We were given a lot to eat this weekend . . . the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, Kanye West’s new album and confession of crippling debt, the re-appearance (and ensuing disappearance) of the new Peyton Manning-is-a-weasel-and-bully narratives and the revivification of the NBA Slam Dunk competition.
And of the four, the only one who escapes with his pants on is Aaron Gordon.
Scalia was used tactically in death as he was in life, as a punching bag for the left and idolatry from the right, which reminds us that politics is sports only with less overt money and more overt hatred at stake.
West’s new album broke as he was admitting that he is 50 massive light in the wallet because he fancied himself an entrepreneur as well as an entertainer. In this way, he is Dallas Cowboys general manager Jerry Jones, as opposed to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones or business magnate Jerry Jones. You leave your area of expertise, you’d better be prepared to catch a few knees in the codpiece.
Manning’s pseudo-fall from grace, which if the stories about him are true makes him kind of a Lance Armstrong Lite, reminds us that we don’t know anyone in sports, and the worst people to explain them to us are the media. Those who love mythmaking are liars, those who love spinning a good heroes-and-villains narrative are mostly narcissists for their own storytelling abilities, and those who don’t buy any of it are remorseless cynics who will never be satisfied by anything or anyone.
I now refer you to the title of this squalid little smear on the Internet.
And finally, Aaron Gordon. These are the best days of his life, both before or after, because he can do a Fosbury flop over a team mascot and dunk while playing on a team of which no great demands are made. It will never be this much fun for him to be him again.
So, yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day. Sincerely, Al Capone and Bugs Moran.
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Oh, and serious ups to slam dunk winner Zack LaVine for dedicating the trophy to his late coach, Flip Saunders, because you’ve got to go some ways to find someone he coached who didn’t like him back. If there is a better way to go out . . . well, there isn’t, so stop wondering. And if you do think you know of a better way, then you’ve got shallow down cold.
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While the rest of you are trying to figure out how the Warriors can go 73-9, or 41-0 at home, or 34-7 on the road, here’s your update on whether Stephen Curry’s zenith or Kobe Bryant’s retirement tour is more compelling to the rest of the nation.
Bryant has played 31 road games, and the announced attendance has been 4569 over listed capacity because a number of NBA teams oversell their houses. This is an average of 147 per game. Curry has drawn 2418 over capacity in 28 road dates, an average of 86.
Less scientifically still, Bryant’s three non-sellout road games (Denver, Detroit and Minnesota) have left 2248 unsold tickets, which Curry’s three (two Denvers, one Minnesota) have left 5843 empties.
So Curry either has to become more beloved, or Bryant has to stop playing, because while anyone can make the playoffs, only the precious few can do this (LeBron James, for example, has played eight non-sellouts in 26 dates, which means he’s not even in the conversation). Now if only either one of them could doing a jumping/sitting dunk like Aaron Gordon . . .
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. . . or be taller and uglier yet more lovably ursine, like DeMarcus Cousins. And don’t come after me. Come after him, or at the very least, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
“If you want to have some fun with DeMarcus Cousins, tell him deep down he’s really a softie. A big old teddy bear. Or any other metaphor that’s the opposite of the snarling King on the court.
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Cousins said. Then that smile kicks in. “No I am,” he said. “I really am.”
“I’m an ugly dude,” he said. “I really can’t help how my face looks. You’re just gonna have to take it. Some people like it, some people don’t. It’s just my face.”
“If I was shorter, I don’t think I’d be intimidating,” Cousins said. “They’d be like, ‘That’s a little ugly person.’ Because I’m big, intimidating.”
So yeah, take it up with him.
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And finally, because one should never forget Darryl Sutter as the man who helped make Gregg Popovich possible, discussing Sunday’s 1-0 loss at New Jersey. From the transcript:
On whether he expected a defensive game: “Not really a defensive game. I mean, both teams check really well, and that’s what it was. It wasn’t really defensive. Defense is when you stand in front of your goalie and play in your own zone the whole time. That’s not the case."
On what the Devils did well to frustrate the Kings: "They scored one and we didn’t score any.”
Pop, he sees your election results and raises you basic math.