Zeke later set some sort of record by offending both blacks and whites in under 30 seconds via videotape! This brings up an interesting question. If Jason Kidd called Mariah Carey a b*tch, would it offend everyone equally? Are Edward Najera and Wang Zhi Zhi capable of offending anyone?
If the NBA has taught us anything, it's that basketball players don't commit fouls. Oh sure, fouls get called all the time -- at a rate of about 22 per game last season -- but nobody ever actually commits one. All body contact is totally legal and that slapping sound was all ball. Tim Duncan's goggly-eyed stare has become the defacto symbol of a world in which fouls are like Easter Bunnies and zombie movies that aren't awesome: They don't exist.
Well, monkey see, monkey freakin' do. Pickup ballers emulate their NBA counterparts by expressing indignant disbelief whenever a foul is called on them. Winning an argument over a foul is like lawyering in a high-profile murder case: You have to convince everybody, beyond a shadow of doubt, that your defender is guilty.
1. Make a pained facial expression: Star Trek's Mr. Spock has always been one of my favorite sci-fi characters. The cool thing about Spock was that he was completely unfazed by human emotion. You could tell him that you anally violated his pet Tribble, and he'd just raise an eyebrow and say, "Fascinating." But despite the cool haircut, pointy ears, and greater-than-human strength and endurance, Spock never got laid. This is partly because Captain Kirk was banging everything that wasn't tied down or on fire. But mostly it's because it's impossible to trust someone who doesn't emote with their face. Let me put it this way: Do you trust zombies? Killer robots from the future? Dick Cheney? Of course you don't. But it isn't because they want to feast on living brains and conquer your feeble human world. It's because their facial expressions never change. And that's just creepy.
2. Grunt and/or cry out: When Bruce Willis takes a bullet in the face, he doesn't scream. He doesn't even wince. Instead, he dramatically sticks his foot through the bad guy while rasping out something totally rad, like "Yippee ki yay, [demeaning expletive of choice]!" But here's the thing: You aren't Bruce Willis. What's more, everybody knows you're not Bruce Willis. So nobody's going to believe that you got fouled if you endure it in grim silence. You don't need to go all William Shatner -- "Oh...my god...I've been...fouled!!" -- but you'd better bring a little noise.
3. Call the foul: This is absolutely essential. In most cases, it won't matter how obvious the foul is; if you don’t call it, it didn’t happen. Period. Your head could explode in a grisly shower of blood and brain chunks, and the other team will just boogy downcourt while what's left of your body is twitching on the floor. Call it out loud and clear, immediately after the fact. If the ball makes it to half court, your chance may be lost.
4. Glare: Never underestimate the power of a hateful glare. Look at your defender like you just found out he slept with your sister and your girlfriend. At the same time. The glowering hatred oozing out of your pores will convince most of the other players that something truly unforgivable has been done to you.
5. Warm them up: If you miss a couple shots or get bumped off some rebounds, mumble under your breath about how you got fouled but you're letting it go. That way, when you finally do call the foul, everyone will be expecting it.
1. Get mad: Showing frustrations doesn't work, and being merely irritated just won't cut it. You have to get full-on "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" mad. It helps if you're big and scary to begin with. If not, you might have to do something more elaborate. You'll need the following supplies: Green contacts, some old clothes, a body builder, and a bucket of green body paint. Before you go to your pickup league, paint the body builder green and dress him in torn purple trousers. Have him stand outside the gym door. The first time you get fouled, bend over and shove in the green contacts. Spin around with your eyes wide open and start groaning. Stumble out the door while yelling, "No! Nooooo! I'm changing again!!" Once out of sight, start ripping your old clothes while making a "nreeeeeeeeeerrrrr" sound. Have the body builder growl menacingly, then storm in and start rampaging around. It would be best if he knocks over something big and throws at least one person (preferably the guy who committed the foul) across the gym. Then he should flex at everybody and run down a deserted alleyway (although you should be gone by then). I personally guarantee that nobody in your league will mess with you ever again.
2. Curse...early and often: The well-timed swear word can be indispensable during a foul pitch. Just make sure you sound thoroughly disgusted as you say it. Visualization is key. Pretend somebody just dumped a bucket of writhing insects down your shorts, or that you found a human finger in your Big Mac. You should also use curse words selectively. "Damn" should be used to indicate you would have hit the shot had you not been fouled. "Shit" denotes a generic sense of disgust regarding your defenders cheap tactics. "Fuck" is a sign of growing rage at your continued mistreatment. "Goddamn it" will let everybody know that you're mad as hell and you aren't going to take it anymore.
3. Drop, flop, and roll: Most of the time, a foul that doesn't result in major bloodshed or the loss of a significant appendage is considered ticky-tac, and will result in a notable loss of manhood. You might as well tell everybody you're wearing a pink lace thong under your hoopty shorts. It'll help if you took a Theater 101 course in college, and thus understand the basic tenets of method acting. However, watching some old pro wrestling DVDs will teach you everything you need to know (I suggest The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection). When possible, try to wheel your arms around and then hit the ground with a loud, solid thunk. The crazier your fall and the harder you hit, the easier it will be to believe you just got thugged. You'll probably have to limp or shuffle around for a little while afterward, otherwise people will totally know you were faking.
4. Fake a serious injury: There’s no better way to get somebody off your back than to drop to the ground, grab the body part of choice, and scream out something like, "Noooooo, my ankle!" I've found joints are the best "serious injury" body parts, particularly the knee and ankle, since that could be a "career-ending" injury. Screw up your face, moan like a little girl, and writhe as much as possible. However, you cannnot recover quickly from this one. Limping up and down the court won't cut it. You'll need to leave the court and maybe sit on the sidelines for a while. If you hammed it up too much, you might even have to leave for the night. But trust me, your effort will not have been in vain. Your team will be given the ball back, no questions asked.
The Man (thuh man) noun. The best player and/or undisputed leader of a particular team, division, conference, and/or the entire league.
Usage example: Tim Duncan is The Man in San Antonio. And pretty much everywhere else, too.
Word History: The term "The Man" originated in America around 1918 as a code word for a prison warden. Over the years, The Man has come to represent the government, leaders of large corporations, and other authority figures in general (such as the police). The Man is colloquially defined as the figurative person who controls the world. The Man is also often used as a symbol of racial oppression, as well as the boss of a blue-collar worker, and the enemy of any counterculture.
Within the world of professional sports, The Man refers to the player or players who are renowned and feared above all others. Every team has it's own The Man, and most leagues have a chosen handful of players who are the subject of "Who's The Man" discussions. In the NFL, for instance, there has been a nearly continuous "Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady" debate over the last five years or so. In the NBA, The Man candidates range from Tim Duncan (The Lord of the Rings), Kobe Bryant (the scoring machine), Steve Nash (the ultimate teammate), and Lebron James (the possible heir to the throne).
The Man Test: Do you think your favorite player might be The Man but aren't totally sure? We at Basketbawful have used the power of Mighty Science to create an infallible test that's guaranteed to tell you whether that player is indeed The Man, a strong up-and-comer, or simply a woman with unsightly facial hair. If you doubt the accuracy of this test, you obviously know nothing about basketballogy, and probably couldn't calculate your way out of a bucket full of Science.
Worth 1 point: Have you...
Scored 50 points in a single game?
Grabbed 20 rebounds in a single game?
Dished 20 assists in a single game?
Averaged at least 20 PPG, 10 RPG, or 8 APG for one season?
Lead your team in scoring, rebounds, and/or assists for one season?
Hit one game-winning shot during the regular season?
Been an All-Star reserve?
Been named to the All-NBA Third Team?
Punched a teammate during practice?
Signed a dubious, non-shoe-related endorsement deal (e.g., Icy Hot, Payday Loans, etc.)?
Appeared in a basketball-themed movie (e.g., Space Jam, He Got Game)?
Appeared on the cover of your team’s media guide?
Been featured on an Episode of NBA Inside Stuff?
Been anointed "The Next Michael Jordan"?
Been called a "future Hall of Famer" by a questionable source (e.g., Bill Walton, Magic Johnson)?
Received a low-end shoe endorsement (e.g., L.A. Gear, Fila)?
Released a rap album and/or video?
Worth 2 Points: Have you...
Scored 50 points in a game more than once?
Grabbed 20 rebounds in a game more than once?
Dished 20 assists in a game more than once?
Averaged at least 30 PPG, 13 RPG, or 10 APG for one season?
Averaged a double-double?
Lead your team in scoring, rebounds, or assists for multiple seasons?
Lead the league in scoring, rebounds, or assists for one season?
Hit multiple game-winning shots during the regular season?
Been an All-Star starter?
Been named to the All-NBA Second Team?
Signed a max contract worth at least $50 million?
Gotten a teammate traded?
Been mentioned on "Pardon The Interruption"?
Been featured on a bobble-head doll?
Had your jersey appear in the video of a prominent rap artist?
Dated a recognizable model or actress?
Worth 3 points: Have you...
Lead the league in scoring, rebounds, or assists for multiple seasons?
Averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds or assists?
Hit one game-winning shot in the playoffs?
Been on multiple All-Star Teams?
Been the All-Star Game MVP?
Been named to the All-Defensive First Team?
Been named to the All-NBA First Team?
Signed a max contract worth at least $100 million?
Gotten an all-star teammate traded?
Gotten a coach fired?
Regularly referred to yourself in the third person?
Appeared in a pregame promo (coming off the team bus, shooting around, etc.)?
Appeared on the cover of NBA 2K?
Appeared on the cover of ESPN the Magazine?
Received a high-end shoe endorsement (e.g., Nike, Reebok)?
Guaranteed a championship or deep playoff run despite the fact that your team sucks?
Been mentioned in the song of a prominent rap artist?
Been "rested" at the end of the regular season?
Worth 4 points: Have you...
Been a 50 / 40 / 90 guy (50 percent FG shooting, 40 percent 3P shooting, and 90 percent FT shooting)?
Been on multiple All-Defensive Teams (first or second)?
Been on multiple All-NBA Teams (first, second, or third)?
Been Defensive Player of the Year?
Been Finals MVP?
Been the regular season MVP?
Signed multiple $100 million contracts?
Gotten a superstar teammate traded?
Gotten a great coach fired?
Appeared in the video of a prominent rap artist?
Been "rested" during the regular season (e.g., Shaq)?
Worth 5 points: Have you...
Been Defensive Player of the Year more than once?
Been Finals MVP more than once?
Been the regular season MVP more than once?
Hosted Saturday Night Live?
Appeared on the cover of NBA Live?
Appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
Gotten a legendary teammate traded?
Gotten a legendary coach fired?
Been the subject of a "Why hasn’t he won the MVP?" discussion?
Been called a "future Hall of Famer" by a well-regarded source (e.g., Steve Kerr, Dr. Jack Ramsey)?
Forced your team to trade you for little or no reasonable return (effectively crippling your former team for years to come)?
Driven your GM / team owner to alcoholism (e.g., Jerry Buss)?
Worth 350 Points: Have you...
Created and maintained an independent blog about the best of the worst of professional basketball?
Scoring ranges: Now that you've calculated the numeric value of your player's accomplishment(s), compare his total to the following scoring ranges to determine his relative manitude:
0 - 49 Points: Are you kidding me? Any player that falls within this range is not The Man. He might not even be "a" man. A comprehensive medical examination would likely uncover girl parts under his compression shorts.
50 - 99 Points: This player definitely has a Y chromosome and a faint, musky aroma. However, his voice still cracks from time to time, and his balls haven't dropped yet. The main cause of his undescended testicles may be due to repeated playoff failures or the presence of a bigger, badder, Alpha-er male. The Boy? Yes. The Man? No.
100 - 149 Points: You know how they say "Every high-powered CEO was once a hard-working mailroom clerk who had to murder his way to the top"? Well, they say it, okay? And your player is that serial-killing clerk, cutting a swath through the league and challenging the gods. He's the young Turk on the verge of manhood. Not quite The Man yet, more like The Muhhhhhh....
150 - 210 Points: Is this player The Man? Yes, ye gods, yes! People drop to their knees and spontaneously combust when he walks by. Tiny universes are created each time he flexes his manly pecs. Instead of a single penis, he has an entire bushel of peni that can be launched like missles at hostile countries. A single drop of his sweat can spawn a full-grown leprechaun in under six seconds. What I'm trying to say is: No human words can describe the utter manliness of this man among men. Praise his name, mortal fool!
Many pickup basketball players live under the laughable delusion that they could be playing professional basketball right now...if only they'd had better coaching in high school or maybe started playing at a younger age. This fundamental misapprehension is the source of great confusion and frustration for the legions of Ground Jordans across the country. After all, it's hard for them to make sense of the fact that they regularly shoot 2-for-20 in a pickup league when, under ideal conditions, they'd be going head-to-head with Lebron.
Make no mistake: The delusion is entirely necessary. The confidence it brings -- while preposterous and completely unfounded -- is probably the only reason they keep playing. After all, few people have the testicular fortitude to continue participating in an activity at which they actively suck. But that's what excuses are for. A well-crafted excuse allows a pickup baller to maintain his delusions of grandeur and yet explain away his consistently poop-like performances. Here are the top 20 excuses you're likely to hear while you're playing pickup basketball.
1. I was fouled: On every play??
2. The other team cheated: Scorekeeping in pickup basketball is kind of screwy, so it's completely possible your team got cheated out of a point or two. But that doesn't really explain why you shot 0-for-11.
3. I haven’t played in a while: This isn't the NBA Playoffs. Shoot around for ten minutes and you'll be as prepared as anybody else.
4. I just ate: Did you really think scarfing down two Big Macs on your way to the gym would help your game?
5. It's gotta be the shoes: There's always some guy playing in trail running shoes, or in shoes that don't have any traction left. If you don't own basketball shoes or can't remember to bring them, it's a safe bet you weren't any good to begin with.
6. It's gotta be the ball: It's flat. It's over-inflated. It's too slick. It looks funny. It's filled with flesh-eating slugs. You may be right. But we're all playing with the same ball.
7. It's gotta be the gym: Yeah, the lighting is bad, the floor is pockmarked, the rims are tight, and there’s no air-conditioning. But we're all playing in the same gym.
8. I've got a nagging injury: Sore knees, gimpy ankles, and aching backs are common reasons for uncommon suckitude.
9. I got hurt a couple plays ago: Isn't funny how after getting totally embarrassed, guys will suddenly start limping or massaging their lower back? Strangely enough, they stop hobbling around after they hit a couple shots.
10. My teammates suck: They can't shoot, they don't pass, or they don't get you the ball where you can be effective (wherever that is). Blah, blah, blah. I’m sorry, but look around. We all have sucky teammates. This is also referred to as the "Washington Wizards' Michael Jordan / Post-Shaq Lakers' Kobe Bryant Memorial Excuse."
11. I'm too short: Uh, nobody else in the league is over 6'3", so I don’t think being 5'10" is that much of a handicap.
12. I'm too old: And yet you're spry enough to plant an elbow in my back and shove your knee up my ass week after week after week...
13. I'm out of shape: We already know you're fat. Now explain why you suck.
14. I'm no good: It always helps to lower expectations from the get-go.
15. I ran five miles earlier: With all the old, out-of-shape, injured guys that are already playing, your running fatigue shouldn't really matter.
16. I played ball for, like, four hours last night: This is supposed to mean the person is too tired to play well tonight. But with all that extra practice, shouldn't they be better?
17. I just got done lifting: Your muscles are very impressive. I'm happy for you. But I've lifted weights before, too. Stretch out for a few minutes and you'll be fine.
18. I’m drunk / hungover: If you're too liquored up to play amateur basketball, then you should be in a 12-Step program, not a pickup league.
19. I wasn't "into it" tonight: Aww, poor baby. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.
20. I just can't find my shot tonight: Check the trash can.
[Inspired by "Mr. Excuses" from the 11 Guys You Always Meet Playing Pickup Basketball video.]
Labels: Word of the Day
I guess you can add "The Big Divor-say" to Shaq's seemingly endless list of nicknames. The Miami Heat center has officially slam-dunked his five-year marriage to wife Shaunie, with whom he shares four presumably giant children. To help celebrate his newfound freedom from marital bliss, here's a list of Shaq's best nicknames.
Editor's Note: When discussing the all-time worst nicknames, I stated that Baron Davis holds the world's record for most nicknames with seven. I stick by that claim, since most of Shaq's nicknames were self-invented and thus don't count.
1. Shaq: This nickname has been used so universally for so long that some people actually don't know that "Shaq" is short for his given name of Shaquille, which is Arabic for "Little Warrior."
2. Superman: Shaq is obsessed with the Man of Steel. He has a Superman tattoo on his arm, a Superman logo on several of his cars, a logo etched onto a leather jacket, and he can often be seen wearing Superman t-shirts, necklaces, and other paraphernalia. He even starred in Steel, a crappy movie about a man who was himself a cheap Superman knockoff. The dude flat out wants to be Superman. Sure it's crazy, but are you gonna tell him "no"?
3. Diesel: Also spoken as "Shaq Diesel." This nickname supposedly indicates that he has the power and endurance of a diesel engine. Or maybe it's because of the weird burning smell that follows him everywhere.
4. Daddy: Also spoken as "Shaq Daddy" and "The Big Daddy." Although he's estranged from his biological father, Shaq is extremely close to his step-father Phillip Harrison (whom O'Neal credits for making him the monstrous, hulking man he is today). Shaq himself has fathered five children and likes to act as a sort of big brother/father figure to his younger teammates.
5. M.D.E (Most Dominant Ever): Shaq began referring to himself as the M.D.E. after leading the Lakers to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002. Despite missing a slew of games during those years and of course being very fat, Shaq was virtually unstoppable in the playoffs and especially the Finals (where he averaged close to 40 PPG). People use this nickname to mock him now, but back then it was pretty hard to argue against it.
6. The Big [Whatever]: Shaq loves giving himself new nicknames that begin with "The Big" and end with a grandiose reference, usually to some other famous person or thing. These nicknames have included the "The Big Aristotle" (as a reference to the consistent greatness that won him the 2000 NBA MVP) , "The Big Maravich" (for making nine free throws in a row against the Portland Trailblazers in the playoffs), "The Big Felon" (for making a game-saving steal against the Orlando Magic), "The Big IPO" (because his stock was way, way up), and "The Big Baryshnikov" (comparing his low post moves to the dance work of famous Russian ballet artist Mikhail Baryshnikov).
Basketbawful Fun Fact: Elgin Baylor sarcastically referred to Wilt Chamberlain as "The Big Musty" because the huge center rarely showered or washed his uniform. It is unknown whether that nickname influenced Shaq, or whether Shaq himself takes showers.
7. L.C.L. (Last Center Left): One of Shaq's biggest complaints -- and there are many -- is how the center position has been almost totally redefined. Instead of huge, indomitable pivot-men, today's NBA centers are smaller, faster, and more "versatile" (i.e., they shoot threes instead of posting up strong and taking it to hoop). For this reason, Shaq feels that he is the last true center in the NBA, and perhaps the world (that sound you just heard was Yao Ming's heart breaking).
8. Wilt Chamberneazy: This nickname was coined by former teammate Kobe Bryant as a sort of homage/comparison to Wilt Chamberlain. Shaq considers it his favorite nickname and even had it printed on his baseball cap.
9. Doctor Shaq: This nickname was invented in 2005 as a way to dis Andrew Bynum, Shaq's "replacement" on the Lakers. Bynum claimed that he was similar to Shaq, except that he made his freethrows. Never one to take insults lightly, Shaq responded thus: "Tell him Shaq doesn't respond to juvenile delinquents without a college degree. Tell him to get his degree and we can talk. In the meantime, he should call me Dr. Shaq because I'm working on my PhD." Shaq originally stated that he was going to earn his doctorate in "either criminology or art history," but instead opted to accept honorary degrees in Shaq-Fu and Kazaamology.
10. Shaq Albert: Back in 2003, Mark Cuban tried to give his Dallas Mavericks an edge over the Lakers by playing a specially prepared cartoon on the team's jumbotron during a timeout. The cartoon depicted Shaq's face on the body of cartoon character Fat Albert and was accompanied by a voiceover that criedout, "Hey, hey, hey, I'm Shaq Albert!" Instead of killing Cuban with one clubbing blow, Shaq laughed until he was doubled over. Which obviously was hard for someone as fat as he was.
11. The Big Deporter: (This should be included in number 6, but it deserved its own entry.) In 2000, after eliminating Arvydas Sabonis and Rik Smits from the playoffs, Shaq dubbed himself "The Big Deporter" (both players were outspoken about returning to their native countries after getting eliminated).
12: Osama Bin Shaq: Shaq gave himself this nickname "for terrorizing Keith Van Horn under the boards" during the 2002 NBA Finals.
13. The Big Banana: (Again, this one deserved its own entry) After getting gangbanged with criticism for his "Osama Bin Shaq" nickname, Shaq renamed himself "The Big Banana" because "I peel the life out of the Nets."