Friday, December 21, 2012

J.R. Smith, Reigning King of The Four Point Play

Jamal Crawford, of the Los Angeles Clippers, and formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, and formerly of the Golden State Warriors, and formerly of the New York Knicks, and formerly of the Chicago Bulls, is a top-level player. But he's never sniffed an All-NBA selection or won a 3-point title or even logged any minutes as an All-Star. He's never won a scoring title, an award his skills might suit. He has largely earned the reputation of a ballhog, or as they say in Brooklyn slang, a "nut." That's because he's always trying to get his.

Like a mutant who strayed from the gentle paws of Professor X into the denuding gaze of Magneto, during his years as a New York Knickerbocker, alongside the now-reformed (then-husky) Z-Bo, Crawford adopted bad habits by association. His 2012 revelation, that he had only practiced shooting, ostensibly, his main positive contribution to the game, the first time that summer, was more trite than nervy. Of course Jamal Crawford doesn't practice shooting. Why would he? His handle is bananas. You had me at "Crossover" Jamal. His natural form is definitely good enough for 25 points in a given game. Some people are, much to the dismay of the layman, ridiculously talented in proportion to their level of success. Classic underachievers.

An underachiever reaches classic status when his demonstrable talent languishes so much that it works against his stated goals. When Dwight Howard injured his back compensating for a dearth of post moves with leap after bone-crunching leap, that was a Classic Underachiever's problem. Working at his up-under, hook shot or free throw shooting (pick one), might have saved Howard hundreds of games, but now...he'll never know.

Crawford makes hay of defenders, but has played as much defense in his life as George W. Bush has solved word problems. Watching Dwight Howard trot his sunken shoulders to the free throw line, Clyde Drexler described, is like watching Dwight Howard take a chemistry test. Praying for mediocrity. Fretting nullity. A bad scene. At the community theater. Either of these players could have made more of an impact with some conscious development of their given advantages. But they didn't. Somehow, I relate.

Crawford's Clippers are in the top 3 teams in scoring. This basketball journal is called The Four-Point Play. Jamal has 34 of them, most among active players. For better or worse, underachievers are good for unpredictable specks of flair across an otherwise uneven record. Perhaps the most confounding of the underachievers, and this year's TFPP Favorite Player, is Earl Junior. The folks round here call him J.R.

I believe if I were an NBA player, I would be J.R. Smith. That is to say, I have — not to mistake anything here — none of the talent he has at basketball. My step-back jumper is reliable out to 15 feet. I have done a 360-something on the court before, but it was not a dunk, and I hurt my knee awful. And I was playing against my homegirl (who beat me). But in life, I am the J.R. Smith of this writing game. I started out an All-America right out of high school, published my first articles at 20, ghost-wrote my first book around the same time and got a royalty check of six-pence for it. Then there were some lost years, like really smoky, hazy, blurry years of doing very little writing except once a year, when I'd pretend to write a script with a friend of mine. Then in 2008, something clicked. I knew I needed to write about basketball and about music and about culture. But I had lost so many years underachieving, I needed to rebuild the faith of an audience. I had to practice my step-back against tougher competition. I had to listen to my coaches. Play defense. I had to put writing over friendship, in some cases (still hard to do but I try). Before Earl Jr. got to the Knicks, I made jokes about him, while secretly longing for him to arrive here and don the blue and orange. If any city could clean him up, bring him closer to home, offer tough love and ridiculous praise for even his small successes, it would be New York. We have a way of throwing out the trash and keeping the recyclables.

J.R. Smith is having his best season in the NBA as a New York Knick, in this improbably serendipitous season. He's passionate, honest about his underachievement to this point, and playing his role, while adding some of those dramatic moments that make games eminently more watchable and truthful. So, J.R. if you're out there, writing a status message, or uploading a picture of your latest hotel visitor, I appreciate you. Even underachievers can be classics.

Steve Novak will ESKIMO KISS you for hitting that game winner, bro.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mike D'Antoni To Coach Lakers aka Kobe Bryant Resumes Coaching Lakers

Admittedly, I was wrong on this one. The moment I got the text about Mike Brown's firing from the Los Angeles Lakers, I smiled in relief. For Brown's sake.

The quiet tragedy of Brown's hire was Kobe Bryant's tacitly (but tactfully) leaked complaint to ESPN the morning after. Specifically, no one called Mamba about it. From that unnamed-source-revelation (*cough* Stephen A.) to the eventual termination of Mike Brown, was merely a countdown to the Walk of Shame.

Chronicling the Lakers since last ring, has been like watching Iran and North Korea post-2000: you know something crazy's about to happen, but you're not sure when or if nuclear destruction is involved. Not to mention the criminally insane dictator running the show.

So while my reply text to the L.A. devotee said just two words, "Phil time", I was dangerously overlooking the one person whose decision everything hinges on, the man so notorious he nicknamed himself.

At almost every stage of this young season, Mr. Bryant has declared, to anyone willing to listen, that he is the man on this team. He's definitely not a woman, first of all. He's definitely a singular, and not a plural. He=Man. Team=He=Man.

Dwight Howard brings the elite defense and post play that could vault us to the championship level? That's all fine and good, but it's MY TEAM.

Steve Nash, former rival, agrees to join forces with me and sort out that whole career-long passing-the-ball problem I had? Still my team though.

Mike Brown stinks. He's gotta go. Get Jeanie's boyfriend on the phone NOW!

But Kobe, his hips...they've permanently evaporated...

Has the meaning of NOW changed since this morning?

We hired Mike D'Antoni instead for less money.

He cool. I guess. Make sure you let him know the first twelve rows on the jet are reserved and that I expect his quarterly report on my desk first thing Monday.
One of the best effects of Michael Jordan's influence on Kobe is his unmitigated willingness to be an assh*le at the expense of his team. It makes for the most entertaining basketball season and washes away remaining Jordan idolatry by allowing the fans to see him and Kobe for what they really are.


You Know White People: Get Money, Don't Spend It

I know Spike LEEE gon' kill me, but lemme finish

Thus begins the era of Jeremy Lin and James Harden in Houston, two players who, for reasons of greed and mismanagement, were cast off after doing better than expected for their previous teams. In honor of lame, myopic white guys with too much money, The Four Point Play is naming this duo some variant of the great Black/Asian combos in history. Because as Wiz Khalifa once remarked, #BlackandYellow#BlackandYellow#BlackandYellow#BlackandYellow#BlackandYellow:

James Harden and Jeremy Lin Present

  • Chicken Wings & Fried Rice
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & kung fu
  • Rae Dawn Chong
  • Rush Hour
  • Tiger Woods y'all
  • The RZA
  • Hurry Up & Buy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

David Stern's Farewell Bucket List

From the desk of David Stern:

A lotta speculation on the moneys I've made/
Honeys I've slayed/
How is he fareal?/
Is that n*gga really paid?

They ask me if I'm the greatest pro sports commissioner of all time? And I ask them, is an elephant d*ck ashy? Is Oprah's fridge door open?

Getting to the point here, gentleman, I tend to think the question answers itself. What I learned in my years leading the NBA's rise to pre-eminent league in our country, and then around the globe, is that I'm undoubtedly one of the smartest men a person could meet.

Yes, it's true I inherited a league that would soon be flush with star athletes like the world hadn't known, but I don't see Jerry Rice owning an NFL franchise. Or A-Rod selling sneakers to the Chinese. I gave Michael, Magic and Larry the keys to secret passageways that two of them still haven't used. The other one cured himself of humanity's most sinister plague.

Monday, October 22, 2012

NBA Preseason Predictions for the LOL In You

As a member of the basketball cognoscenti, and proud self-important fan, I use large chunks of my day to read articles about every storyline in the NBA. Most of it is fluff. So-and-so's baby moms is on Basketball Wives next season. What's-his-name put a booger in the Gatorade after practice. Star Player has a new skill to preview that's GOINGTOCHANGEHIZGAMESOMUCH OMG.

Sure, fine, the League changes in countless ways when no one's even playing. That's not even counting the trades, acquisitions, retirements. (Or in the Knicks case, the acquisition of retired players who are then traded.) In truth, the 2013 storylines were largely written when Miami won the championship, and everyone else ran to a silent corner to bereave the possibility of Other Champions once that group reached the top. But recently, the appearance of a story, the journalist's make-believe predictions of stories, and the plain absurdity of desired stories has replaced analysis entirely. The hoops world has split between the crude numbers people and the narrative-driven erstwhile fabulists. I count myself among the latter, though I have a closet existence as a stat junkie that only shows itself to women I date around November 1st. Hard to understand how a foggy-minded leaver of dishes can recite the 2002 NBA All-Defense 2nd Team without pause. Love you, babygirl. But don't you ever get caught sleeping on Eric Snow.

This year's browsing has produced some trite narratives worthy of repeating, if only to finally, and completely kill them dead. The authors of these stories will remain unnamed, but their premises shall be roundly ridiculed. And henceforth dismissed!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Other Prokorhov Short-Term Goals

From the annals of Russia's Most Interesting Man comes a fortuitous prediction. Mikhail Prokhorov, about as coy as the homecoming queen on prom night, is offering reporters a glimpse into his crystal ball. The Nets: from worst team in the league seven minutes ago to championship contender in 9 months.

And because anything is possible, he's even sketched out a plan on his lipstick-smudged cocktail napkin:
"For me there is only one place: No. 1," Prokhorov said. "And I'll do my best in order to reach a championship."
Later he added, curtsying and batting his lashes:
"I think it's the best arena in the world. I'm expecting a great rivalry with the Knicks."
Well played, Mikhail. Everyone needs goals, of course. And with petty millions to spend on silly ventures like becoming president of your homeland, Prokhorov's tycoon wish-list serves as an example to all bootstrap-pulling children of wealth that they, too, can do anything. Among his other short-term missions:
  • Invent flux capacitor. Visit to dinosaurs. Pick a fight with one.
  • Defeat Kobe Bryant in one-to-one basketball contest. Practice on Dirk.
  • Bury corpse of Jaroslav. Send ring finger to widow.
  • Complete purchase of Montserrat. Sell to China for DOUBLE!
  • Race helicopters with "Little Man" James Dolan across Atlantic.
  • Go to "Little Man" and his band jazz show. Sit in front and laugh SO loud.

Many of the remaining napkin scrawls from that Vodka-soaked evening were illegible, but the words "Little Man" and "Dolan" populated even the far ridges of that crumpled scroll.

Perhaps, with some convincing, Mr. Prokhorov might be in for a run as Brooklyn's mayor. Or its newest franchise restaurant dealer. Skyline's the limit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ask Jay-Z Pt. 2: Why Should We Root for the Nets?

On the last episode of The Four Point Play, we toiled with the grim realities of the fading Knicks empire, and a growing fiefdom in our beloved hamlet, the Breuckelen Nets. Chief among our concerns? Owner disinterest superseding fan anxiety.

New York basketball fans are Sisyphus, forever tantalized by pricey teams who soften short of climax. But lately, we've had our intelligence assaulted by the eccentric, erratic strokes of a billionaire. Though the Nets are the best new show in town, they're none too immune from the whims of a Luchini lord.

Their owner has a rumor trail that leads to him being at best a Russian Larry Flynt and at worst, Moscow's Bill Clinton. His résumé has a Body Count and an oil spill on it. And that's just the first page.

And not that I'm a fan of rap or anything... BECAUSE I ABSOLUTELY AM but has Jay-Z (new nose face of the Nets) applied his effort to rhyming even 30% of the time on his climb to Forbes list fame?

Is 30% a generous estimate at this point?

Frankly, we have right to suspect he'll bring that imperious air into Barclay's Center and thus create another vanity team. Image over wins.

With that in mind, we sent him an earnest dispatch, listing our qualms.

What follows is Mr. Carter's reply:

Dear Breez,

The Four Point Play? honestly, clever name. congrats on your ambition, kid. clearly you're gonna need it.

also, you're writing letters? I got Obama on the text, baby. holla at me. you don't know if I'm talkin' Barack or Michelle. it's bananas.

what they gon DO with me? my one of a kind self. HOV!

but for real. when I said "the Nets could go 0 for 82" et al, I wasn't being literal. you know what I mean, it's not like I'm looking at YOU like it's gravy for YOU.

it's more like this boat I got floating everybody: THIS SHIT GRAVY.

I hear the people talkin', I assure you. but I don't rap for you. or the people. I rap to hear myself rapping to you, and for the satisfaction of laughing when you still don't get it. take a second to wrap your mind around that.

it's cool; I'll wait.

I'm so far ahead of my time. Marcy Projects...I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Trader Joe. you already know what it's about. organic produce in the project hallway. high-rise condos across from police towers.

mattafact I did my last Rolling Stone interview in a pissy elevator with two heroin addicts holding a iPhone. I had to hustle, my back to the wall, ashy knuckles. nawmean? (although -- I can't front -- Carol's Daughter has really changed my approach to skin care. no more dark spots, ya'heard.)

to keep it 100, I can't show you the bigger picture if you ain't tryna see it lil homey. sure, if a No-Win-82-Loss season doesn't spell "success" to you, I'm already playing the underdog. but if you see the aspirational value in hundreds of low-wage arena jobs, absurd raises in property tax and unimaginable traffic, then, maybe, we can have a civil discussion on the subject.

otherwise, save up for some season tickets and stop crying to me about it.

Hova The God aka Young Forbes List 4Ever

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ask Jay-Z

The Four Point Play announces its official and complete defection from the ranks of Knick fans. This journal, a running tract for the basketball-minded, must be purged of its filthy ties to the Dolan monarchy. In "common sense" terms, we value the common as much as the sense. For too long, in the oily undercarriage of Madison Square Garden, we dressed fatal wounds, and sutured heartbreak. No more pandering to the whims of an increasingly moneyed class of carpetbaggers, sports dilettantes, ball hobbyists, closet polo players. The Garden left "common" behind decades ago, while its lore grew the warts of excess: 12 dollar beers, overfed, bloated ballers, and lawsuits a-plenty.

James Dolan owns the dubious honor of building an entertainment vehicle that is as valuable in a wretched wrecked state as it is in near-victory.

Swept out of the playoffs at Boston? It's cool.
What's his name scored 47.
Traded one of the league's most sensational guards for a fat also-ran?
Don't worry, we're saving money for some unforeseen circumstance, like building that championship team you always wanted.

But where to plant the flag now?

Now I like to wear nice things just like you. But I'm from Brooklyn. And certain sh*t you just don't do. Like:

  • Leaving your lifelong allegiance to the orange and blue to rot on Seventh Avenue.
  • Calling yourself a Nets fan. Gross.
  • Blaming Patrick Ewing for anything ill-fated.
We didn't make these Gods; we only worship them.

However faithless his supporters, there is one self-appointed divinity who has emerged from the fiery pits of churning commerce. There is one rapper whose name has become synonymous with grandeur, opulence and style. There is one minority owner of an NBA team whose very utterance spikes property value and drops draws. He has reformed the franchise by association and locale. So I decided to contact him with a letter, a personal message from a spent fan and Brooklynite, asking him why I might jump wagons to ally with his sloganeers. Here is the e-mail exchange we had.

Dear (Young) Hov,
Long-time listener, first time caller.

Anyway, I love what you've done with the place. That rusty finish on the Barclay's Center? Like warm socks on a rainy night. You smoother than Deron Williams finger waves. But I don't know yet if that's a reason to root for your team. Granted, the Knicks with Amar'e and Carmelo are costume jewelry, the thin alloy necklace no self-respecting sports fan could ever mistake for a dookie chain.

A self-hating sports fan on the other hand...

But I digress. My main issue with rooting for the Nets is your claim that "the Nets could go 0 for 82, and I'd look at you like this shit GRAVY."

Would you look at me like it's all butter-and-flour-turkey-fat if the Nets lost all their games? Word?

This, to me, suggests that you're not really considering the Brooklyn fans who spent years suffering at the hands of another uncaring tyrant who ran the only New York basketball team.

We can't trade one fatcat for another, ya know? Just sayin.

Also, what role will Kanye West play in the development of this new team? He's lately suggested that he might have some say in the contracts of Kris Humphries and anyone else his girlfriend may or may not have fake-married.

I understand Kanye is no lay-person, but in terms of basketball, I think his imprudence might really hurt the roster. Cause, like, what if they break up and she starts dating, like, Marshon Brooks or someone equally promising and young?

(Marshon, if you're reading this, stay far away from anyone with two phones claiming to be "Kim's friend".)

This fan life thing can be pretty exhausting and, aside from all the other political and social reasons the Nets in Brooklyn is an absolute mindfuck, we just need a few assurances. In other words, talk to us like we're Memphis Bleek or Blue Ivy or one of your many dependents. This is a faith declaration, which sometimes requires more than love.

I hope this missive finds you cradled in the comforts of an extinct animal's fur, sipping chamomile-infused lemon seltzer. Or some such.



Check back with the The Four Point Play later this week for Jigga's heartfelt reply

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dear Melo

Your three's gone cold I'm wondering why I..
might watch the game at all
The morning press shouts on my radio..
that you can't see at all
And even if you could it's just a J,
but your picture on my wall
It reminds me, that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad..2x

Melo, I wrote you but your jumper's broken
Rumor has it, you don't pass it to the man who's open
You're a magnet for the ball while flashing to the post
But the shot is flat, you couldn't cast a
Net into the ocean
Funny -- caught a glimpse of LaLa on the street
With Prada glasses, had that Donna Karan on her feet
Asked her for an autograph, cuz boy that ass is sweet
Apparently her rump turns you molasses on the D
I think I spied your crew flossin' at the Fashion Week
I even bought it when you tried to sell that trashy drink
Most your contributions don't show on stat sheets
But that's endorsement money and I know you had to eat
They praised you when you made the Finals in the Western Conference
Now the writers and the fans seem upset you're pompous
We traded all our youth for the shooter you could be
But your attitude is putrid, you're ruining my team

Your three's gone cold I'm wondering why I..
might watch the game at all
The morning press shouts on my radio..
that you can't see at all
And even if you could it's just a J,
but your picture on my wall
It reminds me, that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad

Carmelo, what's the deal, you never wrote
I see threw your weight around
To groom a better coach
I wish you threw that weight around
while driving to the paint
I ain't mad,
but it's odd that smile is on your face
As you lay each brick,
your teammates think 'This guy isn't that great';
your rivals look in-shape
and the Title is at stake!
Our only wish is you become
that player dropping 30
I'm talking pounds, not easy points
Get to your locker early
It's the least that you could do
our season's topsy-turvy
Be careful of your wishes
when you wear that 'Bocker jersey
Anyway, I'm not afraid to tell you straight
Redeem us in the playoffs or your move was a mistake

Your three's gone cold I'm wondering why I..
might watch the game at all
The morning press shouts on my radio
that you can't see at all
And even if you could it's just a J,
but your picture on my wall
It reminds me, that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad

(in Melo's voice)
yo Dude, I think you need a better hobby
Maybe check your highlight reel
for reasons why you watch me
I'm popping 3s
You trade your team
because for me there is no copy
Can someone tell me who is this
Danilo Gallinari?
There is no "I" in team
but there is a "Me" in Melo.
This the dream I succeeded
at to free me out the ghetto.
I'm already a hero
so I ain't bent on proving sh*t.
Mattafact, what kinda sucker
be rooting for the Knicks?
What's your dream and why the f*ck
do you be writing letters?
That type of thing
will guarantee
we never meet each other.
You sound like --
you on the outside looking in.
You never shot a jumper
or took one on the chin.
Or sank a winning free-throw
when the crowd was on your back.
Or dribbled to the post pivot,
pounded to the rack.
I doubt you ever won a game
in your entire life.
But I can't make you consider that when you decide to write.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Where One of the Best Emcees Was a Local Cat

Godfather of Soul

How they dared to call you a tweener,
when you propelled every inch of lithe limbs
to play point, on the box, as a screener,
Queens-smooth in your Rolls to the rim.
Loooooove, (brother) you don't get enough of it,
seldom flash newly televised grins,
your vanity mirrors the pupils of fans.
For your tender cheek, you shall be punished,
take you an heiress, and fly with her whims;
lo, when the game swings, you'll find its dance.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Other Things Charles Oakley Mastered

Charles Oakley waxed poetic about a dear old friend, Sir Charles Barkley, in a recent radio interview. He recalled grander times, when both men were in an NBA fugue of toughness, grappling for respect. Of Charles he said:

Barkley for his size was a good player but he's a coward, though. ... He wasn't a leader and wasn't a role model. Now he talks so bad about younger guys, I don't respect that from him. … He wants to be funny, that whole TNT thing and all that, they're like some clowns on that show.

And of Kendrick Perkins, Oakley had this to assert:

If Kendrick Perkins would play basketball, Oklahoma City would win a championship the next three or four years. … You're a power forward, you don't let guys dunk on you. I played 18, 19 years I got dunked on three times ...

Charles Oakley, in 18 years of playing professional basketball as a starting power forward, got dunked on a mere three times. He was a man of many accomplishments, the most unique of which are too often overlooked.

TFPP has compiled a list, at Mr. Oakley's request, of his other lesser known accolades, all nearly comparable.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

NBA Unveils Santa Fe New Mexicans Logo



ON THE HEELS OF the Miami Heat torching the league with an uncommonly brilliant start, Commissioner David Stern has announced the arrival of a team specifically constructed to beat them. Since no actual basketball players can outrun, outscore or outplay LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the league office was forced to enlist the help of fictional characters in order to assure balance in the Association for the next decade.

Michael Jordan's expertise was indispensable in drafting the perfect termination squad. Having spent hundreds and thousands of games playing against villains big and tall, Jordan selected the Monstars of Space Jam fame because of the potent match-up difficulties these 11-foot-8-inch behemoths would present to their NBA opponents. The Monstars will suit up for the expansion Santa Fe New Mexicans, who are owned by Warner Brothers Family Entertainment. LeBron James, like his legendary counterparts, tends to have trouble against all manner of fiend, whether it's fire-spewing dragons, vicious hell hounds or bedroom-haunting bogeymen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Inside the NBA Knick-Names Guard Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin is unprecedented. So a lot of stiff, uninspired, shiftless wordsmiths have been trying to apply our limited language to his seemingly limitless feats. Where two weeks ago, the Knicks were a listless squad, roaming the wilds of Herald Square in search of assist skeletons, the flesh of teamwork, Lin has suddenly transformed them into missionaries of Clyde-era fluidity, grooving and hugging their way to seven wins in nine games. But there's no nickname for He Who Uplifts the Masses. The Four Point Play got a rare invitation to join TNT's Inside the NBA cast for a live taping as they conferred a fitting alias on to, one, Jeremy.
As I approached their glowing quartz desktop, I spotted Ernie Johnson reviewing notes from a shot sheet filled with Andrew Weil quotations. He shuffled the papers in their anchor-ly order, before tapping the stack, looking over at Charles Barkley's donut-sugared paws, and wincing. Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal were trying to see how many of their crumpled notes they could throw into a trash can at one time. Kenny set the bar with 3 in one shot, while Shaq struggled to locate the can itself. Some producer kept urging him to try it underhand, but to no avail. Jeremy Lin was in their green room, stage left, reading Augustine's Confessions by a lit candle that was draped in beads. I was stunned to see him, and dashed away though he was beckoning me thither, awash in luster.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Clippers Are Four Point Play Team of the Year

Chris Paul, despite his bullish personality, is a likable figure on this Clippers platoon. He sets the landmines, wires the dynamite and explodes into truculent lectures when team demands go unmet. He is the cliché floor general, but never has his mission been so clear, his weapons so potent. Essentially, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan aim to change the way basketball is played from the pro level down. Much of TFPP philosophies, the scrolls handed down from visionaries and then inscribed on the gums of Kevin Durant, are an attempt to predict where basketball will be in ten years. When will point values change to meet the growing relevance of long high-value shots like the three pointer? (1, 2, 3 and 4-point lines) When will passes that precede assists be measured in the game tally? Charges taken? Possession swings that result in 8 point fluctuations? The Clippers, famously cheap as a franchise, will always challenge conventions in the name of squeezing production out of an inexpensive roster. And with the NBA pressed to protect its lowly and/or thrifty owners from its profligate spenders and/or maniacs, the cheapos, at their best, get creative about roster building. Perhaps the Clips would have liked to keep sharpshooter Eric Gordon, or even defensive (slow) scorer Chris Kaman, but the opportunity to swipe Chris Paul from the Hornets, with an optional buy-in after trial season, was undeniable. Mainly, the Lob City Experiment is an innovator's brainchild. Donald Sterling thought critically about the trends in basketball, and how to get a season turnaround in an abbreviated time, while still paying pennies on the dollar for his second bona fide star in Blake Griffin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Ain' E'en Po' Be Here

These Knicks. First, fabulous names. Really United Nations-y of them to assemble a Carmelo, an Amare, a Landry, a Renaldo, an Iman and put them alongside a Bill, a Toney, a Steve, a Mike, and a Josh. It howls multiculti. We've created a safe space for enigmatic poets, Bradyesque icons of cool and Ivy League workmen. Lost in that sauce? A semblance of defense, the remaining ingenuity of Mike D'Antoni, Carmelo's confidence/arrogance, chemistry, heart, know, small details.

But as far as vanity teams go, James Dolan has finally composed his masterpiece. The 2012 Knicks may only rival last year's perennially dysfunctional Lakers and the 2005-6 Miami Heat and Dallas Maverick squads, whose stars had to roll with Antoine Walker's prudence, Ron Artest's cleverness and Kobe Bryant's patience. This version of reluctant team play and star-tending produces a joy I'm certain could only be replicated with a new time and temperature at Ye Olde Garden. The ingredients for a tumultuous (but not necessarily successful) vanity outfit:

  1. An Offensive EgoManiac
  2. An Overpaid (Misunderstood) Defensive Anchor
  3. A Delusional Bench Weirdo
  4. Undeserved Championship Favoritism
  5. Aging Guru Coach

Which brings us to...ball so hard, this sh*t weird/we ain' e'en po be here" the hauntingly eloquent and fitting Hov lyrics that describe the position of the current Knix team. They ain't po be here, by any stretch of the imagination, not in the conversation of title contenders, or even dark horse long shots.