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.


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.


At 2/15/2007 1:33 AM, Blogger mutoni said...

chauncey. still the king of this shit! (come back, homie)

At 2/15/2007 2:37 AM, Anonymous niko said...

um. tim hardaway just said roughly the most homophobic shit ever or just as bad. not to detract from the singular and unique brilliance that is chauncey (skimmed the new blog by the way, more excellence, will be back to examine in more detail) or anything. I'm sure FD (and everyone else in the world) will have something on it tomorrow. for anyone who didn't see his comments yet...cripes. he point blank declares his hatred for gay people and states in numerous ways that out players would be ostracized. of course he's just one man...still, I think it calls into question the notion that the majority of players (and not just the quirky live and let live types like sir charles) quietly and tacitly know about and accept their gay teammates. fuck, what a jackanapes...

At 2/15/2007 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was brilliant. Shaq and Duncan ruined a lot of dreams.

At 2/15/2007 6:53 AM, Anonymous torgo said...

putting aside the hardaway shitstorm (when do we hear from Charlie Ward, since we're dredging up retired guys for opinions? That should be good), this is some good shit. It's kind of painful, really, to look at all of those names there, and realize they're all 'could woulda shoulda didna'. That wasn't supposed to happen! The best any of them can really hope for at this point is to get a lucky trade, and be a missing piece. Not the star, but the 'wily veteran'.
Shit. Melvin Ely was called a veteran when he was traded. Ely and Garnett shouldn't occupy the same sentence (not without 'a poor man's...' somewhere in there) and now the share the same depressing tag.
I think, and going from what a lot of people have said, most of us around here are around the age of these guys. Garnett's a few months older than me, and seeing this god among men become, well, mortal, what does that say about me? Are we going to be old men telling grandchildren 'yeah, he never won a title, but Paul Pierce was the Truth! It wasn't a name!'
(Disclosure, I was never a big Pierce fan, but I'm starting to feel sorry for him.)

Wrong influx, but the spiritual guide to these poor bastards trapped in the wilderness: Grant Hill.

At 2/15/2007 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"heavier than thou"

At 2/15/2007 10:03 AM, Anonymous Sczcerbiak Attack said...

I'm a big Pierce fan. This shit saddens me daily. Let's just give Vegas a team and put A.I., Garnett and Pierce on it, let them win a couple championships under the big big lights and then put 'em on one of those circus animal reserves in California that Alec Baldwin loves so much.

At 2/15/2007 10:16 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

UNREAL. I don't envy the next man to post because the last two days of FD have been some the best internets these eyes have ever seen.

I was still all choked-up, trying to come to terms with Love & Basketball and the day that was Valentine's/Ms. Brickowski's birthday, and then I wake-up only to get smacked in the face by The Return.

The Fletch, the Joseph Smith, the Dobbs, and Richboy. Morning in Baltimore, indeed!

At 2/15/2007 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm new to the whole freedarko/NBA blogger scene, but this is some of the best writing I have ever read. Time and again, each of you write incredibly stylish pieces, and I just hope one day I might be half the word badass all of you are. I'm so jealous of your skills.

At 2/15/2007 2:13 PM, Anonymous MegaPickles said...

We callin' roto-rooter! Cash runner slash plumber, plus he fly on the computer. BLOGGA!

Fantastic ecclesiastic with the rap schtick. Agee / Evans documentarian for the 2K7.

At 2/15/2007 2:29 PM, Blogger Joey said...

>"...each of you write incredibly stylish pieces..."

Not that I presume to know much of the FD ways, but isn't that among the highest compliments one could pay on this interweb?

This was a fun piece of writing which I really enjoyed. And co-sign what Brickowski said--I feel bad for whomever has to follow this.

Between Chauncey and Dwyer, this friends-of-Darko project is sonning people left and right.

At 2/15/2007 3:21 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

eat pasta like a star!

At 2/15/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

It's all about the comebacks. First Chauncey/Hawaiian Sophie's Ex, and now Stringer Bell is in a new movie. Who's next, Jalen Rose? Coolio?

At 2/15/2007 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do feel bad for Pierce. I think that whole fiasco has something to do with Ainge being jealous because Pierce can actually play (about as well rounded as Garnett with a few less inches and a bit more edge) and Ainge was a sort of middle-management in training type in short shorts. As for the rest though: the bell has really yet to toll for Garnett and A.I. Perception might be one thing, but those are still two of the five best players in the league and I'd struggle to find three others to put up there with em...yup, only Kobe goes up there. So people are really trying to frame two of the current best three players the game has as over-the-hill? I don't buy it, and if the nugs would trade their two half-a-post players, Camby and Nene for one real big then Denver could probably repeat the "two stars with a no-name supporting cast" model of the Bulls (and only ever the Bulls by the way). But...their era has passed I suppose. We'll never see who would make the Garnett Pierce dream finals match up a mismatch. I would suggest, though, that the best part of that era was always Sheed torching the other three more heralded West 4s whenever he got the chance to. He'd always take time out from the madness/political insight to show (only the players) who the most skilled power forward in the game really was during those years.

At 2/15/2007 4:26 PM, Blogger bfnh. said...

good looks on the B Dizzle collar poppin' flashback. if memory serves correctly, he actually mouths (shouts?) the words, "pop my collar" when he does it.

that shit was beautiful.

At 2/15/2007 5:18 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Anon 4:16 -- Iverson is most definitely not one of the 5 best players in the league. He probably isn't even a top 5 guard anymore. Kobe, Nash, Wade, Lebron, and TMac would rank above him in just about anyone's list.

At 2/15/2007 5:56 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

the return was glorious, it left steak for the poor and lobster for the poor who don't like steak

At 2/15/2007 8:00 PM, Blogger Inverse Thrasymachus said...

Wow, one of the most potent, entertaining, thought-provoking posts I've read in a while. Pure poetry. How many quotables could you pull out of this piece? The Ainge bit, Paul Pierce under the IKEA rug, Patrick Ewing's grandfather.

At 2/15/2007 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

28.7 (47%)
+ 22.94

(with less support than Lebron, Kobe, Wade, McGrady, Arenas, etc. and a lot iller than the lot)

yeah Iverson sucks, what was I thinking

At 2/16/2007 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its easy to say Iverson is a top 5 player, but honestly would you chose him over Wade, Kobe, Lebron, Amare, Duncan, Arenas, KG, Brand, i can keep going.

At 2/16/2007 9:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

with the exception of Kobe, Duncan and KG- the reason you would not choose AI over the players listed is based on potential- not the players who they are today. - One figures you will get a good ten years out of Amare with a peak in 3-4 years. AI on the other hand is at his peak and will soon drop-off.

At 2/16/2007 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I wouldn't choose him if I was looking at potential. I'd probably choose Dwight Howard. However, I'd still take A.I. just to keep my soul healthy because there's something about his game that will always be more pure than anyone else's game (same reason that as I write this I'm listening to Doomsday rather than some corny mashup album). I have my loyalties and, lucky me, they're still justifiable with logic too. As for the Amare example, he's already missed more games than A.I. (who still averages over 40 mpg) has his whole career so I would possibly put a caveat in that statement even though he's a badass.

At 2/16/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger b said...

as a(n ex-)mormon, i thought the joseph smith joke was brilliant.

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