- With the newfound confidence of a champion,
- Dirk plans to spend the season hurling the ball
- into the face of anybody who stands in his way.
Like the Celtics and the Lakers in the 80s or the Bulls and Jazz in the late 90s, the showdown between these two sides was inevitable. The early headlines, “Hunter-Fisher Rift Comes at Worst Time for Union,” “Heat Owner Fined $500,000 for Tweet,” and “David Stern: the NBA Grinch,” rival the first 3 quarters of any classic NBA game. The suspense is as excruciating as the outcome is important, and as if left without a choice, the eyes of every single fan are locked on to the drama for better or for worse. We are, of course, talking about the 2011 NBA lockout. Meet the starting lineups:
Billy “The Head” Hunter– the executive director of the NBPA , Hunter’s confidence and unwavering confusion has his team standing together, divided. Some say a great leader has the ability to turn vision into reality, and because Hunter envisioned a long, debilitating negotiation that will shorten the NBA season if not cancel it all-together, his greatness will certainly go undebated.
Derek “The Heart” Fisher– the head of the players union and truly the heart of the team, Fisher met accusations of duplicity head on earlier this week head on, calling them defamatory, libelous, and downright deserving of a cockslap. If these negotiations are heading towards a good old fashioned alley-fight, expect Fisher to be the guy standing in front swinging a chain.
Kobe “The Diva” Bryant– when small market teams such as Memphis, Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee lose money on the season, most of it ends up as wallpaper in Kobe Bryant’s guesthouse bathroom. Though unequivocally standing with the players in unity, if this all goes to shit, Kobe’s going to Italy. So, you know, either way.
Dwyane “Don’t Take No Shit” Wade– the bad boy in the starting five, Wade had the gall to stand up to David Stern during an early negotiation between the two sides. His defiant behavior let the owners side know that if they’re gonna take it into the paint, they better go hard.
Baron “The Poet” Davis– a great compliment to “Don’t Take No Shit” Wade, Baron Davis has brought nothing but serenity, good vibes, and a sweet new “urban hipster” look to the table. Negotiations reportedly come to a crawl whenever Davis speaks, as all of his thoughts are accompanied by a bongo, long, silent pauses, and breaks for finger snapping and reflections upon his conclusion.
David “The Grinch” Stern– the commissioner of the NBA and the focal point for any and all frustration one might be feeling as a result of the lockout, Stern has an affinity for understanding the irreparable damage the lockout is doing, yet seems oddly incapable of doing anything about it. He’s like the kid who drew the biggest line in the sand so now it’s everybody else’s responsibility to grow up and give in to his demands.
Peter “The Enforcer” Holt– the owner of the San Antonio Spurs and the main proponent of “bringing the pain” to the players, Holt has expressed frustration with the fact that his small market team doesn’t make money unless they go deep into the playoffs, because every business, regardless of its degree of success, should succeed, right? In his defense, the Knicks franchise profits every season, so one can see why he’s so ready to unleash hellfire and brimstone upon everybody and everything.
Micky “The Leak” Arison– the owner of the Miami Heat, Micky hinted via Twitter that there is division within his side and that certain owners may be keeping a deal from getting done. It seems that Arison is eager to get back to basketball, which is understandable as he could easily get distracted by a neon light or a tanned rollerskater any minute, thus losing all interest in the Heat and sports in general.
Mark “Gag-Order” Cuban– censored, muted, and hidden from sight and earshot, Mark Cuban has been taken out of the equation indefinitely by David Stern, and it’s really a profound shame. If Cuban were at the forefront of this lockout I think we would stop worrying about the rapidly shrinking season and embrace our new favorite reality show (please submit possible show titles).
Evil Derek Fisher– he sweats, bleeds, and strives with all his might to lead the players team to victory– and that’s exactly what he wants you to think when you think of Derek Fisher. Behind closed doors Evil Derek Fisher and David Stern plot the future of the league; every team, every player, and every “blown call,” all the while securing himself a cushy seat beside Stern for the rest of eternity. And if he comes after WOP for libel, that means we’ve made it big. DEREK FISHER IS CONSORTING WITH DAVID STERN.
So stay tuned, we’re not even in the last five minute of the 4th quarter (the only part really worth watching in an NBA game)
Lebron James, conspicuously absent in crunch time of the 2011 Finals, has come out in front of the media and admitted that he suffers from a rare addiction to bounce passes.
The condition, referred to in medical circles as rimaphobia but more commonly known as assistagina, causes the patient to enter a “bounce pass first, chuck up long jumper second” mindset. The onset of assistagina is usually associated with bright lights, loud cheering, and high expectations.
James’ admission comes in the midst of a series of hapless late-game performances where he has deferred the responsibility of scoring time and time again to his teammates. According to a behavioral psychologist who chose to remain anonymous due to the embarrassment of identifying as Heat fan, James has exhibited the classic symptoms characteristic of assistagina for some time now.
Patients will often become very adept at passing, looking to “get teammates involved,” “distribute the rock,” and “ensure Udonis some easy buckets for his mama.” They will begin to avoid eye contact and answer questions in a coy, often dickish manner. Frequently we are misled by the guise that they are putting “winning above all else,” that one can actually bounce pass their way to an NBA championship. Conversely, this platitude can actually expose the patient when they are in fact, losing, as has happened with James.
As is the case with all addictions, admitting that one has a problem is the first step to recovery, and fortunately for James the second step is also the final step. Unfortunately for James, however, the second step involves two straight games of manning the fuck up.
After the Heat’s impressive 94-88 win over the 2-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers it was apparent that “cry gate” was simply the start of something very, very special. With the game tied and only a minute and a half to go, the Heat’s starting five, clearly more emotionally available than their opponents, bonded together to score six straight points and secure their first win in two weeks.
The win puts the Heat at 44-21, 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and in a strong position to make a run at the NBA title. The mindset, however, seems to have shifted in Miami. “It’s no longer about the playoffs,” noted star forward Lebron James, “it’s about the friendships, the honesty, the Beanie Baby collections and most of all, the journey.”
After the buzzer sounded the Heat players and coaches slapped hands, caressed cheeks, and flicked earlobes playfully before skipping off into the locker room for scrapbooking. While an outpouring of good-feeling flowed through the ambiguously gay streets of Miami following Thursday night’s win, the Heat players remain on close suicide watch as their schedule reveals they must continue to square off with more professional basketball teams who intend to beat them.
A day after Carmelo Anthony finally went to the Knicks, finally, the Nets countered by acquiring all-star point guard Deron Williams. However, in stark contrast to the Nets’ euphoria, Williams received the news of the trade with what he could only describe as “unadulterated sadness and despair.”
Williams, who still swears he did nothing wrong, was simply told by the Jazz to pack up his things and “find out how to get to New Jersey, then do it.” “They couldn’t even look me in the eye,” he lamented.
The Nets’, unsurprisingly, are thrilled to have Deron on the team. Gushing with excitement, Nets GM Billy King confessed that he was both surprised and emotional when the Jazz front office assured him that Deron “really wants to come,” “can’t wait,” and “has been talking about it all week.” King went as far as to make a schedule outlining all the things he and Deron could to together when he came to New Jersey.
Williams’ future teammates have also gotten caught up in the excitement. In hopes of impressing Deron the team has been working extra hard to run a working layup line (the players have gone 4 minutes without missing a layup, tripping, or forgetting their respective assignments), hanging up Deron Williams posters throughout the clubhouse, and memorizing his Wikipedia page. As early as the Monday before the trade deadline the team organized a players vs. coaches trivia game where their knowledge of Deron’s career highs, statistics, early life, and pop-culture references was put to the test.
Most importantly, the notion that Williams will make them better players has gotten this Net roster giddy with anticipation. “The prospect of Deron bouncing me a bounce pass in the middle of a real game, and then me going up for a shot, or then me bouncing the ball back to Deron, if that’s what he wants, it’s tremendously exciting” said Caucasian forward Kris Humphries. Unfortunately, Williams does not share this sentiment.
With his Cadillac packed to the brim with personal belongings and relics from an earlier, happier life, Deron made his way down the Turnpike to his new home in Newark, New Jersey. Forced to get directions from a local gas station as the Prudential Center did not show up on GPS or Google Maps, Williams arrived an hour late to his own welcome party. Regardless, the entire Nets organization was there to greet him with unconditional love and unwavering admiration. Misguided but well-meaning, the team threw rice at his car and sang songs about Mormons. Team majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov then presented Williams with a collage he made earlier that day featuring magazine cutouts of basketballs, smiley faces, vodka ads, the Rocky Mountains for some reason, and of course, Deron Williams himself. Williams feigned a smile as he held his new Nets jersey up for the cameras and for the legions of Net fans all over the world.
Days later the rice has settled and reality has set in as Deron has made it clear he is unsure whether or not he will re-sign with the Nets next season. With this the atmosphere throughout the organization can best be described as awkward and emotionally-trying for both parties. Prokhorov has threatened to rip up the “second and better collage” he has been working on while Anthony Morrow refuses to come out of his room for supper. Even with Deron leading the best layup lines the Nets have seen yet, a bittersweet cloud of uncertainty hangs over the cloud of pollution that hangs over Newark.
“Last time this organization got its hopes up we lost to the Lakers in the Finals, plunging us into a deep, irrevocable darkness for the ensuing decade,” notes a Nets’ employee who preferred to remain anonymous. “There is the prevalent feeling that if we get too attached to Deron and he leaves we will sink even farther into this chasm of hopelessness.” He continued by considering what might lie in these unknown depths; demons, dementors from the popular children’s series Harry Potter, Satan’s unborn children, and perhaps even fear itself.
While one can not tell what the future holds for Deron and the Nets, the immediate effects of his arrival can be celebrated. The Nets have managed to lose just both of their games since the trade deadline and season ticket sales are up 61% as Deron’s own mother has purchased an impractical number of personal seat licenses.