Never Again

Fantasy Basketball is ruining my life. For the first time ever, I am participating in not one, but TWO fantasy hoops leagues (I have never previously played fantasy games of any sort). I always hated the idea, and was simply lured in by (a) the Freedarko brethren’s cry that we must try to reconstruct Freedarko prehistory & (b) some old college friends that I wish I kept in better touch with—sidenote: I am currently 12th out of 12 in that league standings. I always dreaded the idea of having to cheer for a guy that I didn’t like in real life, like Ginobili, simply because he could get you fantasy points. Also, Fantasy hoops completely obliterates all attempts at kamikaze “just so crazy it might work” Isiah-dom—as when I selected Sebastian Telfair in the 3rd round of the Darko draft. Sure, it won me some fleeting respect amongst the crew, but the end result has been demonizing. Not to mention the fact that my high school brother, who gave me some early pointers before draft day, mentioned that Telfair (according to Hollinger) would be a potential steal. Also, there’s the sad sad tale of owning Kevin Garnett. As KG is my favorite player, and his year has been one of misery and dipping numbers, I have been forced to DOUBLY experience the pain and suffering of Ticket and his Timberwolves outcasts. Injuries too, have plagued me. From Shaq to Yao to AK-47 to Diogu, there is no recourse. Neither league has an injured reserve list, so I can’t bring a guy like McCants onto my squad temporarily (also rescuing him from Fantasy oblivion). Waivers as a general concept appear to do nothing for me either. I thought picking up Jose Calderon would put me over the top in both leagues, but no. And as long as I am trade-shy, I am stuck with the team I have. The meaning of this suicide note is not to put myself above the legions of fantasy participants across the globe, but perhaps to admit my failure, that yes, I am only capable existing in basketball reality, albeit a subjective reality, and one that I share with mankind.


At 2/28/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous T. said...

The absolute worst part is rooting for a player to have a good game against your real life team.

Last night when the Suns were putting a beat down on the Rox, I uttered these words "Well, at least Shawn Marion is the one doing the damage"

I am a-shamed.

At 2/28/2006 12:06 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

in last year's fantasy league, shoals and i initiated an absurdly complicated "signature player act" to guarantee that every participant could have a player that was special to them and represented their hoops ideology in some way. you were not able to select a player who was likely to go in the first two rounds, and conflicts were resolved through an impartial mediator. some people had to write essays justifying their picks. i'm not even joking.

since there seem to be a lot of new faces in the comments box, maybe it'd be a good idea for everyone to give their signature player.

mine is pau gasol, who i didn't get this year and who is having a career year. motherfucker.

At 2/28/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Nick. Van. Exel.

Cocky as hell. Left handed. Gang-related scar from the mean streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Crazy weird game. Free throws from 17 feet away. The whole knock-out routine. Clutch shots. inventing the name "The Lake Show".

That's my guy.

At 2/28/2006 12:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

no surprise: mine was arenas. yahoo had him 25th, which meant i could just barely justify him being a third rounder in a 12-person league. and no one else dared demand him, since i wasted about a week of my life working through the logistics and organizing a panel (of which i was not a member). when i realized that he was no longer eligible this year, i effectively sandbagged the program.

the unquestioned highlight of the whole thing was silverbird's essay in defense of his claim on melo. it was really long and, if memory serves, centered on 9/11.

that year i eventually ended up with a backcourt of t-mac, arenas, and kobe, thanks in part to our equally legendary and ornate contraction of my ex-roomie's team.

also, i would like to know who googled "destroyer draft free darko." did you think there was going to be some external source on the subject?

At 2/28/2006 12:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

point of order: these were supposed to be the subliminal anchors of our teams. taking straight up superstars would've been cheesy, but this was supposed to be the player who could actively set the week-to-week tenor for the whole squad.

just in case you're thinking that we're stupid for having such obvious sig players.

At 2/28/2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

Dr. Andre Miller. Dis(mis-)placed, contented, happy, chubby (like your boy), white, Canadian pg. Is alright, alright? Aloof. We want you! Passive indifference is the (only) answer.

At 2/28/2006 12:47 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

The absense of style is all that (American) style can now be.

At 2/28/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

nick van exel doesn't really fit the profile. these are effectively third round picks we're talking about. the first two rounds, you really need to get the best available fantasy player. by the third round, you can start thinking style. but, still, these are borderline all-stars, these signature players.

you could probably get nick van exel off waivers. unless you're saying who would be your signature player circa 1998.

also, i'm the one who googled "destroyer draft free darko." i'm making a "best of destroyer" cd for my sister in the hopes of getting her to attend a performance by senor bejar while she's visiting next month. i wanted to see if there were any songs i had missed.

i'll post a tracklisting when i've got the final version completed.

At 2/28/2006 12:51 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

Who takes fantasy sports so seriously that you'd root against your real team? I always thought of fantasy sports as a fun thing to do- a way to have an investment in a game your real team wasn't playing in, without having to actually lay down money on a bet. I would NEVER root against my team because of a fantasy player.

I guess if I had to take a signature player, it'd be Hinrich.

Also, on a completely different line of thought, how much credit will Larry Brown take if Darko becomes a superstar for teaching him the fundamentals?

At 2/28/2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

something tells me that senor brown would love to claim that he, and not mother euro, taught darko the fundamentals. as if he had to work against that overseas groundswell of counter-pitch. try and write a metaphor more mixed than that one.

also, on the sig player act: they have to have fantasy value to ensure that they stay on your team and stay crucial to its inner workings. emotional attachment or on-court demeanor only last so long as reasons to care about that guy thats' eating away at your overall production.

At 2/28/2006 1:03 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

Ben Wallace. Alas.

At 2/28/2006 1:24 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Tyson Chandler - I've always been a rebounding freak, used to giddily seek out the Worm's line after every game, rejoicing especially at those 0 pts. 18 rebs. nights - in terms of one-category wonders, guys who score and do almost nothing else are the least interesting to me, guys who only rack up assists are probably second coolest, and guys who only rebound are the best of all. Obviously Big Ben is the genius here but he still scores a little too much, while Chandler and his 3.6 shot attempts per game are thrilling me lately (not to mention he blocks half as many shots as Wallace too). Some fool cut him a couple of months back in my fantasy league, of course I swiftly snatched him up and have been enjoying his consistent double-figgy board totals over the last few weeks - the V-Day game against the Kings where he snared 15 and scored 2 points was transcendent.

At 2/28/2006 1:37 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Larry brown can't take credit for darko at all. It's basically been all him. Sure, he learned fundamentals and defensive strategy in practice with larry, but he was a obvious #1 pick in any draft not involving lebron. He had the insane fundamentals, and reportedly grit and passion it took to be a superstar in the nba. Darko should be credited more than anyone. He spent those 2 and a half frustrating years working out, putting on 20 pounds of muscle, and even grew an inch(just to attest to his pure will to get better). I think he was gonna be good when he got the chance. I don't know how anyone could've thought otherwise. Did those people honestly believe that given 33 minutes a night, he couldn't do what nenad kristic or other bigs like him(who get praised for some reason) are doing?

I think fantasy football is much worse than fantasy basketball in the breaking your heart and rooting against your team aspect. There are less players in fantasy football and touchdowns make much more impact in fantasy and real life games. Watching your fantasy player score a touchdown to put you ahead in your game but beat your team is quite an ordeal.

As far as my own personal basketball jesus; i've mentioned a few of them on this site before. They all end up being do it all guys who want to be point guards at heart. Livingston, Odom, Diaw, Kobe(special place in my heart for his assasin nature and pure beauty of his game) and few others. If i had to choose one, i'd go with Diaw seeing as he's living my dream and doing what i try to do on the court myself(playing point, without actually having to "play point", being a do it all scorer, and guarding smalls and bigs when needed). I was one of the few people who were not suprised to see Diaw flourish in the Phoenix system that seems to be so perfect for him.

At 2/28/2006 1:55 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

i'm having a completely different problem with my team this year. i like them too much, and the prospect of having to begin anew next season has me considering fanball retirement if we're able to win the title this year. my team is an embarassment of riches: marion, AK, gilbert, artest, chauncey, memo, dalembert, and delonte. i've had to ship off a lot of likeable parts (dwight, CP3, nenad, przybilla) to accrue this roster of murderous killers, but i'm happy with the final product. too happy. i really should take a year or two off, but inevitably i'll get pressured into joining again next year and my team won't be nearly as likeable.

At 2/28/2006 2:51 PM, Blogger Pooh said...

This is the first year I haven't played fantasy sports of any kind in quite a while, and I'm much happier because of it. I honestly think I'm still scarred from 2 years ago when I had first pick and I couldn't choose between KG and TD, bricked, and took Dirk. (Yes that was 2004, KG-MVP...pigf*cker)

But in happier news it's on?

At 2/28/2006 2:53 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

Aug, I was a Krstic fan last year. He was a good player for a soft, skinny, tall rookie Euro. But he hasn't gotten any better this season. I'm still hoping for him to take over. I want him to become K-Mart with a jumper. I think he can do it. I mean, K-Mart was largely Kidd's construction anyway.

At 2/28/2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Oh. I see. It's a 3rd round fantasy pick. I thought I was picking my spirit animal, which Nick Van X certainly is.

Um, then it's probably Antawn Jamison - probably because he shows up on all 3 of my fantasy teams AND he's one of the few guys in the NBA who I know who also knows me - if that makes sense. Anyways, I don't have a pithy reason for 'Tawn like I do with Nick at Nite - probably because I tried to play like Van X for so long (even sporting a Lakers 9 replica jersey for 4 years playing pick-up ball in the streets of Hong Kong) I tried to assume his identity.

I never really wanted to *be* Jamison.

At 2/28/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

oh wait, the contraction of my roommate's team was the season before. this is the first year i've not had arenas on my team. i even picked him up off the wire for a minute during his rookie year.

At 2/28/2006 3:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

speaking of players i like


FLOOD THE BLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 2/28/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

as promised:

1) No Cease Fires! (Crimes Against the State of Our Love, Baby)
2) The Space Race
3) Melanie and Jennifer and Melanie
4) Destroyer’s the Temple
5) The Way of Perpetual Roads
6) City of Daughters
7) Queen of Languages
8) Canadian Lover/Falcon’s Escape
9) The Bad Arts
10) The Sublimation Hour
11) The Very Modern Dance
12) Streethawk II
13) The Chosen Few
14) Here Comes the Night
15) Modern Painters
16) It’s Gonna Take An Airplane
17) From Oakland to Warsaw
18) New Ways of Living
19) Painter in Your Pocket
20) Your Blood

At 2/28/2006 3:52 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

The only thing that annoys me on this site, and it happens on a pretty consistent basis, is Mr. T. Either you're full of shit, and so an idiot, or really really desperate and need to be loved and are trying a bit too hard to show off to your friends, or at least it sounds that way.

We all know by now that you're the greatest and have been everywhere and know everyone, so ease up a bit. You sound like every other sad person I've ever had the misfortune to overhear at university.

At 2/28/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

weirdly enough, the following also make moderately plausible nicknames for Wallace:


At 2/28/2006 3:55 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

T. is essential to the day-to-day course of this site

At 2/28/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Carmelo. Looks a little pudgy, but still balls like a bastard. Plus, I've loved him ever since he put the 'Cuse on his back and rode them all the way to the title (with a little help from the Philadelphia Flyer, of course). If only McNamara would lay off the blow...

At 2/28/2006 4:28 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

yesterday T. gave us firsthand confirmation that Amare is on the road back. you can't put a price on that sort of contribution.

plus, you'd be hard pressed to find a more respectable spirit animal than van exel.
i've loved nicky for as long as i've known of him. i honestly still remember the stunned-awe i felt as an 11 year-old watching the final four game between the michigan's fab five and nick's cincy team when the announcer pointed out that crossing the names of two certain guards produced the names of seminal 80's rock icons:

van jalen & exel rose

my pre-teen mind damn near exploded.

At 2/28/2006 4:31 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'll put it another way: last time i checked, T. was the only person up in here who blessed us with insider-type observations and tales of talking kobe with billups and KG. plus he regularly displays the kind of love for the game that keeps this from being just another message board. why you'd want to hear less of that, and not more, is beyond me.

At 2/28/2006 5:19 PM, Anonymous T. said...

I'll just note in my private discourse with Shoals the insider tales were encouraged. I could certainly just go with giving my personal opinions; but things go much better with first person experience.

I'll readily cop to being a name-dropping idiot though. It's a character flaw I'll easily admit to.

At 2/28/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

That's cool. I was just saying that I was just saying, is all. Everyone knows Those Guys who are just yakkers; they're close cousins with those fools that nod their heads continuously when someone "above" them or that they want to be like is talking about something. If you promise me you're not a nodder T. (if that's even your real name) then I'll be passively indifferent when you talk about climbing up Mt. Olympus backwards with a tree on your shoulder.

It's just you pretend to psychoanalyze enough young black millionaires and eventually you psycho yourselves and one another, which maybe is the whole point. I got thoughts about all you crazy kids out there. Which is kinda fun to pretend to figure out someone there's no way you'll ever know (which is what this site enjoys does more often than anything else). Like I just crack up when some idiot (like me maybe) writes something that's just so dumb but Shoals, even though his every urge is telling him to, just can't help but respond right away, even though it ain't worth a second of his time. (Or so I imagine that's what happens.) It's meta-Darko! It had to come to this, didn't it?

I'll tell you this T-man, those comments on the Quick were deadly, I just couldn't really see him representing your actual spirit is all, however nice that would be.

And fantasy stuff is the worst for watching your own team, anyone who says you don't cheer for your squad when they're playing your squad isn't saying nothing. It's not possible and it feels terrible. It's cheatin' on your girl.

At 2/28/2006 6:13 PM, Anonymous ml said...

regarding yesterdays post. I was just on espn.com and having a look at the latest rubbish chad ford gimmick, the draft/lottery generator. I clicked on refresh about 50 times and the Jazz picked J.J Redick every single time!

At 2/28/2006 6:13 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

This is totally off topic, but I'm compelled to throw out a few hoop-related thoughts:

1. No AI on the Olympic team? Fuck you Colangelo and Coach K. Just fuck you.

2. I'm beginning to see more Detroit writers arguing that Darko never could have succeeded in Motor City, so not only was it the best thing for Darko to free him, it was also the best thing for the Pistons. If Darko overcomes himself and Orlando's pick doesn't pan out, will these same writers ever admit that perhaps they and Joe D. were wrong?

3. If the site is going to get a rename, should it be FreeKG? A look at insidehoops.com today makes it sound like 25 teams are going to make a run for him this summer. There's something classically Grecian in the myth of the Labors of KG.

At 2/28/2006 6:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

my logic on responding to the dumb shit: it takes next to no effort, and ensures that there will always be at least as much intelligent content in the comments section as drivel. this is a blog of absolutely uncontrollable brilliance, and i can't have the comments overrun with unchecked urine. it's grunt work, and may make me look petty, but some people just need to be checked. it's my fucking house, after all.

plus it's not like my actual posts take all that much time or energy.

At 2/28/2006 6:39 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Tinnis - It's all good. I don't pretend to know these guys any better than anyone else - just by circumstances of job/personal I do happen to work with a few of them - and it's a small number of the association that I could plausibly claim to "know." And an even smaller number who would know who the fuck I was - aside from that guy with the credential who told them to do this or say that or sign this or say hello to that person.

I wouldn't say Nick represents me. I'd say he represents everything I'd want to be me in an idealized world.

I do realize that I often come heavy with the name-dropping - but one needs to lend creedance to ones opinions from time to time.

At 2/28/2006 6:59 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Hmm, 3rd round pick...it would happen to be that I took centers in both of my leagues this year.

One was Dalembert, which caused derisive hooting to echo through the virtual hallways of Yahoo! Fantasy. Of course, he's since turned out to be More Than Servicable and plenty of people have been trying to pry him away from me. No, I think I'll continue dominating the Blocks category, thank you.

The other was Shaq. I was delighted to snag him in the 3rd round and was duly congratulated by all and sundry by making such an astute selection. Of course, now I'm desperately shopping him and Lamar Odom for such luminaries as Wally S. (gotta get my FT% up).

However, I'm going to have to go with another center that I have on both of my teams. Chris Kaman. It's not so much that "my game" is modeled after his (at 5'5", that would be somewhat difficult) so much as he represents a rarity in the league -- somebody who had high initial expectations, appeared to be a bust and eventually turned into at least somebody solid because the team never gave up on him.

Plus the long-yet-thinning hair, ridiculous moustache and hardcore Christianity are absolute bonuses. Now if only he could heal Spaghetti Magette-O's freaking foot.

At 2/28/2006 7:03 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

on second though, i commented entirely too much on that jazz post, considering that i could not give one less of a fuck about that franchise. i think i was just driven into a frenzy by the thought that people honestly had a problem with brick's main point. expect greater, more becoming, restraint in the future.

At 2/28/2006 8:48 PM, Anonymous the allrights said...

i don't play fantasy basketball. the disconnect comes when I, for the sake of fantasy, need to pull for a player or team for whom there is no natural affection. that bums me out, so I don't play. Now I can pull/hate with all my heart without conflict. Fantasy Football causes me no such problems-- I'm not that big of a fan. I don't play because it takes too much time, but it wouldn't bother me to do so. Basketball, no fucking way. Basketball is serious business. Fantasy and basketball never belong in the same sentence, unless you are dreaming about a ring. I'm not dissing you who play, but as big of fans as you are, you might have more fun by NOT PLAYING.

At 2/28/2006 9:03 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

how do you not invite iverson to join the olympic squad? wasn't he the hardest working member of that '04 group, the one who took the blame for the losses and faced the criticism through and through?

maybe colangelo and co. don't think he'll be committed enough to play in the world games and train for 2 years w/ the team (not to mention the misguided fears about his age and presumably bound-to-break-down body), but this is a travesty of the highest rank. no one deserves a spot on that team more than Allen Iverson.

At 2/28/2006 9:42 PM, Blogger emynd said...

I heard a story about Iverson being really vocal in the locker-room for the Bronze medal game. He seemed to be the catalyst that convinced the folks that they needed to win that game. Him not being on the Olympics team is fucking disgusting.


At 2/28/2006 10:05 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

my top ten:

1. Notorius Lightening (#1 with a bullet)
2. Modern Painters
3. An Actor's Revenge
4. Thief (last 20 sec = instant offense)
5. Here Comes the Night
6. Painter in Your Pocket
7. To the Heart of the Sun on the Back of the Vulture, I'll Go
8. Death of the Festival Circuit
9. Streethawk I
10. War on Jazz 2 or How I Learned To Love the War on Jazz (just to see it on a jersey)

also, this raises some eligibility questions, but if allowed i'd take all three in the early rounds:

Chump Change
Testament to Youth in Verse

At 2/28/2006 11:22 PM, Anonymous bublitchki said...

Great thread...

I'm in a fantasy league with some dudes at work. There's a pretty big pot'o'money at stake which has tended to bleed some of the fun out of the whole exercise. It's all grim fuckin' determination; perusing box scores with all the joy of IRS auditors scrutininizing corporate balance sheets.

Nope, not a whole lot of room for sentiment there. Yet this year I have developed an emotional attachment to a player who's all but murdered my chances for winning a title: Tracy McGrady.

I traded for T-Mac early in the year after the owner who originally drafted him was scared off by his back problems. Since that time, he's been in and out of the Rockets lineup (while remaining stubbornly in my own). I was OK with his occasional absenteeism. But I really started to get worried when his FG% went into a freefall right before the All-Star break and he revealed to the Houston Chronicle that he had been plagued by serious emotional problems.

Upon reading this news, I could contain my frustration no longer: I wound up griping to my wife despite her total lack of interest in fantasy sports.

"You won't fuckin' believe this," I raged. "One of the best players on my fantasy team is killing me because he's... depressed!"

"Wow; he sounds just perfect for you!" she gushed.

What my wife clearly saw - that I had not - was that beneath my hustling, results-driven fantasy league persona is a guy who's always harbored a soft spot for the depressive, the drunken and the downtrodden.

My wife's observation triggered something in me. Slowly, I began to come around, secretly exulting as T-Mac sought to exorcise his demons by hoisting up one fruitless jumper after another. I came to regard those 7-22 shooting nights that played havoc with my team's collective FG% as primal, howls of pain and rage; a public display of his own vulnerability and imperfection that I now find empowering and have come to consider as the true, acne-scarred face of my fantasy squad.

At 3/01/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

a lot of your top 10 made the first cut, but i didn't have room for everyone! "notorious lightning" was cut mostly for length. i had to have "the bad arts" and "here comes the night," and three long songs would have been too much.

"to the heart of the sun on the back of the vulture, i'll go" was a tough cut.

which versions of "notorious lightning" and "an actor's revenge" are you talking about?

At 3/01/2006 10:14 AM, Anonymous tp said...

I'd throw Caron Butler out as my sig. player. He's always on the verge of playing out-of-control, but never is. One of the hardest guys in the league. Seriously, is there a more underrated player in the league right now? And not one of these "so underrated" he's overrated kinda fellas. Give CB-3 some love!

By the way, I only read the first two posts of this before I chimed in, so my apologies if this post is no longer relevant in the evolution of the comments.

At 3/01/2006 11:19 AM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

which versions of "notorious lightning" and "an actor's revenge" are you talking about?

interesting question. i hadn't thought about it. probably the original NL, but the newer, frog-eyes version of 'an actor's revenge'.
anyone have a ruling on whether those new pornographers tracks count?


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