Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  September 16, 2009

NBA Playoffs Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets in Houston
A lot of things piled up in the inbox while the server migration has taken up my time. I want to apologize again for the inconvenience, site issues and the slow posting for a few days as this got done (just thought this time of year was the best time to do it).

In case you haven’t seen it, you can now become a fan of Forum Blue & Gold on Facebook. That way you can get updates from this site and those high school friends you don’t really care that much about at the same time.

On the court, there are a few things to talk about:

• Just a couple more weeks until training camp — which means a couple more weeks to replacement refs!

I don’t have a lot new to add here. The posturing over the potential lockout of referees makes for a few good jokes. And I’d be shocked if this does not carry over into the preseason because I think the theory David Stern wants to set a tone for the upcoming players negotiations makes sense (even if he is not wholly wrong on the issues). But pray to Zeus it does not spill over to the regular season. I got to see what would be some of the replacement refs at Summer League — refereeing games played without the talent and intensity of the NBA game — and there were at least a couple times every game where the calls had the entire press corps shaking their head. If you remember 1995, you’ll remember how bad that was and this would be as bad or worse.

Basically, the jokes are funny now. By Halloween, just scary.

• If you haven’t seen it (and I hadn’t until Brian from the LA Times Lakers blog pointed it out), the blog Both Teams Played Hard is doing a summer project looking at every logo in the NBA and when they got around to the Lakers it slayed me (I also apologize now for the language):

Then the Lakers moved to Los Angeles where their nickname made no sense. Some half-wit designed a logo with streaky lines and a swooping watery ‘R’ and then kicked back to wait for the Jazz to move to Utah so that people would forget how nonsensical the Laker name was by comparison. Objectively, this logo is lame. But the longer they use it, unchanged with only minor alterations, the more vastly superior it becomes.

When I look at the Lakers logo, it says: “This is our logo. We’re the Lakers. What’s that in our logo? It’s a basketball. Why? Because we’re the basketball team from Los Angeles. What’s our mascot? What do you mean? You think we’re concerned that our team name has no obvious personification, and we’re going to have some kind of Steeley McBeam debacle? Please. Our mascot is Kobe Bryant’s middle finger. What’s that? You’ve noticed that some idiot named Bob Short decided that one of our primary colors should be purple? You think that’s kind of gay? Let me refer you to our mascot. We’re the Lakers. Fuck you.”

• One of my proudest moments ever running with this blog: Getting a twitter shoutout from the Kogi BBQ truck twitter account. The gourmet/fusion food truck thing is becoming so big in LA as to soon become a cliché, but Kogi is the reason that everybody wants to do this. The Korean short rib taco is simply one of my 10 favorite meals in the world. If you live in LA, you owe it to yourself to eat there at least once.

• For those that think Pau Gasol is taking a big risk playing in Eurobasket, Richard Jefferson dislocated his thumb yesterday at the Spurs practice facility. Injuries can happen anywhere.

• President Obama said his favorite hoops player now is Luol Deng. A guy with a lot of potential who has yet to live up to the hype. Seems about right.

to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Oh my sweet, gentle, loving Kurt… we both know serious injuries are more likely to happen playing in competitive games.


  2. Hey Kurt-
    At the end there was that a political jab? Just curious…The logo blurb was pretty damn funny too!


  3. I don’t want this to become a political thread, but I thought that was safe. Two weeks ago I was talking with one of several friends who had volunteered for Obama during the campaign. He and I have the same phone, the G1, and I asked how he liked it and he said his phone was like Obama, he liked it a lot more than what he had, but it has not been all he hoped. That conversation popped into my head when I saw the Deng thing.


  4. haha oh come on guys, that obama remark was hilarious.. whatever side you stand on. good stuff kurt.


  5. can the Season start already!!!


  6. That logo breakdown is hilarious. Purple is pimp though.

    Kogi is SO good! Maybe a truck outside Staples after games?


  7. Personally, I love Deng too. Hope he gets healthy and gets a chance to show his stuff.


  8. I think that Greg Oden is a better comp.


  9. In case you’re wondering, McCain is no Durant.


  10. I loved the Deng of three seasons ago. If that Deng can come back and be paired with Rose, along with the other guys there, suddenly Chicago looks good. (That team has pieces but has not figured out how to fit them together yet.)


  11. Kinda curious about the Kogi thing, since i’m back in Korea… the word itself means ‘meat,’ but I guess they probably let everyone know that already.

    Anyway, I think Purple & Gold is a great choice of colors, although I’m partial to Blue & Gold (Go Bears!).

    As for the Obama thing, heh, that was funny… and thinking of Obama, I still haven’t finished that Audacity of Hope book…


  12. I know it was a convenient presidential jab, and I found it funny. But to be fair the man never ‘hyped’ himself – he was always realistic about when and how he was going to go about bringing change to Washington.


  13. I like Riley. He’s original. Good read

    Come to think of it, MJ framing his whole speech around not so much competitive fire as feeling somehow jipped was kinda douchey.


  14. Oh I don’t think you have to worry about getting the same ol LOL Deng (I have nothing against the guy, I just noticed I pronounced “LOL” the same way I do his first name) seeing as how he makes an annual pledge to not add anything to his game


  15. That Obama comment was genius. That is all.


  16. If we end up with replacement refs, I wonder if that would help or hinder Bynum’s early foul troubles. You know, maybe they won’t give him four fouls before half-time or maybe he will be out of the game by the first quarter, being called for every and anything again.


  17. Problem I have with Jordan’s speech is that if Kobe gives that speech he is crucified by the media about how arrogant , cocky, sefish he is. Jordan gives that speech and everyones like he the greatest of a time and the greatest have ego’s. Well guess what Kobes on his way there, more than halfway there actually.


  18. Our mascot is Kobe Bryant’s middle finger. GOLD.

    12, Don: +1

    D – I wouldn’t say everyone’s worshipping him after this speech, I’ve seen quite a few media members take him to task. But you’re absolutely right, can you imagine the reaction if Kobe did this? We’re talking utter annihilation from all forms of media.

    The only one who might get a pass after a speech like this is Garnett. Partly because the media would pass it off as more of his legendary “intensity,” and partly because he’s psychotic and they’d worry he’d leap over the podium and eat them.

    Seriously, the media is as good as picking out douchebags as a 15-year old girl.


  19. On a side note, Michael’s not getting it anywhere near as bad as Kanye. When Katy Perry cusses you out over the internet, you have done something tremendously bad.


  20. “and partly because he’s psychotic and they’d worry he’d leap over the podium and eat them.”

    I LOVE this board!!!!


  21. I liked Riley’s article, but I would disagree that Jordan’s speech wasn’t funny, I though it was hilarious.

    Deep down, I think Jordan is bitter at the game and the NBA in general. He mentioned in his convo with Wilbon on ESPN that he took the 2 years off to play baseball because of the commercial and celebrity life was confusing what was important to him. All this guy wanted to do was win basketball games, and the game was forcing him to dedicate himself to the business as well.

    The big difference between him and Kobe? Kobe loves the celebrity that comes with being the best player in the game. I get the feeling Kobe’s speech will be a lot more heartfelt. He loves the game, and the business. Jordan just loved the game.


  22. Travis,
    Are you sure you have followed the last 13yrs? Kobe has been the loner who has had to learn how to function with the outside world. Jordan was the media darling as soon as Nike signed him up and ESPN was born. The thing about Jordan was that he got the media rules early – not that he liked them. Kobe didn’t get it early and he was on a team with an ego that refused to share anything.

    As to what their personal feelings are – we are now finding out about Jordan’s. I suspect it will be awhile before we find out Kobe’s.


  23. pray to zeus Kurt?? Really?? C’mon now.


  24. 23. Athena? Apollo? Maybe there is more of a Dionysus following on this blog than I expected.

    We are not going to get into religion on this blog. Besides, If you’re going to pray to your god of choice and ask for things, the ref strike really shouldn’t be on the list of issues. So I took some liberty.


  25. I’m surprised no one’s talked about the hottest new NBA topic yet: Greg Ostertag is trying to make a comeback.

    As if that sentence by itself isn’t funny enough, I thought I’d pass this along, from Basketbalbawful:

    Also, this is a tremendous article on Earl Lloyd, who, I’m ashamed to say, I knew nothing about before reading:;_ylt=AjJ8wVwhl8bb7LHilAwdy9a8vLYF?slug=mc-lloydhall091409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns


  26. I hate Rick Reilly and Jordan, so that column pained me because I had to take sides with one or the other. I sided with RR this time, since it was nice to see someone call Jordan out on anything.

    For years that guy could do no wrong with the media. He’d take a dump on their head and the sycophants would line up to write, “Michael Jordan is the greatest hat maker of all time!”

    At the Hall of Fame there was no ref to bail him out when he got into trouble.

    Had Kobe pulled that speech, he’d have been shot on the spot. Bill Simmons gets aroused even thinking about the column he’d write should Kobe ever say anything like MJ did last week.

    As for the Lakers logo, that blog item was dead-on. That’s one of the greatest selling points to me on this franchise — it’s consistent. I see teams like the Nets, Suns or Pistons change their uniforms, change their logos, their colors every few years and it just cheapens things for fans. “Do I wear teal this year, or is it red and blue again?” Screw that.

    I think that’s the biggest reason I still hate the Sunday whites. The Lakers were special for the longest time because they were the only team to wear a color at home, and they held out for the longest time on the “Let’s cash in on an alternate jersey” trend. I get that it’s a business, but I miss the days when it was only Forum blue and gold, you know?


  27. I love that shot at Obama. ROFL!!!


  28. Unrelated to the fast break shots, I want to note my disappointment with the Tex Winter biography (Trial by Basketball) that I finally got around to reading. Has anyone here read it . . . and liked it?

    The book is poorly written. Example: the verb tenses (e.g., _constant_ use of “he would go on to score 30” instead of “he scored 30”) are very distracting. Also, I noticed at least 2 factual errors (e.g., Elgin Baylor playing in the ’72 playoffs ????), maybe there are more.

    Worst, the book is merely a serial prattling of events without much insight about Tex, or anything else. Most material seems to be a rehashing of secondary sources, with a minor sprinkling of sum-up sentences quoted or rephrased from Tex.

    The most provocative stuff about Tex himself are the rare quotes from his own book written years ago (The Triple Post Offense) – made me wish I were reading that one instead !

    I read the Pete Newell biography just before it, and it was quite good (made Tex’s suffer even worse in comparison).


  29. If the drive inside to prove everyone wrong is what made MJ the GOAT then I see nothing wrong in letting the world know about the incidents in his life along the way that fueled the fire. Thats what you tell your children when life gives them a bad hand. To get back up and use past failures as motivation to succed in the future. Its a deeper meaning to what he said then just bashing those who stood in his way to become the best. It was a testimony of how even the greastest has been knocked down, but found the will and desire to keep it moving. I find it funny to hear people say something about it now, when it was known all along how much of an a**hole MJ was during his career. You wait til he is at the age of 50 to pick your fight, and act in amazement that such words could come out of his mouth. The media is responsible for building MJ up, now they want to watch him fall.


  30. I really don’t get what the big deal of MJ talking trash is all about. That is WHO HE IS and has always been. MJ got away with it in his playing day because he backed it all up on the court. He is an incredibly rich man now with business ventures galore and that is how he can back up anything else he says today.

    How is Riley or anyone else going to dispute what he has accomplished because of his intensity. Because I just see the smack talk as that…part of his intensity. That is how he has always been driven. He perceives that others slight him in some way and he uses that to fire himself up. So how is any comment he made out of character?

    The only part I had an issue with is the reasons why he said he played baseball the whole “the media and glitz was taking my focus away from the game I loved”. He could have easily said, I am not going to sign anymore contracts with Nike or Gatorade or whatever. But he didn’t and in fact was still making commercials and stuff for all his sponsors while he was playing baseball…and collecting the checks. He can say what he wants and maybe in retrospect that is what it has become to really mean to him…but his actions at the time did not match what he was saying in the speech.


  31. I hate to admit it, but looking at the various logos of the NBA franchises, number one has to be Celtics. Can’t stand the sight of it, but the leprechaun is pretty cool.


  32. That leprechaun is pure evil. Nothing cute
    or endearing about that little bastard.


  33. Forgive me if this is old news but what ever happened to Kobe getting surgery on his pinky finger? Why haven’t I seen the media asking the same question?


  34. Can someone buy Henry at Truehoop a new drum? The one he’s been beating is old and worn out…


  35. @ Gatinho,

    I had to laugh when he wrote that Kobe should have passed it to a “wide open” Kwame Brown instead of dunking it over Nash.

    Obviously he’s basing all of his alleged analysis off of a highlight video and has never seen the infamous “Kwame Juggle.” Otherwise he’d know better.


  36. Re: Henry Abbott

    The most hilarious part of that article:

    “About a minute into the video, Bryant is approaching the hoop and Steve Nash runs over in an attempt to take the charge. Yes, Bryant can jump over a man that size. But Kwame Brown could not be more alone under the hoop. Rather than dishing, however, Bryant scales the little Canadian infomercial celebrity. ”

    I take it that Henry never got a chance to watch one Laker game when Kwame was on the team if he thinks dishing off to “Stone hands” Brown under the bucket is a preferable decision to Kobe posterizing a 6’3″ point guard.


  37. That Abbot article was priceless. This line had me laughing so hard I couldn’t finish reading the article for several minutes. “But Kwame Brown could not be more alone under the hoop. ”

    I’m sure all Laker fans, and certainly anyone with even the least bit of basketball acumen would agree – Kobe should pass up a dunk to get the ball to Kwame ‘velvet hands’ Brown.

    So was this unintentional comedy from Dear Henry, or was the article tongue in cheek? Either way, one of the funniest articles I’ve read in a while.


  38. Oops, Daniel posted as I was writing…


  39. There is a lot I like about Truehoop, but we’ve heard “selfish” so many times. Truth be told, young Kobe had obvious moments where his will-to-win and his supreme confidence in his game led him to be what can be described only as selfish. But did it get in the way of him winning three rings?

    Was he “selfish” 2005-2007? Or was he just asking himself, “Who’s hotter right now, me or Chucky Atkins?”

    Now bring in the fact that the dude’s team just won the championship and did it in a way that it isn’t normally accomplished. Almost all NBA champs have at least 2 sometimes 3 (Magic, Cap, Worthy) HOFers. Is Pau Gasol going into the HOF?

    And then there’s this from Chris Ballard’s article from SI on the Finals.

    “…The way [Bryant] dominated not only with baskets but also with passes—Bryant had nearly twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals.”

    I just don’t see where he’s brought anything new or insightful to that criticism.

    Seems like he just can’t help himself sometimes.


  40. LOL at #12 Don

    When will people realize that ALL THESE GUYS ARE THE SAME! Stop defending 1 for doing the exact same as the other…

    PS: this post will never get past “moderation,” lol.


  41. #17 you wrote:

    D wrote on September 17, 2009 at 2:07 am
    Problem I have with Jordan’s speech is that if Kobe gives that speech he is crucified by the media about how arrogant , cocky, sefish he is. Jordan gives that speech and everyones like he the greatest of a time and the greatest have ego’s. Well guess what Kobes on his way there, more than halfway there actually.


    That’s not Jordan’s fault, it is the media’s fault. Look, let’s be fair, Kobe is the most loved and hated man in the entire sports world. Do you think that I’m exaggerating? Did you see Kobe in Beijing? They said that his crowds were 10x Lebrons, no joke. Kobe has the 2nd most sold NBA jersey of all time (behind Jordan), and year after year is #1 with active players. But, no doubt that he has his haters. Kobe haters are EVERYWHERE. They are irrational and fervent. I have never, and i really mean NEVER EVER seen more venom towards anybody in sports that these Kobe haters have towards Kobe. It is serious.

    Now this is not Jordan’s fault. I think Jordan is overrated, sure the best of all time, but not by much if at all. The difference between prime Kobe and prime Jordan is insignificant, if it exists at all. In fact, Kobe is most likely the more SKILLED player. But to the masses, Jordan is regarded as a basketball god, and saying anything like the above is blasphemy.

    So, i’m not a Jordan fan by any means. But i do like the guy. And I was absolutely GLAD that he said what he said at the hall of fame induction. Do you know how BORED I am of the unoriginal PC crap that comes out of 99% of these people’s mouth’s? And then Jordan comes out and says exactly what he is thinking –awesome.


  42. @VoR, great minds think alike. Or any rational mind who experienced the “Kwame Era”, that is.

    If I didn’t know Abbott better, I’d really think that was sarcasm. It’s like bizarro world with this guy. What’s next? An article praising Kwame, Smush, and Brian Cook has the major pillars of Laker basketball in this decade? Laughable.

    Sadly, he lets his bias against the Lakers seep into his NBA analysis all too often. And I don’t understand why he has to target Kobe constantly. I hate the Blazers, but I don’t find any need to belittle Brandon Roy, who I’m sure Abbott thinks is the most selfless guard in the NBA.

    I’d love to see him respond to the indisputable fact that Gatinho brought up – that Kobe had twice as many assists as anyone else in the Finals. If it happened in one game, maybe you can call it a fluke. But in an entire series? (which happens to be the most important series of the entire year). It’s hard to deny Kobe’s development into a complete player who cannot only score at will, but create scoring opportunities for his teammates as well.


  43. New post up that is bound to get me in trouble.