NBA Playoffs: 1 2 3 4 Do it!

Even for dedicated fans like yours truly, it is an annual chore to maintain excitement for all six weeks of the NBA playoffs. The reasons for this inevitable fatigue are obvious: the first round should not be best-of-7, the NBA should cram more games into each night so the tournament lasts only a month, and the eventual champion tends not to inspire much fresh-blooded buzz.

This is the list of NBA champions in the post-Jordan era.

2011:  Dallas Mavericks
2010:  Los Angeles Lakers
2009:  Los Angeles Lakers
2008:  Boston Celtics
2007:  San Antonio Spurs
2006:  Miami Heat
2005:  San Antonio Spurs
2004:  Detroit Pistons
2003:  San Antonio Spurs
2002:  Los Angeles Lakers
2001:  Los Angeles Lakers
2000:  Los Angeles Lakers
1999:  San Antonio Spurs

A pretty drab list. Kobe Bryant has 5 rings, Shaq has 4, Tim Duncan has 4. If you hate the spoiled Lakers (as many do, few with the vigor that The Computer Newspaper does) or the flaccid Spurs, that means the NBA playoffs exit every year with a hopeless sigh. Contextualizing the accomplishments of guys like Duncan or Kobe is necessary for later debate for nerds and historians, but it hardly stimulates the casual viewer during the first week of June. Continue reading

One Foot In The Grave, One Foot Kicking Butt!

There was a lot that was made before the 2011-2012 season started about the challenge the condensed schedule would pose to the NBA’s older teams.  Because of the lockout, teams were asked to play 66 games in just four months, including 42 back-to-back-to-back sets, a challenge more commonly asked of baseball teams.  Pundits predicted the abbreviated schedule would cause more injuries, create a lesser product because of the lack of training camp and reduced practice time (this one might be true), and that older teams would struggle to keep their players on the floor, and therefore, have a harder time competing.  Now that the regular season has ended, we know who has made the playoffs and if you take a step back to consider how different the schedule was this year, it’s pretty remarkable how things have unfolded.

          Team:                                Average Age:                 Age Ranking (1=Oldest Team)

Eastern Conference:

  1. Chicago Bulls                     27.99                                         9
  2. Miami Heat                         28.63                                          6
  3. Continue reading

Rotten Potatoes: Trust Me, SportsCenter, I Know How Sports Work

SportsCenter has decided that I am dumb.  I don’t appreciate this lack of confidence in my ability to follow the action in a simple play.   They have come up with a superfluous technological advance to let me “in on the action” being that I am such a layman.  This “technology” (kind of) is in the form of a floor-to-ceiling halo around the important person in the upcoming highlight.  This abomination is used in various unnecessary circumstances that insult the sports enthusiast’s credibility and knowledge of sports.

This trend hit an all-time low last week after Kentucky beat Kansas for the NCAA title. In this highlight, they have decided to put the shower curtain around the on-ball defender, Kidd-Gilchrist. Where else would I be looking, SportsCenter?  They follow Kidd-Gilchrist around the court to make sure that even when he is done affecting the play, I am affixed to his mega spotlight.  I know how the game is played, I think. Continue reading

Greatness In Gainesville: 2007 P.I.E. Tribute

On the toes of another Final Four, and in accordance with The Computer Newspaper’s P.I.E. retrospective for the year 2007, now feels like the right time to look back five years at the back-to-back champion Florida Gators– the most important college basketball team of the past twenty years.

[It is not that brash of a statement. Two decades ago, in 1992, Duke was winning their second of back-to-back championships and the Fab Five, culturally speaking, was at the peak of their powers. Since then, Florida is the only other repeat champion (and smart money is on that trend continuing), and well, there cannot be another Fab Five.]

So the question is:  should you really give a shit about this?

Lucky for you, I have the right personal dichotomy to answer that question. On the one hand, I was raised on sports and can recite trivia like it’s scripture. However, as an adult, I understand there is more to the world than, say, the Pro Bowl, and like everyone else, loathe the state of 24/7 sports media where superlatives and debate become either redundant or unfounded. I come to you sagacious, but jaded (isn’t that always the case); in this spirit, give me a chance. Continue reading

Requisite Opin-Lin About Jeremy

The emergence of Jeremy Lin, or “Unheralded Asian Small Guy From Harvard” for short, has dominated pop culture for two weeks now. Currently in the midst of a 8-1 winning streak, he and his team, the New York Knicks, have risen from the ashes to be the toast of sports and social media alike, similar to how Tim Tebow’s story began captivating the casual sports fan this past winter. This comparison to Tebow has been made again and again, and it is warranted, as Lin taking over a downtrodden franchise is basketball’s first ever version of “back-up quarterback gets team to put aside personality differences, start having fun out there again” played out again and again in football; the most worthy historical comparison is probably Kurt Warner, mainly because Warner was bagging groceries just a few months before winning the Super Bowl–Lin has been allegedly crashing on his friend’s couch the past month.

I have nothing more to say about the Lin narrative or its shelf-life, especially how it relates to the specifics of his team’s outlook for the rest of the season or, on a generic Rick Reilly level, how ‘this is why we love sports!’

The recent phenomenon, or ‘Pho-nomenon’ (probably), I want to briefly explore is the explosion of puns and nicknames for Lin. The pun-making craze surrounding Lin has resonated in popular culture as much as the story itself. Continue reading