Clicks to Pick Week of Dec. 5th

With Bobby Mickey still on vacation in Bermuda, This A Good Ass Game brings you a rotating cast of guest Picks to Click. Bmick will be back next week (hopefully) to bring you the column in its regular format.

Clicks to Picks WEEK 12-5-16 to 12-9-16

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5

CLE at TOR

Start your week out right. Start your week off with the King. LeBron and the Cleveland LeBrons make a trip up to Toronto to play against DeMar “I Live In The Midrange” DeRozan and some other losers who can’t keep up with LeBron. Look for Kevin Love to BEAST on Pascal Siakam. And Kyrie will break Kyle Lowry’s ankles at least twice.

POR at CHI

Given that I’m a Blazers fan, I gotta recommend watching the Blazers at the Bulls. Chicago has been surprisingly impressive to me, which I didn’t expect. At some point, Rondo/Wade/Butler will implode and SOUND THE ALARM… I’m calling it to happen against the Blazers tonight! Damian “The George Hill of Rapping” Lillard is gonna torch Rondo, C.J. will have a breakout on the tired knees of the hometown hero Wade, and Allen Crabbe is gonna prove he should be starting. Mark my words.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6

SA at MIN

This is the only game that deserves your attention tonight, even if you’re a diehard of any teams playing outside of the “Arena Wally Szczerbiak Built”. LaMarcus Aldridge will officially be passed as the preeminent Power Forward in the NBA by Karl Anthony Towns (if he hasn’t already, and lemme tell you, it is damn close right now in November). Andrew “Drake Mentioned Me In A Song” Wiggins vs Kawhi “I’m Quiet And Only Listen To 90s R&B” Leonard could be a really fun head to head match up for the next decade. Who knows, it could start tonight!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7

POR at MIL

What better way to celebrate Pearl Harbor Day than seeing Dame and C.J. drop from long range on the Bucks? Giannis “Can I Buy A Vowel” Antetokounmpo should be able to feast on the free range, gluten free Portland defense. The Blazers can’t stop big men, so Greg Monroe will look like Lew Alcindor against the front court of Plumlee/Leonard/Davis. We know who teams are at this point in the season. Will the Blazers be legit, or Coach Kidd show us last season’s overachieving was a Northwest fluke?

CLE at NYK

Whenever the NBA’s best player gets an opportunity to play at the Mecca (Madison Square Garden) it’s appointment viewing. Kristaps “No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Die” Porzingis is ready for prime time and will show up and show off against Tristan “Khloe Totally Isn’t OJ’s Daughter” Thompson, and I’m calling for an upset. Knicks beat Cavs on route to gelling in the Hornacek led version of the triangle where they’re destined to lose in the first round in 5 against Toronto.

GSW at LAC (Good Ass Game of the Week)

The league’s best talent versus the league’s biggest phonies. If you’re not sick and tired of the Clippers by now, you are somehow; some way, a fan of this godforsaken group of  Susan Lucci’s. As much as I love Charles Barkley, who always mentions the Clips as a team who can beat the Dubs, he’s gonna have to either dead that talk or pray DeAndre “I Wear More Dresses On TV More Than I Make Free Throws” Jordan and Blake “Let Me Tell You About How I’ve Done Improv” Griffin punish the Warriors bigmen. Also, when are you gonna have a chance to see a game where only dunks and threes are made is an actual scenario that could happen?

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8

PHI at NO

You’re reading that correctly. Being the follower of NBA Twitter and podcasts that I am, I’m all in Joel “I Never Weighed 300 Pounds” Embiid. Embiid vs Anthony “More Brow Than Upper Body Strength” Davis could be really fun to watch. Embiid was the best player in college basketball during his one year at Kansas and is putting is crazy numbers now even under his minutes restriction. The NBA ebbs and flows. It was all about small ball, but with the amount of talented big men (Towns, Porzingis, Embiid, Davis, Randle, Turner, etc) we might be heading back to post moves rule everything around me. If we are, this game will be a sign of things to come.

SA at CHI

Two good teams playing in a good basketball city, this should be fun. Kawhi “I Only Say Please And Thank You” Leonard is gonna continue his MVP caliber run, but the thing to watch out here for is Rajon “I’ll Call You A Gay Slur If We Can’t Play Connect Four” Rondo. Rondo famously balls harder in nationally televised games, and he SHOULD be able to get the best of Tony Parker and Patty Mills. The performances will be prettier than the game, but it’s gonna be fun.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9

TOR at BOS

The battle for the second seed in the East! Can the C’s live up to the expectations that signing Al “My Eyes Are As Pretty As My Jumper” Horford brought on? Probably? I’m not actually sure. The Celtics kinda reek of great but not championship level great. As good as their coaching and guard play has been and will be, they’re still a pretender. If they want to make a believer out of me (which they should because I’m cool)this is gonna be where it needs to happen. Beat a good team and maybe I’ll start drinking the spiked Kool Aid.

PHO at LAL

I’m a Celtics fan and Blazers fan, but I’ll tell you what… I like this Laker team! D’Angelo “CCTV” Russell has been balling, Brandon “I Make Durant’s Body Look Like Eddy Curry” Ingram can shoot, and the rest of the Lottery All Stars have been a fun, run and gun team who are well coached and likable. Maybe it’s just that Kobe is gone, but maybe, just maybe, they’re actually a good team who are entertaining to watch? It could be interesting to see how the celebrity fan Laker faithful  take to a team that isn’t great but has an upside. Will Jack Nicholson want to watch millennials who know him best as the guy from sitting courtside during the last Laker title instead of the guy from “The Bucket List”? Find out at Staples tonight!

Saturday, December 10th

No good ass games scheduled.

 

Sunday Dec. 11th

No good ass games scheduled.

 

image1-7  Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, internet troll, 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. We try not to hold these things against him.

 

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Dame D.O.L.L.A.

My two favorite things in the world are rap music and basketball. I’m very particular about what I like, so keep that in mind. My favorite rapper of all time is Kanye West. My favorite young rapper is Young Thug. I thought “To Pimp A Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar was a perfect album, but I have zero interest in ever hearing it again.

I hold the belief that rappers in 2016 are objectively better at rapping than 90’s dudes. When I say better at rapping I mean interesting flows, ability to rhyme multi-syllabic-ally, and an innate skill at having catchy melodies mixed with content that is either intelligent or reflective of a larger societal view.

My favorite basketball team is the Portland Trail Blazers. My favorite player on the Blazers? Damian Lillard. So, when I found out Damian Lillard was making a rap album, I hollered at my Editor-In-Chief-Keef Bobby Mickey, and begged him to let me do a track by track review of Dame’s debut LP “The Letter O”. This is that review.

EXPECTATIONS: Having only seen Lillard rap on “Sway In The Morning” and having heard him rap during a commercial timeout at a Blazer game, I’m expecting the word “lyrical” to be said over 15 times. I’m hoping for some cool basketball references or wordplay “I’m coming with that heat flow/Making it look easy like a free throw”, something about Portland’s fans being the best, and reference to grinding hard to make it out of Oakland.

Track 1 – Bill Walton

I already am skeptical based off the title. Is there any way this song isn’t about winning a championship for Portland like Bill Walton did? Well, the song isn’t ABOUT Walton, but Dame does end this freestyle with a line about Walton.

As far the rapping, Dame does a lot of multis, which is cool. He clearly has a skill to rhyme words. As for the content of the lyrics? Pretty generic. I won’t hold that against him… unless his only thesis on the album is “we didn’t have much when I was a kid and no one believed in me.” The beat was fine–a solid head nod with some 90’s style drums.

STATS: 18pts/3rbs/4ast

Track 2 – Wasatch Front

More 90’s drums! I’m starting to make assumptions about what the sound of this album will be. This track is about Dame’s time at Weber State (where he went to college). It’s a solid narrative, the song doesn’t feel too long, and there’s a chorus. The chorus is alright, too!

There’s still too much talk of struggle for my liking. Still not holding that against Dame though. The unquestioned best part of the song is the ad-libs though. Dame’s ad-libs are like Kent Bazemore on the Golden State bench in 2012. They’re hyped, funny, and positive. More ad-libs, less boring narratives, please!

STATS: 22pts/5rbs/5ast

TRACK 3 – Growth Spurt (feat. Dupre)

808s! Hashtag rapping! This is the best song on the album after 10 seconds, easily. Some dude named Dupre shows up for an alright song. Dame sounds better on the track than Dupre. That’s a good sign. Dame sounds more comfortable on the beat, but maybe I’m just getting used to it? I don’t hate this song.

Also, I haven’t read  much of anything about Dame as a rapper, but he’s not cursed once, and I think by track nine he’ll address not needing to swear. “I’m everywhere, you ain’t never there/why would I ever swear?” is my Jay Z lyric flip prediction for not swearing. Three songs in, and the most modern sounding track is my favorite.

STATS: 24pts/6rbs/8ast

TRACK 4 – Misguided

It took four songs, but we finally got Dame to mentioned another NBA player. And, drum roll please… it’s LeBron. And he mentions owning Yeezys. This is definitely Dame’s “I guess the money changed him” song. But Dame is capital R Real, so he’s not gonna forget where he came from.

Portland, we can believe in Damian Lillard. This song is the most interesting, as far as content goes. I found myself actually kinda caring what Dame would say about growing up, getting money, etc. Not shockingly, it’s pretty run of the mill. The saving grace of the song is the tend to see/Tennessee wordplay in the first verse. A third of the way through the album and I think I’ve know what to expect for the rest of it.

STATS: 21pts/4rbs/7ast

TRACK 5 – Thank You (feat. Marsha Ambrosius, Brookfield Deuce, and Danny from Sobrante)

Based off the title and the names of the features, I’ve got low expectations for this. I expect this song to be the Blazers on their third game in four nights, coming off a double overtime loss in Denver. It’s hard to hate on a song for someone’s deceased family members, so I’ll just say this song isn’t for me.

Brookfield Deuce is an alright rapper, he provides us with the second NBA player reference when he alludes to Kobe Bryant! The chorus is fine, I don’t love the woman’s voice, and it’s mixed a little weird that makes it stand out in a not great way. Tonally, this song sounds like a heartfelt Beanie Sigel song from ’02. Dame does TWO verses on this song, so it’s probably the most important song. Verse two has Dame mentioning Hulk Hogan and getting caught drinking by his grandma. Dame wants us to know he’s a good kid.

STATS: 20pts/6rbs/6ast

TRACK 6 – Plans (feat. Jamie Foxx)

Ray Charles himself, Jamie Foxx is featured? This could be interesting! Jamie’s chorus is pretty good. This is clearly Dame’s song for the ladies. He mentions sending an eggplant emoji and a woman’s waist line! Dame is for the ladies! A good juxtaposition after his heartfelt song for his grandmother. Dame is for everyone.

The production is modern again, but the beat certainly doesn’t knock, which shouldn’t be expected. Dame doesn’t exactly rattle the rim with his dunks and the beats on the LP reflect that. Halfway through the album and no swearing, no mentioning his teammates, no mentioning other NBA players who have rapped, and still no cursing! These are things to watch out for on the second half of the album!

STATS: 25pts/4rbs/5ast

TRACK 7 – Legacy (feat. Juvenile and Danny from Sobrante)

I guess at this point my biggest question is, what is Sobrante? And why is Danny, who is from there, on this album twice? I’m not actually going to look up who the dude is though, I’m not getting paid for this. Juvenile of “Back That Azz Up” shows up for a guaranteed emailed-to-Lillard feature here. The inconsistency in the mixing on this song is unpleasant. I like the beat though, AND Dame says “hell” which MIGHT count as cursing? But since we know Dame is a God fearing man, it probably isn’t. Portland is name checked on this song, which is cool because I live in Portland, so now I can relate more to multimillionaire Damian Lillard! I gotta be honest, if this song was just Juvenile and Danny from Sobrante I’d really like it. Dame sounds uninspired and completely extraneous here.

STATS: 11pts/2rbs/0ast

TRACK 8 – Loyal to the Soil (feat. Lil Wayne)

Holy moly this is generic struggle rap. The best part of the song is the Lil Wayne overdub of his lighter sparking. And my goodness, Wayne is so much better at rapping than Dame. Wayne’s flow is sharper and bouncier, his metaphors are more clever, he enunciates words in an interesting way, and he doesn’t swear! Wayne does mention being a Blood though, which is kinda weird and jarring.

I was hoping the way Wayne raps here is how Dame would have rapped on the song, but that’s not the case. Props to Dweezy F. Baby for bringing a quality verse and providing overdubs and ad-libs on Dame’s second chorus! Dame is whatever, by the way.

STATS: 17pts/4rbs/2ast

TRACK 9 – Roll Call (feat. Brookfield Deuce)

I like this beat. I can imagine a Future clone rapping on this. The chorus isn’t catchy, like, even a little bit though. I’m not sure how someone with such a pretty jump shot would have zero ear for melodies, because nothing on this album is catchy. And based off how he raps, you know Dame listens to J Cole and Kendrick Lamar, two guys  who are capable of writing mammoth choruses that get stuck in your head instantly. As impressive as Lillard’s ability to string together multis is, when you’re not supplementing it with anything that makes the listener want to hear what else you’re capable of, it might be time to make that LP an EP.

STATS: 15pts/4rbs/4ast

TRACK 10 – Pillow Talk (feat. Manny Lotus)

Sexy flow Dame alert! “I’m feeling that arousement” is the basic idea of the whole song. I will say, it seems a little weird to make a song called “Pillow Talk” when Zayn Malik did it this year and reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Again, Dame rapping sexy or about anything that’s not working hard in a small town doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t sound right either.

I appreciate the production on this song, as it sounds more similar to the sort of music I listen to the most. This feels like a Manny Lotus song featuring Dame D.O.L.L.A., which isn’t the best to have on your debut album.

Part of me isn’t sure if Lillard isn’t taking a risks topically because he’s not interested in it or he wants to keep up a good guy Portland image? Regardless, this album’s lack of concepts and subject matter is making it wear pretty thin after only 10 songs. STILL NO SWEARING!

STATS: 12pts/3rbs/1ast

TRACK 11 – Baggage (feat. Adrian Marcel)

Another back half of “The Letter O” song, and another generic R&B chorus that doesn’t fully work. If this song was supposed be a parody of cliche ridden rap I’d love it, but it certainly doesn’t do that at all. In the words of Roman on “Party Down”; “Am I supposed to enjoy the irony, or pity the sincerity?”. Since I’m pretty bored with this song, I’m just gonna imagine what Kristaps Porzingis would sound like on a track. It would be so dope. And I guarantee he’d be a gun rapper. Fuck. I need this to happen now. “I’m seven foot, so you know I bang/after I dunk on you ain’t the only time I can hang”. “Gatvia” by Kristaps Porzingis, coming soon.

STATS: 15pts/3rbs/3ast

TRACK 12 – Hero (feat.Raphael Saadiq) [Bonus Track]

Dame sounds like he yearns on this track; which is actually kinda interesting. This track also has Dame making a handful of basketball references, including Erik Spoelstra and Villanova. Unfortunately, “Hero” also takes the previous track’s generics to a new level. This song is exactly what you’d think a song by a non swearing, basketball player with a song called “Hero” would sound like. Given the ridiculous signing bonuses and endorsement deals that NBA players made in the last two off-seasons, it makes sense that this is a bonus track. It’s unwarranted and unwanted.

STATS: DNP (Coach’s Decision)

After listening to “The Letter O” by Damian Lillard, a few things are clear. Dame’s favorite rapper of all time HAS to be someone whose heyday was in the 90’s. Dame is definitely a basketball player before he’s a rapper. He’s a “real” rapper,  not a “real rapper”.

This is most apparent when anyone appears on the track with him. 2016 rap heavyweights Brookfield Deuce, Dupre, Danny from Sobrante, and Lil Wayne do to Dame on a track what anyone does to Dame on defense, which is to say low-key embarrass him. When Lillard raps on a song by himself, it’s fine and cute; however, when going toe to toe with someone who raps for a living rather than as a hobby, a lot is left to be desired.

In summation, the best way to describe Damian Lillard as a rapper, and I say this as objectively as possible, is that he’s the EXACT opposite of Young Thug. Where Thug opts for flows, melodies, and absurdism, Damian Lillard goes for his version of introspective, emotional, and REAL.

I can’t say I’d recommend this album to any of my friends who listen to rap, and I wouldn’t even really recommend it to my friends who don’t like rap. Lillard can ride a beat decently, has above average rhyming ability, but isn’t catchy in the least bit. If Damian Lillard the rapper were a basketball player, he’d be George Hill.

ALBUM STATS: 18pts/4 rbs/4 ast

 

 

 

image1-7  Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, internet troll, 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. We try not to hold these things against him.

Different and Good Aren’t Mutually Exclusive Things

 

 

Things change, develop, and evolve. Look at humans. Nothing stays the same. Movies used to be shot on film in standard definition, and now they’re filmed digitally in 4K High Definition. As time goes by, the quality raises. It’s true for video resolution, and it’s true for athletic skills and for rap technical skills. Which leads me to what we’re here talking about right now. Basketball players are better now than they were in the 80’s and rappers are better now than they were in the 90’s.

I know what you’re thinking, Jordan “Mr. International” Paladino, what about Michael Jordan or Rakim? To which I respond: Malcolm Gladwell. There’s always going to be things from the past that supersede the present. Rakim is better than Chedda Da Connect (but I’ll be damned if “Flicka Da Wrist” isn’t more fun than “Microphone Fiend”). Yes Michael Jordan is better than Brandon Jennings. That’s irrelevant–just as much as you can’t compare LeBron James to Ozell Jones (some random player on the 1986 Los Angeles Clippers). The real meat and potatoes of the NBA in the aughts is performed at a higher level than in the 80’s and 90’s. The average rapper selling mix-tapes on Atlantic Avenue is better than Moozaliny, AKA “Big Syke” AKA “Little Psycho”.

If you think about it, there’s as much to admire about Magic Johnson as there is about Dwyane Wade. You can love A Tribe Called Quest and think Chance The Rapper is amazing. Dwyane Wade, through modern technology and human evolution, is arguably more athletically gifted than Magic Johnson, and as far as overall technical proficiency (flows, rhyming capacity, vocal capabilities, etc.) Chance The Rapper is better at rapitty rapping than Phife Dawg or Q Tip. Magic, Phife, and Tip are all legends and were great at what they did (you can call them the best ever), and to deny their skills is shortsighted. It’s reverse Matthew McConaughey in Dazed And Confused. We get older and they get younger. In 20 years some kid who is being born right now will have five NBA MVPs and I’ll be the old guy complaining about how Vince Carter could beat any of these dudes in one-on-one (I look forward to that day too).

I understand the unwillingness to let a shift happen. LeBron James is my favorite basketball player of all time, and over the last few years seeing Kawhi Leonard and Wardell “Steph” Curry II, the unanimous MVP, win NBA Finals over LeBron was tough to watch. I remember thinking to myself, Is this the end of LeBron James?

What am I supposed to do, have a new all time favorite player? Then it hit me that it doesn’t really even matter. When LeBron lost to Dallas in 2011, being only defined by careers of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan or Julius Erving didn’t make sense. LeBron shouldn’t be devalued because some guys 30 years ago won more championships. magic-johnson-best-nba-player-ever-21430910

In the 1980’s, the concept of a stretch 5 was unheard of, but it almost seems weird to think of teams drafting multiple 7-footers to dominate the paint and start a dynasty. In the 80’s, hardly anyone rapped in multi-syllabic rhymes, or did triplet or double time flows. Young Thug raps more on “Digits” off 2016’s excellent Slime Season 3 mix-tape than Big Daddy Kane did his whole career. Has AZ ever recorded anything without Nas?

My question to you Generation X-ers out there is why do I have to accept to that Illmatic is a classic and y’all can’t give Barter 6 by Young Thug ANY love? Who cares if its different? Different is the status quo. It’s boring when things don’t change, that’s why no one is buying anything Lil Wayne puts out anymore. Would you really want to watch a team play basketball like the Detroit Pistons of the late 80’s? Or do you want to see what we’re all hoping the 2016-2017 Golden State Warriors will play like? I think ball movement, five shooters, with a 6’7” center and a 6’11” power forward  is pretty exciting stuff.

Again, people who are just developing an eye for basketball, or an ear for rap music, are allowed to like Method Man just as much as Future. That doesn’t make them stupid or less knowledgeable. Future has melodies for days and Method Man’s catchiest chorus is basically a kindergarten spelling lesson . If I need to get off your lawn, then you need to get out of my dive bar.

 

Jordan Paladino is a Portland comedian, internet troll, 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. We try not to hold these things against him.

I Still Got It

 

A particular sort of currency in 21st Century America is “Not Giving A Shit”. I might have little money, but I’ve got a lot of currency, I thought. I’m a smart, proud, averagely handsome dude who (thought) they only care about literature, music, cinema, and politics. Sports aren’t supposed to matter to me.

 

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, and I realized, that I do give a shit. I’d been lying to myself, pretending I didn’t care. I’m a basketball fan, and I’m a LeBron James fan. When I was growing up, Michael Jordan never really resonated with me for a handful of reasons. Having family from Boston and New York make it tough to root for any team other than the Celtics or Knicks, so liking the Bulls was out of the question, moreover, Larry Bird was coaching the Indiana Pacers in the late 90’s. I was a Pacers fan then, and to this day I still root for Naptown. LeBron James was the first NBA player I ever saw have a complete mastery of the game of basketball. He could score, he could pass, and he could rebound.

 

I could bore you with LeBron’s unimpeachable numbers throughout his 13 year career, but that’s not even what this story is about. This story is about a particular feeling. When you don’t know how much something matters to you until it matters more than anything. When Cleveland was down 3-1 to Golden “73-9” State, I wasn’t surprised. I had said they’d beat Cleveland 4-1 in the series. Was part of that a defense mechanism to not be let down by the likely outcome of my favorite player falling to 2-5 in the NBA Finals? Of course it was.

Golden State was up 3-1 and it wasn’t even really close, but due to Draymond “I Invented Flex” Green slapping LeBron James taint/gooch he was suspended. I said to my father and friends (who root for LeBron), that I was nervous, but if Cleveland could win Game 5 they could get some momentum and force a Game 6 at home where the Cavs had looked terrific all playoffs. Cleveland would end up winning Game 5, thanks in part to a locked in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving embarrassing Wardell Stephen Curry II on both ends of the court. It was 3-2, heading back to Cleveland, and I started thinking LeBron and company could win. Of course I only shared this with my #1 basketball confidant. I started to care, and that upset me.

 

I’ve done a lot of cool stuff that means a lot more than basketball, and I’ve read enough books and poems that have shaped how I view the world that a guy who plays basketball shouldn’t make me feel anything other than “that’s a play at something that means nothing, objectively speaking”. Part of being a LeBron James fan means hearing the chirping about how he’s not Michael Jordan, and I distinctly felt that didn’t matter that LeBron wasn’t Michael. What he’s done for over a decade on the basketball court was more important than what someone else did in the 90’s. Also, I’m a pretty strong apologist for most things current (Young Thug is better than Melle Mel, sorry bros who bought “The Message” on cassette) as the level of skill and technical proficiency to compete in this decade is higher than it was in the past, and in 20 years I’ll be the guy saying that DeMarcus Cousins would beat whatever flashy and exciting player who hasn’t even been born yet in one on one.

 

Cleveland won Game 6, thanks again to LeBron James and a terrific home crowd, forcing a Game 7. “Game Seven” are the two best words in sports. I hated that I was excited, I hated that I couldn’t sleep on Saturday Night because whenever my mind started to wander I would think about what was more likely to happen: JR Smith going nuts and making eight three pointers, or Harrison Barnes coming out of his horrible shooting slump and becoming the hero in front of the home crowd. Would Kevin Love go from goat to GOAT? Was this the game where Klay and Steph would simultaneously play well for the first time in the Finals? Would LeBron be able to keep up the stellar level of play for another 48 minutes?

 

Sunday was Father’s Day, and my father and I had watched a good amount of Finals games together for as long as I can remember. My dear old dad was rooting for LeBron, partially because I was, and it’s nice to share things with your family, but also because Golden State beat Portland and Oklahoma City (two teams he likes), so it was gonna be fun to see our favorite player against a historic team who beat the hometown Blazers and who were the heavy favorite in the series.

 

Sunday was also a busy day in terms of shooting a local comedy web series I’m a part of. Our camera man got caught in traffic and ended up being late to the shoot, which went until the start of the fourth quarter of Game 7. I got over 10 text messages from friends and family about the game, and it was bedlam. I couldn’t tell who was winning, how the referees were calling the game, or if LeBron was making a killing from the mid range. By the time I was heading home from the shoot, It was a tie game in the fourth quarter, and I could barely speak or keep my hands from trembling. When I got home and saw LeBron get fouled from three by Festus Ezeli, I was pacing around the living room, unable to sit still.

 

Part of my anxiety was the game, but surely, part of it was that I was completely at the will of the game. I wasn’t controlling my emotions. I couldn’t. I wanted so badly, so desperately for LeBron James to win. He made all three free throws, and shortly after hit a three to give Cleveland the lead. When LeBron chased down Andre “The LeBron Stopper” Iguodala (who in all sincerity I have nothing but love for, seriously, he had to guard Kevin Durant and LeBron James for 14 straight games) and blocked his layup I jumped up and down. When Kyrie Irving hit that three over Steph I yelled. And when Steph missed the three that would have made it a one possession game with less than four seconds left I screamed as loudly as I can ever remember.
When you’re not expecting something, it usually impacts you more than if you are expecting it. That’s why many people expect the worst, because then you’re not going to be disappointed. It’s classic. We all do it. We never want to be victims to our own expectations. We never want to feel like something is bigger than us. On Sunday night, basketball was bigger than me, and no matter how scary that was, I was happy to know that I still could care that much.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

How to Age As A Fan: Jordan Paladino

 

When Kobe Bryant announced his retirement, part of me felt as resigned as Mr. Bean Bryant. Growing up as a Celtics and Blazers fan, there shouldn’t have been any way I’d feel bad for Kobe. He was the guy who handed the Trail Blazers the worst Western Conference Finals loss I can remember and the overall worst loss in my life as a sports fan (2010 NBA Finals Game 7).

kobe_bryant_trayvon_martin_comment

Kobe is just one of the guys who made sports what it is to me today. When Kobe is gone, it’ll just be Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan left for me to cling to as a late 90’s NBA fan. Garnett is going to retire after this season, Ray Allen hasn’t played anytime recently, and likely won’t. Living in the listicle era, everyone has been posting their top 10 NBA players of all time, and many people have Kobe as the second best shooting guard of all time, behind Michael Jordan. As an overall player, I don’t how why Duncan isn’t ranked ahead of Kobe, but that’s ultimately semantics.

kobe_bryant_extension

Kobe was a player I’d hated my whole life, until he tore his Achilles ’13. I had started to respect Kobe after the 2012 Olympics though. Seeing what intangibles a player needed to win the way Bryant did coincided with my turn from being a fan of teams, to being a fan of players and the sport itself.

Kobe was gutsy. He was arrogant. He took Brandy to prom. In hating him and spending so much time thinking about Bryant, I realized that I respected him, and wished he’d been on any team I’d rooted for. How could you not want a guy who wanted the ball in the last :45 seconds of a game?

 

Kobe Bryant in the 2015/2016 season, however, isn’t that guy. I can’t honestly remember seeing someone so good be so bad. I’d say I feel bad for Kobe, but I respect the guy too much to feel bad. Rather, I feel sad. This is the first time I can recall in my sporting fan life where I’ve seen someone lose it so hard. It’s hard not to be affected by it. It is like seeing your father forget that he just asked you what the movie you just saw was, or when your grandparents send you the birthday check they’d meant to send to your other cousin who’s birthday is nowhere near yours.

5-kobe-bryant-championships-reasons-why-kobe-bryant-should-retire

As we get older, our capacity for empathy and how we see life changes and softens. No longer are we hardwired to hate basketball players for any reason other than spousal abuse or latent homophobia. If sports is a microcosm of greater society, seeing someone age should alarm us before it fills us with joy. In seeing Kobe breakdown, let us take a minute to appreciate how special Tim Duncan has been. These guys aren’t going to be around forever, and neither are we.

 

SONG OF THE WEEK:

Kevin Abstract – “Echo”

 

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.

 

OVERREACTIONS : Guest Post by Jordan Paladino

Apple Pie. Bruce Springsteen. Overreacting to a small sample size. These are some of the most American things I can think of. In honor of America, here’s my NBA Week One Overreactions.

NUMBER ONE: Steph Curry will be the NBA Scoring Champion. Steph is currently averaging 37.0 pts/gm (as of November 4) and is shooting .595/.488/.964 and he’s going to keep those numbers up. NBA blowhards have been raving about Curry’s shooting since he joined the league, and this is going to be Steph’s historic year.

His 50.25 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is the best in the NBA, and way above the highest all time of 31.82 by Wilt Chamberlain in 62-63. So this season, Steph will be the scoring champion, have the best 50/40/90 percentages ever, have the NBA’s all time best PER, and the Warriors are on-line to repeat as Champions, which brings me to my number two overreaction…

NUMBER TWO: The San Antonio Spurs will not reach the Western Conference Semifinals this season. Take away Kawhi Leonard and what do the Spurs really have? Their best player is a 39-year-old Tim Duncan (who’s a top 10 all time player), Tony Parker on a definite career decline since the 2012 NBA Finals loss to my beloved (at the time) Miami Heat, an uninspiring lifetime loser (LaMarcus Aldridge), and a fat French guy (Uncle Boris Diaw).

Gregg Poppovich is a great coach, and the Spurs draft and scout as well as anyone, but the Blazers used Aldridge as their offensive focal point for a decade and got out of the first round once. The Spurs are coming off a first round loss to the Clippers (who no one likes and everyone always thinks are overrated AND underachievers). Speaking of the Blazers…

NUMBER THREE: The Portland Trail Blazers will win 35 games. Damian Lillard is the scorer that Rip City has needed since Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. A longstanding trend I’ve noticed as a Blazer fan is that Portland hasn’t had a top 5 scoring leader for as long as I can remember or care to look up. Lillard is going to bring that to Portland in 2015-2016. Ed Davis is going to be considered the sneaky good signing of the offseason.

Ed Davis was a beast at North Carolina (and a National Champion), put up great numbers in limited minutes in Toronto, Memphis, and Los Angeles, and is covering up how poorly Meyers Leonard has been this season. Al-Farouq Aminu is putting up 15 and 9 a game (I’ve been an Aminu fan since his time with the Clippers) and is turning into the perimeter defender that will hide the fact that Big Game (No Defense) Dame and CJ “Give Him A BJ And Put This Game In The Win” McCollum can’t play a lick of defense. On to the east…

NUMBER FOUR: The Miami Heat will make the Eastern Conference Finals. Dwyane Wade will use the power of Gabrielle Union to stay healthy, Chris Bosh being healthy can take the Heatles offense to a new height with the emergence of Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic is a facilitating point guard who can distribute the ball to Wade, Bosh, Whiteside (at the basket, which is something Miami hasn’t paired with balanced scoring and ball movement since 2006 when they won the Championship with an assist from the referees), and Luol Deng.

Miami’s bench also has Justise Winslow, who should have been taken in the top 3 after seeing how awful D’Angelo Jenner-Russell has been. Amare in limited minutes can give the Heat some energy off the bench when Bosh or Whiteside are resting, McRoberts is healthy this season, Gerald Green is a poor man’s Corey Brewer, and Mario Chalmer is more suited to fill his role as an eighth guy instead of starter. PS- Erik Spoelstra is the second best coach in the Eastern Conference, only behind Brad Stevens. Now to who the Heat will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals…

NUMBER FIVE: The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to win the 2015-2016 NBA Finals. LeBron James is my favorite basketball player of all time. Much like the best West Coast rapper in the game (Vince Staples) there’s context to this next statement. LeBron James is the best basketball player of all time, based off what I’ve seen with my own two eyes. Michael Jordan this, Magic Johnson that.

LeBron James has been the best player in the league for last 8 years, and this year is no different. LeBron the GM re-signed Tristan Thompson, picked up Mo Williams, and got Richard “35 years young” Jefferson to come off the bench. LeBron the coach made the genius call of making Kevin Love the catalyst of the offense, which will let Kyrie Irving ease back into the offense and take a load off the rest of the team until the playoffs when the Cavs will be healthy. A full season of Mozgov, Shumpert’s development as a shooter and continued flourishing as a defender, and Matthew Dellavedova will break at least one Chicago Bull or Miami Heat players arm.

STRAY OVERREACTIONS:

Rookie Of The Year: Kristaps Porzingis. Kristy and Langston Galloway (best name in the NBA, hands down) are going to bring New York basketball back to the playoffs (next year), and once Derek Fisher leaves my beloved Knickerbockers are going to be challenging the Cavs for the 2017-2018 Eastern Conference Finals.

Coach Of The Year: Brad Stevens. Stevens would have won last year if the Celtics had a winning record, and the writers who vote for the award are dying to give this guy the award to prove how ahead of the curve they are (even though we all know Stevens is a genius coach). By the way, Marcus Smart will win Most Improved Player.

Premature Coronation Of The Year: Anthony Davis. The Pelicans suck. I’ve watched three of their games and not liked anything I’ve seen. Davis’ shot isn’t falling, Tyreke isn’t anything, and Ryan Anderson is done. The Pelicans won’t make the playoffs, and Russell Westbrook will be considered the next “Best Player” in the NBA after LeBron.

Since these are overreactions, I reserve the right to go back on any declarative statement I’ve made, but if any of these are right everyone must bow down to my immense basketball acumen.

Listen to Young Thug.

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.