Eurobasket.com is the largest website in the world that exclusively reports on overseas basketball. Most people have never heard of it, but it is required viewing for anyone playing abroad. It actually does a decent job of aggregating the scores and stats from leagues all over the world, but it does so using the ugliest, clunkiest website known to man.
The site is, quite frankly, hard to look at. The layout is hopelessly cluttered, there is no intuitive way to locate old posts, and it is chock full of obnoxious advertisements. Also, the main page is extra awkward because they shoehorn video clips into the middle of the headlines.
One of the front page video clips you can access is a 2 minute highlight of Yugoslavia vs South Korea from the 1996 Olympic games. It has 5 views on youtube, and I think I account for 3 of them.
Timely! At least can’t accuse them of chasing trends.
As I was watched Damian Lillard drill that game winning three against New Orleans, I couldn’t help but think about myself. Because I’m a narcissist.
No, it was actually because I was recently thinking back on my basketball career and lamenting the fact that I NEVER hit a game winning shot as time expired. Not once. That might seem like a ridiculous thing to regret. But it’s not.
What scenario does every player imagine when they practice? They don’t pretend to get an assist on the winning basket, or clinch a game with a steal, or take a timely charge.
Those are all things I have done, and I am proud that I did them. This isn’t a humblebrag. But no one dreams about heroic defensive stands. You dream about sinking a shot as the clock hits double zero, and getting mobbed by your teammates.
That is the holy grail of in-game moments. Call it selfish, close minded thinking, but it’s the truth. Nothing gives a person more satisfaction, credibility, and confidence than draining a shot on the final possession. At least that’s what I assume. I don’t actually know, because I never did it. What I do have experience with is missing such shots.
Last June I climbed Mt. Whitney with some friends. Here is what happened:
I was roused out of my sleep by my alarm. It was 3:30 AM. I had driven up north from LA the previous day, slept in a tent, and was now readying to climb the highest mountain in the contiguous United States.
There were 6 other people in the group, and we gathered in the darkness to take stock of everything before we started the ascent. This was when I noticed that it wasn’t actually that dark, because every other hiker had a fitted headlamp. This shocked me. I thought those were only for coal miners.
I then began to notice that it was not just the headlamps that set this crew apart. They looked like they were a film crew for Planet Earth: Mountains. Thick boots, pants of a special texture that zipped off into shorts, wide brimmed hats, super ergonomic ski pole looking things, backpacks with thousands of pockets and tubes sticking out at perfect drinking height. Those water bladders for your backpack are called camelbacks, and everyone had one.
Except for me. In fact, to this crew, I must have looked like the kid in little league who showed up for games without a mitt, his shoes untied, and snot dripping down his face. I think the money was probably on me to be the guy who sprains an ankle or passes out from dehydration.
I had on basketball shorts and a sweatshirt. I was wearing the beat up backpack I used throughout college. Also, I was rocking a pair of those funny looking shoes with slots for the toes, because who says you can’t climb a mountain AND look like a guy who cares way too much about ultimate frisbee? Continue reading “Mt. Whitney”
I also spent time using clay to mold likenesses of ancient artifacts, learning about how Odysseus’ knowledge of his own mortality influenced his actions, and writing 8 page essays on 36 word poems. The real world applications are endless!
Glorified Telemarketer, Lawyers on Demand
Los Angeles, CA — For roughly 1 month in the summer of 2006, I cold called people and tried to get them to sign up for some lawer-y service.
Displayed an unparalleled go getter attitude. One day I spent an entire afternoon dialing up contacts and convincing them to call into a local radio station, K Earth 101, to request that they play the song “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations.
I had a $10 bet with a coworker that the song would get a spin before 4 PM. I almost felt bad for roping her into the bet. Not only had this station been playing the song like it was a classic beatles record on the day after Lennon got shot, but I was begging my friends and family to call up and ask for it.
You have to sign a general D-League contract in order to be eligible for the draft. The league has a vetting process to make sure that only the most qualified people are in the draft pool.
The final list of players eligible for the D-League draft was just released. I was not one of the 261 people on the list. That is going to make things quite difficult for me in the “getting drafted” department.
I had a small chance of being selected even if I was eligible, but it would have been nice to be included. Particularly because of some of the other players that made the cut.
I want to look at some of the shorter people that are in the draft pool, because they are presumably my competition. Keep in mind that everyone listed at 6’0 is probably 5’10, and everyone listed at 5’11 is more like 5’8. That’s just the way basketball works.
For instance, see Courtney Lee, and his 6’5 listing.
I played some pickup against Lee a few years ago, and he is MAYBE 6’3 if he is wearing thick soled shoes and did an hour of yoga that morning. But there is no downside to listing yourself as taller than you are, so you’d be foolish not to.
And just to be clear, I am the last person to denigrate someone just because they are relatively unknown. There are tons of people out there who can thrive if they get an opportunity. Maybe one of these guys will get drafted and have a great career, and if so, more power to them. One of them might have absolutely killed during a tryout. Who knows. It’s just from where I’m sitting, these people seem to be particularly under qualified for inclusion in the draft. Continue reading “Who Are These Guys??”
Utah forward Jeremy Evans recently had this fantastic sequence of events.
A monstrous block, a mind-blowing dunk, and then a great hustle play to deflect a pass out of bounds, all in about 10 seconds. That was pretty cool to watch. But what I want to talk about, if I can put on my snobby, basketball purist hat, is how people are going to say things like “Evans is the most athletic player in the league!”
Athleticism is not all about who can jump the highest and run the fastest. (And I’m not just saying that because I have as many career dunks as Mike Penberthy.) Knowing angles, having a quick first step, and having exquisite body control all play a huge role in how “athletic” someone is. Continue reading “What is Athleticism?”