Friday, October 31, 2008

Makings Of A Sports Fan

My post today will serve as an introduction, as I am new to the Jockstrap family. I thought it would be both insightful and helpful to the readers of this blog if each of you knew a little more about me and what makes me tick as a sports fan. I am a long time Celtics, Mets, and Bears fan. I have often had to defend my status as a fan of these franchises over the years and I will do so now in hopes that I will never have to be accused of being a bandwagon jumper (in the case of the Celtics winning a championship last year, and the Bears going to the Super Bowl two years ago) or a retard (in the case of the Mets, Bears, and Celtics sucking it up for the better part of two decades).

I proceed with a brief life history in hopes of defending my teams:

It was September 1985. I was nine years old and in the autumn of my youth. Before this time I had never had any real interest in sports, but as my interest grew I was forced into picking a team, as it is not customary in our Country to watch sports without first choosing sides. At this time of year the NFL was starting up and as I surveyed the teams available to me it was evident that one stood out from the rest. The 1985 Chicago Bears were known for their swarming often stifling defense. I had never seen anything like the Bear’s defense before and am comfortable saying that I have never seen anything like it since. Watch the Bears perform “The Super Bowl Shuffle” and tell me that in the infancy of rap music that wasn’t the sweetest thing you had ever seen, I defy you. I watched the Bears dismantle opponents throughout the season and then shut out the competition in the playoffs until reaching Super Bowl XX on January 26, 1986 where they destroyed the Patriots 46-10. Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, William “the Refrigerator” Perry, Jim McMahon, Willie Gault, and Walter Payton; there was so much to love about this team and I have to admit, I was hooked from the word go.

When football was over I discovered that the NBA was already in full swing. Basketball is the love of my life. It’s true I’ve had affairs with other sports (damn you volleyball), but basketball has always held my love and forgiven my cheating heart. Right away I was forced to look at the Utah Jazz as a possible team worthy of my undying loyalty, as I live in Utah and it always makes it easier if you root for the home team. Bobby Hansen, Carey Scurry, Pace Mannion, and Marc Iavaroni should speak volumes as to why I did not choose the Jazz as my team. If you need more evidence as to why I did not choose to root for the Jazz, check out Karl Malone’s draft day suit. ‘Nuff said. There was a team however that peaked my interests right away. The 1985/86 Boston Celtics had it all. My mom is from Ireland so being half Irish I was instantly drawn to the shamrocks, Lucky the Leprechaun, and the beautiful green and white uniforms. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Dennis Johnson, and a 67-15 regular season record all made the Celtics an easy choice for me. Bird was magnificent winning his third straight MVP award in ’86 and when the C’s won the Championship in June I was instantly made a fan for life.

Baseball started in April of 1986. The New York Mets were brash, over confident, and extremely talented. They talked the talk, but then they definitely walked the walk. Doc Gooden was awesome (damn you cocaine), Darryl Strawberry was unstoppable (damn you cocaine), Keith Hernandez was Keith Hernandez (damn you molestache), and Lenny Dykstra was “Nails”. 108-54 was a totally dominate regular season record, they played well in the playoffs, got a little lucky (thank you Bill Buckner), and won the Championship in October 1986 making them my favorite baseball team and giving me the 1986 Championship Holy Trinity of the Bears, the Celtics, and the Mets. You see, I had no choice in the matter. Because 1986 was the year of my sports enlightenment, and because I had no way of knowing what the next twenty plus years would bring, my hand was forced. Boyd is my little brother so he had no choice either because we all know that it is the order of the universe that a little brother must do whatever his older brother says or suffer the consequences.

So there you have it. Twenty-two years ago I made my choices and I have never looked back. I have suffered greatly because of my teams (why did you have to die Reggie Lewis—damn you again cocaine! DAMN YOU!!), and I have had a few great moments (thank you KG and Ray Allen, thank you), but through it all I have never jumped off of a sinking ship and the only championship bandwagon on to which I have ever jumped were the wagons belonging to the three sweet champions of 1986 and then, I was only a foolish kid with stars in my eyes and my whole life ahead of me. Can anyone blame me for that?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Greatest Hair in Sports

It's an addiction - I can't stop harping on hair. It's probably because I don't have any at this point in my life. First it was facial hair. Today I set out to do a Best Athlete Mullets column, but in the process of developing the post I found that I would be limiting a deep talent pool if I limited the list to mullets. The post evolved into something along the lines of Greatest Hair in Sports. I don't really know what else to call it. For this project, greatest will be assessed according to a few variables: innovation, style, longevity, flexibility, ridiculousness, and generally adding to the aura or greatness of the athlete’s legacy. I have decided not to sort this list into any specific order, but would appreciate any feedback on who deserves the top spot (including any I may have missed). I have tried to represent each major sport here.

Tiger Woods
It looks like Tiger is attempting some type of leopard or jaguar pattern with this spotted mane. I'm surprised he didn't dye a Nike swoosh into the side of his head.

Deion Sanders
Deion’s early hair style is in the vein of the 40-year-old virgin, A.C. Green, but Deion gets the pub here because of his swagger. Combine this amazing jheri curl with bling, a rap video, and great dancing, and Prime Time is in a class of his own. Deion even attempted to turn the jheri curl into a mullet, with mixed results.

Andre Agassi
Thick and lustrous, Andre Agassi had hair that most women would kill for. He quickly became a star in the tennis world, in no small part due to his beautiful locks. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Andre began to lose his hair and he now sports the shaved look. It seems that Agassi was a reverse-Sampson – after shaving his head he won 6 of his 8 Grand Slams. However, this should not put a damper on the legacy of his earlier hairstyle.

Jaromir Jagr
This mullet is flat out spectacular. From the way he puffed it up in the front like women used to do in the mid-80s (and the way southern women still do) to the slicked back sides, Jagr’s hair curtain is tremendous. Words cannot do it justice, so I’ll let this picture do the talking.

Oscar Gamble
How Oscar managed to somehow smash this fro into a baseball cap is beyond me. It is unfortunate that baseball players are required to wear hats because this hair deserved to be celebrated and unleashed. Gamble’s fro was innovative and stylish while maintaining longevity as a style to be reckoned with for years to come.

Scott Pollard
Pollard has had so many hairstyles that a list could be composed of the best hairdos of Scott Pollard. This particular one will suffice for this post, but please recognize the creativity of this man. He has gone blonde, bald, Mohawk, and long, all while being just as creative with his facial hair. Pollard truly is a forerunner.

Dennis Rodman
The Worm gets some love here for being a harbinger. I remember playing NBA Live 96 and wondering what color of hair Rodman would have each game. Rodman’s hair transcends basketball in that it, combined with his ridiculous antics, made him a household name.

Larry Bird
I can’t go without mentioning Larry on this list. Larry’s hair was similar to his game in certain respects: fundamental, not too flashy, unattractive, yet surprisingly impressive. Bird’s hair only adds to his greatness – he looks like the last guy you’d choose in a pickup game (if he weren’t 6-9, but you get the gist) but he’d light you up all game long and tell you about it the entire time.

Mel Kiper
Kiper’s perfectly sculpted hair is a thing of beauty, rivaled only by Steve Lavin and Pat Riley. Kiper makes the list over those two because of the 90210-esque height obtained on the front wave. Mel’s hair allows him to be relevant more than one day a year.

Alexi Lalas
I am not a soccer fan. In fact, I hate the sport. That said, soccer brings a tremendous wealth of ridiculous hairdos to choose from for this list. I eventually went with Lalas because of the combination great hair-great goatee. The fact that both are the same exact shade of red is also impressive.

Dr. J

Julius Erving rocked an amazing afro. Long, supple, buoyant, and versatile, the Dr. J fro paved the way for players such as Ben Wallace and Josh Childress, who sport afros that are nowhere near the quality of Erving’s.

Randy Johnson
I have to use the obvious joke here and mention The Big Unit's shlong (short in front - long in the back). Randy presents with a stellar mullet that is a bit longer on the sides than the traditional mullet. This provides added versatility – the sides are more easily slicked back for black tie affairs, such as the ESPY’s. The fact that his tress also happens to be quite curly adds to the look.

Pedro Martinez
Pedro combined the Holy Trinity of hairstyles in his early career, bringing a Dominican flair to the afro/mullet/jheri curl combination. You can’t tell me that standing in the box with Pedro on the mound sporting that triad wouldn’t intimidate the crap out of you. How else could such a small guy stand on the hill and be considered a power pitcher? What a weapon.

Rick Fox
Quite possibly the most impressive follicular specimen on this list, Rick Fox is flat out beautiful. Or so I have been told. I know his ex-wife is beautiful. Anyone who appears to use more hair products than his beauty queen wife must be included. Plus he’s gorgeous.

Brian Bosworth
The coiffure of the Boz was astounding. Bosworth is like Scott Pollard in the sense that each was able to consistently show up with any hairstyle and have it be impressive. Plus, the Boz was one of many Seattle Seahawks draft picks to never pan out. As a Seattle fan, he holds a special place in my heart.

Adam Morrison/Steve Nash
Why neither of these two does a shampoo commercial is beyond me. This flowing hairstyle hearkens back to the days of Peter, James, and John. Speaking of Biblical times, I am reminded of Songs of Solomon 4:1 – “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.” I don’t know what that means, but I respect it.

PlayBoyd is an excellent athlete, no doubt. Try and get through a pick-and-roll with Boyd or defend his unlimited range on the perimeter and tell me he isn’t an athletic exemplar. It can’t be done. Add to that a frohawk-substantial beard combination that makes him look like a serial killer and screams intimidation, and Boyd is nigh unstoppable.

NBA Teams and Sessy, Sessy Ladies (And Maybe One Or Two Not So Sessy)

We here at the Jockstrap are not in the job of trying to titillate or arouse. That just ain't our thang. But today, I was thinking to myself "Self, if the Celtics were a woman, who would they be?" Why was I thinking that to myself? Lord only knows. So, here is my list comparing NBA teams and sessy, sessy ladies. Note: If your team isn't included here, it is probably because it isn't good enough to be compared, or bad enough to be made fun of. (see Pacers, Indiana). Again, the purpose here is comparison, not necessarily to act like all of the horny dudes in the blogging world.

Los Angeles Lakers: Jessica Alba
The Lakers are the hottest of the hot right now, just like Alba. They have star power, and everyone wants a piece of them. They really don't have any visible flaws. They have a great starting lineup, probably the deepest bench in the league, a great coach, and Kobe Bryant. But, like Alba, they really haven't done anything of substance yet. Sure, they got to the Finals last year, and Alba has had a hit TV show. (see Angel, Dark) Is that really anything to brag about? Both are wildly popular, but until the Lakers make that next step, they will be like Alba, all hotness, but still waiting for that big role.

Boston Celtics: Halle Berry
The Celtics and Berry are the best around right now. The C's won the trophy last year, and Berry won Esquire's most beautiful person in the world award. Both are starting to age, but like a fine wine, seem to get better the older they get. The Celtics have style and substance, flash and grit. Berry has beauty and brains, and has won an Oscar for her acting ability. The Celtics were bad for a number of years, Berry was married to a total douche bag. (see Justice, David)

San Antonio Spurs: Jennifer Aniston
The Spurs, like Aniston, are starting to get older and break down, but still are firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of NBA power/hotness. Aniston has not had much big screen success, but she did have a huge TV show you may have heard of called Friends. The Spurs have never won back-to-back titles, but they have 4 in the last 9 seasons. The Spurs are going to go through a rough patch to start the season without Manu Ginobili, just as Aniston is constantly going through rough patches in her personal life (see Mayer, John), but both will bounce back and be top notch by the end of the year.

New Orleans Hornets: Natalie Portman
The Hornets have arrived and are certainly near the top of the league, just like Portman is no longer an up-and-comer, but has arrived as an actress and sessie lady. Both still have plenty of room to grow. The Hornets can contend for the title for years to come, and Portman could, with the right role, land an Oscar. Both have had moments of stinking it up. The Hornets gave the Spurs the conference semis last year, and Portman was in the 3 horrible movies (see Prequel, Star Wars). If you thought those movies were good, you are a retard. (Someone had to say it, those movies sucked nards)

Utah Jazz: Debra Messing
Here me out on this one. The Jazz are a great team, with a ton of talent and depth. They have great coaching and improving youth. But something is missing and I don't think they can overcome their shortcomings without help. Same for Messing. She is a very talented actress, beautiful and charming. However, there is something holding her back and I predict she will never land the big role. Just like a trade could help the Jazz, there is outside help that Messing could seek that could put her into the hotness stratosphere. (see Jobs, Nose and Boob)

Detroit Pistons: Rosie O'Donnell
The Pistons aren't any fun to watch, but you can't deny they get the job done and have been completely successful. You keep thinking (and probably hoping) that they will go away and die, but they don't. Same with Rosie. She ain't pretty and she ain't hot, but she sure is successful. You thought she was gone after her talk show ended, but nope, then she was on The View giving housewives ideas on how to revolt against their husbands and duking it out with Donald Trump. She's gone for now, but will be back, you can count on it. I'm guessing that only people from Detroit like the Pistons, but I could be wrong. I could be wrong about the only segment of people that I think like Rosie as well. (see Lesbians, Total)

Houston Rockets: Britney Spears
Don't call it a comeback. I saw Britney Spears recently, and I have to say wow. She's actually starting to look good again. She's fatally flawed, of course, but if she can recapture her looks maybe she can be relevant again. The Rockets are similar. They have lost in the first round for like 10 straight years, but now, with a little help from Ron Artest, they should make that streak end. But just like you know something will eventually derail Britney Spears (see Daniels, Jack) you know something will eventually derail the Rockets. (see Artest, Ron)

Phoenix Suns: Lindsay Lohan
Phoenix remains an intriguing team, but realistically, they aren't going to contend for the title. They made too many bad transactions, the worst being letting Joe Johnson sign with the Hawks. Add in the Shaq trade, trading away Rajon Rondo, that Spaniard for the Trailblazers whose name slips me at the moment, and re-signing Boris Diaw, and Suns fans should be filled with regret. You get the same feeling when you think of Lohan. Is she still hot? Yes. Does she still have acting talent? Maybe. However, bad decisions (see panties, not wearing), drugs, and a bad family have probably cost her a shot as a legitimate actress. The moment was there for each of these, but has now passed.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Jennifer Lopez
The Cavs and J-Lo are still hot, but they both really only have one thing going for them. But that one thing is amazing. The Cavs have LeBron James, the best player in the league, and Jennifer Lopez has her amazing pillow, er butt. Sure, J-Lo has an otherwise nice face and overall beauty, and LeBron has a few good pieces around him in Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskus, but they also have negative things that cannot be overlooked. (see Anthony, Mark and Brown, Mike)

Dallas Mavericks: Heather Locklear
Oh, the past. Dallas was just one game away from being the Champs a few short years ago, but now it looks as if that won't happen any time soon. And poor Heather Locklear. Even 2 years ago she still looked amazing. But have you seen her lately? Looks like someone used her all up and threw her out to die. (see Sambora, Richie). Both should still be respected for past performance, but rather than fade gracefully, it appears that both are destined to crash and burn.

Denver Nuggets: Fergie
Both of these have the ability to excite. Both have some undeniable talent. But just as Denver really only has 2 things going for it in AI and Carmello Anthony, Fergie only has 2 good things going for her. I'll leave what those things are up to your powers of deduction. Let's just say Fergie is the ultimate butterface. She's got the body, but if you ever get a look at her face, you'll see that the years and some past decisions have not been kind to her. (see amphetamine, meth)

Los Angeles Clippers: Anna Nicole Smith
The Clips seem to have a lot of the requisite parts for success. They have the talented point guard, Baron Davis, some good young wings, Al Thornton and Eric Gordon, good bigs Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby. It won't work, though. They are the Clippers after all. They are, like Anna Nichole Smith a hot, hot mess. Smith had the beauty and the body, the successful modelling career,etc, but she was just too damned stupid for her own good. Did you ever see her show? Wow. Talk about train wreck.Looks like the Clippers are headed back where they belong (see Lottery, NBA Draft).

New York Knicks: Angela Lansbury
Yes, I'm comparing the Knicks to an old fart grandma who starred in Murder, She Wrote. I'm not even sure Angela Landsbury is still alive frankly, and I'm pretty sure the Knicks aren't far from death either. The Knicks, like Lansbury, have never been sexy, not even during the Ewing years when they played an effective, but unwatchable brand of basketball. If I were a Knicks fan, I don't know what I'd do. (see Empire State Building, Leap From)

I could go on and on, but hope, as usual, that you will come up with some and comment on the article. I've gotta give a shout out to my man Rich. His perverted mind was a great aid in coming up with this posting. You can read him here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NBA Predictions

With the NBA season around the corner, it’s prediction time.

Atlantic Division:
It’s pretty clear that the Celtics are the frontrunner in this division. Rondo is severely underrated and the Big Three play off of each other better than most people expected. KG is still the best big man in basketball and Paul Pierce has been underrated for a long time (I will assume that has changed after last year). The Celtics might be pushed by two division foes, Philadelphia and Toronto. How will Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal fare together? If those two mesh well, with Calderon distributing the ball, Toronto can pose an interesting challenge to the Celts. The Sixers have a solid nucleus with Dalembert and Brand up front and Andre Miller and Iguodala on the perimeter. The Celtics will win the division, but Toronto and Philly might make things interesting.

Central Division:

I like Cleveland to win this division even though the Pistons have won six of the last seven division titles. The Cavs continue to show their toughness in the playoffs and it will finally translate to a more consistent regular season this year. Mo’ Williams was a good pickup for this team and losing Larry Hughes only makes them better. The Cavs are above average defensively and are a great rebounding team, both antidotes to solving the Pistons. I also think that the Cavs will trade Wally Szczerbiak and his expiring contract for some help, which will get them over the hump that is the Pistons. The other three teams in this division suck, but I’ll be interested to watch the progress of Derrick Rose. Rose is amazingly athletic and if he develops a better midrange game he can be dangerous.

Southeast Division:

This division is tough because Orlando, Washington, and Atlanta can all be good this year. It seems the trendy pick is Orlando, but I’m predicting the Hawks to put it together and pull off the division title. Joe Johnson took a step back last year, but he began to get back to form at the end of the season. With more time playing next to Bibby, Johnson will have a big season. Added to that are the constantly improving Al Horford and Josh Smith. Atlanta is the pick because I don’t see Orlando and Washington improving much, if at all. This division has many points of interest: Will D-Wade stay healthy? How good will Michael Beasley be? What will Arenas do to improve his already stellar track record of awesomeness? Will Caron Butler start to be recognized as one of the best players in the league?

Eastern Conference Finals:
Celtics over Cavaliers. The Cavs are a tremendously tough playoff out, as they proved last year. James will put up some big numbers, but so will Pierce and the Big Ticket. Boston will knock Cleveland out of the playoffs again, this time in the conference finals.

Northwest Division:
The Jazz will win this division and it won’t be all that close. The Nuggets will drop off this year, the Wolves are a few years away, and the Nothing Interesting Geographically About Us's suck. The Trail Blazers might do some good things this year, and could very well win an NBA title in the near future, but they probably won’t fully put it together this year. The Jazz are stacked and experienced. Deron Williams is in the discussion for best point guard in the league, Boozer is a brute, Okur drives a yellow Ferrari Maranello, and AK 47 does a little bit of everything, including one woman a year as approved by his wife. What holds the Jazz back is their interior defense. Okur can defend occasionally, and Boozer plays matador defense. If the Jazz improve in this area they could legitimately challenge for the NBA Championship.

Pacific Division:

The Lakers are the class of the Pacific, with the only potential challenge coming from the Suns. The Suns-Lakers rivalry just keeps getting better, especially with Shaq now added to the mix. Amare was ridiculous toward the end of last season and could lead the league in scoring this year, and Nash is still a top 3 or 4 point guard. But the Lakers are just too talented and deep. Kobe, Odom, Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is a pretty sick quartet. Add to that Fisher, Farmar, Vujabic, Walton, and Ariza, and you have an impressively deep team. The Lakers are the class of the division - and the conference.

Southwest Division:

This is the toughest division to forecast. How will the Rockets fare? Will T-Mac or Yao actually stay healthy? Will Artest fit in well? Can the Spurs bounce back? Are the Hornets just a flash in the pan? Will Kidd finally mesh with the rest of the Mavs and give them a chance to take the division? My gut tells me to pick the Spurs, but I’m going to ignore it and go with the Hornets. I just can’t pick the Spurs with Ginobili out for a while. New Orleans will again be good and Chris Paul is expanding what is expected of point guards in the NBA because he does everything. I kept waiting for this team to fall off last year but it never happened. They got needed playoff experience and will again make a nice run.

Western Conference Finals:
Lakers over Jazz. I like the Spurs to be the toughest matchup for the Lake Show, but that will happen in the second round after New Orleans wins the division. I am predicting the Lakers to be the top seed in the West and have the homecourt, which is especially valuable in this matchup. The Jazz match up well with the Lakers and have experience, but in the end Kobe returns to the Finals.

NBA Finals:
Celtics over Lakers. I go with Boston to repeat for several reasons. The last team to win the NBA championship after losing in the Finals in the previous season was the 1989 Detroit Pistons, and I don’t expect L.A. to buck the trend. Kobe is attempting to play out an entire season with an injured finger. How will Bynum fit into an offense that worked so well without him last year? The Celtics showed their mettle last season by winning two game sevens and then beating Pistons and Lakers teams that many thought would win each series, and Boston is better defensively and on the glass than are the Lakers. The Celtics will hang another banner in the rafters.

League MVP:
LeBron James. LeBron is off the charts statistically, and with the help of Mo Williams this season the Cavs will win the Central Division. James just keeps getting better and the sky is the limit - which is insane. James will beat out Kobe and Paul to win the MVP this year.

Best rookie:

Greg Oden. He won’t win the rookie of the year award (Beasley’s stats will be too impressive), but he’s a game changer on both ends of the court. Oden is a tremendous rebounder and shot blocker with an expanding offensive game. He’s going to score in double figures just off of offensive rebounds, so what happens when he develops more of a post repertoire? He’ll take his licks early, but Oden has already proved that he responds to challenges: He went for 25 and 12, with 4 blocks in the NCAA Championship game against Joakim Noah and Al Horford, both lottery picks. Oden is the real deal.

Breakout Star:

Al Thornton. Thornton put up 12.7 ppg and 4.5 rpg as a rookie last year, and with Corey Maggette moving to Golden State, Thornton’s game and numbers will improve. Of course, this is assuming that he gets some touches while playing next to a chucker like Baron Davis.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Welcome Jim

We have felt the need to expand and as such the Strap would like to welcome our newest addition to our team, Jim. Jim has already posted a few times here, and has much to add to this site.

See, in life there are a few things you simply cannot deny. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Aaron Hielman will cost the Mets 10 wins per season. Jim is a true hero.

Jim has saved drowning infants twice. Jim once scored 60 points in a basketball game. Jim once lived in Pittsburgh and didn't ever want to kill himself. If you've seen the women of Pittsburgh, you'd know that alone is the very definition of heroism. Jim uses the most heroic of speech, lifting a common story into a yarn of epic proportions. Jim once ate a whole cow.

You don't think eating a whole cow is heroic? Have you ever had to eat a cow vertabrae or a cow bladder? Only a true hero could ingest these most unsavory of items. Cow scrotum? Hero.

Welcome, Jim. I know that you will soon be adding more than Taylor, and probably not long therafter, me :)

(In adding a photo of John McCain I am in no way endorsing him as anyting other than and American Hero. Like Jim.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Best Nicknames in Sports

So, PlayBoyd is a bit of a comparison slut. I’m good with that – I’d actually send some compensation his direction if I could. I, on the other hand, compromise my integrity in the form of lists. I make lists of everything and can pull out a top ten list of just about anything pretty quickly. The list might suck, but I'll attempt it anyway. Speaking of PlayBoyd, I love a good nickname. Sports has always been great for nicknames, but there are too many lackluster nicknames out there right now. We don’t even bother to be creative anymore: A-Rod, K-Rod, KG, LT, TO, T-Mac. I know Chris Berman (love him or hate him) is a big proponent of the nickname, and he attempts to be clever, but we need more forerunners in coming up with some good ones. So, it’s list time. I offer up the Ten Best Nicknames in Sports. “Best” is defined by one thing: what I feel deserves mention, and this list is not confined to current sports stars. That said, I’m sure I missed some, so please feel free to add to the list.

10. The Nigerian Nightmare
Anyone who has played Tecmo Super Bowl knows all about Chrisian Okoye, the Nigerian Nightmare. Boyd, in recognizing the dominance that is Okoye, wrote this: “I will actually purposefully run at the defenders to watch them bounce off Okoye like bullets off Superman.” The nickname is just top notch.

9. Vanilla Sky
Joe Alexander, recently drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, has been dubbed Vanilla Sky because of his leaping ability (or as my boy Stuart Scott would say, his mad ups) and his vast Whiteness, both of which are very impressive. I hope Alexander makes it in this league just for this nickname.

8. The Mailman
This is actually one of the worst nicknames of all time. I just put it on this list so that I could point that out. I grew up around Jazz fans who thought that this nickname was the shiz, but it isn’t. It’s stupid. A bunch of my friends looked at Karl Malone as their hero. Malone was a great player, but he was no hero. To quote Stephen King: "Any fool with fast hands can grab a tiger by the balls, but it takes a hero to keep squeezing." Malone would never keep squeezing - he would let the boys slip out of his grasp just when it got important. I can’t believe The Mailman stuck. The Jazz have had some great nicknames in the past – The Pasty Gangster (Stockton), Horny (Hornacek), and AK-47 (Kirilenko) – but The Mailman just isn’t one of them. Plus his hand behind the head dunk was gay. I commend Jim for making fun of it when he gets the chance. Well done.

7. The Refrigerator
At one point William Perry was pushing 4 bills. What better nickname for a fat guy than the refrigerator? I’m sure someone can come up with one, but I can’t. Mike Ditka putting Perry in the backfield was just pure genius. Who could have tackled the Fridge? But after seeing Manute Bol kick Perry’s ace in a celebrity boxing match, I’m guessing he may not be as difficult to bring down as I originally thought. As a side note, why does the word fridge have a d in it but refrigerator doesn’t? Just curious…

6. He Hate Me
The only memorable thing to come out of the XFL is Rod Smark, aka, He Hate Me. Who else has made such an impact just because of a nickname? Smart never really did anything special, but almost everyone knows who he is just because of the nickname. Mark Cuban spun the nickname into He Fine Me because of the gross sums of money Cuban was required to pay the NBA due to fines.

5. The Truth
There really isn’t much to say about this nickname other than it is awesome. Paul Pierce is the truth. Anyone who has been stabbed 11 times and appeared in a 504 Boyz music video must be the truth. Plus the nickname was given to him by the Shaq Diesel. On March 13, 2001, the Lakers beat the Celtics 112-107 and Pierce dropped 42 in the game. After the game, Shaq pulled a Boston reporter aside and said: "Take this down. My name is Shaquille O'Neal, and Paul Pierce is the motherf***ing truth. Quote me on that, and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth." When the Diesel says that about someone, how can we doubt?

4. Agent Zero/Hibachi
Gilbert Arenas might be the most awesome player in the NBA. He has generally been known as Agent Zero, but Arenas has begun to yell out “hibachi” in games when he gets hot (fyi, hibachi translates to “bowl of fire” and is a reference to the Japanese grill). After hitting a game-winning three against the Bucks in 2007, Arenas was asked if he yelled out hibachi. He replied, that he didn’t, but “my swag was phenomenal.” Classic. Arenas has been quoted as saying that he would hang 84 or 85 on Duke if he could play against Shishefski’s team. Agent Zero has admitted to occasionally playing video poker at halftime of games. Arenas even told Esquire magazine that while on a team road trip, he bought a Colon Cleanser off of an infomercial while the rest of the team was out on a team outing. You can’t make this stuff up. Arenas is a well of greatness that, I can only hope, will never dry up.

3. The Human Victory Cigar
The shame of Darko Milicic may never end. Darko was given this nickname when playing for Larry Brown in Detroit. Because he was often the last man off the bench and only got playing time when the Pistons had an insurmountable lead, Darko became known as the Human Victory Cigar. Whoever came up with that is brilliant.

2. Basketball Jesus
Larry Bird was more commonly known as Larry Legend or The Hick From French Lick, but he was coined Basketball Jesus by one of his apostles, ESPN’s Bob Simmons. Growing up as a Lakers fan made it tough for me to like Bird, but learning of his storied trash-talking has vaulted him to one of my favorite players of all time. Some brief examples of why Bird is Basketball Jesus: Late in a game against the Sonics, Bird pointed at a spot on the floor and told Xavier McDaniel that he would hit the game winning shot from that spot. Larry did just that. Before a Celtics-Pacers game on Christmas Day, Basketball Jesus told Chuck Person that he had a Christmas present for him. When Chuck was on the pine running his mouth at Larry, Bird got the ball right in front of the Indiana bench. Larry shot the ball and as soon as the ball was out of his hands, he turned around and said, “Merry F***ing Christmas, Chuck.” The shot swished. Cussing aside, only a Basketball Jesus could pull off such miracles.

1. The Big Unit
This gets the number one spot on my list not just because of its phallic nature, but because it fits Randy. Who else could be called The Big Unit but a man who pushes seven feet, is supremely ugly, and rocks a bad mullet/hair curtain. The Big Unit is my favorite nickname of all time, bar none.

Comparing Nintendo Game Characters and NBA Players

I'm becoming a comparison slut, I'll admit it. For some reason thinking up random crap like this captures my imagination more than writing about the flaws in the BCS or NBA pre-season action. So if you don't like and/or are getting tired of these little exercises, then don't read on. If you like them and this is your first time reading this blog check here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (great looking fish!) I have a confession: I only wish I were a comparison slut. Sluts make money. Here goes.

As I've stated before, I love video games with a deep, burning passion and love that is surpassed only by my love for sheepskin rugs. I lose sleep playing them and dream about them when I am asleep. I think about them while I'm talking to people. I fantasize about them in the bathroom. I also love the NBA. The NBA, like video games is full of heroes and villians. The best and most classic video game characters came from the 8-bit Nintendo so I thought I would take some of the more well known and beloved Nintendo characters and compare them to my favorite/least favorite NBA ballers.

Mario-Allen Iverson
Mario and Allen are more alike than appears at first glance. Both are elder statesmen of their professions. AI might not like to practice much, but like Mario, come game time, he gives 100 percent effort night in and night out. Both can jump out of the gym and both love bricks. Mario likes to break them with a fist for 100 points, and Allen loves to toss them at the basket (career 42.6%FG shooting). You might think that character-wise, these two are completetly different, but really they aren't. Both love the spotlight. After all, Mario has been keeping Luigi down for years. Both are often described as "heroic" and "brave." Both have troubled pasts. Why do you think Mario was chasing after the Princess? To pay off gambling debts is my guess.

Luigi-Andrea Bargnani
Both are big, wimpy Italians. Both are lifetime members of the second fiddle club. Both look like they should be working in a Pizzeria. Luigi has an awesome 'stache, and Bargnani would look 1000 times tougher if he rocked one as well. They are owners of the two wimpiest names in the Italian language. Dudes name is Andrea. The name Luigi strikes fear into the heart of absolutely no one, least of all the Koopa Troopa and those little turtles. (especially the always tricky turtles with wings. I hate those guys!)Haha. Both basically suck.

The Princess-Vince Carter
As we learned in Super Mario Bros. 2, the Princess, like Vince, can literally float on air. You can't beat some of the boards without her, and no conversation about great dunkers would be complete without mention of Vince. Both are very skilled and impressive. But in the end, both are ladies, and as such, have lady-like qualities. Both are basically non-aggresive. The Princess wants to keep her gown clean, and Vince won't hit the floor for that loose ball, his shoes might get scuffed. The Princess is always getting her pretty little ass kidnapped and needs to be resuced. Vince tanked it in Toronto to get rescued from Canada. (not that I can blame him much on that one :)

The Two Dudes From Double Dragon-Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer
What a great game! The premise was simple: Go around and beat the turd out of evil dudes. I can't recall much of the story line, because it wasn't important. What matterted was brute force and strength. Boozer and Williams are the NBA equivalent. They are each 2 of the strongest players at their respective positions, and they love to just ram the ball down the throat of the opposition. Also, I'm guessing they would be good at real fighting. Would you want to fight those two together? Have you heard them on interviews? These two are Serious red-asses people, just like the two dudes from Double Dragon.

Bald Bull-Zach Randolph
Mike Tyson's Punch out is full of amazing characters. My favorite has to be Bald Bull. Bald Bull is big and dumb, but is about 14 times the size of Little Mac. Zach Randolph is also a big, dumb giant. Both have skills. Bald Bull will Bull Charge you to death if you aren't careful, and Randolph has decent offensive skills and surprising range, but once you solve the Bull Charge and realize that you can score twice as many points against Randolph as he can score on you, you are fine.

Bo Jackson-LeBron James
I hate to suck up to LeBron again, since he kind of bugs me, but I have to reiterate that LeBron is the best player in the NBA. Don't give me Kobe Bryant because it just ain't true. LeBron almost leads a band of poo to the Finals every year. Can you imagine subbing him for Kobe on the Lakers? They might not lose a game all season. Bo was the same way on Tecmo Super Bowl. He simply could not be stopped. He was, like LeBron, good for several amazing plays per game. Sure, each had his little flaw, Bo had a low hitting power and you could tackle him if you could catch him (a big if), and LeBron is a suspect outside shooter, but that is like finding a little mole on the ass of the hottest supermodel, you deal with it.

Tetris-Tim Duncan
I know Tetris isn't a character, per se, but you get the point. Both Duncan and Tetris have simple, powerful design. Tim is 7 foot, perfectly built, Tetris has the frame where the thingamajigs drop down. Both have staying power. Both are incredibly dull, yet astoundingly mesmerizing and addictive. You can't stop trying to fit the square in, or the upside down l, and you can't stop being amazed at Duncan's legendary bank skills.

I could go on and on, but hope to get some good comments and analasys of your favorite games.