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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Old School Pic of the Week 9.27

This week has very important historical significance in the world of basketball. 20 years ago, USA Basketball selected its national team to compete in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. In case you were unaware, that 1992 Olympic team (better known as the Dream Team) would go on to win its eight Olympic contests by an average margin of nearly 44 points en route to a gold medal.

So of course this week's installment of the Old School Pic should be Charles Barkley dunking on a member of the Angolan national team or something of that nature?

Pshhhh. NOPE!

This post is dedicated to the 1992 Dream Team's most notable snub, one Isiah Lord Thomas III. Here he is wearing a fur coat on the banks of Lake Michigan, probably thinking about what the weather is like in Barcelona.

Court adjourned.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old School Pic of the Week 9.20

Former University of Michigan sharpshooter Glen Rice was known for his ability to score. During his junior campaign in 1987-88, Rice led the Wolverines in scoring with over 22 points a game and led the team to the Sweet Sixteen.

However, last week it became apparent that Rice's ability to score was not limited to the basketball court. During a tournament in Alaska in 1987, Rice reportedly had a nice little one night fling with a local sports reporter named Sarah Heath.

But why exactly is that particular rendezvous newsworthy? After all, the team's co-MVP surely got plenty of sugar from the lovely ladies of Ann Arbor.

Well, seven months after the hookup, Sarah Heath married her high school sweetheart Tim and became the woman we know today as Sarah Palin. Which led to...

... the Glen "Great Balls of Fire" Rice trading card. Either this represents an awesome coincidence or the card company got the memo about the Palin fiasco some 16 years before the general public. You be the judge.

Court adjourned.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Old School Pic of the Week 9.13

I'd be lying if I said I didn't look at Twitter's trending topics each time I log in, though more often than not they are meaningless and arbitrary (a current top 10 trend in the U.S. is #AnnoyingThingsPeopleSay.) But early on Sunday, Twitter gave me the greatest meaningless and arbitrary gift I could have ever asked for, the trending topic of #randomNBAplayers. Needless to say, I wasted the next few hours tweeting every random NBA player of all-time I could think of until I had real-life-type things to do. (The full transcript is available here.)

For this week's photo, I wanted to continue that theme with a lovely image of everyone's favorite mullet-clad, 7-foot-2, former Florida Gator, San Antonio Spur, and Mobile Reveler, Dwayne Schintzius!

With career averages of 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game -- not to mention a 40.4% field goal percentage -- Schintzius could in fact be the league's most random player ever.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Old School Pic of the Week 9.6

In light of Maryland football trotting out quite possibly the most hideous sports uniforms ever to hit the playing field, Andy Gray of Sports Illustrated announced he would be compiling a photo gallery for the SI Vault of history's ugliest sports uniforms. While I easily could've posted a photo of the early 90's Nets "Tie Dye Unis" to fit the theme, I decided to go another route and focus instead on history's ugliest player. Hence, the photo of Sam Cassell.

Court adjourned.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Keyser Söze and Larry O'Brien

by Connor Witt

Times are tough for hoops junkies, even more so for those of us expected to continue writing even as the most compelling stories in basketball are Delonte West’s incoherent Twitter rants and Kevin Durant’s scoring outbursts in pro-am games. Recently, I’ve taken to re-reading Bill Simmons’ Book of Basketball for the umpteenth time in hopes of filling the gaping void in my soul with some sort of basketball-related content. Even though I can practically recite the book by heart at this point, one bit of information in The Legend of Keyser Söze chapter struck me differently this time around (probably because I am so desperate for something to write about that I will not hesitate to pick at the proverbial scraps.)

On page 638, Simmons defines his criteria for the best single season team of all-time, that which most closely resembles ruthlessness of the aforementioned Keyzer Söze. His third point focuses on a team’s ability to stay hungry for victory even after winning the title in the previous year(s). He writes, “Show some pride. Protect your title. Make us feel like you’d rather die than lose your championship belt. What’s the point in winning a title if you’re not going to defend it?”

Now let me stop you before you go thinking that I am suggesting the NBA should switch to championship belt rather than the current prize (though the irony of Jason Terry justifying his preemptively-tattooed championship trophy only to have the prize switched might be worth it.) Mark Cuban’s proposition to move away from the traditional championship rings was met with criticism from his own players, and I’m sure they would feel the same about replacing the iconic Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Rather, I am suggesting that in order to fight complacency in reigning champions, the O’Brien Trophy be prominently displayed behind their bench for the duration of their playoff run. This instills an added sense of pride; not only is the team competing for the NBA’s greatest prize, but it is physically theirs to lose. It would have a similar effect for opponents. If the challenge of facing the defending champs were not enough motivation, there is the potential joy of looking on as a weeping former champion – surely Kobe Bryant in a 2011 scenario – clings to the trophy while suit-clad men pry his fingers away and pack the trophy into a stainless steel suitcase to be whisked away.

Which brings me to the fine print of this concept…

1)    Though the trophy is to be displayed behind the incumbent champion’s bench, it is not under any circumstances to be touched by any of the players until they are crowned NBA champions

2)    The trophy is to be handled by either a) The exact guys in white gloves and suits that handle the Stanley Cup, or, in the event of scheduling conflicts b) exact replicas of the guys in white gloves and suits that handle the Stanley Cup

3)    If the reigning champions lose a playoff series the trophy is, as I indicated above, taken into NBA custody until a) it is presented to the eventual champion, or b) it is displayed at midcourt during Game 7 of the Finals

4)    The trophy is not to appear during the regular season unless the reigning champions are on the verge of elimination from playoff contention. (This rule has unbelievable potential. If the defending champs must win and also have a conference foe lose in order to avoid elimination, there is the possibility the rival’s contest could go final while the champs are still mid-game. This, of course, would leave the Stanley Cup holder guys no choice but to package up the trophy and make their exit, signaling the dramatic conclusion of their quest to repeat.)

So here’s how this is gonna work, David Stern. I let you implement my idea without bestowing unto me the wealth of riches that I deserve for such an awesome innovation. In return, you accept the next Player’s Association collective bargaining proposal and guarantee me a full 2011-12 season. Good doing business with you.

Court adjourned.