Giving the People What They want: A Book Review


Back when (the now defunct) Grantland announced they were giving Jalen Rose a podcast, I knew I was going to do whatever it took to check it out. Hearing that he would have his own platform excited me, because he was always one of the more quotable players in the NBA.

From the very first podcast he has not disappointed. His co-host David Jacoby can be a little much sometimes, but on balance, the podcast was on point. Jalen has a unique insight to being both a professional athlete in the NBA, but also to be member of the media. His honesty and perspective have provided a refreshing listen to some of the other options out there in the sports talk world.

His first book, recently put out last year, “Got to Give the People What They Want”is a continuation of this refreshing insight. This is the stuff he can’t talk about on air, in an effort to “not get fired.”

The foreword, written by Bill Simmons, is one of the goofier ones written by and for someone. It sort of reads like one of his old columns on his old website (with even the obligatory Shawshank Redemption reference–by the way can we all agree that the short story is way better than the movie?) talking about a famous friend he met while in Hollywood. Nevertheless Simmons gets his point across about Rose, which is that Jalen is super famous because of his ability to always have a foot in different social circles, and being comfortable in all of them.

This is one of the easier autobiographies you’ll ever read. The stories while not hilarious, are interesting. I feel like this is the PG-13 version of anything he would put out, simply because he doesn’t want to burn any bridges. I imagine he has some really  good stories “off the record” that will never see the light of day.

If you are reading this to find some NBA gossip about groupies, and late night parties, then you will be disappointed. It is a book good for family consumption. Don’t get me wrong, Jalen keeps it real, but it’s not a juicy tell all about NBA life.

It is more like an exploration of the road he has taken to succeed, and an homage to all the people along the way who helped make success a reality. Now that he has successfully become an NBA player and a person with a media platform, he is trying to help others–especially those from his native Detroit. Rose talks about the charter school he started, after many public schools in his old neighborhood have failed, or been shut down (they just had their first class graduation last spring). I get the feeling that he is more proud of that than anything he ever did on the court.

All that being said, the book is still about basketball. There is a brief history on the many players to come out of the state of Michigan, and specifically the Detroit area. Rose throws names like George Gervin, Magic Johnson, and Anderson Hunt at you, but it is also crazy to think that he played high school ball with Voshon Leonard, and Howard Eisley (No wonder they won back to back state titles).

Rose also gives some strong opinions on the hypocrisy of the NCAA, as well as his feelings about childhood friend Chris Webber. Growing up a Chris Webber fan, it saddens to hear some of the questionable behavior noted by Jalen Rose. It will be hard to look at Webber the same after reading this.


All in all, it is a good read. The whole book reads like a long podcast conversation with Jalen, and it is hard to put down once you’ve begun reading it. Rose allows you to take the journey with him from neighborhood slacker, to stud athlete having a good time, to a professional, to now a productive member of his community, and role model to many. This isn’t a book just for the hardcore hoop nerds, I think anyone can read this and enjoy it. Much like Rose himself, this book appeals to many people from all walks of life.



#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

Out The Gate

The scheduling gods looked favorably upon me with a pretty weak slate of games for week 2 of the season. This was easily the busiest week I’ve had at school, and I was able to catch up on sleep when I was not at work. I think I only got to watch about 4 or 5 games live this week. The two best games were Thunder-Bulls, and Warriors-Clippers. Both games were awesome, with the Warriors-Clippers game being everything I thought it would be. The game was krunk from tip-off to the final buzzer. #HIGHLEVELBASKETBALL

I was buzzing for hours after the game, and had to stop myself from watching the replay during breakfast. The Warriors look good, and they don’t even have their head coach or starting center right now. The way they hunkered down and took over during winning time (the 6:24 mark during the fourth quarter) was incredible. They played focused team defense and then Harrison Barnes (can’t wait to see him match up against Kawhi Leonard) got hyphy for about 6 possessions in a row–with back to back 3 pointers, a block, and then another basket. Steph Curry started doing Steph Curry things, and then the Clippers had a terrible final possession to end the game. This game was easily the “Good Ass Game of the Week.”

I was tired the next day, but it was a good kind of tired. You’d have thought I had a one night stand they way I was glowing. I was in the teacher’s lounge like “Mannnnnn, I was at the bar, minding my own business, when what’dayaknow? A basketball game comes on the television. You should have seen the point guards in this game man. They were going up and down the court, up and down the court. Running and Gunning. Gunning and Running. I mean, I was tryna play it cool, being in a public place, but eventually I was like GAME ON!!!! So you know, finally I’m like let’s do this. One thing led to another, and yadda yadda yadda, I wake up in the morning still thinking about it. MMMMMMPPPPPPPHHHHHHH!!!!”

This week’s Slate (starting from Tues. 10th)


Dallas-New Orleans 

The fight for the 8th seed continues.

Oklahoma City-Washington

KD comes home to tease Wizards fans of what they can’t have.I just watched the Spurs blow a very winnable game against Washington last week. I hit my boys up with “good ass game” alert texts even before Tony Parker hit a three with 7 seconds left to tie it up. Of course there was a mix up on a defensive switch, and Bradley Beal was left wide open to hit a game winner. Sean Elliot was not a happy color commentator.

The only thing that made me feel better about this loss was that OKC blew two winnable games of their own. Their defense hasn’t impressed me yet, and Dion Waiters may be the most selfish third tier player I’ve ever seen. Dude is a broke man’s Nick Young. I’m not a fan.


San Antonio vs. Portland

I’m looking forward to texting all my PDX homies during this one. This will be a measuring stick game for the Trailblazers. This is the first really good team they’ll face this season.


This will be the “pick 2 click”  for the night. Trust me. I’m a doctor.


Golden State vs. Minnesota

Most clinics you have to pay for. The Teen Wolves should think of this game as a paid clinic. Still it’ll be a fun watch. Don’t miss this one.

Los Angeles (Clippers)-Phoenix

This will be a “tap that vein’ kind of affair for me. I’ll probably be getting into bed by halftime.And  by the way, the Clippers will remain suspect as long as Austin Rivers is the backup point guard for the Clippers. They may as well have Steve Blake out there.

Friday the 13th

Teen Wolves versus Hickory High

Somewhere in Los Angeles, Bill Simmons is typing up a tweet about his two favorite movies coming to life.


Dallas vs. Houston

Loser of this game has to Sit in an hour of traffic afterwards. Oh wait, that’s everybody in the arena.

Cleveland-Milwaukee (Good Ass Game of the Weak????)

Everything I wrote for the Blazers-Spurs game applies here. Even though I picked them to be in the Eastern Conference Finals this year, I’m still not sold on the J-Kidd’s quite yet.


Boston-Oklahoma City

If I happened to be a certain Boston Celtics fan from Maine, who happened to be nicknamed after a Falcon, I’d take my significant other to a nice little brunch, put in some serious quality time before sports totally took over my Sunday afternoon and evening. Or I’d avoid this game completely to avoid seeing the hurting that KD and Russ are going to put on the C’s. By the way, Billy Donovan blew this game, and forced the country to endure a Butler-UConn final.


I really hope to see “Boogie Down Productions” play in this one. Toronto is trying to make people sorry they slept on them. They aight. I won’t say more than that until we get further in the season. Anyway, this will be a good game, and even if it isn’t I’ll still probably watch. I’m done with football until the playoffs start. Just wake me up when someone is ready to beat the Patriots. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Have a good week. Peace.



#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

Guest Post By Jordan Paladino: Fuck Kevin Durant

[Editor’s Note: Although I don’t agree with ANY of the assertions posted below, I did find the piece to be funny and well written. It’s also the perfect counterpoint to today’s earlier post on RUN-OKC.] 

Kevin Durant is a six-time All Star, five time All-NBA First Teamer, Rookie of the Year in 2008, and NBA MVP in 2014. He also has the honor of being my least favorite player in the NBA.

Our star crossed hate stems from a place of honest and sincere love. Growing up in Portland, OR (Go Blazers, I guess), I remember being one of two kids in my high school that has hoping our home team Trail Blazers would draft Kevin Durant over Greg Oden (shoutout to David Skolnik, being on Team Durant with me).

As it became more and more clear that the Blazers would be drafting Greg Oden, the more I, a noted contrarian, doubled down on the Durant love. I would tell my classmates that Durant would be twice the player Oden was within two years of the draft.

Greg Oden famously missed more games than he played in Portland, and the rest was history on his end. When Kevin Durant was a lowly Seattle SuperSonic (R.I.P.) he was likable. He could light up the Clippers for 40 one night and torch the 15-67 Miami Heat on a back to back. The SuperSonics sucked in 2008, but Durant was fun to watch, even if no one was paying attention.

In the offseason of 2008, something changed. I remember it pretty clearly too. People were getting over their love of Kobe, LeBron was too popular, and Bill Simmons declared Durant to be his favorite player in the league. Durant started to become the hip and in vogue player to declare your favorite when pressed by inquiring and basketball loving minds.

I let my love of Durant dwindle as the populace started taking notice. By the time 2010-2011 rolled around and Durant was named to his first All-Star game, won his first scoring title, and would be the FIBA World Championship MVP if not for the NBA player who casual fans never appreciated as much as they should (for no real reason other than people suck), decided he was tired of his home team and decided to link up with the greatest Toronto Raptor of all time, and a former Finals MVP. I of course am speaking of LeBron James.

Yes, my hatred of Durant stems from my love of LeBron. Look, I admit it. I love LeBron, and now that a lot of NBA fans hate LeBron for doing something that we all would do (look for championships when we already had more money than we’d ever need), I loved LeBron even more. The select group of “smart” NBA fans (aka the ones who didn’t care that LeBron left Cleveland) took umbrage with Derrick “No Knees” Rose winning the 2011 MVP over the clearly superior James.

King James did not make it easy on himself that year though. “The Decision” was poorly planned, his desire to be the bad guy in front of booing fans, and his ever-growing headband all made him look like the kind of guy who didn’t really understand what he was doing to his public image, which he clearly cared very deeply about.

Once the 2011 playoffs kicked off, LeBron went to a level of play as an individual and as a teammate that I’d not seen since Michael Jordan. King James averaged (rounding up) 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game in a 4-1 trouncing of the Chicago Bulls (perennial underachievers since the departure of Jordan).

Rose scored less, shot worse, and turned the ball over more than LeBron, for those keeping score at home. Miami was ready for the Mavericks in the Finals, and should have won in no more than 6 games.

But LeBron lost his first trip to the Finals with the Heat in one of the most bizarre and un-starlike performances I’ve seen in my years of watching basketball. Dwyane Wade was Miami’s best player, by a mile, and LeBron played almost as poorly as Derrick Rose (yeah, I don’t like Derrick Rose at all) in the Conference Finals the round before. I was sad. LeBron’s stock had never been lower, and Durant’s had never been higher. Something had to come to a head.

The 2011-2012 NBA season wasn’t of great note, other than the fact that LeBron won the MVP, Durant lead Oklahoma City past the, at the time, best team I’d ever seen San Antonio Spurs, and Derrick Rose blew out his knee in the first playoff game he played in that postseason. Finally, I had what I wanted. I had my guy playing against my least favorite guy.

LeBron wiped the floor with Durant (who cried when they lost) and Russell Westbrook was the best player on OKC. I couldn’t have been happier. The 2012-2013 season came and went, with LeBron winning another MVP and another NBA Championship, and Durant being boring and uncool.

I loved LeBron as much as any NBA player I ever have and hated Durant as much as any professional athlete I have ever hated (except for athletes who beat women or commit murders). Durant started to buy in to his “I’m the second best, and i’m tired of it, bruh!” narrative.

The more that Durant lived life in the spotlight the more I started to hate him. He had the lamest coach in the NBA (Scott Brooks), the coolest teammate in the NBA (Russell Westbrook), and still had acne. Durant was caught using homophobic slurs, cheering on battle rappers, and beefing with the Based God (Lil B).

Surely this was enough to get people to start hating Durant, right? Wrong! He could do no wrong! It wasn’t his fault he played for a bad coach, it wasn’t his fault that Russ shot too much, it wasn’t his fault their GM traded away James Harden. Why were excuses being made for Durant that weren’t being made for LeBron?

Why was LeBron clowned for losing his hair when Durant is balding himself? People like Durant because he doesn’t have tattoos (he does). They like him because he’s a nice young man (if using gay slurs and calling out the media makes you a nice young man… so be it).

People cried when Durant thanked his mother “You the real MVP” at his MVP press conference, and I’ll admit I thought it was very heartfelt, but then I remembered Kevin Durant has never won a Finals ring and beefed with Lil B.

Now when people ask me my favorite players in the NBA I answer before the question is out of their mouth. LeBron. Second favorite? Russ. Who do I think will be the MVP of the 2015-2016 season? Harden. Coincidence? No.

“Fuck Kevin Durant” – Lil B

Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, rapper, and writer for the show “Who’s the Ross?” He is a staunch defender of all things Lebron James, Drake and Kanye West. He is also a KD hater. I try not to hold these things against him.

“We’re Going Streaking!!!!”

Atlanta tho!!!

The Hawks who I slighted in this year’s preview, have yet to lose in 2015; winning 19 straight and are 40-6 for the season. I tuned in to the watch the Atliens play Portland the other night and was impressed with how krunk it was. I guess I should not have been surprised, since it is the birthplace of Krunk music. What bugged me out though was the arena organ player throwing down some French Montana during a key defensive stand.They beat the Blazers and continued their streak. Hawks are fa’real ya’ll.

Good Ass Games This Week


Atlanta-New Orleans

This is contingent on the health of “Lil Brow Wow” Anthony Davis. He is supposed to play tonight. We’ll see. Otherwise you’ll have to watch Memphis-Phoenix. If you are trying to watch some college hoops (which I rarely recommend this season), get down on some Iowa State-Kansas on the four letter network. Allen Fieldhouse should be hype, that is if the old people in the building don’t make the young fans sit down so they can see. TURN UP!!


Slim Pickings that night, but you can tap that vein as Golden State takes a trip down I-80 out to “Sactown”. Warriors will be getting it in versus the Kings. We know what happened last time don’t we?


Dallas-Golden State
Oklahoma City-New Orleans

Bulls-Houston may be the best bet of the night. Oklahoma City has been struggling to get on the same page of late, and I’m convinced it isn’t just health. Their offense is explosive at times, but also highly predictable.

Good teams know how to D up for the Thunder. They don’t do anything fancy, they just try to out run, out shoot, and out jump teams.This strategy has its limits, and when the superstars sit down for any length if time, their offense becomes an eyesore.

I look at Atlanta as if they are a west team these days, so if you can sit through a Wizards game, go ahead and tune in to that game.

Golden State-Dallas would be a lot more sexy if Rondo was playing. Get well soon Rajon.



Two really good teams that I really don’t like to watch play. Will I watch? Hell yes. Will I enjoy it? Maybe. I can’t lie though I was impressed with Kyrie Irving’s 55 point game. Bro was relentless against Portland. His game is nice for sure, but I’d much rather watch a certain light skinned brother out of Davidson play ball–but that’s just me.

Speaking of Portland, How did my man “Late Game Dame” get stuck on the outside looking in. Bro is an All Star and a sure fire lock to make first team on Bobby Mickey’s “Non-Kosher All Star Team”. Reserved for the ballers who have been going HAM!

Portland-Phoenix will be an up and down affair (big shout outs to the Jayhawk alumni who’ll be playing that night) with some elite guard play.


Miami-San Antonio

Should be a good one. I’m liking this Hassan Whiteside kid. He’s been a double-double machine since he got into the league (he even got a triple double one night–posting 12 blocks). After I found out he played high school ball with Iowa State legend, Deandre Kane, he was dope by association alone.

Clippers-Raptors and NOLA-OKC if yoy really wanna tap the vein, but nothing will be ass good as

the Good ASS GAME OF THE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Golden State vs. Atlanta If you are a pretty girl who don’t like basketball and you see me at the bar; transfixed to the TV screen, just keep walking. If you ain’t messing wit hoop, I ain’t messing wit YOU.


Dallas-Portland and Chicago-New Orleans will be entertaining, but I wouldn’t sacrifice a Saturday night (and your significant other’s wrath) for either of these games. If the only thing you tryna tap that night is them veins……. well this will certainly do.


Atlanta-Memphis will overshadow all the other games on Sunday’s slate. Will the Hawks still be soaring by Sunday? Will they get mauled by the Grizzlebees? The only thing that would make this game better is if these teams were playing on Martin Luther King Day.

It is only when the Clippers come to Oklahoma City that I remember that Blake Griffin is a native okie.

Portland-Houston will be fun and the Raptors will give the Spurs a good run that night.

This is the first Sunday in a long time there will be no football to distract me, which brings me to the


Pete Carroll had a chance to cement the Seahawks dynasty and spare everyone from a bukakke of “Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the greatest coach and QB” headlines. I’ll give the Patriots their due. Sure they cheat, but that had nothing to do win Pete Carroll letting 53 grown ass men down when he decided to pass the ball from the 1 yard line; instead of handing the ball off to the best back in the NFL today. Everyone on that team did their jobs but Pete.

The margin of error is so small during the playoffs, and Pete Carroll had finally convinced me that he’d stop doing Pete Carroll type of things. #Baddecisions. The Seahawks lost that game more than the Patriots won that shit, and the blame starts and stops with Pete Carroll trying to be a rocket scientist instead of a football coach.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to be him, and I don’t want to.That was the most devastatingly bad decision I have seen on such a national stage. Unforgettable. Unbelievable.

People talk about Nelson Cruz’s missed catch in the 2011 World Series, or Bill Buckner’s gaffe. I remember where I was when Scott Norwood missed the game winner against the New York (football) Giants, and the Chris Webber timeout in 1992. This is way worse than any of those events. Never have I seen a coach pluck defeat from the jaws of victory on such a grand and national stage. Pete Carroll, you sir; are the BUSTER OF THE WEEK.

Alright, enough of that nonsense. Football season is over. I’m about to get down on these Good Ass Games.



Scrappin’ [Posted 4/25/14 on]

If you are the type of person who likes seeing hard fouls, contested layups and massively uncomfortable stare downs, then the NBA playoffs is for you. If you haven’t noticed, things have turned up a notch The past week has given us a couple of weirdly entertaining series out east, a Pacers teams that looks on the verge of an epic seasonal collapse, a youthful resurgence in Rip City, and GM’s dropping 25,000 dollar expletives.

As we get closer to the swing games of the first round series, expect the intensity to pick up. I’ve watched judiciously, easing into this two month gauntlet of masculinity and bravado, but the weight of each game is getting heavier and even the Eastern Conference is becoming just interesting enough to at least tune into the 4th quarter. The Feds seized my favorite streaming site so now I’m catching them wherever I can; pool halls, pizza joints, wing bars, and frat boys’ open windows. It’s about to get krunk, and if my roommates thought I was loud during the regular season,look out!!!!!!!! Thanks to Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins, I’ve already alienated myself with all the screaming I was doing. The people who live on my floor hate me.

Random thoughts from the first round:

I may have been wrong about the Eastern Conference but only slightly. From everything I’ve heard, the Pacers-Hawks series has been ugly. I’ve been tracking it on ESPN, and whatever apps you can get score updates, and I haven’t gotten the impression that its something that I’m missing out on. The same can be said about the Bobcats-Heat. If I wanted to see beat downs, I’d go on or look up Kimbo Slice videos. Yawn.

The Bulls-Wizards match up has been intriguing. I’ve watched crunch time of both games and the Wizards have been taking it to the Bulls down the stretch. I’m not the biggest fan of Bill Simmons by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll give credit where its due. He said Washington would beat the Bulls before the series started. Simmons stated that the back court match up would be the difference in the series and he was right. Chicago has no real answer for Bradley Beal and John Wall when it matters most. Nene has played pretty well (I didn’t realize he was such a good passer) and the rest of the cast has been just good enough. Both games could have gone either way, but Chicago is going to have a tough time climbing out of the hole that’s been dug for them. They just don’t have enough playmakers.

The off the court theatrics in the Toronto-Brooklyn series has been more compelling to me than the on court product (Paul Pierce’s “This is why they brought me here” was exactly why he’s one of the most beloved Jayhawks of all time). Between that, GM of Toronto’s “F%$^ Brooklyn” and this weird Jay-Z- Drake “beef” (which I’m almost convinced is a publicity stunt for an upcoming duet album “Degrassi Heights”), the media has made this series into “New York vs. New York Lite, the battle for Metropolis” narrative.

While I’m talking about this, there are a couple weird things I think about this so called “beef”. Drake calling anything anyone’s raps “corny” is laughable, and for him to pretend like Toronto is this blue collar city, and the Raptors are a team for the “people” is equally ridiculous. I’ve been to Toronto. Its about as metropolitan of a city as you’ll find in North America, and other Canadians hate Toronto. Everyone please stop it. That shit is too silly.

Somehow I’ve managed to miss both Spurs-Mavs games, but luckily there haven’t been any dick punches to upstage the actual play on the court. With Dallas winning game 2 in San Antonio, it guarantees there will at least be a game 5. This will probably be when I decide to finally jump in and watch Dirk vs. Tim, Pops vs. Carlisle, and Monta vs. the WORLD.

Oklahoma City may have possibly gotten the worst draw of the field. Memphis has always been a bad match up for them, because of how physical they play on defense, and how slow they play on offense. Oklahoma City beats most teams by their athleticism and most teams try to out run them. Memphis likes to body up KD with Tony Allen and company, and make OKC grind out their wins. It took OKC 7 games to dispose of the Grizz two years ago on their Finals run. Last year with no Westbrook, it was clear they were dead in the water. This year, with OKC fans cringing every time Westbrook hits the deck (they are such a different squad without Russ), it seems like even if the Thunder escape this round, that they may be too tired to advance much deeper than past years. Memphis has a way of wearing down their opponents.

Watching Westbrook get his kneecap worked on put into perspective how flaky life can be. 2 years ago, it seemed like the Thunder were on the brink of a dynasty, and just like that Harden is leading a team of floppers down in Houston, and Westbrook is one nasty spill away from being this generation’s Ron Harper. It just goes to show that you never know how things are going to be from year to year. Memphis was the one team that I didn’t want to get in because they made me nervous (well that and Phoenix was a bit more entertaining), and now that they are healthy again, they are going to make teams work to close them out. It won’t be pretty.

As for this Dubs-Clips series, I didn’t realize David Lee was going to be healthy enough to play this series (he’s such an underrated passer), but even with Lee it is still hard for me to believe the Warriors have the juice to win this thing. There was a moment when I realized that I used to watch Mark Jackson and Glen “Doc” Rivers when they were playing for Indiana and New York, and how I was a fan of both of them during their league days. I am starting to think that despite Mark Jackson’s oratory skills, he is lacking in the X’s and O’s department. His in-game decisions have been trumped again and again by the Doc. Jackson will always have a job in the league because he is a player’s coach (much like Scotty Brooks) but some of his strategic decisions have been puzzling at best (again much like Scotty Brooks).

Have I mentioned that I don’t like the Clippers? They are some of the whiniest, dirtiest players assembled right now, west of Miami, Florida. Blake Griffin flops more than a mud shark shoved in a Zeppelin groupie’s……well let’s leave that alone. The point is there is always a little extra with the Clippers, and that was a foul by Chris Paul at the end of the game. That being said, you can’t play that poorly for 3 quarters and then expect to get bailed out the refs. My prediction is the next game will be the last game won by the Dubs in this series. I think the Clippers will win the next two, of course game 6 might be another Oracle classic.

Let’s see how it all shakes out.

See ya next week.