Happy Birthday to Us: FD's Greatest Misses
We've been getting a lot of traffic lately, especially after links from the mighty ESPN and Fox Sports (whattup Peter!) empires, and it's occurred to us that people new to the site might not really know what we're about. Not to get all Andre at the 2004 Grammys on you, but Stankonia is not our first album. We've been doing this. In fact, today's date means it's been exactly one year since Shoals dropped the first ever FreeDarko disquisition with his prescient explanation of why he still had faith in Kobe:
It happened in early 2003, when Kobe was on a Shaq-less scoring tear of historic proportions; I myself was spending a lot of time in New York, copping yay at wholesale prices and fucking a girl with a lazy eye. One night I was at a bar with too many chairs, celebrating the birthday of a total stranger and watching the Lakers/Rockets game out of the corner of my one green eye.
I don’t remember what Kobe did (other than score a lot), and I don’t know why this night was different from all others that month (an obvious choice would have been one of his assaults on the hapless Nuggets, which provided ninety-percent of that season’s Bryant highlights). But then and there, it dawned on me that resisting was a waste—Kobe was simply too good not to jock.
Mark my word, he’s got plenty of time and talent to burn—if it was all a dream, it never would have happened in the first place.
And since we've already been accused of being too introspective and self-glorifying, we thought we might as well help you "do the history" with a look back at some of our most memorable moments.
As you might have guessed from both the name "Free Darko" and the bit about Slovenian farm league analysis, the Masters of the Klondike are indeed fascinated by the European influx into the NBA. During last year's Draft, we were fortunate enough to get three guest diary entries from Spanish skulker Fran Vasquez, and then in August, we hit you with our Guide to the Euro, which featured a topless shot of Peja that mysteriously appeared on the Sports Guy's links page shortly thereafter, leading to Shoals' jeremiad against Bill Simmons.
What we definitely are not is one of those semi-journalistic blogs with snarky comments about whatever happened that day on the hardwood. But, we'll occasionally be current enough to post about events as they're happening. Peep Big Baby's transcription of Stephen A.'s interview with AI shortly after the Sixers acquired C-Webb, Andreo's welcome back to Zo, and our group blogging of an April contest between the Mavs and Sonics.
Shoals once pointed out that most of the Masters were "born under the dueling style signs of hip-hop and indie rock," and music is definitely one of the cultural forces that has shaped our worldview. With that in mind, DLIC hooked up with former NBA baller Thurl Bailey to bring you such bizarre hoops-related tunes as the Kobe-themed operatic metal epic "Troubled Smile" and Tony Parker's rap debut. Of course, this has also led us to wade into the murky territory of sports/music analogy like when DLIC tackled his newfound appreciation of Kobe Bryant and the phenomenon of reverse backpackerism.
Football/basketball analogy has also reared its mangy head on FreeDarko, most famously in Shoals' pre-exile post about Terrell Owens. Race was a factor in that discussion and is another topic that has certainly helped to define what we're all about. From the ongoing racial semiotics discourse to Shoals blogging about Hurricane Katrina, race is never too far from our minds and hearts. It has also provided a lens through which we've viewed such topics as the age limit and the new dress code.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the epic discussions that often take place in the comments box. It was there that the world first witnessed the brilliance of new Masters Brickowski and ForEvers Burns and also where Big Baby dropped the following jewel, possibly the greatest statement ever made on Free Darko:
Speaking of teams bitching about other teams, has anyone been following the Nuggets recent collective whine-fest about Manu, who apparently plays 'too ugly' for them. Following Saturday's game, Karl said about Ginobili's play, "I'm going to put it on tape and show my son how to play basketball -- just put your head down and run into people. I guess that's a new brand of basketball. It's not very pretty. He just goes in there and throws his arms up in the air and throws his elbows at us. He hits you as much as you hit him."
Dear Denver: let me introduce you to a country known as Argentina, where the national sports hero for the last twenty five years has been a fat, cocaine addict with a Che Guevara tattoo, named Diego Maradona, who in a world cup game scored one of the famous goals in sports history, not with his foot, but with 'the hand of god'. The point here is that in the rest of the world (i.e. soccer), scorer's are supposed to be insane, cheating is acceptable, and 'the flop' is an art form. If your leading scorer isn't falling flat on his face while doing a spread eagle and screaming in pain at the slightest tickle from a defender, something is wrong. I'm not necessarily trying to defend players flopping here, I just think it's funny that Carmelo and Karl are acting like Ginobili is some sort of unprecedented one-armed chicken, (which in some sense he is, since most foreign playerss are seven foot tall Balkan refugees who if they ever fell over, probably wouldn't get back up before their contracts expired), when it just seems obvious to me that Ginobili's just not American. Anyway, Ginobili plays crazy, and I like it.
While I'm bitching, if I hear another player say "Pick you poison" or "We got our swagger back" in these playoffs, I'm going to pants them. The only player I'll make an exception for is Kenyon Martin, who actually does swagger so much it looks like he's about to pull his own shorts off at any moment.
And that's just Round 1! Where's Sauce Money at??