Fries All Around Me

Last night when we went to look for the cat, she promptly popped out of some bushes a few blocks away from our place. So the war is over, the serpent gets repacked, and I can now officially embrace coyotes as fucking rad.

The post: As has been exhaustively documented, FreeDarko had its beginnings in a fantasy basketball league message board. That league endures, and has seen some pretty gory history in its day. For the benefit of myself and others, I am here presenting our league's Top Five Precious Moments.

Oh, also, we've decided to open things up to two strangers this year. Hopefuls should send a short essay to the gmail, and we'll go from there.

5. In the draft 2004-05, the Recluse was so hungover that he took personal favorite (and prospective future employer) Primoz Brezec in the middle of the third round. Panicking, and in utter seriousness, I grabbed Marquis Daniels two picks later. In my defense, that was after his one brief showing of excellence, and some magazine had him rated highly.

4. At the outset of 2002-03, I got a new roommate. He was a total stranger, and had been staying with a girl from work (who I had a harmless crush on). She gave him good marks, we needed someone to fill an empty room, and he liked the NBA. Seemed good enough. Unfortunately, he was a Utah Jazz fan, would spend every night trashed on my couch hogging League Pass (to watch the Jazz), or howling along with My Morning Jacket in his room. Drunk. Did I mention that we'd included him in our fantasy league, and he never did anything?

We eventually decided to kick him out, and made up some barely believable story about a deep rift in the house and bad habits that were destroying friendships. I'm not sure if he fell for it, but we didn't really give him a choice. Once he was gone, the league held a dispersal draft. That was how I finished that season with a backcourt of Arenas, Kobe, and T-Mac.

3. In 2005, FreeDarko the blog was in existence, and this league suddenly meant something. Gearing up for the draft, Big Baby was threatening to put his money where our collective's mouth was, and boy did he ever: Gilbert Arenas at #3 overall. This plunged the whole process into chaos, as we all tried to decide how much we wanted to win, and how much we hoped to match Big Baby's chutzpah.

2. For reasons I still don't get, 2004 was the year that The Recluse decided to start a "sub-250" league, comprised entirely of players below 250 on the Yahoo! rankings. I think we did it on autodraft, and it was kind of miserable to watch from night to night since no one ever played. However, that was the year that The Troubled Griffin briefly resurfaced, spreading his wings for a few glorious weeks that single-handedly won things for BR.

1. The crowning moment of our league, and arguably the moment FreeDarko was born: Going into 2004, I badly had to keep having Arenas on my team, seeing as I had since his rookie campaign. The Recluse inexplicably demanded Pau Gasol in his area, and Andreo felt similarly about Dwyane Wade, crown jewel of his beloved Heat. However, all were on the verge of stardom and no secret to our bunch. Thus, we coined the Signature Player Act, in which each manager was awarded a player that Yahoo! deemed a third-rounder in our league (or worse).

There was a supremely complicated system behind this, that involved a panel of judges judging people they knew the least well in the league. I got Arenas, Andreo got Wade, and then, pure zonkers. It eventually came down to Shoefly and Silverbird fighting over Melo, and both the authorities and the clockwork unable to decide. So we asked the two of them to submit a short essay on why they needed Melo. Silverbird gave us the following on 10/23/04:

"Carmelo Anthony and a Nation at War"

It's a familiar story, but I'll tell it again. The year is 1993, and the Knicks have taken a 2-0 lead over the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals. Starks has made history with a single dunk, the power forwards stalk the paint like hunger stalks men, and Ewing's patrol of the baseline has never been more inscrutable. Then…Charles Smith. That anyone not debilitated or otherwise womanly can miss 4 consecutive lay-ups is enough to strain credulity. That a professional basketball player in his franchise's most defining game can do it strains a whole lot more.

At twelve years old, I had lost my faith. Just as the Israelites of my Torah portion wandered a godless desert, and so judged the sky likewise without, I looked up that night with tears in my eyes and saw nothing but the empty dark. If God wasn't in game five, where was he? Months later, this was the question I asked before Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. And so a boy became a man, and a faith was forged in the cold heart of America's greatest game.

That was a time when professional basketball, eschatology, and the human experience were one indivisible whole. We shivered together in the wake of the cold war, and discovered both our doubts and our solace in the singularity of a game. But as the 1990's dragged on, basketball became as pedestrian as our president's lies. Michael Jordan may have been born again, but the game remained atrophied in its nation's perpetual peace. And so I do not believe it a coincidence that in the fear and trembling of 9/11 we should find the kernel of sport's renewal.

In the preemptive hagiography of Lebron, the whispering prophecy of Darko's otherness, and, most importantly, the heroic cheeks of Carmelo, America is searching for its new religion. And so do I, a man who had turned his back on the game, likewise search. Indeed, it was Carmelo's performance in Syracuse's improbable March – my senior year of college, and a time of great angst and worry – that once again reminded me of Basketball's healing grace. He is a symbol of what the game once was, and a soothsayer of what it might be again. He is my signature player. Thank you.

Needless to say, Shoefly didn't dare write one of his own after that. If you want to be in our league, give us that same hope. But about fantasy basketball and the FreeDarko dream.


At 10/09/2007 3:26 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

the sub-250 league came about because there were so many players i wanted to draft for their freedarko qualities (of course, this was before freedarko was an adjective, or a website), but who would not have produced the stats necessary to propel my team to victory over my arch rival andreo (whom i have still never met) and were thus not really draftable. the best part was that each team had like 36 roster spots.

ah, the halcyon days of youth....

At 10/09/2007 3:32 PM, Anonymous Erik said...

That's a spine-tingling essay by Silverbird.

If that's the bar, I imagine there are some intimidated prospectives right now.

At 10/09/2007 3:42 PM, Blogger goathair said...

Does liking My Morning Jacket automatically deny entry? Because they're kind of awesome.

At 10/09/2007 4:11 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

Since Shoals is all artisan, let me blow out the logistics.

we're looking for a few jerks who will be rather active managers. That means rotating your players and attempting a handful of trade requests a year. We're all draft (best be able to make it)

League drafts in 8-10 days or so. We use Yahoo.com Email the freedarko general(freedarko@gmail.com) if you want to join the revelry.

At 10/09/2007 4:12 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

Oh and we already have 10 managers. 12 would be to expand the league a inch.

At 10/09/2007 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that's the bar, I imagine there are some intimidated prospectives right now.

Seriously. 'Yes, I'd be happy to go on a date with you, if you are satisfactory in bed. Also, my last date was with John Holmes.'

At 10/09/2007 4:44 PM, Anonymous Dan said...

We can wait for the FD powers that be to make a decision, but the readership should make a reject league (or two)

At 10/09/2007 6:04 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

If a few = 2, pick me.

P.S. My mom is a serial shiksa.

At 10/09/2007 6:21 PM, Anonymous IShootFours said...

Dare I say, that a league based on FD principles would make this year of college, my finest.
The bar is set high however, and I am not apart of the chosen, rendering me without a common thread with which to weave an intricate tale that would open me to the gates of what is truly a fantasy kingdom.
Although I do have this, I've skipped classes to draft, I devote many of minutes to this craft of basketball.

At 10/09/2007 6:25 PM, Anonymous JCN said...

i am all for a secondary or "reject" league for all the commenters to join and participate in.

somebody make that happen. (i would, but i'm much for of a follower than a do-er. the responsibility would be crushing)

At 10/09/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

Have we even had a jew ever win the league?

At 10/09/2007 6:50 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Yes, I don't have the patience or brainpower to write an effective essay so can someone please start this FreeDarko D-League for rejects?

At 10/09/2007 6:51 PM, Anonymous tom said...

no sarcasm intended btw, I really want to join.

At 10/09/2007 7:22 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

What the fucK? http://my.nba.com/forum.jspa?forumID=400029799
Is Almond gay? And I thought he was to be posting here. He and his "best friend Greg" live nearby a health food store ... ? The room is spinning.\

At 10/10/2007 12:17 AM, Blogger badly drawn boykins (fka spinachdip) said...

mc, is it any less gay to live with more than one male friend? I mean, for all we know, KG was hosting nightly group fuck sessions with Official Block Family when he started off in Minnie.

At 10/10/2007 3:08 AM, Blogger T. said...

Wow. My Fantasy basketball group is made of many multiple degree holding economists and political scientists, and yet our basketball draft and corresponding discussion usually focuses on fast food cheeseburgers (with a yearly consensus that the MOS Spicy Cheeseburger is highly underrated - the freedarko import burger if you will) and lots of dick jokes. It's like Simba's draft with nerds.

At 10/10/2007 3:11 AM, Anonymous The Gong said...

I'm no prolific commenter by any stretch but my soul I'd love to join the freedarko castoff league. Last year just to prove my mettle against my friends I drafted Hakim Warrick and Marvin Williams, neither of whom were in the top 250 if I'm not mistaken.

At 10/10/2007 4:56 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I've always found it weird that this site started in a fantasy league, but now it makes a hell of a lot more sense.

Watched my first game of the year tonight, and there are some important things to report: Warriors scored 41 in the 1st, Marco took a wide-open fadeaway, and Javaris Crittenton looked quite legit.

At 10/10/2007 8:31 AM, Anonymous RedAuerbachsForeskin said...

"Have we even had a jew ever win the league?"

Aren't you guys ALL Jews?

At 10/10/2007 8:34 AM, Anonymous JerryS said...

not that there's anything WRONG with that!

At 10/10/2007 8:42 AM, Anonymous JosephLevitch said...


At 10/10/2007 8:51 AM, Blogger Dan said...

cambyman had 23 rebounds in 25 minutes, which should be a typo.

At 10/10/2007 10:04 AM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

I am not a Jewban (read Chosen Cuban) and I doubt the Esquire is either given his indomitable brownness.

And I was wrong, Shoefly won last year to break a 4 year run by the gentiles.

I considered converting as a result.

At 10/10/2007 11:27 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i had never considered that in a league dominated by jews (as far as number), the non-jews won all the titles before last year. i would posit that it's because cubans and asians have many of the positive qualities of jews, but without the neuroses.

At 10/10/2007 12:23 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Uh-oh. Is it on again? The NBA race war semiotics part 3!

At 10/10/2007 1:06 PM, Blogger dan said...

The Rejects league has begun.

Draft Type: Live Draft
Draft Time: Sat Oct 13 12:00pm MST [ Add to My Calendar ]
Max Teams: 10
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
Max Moves: No maximum
Max Trades: No maximum
Trade Reject Time: 2
Trade End Date: March 6, 2008
Waiver Time: 2 days
Can't Cut List Provider: Yahoo! Sports
Trade Review: Commissioner
Post Draft Players: Follow Waiver Rules
Weekly Deadline: Weekly on Monday
Start Scoring on: Week 1
Roster Positions: PG, SG, SF, PF, C, Util, BN, BN, BN
Stat Categories: 3PTM, PTS, REB, AST, ST, BLK, TO, PF

Send me an e-mail at drherman (at) gmail.com to get the league id and password.

At 10/10/2007 1:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and any last-minute entries will be welcome until this afternoon. we'll decide tonight and run the winning essays tomorrow.

At 10/10/2007 1:25 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

I just said this to Shoals via g-g-g-mails, but I’ll repeat it here: PRE-SEEZ FD is my favorite time of the year. There's something about random people, droppin' random pre-season boxscore lines that gives me a Matthew Bonner.

At 10/10/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Sh*t, just got back to the States in time to find out that I probably have like two hours left to pen an essay worthy of giving me the opportunity I've been waiting for... a chance to thrash Brown Recluse in hand to hand combat. Words don't fail me now...

At 10/10/2007 4:35 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

SML - i'll recuse myself from evaluating your entry, lest my desire to get all pippen over ewing on you give you an unfair advantage.

At 10/10/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger goathair said...


The Ronnie Fields is much appreciated. Dude was the best high school player I ever saw in person, including seeing him play with Garnett.

At 10/10/2007 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen Houston has returned, and now in my heart, I have quit on the Knickerbocker Franchise. I'm not a diehard, local everymanfan. They were my secret mistress, through Mr. Thomas and his games.

Today I stopped loving, and this wound will not heal.

At 10/10/2007 11:44 PM, Blogger dan said...

The FD D-League "ConleyDribblingDrill" is filled up.

At 10/11/2007 6:57 AM, Blogger T. said...

Sorry to diverge back to the last discussion, but something has been bothering me all afternoon as I was churing out press releases.

And it was this - there's a lot of fake repping about where you're from in hip hop. Most obvious immediately to me are guys like Tupac and Xzibit who are West Coast til they die - but are from Baltimore and New Mexico respecitvely.

How does that fit into the whole discussion? Or maybe, just maybe, people make decisions as individuals and not as ethnic groups.*

*Makes for less interesting discussion though.

At 10/11/2007 8:34 AM, Anonymous GBH said...


I agree with your point overall, but I think X, at least, may be able to legitimately claim west coast. In "Carry the Weight," while his music was still good, he pointed out that he bounced around from foster home to foster home before finding himself in California.

If this was a fictional account, I appologize.

At 10/11/2007 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to T.,

we must fight the topography of the human social condition. we must claim allegiance to false gods, rep the opposite coast, make our own maps that are missing road labels, etc.

i encourage all repping of any states, false, real, or otherwise.

At 10/11/2007 2:06 PM, Blogger Kirk Krack said...

man fd really needs more regular creative input from sb5k.

At 10/11/2007 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice OJ Mayo interview over at slam.


At 10/11/2007 4:11 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

SB5K is pulling all the strings behind the scenes.


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