6.04.2007

FD Guest Lectures: 'I Black Out Sometimes'



So last week, I was supposed to be on leave from FreeDarko. Nothing would happen around the league, and it would be the perfect time for Tom Ziller to deliver an epic sermon on Bonzi's existence. Well, something did happen, several things, actually, and Tom's creation was sent spinning off into limbo. So let's start this Monday afternoon right, with the kind of post FreeDarko is really all about. Down with the Finals, LeBron, and the future of Lakers, and up with the profoundly trivial/trivially profound.

Also, the new Longform is up. The best one yet.


Last spring, Dr. LIC pondered Bonzi's anti-Spurs manifestation and asked, "Is there a truth to be told?"

Heck yes there's truth. But the brilliance of Bonzi Wells—and hell, the NBA—is that the truth we thought we knew was five years and a yardstick off reality. There's no truth in historical recalculations or matchup analyses when a spectacle of a mass like Bonzi goes 23 and 12 from the two-guard on the SPURS of all teams. The truth: Bonzi Wells needs serious drama to function as a basketball player... and that drama is the only thing that makes him great.

We all remember Portland. Bonzi wasn't a bad-ass until he and Sheed were co-captains. He was a strong-armed player, a decent cog at worst and at most. But he didn't get to "damn, this guy is really fucking good" status until the lights went out on Portland's image. Like a nefarious Megatron, Bonzi absorbed the negative energy around him and turned it into hardcourt genius.

In Portland, Bonzi was riding high off all the material around him, drunk on the ruin in his presence. Without Sheed on the loading dock or Mighty Mouse hotboxing, Bonzi is average. With all that 'Jailblazer' nonsense, he becomes a star player, an insatiable beast. Unfortunately, the fan got too fecal for Paul Allen, there was too much lifeblood around, and Bonzi experimented some very well-documented forays into unconsciousness...



...which got dude shipped straight to his Hell, Memphis. There was absolutely nothing to feed off there—just boring-ass consistency, no drama, no emotion. Add in that Bonzi's worst place is when he's not on the court, and Hubie/Fratello limit minutes like an oncologist at the tanning salon.

Fast-forward to Sacramento 2005. The duo that resuscitated all images—Geoff Petrie and Rick Adelman, hero renaissancers of Webber, Williams, Christie—took a gamble on Bad Bonzi. Petrie inserted him into a near-silent locker room—Reef chillin' on the musalla, Francisco Garcia singing "My Heart Will Go On," Brian Skinner shooting dice/boars with Brad Miller... and Bonzi was average. He hit some game-winners, grabbed lots of rebounds, shot like crap, didn't even pretend to defend. The team was losing for the first time in a long time and the overall mood was just nothingness, a vacuum. The team was on the rails to a purgatory of no intrigue. For going on three seasons, Bonzi was in pain, crumbling under the weight of a drama-less existence.

At this point, Bonzi had learned to create fire himself. Peja was out with a strained pinky. Bonzi was playing with a mangled digit, possibly fractured. Sactown fans were sick of the softie image the Kings had, and severely pulled for Bonzi in the internal battle. We wanted a roughneck for a change. Without that situation, Peja-for-Artest doesn't happen. The Maloofs drove that decision, and the Peja-Bonzi blowup gave the playboys the PR ammo/cover they needed to pull it off.

We all know what happened next.



The sheer potential for meltdown hovering over Ron gave Bonzi new life. Negativity surrounded the team, even as the wins started coming. Boos in every road arena, vulturing media waiting for the first minor misstep for Ron or the first sign of corruption at the hands on Bonzi. Everyone in the country, it seemed, was racing to declare the melding of these two bad seeds a lump of C4 and a spark. For the first time since Portland, Bonzi could feed. And feed he did, destroying Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobili, Robert Horry... whoever stepped in. If Mike Bibby didn't go shrieking violet and Brad Miller didn't miss his flight to the playoffs, we could be looking at Bonzi Wells, Finals MVP.

That's why Bonzi failed in Memphis, and that's why Bonzi failed in Houston. I know Bob Sura is hard-as-hell and all, but there's just not enough food for Bonzi down in Texas. And the moment dude steps off the floor for a week, it's over, BasketBonzi is flat-lined. Jeff Van Gundy nailed the coffin shut when he sent Wells home to clean himself up in training camp.

Bonziball can be saved, and he could help any number of teams win rings next year. It won't be the Rox—this Rick Adelman as Jesus bull-pucky proves even Bonzi doesn't know what makes himself tick. Petrie doesn't eat his pride, so forget about Ron-Bon-Zilla Part II.

Kobe would LOVE playing with Bonzi, and the new drama in L.A. could provide ample sustenance. Dallas could use a battering ram to concuss those who run through. He'd be a fine foil alongside The King and Agent Zero, or an enforcer for Wade and Nash. But the tension in those towns just isn't strong enough to keep Bonzi's mind alert. Dude needs Ruben Patterson's crushed eye socket, not trade demands. Simple bad chemistry isn't going send him into the necessary suspended consciousness.

Only one destination can do the trick. Free Draco and cue the Death-Eaters.

35 Comments:

At 6/04/2007 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this is going to be indicative to the quality of the Longform, I absolutely cannot wait.

"Down with the Finals, LeBron, and the future of Lakers, and up with the profoundly trivial/trivially profound."

That could not be more true of this post. Bonzi is one of the better, oft-forgotten 2 guards in the league.
His story is somewhat depressing, but it doesn't have to be over yet!
I can't believe you didn't mention one player whom he played with, whose talent will be missed: Darius Miles.
If that guy didn't have any personality (or crimes on his record) he would be a totally likable player. Oh and he weighs about 260 right now. :(

 
At 6/04/2007 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Dallas loses Jerry Stackhouse they will definitely inquire about Bonzi.

 
At 6/04/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger TheHype said...

Damn, TZ just killed it with:

Like a nefarious Megatron, Bonzi absorbed the negative energy around him and turned it into hardcourt genius.

So that'd make Artest Starscream? Cool!

 
At 6/04/2007 12:22 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

I now see why Denver needs Bonzi, even if it meant dumping tbe Cambyman.

 
At 6/04/2007 12:58 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

update: longform is up

 
At 6/04/2007 1:21 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Edvard Munch is so fucking FreeDarko. I love this post.

 
At 6/04/2007 1:36 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I think all Spurs fans were pretty happy that Bonz sat this season out. Bonz and Melo would've overwhelmed SaTown the same way Ron-Bon did last year.

 
At 6/04/2007 2:24 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

That Longform Shoals was excellent. Just noting.

 
At 6/04/2007 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure ya'll saw it off TrueHoop but:

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/sports/basketball/nba/cleveland_cavaliers/16212892.htm

Boobie basically picked the Cavs. Isn't that suitable notable for Boobie's confidence in his ability to stick as a 2nd rounder and for the implications for future draftees?

 
At 6/04/2007 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

err, suitably.

 
At 6/04/2007 5:04 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Wait, Bonzi wore no. 42 with the Kings? How'd I miss that? Shit. That's awesome.

 
At 6/04/2007 5:07 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Hubie/Fratello limit minutes like an oncologist at the tanning salon.

Awesome line.

 
At 6/04/2007 5:20 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Anon 3:49 - that's not totally uncommon among late 1st rounder/2nd rounders. This draft, for example, Sean Williams from BC has apparently "settled" on a team that has committed to picking him, and is not attending any pre-draft workouts, even if it means that "mystery team" that picks him does so in the 2nd round (costing him that 1st round money). Such is his choice. This happens a little more often then you would think....

 
At 6/04/2007 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh Howard turned out to be a pothead with potential. I'd love to see the Mavs pick Sean Williams up with the 2nd rounder they received from the Hawks for Anthony Johnson.

 
At 6/04/2007 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Ziller:
I was not a fan of your last piece from AOL about trade scenarios. That said, this is your Pride and Prejudice.

 
At 6/04/2007 7:01 PM, Anonymous Daniel said...

Shitchyeah!

That last pic, coming after the preceding Bonzi thoughts, makes me want to bleed for the Nug.

I love it.

 
At 6/04/2007 7:15 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Sean Williams is a first rounder...

 
At 6/04/2007 10:07 PM, Blogger T. said...

which is sadder? Fanhaus comments on FreeDarko or Truehoop comments now that Henry's moved to the Worldwide Leader?

My dad (who has only liked two basketball players since the Showtime Lakers) is a huge Bonzi fan. But I'm not sure what that means.

(His other player that he really liked? Hedo circa 2000)

 
At 6/04/2007 10:31 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Fanhaus comments. I would know, since I've been posting over ther for the last two days. I feel dirty.

 
At 6/05/2007 12:48 AM, Anonymous Geraldo said...

I wanna say thanks to Shoals and TZ for talkin about something other than the offs' and Kobe conjecture. Just the pic of Bonzi sonning Duncan made me smile and gave me hope that next year won't be so disheartening. FD makes me feel good about basketball when every other site/media outlet dissappoints.


BTW: Shoals, I know you've been havin thoughts about puttin an end to this site. On certain occasions, usually after reading ill-conceived retorts that miss the orignal point, I share that sentiment, however; I think that the sheer nature of musing about sports, intellectually or not, grows quite tiresome and that it is only human to delevop a certain disenchantment. This is especially true of FD because you are trying to convey a concept that only you, DrLIC, The Recluse and few others really only understand. With that said, though, please keep this site going, if only because I, as well as many others I'm sure, take great pleasure in reading how people appreciate this great game, even if I still don't fully understand it.

 
At 6/05/2007 1:29 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Co-sign with Geraldo. Free FD.

 
At 6/05/2007 2:33 AM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

To me, Bonzi will always be one of the guys that pushed JR Rider from the Blazers. Him and Gary Trent just stealing minutes.

 
At 6/05/2007 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is iverson fan the most FD of the regular commentors?

just think about it for a minute...

 
At 6/05/2007 11:26 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

… “Bonzi” derived from his mother’s affinity for chocolate Bon Bons …

 
At 6/05/2007 6:51 PM, Blogger Michelle Pfeiffer said...

Bring Bonzi to Denver. Create a volatile mix of players, shake it up, and let them loose in the Mile High city. I think he'd play well with Coby Karl...

 
At 6/06/2007 3:34 PM, Anonymous Goon said...

I also have a fascination with Bonzi. Didn't he drop like 45 on the Mavs a few years ago back when Sheed was there and they tied the 7 game series?

After your interesting analysis, one has to consider Bonz to Warriors. Don Nelson might be able to manage him just well enough and he sure can bang, rebound and score (I can see him running the floor too if he can drop some pounds.) That said, as a Warriors fan I'd like to not see that. Same goes with S-Jax. He hit some big shots these playoffs and sure has balls but there were other occasions when he more than made up for it with bonehead shots and raving rants.

 
At 6/07/2007 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the fan got too fecal for Paul Allen

Ew.

 
At 6/08/2007 5:31 PM, Anonymous howlingfantods said...

So Chad says that the Rockets might be acquiring Artest. Bonzi, Ronron, Mac, Yao, with Skip to My leading the way. I might need to cheat on my Blazers with that squad next year.

 
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Less than a month ago, the Rockets were placed in sixth place in the Western Conference with a very positive outlook that the Rockets would achieve its first objective since starting the season, enter the playoffs.

 
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