This past week, Deadspin posted another edition of “Let’s Remember Some Guys,” where their staff writers open up a pack of old school sports trading cards and, well, remember some guys. In this most recent episode, they got to talking about how 90s era NBA nicknames– like David “The Admiral” Robinson, or Karl “The Mailman” Malone, or John “Spider” Salley, or Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, or Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, or Dominique “The Human Highlight Film” Wilkins, or Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, AND THIS IS JUST OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD– were so much better than the inscrutable mismash of numbers and letters that pass for nicknames in today’s NBA. Or really in all of sports. CP3. TB12. PG13. Yuck.
Learning about regional rivalries is one of the best parts of visiting new places and meeting new people. What’s better than finding out that Michigan people and Ohio people hate one another? Or that southern California people forget northern California exists, and this drives northern California people crazy? Or that North Carolina and South Carolina fight about who gets to refer to themselves as “Carolina?” (Ed.: North Carolina. Obviously.)
Some of the most fun expressions of the regional pride underpinning these rivalries can be found in the friendly wagers that elected officials engage in when they’re facing one another for a big game, perhaps especially when that game is the Super Bowl. It’s one thing to trade a hatchet or a bell or an odd rock back and forth with your local rival, but when the competition is between two distinct regions of the country, the stage is big so mayors often get creative. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of the past several years of Mayoral Super Bowl bets:
The Lakers are 17-29. So they’re bad. That’s a 30-win pace for the season, which would be an improvement from last year (26 wins) and the year before (17 wins). But that’s also trash and it’s not all that different from the year before that (21 wins) or the year before that (27 wins). It’s been a five year stretch of Sacramento-level futility in Westwood.
So the LA Rams made playoffs. Fit and sexy and 11-5 after their long-time-coming breakup with the “greatest bad coach of all time” Jeff Fisher, the Rams handed the keys to first time head coach Sean McVay almost a year ago and haven’t looked back, ending the 2017 regular season with the NFL’s scariest offense. Although there were a number of news items about McVey beating Lane Kiffin’s record to become the new “youngest head coach” in NFL history, every time I see the guy I feel the need to point it out again. Maybe it’s that blonde beard and Ed Grimley haircut. I don’t know.
I know Baby Boomers. My folks are Baby Boomers. I work with Baby Boomers. I’ve listened to The Beatles, Bob Dylan, fucking Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I’ve seen The Godfather and The Graduate; I’ve watched that scene in High Fidelity where Dick shits on The Big Chill and mostly understood what they were talking about.
And it’s this deep knowledge of Baby Boomers that allows me to say: you can do better. Below is a pledge that every Baby Boomer should take publicly, to signify a ceremonial transition into modern adulthood.
Not that I recommend modern adulthood, what with all the no pensions and expensive healthcare and student loans and stagnant wages– not that you guys would know anything about that!– but we all have to grow up eventually.
“The Baby Boomer Pledge”:
- I am entitled to nothing.
- I will not allow a rigid emphasis on physical attendance obscure my ability to determine effective performance.
- I will think before I speak, always being conscious of the fact that my life experience is not the same as life experience. [Read more…]
Last week, the august New York Times published an oddly Buzzfeedian piece titled “27 Ways To Be A Modern Man.” The piece ran with a straight face, in the Men’s Style section under the “Self Help” tag, despite its content…not…making any sense? Among the 27 ways were plainly contradictory aphorisms, such as commanding the Modern Man to be both a stoic block of wood and sniffling shudder of sensitivity. There were odd brand plugs for Dr. Pepper and Irish Spring as well as a bizarre exhortation to own all of director Michael Mann’s film on Blu Ray.
The internet had no idea what to make of it. The Daily Caller, hearty dollop of cant-infused sour crème fraîche, worried about the STATE OF MASCULINITY. The National Review (of all places) had a pretty great call and response takedown. The San Fransico Chronicle took it a step further with their own regional, super on the nose, “27 Ways To Be A Modern San Francisco Man.” (Sample: 11. Crying isn’t taboo for the modern S.F. man: He’ll gush infinite public tears when he finds out the guy he wrote off at the incubator got more startup funding than he did.)
Late Tuesday night, word flashed across the nation’s sports minded smartphones that the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose would be shortly heading into surgery, this time to repair a fractured orbital bone in his face which was broken by a teammate’s accidental elbow. There is no timetable for his return, though he may be ready to go by the Bulls’ season opener on October 27 against LeBron and the Cavs. For NBA fans, this news felt right in line with the sui generis life of Rose, a player of incredible talent who has an equally incredible knack for hurting himself.
Elbows– both errant and intentional– literally abound on basketball courts across the country. Charles Barkley preferred a classic swing; Oscar Robertson threw them with his legs; Kevin Garnett is lucky his face wasn’t six inches to his left when Vince Carter threw his in the form of a fist after completing one of the most incredible plays ever in basketball. Dudes named Big A, Sarge, E, and Trey still and will always swing them at neighborhood Friday night runs, their courts lit through a haze of bugs by jaundiced cones of light.
On Tuesday, Adrian Wojnaroski and the wonderfully named Shams Charania reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves reached an agreement with 2013 number one NBA draft pick Anthony Bennett to buy out the remainder of his contract. Read Woj’s post for all the salary cap mumbo-jumbo, but the gist is that Bennett will now go on waivers and if no one claims him, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
From the first moment of his first pro summer league game, Bennett struggled with his weight, his shooting, even his NBA plausibility. The pall of Bill Simmons’ whoa weighed so heavily on him that ahistorical assertions that no one outside of Cleveland thought Bennett was even a top 10 quality pick would be widely accepted– even unnoticed– today if not for the crack gumshoes at Deadspin holding tight to reality.
It’s a lot of fun to dump on Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia 76ers, just like it’s a lot of fun to dump on Donald Trump. Both are ridiculous on their face, yet seem protected by impenetrable bubbles (Trump: money/racism/self-esteem?, 76ers: process/process/process) that give them an unearned self-assurance that makes them ripe for mockery. Put another way, they both have naturally punchable faces.
Yet unlike Trump, Hinkie and the 76ers also seem to cast a weird magic over the press that sometimes makes their eyes twitch and pupils dilate and before thinking something like, “You know, maybe the 76ers do have it all figured out.”
Look at this Deadspin headline: