,but I wouldn't dare argue that he isn't top ten all time.So strong is the word of mouth nostalgia.

Now,that's a sad conclusion.TV doesn't need to be good as long as it's necesarry.Basketball doesn't need to have been good,as long as people remember it as so.

*I actually never bought the Kwame hype,just thought I'd say....

**Bassy still breaks my heart.

Bonus Semi-Related Quote:
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."-Groucho Marx

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mass Exodus

Posted by TADOne

Ok kids, pay attention. Today we have a guest piece by a fellow commenter from Slamonline who goes by the name of B. Long. His likes are the Lakers, breast implants, guacamole, and acid trips (in moderation of course). Despite his blind love for all things purple and gold, we felt he had some good things to say. He also promised us some ecstasy pills (i'll get you that PO Box address homie).

“Brandon Jennings is doing something unpopular for the betterment of the masses, and I believe Congress will pay attention to this and see the foolishness of the ‘one-and-done’ rule. This will start a chain of events that will lead to the rule’s demise. This year and next, others will follow Brandon Jennings’ decision.”-Sonny Vaccaro-advisor, sneaker pimp, prophet?

For real? One skinny, gumby, and stunna shade rocking kid's decision will supposedly influence others to follow hundreds of thousands of dollars(millions now that he got his U.A. shoe deal) overseas instead of taking classes most of them won't care about, surviving on cafeteria food, and basically being pimped by the NCAA? You better believe it. Now I know what your thinking right now. Your replaying every Dick Vitale, Bobby Knight, and Coach K interview you've ever heard about all the glorious benefits of a college education and how nothing can compare to the college 'experience'. (Cough)bullshit(Cough). Anyways, I'm not here to point out the ridiculous hypocrisy that is the NCAA system,(Ryan Jones has already done a good job of that) I'm here with a warning to fans of college basketball. You better start petitioning Mr. Stern and Mr. Brand or get ready for the darkest days that the college basketball has seen in a long time.

NOW STARTING FOR PANATHINAIKOS ATHENS, LANCE STEPHENSON! Or Renardo Sydney, maybe Xaiver Henry, then Tristan Thompson. Yes sir, its coming. Whether we as American fans are ready for it or not a mass exodus is approaching. Unless the one and done rule is abolished and Myles Brand decides it's time for Obama-like change in the NCAA within the year expect to see a couple more All-Americans taking the extended senior trip to Europe next year and then even more the one after that. Now your probably saying to yourself that the only way this happens is if Brandon Jennings dominates overseas, cements his draft status and ends up being the number one pick, right? Wrong.

Let's jump in the DeLorean with Doc Brown real quick and gun it back to 1995. A tall and athletic as hell but Amy Winehouse skinny kid by the name of Kevin Garnett was causing quite a raucous with his decision to forgo college ball and head directly to the NBA. Most experts were saying no, no, no. Several were writing him off as a selfish punk who couldn't make the grades and claiming that there was no way that a prep school kid could make the jump directly to the pros and ever be successful. It just wasn't gonna happen. Initially even the Slam staff was (more than) skeptical.

A season later a decent rookie campaign of 10 and 6 and an All-Rookie second team selection was enough to convince another rail thin big man with an already NBA ready last name to test the draft waters. That same year some cocky Italian speaking guard from the Philly suburbs named after raw meat decided to buck the system. The next year a sleepy eyed super athletic swingman decided to throw his name in the lottery. And so it began.

You'd be hard pressed to find one NBA scout or anyone with a lick of basketball sense who has seen Brandon play that would tell you that he isn't at least talented enough right now to have same impact on an NBA lottery team that KG did as a rookie. We are talking about a player who many experts have labeled a young, taller, and more athletic version of A.I. I'm the last person who likes to put undo pressure on a kid by making comparisons to all time greats, but from the McDonald's game and practice footage I've seen with Vitrus Roma it's hard to argue. Now what do you think he's gonna do during the Euroleague season?

Don't get it twisted. I'm not saying that he's just gonna come out and crush the comp overseas. In fact I'll be very surprised if Brandon doesn't have some growing pains learning the lingo and banging in a much more physical professional game. Hopefully he's spending most his off-season with a chica named Rosetta Stone or in the weight room. What I'm saying that if he is just successful enough in Europe not to hurt his draft status next year and make bank at the same time, more are sure to follow.

We are living in a very socioeconomically conscious society especially in the realm of sports. Prep stars who once pondered which school would have the best student section and flyest honeys are now consulting with advisers like Sonny about what environment they should choose to best market themselves to the world. I like to call this the 'King James' effect. Everyone wants to emulate the most popular player in the game and the young guns of today are definitely trying to crib LeBron's buisness sense. Given the zero's in the mans bank account I can't say that I blame them.

Whether David Stern wants to admit it or not, Brandon is changing the game. In fact, there is a small part of me that says this is what the Commish had planned all along. He heard the rumors about Lebron, Bill Walker, and O.J. hoping the pond for a year. He had to have known that with if he enforced a one and done rule it was only a matter of time. What a better way to further globalize the NBA than to send it's future stars overseas for a year and build a strong fan base for that particular player in that part of the world without the NBA ever having to spend a dime. Kids in Rome maybe rocking Brandon Jennings NBA jerseys for the rest of his career, similar to the way a lot fans in Texas will always root for Kevin Durant after his stint at UT.

You've gotta hand it to Stern, Myles Brand never saw this one coming. Or maybe he too was looking for a way to avoid more O.J. Mayo type fiascos. Who knows? What we do know is that the world of prep stars and their decision making process has changed forever. You know what, screw Full Court. Does ESPN have a Euroleague package?

My Life In The Fast Lane

Posted by Eboy

******Another retro-Eboy piece, probably the last one of the offseason. I had a request to throw this back up again by one of my blogmates, and since our Ryan Jones interview seemed to put our creative juices on hold collectively due to Mr. Jones sheer brilliance, what better time to get something productive up. Hope you all enjoy it, it was a very personal piece for me then and it still is. Thanks.

I've always wanted to put into words this period of time in my life. It was where I found out first hand what it was to become a man under family duress and getting a glimpse into the lives of professional athletes and seeing the pressure's put upon them to keep their public persona's squeaky clean and almost succeeded in every one of the people I discuss in this piece. This is also dedicated to my father, the strongest person I've ever known.

1986 was one of those years when life step's up to you, grabs you by the throat and shakes you like a rag doll leaving you brow-beaten, confused and even fascinated. All those things happened to me in 1986. And they continued until 1990, the year I left my home of 20 years in New Jersey to start a new life in Florida. What a crazy stretch of time.

I was a junior in high school when the 1986 school year started. It was a good summer, played a lot of ball with my high-school teammates, went to a few concerts, a few Yankee and Mets games and just plain fucked around the rest of the time. I worked a shitty part-time job at a pizza place to make a few bucks but that was the extent of my productivity that summer. Life in East Rutherford, NJ at the time was similar to every other north Jersey town. IROC's, Bon Jovi everywhere, girls dressed like they were trying out to be in the next Whitesnake video and "guido's" gold-chained down and slicked up willy, cruised the streets looking for girls to pick up or to be in a fight. I had friends in all those categories so I was open to all the stuff going on around me. I played ball for my high school, Becton Regional, which a few years before was known as East Rutherford High, where for years the loud-mouthed legend, Dick Vitale, honed his coaching wares. That being said, the basketball program was held in high regard and we had put together a pretty tight squad from the time I transferred in my sophomore year. Our team was led by a 6' 9", 240 lb monster, Dan Hillman, who had scouts salivating over him. Unfortunately for him, his grades kept him from moving on to one of the big academic U's and it was a shame because he could have been rough in the college game. He wound up taking a scholarship to a Division 3 program, never to be heard from again. My own high school to college shot is a story for another time.

Well, school started, classes were attended, life was going on as normal as could be. In early September, my father went to his general practitioner for a routine check-up and was startled to learn that he had a growth in his neck that needed to be checked out at his doctor's request immediately for fear of a serious medical condition working on my father without his knowledge. After having a biopsy, and waiting a week for the results, I attended my dad's follow-up appointment with him and my mother (myself being an only child, our family unit was tight) to hear what the ailment, if any, might be. After a few tense moments of waiting for the doctor to enter, we were blindsided by the news that my father had stage 4A Hodgkin's Disease (one step before terminal) and if not acted upon with extreme urgency, could be a life-ending scenario for my dad within weeks. Now, to know my dad was to know a no-nonsense, no-bullshit individual who was one of ten children who was raised in the Duncan Projects in Jersey City, NJ in the 50's and 60's where he lived with the only white family in a predominantly black housing unit. He was loved by the people in his building because my dad never saw color, just the goodness in people and at that time in our history, those type of feelings between the races were rare. And that's being generous. Most of my aunt's and uncle's who lived there with him weren't as open-minded as my dad so they never get along with the neighbors. One of my favorite stories from my father, was a time he was on a date with my mom before they were married, were out picking up a pizza to take back to my grandmother's house (where my mom was living) and while walking home and passing a pool hall, were verbally assaulted and physical accosted by about 8 drunk Italians who knew my mom from the neighborhood and wanted to know why she was with "that nigger lover". Well, my dad fought hard but was out manned and once the pool hall manager separated everyone, my mother and father made their way to my grandmother's to regroup. My father borrowed my grandmother's car, returned to his apartment in the projects and proceeded to return to the pool hall with about 25 of his buddies from the projects and totally destroyed the pool hall and whoever was unlucky to be there. There was some jail time for my dad's people, but out of respect to my father, those guys took the rap and claimed my father had nothing to do with it. My dad said he was forever grateful to those guys for what they had done for him and would always let anyone know who would listen how great they were for it.

My dad was a full-time truck driver, working 16 hour days, and was a fiercely intense worker and family man. Although my dad stood about 5' 5", he had the heart and stature of someone twice that size. My dad was built like Baron Davis, squat, thick and powerful. To hear that my dad could be lost to cancer while he showed no signs of weakness or illness was mind-boggling. My family was shell-shocked. For days, it seemed like our home was more like a funeral home than a families home. It was a bad time. The new school basketball season was to begin in a few weeks. My dad began his chemotherapy treatments, twice a week, and by no fault of his own had to take a leave of absence from his driving job until his therapy was over and was well enough to get back in a rig. My dad seemed to be losing his mind at that point. Being home was a necessity at that point, but being stagnant was not in his make-up. He needed something to do. And little did he know, he would find it in one of his favorite things to do, watching the New York Giants.

Saying my father was a Giant fan was an understatement. He had loved them from when he was a boy and now that we had lived in the same town that the Giants played in, made his love for them surreal. (I myself, made the choice to be a Dolphin fan as a kid, and I was always an outcast to my friends who loved the Giants and the Jets. I did love the Giants too, because my dad did. The whole father/son hero thing.) Our home was just over 2 miles from the stadium and from most of the windows in my high school, the Meadowlands complex was clearly visible. It was about week 3 or 4 into the 1986 NFL season, and the Giants had gotten off to a nice start. Sunday's were one of the things that kept my dad going through his chemo treatments and the games took on new meaning as we were not sure how many more of them my father would get to see. My dad decided that as a way to keep his mind off his treatments he was going to prepare a hand-drawn picture each week and try to get it to one of the security guards at Giants Stadium to see if they could post it on a bulletin board in the locker room. Normally, I would have goofed on my dad for such a thought, but hey, if it made him feel better, so be it.

Week 5 was the first time my dad had a picture drawn and ready to go (he wasn't to bad of an artist, btw) and he was planning to go down to the stadium on Thursday to try and get the picture to the team. He struck up a friendship with one of the security guys who sympathized with my dad's health story and he promised that he would get the picture into someones hands before gameday.

My dad prepared a picture for week 6 and did the same thing he done the previous week. He went down to the stadium, by the players entrance, and was going to hand off the picture to the security guy again. It was that day when things changed dramatically. As he stood talking to the security guard, my dad said he heard a voice from behind him asking "hey, is that the guy with the picture?" My dad turned around and was shocked (I think his exact words were, "I couldn't fuckin' believe it") to see Lawrence Taylor standing right behind him, asking him the question directly. LT was my dad's favorite player and like a little kid, he said he was pretty much speechless. The security guard said to LT that this was the guy and he handed him the week 6 picture. LT was late for the team meeting that day and ran off with the picture and turned to my dad and said "I'll be waiting on next week's". It was like a Mean Joe Greene/Coke commercial moment for my dad. He came home that afternoon and was giddy like a little boy who just got the toy he wanted most at Christmas. This was exactly what he needed. A purpose. Something to do. And to do it for his favorite football and at the request of his favorite player, well, he was on Cloud Nine. It was the first time I saw my dad smile since his diagnosis.

The next couple of weeks had more and more of the Giants becoming friendly to my dad. They all knew him as the "picture guy" and like lots of athletes, they started to become superstitious of making sure the new picture was showing up in their locker room. It probably helped that they started to gel as a team and looked like a true favorite in the NFC. The only game the Giants lost the rest of the season was a late October game against Seattle and coincidentally, it was the only week of the season my dad didn't do a picture because he caught a bought of double pneumonia that had him hospitalized for 10 days.

There was one positive that came out of my dad's pneumonia situation. Giants DE George Martin visited my father in the hospital, prayed with him and gave my dad another bit of hope in his recovery. George was one of the classiest people I had ever met and he remained close to my dad by phone for years after his retirement from the league. George made us feel comforted and said that we had a "family" with his if we so desired. Pure class. The other player who became attached to my dad was Mark Bavaro. Mark was a sweetheart. So soft spoken, so genuine and down to earth like no other player I met from that team. Mark would give my dad a hug each time he would see him at the stadium and would always ask about my mom and I. He also made my dad's ultimate dream come true. In the break before the Super Bowl week, my dad was now down at the stadium almost every day. Bavaro came out from a late-afternoon practice with his gym bag in one hand and an envelope in the other. He had a Super Bowl ticket for my dad and cash for a plane ticket. My dad cried like a baby and thanked Mark repeatedly. Mark said he wanted him to be there and he made my dad promise him he would not do anything strenuous until the day of the game so he'd have energy to cheer them on. What a good, good guy. A great paison. And a fantastic player. My dad sat among the Bavaro family at the Rose Bowl that day and he said they too, made him feel like family for those several hours they shared together.

Eventually, I would sneak out of class to get down to the stadium with my dad on Thursdays or Fridays to see the guys and wish them luck in their next games and by the end of the season, seeing these guys weekly was like being around a group of giant (pardon the pun) older brother's. Whether it was getting in one of their cars to show them where the local 7-11 was or taking one of their cars to Burger King to pick up food for 7 or 8 guys (hey, I had a driving permit), or throwing a ball around for a few minutes before they took off for the evening, they made me feel like I was at their level. I think part of it came from the fact that most of the guys knew me as the kid who's father was sick, but I think the other reason they took a liking to my dad and I was because we didn't act like starfuckers. Never asked for an autograph (although we got plenty of stuff from them without asking), never asked for a photo even though they were willing (and eventually on the last week of the regular season we got pics with all the guys.) It was just a nice introduction into the world of the sport elite. Very cool. And with the exception of 3 or 4 guys (who won't be named here) every other player was classy, fun-loving and easy to get along with. 20 years has sure changed the modern athlete. The only player on that team who was similar to the modern-day player, was also it's highest-profile and greatest talent. Lawrence Taylor was just different. And not in a bad way.

After LT's initial contact with my dad and his picture, we came to find out that LT was always the funniest guy to deal with. Whether it was him being at practices late and having to scale a 20 foot perimeter fence to join the team (Bill Parcells mandated that the fence couldn't be opened for ANYONE that was late to practice). LT always said that he felt "Coach" put that rule in just for him. Another time LT was running in to try and get into practice before the gate closed, duffel bag wide open and his Rolex tumbled to the ground. My dad quickly grabbed it, called out to LT, and when LT looked back and saw the watch, he ran back to where my dad was like he was chasing down a back and said to my dad, "hey little buddy, I'm glad it was you and not someone else out here". He always called my dad "little buddy" and I always thought it was funny because to see them stand next to one another, it was like seeing Shaq standing next to J-Will. Funny. Other times LT would have papers fly out of his car and paystubs, bills and various other things could be seen floating around the Meadowlands parking lots on those fall and winter days.

Once the playoffs rolled around, the excitement for the team was at a fever pitch in the NY/NJ area and we were at ground zero. It was surreal. Giants stuff was everywhere. Every store, gas station, street sign and most of the houses in the area had flags, homemade signs, etc hanging from them. It was unbelievable. Right before Christmas, LT asked my dad if our family wanted to come to his home for a New Years Eve party. He said it would be crazy and said we needed to be there. It was another stepping stone in my dad's recovery. What a night it turned out to be. It was freezing cold, snowing and travelling to LT's mansion in Upper Saddle River,NJ was treacherous. Once we got there, we parked about 1000 feet from his house and froze our asses of as we made our way to the door. There was probably 100 cars on his little cul-de-sac and all of them were high-dollar vehicles. We knocked on the huge oak door and much to our surprise, LT answered the door. Wearing slacks and a dress shirt with no shoes, he greeted us like we were family. Before I could get my jacket off, Lawrence said "hey CJ, can you do something for me.?" I of course said sure. He said, "can you shovel my walkway for me, I'd do it myself but I got all my people in here." He then put a $100 bill in my jacket pocket and said "please". I tried to give him his money back, but he wouldn't hear it. He then pulled my dad aside and said "do you know any womens?(not a misspelling on my part) I got all kinds of single men in there and no womens. The cold is keepin' them at home."

Music was blasting, there was a magician, a chef preparing food, white-gloved servers, athletes everywhere. I had sensory overload. In the middle of his living room was a makeshift dance floor. Name a NY sports guy from that period and he might have been there. That night, I met NY Jet Freeman McNeal, Darryl Strawberry, a very young Patrick Ewing, Mookie Wilson and so many other guys that night I can't remember. By the time midnight rolled around there was probably 300 people in his house. It was wild. It was the greatest New Years for me for two reasons, the fact that as a sixteen year old I was in this unbelievable environment and a sports fan's fantasy and two, that my dad had made it to a new year. The transition from fear and worry to belief and happiness seemed to stem from that night.

My dad went through another 5 months of chemo and by the end of the following summer, my dad had been issued a clean bill of health and his cancer was in remission. My dad had fought with all his worth and he made it through. Lawrence had us out to his house a few times during the spring months for barbecues and was the one player who stayed in contact with my dad religiously, usually once a month by phone. By the time the next season rolled around, my dad, with his new outlook on life from his recovery, wanted to do the same thing for the guys that season too. He wanted to do pictures again and because he was only back to work with limited hours, he still wanted to make his weekly visits to see the guys. It was the strike shortened season and although the first four games were played by the "scab" players, our faith in the team never wavered. The season didn't hold the promise that the last one did and although the team still had huge confidence it wasn't translating to the field. Another New Year came, another LT party was set, we were invited again and although the party was still top-class, the group of people was smaller, the star sightings fewer, I guess the fickle state of fans carried over to house guests too.

The next year held Lt's 30 day suspension for cocaine use and that year and the following year were frustrating to the fans and to LT. My dad was invited to attend a dinner with him in 1989 that LT was the host of for cancer survivors. My dad told me that during the limo ride to the event, LT was visibly upset at how he was being portrayed in the media and felt he was losing his stance as the "best" player in the league. I would have loved to have been in the car for that conversation. LT also had a strange way about him when it came to interaction, too. He would call my dad on a Saturday morning to ask him if he wanted to shoot a round of golf, or hit Atlantic City for a weekend for gambling. My dad went a couple of times, but never wanted to overdo it because of a) my mom wasn't feeling him leaving for a weekend with a notorious ladies man and b) didn't want LT to think he was a user. My dad had stories from a couple of the trips he went on, but out of respect to all parties, it won't be repeated here. I don't think Dennis Rodman had anything on LT in the partying department.

In the spring of 1990, my parents took a trip to sunny FLA and decided that they wanted to by a townhouse in the West Palm Beach area and make the move there to get my dad out of the cold winters in NJ. They planned the move for July and in a flash, my family and I were gone. Gone from our family spread throughout Jersey, gone from our past and gone from the guys who we became attached to who wore Giant blue. The following season showed the team back on track and from afar, we were still cheering our hearts out. LT kept in contact with my dad. It always made a huge impact on my dad hearing from LT every couple of months and although my dad had LT's number, he never wanted to impose on LT by calling him just to say hi. That 1990 season saw the Giants wind up back in the big-game against the hated Buffalo Bills. (Well hated by me as a Fins fan).

When the Giants beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV, we were thrilled. We celebrated like every other blue-blooded Giant fan, but we kind of felt like we were on the outside looking in on this title compared to the last as we weren't there to experience the joy of it first-hand. The Giants haven't relieved that glory in quite some time. Betweeen the Dolphins and the Giants, it's been a long time since there's been much to cheer about for me as a football fan.

As an aside to this story, years passed, LT still contacted my dad every now and again, usually around Christmas, and although my dad passed 2 years ago (after another bout of Hodgkin's and irreparable damage to his heart, due to complications from the high-powered drugs that were used in his treatments) those years and memories were great times and a fascinating look into the live's of athletes, sometimes looked upon with fervor, other times scrutinized unfairly and even at other times, looked upon as role models when they don't want the assignment. From one person's point of view, the class and compassion that was shown to my family and I by these "heroic" figures will always be looked back upon with tremendous respect and stood to be spoken about in these times when the "classless" athlete seems to be the the only ones who receive coverage in the current sports climate. As my dad always said "Go Big Blue". We miss you. And there's still a skinny 16 year old who will never forget the strength you gave a kid's father who got hope from you when all hope seemed lost. Thank you.