THE OTHER SIDE OF MID-LIFE
Well Gents, I can no longer declare that “I am damn near 50,” as I was blessed enough to hit the mid-century mark on June 3. It was a normal day — just one additional blessing. I was able to rise up, look up and send up some praise and a prayer of gratitude.
Usually, I don’t think much of my own birthdays and birthday celebrations. I prefer to think of my birthday as a day to honor my mom who did all the heavy lifting as I was just chillin’ in some fluid waiting for the right astrological moment to bust a move and get some sunshine. I remember it as clearly as a foggy day. On that hot summer afternoon, Mom hopped (more like wobbled, probably) on a CTA bus to Cook County Hospital where I was eventually born. She did all the work. I was just along for the ride. RIP Mommy.
Fortunately for me though, my friends like to celebrate my birthday and they really got to me on this one. I received well wishes from many of my friends by phone, Facebook, e-mail and sing-a-gram. That forced me to really think about the big 5-0. It made me consider all the friends and people I knew over the years who had not made it this far. I viewed my fortune from the perspective of a black man born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and remembered that generally and statistically my life expectancy was not much greater than my friends and neighbors, who died already between the ages of 17 and 45. But it wasn’t just those who stayed Southside and struggled in life who passed. I also have several very well educated and financially successful friends who died unexpectedly from tragedy and bad health. No matter your “social station” in life, the next day is not promised.
So it was a big deal when I got up and celebrated my birthday by hitting the YMCA early in the morning to shoot some hoops. I played with a bit more intensity than usual. I was damned sure going to start the second half of my century by winning more than losing. It would not have been a celebration to go 0-6 like I did the previous roundball session two days prior. I played so hard that I sprained my foot and missed the next three days– but at least, for that day, my team won all but one game (with me running point of course. Take that Chris Duhon. LOL.). It was a great way to start the next fifty years (except for the sprained foot of course, but at least I was able to sprain it while doing what I love.)
While my mobility was a bit limited, I decided I would still take a little trip to one of my favorite places — the Blogosphere. Not quite Hawaii or the Cayman Islands, but I found it filled with many wonders and treasures.
FIRST STOP, OPP FANTASYISLAND
On my first trip around the blogosphere on this side of Mid-Life I was crack-a-lackin’ at warp speed until I reached a spot where no extraterrestrial had traveled before. Early in my trip, I was reminded that being a Knick fan is a trip. Since we have been downtrodden for too long, we have resorted to full-fledged fantasy — two levels higher than flat out wet dreaming — to remake our vision of our home team. We are so emotionally challenged that many fans are throwing away the next two years of competition and playing with visions of OPP (Other People’s Players). And the marketplace knows it . . . .
This was never clearer than the fan voting contest for the cover of NBA2K10 featuring Kobe Bryant. One of the pics (Probably designed just for DVJ (wherever he is), Steady and Paulnoize) had Kobe popping a Knick Uni.
Even your boy Spike Lee, the icon of commercialized Knick Fanaticism, is hard selling Kobe as a Knick.
But, it is not the “Black Mamba” that most New Yorkers are slobbering about on their pillows. The New York MSM (especially that non-singing group of journalists called the “Knick Beats”) is selling the unlikely and improbable — the hope and hype that LeBron will dress up in Orange and Blue for more than a photo shoot or a cartoonish video-game cover. LeBron ain’t coming but this pic won’t stop us on our trip to Delusion, two blocks south of FantasyIsland.
I heard it said that “No Man Is A FantsyIsland Unto Himself,” but sometimes New York Nation is like a lonely Gilligan’s Island, where the fans are watching James Dolan make love to Mrs. Howell, while the GMs run the team like the Gilligan and the Skipper but the press treats them like they’re the Professor. We forget that others do not see the world from the core of The Apple like New Yorkers do. Some people see the world differently than we do. For instance, while many New Yorkers think Stephon Marbury is the most hated basketball player on the face of the universe, they would be stunned to learn that Starbury only earned the third spot of the Ten Most Hated Players according to a poll sponsored by Bust A Bucket. El numero uno most hated player was our object of desire — Kobe Bryant, who is seen as the Darth Vader of the NBA.
Kobe may be the most hated but the scariest picture in the article was that of Carlos Boozer as Venom. It is a funny piece. I recommend that travellers check it out just for the laughs.
Wrong Turn At 3rd and Delusion?
Although some of us are dreaming about Kobe, we can remember that the reality is the Knicks once owned a critical piece of LA’s near championship squad — Trevor Ariza. The New York Times has a nice piece about Ariza’s development and his new-found stardom with the Lakers in his hometown. While, Larry Brown thought Ariza was delusional and he told Ariza not to shoot, Orlando, which received him in a trade for Stevie Franchise, was disappointed that they had to release him in order to make room for Rashard Lewis. Ariza is proof that a player with heart and will can learn to shoot with the right coaching. After being traded by Orlando to the Lakers, Ariza became a student of three point specialist Craig Hodges in order to improve his game. Now he is very reliable from the tre and is loving the confidence his teammates and coaches have in him. A long way from being delusional
Speaking of mentally troubled, I see that Larry Brown is very concerned that Michael Jordan is not going to be his boss anymore because Robert Johnson is considering selling all or a majority share of the Bobcats. Current indications are that MJ does not want to buy at Johnson’s prices and he may be ushered out by new ownership if he does not ante up some cash. Larry isn’t saying that he would leave, he was just musing about the possibility that he will need to look for another coaching gig. But, we all know “Next Town Brown” started looking for his next coaching job the day after he signed a contract to coach Jordan’s team.
Perhaps we should bring the Master of Delusion back so that we can ask him why (or whether it is true) that former Knicks usually look better after they leave. Even Marbury seems to “look” better according to how he was depicted in the following promotion for his new workout video.
NATE AS IN PAST TENSE
Tommy Dee @ theKnicksblog says that Nate Robinson is fairly certain that he will not be a New York Knick next season. Dee says that the word is Nate is saying his New York goodbyes even on Twitter. According to Dee, Nate wants to play for Portland which is looking for a seasoned guard, like Andre Miller, so that Brandon Roy can move to the 2-spot. He’s also believing that Nate’s time with the Knicks is done since the Knicks are looking for a new guard. He expects Lee to stay, in part because David’s girlfriend is developing her career from the City.
Others are reporting that Lee is being sized up for a sign and trade which only points out the myriad of choices the Knicks have to make. I would not be surprised if Lee is gone and Nate is still around. Despite D’Antoni’s obvious exasperation with Nate, the guard corp is more important to D’Antoni than an defenseless, undersized power forward. Plus it is probably cheaper to keep Nate and deal Lee for a piece or two after a hefty signing. We’ll see. Just be patient, right?
One thing that trips me out though is this insistence that what Donnie Walsh is doing and has done is reflective of his lauded “patience.” A couple of the Knicks Beats have picked up on this theme proffered by Cablevision which owns Newsday and the alt-del buttons on all the newsroom computers. Dee writes the following about Walsh’s consideration of David Lee, “We know Walsh is a patient man and there is no decision that gets made without incredible detail and you can bet that he will test the sign and trade waters before committing.” Such characterizations crack me up, first especially since only an idiot would not consider the sign and trade options for both Nate and Lee; second, Walsh’s first season was such a poor-to-mediocre year for Knicks management that “patience” is more accurate for press coverage of the team’s poor performance.
MOCKING THE MVPs
I came up on another spot that was highlighting hilarious spoofs of the LeBron-Kobe Muppet show. Check them out. Warning, the language is a little sailor salty.
FROM HOT CLICKS TO HOT CHICKS
I don’t know how I got there, but in Chris Columbus tradition, I stumbled onto Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks written by Jimmy Triani and it had me dying laughing. I’ll try my best not to steal all the gold from his site for this post, but it’s kind of hard not to pay much respect to a site that leads from Hot Clicks to Hot Chicks. You’ll understand better later in this post.
Anyway, he referenced this YouTube video that I thought was pretty funny on several levels. This is a Tman post in pictures:
Speaking of hot clicks, we also picked up a few more gems for our link chain. We added the following links to the sidebars. If you get bored at work, check them out: Ballhype, Black Sports On Line, KnicksFanBlog, Life of A Knicks Fan. We also added a couple of good sites focused on our NBA rivals: Orlando Magic Blog, Third Quarter Collapse (another Magic Blog), Blaze of Love (Portland Trailblazers) and Bust A Bucket.
I knew I was at the tail end of my travels when I ran into Sexy Chicks That Tweet. Twiddle dee, Twitter dumb. And I just thought that Tweeting was another way of connecting with like-minded Knicks fans. Never have 140 words looked so good.
In the face of such inspiration, Chickipedia writes “Twitter’s an amazing, and particuarly proletarian, technological phenomenon because it puts dweebs and gorgeous models on the same dialog chains, creating amazing cultural opportunities based on two of our most valued social touchstones: inanity and self-absorption.”
Well, based on my fitty-plus (counting the days) years of experience. Some people “tweet” and others “do.” Hats off to Jamie Foxx, a dude who does do. His ample lips got swolled (as did other body parts) when he landed a french-lick kiss from hot chick Halle Berry who was at the Spike Awards receiving the Spike TV’s Guys’ Choice Decade of Hotness Award. You go boy.
Man. Fitty and some days. What a journey.