“Any pickup-basketball regular battles an ongoing dilemma: What’s it worth to keep playing for as long as possible? If it’s super-crowded and you want to stay on the court for a few games, you might suck it up and jump on a team with Pickup Carmelo or Pickup Kobe — a.k.a. a one-on-one guy who will shoot half your team’s shots, only he’s good enough that you might be able to ride him for two straight hours. But if it’s less crowded? You take your chances with people who are fun to play with — a.k.a. unselfish guys who run the floor, know how to pass and cut, keep the ball moving, don’t take stupid transition shots, and generally know what they’re doing.
And ideally, this is what happens: A few times per year, you’ll find the right four guys on a crowded day, everything will click, you’ll turn into the ‘77 Blazers, and you end up laying the smack down, 2013 Heat–style, for six or seven straight.
It’s just the best day you can have. It’s the greatest. You limp out of there beaming, and when your wife or girlfriend asks you later that night why you’re so damned happy, you can’t even properly explain it. How can you explain total bliss? I love playing basketball — even now, with my body breaking down and my game decaying to alarming degrees — if only because it’s one of the few places left on earth where you can connect with total strangers like that. Age doesn’t matter, backgrounds don’t matter, nothing matters. You have four teammates, they can be anybody, and you either know how to click with them or you don’t.”
“By the way, I have some advice that will help Paul George become a household name. He should change his number immediately from no. 24 to no. 13. Here’s why … can you think of anyone being helped by a nickname more than Paul George suddenly becoming “PG-13?” Uh-oh, PG-13 is heating up! Warning, this game contains strong language, violence and a possible heat check! We might have to make this performance rated “R” — it’s too hot to handle! Let’s make this happen already.”
“[Lawson]’s one of the three fastest players in basketball, depending on how you feel about Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. (By the way, how much fun would a “94-Foot Sprint Sponsored by Sprint!” contest be at All-Star Weekend next season?)”
He also inspired this thought-provoking e-mail from Patrick in Memphis: “If you wanted to jeer Enes Kanter, are you going with the anus or penis pronunciation? I feel like it could go either way.”
Simmons’ top 10 Mitches of all time
How efficient is Kevin Durant? He’s going to lead the league in scoring without leading his own team in field goal attempts. Can we get an old-school ECW-style “HO-LY SHIT! HO-LY SHIT!” chant going please? Here’s the point: Poor Durant’s MVP campaign wasn’t just overshadowed by LeBron and this Miami streak, it was steamrolled and left for dead. Too bad. As Whitlock would say, keep doing the damn thang, KD.
He Got Game II: South Beach
HD, Ray Allen, Michael Douglas (2013) — After stabbing his old teammates from Boston in the back with a 15-inch butcher’s knife, Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen) finds redemption as a clutch 3-point specialist on a loaded Miami team that’s talented enough to cover up his shitty defense. Directed 70 minutes too long by Spike Lee.
Q: So I was preparing for my first sexual experience this weekend and I encountered something more nerve-wracking than the experience itself … buying the condom. How does one go about it? Do you go to a convenience store far away so no one recognizes you? Do you buy other things with it so it looks like you haven’t been dreading this moment all day? Do you look the cashier in the eye like “Yeah … you know what’s up.” No sports question here, just an important life question.
SG: Two tips: Always buy a few other things and ALWAYS make eye contact. And make the eye contact with one of those “That’s right, I’m getting laid tonight” looks on your face.
“When my AOL-only page launched on Digital City Boston in May of ‘97, I was especially excited for three ideas: I wanted to write a running diary of watching the NBA draft at my dad’s house, I wanted to write about the 30 Worst Sports Movies of all time, and I wanted to write a “Viewer Mail” column. But I needed enough decent e-mails to pull it off. I posted my first four columns and stuck my AOL e-mail underneath every one of them, hoping I’d get enough e-mails for an entire “Viewer Mail.” But in 1997 the Internet was a bizarre cross between the Wild Wild West and a maximum-security prison. There were no rules, no accountability, and more incoherent, typo-infested, all-caps e-mails than you can possibly imagine. I remember being shocked by how vicious people were. One time, I called Karl Malone “The Mail Fraud” in a column and someone from Utah (who somehow found the piece) sent me a legitimate death threat while also describing various ways I could have coitus with myself. Knives and axes were included. Not just knives — knives AND axes. So that was interesting.”
When the NBA awarded Buffalo an expansion franchise starting in the 1970-71 season, the team named itself the “Braves” to recognize Buffalo’s Native American history. That’s when the trouble began, Blake. For Native Americans, there was no more important animal than the buffalo. They depended on it for survival. They wore its fur as clothes. They revered the “white buffalo” — a rare type of buffalo, almost as though it was albino — and considered it to be sacred. By linking the word “Buffalo” with “Braves,” a commonly known term to describe Native American warriors, the team’s owners were basically announcing, “We are embracing the Indians and representing them in an honorable way.”
For God’s sake, look at their first logo. It’s an Indian headdress on top of a basketball face; instead of facial features, we see a blue buffalo. In their second season, they changed the logo to a fancy “B” with a feather sticking out of it. The message remained clear: We are embracing the Native Americans. —
Simmons, two years ago, in his open letter to Blake Griffin
Also, a link to the original logo of the Buffalo Braves