2.17.2008

R.I.P. THE BIRTHDAY CAKE



Blah blah blah, Dwight Howard brought the Dunk Contest. Whatevs. For those in the know, 2/16/08 was about one man and one small baked good. Well, two men actually. Regardless, here is the official FD post-mortem on the real star(s) of the evening.

Dr. Lawyer IndianChief: As I was saying, the most miserable person in the building blew out a pink frosted cupcake.
Bethlehem Shoals: Was that dunk a metaphor for Gerald Green himself? Some "weeping clown" shit?
Tom Ziller: That makes sense. A sordid celebration of a career in the can.
Dr. LIC: There was like a glitch in the space time continuum. Harlan and Barkley said he didn't blow it out. But then replays showed he did
TZ: I never knew Kobe Bryant was such a huge fan of cupcakes. He seemed inordinately pleased, as far as Kobe Bryant goes.
BS: You obviously don't have kids. And I don't either. But I live by this cupcake place, and those things are like the Oxycontin of the grade school world.
Dr. LIC: Gerald Green and McCants are still children. Is that what you're saying?
BS: That's true too. And likely drug abusers. But I just mean that Kobe had an in-joke with himself. Kobe the dunker versus Kobe the parent, united for one special moment.

***

BS: Does this doom McCants by association?
TZ: I don't know, McCants became the star.
Dr. LIC: McCants was the only one frowning during the superman dunk. McCants had more airtime than Damon Jones.
TZ: If the Wolves stay together, McCants is like their ringleader or carnival barker
BS: If you put McCants' brain in Green's body. . . oh wait, that's what that dunk was.
TZ: Rashad took it so seriously too, like that was a dunk involving a cupcake, but he understood the heavy importance of the matter. Like Jameer Nelson would have been cracking up. Kyle Lowry would have tried to rebound the cupcake.
BS: Cupcakes are a lot like clowns. They seem happy, but they're also melancholy. Think about how severe it is. One bit of cake. One tiny candle. But made into its own lonely, finite unit.
Dr. LIC: Ironically, there was no actual cake. It was nobody's birthday. Yet it was THE BIRTHDAY CAKE.
BS: It reminds me of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (NOTE: I meant the Kennedy Memorial).



TZ: Isn't the single birthday cupcake a romantic movie cliche?
Dr. LIC: There were homo-erotic overtones during the whole contest. I hate to get all "Mobley likes Francis bwahahahahaha"
TZ: Jameer and Dwight were off the charts
Dr. LIC: But yeah, exactly.
BS: Dwight Howard is totally homo-erotic. Clarification: I'm not saying he's gay.
Dr. LIC: Everyone kept talking about Dwight's body. Kenny Smith. . .
BS: Exactly
Dr. LIC: And later Mark Jones.
BS: Nice guys who work out and wear costumes. Sorry, that's the stereotype right there. Was that dunk contest a topography of today's gay scene? Cupcakes=twinks?
Dr LIC: Green kept throwing up the Hawaiian aloha sign. But I couldn't tell if that's just because he has four fingers. I think it was his good hand.
BS: Were they in Hawaii?
Dr. LIC: Green thought it was the Pro Bowl.

***

Dr. LIC: Green's Houston tattoo is off the chain. I just randomly found this while web-searching for it:

"Shawn Marion has a fantastic belt buckle. It’s big, it’s probably silver, and it sports a stylized skyline of the Windy City. Above the buildings, it reads “Chicago.” Below it: "S. Marion." It’s sort of urban cowboy, which is kind of how we’ve always pictured Shawn Marion in his daily, non-basketball life." (via CityPages)

BS: Is he from Chicago?
Dr. LIC: Dude is from Waukegan
BS: I'd always assumed he sprang up in the desert amd marched to UNLV (NOTE: I know that, in real life, he stopped off for JUCO in Indiana first).
Dr. LIC: Exactly.



TZ: Dawkins should be a permanent dunk contest judge.
BS: The dunk contest is really white i've decided. Or just very stoner, maybe. Case in point, Dawkins. Or maybe just like that scene in "Waiting to Exhale" where they drink a bunch of wine. How many players do you think smoke before coming to watch the dunk contest?
TZ: Everyone but Kobe. Caron's moment of realization on what Gerald was going to do was incredible. His eyes light up and then he pre-enacts it.
Dr. LIC: Kobe kidnapped all star weekend and tried to make up for it by looking really happy during the dunk contest. My brother pointed out a key moment in the Dwight Howard superman video: When he chest bumps Kobe after the dunk, Howard totally gets kneed in the balls.
BS: We should get back to THE BIRTHDAY CAKE. Was that the underground king of the evening?
TZ: Absolutely. No one will forget it.

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47 Comments:

At 2/17/2008 2:28 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Ain't gonna lie: I'm a huge fan of the dunk contest. If that makes me a white stoner, so be it (other things do that, as well).

The one thing that always kills me about it, though: every year, the lead up to it is about how it's "dead," or "bland," or "pointless anymore." Then they have the contest, there's usually at least one dunk that everyone wants to talk about, and the requisite, "The Dunk Contest is BACK, Baby!" articles all come out.

Some day, I hope to figure out the exact moment the national consciousness forgets about what they just enjoyed, and reverts back to the status quo response.

PS: Dunking without shoes= most subversive moment in All Star Weekend history? It destroyed the myth that was the foundation of the league's marketing foundation. Let there be no doubt: it ain't the shoes.

 
At 2/17/2008 2:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I really haven't thought enough about the "no shoes" dunk. That's pretty subtle, and advanced, for a guy who by all accounts is pretty dumb.

Though I like it as a protest dunk. He'd lost, so he decided to say something that meant something.

 
At 2/17/2008 2:53 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

More about Gerald Green:

It's kind of weird that he'd have Houston's skyline on his arm. First, it's one of the least distinct skylines in America. Second, the downtown is where all the white corporate power is seated, and Houston is basically one big study in socio-economic-cultural segregation. Third, the downtown is part of what physically accomplishes this separation. And, to paraphrase my girlfriend paraphrasing an architecture professor at UH, all the businesses downtown cater to the black clerical workers who staff the high-rises. So the tattoo is like an ode to Payless Shoes.

Also, dunking without any shoes=totally country. Which Houston is in a lot of ways.

 
At 2/17/2008 3:23 PM, Blogger Harris said...

Tom,

I think (or maybe, hope) that you're confusing national conciousness with a few individuals writing on deadline.

 
At 2/17/2008 3:32 PM, Blogger Derek Harper said...

Around the time Kobe got caught up in that homely white girl and the league consensus was it sucks to play with him he started using the all star weekend as an opportunity to sell himself as an ambassador of goodwill. Inevitably during these "extra" events every year there's about 10-20 sideline shots of him with a forced shit eating cheese on palling around with some up and coming dude in the league like he's Dikembe Mutumbo or some shit.

 
At 2/17/2008 6:19 PM, Blogger padraig said...

"weeping clown" immediately made me think of "The Day the Clown Cried" - the infamous, never released Jerry Lewis film wherein he plays a sad German clown during the Holocaust, which supposedly is, stupefyingly, a 100 times worse than the concept already sounds The second thing it made me think of was "Fancy Clown", that Madvillain song where Doom raps about one of his alter egos beating up another one of his alter egos for sleeping with his girlfriend. What this says about Gerald Green's career, or me, I couldn't really say.

I didn't watch the dunk contest but I did catch a random few minutes of the celebrity game - Master P. trying to post some dude up.

 
At 2/17/2008 6:19 PM, Blogger T. said...

I think I'd pay extra for a dunk contest channel which just focused on player reactions.

 
At 2/17/2008 6:29 PM, Blogger m. Alana said...

Couldn't have been a reference to twinks. Kevin Martin and Devin Harris weren't even there.

 
At 2/17/2008 9:02 PM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

a new D-Wade commercial is backed by "Walk on the Wild Side"

that has to play into the gay conversation

 
At 2/17/2008 10:44 PM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

I couldn't help re-imagining the contest in a bizarro world of Fred Savage/Judge Reinhold, Vice Versa dualism. That is, Green and Howard's personalities swapped, but not their bodies (and therefore not their dunks either, as dunk contest dunk=fullest manifestation of dunking body, isolated under the microscope).

With Howard's breezy exuberance, Green's dunks would flip from a dour, misbegotten shadowplay to a madcap, Brechtian bite at "NBA entertainment at its best" (while, of course, being "NBA entertainment at its best")

Howard's dunks, conversely, as performed by a glowering superman (wrathful after several bad super-lobs from Nelson/McCants perhaps?), would have been TOO erotically dominant. If his body was as "serious" in expression as in shape, then Kenny et al.'s bantering admiration would take on fully lascivious undercurrents.

I'm not saying this would be enough to make Green top to Howard's bottom in their conjugal showdown (numbers-wise), but it would twist the night radically enough to the ideological centrality of "physical" content that erases any subverting-significance (i.e. Green's dunk-critiques the importance of crowd-baiting, the Gladiator-style triangulated eroticism...)


Also, Dwight Howard as dunk contest savior=now

Dwight Howard as dunk contest Carrot Top=5 years from now when dunk contestants are all narcissistic prop comics?

PS. Shoals, do you really want to make an authenticity judgment on the "thought-value" Green's dunks? Who/what, for you, is constituting Green's critical authority here? ("by all accounts"?)

 
At 2/17/2008 10:47 PM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

correction: "radically enough to point to"

 
At 2/17/2008 10:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

You know how you hear, from multiple people and places, that certain athletes are really bright? Well, I've had the opposite experience when it comes to Green.

I will submit, though, that the "it's not the shoes" thing could be smart on a variety of levels of deep.

 
At 2/17/2008 11:06 PM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

That's kind of my question, though. Doesn't "hearsay brightness" in NBA coverage/cover-ers usually code:

1) "He reads/refers to books" (Nash reads Solzhenitsyn, etc.)
1b) "He blogs in a smart(ly edited?) voice"
2) "He is witty in press conferences"
2b) "He talks to/listens to the press"
3) "He speaks a near-standard form of English"

So,
a) what might hearsay dimness code?
b) how does either hearsay structure intersect with (or re-inforce, undercut, etc) dunking exhibitions?

 
At 2/17/2008 11:12 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

However smart Green may be, that cupcake thing was a good idea. Any mind capable of having a good idea isn't a total loss.

Also, isn't it kind of beside the point to criticize the intellect of a man who works in a visceral profession?

 
At 2/17/2008 11:12 PM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

PS. I only push this because of what seems an overly cautious, backhanded complement within "could be smart."

 
At 2/17/2008 11:14 PM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

PPS. I don't want to brand basketball as visceral (vs. writing/blogging/lacking athleticism as intellectual) - I am not allied with that stance.

 
At 2/17/2008 11:40 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Let's all calm down here. The issue is whether or not Gerald Green meant "look ma, no shoes" as a critique of the sneaker game. All I'm saying is that, unlike Amare with "Knowing Is Knowledge," this isn't exactly a player known for being deep (or trying to be deep).

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE is clever. As would be "I don't even need shoes". I'm just trying to get the tones to match up right.

 
At 2/18/2008 12:06 AM, Blogger Melvin Dumar said...

Why do his intentions matter so much (as "the issue"), though? That's still a mental authenticity judgment on him and his dunk. (whether it's piped through other people's knowing, or not)

Is the issue whether, say "Look, Ma, I'm only bleeding" was intended as a critique of _______.

I'm just saying. Liberate the fandom, people.

 
At 2/18/2008 2:00 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

"...unlike Amare with "Knowing is Knowledge," this isn't a player known for being deep..."

That's funny, Amare has always struck me as pretty dumb himself. Or maybe not dumb, just an incredibly huge poser. Who walks around wearing an Al Capone or Rolling Stones t-shirt when you have absolutely no idea whatsoever who those people are? Amare's pretensions at being some kind of thinker are laughable.

 
At 2/18/2008 2:44 AM, Blogger Paco Argenti said...

My friends, maybe it's just you guys that are the homos. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And not that I'm saying that you're gay.

 
At 2/18/2008 9:01 AM, Blogger rebar said...

the birthday cake is the intellectual elephant in the room of the dunk contest.

i think perhaps the time has come to give geraldo g a lil more credit than previously thought. may his career not be blown out so swiftly, and may he enjoy a multiplicity like flourishing in the next couple of years.

fancy clown is the shit.

 
At 2/18/2008 9:56 AM, Blogger The Hypnotoad said...

Magic Johnson: The dunk contest is BACK!

 
At 2/18/2008 10:28 AM, Blogger HyTop said...

jesus christ they gotta take magic's mic away next year. stop sellin it, we're already watching

i hope dikembe never stops attending

what about bron's project runway trenchcoat

 
At 2/18/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger Highrespectable said...

Very impressive!
http://www.spymac.com/details/?2343566

 
At 2/18/2008 11:32 AM, Blogger Nicholas said...

@Shoals re: Houston:

Come on man, that's not even fair. Downtown Houston has a beautiful skyline, was a hotbed for architecture in the 70's and 80's, and the office building I work in has more than it's fair share of minority professionals (not just secretaries and clerical workers). Seat of white power? I guess. But if you ask me, the only homogenaity (sp?) going on there is the ability of whites, blacks and hispanics to work together, live together, and worship together without too many problems (don't forget that Houston is also home to the largest and most racially diverse church in the US, Lakewood).

 
At 2/18/2008 11:39 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

That was my girlfriend getting carried away toward the end of my comment, not me. I know that the professional realm of Houston is diverse, even if it's ultimately controlled by scary Chaney-like figures.

Houston is making a point of tearing down all its good architecture.

I fucking hate that place, so pardon my irrationality about it.

 
At 2/18/2008 11:59 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

And mega-churches are the enemy of everyone, not a great unifier.

 
At 2/18/2008 12:02 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

It still bothers me that LeBron never bothered to participate in a dunk contest.

 
At 2/18/2008 1:46 PM, Blogger Amphibian said...

That's not Kobe that Dwight chest-bumps and pays the price for.

Someone in a tan jacket, possibly Sam I Am A GD Alien?

 
At 2/18/2008 6:57 PM, Blogger Nicholas said...

@Shoals:
I can understand if you hate the place, lots of my friends do for whatever reason. (Usually none of them are able to give a justification better than "because it sucks!") I can't understand it myself, but then again I have an irrational hatred of Dallas as a city. (Maybe that's just because I'm from Houston.) And I can't deny that Houston is run by "scary Cheney-like figures" (I myself have been to a Houston wedding where Neil Bush was also a guest), but in a city of 4 million plus people, from hundreds of different nations and cultures, you're bound to find something to like. Diversity and architecture are the least of the cities' weaknesses.

Once again I'm turning into the great Houston apologist, but hell, I've lived in a lot of other places (SoCal, the deep South, England) and it really ain't too bad, and if you ever come around, hit me up and I'll show you.

 
At 2/18/2008 7:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I lived there for 1.5 years. I am not just speaking out of my rear.

 
At 2/18/2008 10:01 PM, Blogger repole said...

While a lot of people see Gerald as dim, I feel that is in large part because he isn't particularly well spoken. When you hear him talk it sounds as if he's mumbling, but when you see the quote in the newspaper the next day he actually sounds like he knows what he's talking about. I think he's brighter than most people give him credit for, and certainly seems to be creative.

The first thing I thought when I saw Gerald take the shoes off was "I wonder what Reebok thinks of this." While I don't think Gerald's intention was to make the "it's not about the shoes" point (because surely that wouldn't be good for his bank account), but the message was certainly there...sort of like when you find meaning in a poem the author had not intended to include.

 
At 2/19/2008 10:03 AM, Blogger torgo said...

Maybe I was seeing things, but I could swear when he pulled off his shoes, he signed them, then put them on the table in front of Dawkins, with the pen. I think his intent was to do a dunk so amazing that the judges would sign his shoes for him. After the dunk (when, I think, Barkley wondered why he did the same dunk), someone noted that Dawkins pushed the shoes off, onto the floor. If I'm reading Green's intent correctly, I imagine he must have been crushed by such a public rejection.

The cupcake, though, was fantastic. I still prefer Howard bouncing the ball off the backboard with his left hand, then dunking with his right. It took me a moment to realize what he'd done. First time in years I smiled the whole time watching the dunk contest. Possibly because there were no gimmicks out there, no Nate Robinson, no Birdman, just great dunkers, and, for the most part, fantastic dunks.

 
At 2/19/2008 10:07 AM, Blogger DJ Slick Watts said...

That's not "Walk on the Wild Side" that plays over the D-Wade commercial. It's "Can I Kick It?".

 
At 2/19/2008 10:10 AM, Blogger Nicholas said...

@Shoals: At least tell me you went to the Fonde Y on a weeknight during the summer (that's where the college and ProAm summer leagues are held). For a hoops junkie like you, that alone could have made up for the 1.5 years of misery.

 
At 2/19/2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Aaron said...

@Slick Watts- I have to ask. Are you making a joke? Sarcasm doesn't always come off right on here.

 
At 2/19/2008 11:22 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Mingus the Clown

 
At 2/19/2008 11:37 AM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

@slick watts- you're right, but right at the beginning it just uses the Lou Reed bass line by itself for a few seconds. The only explanation for me jumping the gun on that was that I started thinking about the prospect of Wade getting so depressed about his shitty team that he decided to go to the Miami backstreets, dress in drag and buy some drugs, because fuck it, can't get any worse can it?

 
At 2/19/2008 12:32 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Stop talking about that sample for now! I'm working on a post about it but just got handed a TSN deadline. So if you could sit tight until this afternoon.. .

 
At 2/19/2008 2:26 PM, Blogger MaxwellDemon said...

Ok, I'm way late to this party. Anybody here? I would note that Dwight stole the FD show with the sticker dunk last year while Green won the title; this year the roles were reversed. Green probably screwed himself with the sock hop dunk by repeating the between-the-legs move he had just done--sort of stepped on his punchline. Otherwise, Dwight was amazing but the Cake crushed my mind grapes.

Padraig--scary reference to Clown Cried. Wonder if Jakob the Liar is any better.

 
At 2/19/2008 3:53 PM, Blogger padraig said...

maxwell - it has robin williams. therefore, no. not to mention my general distaste for feel-good Holocaust movies - I hated Life Is Beautiful. though Clown Cried is apparently on a whole other level when it comes to appallingly bad taste.

Also, Shoals, I'm quite looking forward to this Lou Reed/ATCQ post.

 
At 2/19/2008 4:10 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Random thoughts on the weekend and previous comments:

I really like the interpretation of the shoeless dunk as "naively" political. It would have been better (more country, more '68 Olympics, more obvious what was happening), if he hadn't worn socks. And I agree that doing the same dunk diminished the overall impact. I really appreciated Dr. J's interview when TNT went to the judges for their vote: he clearly knew that the crowd was pushing him to vote for Dwight, but he subtly acknowledged just what a wonder that dunk was.

I'm concerned that the dunk contest is becoming more about gimmicks than technical excellence. I was glad that Dwight let the bounce-off-the-backboard dunk stand on its own without embellishment.

I still can't believe that Dwight brought in his own basket and didn't demonstrably put it at 12' and dunk on it. Bring out the measuring tape again, man!

I liked AI2's behind-the-backboard dunk better.

For years, one of my favorite parts of the ASG was getting to see AI play with equal talents ... finally. I think that torch has been passed to LBJ. Like last summer, watching him operate with other greats is really a wonder.

 
At 2/19/2008 4:26 PM, Blogger MaxwellDemon said...

Mr6--great call on the link between GG and '68. However, I think Green's socks enhance the connection, rather than detracting from it:
http://cache.viewimages.com/xc/3207837.jpg?v=1&c=ViewImages&k=2&d=C037F202D99E309964F1C233F05CB546A55A1E4F32AD3138
(The black socks are even more noticeable in shots of the runners at the finish line).

As transplendent as Green was, I can't say that he was robbed. DH's dunks without props (literal and figurative) were phenomenal.

Padraig--how about a ho-ho-holocaust collaboration between Williams and Benigni? I'm thinking Patch Mengele. The life, she is not so beautiful.

Where is the Allen commercial with Sister Ray as the soundtrack? I'm waiting, Nike.

 
At 2/19/2008 5:10 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

@MD: The perils of operating from memory!

But so now, in FD fashion, I have to wonder a little about the color choice. If he had worn black socks the connection would be undeniable. (Although one could argue whether it was unintended or propagation of Black Consciousness meme, etc.) By going with green socks, was he converting '68 into a platform for self-promotion, making a statement about individualism within group struggle, just updating the statement for this season's hot colors, or something else?


wv: cocub--Kidd delibered to Dallas c/o Cuban

Which prompts me to say: if Avery does to Kidd what he's done to Dirk, I think I might be ill.

 
At 2/20/2008 3:13 PM, Blogger Mavis Beacon said...

A whole post on Birthday Cake without a Kwame Brown reference. For shame.

 
At 4/13/2009 3:21 AM, Blogger 平平 said...

^^Thanks!!

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At 3/22/2013 6:31 PM, Blogger Jim Philips said...

I didn't have the opportunity to check it out but it sounds that this year wasn't so good as it should be. I will check if I can find more about it on price per head community.

 

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