Expensive...But The Shit Look Good, Don't It?
"I feel like a black republican."
“Get your weight up.”
“Take your game to the next level.”
“Get your fucking head on your fucking shoulders, B!”
These are inspirational statements that I usually save for Mom during Thanksgiving dinner. I keep things edgy like that. But I’m gonna go off reservation here and forward those sentiments to Stan Kroenke’s weed carrier, Mark Warkentien.
Be clear: I like some old people. I might even be one someday. But this dude looks like the seasonal temp at H&R Block that told me I couldn’t use “charging it to the game” as an explanation for deductions I was trying to make. So I'm already a little punchy when it comes to him.
Now I’m sure Mark is good to his kids and doesn’t use Bit Torrent and shit like that. But here's the thing. He, like many NBA front-office desk jockeys, have no business running a business, much less a squad.
Warkentien is the guy behind the guy who was fucking the right guy’s sister at the right time. Or maybe he worked real hard and good things happen to good people. Tell that to Joe Forte. Depending on your world view, Kiki was either on the verge of building Nu Camelot in the Rockies…or he was constructing a team as if it was the set up to a Catskills joke (a midget, a Brazillian, an emotionally volatile man-child prone to season-ending leg injuries, and Marcus Camby walk into a bar).
Whatever. The other day I was on my grind, grinding, when I came across what I thought might have been a welcome distraction: Chad Ford’s daily podcast. This particular piece of revolutionary digital content was a gloves-off Q&A with Warkentien. There are a few things I hope you take from this excercise.
1) Chad Ford needs a handjob and an Excederin.
2) Warkentien has only the loosest grasp on reality, current events, and America.
Now, I could post an mp3 of this summit…or I could give you a sober summary of the idea-cipher that took place. But fuck a bunch of that. So please take the following as a dramatic—though accurate—rendering of Chad Ford’s questions AND THE HAND-ON-THE-BIBLE LITERAL THINGS THAT WARKENTIEN SAID.
(with some commentary)
Ford (loosely): You got two of the top three scorers in the league and you’re still playing pocket pool. How’s the fucking weather?
Warkentien: Uhhhhh …I don’t know…I’m an old guy…I LIKE KOUFAX AND DRYSDALE…I LIKE ALLEN AND ‘MELO. [Yeah! Because I didn’t take you seriously when you said, “I’m an old guy.” I thought maybe that meant you saw Eric B beat the shit out somebody at the Roxy in ’89. Most of the guys I know who liked Koufax and Drysdale, well, I don’t know ‘em anymore because they’re fucking dead! So thanks for setting the scene!]
Ford (literally from here on): So how are you seeing them, as far as the basketball part of it goes [As opposed to the chaos theory part of it]…has Melo’s game changed? Has Iverson’s game changed? Are they really playing the same game? And everybody else’s changed? [WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?]
Warkentien: Honestly, it’s an evolving process. Basically our pre-season just started and we’re playing teams in mid-season form. We’re learning about our team…they’re learning about each other. [You run a NBA franchise! Not an Outward Fucking Bound program!]
l-r: Reggie Evans, Steve Blake, Nene- T-T-T-T-T-EAM-BUILDING!
Very complicating the matter [Seriously. He said that.]…is…UGH [LIKE SOMEONE IS EXAMINING HIS PROSTATE]…you know…we’ve had an inordinate amount of injuries…suspensions…etcetera…it’s AN EVOLVING PROCESS.WE’RE ALL LEARNING. With the guys involved there’s a lot of expectations but this is not a two and a half week process…This is the start of something…these guys are gonna be together for years. It’s like WE’RE AT THE BOB HOPE DESERT CLASSIC AND WE’RE ONLY ON THE FIFTH HOLE. [It’s like you’re at the Kit Kat Club seeing Perry Como and he’s only just played “Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom)” right? How the fuck do you negotiate your everyday with all the flashing lights and loud noises and color televisions and shit?! Bob Hope Classsic?! What did they say in the voting booth last November when you tried to cast your ballot for Eisenhower!?!]
Ford: I think a lot of people look at this trade and think, ‘Ok, Denver’s going for it.’ Allen Iverson has obviously peaked in his career or is about to peak in his career so you have this window. Did you look at this and say, ‘This is our window. We’ve got to make this work?’ Was there any type of window?
Warkentien: I don’t know if ‘window’ is the right word, Chad. [Yeah, Chad. I was really thinking of something more along the lines of a magical wardrobe that leads you to fucking Narnia!] It’s very, very difficult to get star players in this league. We just went through this recent deadline and you heard so many big names being bandied about and nobody moves. That’s usually the case. We looked at it…our group looked at it…[The voices screaming in my head that keep me from inner peace looked at it]…as an opportunity to get a truly great player and go from there. Now we speak in terms of a ‘window.’ I think you look at most of the teams that..are…uh…you know…contending quality…most of ‘em have two great players [Hey! Slow your fucking roll, Malcolm Gladwell!] As a rule. Now, I’m sure we could come up for an exception to that, but as a rule you usually have two great ones. And this gave us a chance to have two truly great ones and build from there.
Ford: I was wondering about that because sometimes the media and the public do they overthink this? And you’ve had front-office gigs in Portland and Cleveland and now in Denver. [You've had military gigs at Bay of Pigs, the Fall of Saigon...]
Warkentien: I’m way old…I was in Seattle before that, Chad.
Ford: Oh okay…I missed Seattle. Don’t you think one way to look at it is basically…maybe the way to look at it is, ‘Hey, how often do you get a chance to get a guy who’s gonna be a hall of famer?” When those rare opportunities present themselves, you worry about fit and all those other things [All that other bullshit!] because these are the types of players who win championships [KARL MALONE].
Warkentien: Philosophically, Chad, you’re right on the money [Lyrically I'd rather be Talib Kweli!]. I think as a group, we kind of parrot the thinking of General George Patton [Weird! I must've had the clap the day the taught Patton in my candy-ass Philosophy seminar. Thanks, College!] His basic military strategy was…and he was known as BLOOD & GUTS, PATTON…but the idea was basically that a good plan VIOLENTLY EXECUTED TODAY beats next week’s perfect plan everytime.
[What a fucking humanitarian concept, especially coming from someone who didn't have to die when the moderately well-reasoned but violently executed plan was put into action! Asshole!] And in the world of business, sports and war [Three things you obviously have no fucking comprehension of]…it’s too dynamic, too competitive, so that by the time you figure out a perfect plan a month from now it’s all gonna change.
I don’t want to keep making golf analogies but if I was trying to put together a golf team I would try and get Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods first and then I would worry about the caddies. [A) Jack Nicklaus hasn’t taken a piss that didn’t feel like he was passing razors in about 5 years. Buy a fucking newspaper. B) “Then I would worry about the caddies”? That’s mighty big-hearted of you, Norma Rae! C) Head’s up: there aren’t any fucking professional golf teams.]
Ford: I like that Patton analogy. It’s a good one. Um…[Chad, level with me. During that pause you’re thinking, ‘Patton was a swingman for the Bullets in the 80’s’, right?] I know that...uh…there is this thinking out there…and I know that your job primarily is to think about basketball and putting a winning team on the floor [Let’s not overlook responsibilities such as giving DeMarr Johnson neck rubs and making sure Steve Blake’s fade is looking nice and shapely!]…but one of the reasons that the 76’ers seemed so reluctant to give up on Iverson, even though there were so many problems over the years, was that he was hugely popular with fans. Everywhere you went, in Philadelphia and on the road, people paid money to come see Allen Iverson [Chad, you ovbviously haven't seen the block-long mural in North Philly titled: 'Shavlik: IT'S. ABOUT. TO. GO. DOWN.']. His jersey was popular. How much does affect your thinking when you say, ‘Hey we’re gonna sell season tickets, we’re gonna sell jerseys, we’re going to have another face along with Carmelo Anthony that helps sell our product.
Warkentien:Well there’s no question that A.I. drives revenue, as does ‘Melo. I forget what the exact numbers are but I think both of their jerseys are in the top 6. But you gotta understand the leadership here, Chad. Our leader is Stan Kroenke.
And Stan has one goal. [GET HIGH AND FUCK? WARKENTIEN AND STAN KROENKE DON’T GIVE A FUCK. BITCHES, WHAT!?…something like that?] and that is to win a championship [That’s why he didn’t cut Kiki the check when dude rebuilt a squad that would have their hands full with a healthy mid-table ACC squad? Got it.]
He's won championships in a multitude of other sports with other teams that he's owned. He's a basketball guy. And he's looking...he wants to win the NBA championship [A brave and lonely goal amongst those involved with the NBA.]. And I think when you go and acquire A.I. you're telling your fanbase we're trying to go and win it.
Now I would like to comment...I've done a number of interviews...about A.I...and...we hear a lot about Philadelphia and trouble. I want to make one statement about A.I.: he has conducted himself in magnificent terms. He has played like, practiced like and conducted himself like a 31 year old man with four children. [OH! I SEE THAT IT HAS BEEN BROUGHTEN! FIRST OF ALL: KEEP PHILLY'S NAME OUT YOUR MOUTH. SECOND: SO, WHAT, MARK? DID YOU THINK HE WAS GONNA COME THROUGH WITH A FUCKING HAREM OF WHITE CHICKS AND ILLEGITMATE SEEDS WEARING A HEADBAND THAT READ, 'PRACTICE?! PRACTICE?!' CHRIST I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU CAN FEED YOURSELF.]
Ford: Great to hear.
[I LOVE THIS GAME.]