Long Distance Jayhawk


Basketball Related Conversation That’s Mostly (Kind of?) Funny by longdistancejayhawk
January 9, 2015, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had every intention of writing an actual preview about tomorrow’s game against Texas Tech. I had an intro that was going to be a weird obit for Jamari Traylor that somehow turned into him rising from the ashes, thanks to the dunk getting waved off. But, you know, life. Never got around to it. I did, however, have a week long email excahnge with my buddy Andrew. Below is that exchange (technically, he only agreed to a “quoting” but in my defense, he didn’t define how much he was willing to be quoted on).

Me:

I mean, I know it was the holidays and I kind of spaced on paying attention to the NBA for like a week, but I can’t imagine that poor Cole Aldrich did anything to deserve being mentioned in the same visual breath as Marc Gasol.

Also, it’s the most Knicks-y thing to have your official Twitter account’s name be NBA New York Knicks.
Andrew:
Ha! Cole looks like a 14 year old whose Mom just walked in on him dribbling a basketball around the living room.
Me:
Agreed. Also, WTF? Shumpert and smith in the waiters deal?
Got a seat upgrade for the Mavs game tonight. I can count each of dirk’s teeth.
Andrew:
Ah, man. That’s pretty dope! Don’t know if Waiters will fit on the Thunder. Pretty sure the Cavs traded him because of his clashes with Kyrie – you think he’s going to have an easier time with Westbrook? I highly doubt it. He just seems like a low character guy, not typical Thunder material. Fortunately OKC only gave up a protected first-rounder and Lance Thomas to get him. I really don’t get this trade from the Cavs perspective though. I’m sure the Knicks made taking JR a requirement for getting the deal done, but good Lord if the Cavs don’t cut his ass tout suite they’ve effectively traded one mercurial, mid-range gunner for another. If I were the Cavs, I would have done just a straight up Shump for Waiters deal – but again, I’m sure Phil made JR a non-negotiatable piece of any deal was going to get made. If it wasn’t clear when all that talk about Melo sitting out the season started circulating, at this point I think it’s fair to say that the Knicks are tanking.

Looks like the Nets game was pretty close. Guess you don’t have to worry about ever being out of the playoff picture in the East though.

Me:

Man, I’m on board with you probably 100%. I was having a blast at the Nets game (great atmosphere, BTW…some solid possessions down the stretch to force OT – specifically a like 25-foot bomb from Johnson on a busted play – but the Mavs were just better; especially Monta Ellis have it all).

To kind of expand on your point, isn’t this a trade with two losers and just one winner? Hell, I’d argue that Phil Jackson is the only winner out of this whole deal, since he looks like he literally put two other teams over a barrel and forced them to help him get out of a shit jam clusterfuck. I mean, look what he managed to do: waive Dalembert two days before the deadline, then flip Smith and Shump for cap relief so he can scrap this season, persue free agents in the off season, and maybe turn Melo’s career around for the better.
Meanwhile, the Thunder pick up yet another guard that brings little to the table. I feel like I saw this stat recently, but he’s like 26% on catch-and-shoot this season. And how the fuck are the Thunder going to use him? As a safety valve! A CATCH-AND-SHOOT GUY WHEN A PLAY’S BROKEN! Like, what? Do they miss Thabo that fucking much? And to your point: Kyrie is an exceptionally good player, sure, but more subtly is that he seems like (relative to the NBA) a pretty chill dude. And Dion clashed with him. Clashed with a dude who looks like he’s perma-stoned. So, naturally, the best situation to put that guy into is one that involves Russell “The only guard more combative, angry, and agressive than me is Rondo” Westbrook. These two are going to get along like oil and water, assuming that oil murdered water in the middle of a 2-7 playoffs series.
Seriously, I just don’t see what this brings to the Thunder at all. Like, Waiters just takes away shots from your pair of top ten guys, right? If that was your plan, why didn’t they make a run at Josh Smith? If KD And Russ can’t get anything, let him bomb.
As for the Cavs, I have two theories: 1.) In the face of a mountain of injuries, the Cavs are looking for instant offense to hold things down for them in the absence of LeBron and figured they could buy low-ish on two guys that might take to a change of scenery (Shumpert, maybe…JR? Keep in mind, this is the dude who order like $3,000 worth of room service on the Knicks’ dime just to see if the hotel would ever stop bringing him food). 2.) Without pretty much every player on their roster available, Dan Gilbert and their GM had ‘Nam-esque flashbacks to the Irving/Waiters brawl, and realized that, with the way things currently stand, that was going to happen again. And instead of having blood on their hands, maybe they let someone else bury the body. Which is why I think they keep both of those guys for the time being. They have until like 5pm tomorrow to make cuts, and I can’t imagine that was part fo Cleveland’s plan at this point. I think it was a genuine move with an eye at treading water for the time being, and maybe mixing the two in as bench unit bombers.
Now, all of that is to say…I think this might be the stupidest idea in the history of mid-season trades. I hope to Christ David Blatt didn’t have a hand in the trade because I’m pretty sure it’s just enough rope to hang yourself.
/rant
Andrew:
It does seem like the Cavs are going to keep JR. Maybe he can turn it around – think Rondo and Chandler on the Mavs this year – but he’s never been much of a defender, which is what the Cavs need. Also, I just want to point out that Shumpert is seriously overrated as a defender. Everyone’s talking about him like he’s Pacers-era Ron Artest or something. I mean, he’s fine, but he’s basically Anthony Morrow with better hair. The fact that anyone even talks about him at all comes down to the fact that his name EHHH-MAAAAAN SHUUUUMPERT and he’s played the last several years in the nation’s largest media market.

The internet has been saying that Waiters is an insurance policy for the Thunder in case Reggie Jackson leaves next year, which seems the same as buying a ham sandwich in case you get cancer. THAT SWEET SWEET HONEY-GLAZE WILL NOT SAVE YOU. Nevertheless, I don’t think having Waiters around will move the needle either way for OKC – though now they might be marginally more likely to let Jackson go when the time comes. The Thunder just need to focus on staying healthy right now (just as a sidenote, people always say that “focus on staying healthy” – what the hell does that mean? “Hey, KD maybe don’t go parkouring all over downtown with your ankles tied together. Focus on staying healthy!”).

Can’t believe KU doesn’t have anyone scoring over 13 ppg. Then again, Kentucky may not have anyone scoring over 10 and they’re the best team in the country, so what do I know?
Me:

Confession time: I’ve probably spent more time saying “EHHH-MAAAAAN SHUUUUMPERT” than I have actually watching the man play basketball, so you’re right on that count. All I remember about him (and let’s talk about these dudes in the past tense since the only reason any of us really cared was because Walt Clyde Fraiser was saying their names on a telecast) was the flattop and that documentary MSG pimped the shit out of when he was coming back from the ACL tear. Other than that, I honestly cannot think of a single basketball moment featuring him. Wait, I take that back…I think he had a big oop or dunk the Nets/Knicks game at the end of the season in Brooklyn.

I think, but I wouldn’t want to bet my life on it.
I think you get to the heart of JR Smith and the problem with him as a player (and Shumpert, who I would argue is better than JR, in that you would rather have Shump as your seventh man than JR on your team): he’s in a perpetual state of “turning it around.” AT some point, we have to admit that either he’s turned it around or that this is it and there’s no turning around. In either case,that’s scary since turning involved going, what? Like 5-degrees tops? Personally, I enjoyed watching him play. Not that he was great or even consistent, but that he had the most insanely outsized ego I’ve ever seen. Look at the way he carried himself during that unconcious stretch like two years ago. Look at the face when he hit that clutch game winning three. Those are memories.
 
Of course, none of that really means anything when you’re paying him an ungodly sum of money and he’s more known for that minor outburst of production and Tweeting about how that ass “want the pipe.” You realize that, right now, the most important thing happening on a basketball court is Mason Plumlee. And that’s scary. This is the Mecca, dammit!
 
The more I think about this trade, though, the more upset I get about the stalled Williams to Sacto talks. Watching them ship off Smith and Shump made me happy from an NBA fan perspective (massive trade happening in the middle of the season) and sad from a Nets fan perspective (look, the incompetent Knicks are out competenting you, Billy!). There are trades to be had, even for head case guys. The Knicks proved it. Billy King, the gauntlet has been thrown. What’s your plan*?
 
God, I don’t think there’s a scarier contract situation that you could possibly be in if you’re the Thunder, right? Reggie Jackson is fucking awesome! Now, Waiters is just going to be the dead weight you drag in after Jackson possibly leaves for more lucrative pastures? Balls to that. To further your sandwich-as-cancer-insurance analogy, if Jackson leaves, you’ll realize he was the delicious ham sandwich all along.
“Hey, KD maybe don’t go parkouring all over downtown with your ankles tied together. Focus on staying healthy!” – you win this topic, so I’ll leave it at that.
Me (the next day or so after the Timofey Mozgov deal went through):
Dude, the Cavs are like someone who gets loaded on a Tuesday night and starts making like 100 fantasy trade offers. God only knows what other trades they’ve shopped around that we’re not hearing about. Is it possible that the Cavs could have like 93% turnover on their roster from entering free agency last summer and the playoffs? Obviously, the NBA is a transient game, even if you are a superstar, but this is ridiculous. Of the current roster, just four players were rostered on the Cavs last year (Delladevdova, Irving, Thompson, Varaejao). That seems pretty insane, especially when you consider the fact they made that extreme roster surgery as an anti-tanking maneuver.
Andrew:
I liked the Mozgov deal. And they did suck last year, which makes keeping the same players around less appealing. I can’t remember where I read/heard this, but some Grantland/ESPN person said something along the lines of “Continuity doesn’t matter if you’re terrible.” I agree with that. I will say this – Lebron has definitely lost a step. He’s still one of the Top 5 guys in league, but he doesn’t have the same explosiveness he used to. What’s more, I haven’t been that blown away by Kevin Love this year. Athleticism isn’t everything, but the guy barely gets off the ground. What’s more, he can’t play defense and doesn’t move that well off the ball. Then they’re picking up all this “veteran talent” (a coinage that’s synonymous with “washed up” about 75% of the time, cf. the Clippers) like Shawn Marion and James Jones. What the hell are those guys giving you? Maybe I’m jumping the gun in saying this, but Lebron might have been better off staying in Miami. I think the Heat still would have fallen off significantly, but at least they wouldn’t be struggling to figure things out in the middle of the season. What’s really crazy is that with all the talent in the rest of the league, I think that Lebron is probably done winning championships. Isn’t that nuts? I mean, he’s 30 years old and in his 12th season. Sure, he could probably play another 8 seasons – and he might – but the Cavs would have to pull some real alchemical magic to surpass the Thunder, Rockets, Warriors, Blazers, Bulls, Hawks, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Clippers, Spurs, Raptors, and Suns (teams that are better than they are right now) as well as the Pelicans, Kings, Timberwolves, and 76ers (teams that almost certainly will be in a few years).
And another thing about Kevin Love – when do we start saying that those fucking outlet passes are kind of a gimmick? I don’t know that they are necessarily and I don’t feel like engaging in a rigorous statistical analysis to prove my point, but Jesus Christ, man, I don’t want to hear about it anymore. “Outlet pass” might as well be his goddamn middle name at this point.
Me:

His middle name is outlet pass? Could has sworn it was WesUnseld, since I’ve never seen the 2014-15 Cavs play without a comparison video. And one of those games was at Barclays and they put the comp video up on the Jumbotron.

Jokes! They didn’t do that. That didn’t stop me from imagining Ian Eagle waxing on Unseld while Mike Fratello drew a dog catching the pass over the clip on YES. Czar of the Telestrator, baby!

Aren’t most things that guys do gimmicks, though? There are certainly people who would say the same thing about the Rockets’ philosophical approach to the game of basketball. Anyway, I think too much is made of it, especially since the Cavs get so much national TV love and, at a certain point, saturation is reached and everyone who gives a shit has already heard Mike Breen and Reggie Miller discuss it. Sure, they’re a functional part of the game. That’s not in dispute. I think Love gets so many of them because of the types of teams he plays on. If you’re a run and gun team or you have guys like LeBron, you’re probably going to connect a lot more often. Look, we all get it: the dude knows how to bust out a long distance chest pass.
Honestly, I don’t mind the wheeling/dealing or the moves at all. Just the flurry of them. I just imagine Dan Gilbert shooting off Comic Sans emails every fifteen minutes that contain a single players’ name. Continuity is probably garbage if you’re bad, too. I was more getting at the idea that, should the Cavs win the Finals, it would be the ultimate evidence of rooting for laundry. The roster will be radically different by the end of the season*. I’m not quite ready to say LeBron won’t win another title. Sure, the talent in the league is fucking deep, but I think he’s smart enough and good enough to adapt his game, the way Jordan did, to try and maximize his chances. Which is maybe what he’s doing, in terms of the paleo thing and losing all that weight. That said, I agree he doesn’t look the same. There are bursts of the former LeBron, just not anything sustained (I think to him eviscerating the woeful Nets in the final five minutes of the third quarter at Barclays). Initially, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he might just be trying to both play and recoup from four straight Finals. Now, I’m not so sure. Is there something more to it? Is it just age? Am I prepared to live in a world where LeBron is no longer LeBron and ages just like nearly every other superstar (Duncan and Jordan, the counterpoints)?
Given that we’re the same age, maybe I’m just trying to avoid facing my own mortality by refusing to accept a diminished LeBron.
Finally, fuck veteran talent. Shit’s overrated. You think the Clippers are the best example? Try watching the Nets, my friend. We’re about to veteran talent our way into a five year rebuilding crater.
* – as a quick aside: after JR got traded, my desire to see the Cavs lift the trophy quintupled, overriding my feeling that LeBron winning another would be sort of meh. Remember what he’s done when playing for a non-contender? Can you imagine what kind of crazy shit’s going to happen if he’s drunk on Championship? I’m pretty sure he’d end up burning down a club and the party keeps raging as the place is reduced to ash all around him.
Apropos to the conversation: this. The leader image alone is worth the price of admission.
Andrew:
Ha! You going to the Nets v. 76ers tonight? Tickets are dirt cheap, so I was thinking about checking it out. Obviously it’s like the platonic ideal of a shitty NBA matchup, but I heard the Sixers play hard at least.
Me:
Yeah, on two counts. The tickets are totally dirt cheap…hell, we might see the first tie in the history of the NBA. And yes, I’m going to the game tonight. We could probably arrange the same deal we did for OKC if you want to sit in the 204 with me.
Andrew:
Mike Fratello absolutely would draw a dog catching a pass on the YES calendar.

You could call everything a gimmick, I suppose. I guess I’ve just reached peak outlet pass. I also feel like a lot of the time he makes kind of reckless throws down court.

Where’s your seat again?

Me:

Haha, seriously. I love Fratello, mostly because he’s like the goofy basketball loving grandfather I never had.

Anyway, I also included it above but with no context, which probably made it seem liked I stroked out and jammed a couple of keys.
Cyprus works for me, buddy. I’ll get out of here at 5:30, so be there a little after six.
Andrew:
Cool. Just wanted to see Henry Sims play before I die.
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by longdistancejayhawk
September 10, 2014, 9:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you know me, you know that I love the NFL. College ball has its charms, but the pro game has better athletes, more compelling story lines, and some of the most inventive strategists in all of sports. But off the field, the NFL is – to put it mildly – flawed. The league’s scorched Earth business practices make Mr. Burns look like the Ralph Nader, and the alacrity with which Roger Goodell deep-sixed damning evidence connecting football to irreversible brain damage put the commissioner in a class with Oliver North. I’m jaded enough now that when the league pulls some stupid shit, I just laugh it off. That is until Roger Goodell decided to take his I-am-a-human-shit-sandwich act to a whole other level.

The very notion that you had to see the video of Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-fiancee-now-wife in order to make a sweeping gesture is sickening. Did you see the aftermath video?Because we all did and somehow we were able to come to the conclusion that Janay Rice not slip into a diabetic coma in that elevator. Her then-fiancee-now-husband was not agitated because he feared for her safety. No. Just no. Any person who can conjure up just one shred of logical reasoning would see the video from outside the elevator and conclude that Ray Rice did something horrific in there. And he did, as the video TMZ bore out.

It smacks of brand protection and willful ostrich syndrome to conclude otherwise. Two games was a travesty,a mile-high middle finger to the NFL’s female fans. Rice should have been suspended indefinitely immediately, if not banned for life outright. Because fuck that, Mr. Goodell. FUCK THAT. Rice’s actions have no place in the world at large and they absolutely have no place in your league. Your gold-plated TV deal does not absolve you of exhibiting a modicum of human decency. You could have taken a stance months ago, meting out a punishment that would have shown this behavior to be unacceptable to the players in your league and the rest of the world. You could have said this kind of behavior is unacceptable. But instead you decided to arbitrarily pull a number out of a hat. Two games seemed reasonable to you? Really? And to pretend like the league never saw the video (riiiiight) and therefore couldn’t come to a real decision – it’s just pathetic.

I know it’s been done to death, point of comparison and such, but let’s just look at some other famous suspensions. Pete Rose was a gambler1. He’ll never get in the Hall of Fame because he liked to wager on games. Eight Chicago White Sox players received a ban for life from Kennisaw Mountain Landis on flimsy evidence of taking money to fix the 1919 World Series. Michael Vick was given an indefinite suspension2. You know, for the whole dogfighting thing3, sick in it’s own right. A recent example, oft brought up these days, is Josh Gordon. Who smoked pot and failed two drug tests4. Because pot totally gives you an edge on the ol’ gridiron. What the NFL is saying, to take the preceding examples as precedent is that women rate somewhere below, in no particular order:

  • Dogs
  • Gamblers
  • Poor bastards who had the misfortune of playing for a notoriously tight fisted asshole5, who thought that cheating for money in a child’s game masquerading as adult employment was a preferable course
  • Marijuana-enthusiasts6

Doesn’t that seem fundamentally fucked to you, Gooddell?

So, how do I continue to watch and support a sport that considers itself above the law and clearly couldn’t give two shit about half its potential fans7? I don’t know.

I really don’t know.

Fuck you, Roger Goodell for not using your position to make a statementtk8fn until you’d seen the video. Seriously, man, fuck you. No one thought that she had just slipped. And to pretend like the league never saw the video (which I think is a lie) and therefore couldn’t come to a real decision, so you go with two games is pathetic.

The only thing I’ve seen that made me feel better was Katie Nolan calling out pretty much everyone. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It might restore a little faith in humanity.

*

FOOTNOTES

1 – I know it’s a different sport, as is the second example. Bear with me, since I would define this as setting something of precedent within the fiefdoms of professional sports. Back

2 – Subsequently lifted, thanks to good behavior and a modicum of contrition. Whether or not the contrition was sincere will be left up to higher arbiters of moral rectitude than myself. Back

3 – You could, perhaps, make a case that Vick was convicted in federal court and served federal prison time for his crimes, which makes it more of a “proven asshole” situation. But, given the media shit show and the fact that NFL was trotting out ads about Matt Hasselbeck being a great father around that time, I’m pretty sure they would have suspended him no matter what. Because the NFL has perpetually dealt with an image problem. Back

4 – As you’re all probably aware, Gordon is currently serving a 16 game suspension when, if he weren’t playing in the NFL and living in the kush-y confines a few of our more forward thinking states, he’d probably be employee of the month. Back

5 – Charles Comisky. In the interest of disclosure, yes, I root for the White Sox. Back

6 – Not to puff up my favorite commish, Adam Silver, but Goodell could take a page from Nosferatu over there. Sure, the NBA (and let’s not kid ourselves, all serious NBA fans) knew that Sterling was a loathsome pile of human garbage, but what did Silver do when presented with the tape? He made a swift and decisive action, forcing out an owner that his predecessor seemed unwilling or incapable of kicking out. Back

7 – Again, legal in a fair number of states at this point. Maybe you could envision some kind of Reefer Madness alternate reality or maybe an R. Crumb-esque stoned-out hippie, but the reality is that most people give zero fucks about pot at this point. Normal, fully functioning human beings managed to puff, puff, pass without being a blight on society. Certainly, most forward thinkers on the issue would consider pot smoking to be approximately 4,293 rungs above Dog Fighting Aficionado in the realm of character traits. This is made all the more sad when Domestic Abuser is apparently more socially acceptable in the NFL’s mind than casual toker. Back



Someone Remind Me Why This is Fun? by longdistancejayhawk
March 26, 2014, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

[Editor’s Note – I’m in the very, very early stages of planning a multipart season recap/retrospective/look ahead. Very, very early stages…however, a part that I’m envisioning is a mailbag or at least some reader questions getting answered over the course of the piece(s). So, if you’re interested in asking me anything at all, specifically about this season but not limited to it, feel free to shoot an email to longdistancejayhawk@gmail.com. The recap won’t be for at least a week, maybe not until after the Championship, so you’ve got time. Again, shoot those questions in. Feel free to ask me anything, even if it isn’t specifically related to the product we put on the court this year. Trust me, I’ll probably answer anything you ask me.]

Since the combustion of the season, I’ve been playing Deafheaven’s Sunbather a lot. The opening cut “Dream House,” in particular, has been getting a lot of burn. Go ahead, click the link back there. Let it cue up. Maybe cut the volume down to a lower volume if you’re not into loud music. Or at work or whatever. But cue it up. Hopefully, if I time this right, the crescendo hits at the right time. Trust me, the conceit works in my head, so let’s give it a try. I’ll wait.

Let’s get to it.

At some point during the meltdown on Sunday, I tweeted out this:

I remember doing it. I don’t remember what exactly precipitated it. No doubt it was forged in the crucible of a flurry of missed bunnies and bad decisions1. We’re not going to go over how I felt about this year’s squad, at least not today. In the future, sure. I didn’t want us to get bounced, even if I’m not a huge fan of this squad, as composed and as they performed. Of course, that tweet above could have extended to most of the weekend. Saturday started with me waking up just in time for the second half of an Arsenal drubbing, one that saw them down 4-nil at the half. Four. Fucking. Nil2. I didn’t even bother turning on the television. Unlike some x-nil scores, that’s not one that’s at all dangerous for the opposing side. Then, Sunday, of course. No need to talk about that… So, Monday rolls around. As you might be aware, I’m a Nets fan. I was NBA agnostic for years, never living close enough to a team to truly pick one3, so I’m Adidas all in on the Nets. After a brutal weekend that saw disappointment heaped on disappointment, I figured “What could go wrong?” The Nets were on a bit of a streak heading into a matchup with the otherworldly Unibrow and the New Orleans Pelicans. We’d owned them at our house, more or less, about three weeks prior and, despite it being a back-to-back following an OT thriller with the Mavs, I still felt like we’d handle the Pellies. Handle them we did. For at least 70% of the game, getting up to a 22-point lead. Twenty two points, people! Like mid-third quarter! That’s when a team decides “Fuck this, let’s get out of here.” Usually, that’s the team that’s down. But not this time, chummies. The Bums managed to let Tyreke goddamned Evans rip us apart to force an overtime Pelicans win. With a lot of sports things, the writing, sometimes, is on the wall as I continued my bleach-drinking and tweeting from the day before:

Boom. Of course, this caused a buddy of mine to reply, mentioning the freshman year Arizona game where we let the Wildcats go on some crazy run (I might be misremembering this, but I swear it was like 44-6). Like…I mean…that’s the worst thing I’ve seen. To go from up 20 and red ass beat down to down 20 and also a red ass beatdown. Fuck, that was a brutal game.

After some back and forth, I finished with this, a classic bit of sadness and deprecation:

Which was mostly true. I was certainly miffed at the Nets, but I definitely felt worse about that Kansas loss. Fucking shit show.

Anyway, back to “Dream House.” Remember that song I told you to listen to? If you went through all the footnotes en route to this sentence, then the song’s probably over. What I was going to tie back to is that song, to me aurally recreates a lot of feelings I feel, especially in do-or-die games. Chaos, sheer, utter, uncomprehending chaos. Then, a little moment’s respite. A brief feeling, be it the point you know you’ve won, or just halftime bringing an end to the chaos, if momentarily.

Then, it comes back with an over the top, epic coda, with crash, majestic guitars. It’s uplifting! It’s loud! It makes you feel unstoppable! Yet, underneath it, a lone voice screams “I want to die!” Obviously, I don’t want to die, but the juxtaposition encapsulates the feelings of a big game. You get so worked up, so panicked. Everything’s crashing around you. Then, you find some moment of zen. Then, the soaring feeling of success, but that nagging voice reminding you that not a few minutes ago, you were choosing to torture yourself.

Someone remind me why this is fun?

Because that right there, the feeling of a song like “Dream House” pulls you through so many emotions in a short period of time, similar to a basketball game, that you ultimately feel rewarded. The endorphin ripping through you makes it all worth it.

Another thought on it, one that exists in the larger context of the world, is that there are people out there that understand this feeling. Long time reader Josh4 summed it up pretty well in his comment on the Stanford re-ish-cap. For me, this really captures a lot of what I’m getting at:

“There are The Games, and then there’s everything else. Everything else that’s tangential to The Games but which makes the season that much better, more fulfilling, more whole. Meeting friends at the Yacht Club to watch the game. Twitter watch party. Buying or passing up that “ten straight” shirt when you walk into Dillon’s. Getting a random “Rock Chalk” from the guy outside the gas station in another city and chatting with him about Perry Ellis’ potential for a minute before paying for your gas…It’s the stuff that makes you feel like being a Jayhawk is part of a community, a family.”

Exactly. Sure, he praised the blog as being a part of the feeling of family, but that’s what it is for me. Maybe everyone else’s experience is a little different, but I know that there are other people out there, the Jayhawk community, that can identify with the “Dream House” analogy. That can understand the intense anxiety that happens whenever the games start to matter more.

We’re all a part of the Jayhawk family. Sorry if that song was a little to much rock for you. I promise not to play it at any family reunions.

*

FOOTNOTES

1 – I’m never one to advocate making excuses for a team’s performance because I rip on other fan bases for doing so. How many Oklahoma fans told you that things would have been different if Griffin had played instead of looking like he was about to dye his shoes a charming puke ombre? And how many of you said things like “Well, if you drafted better and built a team…that’s what you get.” So, let’s not lay the loss at the gigantic feet of Lionslayer. Yes, I totally think that game would have turned out differently had the big man played. However, we had the talent. Tons of talent. We could have beaten that Cardinal team with or without Embiid. But we didn’t. And you can’t say “Oh, it’s Embiid’s fault.” Or I guess “It’s the fault of Embiid’s injury.” The team played poorly and we lost. Laying it at the feet of one 19 year-old5 is a cop out, if you ask me. Which you didn’t, but still. Back

2 – Retroactively, I understand there was a send off of the wrong guy, which raised some questions of racism in a league already fraught with it. I watched that clip, but I refused to watch any more. The Gunners are so fucking frustrating sometimes. Streaks…nay, weeks of brilliance…chippy, tough football and a genuine love for each other, followed by complete crap. It probably didn’t help that the end of league schedule was a brutal one for Arsenal. The only game that didn’t scare me for real, obvious reasons was Tottenham. And even that scared me since, even in a shit season, Spurs are going to come at us with all they’ve got. Wonderful. I suppose it’s time to just start rooting for a meaningless FA Cup trophy. Who’s with…me…eh, fuck it. I can’t even fake excitement for that. Back

3 – Obviously, I was a Bulls/Jordan fan as a kid. And since most of my family is from North Carolina, I was a Hornets fan for every and a day. Bogues? Johnson? My jam! But I lived in Oklahoma at the time, so I never got to see them. Tough times, the late-80s/early-90s for long distance fans. The Hornets moved to NOLA and I stopped rooting for them and the Thunder came a couple years to late, since I’d moved to Lawrence by the time they decamped from Seattle. I watched NBA, of course, but more for the aesthetic pleasure than anything. So, years later, I move to Brooklyn and not only did a frnachise open up within the cityish thing I live in, but they’re right down the street! My god, how great! So, here I am, finally with an NBA team that I can not only root for, but actually see play, both on YES and in person. Life’s pretty good, sometimes. Back

4 – Not a footnote today, my man! Back

5 – A 19 year-old who should not even pretend to consider coming back for a sophomore year. Do not pass go, do not collect 24 credit hours.The following over-long reasoning was spurred by Mike responding to a tweet I threw out there about Embiid’s looming decision. Mike, not trying to go over it again, but I wanted to touch on my thoughts and going over yesterday made for a nice summation/outline for what comes next. Deadspin did a pretty good job breaking down why college players should always choose the draft, rather than coming back, using Marcus Smart as their example. I, for the most part, agree. Aside from the skewed perception that the NBA is somehow a more greedy move (I’d call it more honest since payment’s out in the open and we all know what the motivations of the players are at that point – contracts), wanting someone to stay speaks to the selfish nature of us, as college hoops fans. We want a guy to stick around because it shows that the program is important, that “development” is important, but, most importantly, that we the fans are more important that the money of the NBA. Kansas fans will often point to the fact that Embiid’s family is financially solid, so, you know, forgo $12mm in garaunteed rookie wage scale salary. Because, trust me, my family isn’t hurting for money, but that much money? On one contract? In a heartbeat.

The other issue I’m having for Embiid’s case is that I think he’s going to develop more talent quicker in the NBA. Right now, let’s say the lottery goes according to the standings. JoJo, being a possible number two pick, would end up on the 76ers. Yes, Philly is current a franchise adrift in the league…but that’s why they’re going to be picking second! They need a superstar to join their team and since they’ve shipped out everyone of note and are fielding a D-League team right now, Lionslayer starts. Instantly. He could skip summer league and he’d still probably start. So, there you go. He gets reps in the more physical, longer NBA game against NBA caliber bigs. If he stays at Kansas, he’s still going to be the seven-foot fish in the pond, as it were. On top of that, I don’t know that he would make the jump we saw with Burrito Killah and T-Rob. With Manning gone, I don’t know how well our bigs are developing these days. WITHEY! isn’t a good case, since he got the benefit of Manning. I just don’t see him developing that much more by sticking around another year.

I’m sorry. I know it’s sacrilige, but that’s the way I see it. I love Embiid, but I just don’t see the utility of him coming out. Oh, and before you throw the whole “but one and done’s…they don’t work out!” Real talk people: most NBA picks don’t work out. McLemore is starting for the King, looks good, and might be their franchise number two after Boogie. Xavier’s had a resurgence of sorts in LA after a rockie start. Compare them to guys who were near and dear to Kansas and set records and all that jazz. WITHEY!’s a thirdish unit guy in Charlotte. Aldrich is Melo’s BFF in New York, and not much else. I don’t think there’s much correlation, in years of collegiate ball and NBA success. Back



March Madness by longdistancejayhawk
March 14, 2014, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

[Editor’s Note – It’s March, so that can only mean one thing: God’s Gift to Bracket Pools is back! If you’re a fan of the blog and proving me to be a pompous wind bag who doesn’t know goddamned shit about hoops, then this is the best thing in the world for you. Go head to head with me and a cadre of other people who probably also like Kansas basketball. Join the bracket pool! You know you want it.]

Yesterday’s game was something I wasn’t prepared for. Not the way you’re thinking, though. I didn’t think we had a cakewalk in front of us. Fuck, I didn’t even think we’d win the game. right before tip, I legimately thought that we would lose. Part of me prefered that. I feel like this team, this young and inconsistent team is crushed under so many unreasonable expectations that we’ll never possibly meet. In a sick way, I want the season to be over, so people can come out, make their bold, unprovable claims that they knew we’d “choke” all along. And I can just move on with my fucking life.

Truthfully, I don’t want us to lose. But this year has been one that seems ordained to end in some kind of tragedy. Like 19 points in the first half of a Sweet Sixteen game to this year’s Florida Gulf Coast. Or managing to lose to an autobid that wouldn’t even have made the Not in Tournament otherwise. These are things that I’ve felt and seen coming for months now. And I want to avoid it. More than any other year, I find myself watching out games these days with a “not in the face” attitude.

Rewind to yesterday. As the game went on, the tension inside grew, wrapping itself around first my back, then my chest. I’ve never felt more coiled, more ready to break. I tried to let it go as we got pushed to OT. I tried because, being alone in my apartment, I was worried I’d have a heart attack and no one would have found me for days. Mostly, I didn’t want to be so fucking tense about a game that, ultimately, is meaningless. Yet, there I was, hunched over, shaking with just how tightly I was wound.

And when they inexplicably fouled us with under two seconds left on the clock, I still couldn’t unwind. I stared straight ahead, unable even to focus on our two shots from the charity stripe. I knew the first went in only by that familiar swish of the net. I don’t remember Tharpapalooza missing the second. But ESPN’s play-by-play says he did. Because I don’t know. I was in a whole other world, unable to fully process what was happening. After the miss, OSU recovered, with no time left, and then, the final buzzer sounded. I jumped off the couch, bellowed as hard as I could, clapped furiously, and…well, that’s it. I stood for a couple minutes watching the final moments of footage, then sat down.

And I almost cried.

I’m not kidding around. I sat there, on the couch, alone in the LDJ office, and felt real fucking tears welling up. I took my glasses off, wiped them away, then took a couple of breaths. The tension was gone.

I didn’t even realize I needed the win so much. Welcome March, suckers.



The Legion is Nearly Strongest by longdistancejayhawk
March 7, 2014, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
THIS IS A MOCK OF THE SHIRT THAT WILL MAKE YOU THE ENVY OF FRIEND, LOVER, SIDE PIECES, BUT NOT FAMILY UNLESS THEY PRAY TO THE ALTAR OF KU AND THE DUNKTOPUS!

THIS IS A MOCK OF THE SHIRT THAT WILL MAKE YOU THE ENVY OF FRIEND, LOVER, SIDE PIECES, BUT NOT FAMILY UNLESS THEY PRAY TO THE ALTAR OF KU AND THE DUNKTOPUS!

PEOPLES OF THE INTERNET AND PEOPLES OF THE FREE CITIES! THE LEGION IS NEARLY FULL STRENGTH! WE ARE JUST THREE MORE LEGIONAIRRES AWAY FROM BEING STRONG ENOUGH TO TAKE ON A SMALL, INDEPENDENT NATION WITH SMALL GDP IN FISITCUFFED COMBAT! THE DUNKTOPUS COMMENDS ALL WHO HAVE JOINED UP THUS FAR, INCLUDING THE GREENE MAN OF KU HOOPS! HIS SACRIFICE TO THE DUNK LORD ON WEDNESDAYS WAS JUST AS PERFECT AS COULD HAVE BEEN ASKED FOR! SAVE FOR T

ARIK BLACK, THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE SEVENTEEN TENTACLES, WHO PUT A HAND ON ANY AND ALL BALLS THAT LOOKED AT HIM CROSSED LEGGY! HE IS THE TRUE LEADER, THE ONE TO MAKE THE DUNKTOPUS NAME KNOWN FAR AND WIDE!

BUT THE DUNKTOPUS DIGRESSES! THE LEGION IS ALMOST AT CAPACITY! PEOPLE, THERE IS ONLY A DAY, THEN ANOTHER, AND SOME HOURS LEFT TO JOIN AND FREE LONG DISTANTS JAYHAWKIST FROM HIS DUCT TAPE BONDS IN THE LOBBY OF HIS OWN PSEUDO-FAKED OFFICES! HE NEEDS TO BE FREED! IF YOU HAVE NO SHIRTS PENDING YOUR QUEUE, THEN I SUGGEST YOU PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE VIA SHIRT PURCHASE BEFORE THE DUNKIN’ AND FUNKIN’ AND FUNKIN’ AND DUNKIN’ LORD GRABS YOUR THROAT LIKE A RUNG ON A LADDER! A LADDER TO EMBARRASS DUNK RIGHT IN YOUR JAWBONE! IF YOU HAVE PURCHASED A SHIRT, SHOW THE ALLEGIANCE BY TELLING A FRIEND AND ANOTHER FRIEND TO JOIN THE LEGION! WE WILL BE STRONG! WE WILL BE LEGION!

WE WILL DUNK ALL OVER ANY AND ALL COMERS IN THE COMING TOURNAMENT! THE TOURNAMENT OF SHAME!



It’s a DUNKTOPUS Telethon of the Stars! by longdistancejayhawk
March 4, 2014, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

photo (2)

LADIES AND GENTLES, THIS IS YOUR DUNK LORD COMING TO YOU FROM THE TELETHON BUILDING OFFICES OF LONG DISTANT JAYHAWKIST! WE ARE HAVING A NIGHT OF STARS THAT TURNED INTO THE DAY YOU SEE SPREADING BEFORE YOU! AS YOU KNOW, WE ARE TRYING TO GROW THE LEGION OF THE DUNKTOPUS! WE MUST BE LEGION! AND YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE LEGION BY SWEARING FEALTY VIA PURCHASING A NIFTY DUNKTOPUS LEGION SHIRT! IT IS MADE OF FINE COTTONS AND WONDERFULLY HEAVY DUTY SCREEN PRINTING! WHILE THIS SHIRT WILL NOT GIVE THE ULTIMATE SATISFACTION OF HAVING YOUR ENEMY DRIVEN BEFORE YOU IN SHAME VIA THE POSTERIZING MOZGOV DUNKING AND FUNKING, IT WILL MAKE YOU AN OFFICIALLY SANCTIFIED MEMBER OF THE LEGION! IN ADDITIONALS, EACH NEW LEGIONNAIRE WILL HELP SET YOUR NARRATOR BLOGGER FREE! HE IS BEING AN A-SUB-OKAY PRISONER, COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT BEING FED PROPERLY! BUT YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO READ LESS OF THE DUNKTOPUS BECAUSE HE IS A PART OF YOU WITH YOUR SHIRT AND MORE OF THE ANALYZATION OF THE BASKETBALL THAT COMES FROM THE LD JAYHAWKIST!

DON’T HESITATE! GOD’S BASKETBALLS NEEDS YOUR HELP TO GET THE CONTEMPLATION WRITINGS IT NEEDS TO BE FUN! JOIN THE LEGION! YOUR DUNK LORD WILL THANK YOU WITH A TENTACLE JOB!



Enter the Legion of the DUNKTOPUS! by longdistancejayhawk
February 27, 2014, 10:15 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

legion of dunktopus

WELCOME TO THE REIGN OF THE DUNKTOPUS! THE DUNKTOPUS APPRECIATES KING COACH SELF’S IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT! BUT THE DUNKTOPUS HAS SEVENTEEN ARMS FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS! MORE THAN HALFWAY KING COACH! BUT DON’T BE SATISFIED! THE DUNKTOPUS HATCHES PLANS, PLANS FOR THE LEGION OF THE DUNKTOPUS TO RISE! RISE AND ADVOCATE FOR DUNKS AND FUNKS AND FUNKS AND DUNKS! MORE TARIK DUNKING ON MAN LIKE HE IS A TODDLER STUMBLING INTO PATH OF DUNKTOPUS!

REST OF CONFERENCE, IT’S FUTILE TO RESIST FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY AND ONE YEAR! THE DUNKTOPUS SHALL NOT BE DENIED! JOIN THE LEGION OF THE DUNKTOPUS! ENJOY THE JOY OF SEVENTEEN ARMS! ARMS TO DUNK FOR DAYS!

WELCOME AGAIN TO THE REIGN OF THE DUNKTOPUS! IT’S TIME TO GET DUNKIN’!