Wednesday, June 28, 2006

D.B. on the NBA Draft

Well, turns out that mine and Drew's schedules coordinated a little sooner rather than later, so in anticipation of tonights draft, I'm going ahead and running the expert projections and barbs of Atlanta's favorite 6'4" skinny bald headed white dude. So, I guess I'm going to have to come up with something new for tomorrow. Awesome...thanks Drew. And, by the way, the red writing is mine:


1) Toronto - Andrea Bargnani - 7'0", 225 lbs. from Italy.

Here's the good: He is young (20 years old), he's long (7 feet with an enormous wingspan), he's supposedly versatile, and can take his game inside and out ( shot over 40% from 3 pt. range in the Euroleague). Also, unlike most young Europeans, he's got solid experience. He logged significant and solid minutes for one of Italy's top teams, Benetton in Treviso. A couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the thought of using the top pick in the draft on a European. Now, however, after we've seen the impact of guys like Krilenko and Nowitzki, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea, especially in this year's less than stellar draft.

And, now the bad: In addition to the fact that he's European, the Raptors already have two young guys, Villanueva & Bosh, that are pretty similar players to what Bargnani purports to be. Plus, there is a lot of P.R. downside to choosing a European this high if he turns out to be more Darko than Dirk. For these reasons, I wouldn't be shocked to see Toronto do everything they can to trade out of this spot, but the problem is going to be that there may not be many takers. In the end, they may just have to take Bargnani and hope for good things.

Drew: You are starting off on the right foot. The Raptors do not need this big but if the offer is not good enough they have to take him. He is long and Dirk-like and you never can have enough size. I could see them trade down and then take a point guard like Foye or Williams.

2) Chicago (from the Knicks) - Tyrus Thomas - 6'9", 225 lbs from L.S.U.

The good: I've seen this guy in person, and I can tell you he is an athletic freak of nature. He can run, he can jump, and he looks like he plays at a faster speed than everybody else on the floor.

The bad: In a nutshell, if Thomas goes this high (or even higher) it will be a perfect example of why the NBA Draft can drive me certifiably insane. Yes, he's an amazing athlete, but he's not a great basketball player. He has limited offensive skills (that's being kind), and while he has the athleticism to play great man to man defense, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of team defense. Then again, playing for John Brady at L.S.U., he didn't really have to understand many concepts at all. In the end, there is a reason you had never heard of Tyrus Thomas before L.S.U. beat Duke. But luckily for him, NBA scouts drool all over potential, and he's got an enormous amount of that. Best case scenario, he could eventually become a Shawn Marion type player, which isn’t bad at all. Worst case scenario, he could be logging minutes in Senegal in three years!

Drew: Agree again. I am not sold on drafting on athleticism. He can jump three times before you can jump once but does that mean he can play basketball. He has a tremendous upside and could be like Marion but I have my questions. He did shoot the ball decent from 15 feet so he isn’t that much of a risk. You will be happy with him on your team.

3) Charlotte - Adam Morrison- 6'8", 205 lbs. from Gonzaga

The good: Everybody is born with a gift. Morrison's gift is that he can put the ball in the basket from just about anywhere on the floor at just about any time. I don't think that is going to change at the next level. He's creative offensively, he has a quick release, and he moves beautifully without the ball. I think he's going to be a big time scorer in the League.

The bad: He might give up as many points defensively as he scores offensively. I just don't know if he can guard anybody at the next level. Then again, people asked the same questions about Larry Bird 27 years ago, and he ended up becoming one of the greatest team defenders of all time. Now, I'm not by any means predicting that Adam Morrison is the second coming of Bird, but I am saying that this pick could work out pretty nicely for the Bobcats. That is, unless Morrison breaks down into a bizarre and demented crying fit on the floor every time the 'Cats lose a game. I guess I forgot to mention that Morrison appears to be NUTS!

Drew: You were on a roll, like your stomach. (Just kidding.. I need to keep the readers laughing) Morrison is a can’t miss but I don’t like him here for Charlotte. I like Roy with his athleticism. He is one of the few who will step in and contribute from the start. He is the ideal 2 guard for the pros. I would love to draft him and he will be a front runner for Rookie of the Year. (Yes, it's true, Mr. Barry officially has a man crush on Mr. Roy)

4) Portland - LaMarcus Aldridge - 6'10", 240 lbs. from Texas

The good: Again, sometimes it's all about potential. Aldridge, however, unlike Thomas, was consistently solid for Texas over two years. He's got all the physical attributes.

The bad: In the Final Eight against L.S.U. I wasn't sure if I spent the entire game trying to figure out how Malcom Mackey had lost 100 lbs. and slipped into a Texas uniform. For those of you that didn't suffer through the Mackey experience at Tech, that simply means this guy is SOFT. Granted, LSU was hacking the hell out of everything that moved on the floor that day, but still....big players must step up in big games. And Aldridge, simply didn't step up. Plus, I don't know if he's a good fit for the Blazers. Last time I checked he hadn't been so much as accused of a felony much less convicted.

Drew: Wrong. They do the PR move and go with the home grown boy out of Gonzaga. He is what they need. How many long lean athletes does Portland already have. They need to get some help from the perimeter and Adam is the man. Anyone who could star on Boogie Nights and have that stash and still score almost 30 a night is a can’t miss. ( I think Morrison was just overheard saying, "I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big bright shining star. Yeah, that's right.")

5) Atlanta - Sheldon Williams - 6'9", 250 lbs. from Duke

The good: Uh....um....yea.....oh, I almost forgot, he looks like a hammer head shark.

The bad: Well, he's not a point guard and he's too small to play center, so he makes no sense for the Hawks. Besides that, here's a list of some of the first round picks to come out of Duke in the past fifteen years: Christian Laetner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks, Rashown McLeod, Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, William Avery, Shane Battier, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones, and Luol Deng. So, Brand and Hill were/are legit impact players. Maggette has had his moments, and Deng has potential. So, that leaves 10 other guys that have either made no impact and/or been huge flops. You want those odds Billy Knight? Go right ahead, and please kick me in the nuts when you are done making this pick.

Drew: I can’t believe the Hawks would take him but that is all I hear. He is solid garbage man that won’t be an Elton Brand or even Carlos Boozer. He does not have any offensive skill from my perspective. Another bad pick for the Hawks. I think they should draft Williams or Foye. Point guard is a necessity. (With the fifth pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, The Atlanta Hawks select...The worst possible player on the board!...Seriously, have the Hawks ever had a good draft?)

6) Minnesota - Randy Foye - 6'4", 205 lbs. from Villanova

The good: Randy Foye was absolutely my favorite college player for the past two years, so I'm incredibly biased here. By all accounts, he is a tremendous kid, and he is undoubtedly a gritty competitor. This kid is a classic scorer. At his best, he reminds me a little of a smaller version of Bernard King. In other words, when he decides he is going to get to the rack, there isn't much you can do to stop him. Not to mention, he is a great on the ball and team defender.

The bad: He's not a great shooter. Actually, he's not even a really good shooter. Also, given the size of NBA power forwards and centers, I'm not sure he is going to be able to finish around the basket like he did at Nova. At the end of the day, part of the reason I love this kid's game so much is that he reminds me of Brian Oliver of Lethal Weapon III fame. An all around really good basketball player, with an intense competive streak. He's probably quicker than Brian was, however, so he has a chance to make an impact as a defensive stopper and a nice offensive compliment, and he will likely have a longer run in the League than Brian did. I, however, don't think he will be a star. But know this, wherever he ends up, I'm buying a jersey.

Drew: He is on the rise. Everybody is loving this kid. A scorer/defender who can possible play the one. I agree with you that Minnesota needs a point. Is it Williams or Foye. I think Foye has a question mark because can he run a team. We know score and his shot isn’t something to worry about. A guy named Wade couldn’t shoot and no one stops him. (Yea but, Wade has been knocked down 7 times and gotten up all seven. I think Randy has only been knocked down twice so far.)

7) Boston - Cedric Simmons - 6'9", 235 lbs. from N.C. State

The good: See LaMarcus Aldridge above.

The bad: I saw this kid play about 12 games this past year, and I never once said to myself, "hey, that kid is going to be a first round pick." I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this still can't be a good thing.

Drew: I didn’t know who this kid was. I have Alrdridge on the board still so I will plug him in here. I am not too familiar with teams needs. I just know what I think of the player. Aldrigde here works for me I guess. (Didn't you do color commentary for the Tech vs. N.C. State Game this year? You seriously don't know who this kid is? Wow!)

8) Houston- Brandon Roy - 6'5", 195lbs. from Washington

The good: I have no idea. I don't watch Pac-10 basketball, and I'm not going to pretend like I do.

The bad: He played in the Pac -10.

Drew: JJ Redick. I am not a huge fan for his game in the pros but he could be like Steve Kerr for Tracy and Yao. His agent is my old agent and there has been serious talks. (Drew has clearly diregarded Chad Ford's picks, and he is now flying off on his own. But really, how else could he remind us that he used to have an agent? You are sooooo cool. Actually, that is pretty cool. I really wish I had an agent.)

9) Golden State - Rudy Gay, 6'9", 222lbs. from UConn

The good: There are times that you watched Rudy Gay at UConn and he looked like a man among boys. He was silky smooth, and he dominated games for moments at a time. In fact, just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes.

The bad: Those times when Rudy Gay looked like a man among boys were usually followed by about ten minutes of wondering where in the hell Rudy Gay went. He took the Mike Maddox disappearing act to a whole new level. (Sorry for all the G. Tech references). Oh, and just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes. Now, he is projected to go #9. Yea, that's not good.

Drew: I hear you on the Maddox act. Gay is so talented it is scary. But he doesn’t show up all the time. It may have been all the players that Uconn had or this guy defers to others. I don’t know how you pass him up with his upside. GS had Pietrus already so I don’t know if he makes sense but there isn’t much left after the top 10. (How many people just looked up "Pietrus" on NBA.com? I know I did!)

10) Seattle - Hilton Armstrong, 6'11", 235 lbs. from UConn

The good: He's really big, and he got great experience at UConn.

The bad: He's really raw, and not much more than a shot blocker. It's hard to imagine that he will evolve into much more at the next level.

Drew: Very raw and I am surprised he is this highly ranked. He is a big body and those are hard to come by. I like Boone better than this kid but I am an old, bald "has been." The Sonics need a 2 guard to help Ray out because he is getting old. You could go with Bradley here for size since the high schooler didn’t pan out or you could guy with an athlete like Carney or Brewer. It is a crap shoot. (Drew, you are not an old, bald "has been." I mean, being in your early 30's hardly makes you old. And also, I was going to make some joke about "he is a big body and those are hard to come by", but I couldn't come up with anything remotely socially acceptable.)

Drew Closing Statement: This is simply my opinion. I am not an expert just a analyst of what I see. WAD, I have taught you well my young apprentice. Back to work.


A million thanks to Drew. Nothing but good times when he joins us here on the WAD. As for the rest of you, enjoy the draft, and take Drew's advise: Get back to work!

NBA Draft Preview

Tonight marks the greatest night of the year for the designers of twelve button suits. That's right, it's Draft night. This year is probably the most unpredictable draft I can ever remember, so we should certainly have some memorable moments. Not to mention that we could certainly see Mark Cuban show up to challenge David Stern to a Hamilton vs. Burr type duel. Seriously, nothing would surprise me on draft night. Anything is possible.

In an attempt to provide you with a preview of what might go down tonight, I have taken the projected top ten picks from Chad Ford's latest mock draft on ESPN.com, and I have set them out below with a little analysis of what each guy might bring to the table, and what they might take off the table. Then, if all goes according to plan, you can check back in tomorrow to for a retrospective look of how the WAD's favorite guest, Drew Barry, felt about my projections. I had hoped to include Drew's analysis with mine, but our schedules just made it impossible for us to get it together in time. But, I'm sure reading Drew's total shredding of my analysis a day after the fact will be no less entertaining.

So, here you have it, The WAD on this year's top draft prospects:

1) Toronto - Andrea Bargnani - 7'0", 225 lbs. from Italy.

Here's the good: He is young (20 years old), he's long (7 feet with an enormous wingspan), he's supposedly versatile, and can take his game inside and out ( shot over 40% from 3 pt. range in the Euroleague). Also, unlike most young Europeans, he's got solid experience. He logged significant and solid minutes for one of Italy's top teams, Benetton in Treviso. A couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the thought of using the top pick in the draft on a European. Now, however, after we've seen the impact of guys like Krilenko and Nowitzki, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea, especially in this year's less than stellar draft.

And, now the bad: In addition to the fact that he's European, the Raptors already have two young guys, Villanueva & Bosh, that are pretty similar players to what Bargnani purports to be. Plus, there is a lot of P.R. downside to choosing a European this high if he turns out to be more Darko than Dirk. For these reasons, I wouldn't be shocked to see Toronto do everything they can to trade out of this spote, but the problem is going to be that there may not be many takers. In the end, they may just have to take Bargnani and hope for good things.

2) Chicago (from the Knicks) - Tyrus Thomas - 6'9", 225 lbs from L.S.U.

The good: I've seen this guy in person, and I can tell you he is an athletic freak of nature. He can run, he can jump, and he looks like he plays at a faster speed than everybody else on the floor.

The bad: In a nutshell, if Thomas goes this high (or even higher) it will be a perfect example of why the NBA Draft can drive me certifiably insane. Yes, he's an amazing athlete, but he's not a great basketball player. He has limited offensive skills (that's being kind), and while he has the athleticism to play great man to man defense, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of team defense. Then again, playing for John Brady at L.S.U., he didn't really have to understand many concepts at all. In the end, there is a reason you had never heard of Tyrus Thomas before L.S.U. beat Duke. But luckily for him, NBA scouts drool all over potential, and he's got an enormous amount of that. Best case scenario, he could eventually become a Shawn Marion type player, which ain't bad at all. Worst case scenario, he could be logging minutes in Senegal in three years!

One more thing about this pick: I think we can all agree that it's a real shame that the Knicks don't still have this pick. Sure, Eddie Curry was certainly worth giving up this pick, but wouldn't it be great to see Isiah work his magic here? Who says sarcasm doesn't translate in writing?

3) Charlotte - Adam Morrison- 6'8", 205 lbs. from Gonzaga

The good: Everybody is born with a gift. Morrison's gift is that he can put the ball in the basket from just about any where on the floor at just about any time. I don't think that is going to change at the next level. He's creative offensively, he has a quick release, and he moves beautifully without the ball. I think he's going to be a big time scorer in the League.

The bad: He might give up as many points defensively as he scores offensively. I just don't know if he can guard anybody at the next level. Then again, people asked the same questions about Larry Bird 27 years ago, and he ended up becoming one of the greatest team defenders of all time. Now, I'm not by any means predicting that Adam Morrison is the second coming of Bird, but I am saying that this pick could work out pretty nicely for the Bobcats. That is, unless Morrison breaks down into a bizarre and demented crying fit on the floor every time the 'Cats lose a game. I guess I forgot to mention that Morrison appears to be NUTS!

4) Portland - LaMarcus Aldridge - 6'10", 240 lbs. from Texas

The good: Again, sometimes it's all about potential. Aldridge, however, unlike Thomas, was consistently solid for Texas over two years. He's got all the physical attributes.

The bad: In the Final Eight against L.S.U. I wasn't sure if I spent the entire game trying to figure out how Malcom Mackey had lost 100 lbs. and slipped into a Texas uniform. For those of you that didn't suffer through the Mackey experience at Tech, that simply means this guy is SOFT. Granted, LSU was hacking the hell out of everything that moved on the floor that day, but still....big players must step up in big games. And Aldridge, simply didn't step up. Plus, I don't know if he's a good fit for the Blazers. Last time I checked he hadn't been so much as accused of a felony much less convicted.

5) Atlanta - Sheldon Williams - 6'9", 250 lbs. from Duke

The good: Uh....um....yea.....oh, I almost forgot, he looks like a hammer head shark.

The bad: Well, he's not a point guard and he's too small to play center, so he makes no sense for the Hawks. Besides that, here's a list of some of the first round picks to come out of Duke in the past fifteen years: Christian Laetner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Cherokee Parks, Rashown McLeod, Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette, William Avery, Shane Battier, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones, and Luol Deng. So, Brand and Hill were/are legit impact players. Maggette has had his moments, and Deng has potential. So, that leaves 10 other guys that have either made no impact and/or been huge flops. You want those odds Billy Knight? Go right ahead, and please kick me in the nuts when you are done making this pick.

6) Minnesota - Randy Foye - 6'4", 205 lbs. from Villanova

The good: Randy Foye was absolutely my favorite college player for the past two years, so I'm incredibly biased here. By all accounts, he is a tremendous kid, and he is undoubtedly a gritty competitor. This kid is a classic scorer. At his best, he reminds me a little of a smaller version of Bernard King. In other words, when he decides he is going to get to the rack, there isn't much you can do to stop him. Not to mention, he is a great on the ball and team defender.

The bad: He's not a great shooter. Actually, he's not even a really good shooter. Also, given the size of NBA power forwards and centers, I'm not sure he is going to be able to finish around the basket like he did at Nova. At the end of the day, part of the reason I love this kid's game so much is that he reminds me of Brian Oliver of Lethal Weapon III fame. An all around really good basketball player, with an intense competive streak. He's probably quicker than Brian was, howerver, so he has a chance to make an impact as a defensive stopper and a nice offensive compliment, and he will likely have a longer run in the League than Brian did. I, however, don't think he will be a star. But know this, wherever he ends up, I'm buying a jersey.

7) Boston - Cedric Simmons - 6'9", 235 lbs. from N.C. State

The good: See LaMarcus Aldridge above.

The bad: I saw this kid play about 12 games this past year, and I never once said to myself, "hey, that kid is going to be a first round pick." I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this still can't be a good thing.

8) Houston- Brandon Roy - 6'5", 195lbs. from Washington

The good: I have no idea. I don't watch Pac-10 basketball, and I'm not going to pretend like I do.

The bad: He played in the Pac -10.

9) Golden State - Rudy Gay, 6'9", 222lbs. from UConn

The good: There were times that you watched Rudy Gay at UConn and he looked like a man among boys. He was silky smooth, and he dominated games for moments at a time. At times, he looked like a bigger and stronger version of Ray Allen. In fact, just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes.

The bad: Those times when Rudy Gay looked like a man among boys were usually followed by about ten minutes of wondering where in the hell Rudy Gay went. He took the Mike Maddox disappearing act to a whole new level. (Sorry for all the G. Tech references). Oh, and just a few months ago, some pundits were referring to this year's draft lottery as The Rudy Gay Sweepstakes. Now, he is projected to go #9. Yea, that's not good.

10) Seattle - Hilton Armstrong, 6'11", 235 lbs. from UConn

The good: He's really big, and he got great experience at UConn.

The bad: He's really raw, and not much more than a shot blocker. It's hard to imagine that he will evolve into much more at the next level.


Before I call it a day, here are a few lingering thoughts about the draft:

  • Yes, I was terribly disappointed that Chad Ford didn't have J.J. Reddick in his top 10. I had already given a lot of thought to what I was going to say about him. Needless to say, it had a lot to do with poetry, getting tatoos with his grandmother, a slow release, and drunk driving. Yup, not a huge fan.

  • It is completely inexplicable that ESPN hasn't found a way to incorporate Charles Barkely into its draft coverage. Actually, it's not inexplicable, it's unforgivable.

  • I've got my money on LaMarcus Aldridge as the guy with the most outrageous suit. I have nothing to base this on other than pure instinct. That same instinct tells me that Randy Foye will have the classiest looking suit. He's a total chief...all class.

Okay, I'm out, but don't forget to check in tomorrow for Drew's much anticipated return to the WAD.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Television Tuesday

It’s Tuesday morning, so no need to waste your time with introductions (translation = I have nothing interesting to say), let’s get down to it:

“Entourage”

I’ll just go ahead and say it before you can start thinking it: this was an absolutely atrocious episode of “Entourage.” I hate to admit it, it’s like admitting that your son was the reason his team lost the Little League game, but I just don’t have any choice. Sometimes the facts are just too indisputable to argue anything to the contrary. If only I could convince all the other lawyers in the world of that! Anyway, I digress. The fact is that we finally had a chance to have a few episodes of nothing but the boys hopping from club to club and woman to woman, while purchasing ridiculously expensive toys along the way. Not to mention that Vince’s success could have served as a springboard for the rejuvenation of Ari’s career, which could have resulted in transcendent comedy. But no! The writers and producers couldn’t give us that! Instead, they gave us more unnecessary drama by introducing the ex-con Dom into our lives. Just completely unnecessary. Did you ever think you would see the character that made you long for the days of Mandy Moore? Yep, me neither. It was just completely disheartening.

All that being said, I’m still counting the days until the next episode. After all, the first episode of the season was sub-par (that’s probably being kind), and the second episode was a first ballot Hall of Famer. So, at least we have the very real hope that episode four will make up for the sins of episode three. With that in mind, let’s turn to the pressing questions after three weeks of Season 3:

1) If the boys had had a fifth spoke in the wheel back in Queens, shouldn’t we have heard about him by now? After all, one of the major themes of the entire show is that these are four guys that are so tight they would lay down in front of oncoming traffic for each other (yes, I stole that from Robin Williams in “Good Will Hunting”), and at no time in two plus seasons have they ever felt compelled to talk about how they miss the fifth guy that is doing time back home? And, what’s even more unbelievable is that we learned that Vince essentially owes his entire life and stardom to this guy for taking the rap for him on a possession charge, and we’ve never heard a single word about this? It’s just all too ridiculous for me. Okay, so the writers felt like they needed to come up with a new source of drama for this season. Alright, that’s fine. I don’t agree, but I get it. But, when they put their heads together, they decided that making a reach like this was the best they could come up with? C’mon, that’s just absurd. I mean, these were the guys that came up with the Bob Saggett loves hookers episode, and this is where they go? I’m not sure if you noticed, but I’m really pissed about Dom. Fine, I’ll let it go and move on…

2) Where the hell is Sloane? We had a brief sighting at the “Aquaman” premier, but nothing else in three episodes. And, we’ve now seen E waking up in the morning twice this season, and Sloane is nowhere to be found either time. Here’s why I’m pissed about the lack of Sloane: 1) She’s really freaking hot, and I would really like to look at her; and 2) We are leaving some incredible comedy on the table here. I mean, after what went down with her Dad and Ari, how awkward would it be every time she and Ari were in the same room? Wouldn’t this make for some fantastic Ari moments? I just get the sense that there are two teams of writers for “Entourage” and episodes 1 and 3 were definitely written by the J.V. squad, and both teams have dropped the ball when it comes to Sloane. No matter who is writing, however, if we don’t see more of Sloane in the upcoming episodes, I’m not going to be very happy.

3) Does Ari have the juice to crush that little punk that is sweating his daughter? (Yes, I just used the word sweating, and I really enjoyed it.) Last year at this time, I would have said with 100% certainty that Ari would be able to make a few phone calls, mention something about Max and genital warts, or cocaine, or both, and that kid’s life would have peaked at age 13. Now, sadly, I just don’t know. After Episode 1, I talked about how uncomfortable I am with the notion of a semi – emasculated Ari. Well, after Episode 2, I was hopeful that those days would quickly be behind us. Now, after watching that little shit mouth off to Ari at the water park, I’m just not so sure any more. I mean, my gut tells me that it will only be a matter of time before Max makes Corey Feldman look wildly successful, but I do have some lingering doubt. Therefore, I am uncomfortable all over again. Not good times.

4) Is Turtle’s Saigon project a complete failure? We are three episodes in, and still no mention of Saigon, so it’s not looking good for Turtle. I hate to keep hounding on this one, but it would be nice if we just got a clue. After all, the Turtle/Saigon storyline was one of the prominent story lines over the last half of last season, and now it seems to have just vanished. This is a product of both the j.v. writing crew, and the fact that HBO has inexplicably failed to expand “Entourage” to one hour. I could write an entire article about why this show should be an hour, but I’ll spare you that rant today. Suffice it to say, half an hour is just not enough time to cover all the ground that could be covered each week. Again, we are just leaving way too much on the table.

5) Why is HBO so obsessed with male nudity? Seriously, between all the man ass this season on “Big Love”, “Deadwood”, “Luckie Louie” (an absolutely atrocious show by the way), and now with Dom’s exhibition in the kitchen, it’s starting to get a little out of control. Here’s my solution, HBO should just start up a male version of “G-String Divas” and run it at 4 a.m. on Thursday mornings, and those folks that dig man ass could set their DVRs, and the rest of us could go on with our man ass free lives. That sounds reasonable doesn’t it?

So, episode 3 is in the books, and we can only hope that the varsity writing squad shows up for episode 4. Even if they don’t, however, you can be sure that I’ll still be watching, and you will still be reading about it next Tuesday.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Musings

Well, after a weekend of monsoon like rains here in the ATL, Hans and I are almost completely settled in the new house. There are still some odds and ends to put together, but both big screens are fully operational, we have full internet access, and the women have been pouring into the hot tub. Well, at least two of those three things are true. I’ll let you guess which ones. At any rate, here’s a peak between my ears as we start another week:

  • Check out these numbers:

    United States population = 299,064,599; $12,360,000,000,000 GDP.
    Ghana population = 22,409,572; $ 54,450,000,000 GDP.

    And you mean to tell me that we can beat these guys at soccer? That sound you just heard was me striking a match. I am actually in the process of setting myself on fire.

  • Here is my assessment of the College World Series: the pitching sucks, the fielding sucks, and I couldn’t care less who wins. I mean, I’m sorry. This time every year, people try to act like this event matters, but it just doesn’t. It’s a nice event for Omaha, NE, and I’m sure it’s a great experience for the players, coaches, and their families, but that’s about it. Seriously, can you name four of the last five college baseball champions without going to Google? And yes, I would feel the same way even if Georgia Tech won the World Series. At the end of the day, even if Tech had won the World Series, that wouldn’t change the fact that Chan Gailey is our football coach, Reggie Ball is our quarterback, and we are starting two freshman on the hardwood next season. Those things keep me up at night, and that my friends, is the difference between a sport that matters and one that doesn’t.

  • “Entourage” isn’t the only great show on Sunday night. If you don’t already, you should definitely make time for Dane Cook’s “Tourgasm” at 11:00 p.m. on HBO on Sunday. You’ve got one horrible aspiring comedian, two guys on the cusp of stardom, and the funniest white guy on the planet right now all riding around the country in a bus playing college campuses. How could this not be fascinating? Plus, Dane Cook allegedly “knows” Jessica Simpson! In the words of Coach Norman Dale, “that is this kind of commitment that demands yours respect!”

  • In the 15 games Albert Pujols spent on the DL, I fell from 1st to 5th in Wadball, and only the Braves have looked worse than my squad. Still, the other day when Shalls asked me if I regretted my post draft trade of A-Rod for Pujols, my answer was a resounding “no”. I would still rather finish last than finish first with Mr. March on my squad.

  • We have officially entered into a two and a half month sports abyss. But hey, only two months and six days until college football season starts. And as Hans just reminded me, we have the Tour De France coming up. I have officially placed the match to my leg hair…it should be over in just a minute. On a serious note, however, staring down two and half months without any compelling sports stories is uncharted territory for The WAD. So, I anticipate an increased focus on television, movies, pop culture, etc…until toe meets leather on Labor Day Weekend. That being said, I would really appreciate some emails and assists from you, the readers. So, if you have any ideas for columns, contests, features, etc…please don’t be shy about sending them my way.

  • Finally, a programming note for the rest of the week. We’ll have business as usual tomorrow with a little Television Tuesday, and I am planning on giving you a special preview of the NBA draft on Wednesday morning. So, if you haven’t watched “Entourage”, and you haven’t checked out Chad Forde’s or Brendan McGovern’s mock drafts yet, get off your ass and get ready!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Caption Contest


Sorry for the late posting, but here you go:

Hot Routes

It’s with great pleasure and excitement that I come to you this morning from the new crib. It’s been a long process, but I think Hans and I are finally settled in. All the new furniture is in place, and yes, we finally have cable. All this, of course, happened yesterday morning, which is why I threw up an air ball the day after the crowing of D. Wade and the Heat. As I’m sure you know, it KILLED me not to be able slurp Wade and Shaq and take shots at Stern, Cuban, and Kobe. But, we’ll see if we can’t make up for it today. Let’s play a little catch up by throwing some hot routes.

The Finals

I would be lying if I told you that after Game 2 I thought the Heat had a chance in Hell of winning this series, much less winning four in a row. I wish I could offer some poignant insights into how it happened, but I just can’t. Put all the officiating aside, put all the conspiracy theories aside, and put all the second guessing aside. At the end of the day, I think it’s pretty obvious why the Heat prevailed: You take a Hall of Fame coach, one of the all time great players that has accepted his decreased role, a group of role players that not only embrace their roles but step up at big moments, and one of the best players alive playing at his absolutely apex, then you throw it all together and chances are you are going to win a race to 4 wins. In other words, it all just came together for the Heat at the absolute perfect time.

Game 6 was actually a microcosm of the entire series. Dallas made run after run, and you kept thinking the Mavs were on the brink of blowing things open, but Miami answered every time. The Heat just kept taking punches, and just kept charging back. Eventually, they were able to land the last blow. It was almost like the end of Rocky II when Rocky and Apollo were both on the canvas, and Rocky was barely able to get to his feet to beat the count. And much like Rocky II, this wasn’t necessarily a great series, but it sure as hell was fun to watch. And yes, I do think somebody should probably go check on Kobe and make sure all the sharp objects and shoe laces have been removed from his house! And yes, I do think David Stern probably sat back, smoked a cigar, let out a big sigh of relief, and slept very well last night. And yes, I do think that there is a strong likelihood that Mark Cuban may have Stern murdered at some point in the near future. How could you not love this game?

“Entourage”

Despite the fact that our cable installer was quite possibly the laziest and most worthless human being I have ever met, we FINALLY have cable at the new crib. Seriously, the last four days without cable and internet have been four of the hardest days of my life. Okay, so that might be overstating it, but I think you get the point. At any rate, with the cable all hooked up, Hans and I settled in last night and FINALLY watched this week’s episode of “Entourage.” (Thank God for Comcast “On Demand”. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest inventions since www.celebritymoviearchive.com.) Much to my delight, episode 2 quickly atoned for the rather lackluster season premier. It had all the essentials: 1) hot women (sure, they were playing high school girls, but there is no way those girls were only 18…no way!); 2) Great comedy from Drama (I can’t even begin to describe how funny his belly flop into the pool was, not to mention the wrestling match); 3) Some quintessential Ari moments (Where do you even begin? The therapy session? The smashing of Lloyd’s artifact? His promise to abuse the headboard? All classics); and 4) some serious irresponsible spending (4 Roethlisberger style bikes? Are you kidding me? And, giving away the car to the two dorks set a whole new bar for fiscal irresponsibility. Simply tremendous).

When all was said and done, this was easily one of the Top 5 episodes in the history of the show. For me, it was right up there with the trip to Sundance, the bat mitzvah, the Sherpa (tremendous cameo by Val Kilmer), and the Comic Convention/U2 concert (phenomenal cameos by Dwight from “The Office” and Jesse Jane from…well…). When it comes down to it, I usually judge “Entourage” episodes based on how depressed they make me feel about my own life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, waking up every day doing legal research, writing briefs and memos, and reviewing documents is awesome, but it just doesn’t seem quite as cool as Turtle’s life, much less Vince’s! Well, this episode left me feeling pretty damn depressed, so it was definitely high quality.

One more thing about “Entourage” before moving on. Am I the only one that thinks somebody missed out on a tremendous opportunity by not actually making the movie “Aquaman”? I mean, if they had actually made this movie starring Adrian Grenier and Mandy Moore and released it this week, after this episode, is there ANY chance it wouldn’t have been the biggest movie in history? I mean, this seems so obvious to me that it actually infuriates me that it didn’t happen. Is it possible that I’m really that much smarter than the people in Hollywood? Actually, don’t answer that.


USA vs. Ghana

I’ve been very honest throughout this World Cup by telling you that I don’t know the first thing about soccer. I mean, I played a little when I was younger, and I know the rules, but I couldn’t tell you the names of more than ten professional soccer players. But, the greatest thing about the World Cup is that it doesn’t matter if you know anything about soccer, or if you aren’t a soccer fan for the three years and eleven months between World Cups. When the action starts, it’s nothing short of electrifying. You have hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world descending on one country, and they are living and dying with every change of possession. It really is amazing. The crowds are unbelievable, and the tension of every game reminds me of the tension of playoff baseball. Just like every pitch is huge in postseason baseball, every possession is potentially enormous in the World Cup. Whether you consider yourself a soccer fan or not, if you are a sports fan, you can’t help but be sucked in by the World Cup. And, of course, ESPN’s relentless coverage makes it kind of hard to escape even if you wanted to.

All that being said, even though I’m not a soccer fan, I’m really fired up for Team USA’s showdown with Ghana. This is huge. I wish I could articulate it better, but I just can’t. This is a huge moment for U.S. Soccer, and since soccer is the biggest game in the world, it’s a huge moment for the U.S. It’s huge for you, me, and all Americans. Like it or not, soccer matters. Granted, it only matters once every four years, but it matters nonetheless. If we beat Ghana, and Italy beats the Czech Republic, the Stars and Stripes will fly all over Germany. And if history has taught us anything, that is never a bad thing!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Quick Afternoon Thoughts On The Finals

Sorry I didn't have a new column up this morning, but the lack of cable television and internet at the new house are absolutely killing. I, however, just finished reading Simmons' latest column, and I had to sound off. First of all, you can find his column here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060620

Okay, a few things when reflecting on his thoughts:

1) I think Bill is dead wrong about a Heat victory being a bad thing for the NBA. Yes, I love the free-willing style and the complete team concept of the Suns, Mavs, Clips, and other teams of that ilk. I think it's great for the game. But, the fact of the matter is that the single biggest reason David Stern has been the greatest sports commissioner of our lifetime is that he gets it. What is "it"? "It" is the fact that people go to arenas and tune in to watch stars! Stars have been and will always be the lifeblood of the NBA. Face it, there is no way I'm going to re-arrange my schedule to head down to Phillips Arena or turn on TNT to watch a Mavs regular season game. On the other hand, there is no freaking way I am ever going to miss a chance to watch D. Wade play in person again. In fact, I hate myself for not having already done it. Furthermore, given the choice between getting bombed at McDuff's on a Friday night in January, or watching D. Wade square off against the Warriors, well, I'm going to make sure I watch D. Wade before going out to get bombed. The point is that this league is now, and always has been about stars. The reason why the NBA was abysmal between 1999 and 2005 was that the best players were either boring as hell (Tim Duncan), amusing but not fully embracing their stardom (Shaq), or accused sex offenders (Kobe). Yes, the style of play is important, and makes the game more entertaining on a nightly basis, but the banner must be carried by the stars. And, right now, D. Wade is on the verge of grabbing the banner and running with it. He's the right guy, and if this happens, it can't be a bad thing. It simply can't!

2) I didn't see Game 5, so I can't say too much about the apparent officiating debacle. What I can say, however, is that nobody should be surprised. And, for God's sake, this has nothing to do with Stern's hatred of Cuban. If anything is at work here, it's the fact that NBA officials are TERRIBLE. Just go back and read my running diary of Game 3, and look at some of the absurd calls against the Heat. Yes, D. Wade might have gotten the benefit of some bad calls, but that happens when you force the action, create contact, and the refs aren't good enough to know the difference between a call and a no call. There is no conspiracy here. There is just simply poor officiating. Does that excuse Stern and the NBA? Hell no. One thing Bill gets right in his column is that the best officials should be doing the biggest games. No exceptions. Therefore, guys like Bennett Salvatore and Dick Bavetta should never be allowed near the NBA Finals.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Monday Musings

Well, it was one of those weekends you only dream about. You know...very little sleep, approximately 20 hours of moving boxes, $700 to the movers, who knows how much to Home Depot, and uncovering enough dust on the sun-porch that there aren't enough Claritin in the world to keep my eyes from burning. The good news is that Hans and I survived it. I'm off the sun-porch, and we are all settled at Hans' phat new pad in Peachtree Hills. Only problem is that somebody must have tipped off all the ladies in the area that we were moving in because we must have had twenty smoking hot chicks stop by just to say hey. Okay, that didn't really happen, but it will damn it...it will! Enough of that nonsense, on to the Modified Musings (translation = I'm only talking about three things this morning):

Lefty's Collapse

Welcome back Lefty. Oh how we've missed you and your amazing ability to steal defeat from the jaws of victory. And yes, thank you for saving me $100. Yesterday was a perfect example of why I've never really bought into the fact that Lefty was over his troubles in crunch time. When Oglivy hit his second shot in front of the 18th green, Lefty stood on the tee box and figured he needed a par to win and that a bogey would get him in a playoff. Listen, a par on any hole out there was no gimme, but especially not 18. Hell, Monty had just doubled ten minutes before Lefty hit the hospitality tent with his drive! Then, to make matters worse for Lefty, Ogilvy did get up and down and posted a number. At that moment, you knew Phil was done. You just knew he was about to pull a Van De Velde (actually, I didn't know this...I actually figured he'd hole out from the fairway for eagle as much luck as he had on the back nine yesterday. Seriously, I have NEVER seen a golfer catch more breaks than Phil on the home 9. A trash can for God's sake?)

In all sincerity, when Ogilvy posted the number, Mickelson was being forced to do something he had never confronted in any of his three major triumphs...avoid disaster when he was expected to win. Take his first Masters' in '04 for example. He was chasing Els the entire back nine. He had a free license to whale away and go for broke. Nobody really expected him to catch Els, so he was able to play with an amazing freedom. Then, on the 18th hole, he sunk a 15 footer that nobody could have blamed him if he missed. Clutch? Yes. (Hell, it won the Masters). Potentially disatrous if he missed? Not even close.

In his second major victory at last year's PGA, it was more about neither Steve Elkington or Thomas Bjorn making a birdie on the par 5 18th at Baltusrol (the only true birdie hole on the back nine) than Lefty's birdie to win it. Not to mention, he made his winning birdie in front of about 25 people at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning. Not exactly a pressure cooker.

Finally, at this year's Master's, NOBODY put any pressure on Lefty. He just cruised along making pars and the occasional birdie on the back nine while every one else faltered. First Woods inexplicably turned two eagle opportunities into pars on 13 and 15, then Couples melted down on the back nine. In short, he again cruised with no pressure.

Then came yesterday. He stood on the 18th hole with his own destiny in his hands. If he walks away with par, he joins Hogan and Woods as the only two men to ever win three modern majors in a row. What does he do? He inexplicably takes out his driver, hits a hospitality tent, hits his second shot off a tree, plunks his third into the bunker, blows his fourth to the other side of the green, and gets up and down for a 6. Just good enough to lose. And, in the process, he unfortunately left an indelible memory for posterity. In 20 years, when people talk about Mickelson, his true die hard fans may tell you that the first thing they think of is that 15 footer on 18 at Augusta in '04, but they will be lying. The memory that people will think of first is his meltdown when he stood on the doorstep of golf immortality. He had a chance to become a legend, and he let it slip away. It's one thing to be great, it's a completely different thing to be a legend. Unfortunately for Phil, he will have to settle for the former.

Heat

I didn't see the game since the cable guy hasn't come to the new palace, and they kicked us out of the bar after The Open, but I have read about it this morning, and let me just say this very clearly: DWYANE WADE IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NBA!!! Are there any questions about how I feel on this matter?

U.S. vs. Ghana

I am really pumped about the impending showdown on Thursday. This could happen. It really can happen. USA! USA! USA!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Big Weekend

I wish I had time to offer more this morning, but I don't. Between the job, and the gradually proceeding exodus off the sun-porch, there just aren't enough hours for me to wax poetic about this week. And, what a weekend it's going to be! With the NBA Finals all tied up, the World Cup roaring into it's second weekend (complete with a huge Italy vs. U.S. match on Saturday), Interleague play all over the Majors, The U.S. Open at famed Winged Foot, and the Stanley Cup Finals, this is about as good as you can hope for when football is not around. So, with that, I wish you all a great weekend, and I hope you have a chance to sit down and enjoy at least some of the great sports this weekend. As for me, the next time you hear from me, I will no longer be a resident of the sun-porch. Seriously, how much bigger could this weekend be?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Caption Contest


I figured we'd skip the Thursday morning formalities, and get right to the good stuff. After a week hiatus, welcome back the caption contest. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Game 3: A view from the Sun Porch

I was struggling to come up with ideas for today’s column, so I figured I do what I always do when I need an idea: rip off Bill Simmons. So, with Game 3 of the Finals tonight, I figured I’d keep a running diary of all the happenings here at the WAD Palace (a/k/a The Sun-Porch). So, with a little help from my esteemed roommate, Hans, here’s how it all went down on Tuesday night:


9:02 – Welcome to South Buckhead, and the infamous sun-porch. I’m firmly situated on the loveseat, and Hans is on the big couch. Life as usual in sun-porch land.

9:07 – We have our first Michael McDonald sighting since “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” Twice in one year…don’t call it a comeback!

9:08 – Dirk has his hand over his heart during our national anthem. Just one more reason to love this guy, he makes American dollars, so he loves America. What more could you ask for?

9:20 – Exactly 13 minutes after the national anthem, and we finally have tip-off. Are we watching a basketball game or a hip hop concert? If Michael Jordan is not involved, I don’t need to see a dramatic pre-game.

9:21 – Shaq takes Diop strong to the hole. Good sign for the Heat.

9:23 – More Shaq.

9:24 – Diop heads to the bench. Shaq looks intense. We could be in store for a throwback night.

9:26 – Shaq strips J.T. leading to a J. Will (the redneck, not the murderer) lay-up. Less than five minutes in, and Shaq and D. Wade have 11 of the Heat’s 13 points.

9:29 – The Braves are getting drilled 4-1 by the freaking Marlins on Big Screen No. 2 right now, in case you cared. Oh, and Mike from Moondogs is pitching. Awesome!

9:31 – Shaq has three assists in five and a half minutes. I’m now embarking on a web search to find out if he’s ever had a triple double in the playoffs.

9:35 – D. Wade just fouled Stackhouse on a three point attempt. I mean, he’s one of the three best players in the world right now, I just figured he would know by now that you shouldn’t do that. Stupid me.

9:37 – Devon Harris just did everything but sexually assault Shaq, and no intentional foul was called. In fact, Mike Breen, the guy that talks when Hubie Brown is not talking to himself, said, “no way that should have been an intentional. That was just a good hard foul.” I’m going out on a limb here, one of two things is going on: 1) Mike Breen is an unabashed moron; or 2) Mike Breen has loads of cash on the Mavs +4. Either way, I have no use for him.

9:40 – Shaq just pushes Dampier in the back for no apparent reason while The Damp Man (I just made that up, I think it’s catchy) flushes. It was as if Shaq was just saying, “I’m the Diesel. If I want to push you, I will push you.” I support that.

9:44 – Let me see if I’ve got this right, Pat Riley just explained that the Heat carry around a pink laminated card that says “15 Strong”? Again, two things here: 1) The card is pink; and 2) There are only 12 players on a team, so Riley is clearly including himself in the “15 strong” equation. Of course he is. I guess you can do that when you have four rings, but it doesn’t change the fact that I loathe him.

9:46 - We have our first Keith Van Horn citing. Okay, two more things: 1) I can’t believe he’s actually logging minutes in the NBA Finals; and 2) I can’t see Van Horn and not think of The Cheetah…don’t ask!

9:47 - Hubie Brown: Stop jumping in the air to make the pass…see…see what happens?
Hans: I’m about to punch Hubie Brown.

9:47 - The Braves just lost. Is it time to start considering doing Smoltzy a favor and trading him to a contender? Is it too early? Don’t we owe him that much if he wants it? How did we only win one World Series? Could somebody pass me the bourbon?

9:48 - Mark Cuban looks very creepy blowing into The Damp Man’s ear.

9:50- D. Wade goes coast to coast as fast and as and as smooth as anyone since Isiah. Not to mention he’s the most un-guardable player not named Jordan since Bernard King. I know that most of you have no idea who Bernard King is, but just trust me on this one. If you don’t believe me, call me. I have some old Beta Max tapes to prove it.

9:51- The first quarter just ended, Hans pressed the “live” button, and I realized we were about two minutes behind the live action. I’m despondent. I don’t care about the fact that the running diary is off by two minutes, I just hate watching sports on a tape delay. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, and I have a ton!

9:58- Sorry, I’ve been watching poker for the last few minutes on Big Screen No. 2, but it bears mentioning that the Heat had taken a 10 point lead, and the refs just called a 3 second violation on Shaq, and a Technical on Payton in a 20 second span. All I can say is, Ladies and Gentleman, playing the part of Dick Bavetta tonight will be Jack Nies. Yes, the father of that complete tool from “The Real World I” and “The Grind.”

10:00- Not only has Jack Nies failed as a father, but he has also enabled an 8-0 Mavs’ run. The Commissioner undoubtedly has a huge smile on his face right now!

10:05- Wade has 15 and Shaq has 10 with 7 ½ to play in the half, and the Heat are only up two. In case you weren’t sure, that’s not a good sign.

10:06- Another 3 second call on Shaq.

10:07- Hubie and Breenie debate whether Wade should be shooting two or if he was fouled on the floor. We have now heard all three officials referred to by name. And no, that’s not a good thing.

10:09 – The third 3 second call on Shaq! I’m teetering on the edge of a complete melt down right now. This is outrageous. We now have two more 3 second violations in the last 3 minutes than these guys have called all season. What kills me is that come the second half, when the game is outside the prime time t.v. hours, Shaq will be able to pitch a tent and build a fire in the lane, and these guys won’t call a thing. As long as we are in primetime, however, the whole rule book will be utilized to keep this thing close.

10:10 - Am I the only one that didn’t realize that Vin Diesel is returning to the mix in “Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Nights”? How did I miss this? Needless to say, I now have plans for Friday night!

10:13 – Ana Kournikova is absurdly hot. Seriously, it’s just stupid!

10:15- Just caught the highlight of Manny’s eighth inning catch to preserve the tie in Minnesota. How have the Sox not found a way to make him the DH? Is Big Papi really worse defensively at first than Manny is in left? Is this possible? Regardless, I love Manny. He’s undoubtedly my favorite non-brave not named Griffey.

10:22- We just came back from break, and we are greeted by Dan Patrick, Mark Jackson, and Mike Wilbon. Three years ago, I would have said that these were three of my favorite people involved in sports. Now, I can only say that for two of these guys. Am I the only one that gets the sense that Dan Patrick isn’t half as intelligent or cool as he thinks he is? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m off the bandwagon.

10:24 – Dirk missed a free throw, but wait a minute, we’ve got a lane violation on the Big Kidney. So, let’s recap…we aren’t even to halftime yet, and the Heat have been called for a lane violation, three 3 second violations, and two technicals. No wonder they are only up five.

10:25- Nice dunk Stackhouse. That ball must have bounced 12 feet in the air. Very impressive.

10:27- Don’t look now, but D. Wade is on his way to the kind of night that creates legends. Not only does he already have 21, but he just looks a step faster and quicker than everybody else on the floor. He just gets to the basket at will.

10:29- The officials must have also noticed that Wade can’t be stopped because they just saddled him with a cheap third foul less than a minute before halftime. This is out of control. I just wonder if the rest of America is as infuriated as I am.

10:30- Halftime. Thank Goodness, I’ve got some seriously important stuff to do.

10:52 – After 20 minutes of seriously important stuff, I settle back into my seat to see that the Mavs have scored five unanswered to cut the Heat lead to four. By the way, my internet is not working, and it’s making my life miserable. For example, I still have no idea if Shaq has ever had a triple double in the playoffs. Not to mention that I have no idea whether he has a chance for one in this game because ABC is less likely to show stats than the U.S. is to negotiate with terrorists.

10:55 – Dirk is heating up. 54 – 51 Heat with 9:45 to play in the third.

10:56- This is simply amazing, they just called a carry on the Mavs. Now that we are four minutes from exiting primetime, the refs have switched into “make sure this thing goes at least six games” mode. Since I’m rooting for the Heat, I’m happy about this.

11:02 – Breenie (yes, Mike Breen is now officially known as Breenie) just said that Adrian Griffin is the “ultimate intangible player.’ That actually translates to “this guy has absolutely no business playing the NBA Finals.”

11:04 - Holy Crap! It must be 1996, and Antoine Walker is leading the Kentucky Wildcats to the NCAA Title all over again. Seriously, he’s unconscious. Enjoy it while you can, because this actually has the potential to prove disastrous for the Heat. Like, in the 4th quarter when he can’t throw it in the ocean and keeps shooting. Put this on the list of things I wish I owned stock in. There will undoubtedly come a time in this game where ‘Toine misses no less than five shots in a row.

11:08 - Breenie just said that Stan Van Gundy resigned for “family reasons.” And yes, I also believe Mischa Barton left “The O.C.” on her own terms.

11:09 - Dallas explodes out of the timeout with four straight points to regain the lead. You know, there is a reason why people think Avery Johnson is a tremendous coach, and this is one of them. They started the half with five unanswered, and they always come out of timeouts with a spurt. If you know nothing else about basketball, you should know that is a sign of a good coach. I mean, when was the last time Boston College came out a timeout with four straight points? I’m just saying.

11:10 - D. Wade is AWESOME!!!!

11:13- We just swung it over to Stu Scott, so I turned my eyes over to the highlights of Vernon Wells hitting homeruns on Baseball Tonight on Big Screen No. 2. Yes, I traded Vernon Wells for Billy Wagner in The WAD fantasy league. By the way, the Mavs look like they might run away with this game. My head is actually exploding as I type this.

11:15 - Hans just made the most astute observation of the night: “The only way this all white shirt thing would work is if they had firemen out there hosing down all the women.” I nominate Hans as the next head of marketing for The Heat.

11:17 - Breenie just said that Josh Howard was the last pick of the 2003 draft!!! That can’t be true can it? Normally, I would just jump over to Google and find out, but have I mentioned that Comcast internet sucks?

11:20 - The Mavs are pulling away, so its time for Hans and I to find a way to amuse ourselves, which of course means we decided to gamble. Here’s our wager: If Tiger wins the Open, I win $100. If the Big Left Handed Fraud wins the Open, Hans wins $100. If anybody other than Tiger or The Fraud wins the Open, we push. This bet was made after Hans declared that this weekend marked the third leg of the Lefty Slam. After a ridiculous statement like that, he had no choice but to agree to my terms.

11:22 - 10 years ago, I sat in Rupp Arena and watched The Damp Man lead his Mississippi State Bulldogs to an upset win over UConn in the Sweet 16 en route to the Final Four. At the time, I told my future brother in law that “Dampier is going to be a stud in the NBA!” Well, it took ten years, but after his dominance of the last four minutes of the third quarter, I feel vindicated. Let this be a lesson: I never concede defeat until I absolutely have to. Mavs up 9 after three.

11:28 - D. Wade opens up the fourth with a three. I just went and put my white t-shirt on. Let’s Go Heat!

11:29 - With 11 minutes left in the fourth, they just called Wade for his fifth foul. Only problem is that he didn’t foul anybody. I’m done trying to figure out NBA officials. They are horrible.

11:32 - Timeout Heat. 8:34 left in the fourth, and the Mavs are up 12. Oh, and in case you are counting at home, ‘Toine has missed his last two shots, both of which were simply atrocious.

11:34 - This just breaking on Big Screen No. 2, Roethlisberger has never had a license to drive a motorcycle. If the refs hadn’t stolen the Super Bowl from the Seahawks, he would be about 15 months away from joining J.J. Reddick and David Hasselhoff in the cast of Surreal Life 19.

11:37 - Shaq just scored his first basket in the last two hours. Only down 8 with 7 to play.

11:38 - Just saw the Mets highlights on No. 2. They are now 17 games over .500. If they win the World Series, I’m officially giving up my sports fan membership card.

11:45 - Remember what I said about D. Wade possibly having one of those games that gives birth to a legend? Well, we aren’t there yet, but we are getting closer. He is single handedly keeping The Heat in this thing. He’s got 37 and 11 with just over 4 to play, and he’s playing on a gimpy left knee. And, most importantly, he’s demanding the ball. If you don’t love D. Wade, you don’t love basketball. I’m getting excited!!! By the way, ‘Toine hasn’t seen the floor in over four minutes. Accident? I think not!

11:49 - D. WADE!!!

11:50 – Now the refs get it! Moving screen on the Diggler. 3 point game with just over 3 to play.

11:51 – Tiger is talking on No. 2 right now. I hope nobody tells him about my bet. I don’t want him to feel any added pressure.

11:53 - Shaq just pushed The Damp Man square in the back, but no call. Then, he hits two free throws. I CAN DIG IT!!!

11:55 - D. WADE!!! 41 points, 11 boards! 1 point game with 1:15 to play.

11:56 - UUUUUUUUUDONIS. I’m losing my mind right now. I’m making absolutely no sense whatsoever. Heat lead by 1 with 1:03 to play. American Airlines is going insane right now. White shirts are bouncing all over the place, strippers are dancing all over the court. It’s complete pandemonium.

11:59 - The refs just completed invented a foul against Jason Terry. Well done boys. Avery Johnson looks a little homicidal.

12:01 - Holy Shit….Gary Payton lives!!! Are you kidding me? His first shot of the night, and he’s cash. Shaq started the game in throwback mode, and G.P. is finishing it throwback style. Almost as dramatic as Payton’s shot was Mark Cuban inexplicably screaming for a travel in the background. Classic. I love Cuban. Hell, there isn’t anybody I don’t like in this series. Just good times all around.

12:04 - The Diggler missed! WOW! Then, D. Wade comes out of NOWHERE to rip down a big time board. What doesn’t he do? He’s got 41 and 13, and he’s played the last 11 minutes with five fouls! Seriously, we are witnessing the birth of a legend. I hope everybody is appreciating what you are seeing. This just doesn’t happen every day.

12:06 - Okay, so one thing he doesn’t do is make all his free throws. He missed the second (his 5th miss of the night), and gave the Mavs new life. I’m officially scared. I think I may have jinxed Wade. They can’t lose this game. I will feel personally responsible. I can’t live with that guilt.

12:07 - The Mavs run a beautiful lob play to the rim, but it’s broken up by…..D. WADE!!! Who else? Can you remember the last time you saw a guy single handedly will his team to victory on this stage? I can. It was June of 1998, and the guy was the greatest player to ever live. So, I’m going to say it one more time: Dwyane Wade is the most special of special players. Whether they win this series or not, I will never forget what he did tonight in Game 3. I feel lucky to have watched it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Television Tuesday

With no more “24” and no more of “The Sopranos” until February, I was worried that we might have a hard time filling the void left in Television Tuesday. Well, fear not, just when things were looking bleak, the boys from Queens came storming back on the screen on Sunday night. I am, of course, talking about Vince, E, Turtle, and the amazing Johnny Drama and the return of “Entourage” to HBO. Sunday night marked the beginning of season 3, and in the words of Ari, we’ve once again, “got Gold.”

Last season, of course, chronicled the arduous road the boys traveled to actually get Vince to avoid ruining his career and make the movie. We saw the coming and going of Vince’s obsession with the not nearly hot enough for him Mandy Moore, E’s developing relationship with the way too hot for him Sloane, Turtle’s budding career as a rap mogul, Drama’s unfortunate erectile mis-functions with Brooke Shields, and Ari’s rapidly imploding relationship with Terrance, and his ultimate departure from the agency. So, season 3 began with a lot of questions, and episode 1 gave us the answers. Well, at least some of them. For example:

1) Would Vince be able to survive making the movie with Mandy? Well, it certainly appears so. “Aquaman” was made, and it didn’t take us long to learn that Vince has spent the past six months banging a multitude of “skanks.” I think he's doing just fine.

2) Would E have his heart broken by Sloane? As of now, the answer is “no.” Despite the fact that she is a major league babe, and E has single A talent, at best, they appear to still be going strong. We didn’t get much insight into this one, but we know they are still together, and she was with him at the big premier. Has there ever been a luckier person, real or fictional, than E. As Ari has said on many occasions, E is like the garbage man that wins the lottery.

3) Would Turtle become the white Dr. Dre? We don’t know the answer to this yet, but based on the lack of discussion of Saigon in episode 1, I think it’s safe to say that this hasn’t happened just yet.

4) Would Drama ever work again? Thanks to his mother’s on air interview with Big Boy, we know the answer to this one is a “no.” If you thought it would be any different, you obviously didn’t see the episode with Brooke.

5) Would Ari land on his feet? Well, he’s barely making rent on his new cramped quarters in West Hollywood, but he’s still got James Woods and Vince on the client list. Plus, we now know that his wife is ridiculously rich and looks tremendous in a negligee, so life ain’t all bad for Ari.

So, we definitely got some answers, and we will undoubtedly get the rest of the answers in the near future. That being said, episode 1 did lead to a few more questions. Take these five for example:

1) Are we completely done with Mandy Moore? God, I hope so. The whole Vince/Mandy relationship really became a drain on last season. We tune in every week to see Vince pulling random hot chicks (it’s the closest thing to an inside look into Matt Leinart’s life we have). We don’t tune in to see him hopelessly obsessed with a “America’s Sweetheart.” Now that she’s apparently out of the picture (there wasn’t one mention or her, or one sighting of her in episode 1), we can get back to business as usual for Vince. This is a good thing for everybody.

2) Will “Aquaman” be a hit? I think the movie has to be a hit. Not only because we know that Vince is in line for a lucrative deal to do the sequel, but because of the James Cameron factor. Remember when you were watching “Mystery Alaska”, and you just knew that there was no way the NHL would have let them use the Rangers in the movie unless the Rangers actually won the game? I mean, there was no way the NHL would have allowed there product to have been diminished by having the Rangers lose on the big screen to a bunch of nobodies from back woods Alaska. Well, the same thing holds true for James Cameron. No way he allows himself to be part of a show that portrays a movie of his as anything other than a wild success. No way!

3) Are we just going to ignore the fact that Shauna looks like a beached whale? Sure, she’s obviously pregnant, but is this just going to be ignored? Are we just supposed to pretend like it’s not happening? Are we supposed to pretend she didn't spend the whole off season swimming around protecting Aquaman? (Remember, whales are Aquaman's friends). Ultimately, this really doesn’t matter, but it’s just kind of strange.

4) Is Ari going to be okay? Ultimately, I’m confident that Ari will get back on his feet and extract his revenge on Terrance. In the mean time, however, I’m pretty uncomfortable with the whole idea of Ari being down and out. Part of the fun of “Entourage” is the fact that Ari is the man, and can totally blow off anybody he wants. Hell, 75% of the show’s humor comes from Ari’s total disregard for the rest of the world. I’m just afraid that if he has to continue to sucking off his wife’s trust fund to make rent and keeps bouncing checks, he’s going to lose some of his edge. This would be catastrophic for the show. This simply cannot happen.

5) Will Drama and Turtle get another shot with the “video hos”? I hope so. I really hope so.

So, we are off and running with season three. While there are clearly a lot of questions to be answered in the episodes to come, one thing remains painfully certain: I’d trade lives with any one of the boys from Queens. Even Drama or Turtle. And yes, that is more than a little depressing!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday Musings

It was a busy weekend in sports and for The WAD. A little bit of work mixed in with the impending move off the sun porch equaled a pretty full weekend (i.e. only time for one nap this weekend!). At any rate, here's what's on my mind to start the week:

  • Roger Clemens struck out 12 batters in Double A this weekend. For the money he's making shouldn't he be striking out every body in the minors? Sorry, that's two more sentences than I ever planned on writing about Clemens. Moving on...

  • Big ups to the Baseball Jackets as they advanced to Omaha and the College World Series. When the two biggest sporting events in your life at the present moment are The World Cup and College Baseball, it becomes painfully clear how badly you need September and college football to hurry up and get here!

  • The NBA Finals, of course, should be the biggest sporting event in my life right now, but unless they defrost Shaq from his cyrogenic freeze this thing is going to be over before you know it. I'm already getting prepared for the trophy presentation. It's going to be fantastic!

  • Speaking of the World Cup, I've got to admit that the performance by Trinidad and Tobago's goalie on Saturday was amazing. Yes, I actually sat and watched the entire matchup between Sweeden and T&T, and I was captivated. This guy wasn't even supposed to start, and he ended up saving the game on multiple ocassions. Honestly, a few of his saves brought me out of my seat. And, to top it all off, he's got one of the best names in sports, Shaka Hislop! Let's Go Shaka....

  • Looks like Vijay is bringing his game into form just in time for the U.S. Open. He beat an impressive field yesterday at the Barclay's, and he only has to go about two stops on the Metro North to Winged Foot. Before you go putting all your savings on Vijay, however, just remember that no one has ever won the week before the U.S. Open and gone on to win the Open. Oh, and have I mentioned that next Sunday is Fathers' Day? Take that for whatever it's worth.

  • Rafael Nadal took out Federer in four sets to win his 217th straight clay court match. Okay, so that's an exaggeration, but he's won a lot. So, this begs the question: How can you be so good on one surface and not worth a crap on others? The bottome line is that it's very nice for Nadal to win French Opens, but if he wants to be considered a great player, he might want to consider doing something on the grass or the hard courts. Otherwise, he'll be nothing more than the Adam Dunn of tennis. A real one trick pony.

  • Shocking news out the North side of Chicago: Kerry Wood is back on the DL! I don't even have a joke.

  • Last night was the big season premier of "Entourage". I won't say too much, because I plan on saying more tomorrow, but man it's good to have Vince, the boys, and Ari back in our lives. Now, we can be reminded once a week how un-cool our lives really are. Very exciting.

  • It's the middle of June, and the Braves are 10 games back. Excuse me while I go attempt to flush my head down the toilet bowl full of turds. Seriously, I'm about to lose my mind over this. I used to think it was just the bullpen, but now I'm convinced that we just flat out suck as a baseball team. How's that for insightful commentary? Jim Mora, Sr. would be proud.

  • Finally, congratulations to all those inducted Friday night into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame. And, of course, a special congratulations to Coach Cremins. It was an awesome night filled with lots of familiar faces, lots of great stories, over priced drinks, and rubbery chicken. The most memorable and horrifying moment of the night came when Evander Holyfield assured the crowd that he was going to win the Heavyweight Championship for a fifth time. Well, at least I think that's what he said, he was kind of tough to understand. Everybody in the room just kind of looked at each other with a terrified blank stare. Well, almost everybody. His children, seated at tables 12, 13, 14, and 15 all erupted in applause. It was nice to see a supportive family! Okay, so I made that up, but it could have happened. It reall could have.

Friday, June 09, 2006

OLA....OLA, OLA, OLA!

So, here we are: The World Cup. As promised, I've called upon Stats, a true soccer expert, to give you a preview of this year's Cup. Before turning it over to him, however, I have a couple of things to cover:

1) I'd like to organize a WAD viewing of the U.S.' first game on Monday for all of you in Atlanta. I was thinking somewhere in midtown. Probably Jocks and Jills on 10th. Email me if you are interested. I'll post futher details on Monday based on the emails I receive.

2) I promised Stats I would edit his preview, but I lied. I didn't touch it. So, what appears below is simply Stats Raw. That sounds like something Jim Rome would say, so I know Stats will love it!

3) Listen, I'm not ashamed to admit that all talk of soccer that doesn't involve the United States absolutely bores me to tears. That being said, a lot of people love soccer no matter who is playing, and that is why the World Cup is such a huge deal. As a sports fan, I may not really get it, but I sure as hell respect it. As for me, however, the only three questions you will hear me ask during The World Cup are a) When does the U.S. play?; b) Are the French out yet?; and c) Are the Iranians out yet? That's about as deep as I can get when it comes to soccer. But, hey, I'm trying.

So, without further ado, here's Stats Raw on The World Cup:

After 4 years, the World Cup is around the corner. I'm sure you're sick of hearing that it's the most watched sporting event in the world. Even those who dislike soccer feel compelled to watch the Copa Mundial... but why? It's for one simple reason - it's the ONLY major team event where undoubtedly THE BEST of the world are represented in one tournament. Sure, David Stern is making amazing strides at turning the NBA into a world game, there is a World Hockey Championship, and this past year we witnessed the greatness and joy that is the World Baseball Classic. But you cannot definitively say each nation in the world is given a chance to compete in these sports (or even know they exist). Granted, it's doubtful the next Albert Pujols is sitting around somewhere in Kenya, but who knows? If 15 years ago someone told you perhaps the best player in the NBA would be some Polish-German named Dirk, you'd probably tell him to get lost. So, any fan of sport, of competition in general, is compelled to witness this mega-event pitting the best of the best against each other, where every party no matter how small was invited to the dance. After 4 years of qualifying, only 32 remain.

If I haven't lost you yet, here's a breakdown of the groups and some predictions. First of all, the World Cup is 2 stages- beginning with a group stage, where the 32 teams are divided into 8 groups. Each group plays a round-robin tournament against the other members of its group. The top 2 from each group advance to the 2nd round of 16, which follows the traditional one-and-done play-off bracketing. These groups were set up by some bureaucrats similar to the manner done with March Madness, so they are often very questionable.

Group A: Germany, Poland, Costa Rica, Ecuador

Germany, the host country, drew perhaps the easiest group on the way to the round of 16. Anything short of finishing first in this group will mean coach Juergen Klinnsman will be looking for a new job. It's not so much that the Germans are really one of the better teams in the tournament- it's more to do with the fact this group is just that weak. Poland should prevail in the 2nd position. Costa Rica should fight with Poland to advance with Ecuador bringing up the rear.

Group B: England, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Paraguay

Another relative no-brainer is England emerging #1 here. England is the always trendy pick to win by many "experts" (but they usually fall flat- think the Gonzaga of the World Cup). Sweden should advance but look for Paraguay to put up a fight for 2nd. Trinidad and Tobago will be able to tell their grandchildren they got to play in the World Cup.

Group C: Cote d'Ivoire, Netherlands, Serbia-Montenegro, Argentina

A fun thing for soccer fans to do after the draw is to debate which group is the toughest to predict, the group where anyone could go home, the "group of death". A lot of have said that title belongs to Group E (the US group), but this one is downright nasty as well. The favorites to advance are the Netherlands and Argentina, each with a storied history in the sport among the world's elite. But in the words of Lee Corso, "not so fast my friend". The Ivory Coast lost the African Cup in penalty kicks, and anyone who's watched the past few World Cups knows there always seems to be an African team that comes out of nowhere to make a run deep into the 2nd round. Very similar to some WAC or Mountain West team doing just well enough that the BCS is forced to give them a bid. And if you haven't been watching the NBA over the last 10 years, the Balkan countries can produce some mean athletic talent, and it's no different in soccer. Argentina or Netherlands will win this group, but the one that doesn't won't advance, behind either the Ivory Coast or Serbia-Montenegro. How's that for a prediction - one that might get you shot in Buenos Aires, and won't get you many freebies in Amsterdam.

Group D: Angola, Iran, Portugal, Mexico

Our neighbors to the South (and West, North, East) should battle with Portugal here for 1 and 2. I'll say Portugal squeaks by Mexico for the number 1 spot, in a tiebreaker. The rest is academic. Iran will be sent home cursing the Israeli plot to keep them out of the next round, and Angola would be happy with a single draw in group play.

Group E: Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, United States

Whoever set up the groups must like America like Shalloway likes Bush.
George W. Bush, that is. This group was not what America wanted to hear. Kind of funny that Mexico is just a hair better than the US and they landed the crap group that they did, and the US got stuck here. But oh well, if the US makes it out, it will be greater the accomplishment. I really don't need to say much about Italy, who are always a team often picked to win it all. What can you say? All their players play for the top teams in Europe and they have arguably the best domestic league in the world. I can't say anything negative because I know the Wad's family might read this page, and I don't want to get whacked. The Czech's are the number 2 team in the world according to FIFA (which stands for federation international football association... I think... or at least that sounds good). The United States is actually number 5 in the world, which, to make a point, is like the Tennessee Volunteers getting a 2 seed in this years NCAAs. A more accurate ranking for the US is probably 10. Ghana, in all honesty, I know nothing about, besides the fact at least one African team makes a run at it each year, so you can't count them out. In order for the US to advance, they'll need to definitely beat Ghana, and probably win against either Italy or the Czechs, and possibly even draw the other game. This group will be very tough, I see a lot of 1-0 and 1-1 games. Which actually favors the US, because they lack the skill to score an abundant amount of goals but are strong in the defense and in goal.

Group F: Japan, Croatia, Australia, Brazil

Not much to say here. Brazil is the favorite to win it all, though a South American country hasn't won the World Cup on European soil in ages (I've heard some say never, others say back in the 1940's or earlier, I'm too lazy to look it up, point is, for our purposes it's never happened. This group is actually a lot tougher than they might appear to most. Croatia is probably the favorite to land the #2 slot, and they have some tremendously talented players. However, Japan has made strides in both the domestic and international arena in the last 15 or so years, and many believe the Aussies have their most talented team ever. Brazil, and then a logjam for
2nd- this might be one of the more interesting groups to watch. It might come down to who loses by the least to Brazil (the first tiebreaker is goals differential).

Group G: Togo, South Korea, France, Switzerland

Believe it or not, much like Tony Parker, the French can ball. I don't know if they will have Longoria quality on the sidelines, but they should win this group. This is the farewell tour for perhaps the best player over the last decade or so, Zinedine Zidane (a French born Muslim - not quite as interesting as Roberto Baggio, captain of the '94 Italian side, who was a Zen Buddhist). South Korea is a tough team with a lot of international experience and should get the 2nd spot. Just because the Swiss are European and surrounded by soccer powerhouses doesn't mean they are good. Just because nobody knows where Togo is does mean they will suck, however.

Group H: Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Spain

I'm calling my first "upset" in this group, if not for the only reason being I haven't gone out on a limb yet, and conservative predictions are for wimps. Picking an upset is great, by the way, because even if you lose, you can win if your team just puts up a good fight. Especially if you can bullshit as well as the Wad and argue that a 20 point loss in the NCAA tournament was a "lucky game" where the favorite should have gone down. I'm picking Ukraine to win this group. Why not? I can't pick the Saudi's. And forget Tunisia. That leaves the Ukraine. Spain seemingly chokes in every big tournament. I still like them to finish 2nd, and who really cares about the Saudi's and Tunisia.

Closing note- Don't be surprised if the World Cup, to put it frankly, sucks, and many of the "better teams" fall flat on their face. It's interesting in the short history of the aformentioned other "world championships", we've seen Canada get knocked out of hockey, and America lose in baseball and basketball. The fact of the matter is, like those competitions, these are pro players whose primary concerns are with their club teams and paychecks. You can argue that this is different, that this is about history and nationalism, but deep down the same strain of "why should I risk my ass in this BS tournament" exists for the players here as well. One could argue the level of play in major club competitions in Europe is superior to the World Cup- much like one could argue the NBA finals champion could probably beat a quickly assembled team of "elite"players.

But that doesn't mean the World Cup can't be enjoyable. The fun is in watching players from countries like Ivory Coast, a country torn by war, forgetting that to play. Teams like Iran, a country entangled in geopolitics and targeted by the world community, forgetting that to play.
Fans from all over the world, many whose teams didn't even qualify for the World Cup, meeting in Germany to celebrate with others who love the game.

Proven champions making their last farewell, and unheard of teenagers seeking to prove themselves to the world. These are the things that make the World Cup great, and why it should be watched.


WAD Note: I don't know about ya'll but that last part almost got me a little choked up. Very Jim Nantzesque. Very nice work all around Stats....Rack 'em!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The NBA Finals

I was thinking of a way I could provide an insightful and amusing preview of this year’s NBA Finals. After much thought, I finally decided that the best thing I could do would be to interview two of the biggest stars, Shaq and Dirk. Or at least, I could do a fake interview of these guys and see if we can’t get some good, fake insight. This will be a lot better if you imagine these guys’ voices when reading this. That alone should make you laugh a little. Okay, keep your fingers crossed, and let’s hope this goes well:

So, here we are live on the sunporch with two of the best in the business, Shaq and Dirk. Guys, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with me.

Shaq: No problem WAD. I’m a huge fan. I really dug those articles about the Bachelor.
Dirk: Me too. I still can’t believe Travis didn’t pick Moana. She seemed like a real freak. Actually, she reminded me of this chick I met in a club in Berlin one time. She was dancing all up on me, and then…

WAD: Okay. Let me jump in there Dirk. Your publicist is in the corner having a seizure. So, let’s just talk some hoops.

Shaq: I went to Berlin once. I really dug it.

WAD: So, Shaq, let’s talk about this run the Heat are on. Three weeks ago, it looked like the Pistons were a lock to come out of the East, but you guys really put the wood to them in the Conference Finals. What was the key to winning that series.

Shaq: My little buddy D. Wade was awesome, but it was mainly about me. Ben Wallace couldn’t stop me. C'mon WAD, you knew that!

WAD: At what moment did you know that you had him? I mean, were you confident going into the Series, or did you gain confidence as time went on.

Shaq: WAD, how many times do I have to tell you? I’m the Diesel baby. I can’t be stopped. Can you dig it?

WAD: Yes, I can dig it. So, what about you Dirk? When did you know that the Suns were finished?

Dirk: Well, it was about 4 a.m. the morning of Game 6, and Steve Nash and I were sitting in a booth at Club One in Dallas. Then, I looked over at him and asked if he was up for one more shot. When he said “no”, I knew it was over. I knew he had nothing left. I mean, Steve never calls it quits before 5 a.m. Never.

WAD: Well, that makes sense. So Shaq, looking ahead to this Series, what do you think is the key to beating the Mavs? Will this series be decided by the stars, or will it come down to some of the role players like Josh Howard?

Shaq: WAD, haven’t you heard? I’m the baddest 34 year old on the planet. Can you…

WAD: Yes! Shaq, I can dig it. I can definitely dig it. Dirk, what do you think about that? Do you think the Mavs can stop the baddest 34 year old on the planet.

Dirk: Yes, I’ve got confidence in Dampier and our rotation of front line guys. Plus, I’m hoping Shaq joins us at the party I’ve got set up the night before Game 3 at Prime One Twelve. That should be enough to get us that one. I’ve also got a room reserved at Mansion in case things wind down too early at Prime. There is nothing like watching the sun come up over South Beach.

Shaq: I really dig Prime One Twelve. They have the best 22 oz. Porterhouse. After two of those, I'm usually set for the night.

WAD: Will Mark Cuban be at that party?

Dirk: Yea, do me a favor, don’t mention it to him. He’s a great owner and all, but things just get weird when he is around. All the chicks get a little creeped out.

WAD: Okay, I know I need to get you guys out of here, so I’ll wrap up with this: any predictions for the biggest sporting event of your lives?

Shaq: I’m taking the hardware back to Star Island baby.

Dirk: I think Germany will get out of it’s pool, but I just don’t think I can pick against Brazil, especially if Ronaldo's blisters get better.

WAD: Okay. But Dirk, I was talking about….uh…nevermind. One last thing Shaq. Any thing you want to say to Kobe?

Shaq: Who?

Alright guys, it’s been an experience. Good luck to you both, and do your best to find time to play some basketball between the clubs. It should be a classic.


All kidding aside, I am really excited about this year’s Finals. In fact, I haven’t been this excited abut the NBA Finals since Jordan in ’98. My head tells me that the Mavs just have too many weapons and will just score too many points for the Heat. Logic seems to lead to the conclusion that Shaq won’t have the legs to keep up with the pace the Mavs should be able to set. But, that’s my head, and those of you that know me know that very rarely do I follow what my head tells me. And this is no different. I’m banking on Shaq basking in one last moment in the sun, and I’m taking the Heat in 6. So, you know what that means…put your life’s savings on the Mavs to sweep.

Finally, for those of you with the World Cup itch, fear not. Tomorrow, The WAD is going to be taken over by soccer for a day. Don’t worry though, I’m not dumb enough to pretend that I have the first damn clue about soccer, so I’ve called on the biggest soccer fan I know, Stats, to give you the run down on this year’s battle for what is, like it or not, the biggest prize in sports. It should be fun.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Sopranos - 8 More and Counting

I’ll get right to it. I finally had a chance to watch the season finale of “The Sopranos”, and I’ve got a lot to say. So, as Tony would probably say, sit down, shut the f*ck up, and listen to me god da*nit! I’m going to tell you what I think! (Admittedly, typing that was probably more fun than it should have been. I think I’m going to start using the “f” word more. I usually try to avoid it, but I think I’ll let loose with it for now on…and yes, I am ducking underneath the desk to avoid the lightning bolts).

First of all, I’m clearly looking to meet women at the wrong places. All these years I’ve been looking in bars when I should have just been going to AA meetings! Who would have thunk it? The absurdity of Christopher’s decision making (not only did he decide to meet his mistress in AA, he decided to get with a woman that Tony had been with!), was far overshadowed by some of the hilarious mis-uses of the English language. For example, Tony saying that he “commiserates” with Aid’s mom when he clearly meant to say that he “sympathizes” with her was only trumped by little Carmine saying that he called the meeting because some “incidents have expired” instead of “transpired.” Just great stuff.

All kidding aside, I’ve got to admit that I’m starting to get a little disturbed by where Christopher’s life is going. As I wrote in great detail a few weeks ago, Chris is one of the most reprehensible yet likeable characters on television. I mean, one minute he’s telling his cracked out mistress that he doesn’t want to have a family with his pregnant wife, and I just want to punch him. The next minute, he’s coming clean with Tony about sleeping with the real estate agent, and I’m just hoping that Tony doesn’t kill him. I mean, why shouldn’t I want Tony to kill him? It makes no sense at all. The same, of course, can be said for all the characters:

Take A.J. for example. At no point in the history of the show has he ever done anything to cause me to like him. He’s been the teenage boy equivalent of Dr. Yang for over half a decade. Now, in one episode, he’s fallen in love with a single mom and seems to love her three year old son. So, all of the sudden, I find myself hoping that Carmella and Tony can get over the fact that she’s ten years older than him, has a kid, and is Puerto Rican! Again, why do I like these people so much?

Then there is Phil Leotardo. Two episodes ago, Phil sat on the bed and watched his goons beat Vito to death. Earlier in this episode, he was essentially plotting to kill someone close to Tony. But, after Tony comes to see him in the hospital, and he starts crying on what could be his death bed, I start to feel sorry for him. How does that make any sense?

Next, there’s Tony. The episode starts with him getting dressed after sleeping with what is probably a prostitute while his wife was probably lying in bed alone. But, somehow, I find myself pitying him when he realizes that Christopher is sleeping with the real estate agent. And when he explains to Dr. Melfi how he feels victimized because he didn’t sleep with the real estate agent out of appreciation for how Carmella cared for him while he was in a coma, it somehow makes sense. Not to mention the fact that you would be lying if you said that you aren’t still rooting for him to get his chance with Dr. Melfi. Hell, even FBI agent Harris felt compelled to give him a heads up about Phil’s impending hit on someone close to him. Unbelievable. No matter what, people are drawn to the big guy.

And finally, there’s Carmella. Through all the years, she’s the only one that has never killed anybody, never been strung out on smack, and never had an affair (well, with the exception of A.J.’s guidance counselor when she and Tony were separated and that whole mental affair with Furio, but other than that…nothing). All she’s ever really done is be a devoted wife and mother that always had dinner on the table and clean clothes in the closet for everybody. Yet, somehow, among all these characters, she’s the only one I find myself not pulling for. I mean, when she just tossed away that investigators business card and gave up on the idea of finding Adriana just because she now has something better to do, all I could think was, “you bitch!” So, of all these characters, she’s the only one that really pisses me off. (except for Janice)

So, this begs the question: What is wrong with me? I’d like to think that everybody sees things the way I do, but at the end of the day, maybe I’m just a little screwed up. Maybe?

Well, in addition to the psychoanalysis, I do have some predictions for the final 8 episodes coming in January:

1) There are two storylines that have been buried for a while that are certain to resurface. The first is Dr. Melfi’s rape. This was just too important when it happened to simply never be mentioned again. In a strange way, Melfi might actually be the only woman Tony has ever really loved and respected. So, when he finds out (and, he will), it’s going to be intense. The second is the aforementioned affair Carmella had with the guidance counselor. Again, it was just way too big at the time to just fade away. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but it will!

2) The movie “Cleaver” is never getting made. Okay, so that’s not really going out on a limb, but I thought it needed to be said.

3) Christopher is going to die. Over the entirety of the show, his whole existence has been nothing short of tragic, so this just seems necessary. It seems like the only way to bring his character full circle. I don’t know how it will go down. It could be murder, suicide, overdose. You name it, and he’s a solid candidate.

4) A.J. is going to join the family business. This new woman and her child are going to finally be the catalyst for him to grow up. As a result of his new maturity, he will bond with Tony. Even though Tony would never admit it, this is what he’s always wanted. What father doesn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps?

5) Meadow is not going to marry Fin. It just won’t happen. There’s an outside chance that she could be the Soprano child to join the family business. Keep an eye on this one. Regardless, I love her, and I will always be there for her. Sorry, that whole line between reality and t.v. just got blurred again. Moving on…

6) Tony is not going to die, nor is he going to jail. These are the two most popular theories regarding the conclusion of the series, and that is exactly why neither will happen. There is no way its going to end in a predictable fashion. Just like the two greatest movies of all time, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II”, “The Sopranos” is going to leave you begging for more!

Finally, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make some kind of bold declaratory statement, so here goes: “The Sopranos” is the greatest television show of all time, and James Gandolfini is the greatest television actor of all time. I don’t know what these last eight episodes have in store, but I do know that I’m going to be really pissed when they are over. I doubt we will ever see a show again where you don’t crave the action or the comedy. No, if you get those on “The Sopranos” it’s just icing on the cake. All that really matters is that you get to spend one hour a week watching these people live their lives, regardless of what they are doing. Not to mention that any show that can make North Jersey look like anything less than the landfill of the United States is remarkable. Trust me, that is nothing short of a miracle in its own right.

So, that’s it. Six seasons in the book, and eight more episodes to go. All we know for certain is that it’s been amazing so far, and it’s going to be one hell of a ride to the finish. Till January…