Friday, December 31, 2010

Keep Your Mouth Guards In!

I'm sure you've noticed the recent trend in seeing 3-4 amazing highlights from Blake Griffin every night he plays. I appreciate the fact that despite such awesome plays, he seems so low key and doesn't have to scream or pound his chest like many other players when they celebrate.

Unfortunately, there is also a down side to his highlights. He has developed the habit of sticking his mouth guard out and chewing on it after a good play.

Gerald Wallace has the same habit and it drives me crazy watching him. I have yet to see a Gerald Wallace highlight that doesn't feature his mouth protection. It's also a common sight with Lebron, Derron Williams, James Posey, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaq, and others. It's not that I think it's gross, but it just bugs me. 

So my plea to the NBA players is this: Please keep your mouth guards in your mouth. Nobody wants to see you chewing on them or taking them out and tucking them in a headband, waist band, or sock. I'm worried that NBA stars are setting a new trend and young punks will think it's cool and start imitating them at the gym. I won't be able to handle that.

However, if I have to watch Blake Griffin stick his mouth guard out and chew on it after each amazing play, I am willing to do so, but he is the only player that I'll say that about.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting Undercut Sucks

Last week I was playing in a pickup game and the team I was on kept winning, so I kept playing longer than I new I should. As I went out onto the court for what I told myself would be my last game, I mentioned to a team mate that it's not smart to play too long because you always get injured when you are tired. During the game, the guy I was guarding broke away from me and was going for a baseline jump shot. I sprinted towards him and jumped as high as I could to try and block it. As soon as I left my feet, he decided to fake the shot instead and ended up ducking under me and taking my feet out.

My time in the air passed in slow motion and seemed like an eternity as I tried to figure out how to get my feet under me or land in the least vulnerable position. I ended up slamming hard onto my back on the floor. After rolling around in pain for a minute I was finally able to limp off the court in pain. I later tried to explain to my kids what happened but they didn't know what being undercut meant so I tried showing them with some examples on YouTube.

I was telling them that the first clip was not as bad as mine, then I came across this second clip which is by far the most dangerous basketball fall I have ever seen in my life. It's a miracle that he wasn't paralyzed after this. If you don't cringe or scream while watching this, then you have no soul. I was feeling bad for myself until I watched this clip and it put things in perspective.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is Missing a Dunk Really That Embarrassing?

Yesterday while watching NBA highlights, I noticed the clip below of JaVale McGee missing a dunk. He had a break away and decided to try to dunk it from the free throw line. He lost control of the ball and ended up  missing the dunk. You can see it below.

Now it's time for my expert commentary. The announcer ripped on him for trying to show off, but I'm pretty sure he didn't decide to try a dunk he had never attempted before or that he was not capable of doing. He could have just as easily have made the dunk and been on highlight reels all month. If I'm reading the clock right, there were 16 seconds left in the game and there was a 25 point differential between the two teams. This wasn't the kind of scenario where the game is on the line.

Over the years I've heard many people comment on how embarrassing it would be to miss a dunk. I disagree. Is it embarrassing to miss a free throw or a jump shot? If it's a close game and someone tries to pull off some incredibly difficult shot and they blow it and their team loses as a result,  then they should be embarrassed, but for most of these guys, making a dunk is like making a layup.

So the next time you see someone miss a dunk, just chill out. You don't jump all over guys for missing three pointers because it's a long shot and hard to make, so why do it when someone takes a close up shot. By the way, one of my favorite pictures on this blog is the one of Shannon Brown jumping out of the gym. He missed the dunk, but I still put the picture up for such an impressive attempt. You can feel free to call me the dunker's advocate.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Favorite Dunkers

When I first started watching the NBA as a kid, Dr. J was my favorite player. He would invent crazy moves and could out jump his opponents and hang in the air for obscene amounts of time. It seemed that he was operating under a different law of physics than everyone else. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with trying to dunk a basketball. I remember how good it felt the first time I was able to do it. Back in my prime I could do just about anything, but 25 years I don't have the same vertical jump left. I still love watching a good dunk.

Most of the great dunkers today give credit to players like Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, and Michael Jordan for setting the standard that they emulated and surpassed. Below I list my all time favorite dunkers in the NBA. I have ranked them in order of their dunking ability only not their overall play or off the court behavior. I am obviously talking about them in their prime.

1. Vince Carter-He is amazing. I can't believe his dunking confidence and the ridiculous stuff he has pulled off in games. I still think his dunk over the 7 ft. French player in the Olympics was one of the greatest dunks I've ever seen.

2. Dominique Wilkins-The first guy to consistently pull off playground trick dunks during close games. He popularized the windmill and power dunking.

3. Michael Jordan-The greatest player of all time also had some of the greatest dunks of all time. He was a versatile jumper off of one or two feet with amazing hang time. No wonder so many people wanted to be like Mike

4. Julius Erving-Other players may have pioneered dunking, but he turned it into an art form. He's known for being the first to dunk from the free throw line. Sadly, he had even greater hops while he was in the ABA so what we saw in the NBA was just a fraction of his jumping ability. 

5. Charles Barkley-Despite a heavier build he could get up for some physical dunks. I especially liked the fact that most of his dunks were in traffic with multiple defenders trying to guard him.

6. Clyde Drexler-"The Glide" was always graceful to watch. One of the more smooth players with amazing leg control and movement while he was in the air.

7. Shaquille O'Neal-Since he entered the league he has dunked on opponents at will. I love how he brings his knees and feet up so high when he does it.

8. Darryll Dawkins-Made an art form out of naming his repertoire of dunks and shattering backboards.

9. Kobe Bryant-He seems to be unstoppable at times. One of the few guys who helped me make it through Jordan's retirement without slitting my wrists.

10. Dwight Howard-This guys is just a kid and dunks more than any player in the NBA. He resurrected the dunk contest a couple years ago and can really get up for such a tall player.

Honorable Mentions: , Nate Robinson, Jason Richardson, Lebron James, Blake Griffin, Larry Nance, Spud Webb, Harold Miner, Dee Brown, Steve Francis, Shawn Kemp, Jerome Kersey, Terence Stansbury, Orlando Woolridge, Kenyon Martin, and Darrell Griffith.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NBA Stats

I have been keeping track of NBA statistics on a regular basis for well over 10 years. I enjoy watching the current players in the NBA break the records that prior legends have set. I know you can't see it very well, but below is a copy of the format I use to track Points, Rebounds, Blocks, Assists, and Steals for the top 30 all time achievers. Active players are highlighted in yellow. (Sorry again for the poor quality) When I hear someone say that a player is one of the greatest players of all time, unless I see them on this list I don't even want to discuss it. This is the longevity list which shows which players contributed consistently over time.

I hear a lot of people talking about how great Lebron and Dwayne Wade are. I love those players and think they are amazing, but they have not paid the price yet to be listed as one of the greatest of all time. For an example of an amazing player, look at Hakeem Olajuwon. He is in the #8 all time scorer, #11 in rebounds, #1 in blocked shots, and #8 in steals! That is crazy for a center.

Soon I will be releasing my updated top100 NBA players of all time. I have developed a formula, but have to adjust some numbers on it since the new NBA season started. I utilize quite a bit of information from the sheet above to help determine the best players. I should be posting that list soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How Did This Happen?

I was just surfing around the Internet and came across this picture of the 1992 Dream Team. Aside from Chuck Daley's blue suit, there is something else in this photograph that doesn't belong. When I saw this picture, the song "One of these things is not like the other..." started playing in the back of my mind.

How on earth did Christian Laettner get on this dream team (while he was still in college no less?) I have nothing against the guy, but everyone else in the photo is either an All stars, NBA champion, Hall of Famer, or a combination of the three.

Again, I'm not trying to bash the guy, but I'm just baffled by this. It's kind of like Danny Glover taking over the lead role in Predator 2 trying to replace Arnold. I guess it should give me hope and help me realize that anything is possible.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ultimate Floppers

I used to think the NBA was full of floppers, but Bill Lambier, Manu Ginobli, Vlade Divac, Robert Horry, and Chris Paul could all take some lessons from these pros.

My recommendation? When one of these wussies is found guilty of convulsing for no reason, the punishment should be one minute in the octagon with Brock Lesnar. That might clean things up for soccer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Basketball Shoes

I grew up wearing cheap sneakers from Sears. It wasn't until I got to Jr. High that I realized shoes can make a difference when you are playing sports. In high school I was a Converse guy. I wore Weapons and shortly later Bird, Magic, and Dr. J copied me and did so too. I don't think I've ever spent more than $60 on a pair of shoes.

Sometimes when I'm at the mall and walk by the Athletes Foot store,  I peak in just to see what shoes are available. After escaping the sale frenzied referees, I make my way to the newest models and am always shocked at how much shoes are selling for. I wonder if those $150-200 Kobe or Lebron shoes are worth it. For now I will just hope it is a bunch of hype. I'm sure my Western Family basketball shoes are just as nice as theirs. At least my shoes aren't promoted by muppets!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Which Generation Had the Best Players?

When I was in High School I remember thinking how great the NBA players were at that time. I grew up watching Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, and Michael Jordan. I remember smirking each time I saw black and white footage of players like Jerry West, Bill Russell, Oscar Robinson, Bob Cousy, and Elvin Hayes. I always thought "Those guys may have been good, but the players of today would destroy them."

These days I hear kids saying the same thing about the players from my generation. They now hold guys like Kobe and Lebron up on a pedestal and think they are the greatest players of all time. I'll admit the long striped tube socks and short shorts of the 70's and 80's may not have help the comparisons, but I still think the original Dream Team players were the greatest group. I admit that athleticism has evolved over time and that the younger athletes keep out performing their elders, especially when it comes to trick stuff and dunking. Most young punks today can dunk between and under their legs by the time they are in Jr. High.

I've also noticed that it's hard to compete with the "coolness" of today's street ball players. They have names like Hot Sauce, Mr. 720, and Skilz. Compare that with old fashioned names like Bank Shot McGee, Lefty Jones or Hook shot Taylor. At least you didn't have to listen to crappy rap music with F-bombs throughout the song when you watched the old timers highlight videos.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking Better

After several weeks of mediocre showings, it appears we are back on track. Today we had 12 players and the play was good. The game was close down to the very end. I have listed three reasons why morning ball rocks.

1) The skill level of our participants is great. No matter how the teams are divided, there is plenty of talent and good chemistry between the players.

2) Last week I played a pickup game somewhere else. I couldn't help but notice how many hot heads, jerks, and ball hogs there were. It made me grateful for our group. Not only are they all good ball players, but they are good guys too.

2) Playing to 50 points. I was taken back the first time I played to 50, but now I can't imagine going back to a wimpy game of 21.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Call To Arms

This morning we only had 8 players show up to play basketball. This is insulting considering it is the week of NBA finals. What happened to the days when we'd have three teams of players and you would play your hardest in order to avoid sitting? On the bright side, at least there were fewer witnesses to see Jim totally abuse Tom by scoring at least 12 3 pointers on him.

As a result of recent poor showings, this blog has been designed to remind and encourage you to come out to morning ball. It will also be a way to shame those who say they will come but don't follow through. It's time for a return to the Glory Days of Morning Ball.

As an incentive to come out, your name will be added to the player Bio section after your next showing.