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Archive for March 9th, 2007

Man, this is like watching a whole room full of Sarah Silvermans really hot, smart, funny women who make you wish you played for Portland State. The Ladies are digging up what’s hot about the ACC tournament, so read up on that. Especially poignant is the UVA motivational poster.

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Speaking of Virginia, I can’t wait to get out of this office. Which is normal, except for the fact that this office is in Charlottesville, VA, and I’m scheduled to cover the UVA/NC State Pimp Showdown. It’s Cav-man vs. Sidney Lowe in Tampa!!!!!!!! See me at Digital Headbutt in about two hours.

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The United Nations of Basketball

“(M)y face will no longer be irritating” – Vlade Divac, razor commercial

foreign-five.JPGGrowing up, I didn’t really have an NBA team to watch, so I never really got the feel for it. My general interest in pro basketball stemmed from my desire to watch the careers of my favorite college players as they progressed. But somewhere in the 1990s, the NBA draft turned into about 10 players I knew, 5 High School kids, and several vowel-deficient fellows from overseas. My interest waned because I simply didn’t know who any of those guys were.

Now, let me say up front that I think the addition of foreign talent has clearly been a boon to the NBA, and I would never argue that the flow from other shores should stop. But I must admit that my own unfamiliarity with players from former Soviet Republics has made it difficult for me to embrace the game’s globalization. To that end, I’ve invented a little game to keep me interested and finally get me to research some of these Ivan Drago-types. I call it Foreign Five, and in this game I’m going to keep an eye on NBA rosters to see which teams can, in a pinch, field a starting five of worthy players born outside the U.S. The Holy Grail will be the day that such a starting five actually steps foot on NBA hardwood for tip-off. In the meantime, I’ll live, learn, laugh and make my face less irritating.

The Contenders (number of FF-eligible players):

  • San Antonio Spurs (6)  Once upon a time the Spurs were my odds-on favorite to field the first Foreign Five, but they’ve gone to bringing Manu off the bench, so they took a hit. Still, it’s a near miss, with Francisco Elson (Netherlands), Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands-I know, it’s a technicality), and Tony Parker (France Freedom) in the opening lineup. The plus side is that they actually have enough players on the bench to keep me interested – Oberto, Ginobili, and Beno Udrih are a couple of injuries away from making my day (and rendering this feature moot, but still).
  • Toronto Raptors (6)  It is perhaps appropriate that the one NBA team not on U.S. soil is also a contender for the FF. Andrea Bargnani is Italian, Jose Calderon and Jorge Garbajosa both hail from Spain, and Slovenia gives us Rasho Nesterovic and Uros Slokar. Pape Sow is originally from Senegal, so the screeching prehistoric reptiles of Michael Crichton are in great shape.
  • Golden State Warriors (6)  A surprising haul here. Kelenna Azubuike, Andris Biedrins, Zarko Cabarkapa, Adonal Foyle, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Mickael Pietrus.
  • Chicago Bulls (5)  Here we have Martynas Andiuskevicius from Lithuania, Luol Deng from Sudan, Russian Viktor Khryapa, Andres Nocioni from Argentina, and Thabo Sefolosha is Swiss. Where have you gone, Toni Kukoc? A blogger turns his lonely eyes to you.

Several teams are on the cusp. The Mavs, Jazz, Rockets, Suns and Nuggets each have four potential starters, so player movement will be important. I’ll monitor the transactions board to see if any teams climb into contention or fall out due to trades or signings.

According to what I’m seeing, the Knicks have zero foreign-born players. Then again, neither do the Heat. So I can’t infer any championship potential from the absence of FF-eligible players. The only possible flaw in my system so far is that I’m picking out some of these players based on names. Some of the foreign players gained experience at U.S. colleges, so their country of origin is not explicitly stated on NBA.com’s roster forms. If some of these guys are Aussies or Canadians, I might be missing out.

Anyway, we have our initial pool. I’ll report on our progress each week, unless something important happens, then I’ll jump on it immediately.

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mikeleprechaun02_420.jpgNothing fries my corncakes like racism. Recently, Mr. J. Tu of 82SluggoWin exposed the double-agent secret reverse anti-racism of USC football players in a post titled Arian (sic) brotherhoods blah blah blah etcetera (abbreviation mine).

Well, let me tell you, as much as I hate racism, hypocrisy skedaddles my kittens even more. Where does JTu get off calling other people racist (or not really very racist at all, but just stupid enough to appear racist on a public message board) when he himself is quite virulently anti-Celt? I refer to execrable screeds like Survey Declares Notre Dame the Yankees of Playing Like Shit, and Notre Dame Objects to ESPN billing of Sugar Bowl as “Catholics vs. Competent Football Players”.

Oh, he claims it’s the University of Notre Dame he despises. But if so, why refer to them so frequently as “The Irish”? This is just one short step away from “Potato-Eating Mongrels”, a phrase that I can neither confirm nor deny that Tu has ever used, let alone even read until I printed it.

Regardless of your thoughts on this matter, if you have read my side of the story and want to show your friends that you are above this kind of backward thinking, please join our Facebook group: Jonathan Tu expresses anti-Irish sentiment. You can make a difference today. Stamp out racism by gathering together in a group with other people who already agree with you!

Next in my sights? Those stereotyping coonasses over at Loser With Socks.

Thank you for your support.


*Disclaimer: I really like Jonathan and his site. I am only latently racist, and as such I often attempt to paper over my guilty feelings by ribbing someone who lives 2,000 miles away from me and cannot physically injure me if he is offended by my “joke”. In short, I kid because I love. And because I can get away with it. burlysportsimage.jpg

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So I live-blogged the Wake Forest triumph over Georgia Tech over at Digital Headbutt.  Reading the whole thing might be a bit much, as it went to 2OTs, but I got a bit punchy toward the end, so that part might be amusing.  I’m not certain. 

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