Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
[Introductory Remarks from Dr. LIC]
Greetings, and welcome to the second installment in FreeDarko's Distinguished Lecturers Series. Last episode was completely blown out the frame by Sports Illustrated's Kelly Dwyer and this time around will be no different. Our guest today is none other than Chauncey Billups(.blogspot), a man who needs little introduction but is deserving of all of our praise. Put simply, Chauncey created the single best NBA blog in the history of the NBA and in the history of blogging. His new outpost is still an unsolved wondrous playground of ideas, deserving of someone undertaking a "Reader's Guide to Gabe Said..." as a Master's Thesis. It should also be known that it was in the comments section of Chauncey's blog where a young Bethlehem Shoals and a young Dr. LIC (fka TrentonHasslesCarmelo) reconnected after many years out of touch, to share vision and hope for the future of NBA blogging. Without further adieu, let us stand up and applaud, The Return.
Everybody's got a Hope-Hard-On. You watch the Suns and you’re like, "I need a new Platonic ideal for offense." You watch those Air Force ads with Longoria and Kobe and LeBron and Nash and you feel like it's an Obama campaign ad. Fuck…Webber's happy! It's morning in Baltimore and shit, right?!
But it cost us an entire generation of players to get here. I'm talking about the Korean War vets of this hoops shit. Not the Greatest Generation. Not the New Wave.
A.I. Garnett. Marbury. Jermaine. McGrady. Carter. Baron. Franchise.
Remember the fucking Titans? They were the reason to watch basketball for the first 5 years of the decade. They gave us the moments that bridged MJ-sonning-Ehlo and our current (I guess) LeBron-Suns-Wade-Arenas-Runnin'-Rebel-Stizz Glory Days.
Do I need to shout, "CURRRRRRTIS!?"
Check their Monster.com profiles:
-Iverson clapping in the middle of the Staples Center after the Sixers lost game 2 of the '00-01 Finals, looking at Kobe like, "I JUST TWIST UP, BIRDMAN JR. SWOOP DOWN ON YOUR BITCH LIKE, 'WHAT'S UP WICHYA!?'"
-Garnett's top of the key in Webber's ass during the ’04 Semi's. Because I fucking can, that’s why!
-Baron poppin his collar after that near-half-court-three against the Magic in the first or second round.
-A.I. and The Carter's dogfight during the Eastern Conference Semi's when Raptor Vince pulled a, "Oh you graduated?"
They were on the Peter Pan bus when Melo was puttin Peter Pan up in his room. And now the best they can hope for is to be Sam Cassell’s and Michael Finley’s. How did we get to the point where these guys are a) being traded for Andre Miller b) getting mentioned in the same fucking sentence as dudes named Gasol or Sefolosha (no Lou Dobbs! It ain't where you're from!) c) scooping Rich Boy to play their All-Star weekend party and having it be the highlight of their season or d) hoping their knee holds out for just one more contract extension.
Dudes have chronic back problems! They're making really inexpensive sneakers! They're hoping to fit in somewhere on the Knicks rotation! They’re hoping this dude uses his exception on them:
(You know my man’s house is looking just like DeNiro’s in Heat.)
(No furniture. Just a coffee pot. Straight hip-surgery-all-day-every-day-no-chorus.)
Look under that Ikea rug you've had since sophomore year and there's Paul Pierce screaming, "You want them to chop me up and feed me to the poor!?"
I know I'm about to sound like some asshole on a message board talking about DITC singles. I know Boston is probably trying to angle for Oden. I know Ainge is sitting there, rubbing his Toronto Blue Jays rookie card against his cheek, staring at a picture of Joseph Smith, thinking about how an 18-year old who plays with one hand and looks like Patrick Ewing's grandfather is gonna save his rep.
But to get there, Extra P is going on the cross. In early '01 I used to walk around and tell dudes Pierce was better than Kobe. And I was being fucking serious! To quote Fletch, MAYBE YOU NEED A REFRESHER COURSE.
IT'S ALL BALL BEARINGS THESE DAYS!
He Jesused that team after Pitino drove it into a ditch and fled the scene. He took a squad that was STARTING TONY DELK and got them within a couple of lucky bounces of the Finals. All he had was Cybertoine and a license to shoot three's without prejudice. And lest we forget (as if them Geico caveman looking Nets fans would let us) HE GOT STABBED!
"Oh word, you got tendinitis? I got shankitis. They ain't got an ointment for that yet."
And look at him now. A shell of a man. Elbow infected. Hip strained. Bunions acting up.
Was a time when his biggest problem was 'Toine nagging him for ten ‘til payday. Now he has to deal with this shit:
"You better be on E! Fuck off of me!"
18 games! EIGHTEEN! Maybe it was just bad luck. These cats caught a bum deal having to come up in the age of Kobe/Shaq and Duncan. Sonned by the tyranny of Popovich. Maybe there’s something inherent about their games, their attitudes (No Bill Simmons), their contracts. Maybe they’re victims of a paradigm that seems out of time now. The idea that you get one franchise cornerstone, a Jordan, and one complimentary player, a Pippen, and a bunch of Buechler’s to play along, and that’s the way to the Finals. That’s deaded now. Now it’s 9-men-deep. It’s Socialist. It’s Rip Hamilton and Manu Ginobilli. Their careers went up on Pork Chop Hill and never came back down. Glorious days are gone and everybody’s doing bad.
You say, ‘They used to be big’?
They are big. The game got small.