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The Nets: Putin Russia back in Order

December 22, 2011

As Mason so clearly demonstrated in his recent post, the New Jersey Nets are the primordial slime of a league that is trying its best to alienate its non-owner stakeholders (i.e., the 99%).  I could put #Occupy_NBA or something similar, but I won’t.  I should put #Occupy_NJ_Nets, since their atrocious performance begs for intervention more than Wall Street.  A new, major development has occurred that threatens to give the NJ Nets a positive image—well, at least here in the US.

Picture an autocratic society in which citizens fear the regime, where “special” takes on a new meaning—connections to wealth, jobs, a Mercedes—and sleaze reigns.  Picture cynicism so massive that the leadership feels confident in merely shuffling the top positions around with a mere semblance of an election.  Picture a society with food so bad that elites go to the UK to shop and eat at restaurants.

In fairness, that last point is couched within the greater wealth that said elite possesses and tries to shelter in the UK.  However, the point remains:  picture a society, fractured, with deep structural issues and a bleak future.  Welcome to Russia.

Добро пожаловать в Россию

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Locked Out of Reality

November 16, 2011

NBA players are lazy. You’ve heard that before, right?

Bad time for a nap, bud.

That’s an issue for another post, but in the middle of an increasingly nasty lockout that threatens to wipe out an entire season, we might as well be frank about the situation.

Right now, the NBA owners are the lazy ones. Let me explain.

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Love Hertz: The Danger of High Frequency Ball

November 9, 2011

Hey there, casual basketball fan. Quick: estimate the amount of time it would take you (yes, you) to score 320 points if you were left completely undefended on a basketball court. It’s no simple exercise, is it?

Now, estimate how long it would take the 1990-1991 opening night versions of the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors to score 320 total points.

Time’s up: 48 minutes.

That’s right, a point every nine seconds. The final score was 162-158, and they didn’t need overtime. And they did it with relatively poor combined three-point shooting (six-for-seventeen).

No time for halftime.

November 2, 1990

It was the opening night of the season that would make Michael Jordan a first-time NBA champion. It was also three months to the day since Iraq had invaded Kuwait, at least partly a result of Saddam Hussein’s frustration with Kuwaiti overproduction of oil and subsequent oil price declines.

Saddam Hussein probably didn’t care much about basketball, but overproduction was the word that night back in the United States, as the Nuggets and Warriors ran up and down the court filling a box score with statistical absurdities.

Fast breaks are for the Kurds!

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NBA 2K12: A review…

October 4, 2011

…of its claim to authoritativeness.

(For stars and rating, read on.)

Julius “Dr. J” Erving.  Earvin “Magic” Johnson.  Larry Bird.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  Michael Jordan.  These faces and more stare out in carefully wrought pixels as they move lithely around computer-generated opponents and complete signature moves.  Ahh, the power of 2K12, the newest in a vaunted line of basketball video games, which hits stores today.

NBA 2K12:  a new height in sports gaming.  At HT, we have (non-) exclusive access to parts of the game that any fan who has visited the NBA 2K12 site has seen.  How dare we make the claim, then, that this is a review?  Simple:  this is a review of the claim that the game makes, viz., that  NBA 2K12 will solve, finally, the question of which team is the greatest.  A large claim and one that, I daresay, a reader will agree makes HT’s claim seem less preposterous.  How can a game make a claim of such import?  Let us enter the game and review its pretension fully.

NBA 2K12 cover

His Airness—the greatest of all time?

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The Bro’s Bowl: Rick Fox v. Doug Christie

October 1, 2011

From popular movements for world peace, we move now to legendary violence and earth-shattering brawls of the titans! Well, a slapfight of the titans, anyways.

Rick Fox and Doug Christie. Not your father’s heavyweights, eh?

How much is Keon Clark (background) loving this? Over. And. Over.

Throughout the peak of the Kings-Lakers rivalry of the early 2000s, these two were never more than the fourth option on their respective teams, but somehow their ongoing personal rivalry came to summarize much of the team-level conflict – they hated each other, weren’t going home without making that clear, and never really settled it definitively.

There isn’t enough video of the post-ejection fight in the Staples Center locker room tunnel to declare a winner, and more importantly, we at HT have adopted the philosophy of Metta World Peace, so we’re going to resort to calling this one by what’s measurable, judging the winner based not on violent capability, but rather on widely-respected qualities of well-rounded citizens of our fine country. Mr. Peace would be proud.

The end of an NBA career tends to bifurcate players into two groups: those who fatten slowly and leave their legacy at that, and those who have unfinished business, quite literally. Christie and Fox both landed in the latter, with money yet to be made via fame and fashion, and starting directly after The Punch, we evaluate their respective claims to shame.

First, the rules, as agreed upon by the judges:

  1. Best of five match, with categories to be decided at random.
  2. Substance bans will be enforced, with special attention paid to Axe sprays and hair gels.
  3. In the event of a tied match, Robert Horry will be the deciding factor.
  4. Appealing the judges’ decisions is not worth the time.

And so it begins…

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The Artest formerly known as…

September 23, 2011

What is in a name?

A rose by any other

Name would smell as sweet.

Mr. Shakespeare would, I hope, forgive me for manipulating a famous line from Romeo and Juliet into a haiku.  The question, though, remains the same:  what is in a name?  Ron Artest’s recent name change raises this question afresh and places it alongside weighty (international) news matters, such as the fate of the Palestinian state, the euro (€) crisis, and what Lady Gaga’s latest hairstyle will be.  (Note to readers:  we will generally refer to the former Ron Artest as “Mr. Artest” in order to facilitate a flowing prose.)

Metta World Peace.  Say that ten times fast.  You thought I spoke lightly about international, eh?  The former Mr. Artest is reaching for the heights of history with his new name as he attempts to inspire others to fraternity (in the gender-neutral sisterhood-brotherhood sense).  According to the Los Angeles Times, “Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others.”  Indeed, Buddhism has been known (anecdotally) to reform people:  the great Maurya king Ashoka (अशोक), whose lion symbol the Republic of India now proudly uses, supposedly converted to Buddhism after a horrific war.  Let’s dig deeper into the name change and all the implications therein.

Malice at the Palace

The new paragon of peace?!

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The Order of Things

September 7, 2011

Like no other professional sports league, the NBA has been dominated by major market teams. The Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls account for nearly two-thirds of all NBA championships. Three teams, 63% market share.

This was never as evident, at least during my lifetime, as it was during the 1990s, when the Chicago Bulls laid waste to the hopes and dreams of millions of fans of the little guys. Year after year, if Michael Jordan was playing, the Bulls were going home with the trophy. Why bother?

We up, bro?...Yeah, we're up.

They were steamrollers, the keepers of the The System while the Lakers and Celtics cleaned up the mess from their arms race of the prior decade.

The Bulls were the Illuminati and the World Bank and Goldman Sachs and NAFTA distilled into a 12-man roster, and it made for a generally oppressive but ultimately stable and predictable Eastern Conference.

But in 1998, Jordan retired, Scottie Pippen was traded to the Rockets, Dennis Rodman was released, and a void formed at the top. When power structures become uncertain, the unexpected is certain, and with the hegemonic Bulls removed from the picture, the conference’s trod-upon franchises sensed opportunity.

The last shot of the Bulls era. A haze was already descending on the east.

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