I generally like to begin my stream-of-consciousness journey through the previous week in the sports at some point during the past seven days or so. Since sports news travels slowly, especially when it comes from FIBA Asia, I’m going to go back in time a bit. I’d be shirking my duties if I neglected to tell y’all about the exploits of….
Mohammad El-Akkari. Our hero’s an anonymous player in the Anonymous Lebanese Basketball League. Despite averaging barely seven points per game, El-Akkari somehow managed to score 113 points in Mouttahed's 173-141 win over Bejjeh. I’ll spare you the focus on the game’s lack of defensive…well, anything…and go straight to El-Akkari’s stat line: 40-69 from the field (32-59 from three-point range). OK, so it wasn’t Heat-Bulls, but I’m still impressed; I didn’t score 113 points during my entire basketball career. Just thinking about shooting that much leaves my right elbow aching with sympathy pain….
There’s evidently no truth to the report that the Charlotte Bobcats were thinking of signing El-Akkari and touting him as the next Jeremy Lin.
In keeping with our basketball theme, let’s exit the domain of the ridiculous for the realm of the sublime. I’m referring, of course, to….
Metta World Peace. The artist formerly known as Ron Artest might have been thinking that a name change would cure him of his thuggery. Nice try. If his unprovoked attack on Oklahoma City’s James Harden had occurred in a bar, World Peace would have had to post bail on a felony assault charge. It occurred in an NBA game, so it’s all good. Nothing to see here, people….
World Peace is fortunate that Harden caught the elbow in the side of his head. If he’d been looking directly at World Peace, his injuries would have been far more significant.
Given the violent underlying theme of World Peace’s career, a seven-game suspension seems like a slap on the wrist. That said, it’s hard not to admire a player who could inspire this headline:
ATTACK MEANS SEVERE PENALTY FOR WORLD PEACE
Sometimes the jokes pretty much write themselves….
As sad as World Peace’s assault on James Harden was, at least he displayed more passion than the….
Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks, for whom the phrase, “Get a roll of stamps and mail it in” could have been coined, rolled over and played dead for the L.A. Kings. They took the Stanley Cup Finals to Game Seven last season. This time around they saved their fans a bunch of money by not even making it out of the first round . It’s not often that a #1 seed is thoroughly embarrassed by a #8 seed, but the Canucks were outplayed, outhustled, and outclassed by the Kings.
The good news is that Vancouver’s riot police can breathe easier.
Oh, and if Canucks fans are looking for something to do with the money they won’t be spending on playoff tickets, I have a great idea. How about buying the entire visitor’s dugout from the….
Kingdome. If you have a spare $7500 and feel up to taking your chances on eBay, you might lay claim to a part of Seattle history. I’m wondering if the purchase price includes the years of accumulated tobacco spit, sunflower seed husks, and rat droppings.
While we’re on the subject of rats, there are the fans of the….
Floriduh Panthers. Back in 1995, when the Panthers entered their locker room during the Stanley Cup playoffs, they encountered a rat in their dressing room. Scott Mellanby dispatched the rat to the Great Beyond with a slap shot…and thus ensured himself in the (not so long or storied) history of the franchise.
Mellanby became a folk hero to Panthers fans; during the playoffs they commemorate his bravery by throwing plastic rats onto the ice after a Panthers goal. Now the team has stopped selling toy rats in the team store, and they’re blaming fans of the….
New Jersey Devils. I suppose this is what happens when you have guests down from New Jersey, right? They can’t be bothered to learn the language or understand the culture, and they pretty much destroy everything you hold dear.
The Devils-Panthers series wasn’t exactly an on-ice version of Jersey Shore vs. South Beach, but if you’re going to invite the relatives from New Jersey down for a visit, be prepared. And be sure to hide to good china, knowhutimean??
Speaking of fine china, let’s talk about….
Robert Griffin III. Now that he’s actually, finally, and officially the property of the Washington Redskins, the media Illuminati can stick to talking about football- unlike last week when RGIII was in New York for to the draft.
Appearing at a press conference to celebrate his hiring as Subway’s newest pitchman, RGIII found himself immortalized with a sculpture. Except that “immortalized” probably isn’t the right word, given that the sculpture was made of barbecued chicken and various sandwich toppings.
While we’re discussing being immortalized, we should probably devote some attention to the (mercifully complete) 2011-12 season of our very own….
Portland Trailblazers. When I say “devote some attention,” what I really mean is “rejoice as the season finishes circling the drain and is swallowed by posterity.” We’re talking about a team that started 7-2 and limped to the finish line with a 21-36 remainder of the season.
Almost makes you miss the “Jailblazers,” doesn’t it?
There are those who will devote their offseason to dissecting every move and decision the Blazers make. While no one knows what the 2012-13 roster will look like or who will be coaching it, I’m done thinking about the Blazers. I’m turning my attention to the….
Portland Timbers. When’s the last time you saw a team win a game without its offense scoring? And who would have thought the Timbers would be such inhospitable hosts to MLS’ best team?
I’m deliberately glossing over the obvious question: How can the Timbers beat the best team in MLS and then lose to the worst (Montreal) a week later? I’m choosing to focus on the positive this time. There will be plenty of opportunities to focus on the negative this season; it’s going to be a long one.
Sporting Kansas City came into the match with a 7-0 record and a reputation for a nasty, aggressive style of play. The matchup looked like a disaster in search of a place to happen. The Timbers had played passively prior to facing Kansas City, so it was nice to see the lads give as good as they got. At least the Timbers found a way to channel their pent-up aggression more effectively than….
John Zahradnik. The guy’s a youth baseball coach in Scranton, PA…so you’d have to think that he’d be conscious of setting a good example, right? Since when does setting a good example mean arguing with an umpire, trying to run down a parent with a truck, and pulling a gun on another parent? It seems youth baseball has changed since I played….
Man, I had NO idea that coaching Babe Ruth League baseball was so fraught with peril…or that it required so much firepower.
With some hard work (and hard time), Zahradnik might once again become a contributing member of society. He’ll have paid for his crimes, which is more than can be said for the….
Oregon Athletic Department. This week, oregonauthentic.com went live, selling all manner of game-worn Oregon football jerseys. While the UO athletic department will make bank, the players themselves will get bupkis. Sure, the powers that be in the athletic department will argue that the players are being paid with an education. Let’s not kid ourselves; they’re not “student-athletes;” they’re “football player-students.”
The University will be making a significant chunk of change from the sale of used equipment. Shouldn’t some of that go to the players who make it possible? Instead, players like offensive lineman Mark Asper are left to bid for their own jerseys.
And you thought indentured servitude was dead….
Perhaps the NCAA should officially change the designation “student-athlete” to “football intern.” At least that way, there’d be a degree of honesty about the exploitation being committed in the name of “amateurism.”
While we’re talking about amateurism, I could go on at length about the travails of the….
Sacramento Kings…but why pile on? It’s been amateur night in Sacramento since the team relocated from Kansas City. Why change now?
That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll discuss why Rich Cho, GM of the 7-59 Charlotte Bobcats, is better off than he was when he was GM of the Failblazers.